Antitheists Offend Theists; I Say Good!

I’m hearing a lot from atheist friends who don’t want to be offensive. They are upset by the tactics being used by some atheist organizations today. I have an alternate take on things.

Background:

Here are a couple of ads that show the kinds of things to which many on both sides of the fence seem to object.

This billboard in Pennsylvania is apparently very offensive to believers. It was put up by American Atheists and Pennsylvania Nonbelievers.

I’m not surprised. I also find the bible offensive. The image is not racist. The bible has indeed been used to justify slavery. The quote is a literal quote from the bible. The image is a representation of what the biblical condoning of slavery means. If the graphic is offensive, it is because the words the graphic represents are offensive, the literal words of the Bible.

Catholics, or at least members of the Catholic League for Civil Wrongs, seem to find the below ad in today’s New York Times pretty offensive too.

To see the full size page so that you can read it, please click here.

They responded with this rant. Now I can mislead myself to believing I’ve presented both sides. I haven’t. I find their response ludicrous in the extreme. And, they did not actually contradict a single point made by FFRF in their ad.

The point:

So, here’s my alternative view.

When the lunch money victim finally stands up to the bully, concern over whether the punch in the nose will offend said bully is unwarranted. Concern over whether those in view of the fight will be offended by the sight of a bloody nose is also unwarranted.

When the battered wife finally stands up to the abusive husband, concern over whether the Louisville Slugger is offensive to the abuser is also unwarranted. What is warranted is the nice loud thunk of the bat.

We have been bullied by Senator McCarthy and his small but loud following of the intellectually impoverished for 60 years now.

We’ve tried presenting positive images of atheism, as John Lennon did in the song Imagine. The song got plenty of airplay. Most people know the major verses. The effect has been nonexistent.

It’s time to stand up to the bully.

These great ads put up by American Atheists, PA Nonbelievers, and FFRF, amount to a broken nose for the bully. Let’s hope it’s enough to win his respect, or at least to get him to leave us alone.

So, while it would be nice if the immoral minority would grant us the respect we deserve as human beings out of the goodness of their hearts, it seems highly unlikely to happen. In fact, as we capitulate more and more, the bullying gets stronger and stronger. It seems this loud minority has not one heart among them.

Unfortunately, I suspect it will take some more broken noses and home run swings with the bat to silence this loud, annoying, mean, and uber-stupid minority.

To the religious folks who are not in the immoral minority, you too should stand up to this bully. When you are silent, it makes it appear that even religious moderates are against the rights of non-believers. I do not think that is the case. FFRF is wrong to say that you should leave religion altogether. Perhaps you can leave the Catholic church and find another church with views more in line with your own values with a mindset not stuck in the dark ages.

Perhaps you might consider the Unitarian Universalists. To my knowledge, they are the only religious group planning to attend the Reason Rally in solidarity with non-believers. The Unitarian Universalists will be there with yellow shirts on showing their support. Thank you UU. If you are religious and not in this loud minority, why not join us and show your support at the Reason Rally on the 24th? Don’t want to be mistaken for an atheist? Wear a yellow shirt; the Unitarian Universalists have set the standard.

http://www.reasonrally.org/

http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/blog/reason-rally-challenges-stereotypes-of-the-secular-community/

Folks, remember that Jefferson’s wall of separation letter was sent to reassure Baptists that they would be allowed to worship in their own way. They were worried about their own rights being taken away by other Christians. We all need to be vigilant in our support of the wall of separation erected by Jefferson in the first amendment. Whether you care about being allowed to worship in your own way or being allowed to choose not to worship at all, the separation of church and state is integral to your rights.

Together, we can roll back McCarthyism and restore some of this country’s former greatness.

P.S. Regarding the term antitheist: This is my personal preference for a label for those of us who oppose religion. Many are using terms like radical atheist, militant atheist, or even new atheist. The problem for me is that atheist does not denote any action, merely disbelief. Antitheist denotes one who is opposed to theism.

Though, as you may have noted, I did point out that the FFRF ad may have been better off merely suggesting a more modern church than the Catholic church as an alternative. Going from belief to non-belief is a huge step. Many don’t even understand the concept of non-belief. They falsely think atheism is a belief. They think a belief can only be replaced with another belief. This is not the case.

But, that’s a topic for another post. For this post, I just wanted to point out that those who are opposed to religion, and I count myself in that group, are not merely atheists but are actively antitheists.

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498 Responses to Antitheists Offend Theists; I Say Good!

  1. Here’s a data point suggesting that the stand up to the bully approach is the effective one.

    http://www.care2.com/causes/the-woman-who-separated-church-from-state.html

  2. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Anti-theist as I am, still seems to me that image of the black slave with the quote from Colossians is “out dated.” The rational inference is that the Bible is not being used inappropriately today?

    Cheap shot. Fringe Groups. Old Testament.

    What are todays issues? Maybe harder to capture on a single image and a quote? Still way overboard in being anti-science, anti-woman, anti-ecumenical==if THAT should even be a goal? Anti-Family Planning then?

  3. Did you catch that this was in response to the PA senate unanimously declaring 2012 to be the Year of the Bible?

    Your post sounds as if you may have missed that point.

    If you got that, why do you think it’s a cheap shot? Seems extremely relevant and well-called for to me.

  4. You Know Who says:

    But of course the REAL point here is that once again, atheists think it’s all about “winning” an argument by scoring “points”. When they’re right, it doesn’t matter if in the process of being right they offend bystanders and cause collateral damage to the cause of achieving broader acceptance for nonbelievers, by making casual onlookers who may not overtly sympathetic but are potential allies into enemies. It’s as if African-American groups put up billboards laughing about how lame white people are at sports and dancing. Or if gay people put up a billboard mocking any and all procreational sex and called all the straight “breeders” stupid for not seeing sex as purely recreational. Yeah, do that, that will win sympathy and acceptance. (And like the clever bright atheists, they could then say that the offended groups simply didn’t read the fine print and “missed the point” because they’re all too stupid to get the joke.)

    And yet, that is the apparent lack of social skills present among nonbelievers who apparently are so daft that they actually imagine their efforts represent something positive.

    Could these billboards and ads have been crafted so as not to explicitly seek to be offensive? Of course they could have! But their creators weren’t interested in that. They were interested in being provocative, in getting attention.

    If one is to use the example of the “lunch money victim” and the bully here, we see that these billboards and ads are analogous NOT to “standing up to the bully”, but to dumping a load of raw sewage on not just the bully but on everyone in the class, and then acting surprised when the rest of the dumpees react negatively. “They missed the point, if they read the note we attached to each piece of raw sewage dumped on them, they would understand that the target was JUST the bully. Why don’t these foolish people get that?”

    It’s really time we called out this bogus naivete as counterproductive and just plain dumb.

    • Meanwhile back in the reality where people’s opinions of non-theists as been declining for decades before antitheists came on the scene, all those nice and inoffensive messages have done a big fat nothing.

      What we have today is a sausage-fest of sexual deviants* deciding on whether birth control should be funded by insurance money.

      What we have today is the state of Texas deciding to modify history to state that this is a Christian nation when it is neither. Add that to the fact that Texas determines the textbook content for 47 states.

      What we have today is a Christianity based war on women.

      What we have today is Christianity based sex education, i.e. a pro-abortion and pro-STD stance that will only cause more teens to become infected and impregnated.

      When do we stop worrying about offending the individuals who are bullying us out of our rights every single day?

      When do we accept the fact that the peaceful coexistence route has already been denied to us by the very people you worry about offending?

      When do we accept that moderate religious folks who say nothing while their radical nutjob counterparts legislate away our freedoms are every bit as much a part of the problem as the nutjobs they refuse to denounce?

      Ooh did I offend any religious moderates by stating that by their silence they are condoning the bullying?

      I certainly hope so!!!

      If you are reading this and are a religious moderate, please be reasonable and consider joining the Unitarian Universalists at the Reason Rally on 3/24.

      * Sex is normal. Not having sex is deviant. That’s without even considering all of the scandals regarding priests and children.

      • You Know Who says:

        Doing nothing causes nothing to happen. Doing something, where the something is the smug deliberate effort to offend just to garner attention while making points no one listens to, makes things appreciably worse.

        You would think people who pride themselves on how logical they are would see that it is the inevitable conclusion from the evidence that doing nothing (in comparison to the something those people willfully elect to do) yields the better result. And that thus, being logical people (and not stubborn arrogant dimwits incapable of seeing the motes in their own eyes), they would choose voluntarily to cease engaging in their erroneous idea of what a positive effort to create change would be, recognizing how their arrogance has blinded them to the obvious truth. But alas that’s not what happens…

        Doubtless there are people with the capacity to envision tactics that yield positive results, e.g., shaming people into being embarrassed at what their leaders try to tell them to think instead of forcefully getting them to become ENTRENCHED in their thinking and getting them to despise atheists more (one has to wonder sometimes if that is what those atheists really want!). But the creators of these billboards and ads, clearly these are NOT those people.

  5. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Scott –your use of the term “sausage fest” needs some explanation?==when you have the time, if you feel like it. Cracked me up of course. but doesn’t make any sense.

    On SECOND thought, the image of a negro/african/black being in chains should speak very directly to all negro/african/blacks who happen to be members of these oppressive religions? So as a white boy do I look at these issues, but not everyone is a white boy?

    ……and just how subtle should anyone be when addressing the stupidity of religion? If subtlety worked, no one would be religious to being with. More of my initial bias==viewing the world as I do as opposed to “obviously” how oh so many others actually do?

    But, there is a clear delineation between old and new testament, between god the father and god the son. I wonder if Jesus will become more conservative as he grows up?

    • This is a sausage fest:

      These are the witnesses before congress testifying regarding whether health care plans should be required to cover birth control for women. See how each of them has brought a sausage to the party? Who is missing at that table? Oh yeah! Women!

      I didn’t coin the term sausage fest. I first heard it on an episode of The Big Bang Theory to describe a party of all male geeks, none of whom could find a date. Jon Stewart used the term on The Daily Show to describe this particular meeting in congress.

      http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-february-13-2012/the-vagina-ideologues—sean-hannity-s-holy-sausage-fest

      On another episode, he had Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood on the show and described the participants in this congressional hearing as Penised Americans.

      http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-march-7-2012/cecile-richards

      Well, as a Penised American myself, I strongly support the requirement that women’s health care be covered. In fact, I would point out that my own vasectomy was covered by insurance. So, by the Rush Limbaugh standard, I am a gigolo.

      As for your clear delineation between old and new testament, Jesus did reiterate that God hates fags, yet another reason God is not worthy of worship. And, perhaps you didn’t notice but, this quote about slaves obeying masters is from the new testament, not the old.

  6. YKW,

    You said:

    Doing nothing causes nothing to happen. Doing something, where the something is the smug deliberate effort to offend just to garner attention while making points no one listens to, makes things appreciably worse.

    I think this is the source of our disagreement. I reject your statement right from the first sentence.

    Here’s an analogy, flawed of course as all analogies are:

    We take no action regarding climate change. Taking no action allows people to continue to build coal fired power plants, tap the oil reserves in the tar sands and oil shale, at take all the frackin’ gas they can find.

    And, in that example, doing nothing causes catastrophic warming, and likely an extinction the likes of which this planet has not seen since the Permian/Triassic.

    That case is a lot more obvious than this, despite what Heartland would have you believe. But, in this case, we should look at the laws being enacted in Arizona that would allow any employer to fire an employee for using birth control (passed in the Arizona house already) and the law being enacted in Utah (only the governor’s signature is still missing) that would disallow all sex education except abstinence only, and that aforementioned sausage fest on birth control to see that doing nothing is allowing a whole bunch of truly egregious things to happen that will further destroy this once-great, secular, country.

    So, if you claim that doing nothing causes nothing, I think you are either lying to yourself or at the very least severely misguided.

    Pay attention to what is going on around you. This shit cannot be allowed to stand.

    And, remember, we’re not trying to convince anyone to “convert” to atheism. We’re just demanding respect. This is the same as punching the bully in the nose. As for those who you believe are getting dumped on, they are not innocent bystanders. They are not our supporters. They are people standing idly by as our rights are being stolen.

    We already agree on where we are. We already agree on where we want to go. We just don’t agree on the road. In fact, you have not yet even gotten outside of your front door. In my opinion, inaction is an action. We are beset by bullies. You are handing over everything you have in your wallet, one right at a time.

    • You Know Who says:

      Fine, I will rephrase my first statement to be a little more accurate:

      “Doing nothing causes nothing to happen–more precisely, it means that things will follow the course they were following before your observation of those things. Doing something, where the something is the smug deliberate effort to offend just to garner attention while making points no one listens to, makes things appreciably worse–indeed (and this is the key that is clearly true from the evidence), WORSE THAN THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN IF NOTHING HAD BEEN DONE.

      So, disagree all you want. You’re entitled. It’s your opinion – like a dominionist’s opinion that God said America was founded on his righteous holy law which must be obeyed by all. Great, enjoy it. The fact is (and we know it is a fact by observation of the reactions of PEOPLE – you know, human beings, those pesky things whose annoying presence interferes with the use of logic in a predictive fashion) that these particular atheists make things worse by pretending that they are trying to “do good” by inciting people to hate atheists MORE (which, through causality, and by definition, MAKES THINGS WORSE).

      Interesting that there was no response to my more accurate analogizing of atheists’ actions not to “standing up to the bully” but rather to “pissing off the whole class just to get back at the bully and alienating a much larger group of people who weren’t bullies and weren’t even necessarily sympathetic with the bully – but who now are”. Still waiting on that. Since that more accurately describes the end results of what these billboards and ads achieve, are you happy with that kind of end result? Does it please you that that is the net product of these efforts? Or would you prefer to see something quite the opposite of that? Or… don’t you care?

      • I did respond. It’s in the second half of my penultimate paragraph.

        As for your assertion about doing harm and making things worse, by what measure?

        So, people are pissed off. I’m pissed off. Big deal.

        The question is whether atheists get more respect or less after pissing people off. I maintain that we do not know the answer to that. I also maintain that we get less respect when we do nothing. I maintain that we will get less respect overall by continuing to be bullied and taking no action. I maintain that even if it’s hatred and grudging respect that we get in the end.

        No one respects a perpetual victim.

        When a woman is abused by her husband, everyone feels sorry for her and wants to help. It gets hard to maintain those feelings when she willingly goes home … again and again and again. It’s easy to maintain good feelings for her when she clubs him over the head with the bat. This shows self-respect. The thinking among us will try to do our best by her no matter what her response is.

        But, most of us won’t think that far.

        Those who show self-respect get more respect than those who repeatedly let themselves get trampled. You are letting yourself get trampled.

        Pick up a bat.

  7. You Know Who says:

    No, you didn’t respond at all. (At least, not in any way that made any sense.)

    You kept going back to claiming that what you’re talking about represents “standing up to the bully”. But it doesn’t represent that at all. The bully is unfazed and now has more “reason” to pick on you in the scenario you depict – and he has the whole senior class on his side egging him on. AND YOU DON’T GIVE A SHIT, because in your own mind you have “stood up” to him and can walk home proud that you are not a victim. While your underwear is suspended from your ears. Victory!!!!

    It’s like some bad John Hughes movie where John Cusack gets the shit kicked out of him but at least he “showed them” by skiing down the mountain tied to his wheelchair. (He can’t even raise his arms to hold the boombox over his head and play that Peter Gabriel song because all the students on the class ski trip were more than happy to HELP the bully break both of those arms after Cusack dumped the raw sewage on everyone getting everyone filthy and melting the snow, ruining the ski trip. Are you getting any of this?)

    So I’d like you to respond to the far more accurate analogy I offered up, in which:

    * atheists (represented by John Cusack, or more likely John Cryer)…
    * are picked on by the bullying of defaultist dominionist religious believers (represented by any of the blonde black belts from the OTHER martial arts school in the original Karate Kid)…
    * and respond by putting up billboards and placing ads that any logical person (i.e. not Jon Cryer… and clearly not the atheists either) would realize is going to offend and upset a large number of non-bully bystanders…
    * leading to totally avoidable collateral damage from other people (in an almost purposeful self-fulfilling way) being convinced by Jon Cryer’s (I mean the atheists’) actions to collaborate in despising him and helping the bully beat him up (making laws that require affirmation of God worship for all citizens while the Supreme Court looks the other way)…
    * while Cryer “explains” his “true” intentions by telling people how stupid they were in failing to understand him, imagining that this will win them to his side…
    * and of course at the end of this joyful movie, storyline courtesy of American Atheists and friends, John Cusack doesn’t get the girl (Molly Ringwald–or the freedom to choose not to associate with any religion at all, if you prefer)…
    * and neither do we.

    The end.

    See, I even chose pop culture references from an era you can relate to, Scott (i.e., 25 years ago, not the present). This should be easy. Respond to THIS analogy. Show why you think reality differs from the scenario I depict and its consequences, a scenario in which the smug self-serving actions of groups like American Atheists make THEM feel quite good about how they “stood up” to the bullying of right-wing religious demagoguery, but in which those actions only alienate bystanders who are potential allies and actually convince them to stand against acceptance of non-believers. That IS what happens. That IS what has happened. That IS what continues to happen whenever these clowns open their mouths or take out their virtual paintbrushes to draw up an ad or a billboard. Respond to that. Either say:

    1. “yes, I want to see this happen, because I believe it is good” (and explain why), or…
    2. “yes, I want to see this happen, because I just don’t care and am only interested in proving to myself that I stood up to the religious bullies and don’t care about any side effects I in my logical wisdom didn’t think about”, or…
    3. “no, I don’t want to see this happen, but I don’t believe it will happen (even though it has and continues to) because [YOUR EXPLANATION OF THIS HERE]”, or…
    4. “no, I don’t want to see this happen, so I guess you’re right, maybe we should consider how we are perceived by others as an important thing (for a change), and do something else”

    If you believe there is another possibility besides these, please provide that.

    Or say you’re not going to respond because you don’t feel like it or because you think I’m pompous.

    Whatever works.

    (PS – Your further analogizing of atheists to a woman in an abusive relationship is even more absurd. No one imagines that atheists as a group (or individually) are weak cowering victims who just need to show the world that they’re “tough” and have self-respect by taking violent action. If anything, atheists are perceived as being too smug, too cocky, too arrogant. I have no clue from where you manage to derive this notion of atheists as ‘victims who just need to fight back because they’re perceived as weak”. But it has no correlation to reality.)

    • No, you didn’t respond at all. (At least, not in any way that made any sense.)

      Yes. I did. The fact that you didn’t like my reply does not change that fact. Take issue with the reply. Don’t try to claim there wasn’t one just ’cause you don’t like it.

      Here it is again, loudly and clearly so that you will at least understand it. Then you can disagree.

      There are no innocent bystanders.

      The bully has had the whole senior class and the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, egging him on for a decade before these signs were posted. And more and more of them are joining in the punching and kicking as well. There are no innocent bystanders anymore. Any innocent bystander called the police ten years ago and only heard laughter from the other end.

      This is now a very public issue. The attack on our government by the religiose is making national news. People are voting for the candidates that are attacking our secular society. If we’re not careful, we will soon be saying President Frothy, if not in 2013, perhaps as early as 2017.

      Despite the obvious Repugnican attempt to turn this country into a Christan Iran, people are still voting Republican. These are not innocent bystanders; they are the bullies.

      What’s worse is that the Democraps are only slightly better these days. At least they’re still significantly better on social issues.

      I won’t respond in any of the ways you want because I reject your premise and your analogies.

      BTW, never having been all that into pop culture even prior to 1988, I must say I missed a lot of the references in your list too. I never saw Karate Kid and can’t name a single John Cusack movie, though I’ve likely seen one or two. I did like Molly Ringworm though. She was good. Whatever happened to her?

      Seriously though, we both agree that where we are is bad. But, we both see the badness quite differently. IMNSHO, the bullies are now far too numerous to pick off as a sniper. It’s more like the submachine gun scene in True Lies where firing an uzi in each hand starts to look like a good idea and hell, even a submachine gun bouncing down the stairs and intermittently firing is likely to hit your opponents.

  8. You Know Who says:

    Let’s compare the true things and the false things actually present in the Catholic response to the ad Scott mentions:

    “Not a single Catholic who reads this ad will be impelled to leave the Church.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s quite true. Anyone with half a brain who has thought through the issues and reached their own conclusions about the evils of religion in general and the Catholic Church in particular is fully aware of every single thing mentioned in the ad. If they haven’t left the church, it’s because they value the social aspects of its existence, whatever charitable efforts of the church they participate in, and whatever beauty they take away from the rituals as psychodrama. Repeating the laundry list to them will not change that for any of them, but it will succeed in angering them about how arrogant and condescending atheists are. Similarly, not one person is going to read the article and say “hmmm, you know, I hadn’t realized that, maybe I should leave… I’ll go talk to my priest about it after Mass tomorrow.”

    Of course, this leads one to ask why the atheists placed this ad, assuming they realized the obvious outcome (as described above) that would result. Did they not, in their logical brightness, realize that no one would be swayed in any way other than the negative by this ad? Are they really that stupid? Or do they simply not care – was the purpose in placing this ad not a positive goal of convincing anyone of anything but rather a selfish self-serving self-aggrandizing goal of being proud that they DARED to say these things out loud, in public?

    “That is not the issue (Catholicism, unlike many other religions, is actually growing in the U.S., and worldwide).”

    In part, this is because atheism offers nothing to the people who are supposedly the targets of ads like this in terms of community, support, or charity. Even people drawn to atheism intellectually seem to go back to church (or synagogue or mosque) because of the comfort it brings them. Atheism doesn’t give a shit about offering such comfort to such people. And they wonder why Voltaire’s prediction about the demise of religion is happening… in reverse.

    “The issue is the increase in hate speech directed at Catholics.”

    Of course, we consider this laughable. For the most part, religionists whine about being discriminated against when what they really mean is “we’re not given the respect we’re historically used to getting anymore”, “we’re not being treated as the natural default all people have to accept as the way people should be, or be considered outcasts”. Whine whine whine, bitch bitch bitch. It’s like conservatives complaining that people denounce the behavior of people like Rush Limbaugh and Andrew Breitbart for saying nasty things about people and spouting horrible lies, and then claiming it’s an example of an anti-conservative bias. Yawn.

    “Nothing will stop Catholics from demanding that the Obama administration respect their First Amendment rights, this vile assault notwithstanding”

    So, in a world where religions engage in this kind of petulant whining, about how their freedom of religion is being stepped on when all that is really happening is that they are being prevented from forcing their religion on others (which is the “freedom of religion” that they WANT to have)… and where this gives us an opportunity to justifiably note how there is no discrimination or hate speech against them… why are you offering them ammunition in the form of something they CAN actually call hate speech and an effort to discriminate against them????????

    Gotta ask that question…

    • Regarding the “fact” of this reply, please remember that my statement was that the author did not contradict a single statement in FFRF’s ad. I still stand by that statement. You yourself have not found a single refutation of any fact in the FFRF ad to which this was a response.

      But, let’s take your statements one at a time anyway.

      ‘“Not a single Catholic who reads this ad will be impelled to leave the Church.”

      I’m pretty sure that’s quite true.’

      Really? No research necessary? You may be right. But, it’s still total speculation. I think atheists in the pew might leave the church. I think liberal thinkers in the church might be tempted to find another Christian church to attend. Perhaps they will think about it now that FFRF has pointed out to them that the Catholic Church (like AAA) is a lobbying organization.

      I mean possibly none will leave. But, who knows? Why speculate?

      “That is not the issue (Catholicism, unlike many other religions, is actually growing in the U.S., and worldwide).”

      You accept this as fact without question. Why?

      Further, even if true, is it because of any of the following?

      A) Immigration from largely Catholic countries in Latin America?
      B) Out-breeding the competition (other than ultra-orthodox Jews)?
      C) General increase in population overall leading to higher numbers of everyone?
      D) Nominal Catholics who never actually attend any church?
      E) Actual conversions to Catholicism?

      Clearly the implication is E. But, the reality is likely A, B, C , and D, with very little increase coming from E. It’s even likely that more are leaving than are converting into the religion.

      “The issue is the increase in hate speech directed at Catholics.”

      We agree on this. It ain’t hate speech. Hate speech sounds like incitements to violence; it never starts with please.

      “Nothing will stop Catholics from demanding that the Obama administration respect their First Amendment rights, this vile assault notwithstanding”

      If you take that statement at face value combined with your own interpretation of it, “that they are being prevented from forcing their religion on others”, then neither your type of statements nor mine will have any effect at all. So, why not choose something cathartic?

      why are you offering them ammunition in the form of something they CAN actually call hate speech and an effort to discriminate against them????????

      What exactly did I or FFRF or American Atheists say that could be considered anti-Catholic or anti-Christian hate speech? I’d love to know. You said it. Be specific. What?

      • You Know Who says:

        >>‘Not a single Catholic who reads this ad will be impelled to leave the Church.’

        >I’m pretty sure that’s quite true.

        “Really? No research necessary?”

        Using a simple knowledge of the basics of human nature, yeah. Conveniently, you left out my reasoning as to why this was so. That’s never a good sign…

        “You may be right.”

        And yet, you’re arguing about it.

        “I think atheists in the pew might leave the church. I think liberal thinkers in the church might be tempted to find another Christian church to attend.”

        And I cited clear reasons why it’s a good idea that they stay where they are. But you ignored that, too.

        “I mean possibly none will leave. But, who knows? Why speculate?”

        Um, you’re speculating that your billboard would do the things you imagine it would do. Why should you be the only one to get to speculate?

        “That is not the issue (Catholicism, unlike many other religions, is actually growing in the U.S., and worldwide).”

        “You accept this as fact without question. Why?”

        Because I don’t really care. They can cite their imaginary figures the same way you can cite your imaginary beliefs about the “intent” of your billboards. Who cares? However, historically we note that periods of decline in association with religion is followed by an upswing. Voltaire is always wrong, his prediction always cockier than it ought to have been. So I consider it totally reasonable if this is the case.

        “Further, even if true, is it because of any of the following?”

        Clearly you weren’t listening yet again – who cares?

        F) Backlash from societal secularization leading to alienated people rushing back to their churches.

        So?

        “We agree on this. It ain’t hate speech. Hate speech sounds like incitements to violence; it never starts with please.”

        Right. “Hey, all you homos, please stop openly living your gay lifestyles.” Right, the presence of the word “please” makes a difference.

        “>why are you offering them ammunition in the form of something they CAN actually call hate speech and an effort to discriminate against them????????”

        “What exactly did I or FFRF or American Atheists say that could be considered anti-Catholic or anti-Christian hate speech? I’d love to know. You said it. Be specific. What?”

        You’re right. Simiarly, a billboard that said “Please, all you Jews, you know you killed our Lord, but we forgive you, come join us.” – that wouldn’t be hateful either.

        Do I really have to put the blinking sarcasm light on for this?

        Read my lips, Scott. You seem to be claiming that THE way your billboards framed their messages represents not just the best way, not just the right way, but the ONLY way to frame that message – and the suggestion that there might be a better way that is worded so as NOT to give the targets ammunition to say “see, we’re not just being looney, they really ARE saying hateful discriminatory hostile things!”… is not just ignored, not just dismissed, IT IS NOT EVEN ACKNOWLEDGED THAT SUCH A POSSIBILITY EXISTS. I offered an alternative, BUT YOU WON’T EVEN ADDRESS IT, YOU PRETEND NO ALTERNATIVE EXISTS, that it’s either your message and wording or nothing. And that’s a lie. So please stop lying. Thank you.

      • I also cited a clear reason why the atheist in the pew is a bad idea. You chose to ignore the point that when someone is a member of a church, the church counts that person as an actively religious person, especially if they actually show up on Sunday.

        So, the Catholic Church Lobbying Organization says, I speak for N million U.S. Catholic citizens who oppose abortion and oppose all health care for women.

        And, when they speak, people listen because, hey, they speak for N,000,000 Catholics in the U.S.

        So, just being a member of the Catholic Lobby gives credence to the sausage-fest’s war on women.

      • You Know Who says:

        No it doesn’t.

        The numbers are made up regardless. Even if numbers did go down, they will cite surveys and inflate the numbers. Just like every other group does. So with that in mind there is still good reason to consider the fifth column of reasonable people voicing dissent inside an unreasonable group to be a very very good thing.

      • No. The numbers come from Pew surveys and the like. People respond that they are Catholic so they are. People say that they attend church, so we assume they do. I’m suggesting that they should leave the Catholic Lobbying Organization and join a church if they feel the need to pray. That is, unless of course, they just can’t get enough of 2,000 year aged long pork.

  9. You Know Who says:

    Perhaps this is the explanation for the apparent cluelessness leading to arrogant distasteful billboards and ads that only serve to offend people:

    1. Atheists have no friends… except for other atheists… who are all anti-social dweebs who can’t really stand each other’s company.

    2. In order to get other friends they might actually like, they have to look elsewhere, outside the atheist community – which therefore means amongst the religious.

    3. Lacking the social skills necessary in the real world to make friends, they imagine that religious people can be convinced to be their friends by showing them how dumb they are. By bedazzling them with facts and logic that show how everything they have ever believed is wrong, they imagine this will get them to leave their silly churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples and become their BFF’s.

    4. When instead the targets of this campaign become upset and offended, the atheists get to call them stupid. They are then left with only other atheists as friends, confirming in a hopelessly self-fulfilling way their view of humanity.

    Am I close?

    (If you don’t realize this is a joke, then you really shouldn’t be trying to craft publicly displayed messages to others intended to convince them of anything.)

    • It would have been funnier if you had not used the stereotypes of geeks as the models for your atheists. As it is, it just doesn’t fit. — Sheldon.

      • You Know Who says:

        Since you have no sense of humor about this, I don’t think you are a viable judge of how funny something is here. Sadly, though, I’m beginning to think using those stereotypes is dead on and much too close for comfort. It’s apparent from the choices made by the crafters of the billboards and ads and the organizations that support them that these are people severely lacking in social skills, who lack sufficient empathy and sensitivity to relate to how a human being different from them would react to the message they conveyed in the form it was conveyed. Their saying things like “their complaint was JUST that the image was racist, even though *I* didn’t think it was racist?” Their lack of capacity to put themselves in other human beings’ shoes. The list goes on.

        So maybe you’re right – it’s not funny at all. It’s just sad. Because it’s true.

  10. You Know Who says:

    “When do we accept that moderate religious folks who say nothing while their radical nutjob counterparts legislate away our freedoms are every bit as much a part of the problem as the nutjobs they refuse to denounce?”

    Right now, as we always have.

    So, having accepted that, we focus on the task before us: convincing those moderate religious folk to be vocally “on our side”.

    And how do we accomplish that?

    By showing how tough we are fighting back at the religious nutjobs (some of whom are probably their family members and friends) with no care for whatever collateral damage our tough stance causes amongst the people we are trying to convince? We know that doesn’t work, except to satisfy the anger of atheists who just like being angry.

    Or, based on your words, can we say that you’ve written those people and don’t give a shit about them?

    Obviously, that would be a mistake. Here you have people in the belly of the beast who can convey moderation to the nutjobs (which I believe they often already do – though not quickly enough and intensely enough for you, it seems). Alienating them as you seem to advocate means no moderate voice amongst the congregation of extremists, no advocate for tempering the hostility.

    For that matter, urging them to leave their congregations and “become” atheists similarly reduces the volume of moderate voices in their midst. It’s like, you have a fifth column at your disposal, that COULD be voices of tempered reason that can speak out against lies, who can shame people who act hypocritically in attacking nonbelievers, who become just as much respected members of their communities as the loud obnoxious voices of malicious theocracy have been, and change attitudes from within.

    You’re so anxious to tell them to leave, to “become” atheists, to come out of the closet religiously speaking about not believing in God, by abandoning their communities. I ask, why? Aren’t they better resources for tolerance staying within those communities?

    • You’re mixing things up quite significantly here. Those who are the problem, in my mind, need a punch in the nose. They’re getting it. It’s not that I don’t give a shit about them.

      I don’t believe these people are in the pews helping us. I think they are in the pews granting more power to those with whom they may or may not agree.

      I’m not trying to tell them to leave and become atheists. I even suggested that instead of leaving the Catholic church and dropping all faith that they pick a more reasonable church at which to work. Didin’t you notice that in my original most up top?

      The only people I’m recommending leave all church are those who already do not believe in the religions of their churches.

      So, take issue with what I say. But, don’t make shit up. Leave my words alone. Make up your own. Don’t put words in my mouth.

      • You Know Who says:

        I didn’t make shit up. Accusing me of doing that, THAT’S making shit up.

        You don’t believe they’re helping you… Who cares whether you believe that or not? (Reality is that which… etc.) Their presence means there IS a voice of moderation. Their departure there means there is no such voice, that radical dogmatism has a monopoly. (Kind of like it is among the atheist community, apparently.) That you don’t care about this, that you don’t think their influence is strong enough or working fast enough (for you) really doesn’t matter.

        And you getting to decide who needs a punch in the nose… that makes you not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

      • “Or, based on your words, can we say that you’ve written those people and don’t give a shit about them?”

        Oh, that’s not making shit up? When did I say I don’t give a shit about any group of people on this thread? I said I wanted them punched in the nose. That’s giving a shit about them.

        So, your interpretation completely ignores my statements and makes up words describing your belief about what I think. You’re flat dead wrong.

        Stop it.

      • You Know Who says:

        Nope. My words were dead on absolutely accurate.

        Saying that no one qualifies as an “innocent bystander” (“there are no innocent bystanders” is code for “its ok if these people get harmed as a result of our violence”) and declaring that collateral damage that affects them isn’t important as long as you believe you’ve “hit” your target? Deciding for them what they should and shouldn’t be offended by and whether you think a punch in the nose is good for them? (I’m very sure you accept the notion that someone else has the right to decide for you that YOU deserve a punch in the nose.)

        The consequence of your own words is that you have chosen unilaterally to write these people off, and that when it comes to collateral damage that might harm them and when it comes to their right not to be punched in the nose by you based on your opinion of what they potentially MIGHT be, you have made a decision on their behalf against their own interests. You don’t give a ahit about them. You SAY you do; that’s very nice.

        Own your words and accept the consequences arising from them. Or retract them. But stop complaining when someone calls you on the consequences of what you’ve said, by whining that they’ve “made shit up”.

      • Again. I’m not saying I don’t care what happens to them. I want to actively punch them in the nose, figuratively speaking. So, stop putting fucking words in my mouth that don’t express how I feel.

        For a better result, perhaps I should try a figurative boot to the head.

        [audio src="http://www.webguys.com/pdavis/karate/audio/16_Ti_Kwan_Leep_32kbs.mp3" /]

  11. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    You know, things are done for more than one reason, and have more than one effect, and people aren’t monolithic.

    As an anti-theist, I was heartened to see that billboard. Maybe the billboard isn’t 100% about dissuading the religious even if that was the only intent of everyone who got it posted? Maybe its about simply informing those who are and will remain convinced that at least there is an opposing view?

    If you were surrounded by the enemy with no hope of living to the end of the day, would you just give up, or fight to the end? Would you scribble on the wall: “I was here!” or would you let the horde roll over you without murmur?

    Lots of reasons, lots of effects to everything that is done. Not everything is a sausage fest.

  12. buckeyenonbeliever says:

    In my opinion, this billboard was aimed at those ‘moderate religionists’ which you speak. The truth is often times disturbing and unsettling. To visually depict this revolting divine command, is to poke or call out to the moderate, more logical minded religionist that which they actually support to show the true evilness eminating from their scipture.

    The goal in my opinion, should be to expose the wickedness so as to leave no room for excuse apologetics for these moderates. The fundamentalist will always use mental gymnastics, semantics and heurmanetics to explain away the truth, but the moderate should find it so repulsive that they have no choice but to repudiate. Failure to do so is inexcusable.

    You say this billboard dumped on the entire class and not just the bully. I believe those who allowed the shit to hit them were bully’s in waiting and their silent true beliefs, were to blame for the splatter hitting them.

    I find the billboard as equally offensive as most religionists. However, my reason is much different than theirs. I find it offensive that an almighty, all loving, all merciful deity could ever allow or command such a heinous thing. And I am offended that any human could accept, or at the very least excuse away this evilness.

    We will have to agree to disagree.

  13. You Know Who says:

    “You know, things are done for more than one reason, and have more than one effect, and people aren’t monolithic.”

    So? I agree, but I have no idea what relevance that has.

    “Maybe the billboard isn’t 100% about dissuading the religious even if that was the only intent of everyone who got it posted? Maybe its about simply informing those who are and will remain convinced that at least there is an opposing view?”

    To simply inform people of the existence of your opposing view, one needs to speak in a manner guaranteed to do the opposite of gaining sympathy for those with that opposing view? Really?

    “If you were surrounded by the enemy with no hope of living to the end of the day, would you just give up, or fight to the end? Would you scribble on the wall: “I was here!” or would you let the horde roll over you without murmur?”

    Very dramatic speech. Again, I’m not sure what that has to do with people not in anything resembling that situation putting up billboards deliberately crafted and worded so as to antagonize.

  14. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    You KNow Who–we aren’t on the same wave length, so I’ll rephrase using different words.

    Isn’t your point that the billboard is “aimed at the religious.” I posted that I gained a positive message from it regardless of who it was supposedly aimed at. The billboard is in a public place==aimed at the public, aimed at EVERYBODY. Each body to take its own meaning?

    While typing that, it occurred to me your complaint is a common one leveled at all activist groups? PETA would gain more converts if they didn’t pour blood, real or fake, on people wearing fur? If they didn’t show the pictures of the cute baby seals getting clubbed?

    Obviously, one kind of message will get one kind of person while a different message will get a different kind? Seems like every movement to be successful needs to issue very many different messages letting the PUBLIC choose which ones have meaning for them?

    No message converts the nonconvertibles/hardcore. Who cares if the hardcore are insulted? What about those on the cusp? What of those open to the idea that maybe the religion is not so perfect and humane?

    Images are very powerful aren’t they? Slavery. The word. Has an impact. I’m not insulted by the word. That image though……….makes me stop and think.

    • I really wish you hadn’t picked PETA for your example.

      • You Know Who says:

        Doesn’t matter, because the argument is completely abstract regarding any effort to persuade people about anything, whether you like the subject matter or not. Again, some people care about how their message is perceived and consider whether the net result is gaining or losing allies. Others don’t care. Mostly because they’re in the game for their own personal satisfaction and not to achieve the supposed goal behind the protest. Historically, we see that the ones who have succeeded are the ones who did care, who took care to frame their message so that they did gain allies for their cause. It’s really not that difficult… unless you’re just so arrogant that you believe your way of framing the message is the only way.

  15. You Know Who says:

    buckeyenonbeliever: I fully agree with the idea of what the AIM of the billboards was. My point is that these groups posting these ads and billboards just aren’t very good shots. They are less like sharpshooters and more like wild-eyed inexperienced novices who lack the ability to shoot straight.

    I also agree that it should be a goal to expose the wickedness inherent in dogmatic religion. Giving moderate parishioners the tools the shame arrogant demagogues and bring about change in others is far superior to lumping them in with the demagogues and alienating them. That really isn’t just an “opinion”, it’s clearly more likely to bring about positive change than the alternative. When you declare that “those who allowed the shit to hit them were bully’s in waiting” (allowed? really?) you abdicate to the notion that there is no hope that people can be convinced to be tolerant and that we should give up on anyone who still belongs to a religion a priori. I can’t believe that, and historically I would imagine that groups seeking rights and acceptance in the past would have failed miserably had they followed that line of thinking.

    • “I also agree that it should be a goal to expose the wickedness inherent in dogmatic religion.”

      Really??!!? What better way than with direct quotes from the bible?

      You say you have better aim. Please give us some of your examples of these wonderful messages that point out the wickedness of religion without offending the religious. I’m dying to see them.

      You also claim that these messages do harm. I think that’s a statement that could really use something backing it up. Do you have anything that shows that the pissed off people respect atheists less after reading such messages? Sure, we know they’re pissed. But, do they have any less respect?

      • You Know Who says:

        “>I also agree that it should be a goal to expose the wickedness inherent in dogmatic religion.”

        “Really??!!? What better way than with direct quotes from the bible?”

        Certainly using direct Bible quotes is an excellent vehicle for such demonstration. But you seem to be asserting that as long as your presentation includes a Bible quote, it’s good. I pointed out precisely WHY the presentation on the billboard was problematic – it used a racist image reminiscent of a 19th century Currier & Ives racial stereotype, it obscures its message in pretentious references to “Bronze Age Ethics” rather than coming out and saying what the supposed message was. I offered a concrete example of how the billboard could have used less crude imagery and clearer wording to convey the message in a way far less likely to overtly offend:

        “The Bible says slaves should obey their masters. (Look it up: Colossians 3:22.) Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.”

        And you know what? You haven’t once referenced that example or contrasted it to your own. In fact, you ignored it completely, pretending that YOUR way of framing the message was not just the BEST way (which it clearly isn’t), but the ONLY way.

        So here’s how it works, Scott. You get to choose one of these three options, saying:

        a) “Yes, I see what you mean, the wording on the billboard is much more obscure than it needed to be, and the image was obviously chosen to be unnecessarily provocative. Your wording and imagery would not have provoked the same kind of hostile reaction”, or
        b) “No, you’re totally wrong. I don’t see how your message is an improvement over the one on the billboard. So what if it says much the thing without going out of its way to be deliberately offensive? I like being deliberately offensive!”

        Choose one. But you don’t get to get away with simply pretending that the content of the billboard is the ONLY way the message could have been conveyed, or that it was the BEST way, and that there aren’t clearly BETTER ways that you have some aversion to acknowledging.

        “You say you have better aim.”

        No, I didn’t say that. I said that American Atheists and organizations like them just have really really bad aim. They either lack the social skills to understand how deliberately offensive the attitude conveyed in their messages is, or they don’t care, and actually WANT the messages to be deliberately offensive.

        “Please give us some of your examples of these wonderful messages that point out the wickedness of religion without offending the religious.”

        I did. AND YOU CHOSE TO IGNORE MY EXAMPLE AND PRETEND IT WAS NEVER OFFERED UP. I demonstrated that there are clearly better ways to convey the message:

        “The Bible says slaves should obey their masters. (Look it up: Colossians 3:22.) Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.”

        And you pretended I didn’t. What kind of an argument is this if you pretend that the only way to demonstrate how heinous the Bible’s morality is is YOUR way? That’s the way you’re framing this, and it’s specious and heinous in its own way.

        “I’m dying to see them.”

        No, Scott, you’re not. Stop being so overly dramatic.

        “You also claim that these messages do harm. I think that’s a statement that could really use something backing it up.”

        Really? YOU posted the video in which we see plainly the hostile reaction these messages generated, and you deny the obvious unavoidable conclusion that they cause harm? Isn’t that just a little bit ridiculous?

        “Do you have anything that shows that the pissed off people respect atheists less after reading such messages?”

        Aside from the video, no.

    • buckeyenonbeliever says:

      @You know who

      My response is a question actually. Have you ever been called out on your shit? It may may have been from a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, parent, friend or even a boss?

      If you have experienced this, I think you will find the initial reaction by the one being called out is shock, hurt, betrayal and outright defensive mechanisms.

      But once that initial pissed off feeling subsides, the eventual rational reaction is to truly think about the charges levied against oneself. Now, one may choose to accept or reject those charges, but the important thing to remember is that it caused you to evaluate oneself and determine if there is any merit to those claims.

      Now, what is the reason for the billboard? Was it not on some level to get people to think about their religion and their beliefs? I think the rational answer is yes. We may not know the the real affect and significance this billboard had on some people for quite some time. Whether the religionist accepts or rejects the message is irrelevant; the real concern is did it cause people to think? I believe it has. Again, we may not know the true affect for some time, but conversations eminated from the campaign, and that is significant.

      Finally, we may not as atheists always agree on tactics and strategy; but I believe we agree that we must never shy away from having the difficult conversations or asking the uncomfortable questions. Anything less would be unworthy of our efforts and undeserving of our respect.

      • You Know Who says:

        What I’ve discovered is that the way the accusation/calling out is framed makes all the difference in the world.

        Are you saying that is not your experience?

        If so, I would have to assume that you don’t have all that much experience on either side of the “calling out” from girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, whatever…

  16. You Know Who says:

    “You KNow Who–we aren’t on the same wave length, so I’ll rephrase using different words.”

    OK…

    “Isn’t your point that the billboard is aimed at the religious.”

    No. I think a billboard AIMED at the religious is not necessarily a bad thing. I think the people who created this billboard in particular need a lot better aim than they actually have. And they need to use better more selectively targeted ammunition.

    “I posted that I gained a positive message from it regardless of who it was supposedly aimed at.”

    But you just said you’re not the target, the type of person the billboard is aimed at. Or are you? Is YOUR point that the billboard is aimed at atheists, to make them feel a sense of smug satisfaction that “wow, we have a billboard up, isn’t that cool?–plus it really pissed people off, didn’t it?” Is that the new assertion about who the billboard was really aimed at?

    “The billboard is in a public place==aimed at the public, aimed at EVERYBODY. Each body to take its own meaning?”

    Indeed, and if the purveyors of this billboard are simply too clueless to recognize that their billboard no better than a racist Currier & Ives print or a black lawn jockey on someone’s lawn, guaranteed to provoke offense in the black community and win ZERO friends or allies (but probably gain a huge number of enemies), then clearly the purveyors of this billboards are sociopolitical dimwits who should not take on the public voice of a movement to garner acceptance for nonbelievers.

    “While typing that, it occurred to me your complaint is a common one leveled at all activist groups? PETA would gain more converts if they didn’t pour blood, real or fake, on people wearing fur? If they didn’t show the pictures of the cute baby seals getting clubbed?”

    You’re mixing apples and oranges. Showing pictures of abuse against animals – why not? It is visually presented evidence of what is being protested against. Pouring blood on human beings and their clothing, regardless of what it’s made of – really? Some people care about how their message is perceived and consider whether the net result is gaining or losing allies. Others don’t care. Mostly because they’re in the game for their own personal satisfaction and not to achieve the supposed goal behind the protest. Bully for them.

    “No message converts the nonconvertibles/hardcore.”

    But some messages do alienate the bystanders and lead them to align more with the nonconvertibles than the reasonable people. And that is the net effect of this billboard, is it not? The goal is to get the bystanders to distance themselves FROM the nonconvertibles/hardcore. This billboard does the opposite. Therefore, by definition, it is counterproductive. The black churchmembers in the community where this billboard was posted now think atheists are a bunch of assholes and if told by their pastor that atheists are evil heathens who don’t deserve respect, they will shout “Amen!” Wow, just redefine success to mean failure, and you’ve achieved your goal, no? Whoop de doo.

    “Who cares if the hardcore are insulted? What about those on the cusp? What of those open to the idea that maybe the religion is not so perfect and humane?”

    Right. A racist etching posted on a billboard without explanation is going to make people “open to the idea that maybe the religion is not so perfect and humane” MORE open to that idea. Please, tell me you’re joking.

    “Images are very powerful aren’t they? Slavery. The word. Has an impact. I’m not insulted by the word.”

    Wow – good for you. Are you African-American? Or a privileged white atheist who just decided that YOU’RE not insulted so other people shouldn’t be? Let’s be clear – the purveyors of this billboard chose not only the image but the unclear wording. Could they have picked an image of slaves being beaten that wasn’t out of the antebellum U.S. south? Could they have come out and said, clearly, “The Bible says slaves should obey their masters. (Look it up: Colossians 3:22.) Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.”

    BUT THESE PEOPLE DIDN’T WANT TO BE CLEAR. THEY DIDN’T WANT THEIR MESSAGE TO BE UNAMBIGUOUS. They actually preferred that it be vague and that it get (sic) “misinterpreted”. Then they could laugh at how “provocative” they were, and how stupid religious people for not getting their “obvious” message. Of course, they wouldn’t have convinced anybody that the Bible was an obscene source of hypocritical moral rubbish that has no place in defining law and morality in modern society. But then, that’s not what they wanted to see happen, was it?

    “That image though……….makes me stop and think.”

    Made me stop and think too – that groups like this should not be at the vanguard of publicizing the interests of nonbelievers because their attitudes work AGAINST those interests.

    • Holy crap YKW!!! All of this and you only now get around to noting that the only objection you have to the billboard is the particular image of a slave? It’s just that the image is racist?

      Really?

      So, let me get this straight, just what image of a slave would not be racist and offensive? Slavery is offensive! That’s the point. The bible is condoning and even advocating slavery.

      Would you prefer an image of a Jew slaving away for Pharaoh? I’d be fine with that. I bet you would too. It would be every bit as offensive as slavery and the bible indeed are. It would also be just as racist as the bible is, especially the old testament where it talks about being allowed to own slaves of “other nations”, literally goyim, a.k.a. gentiles, non-Hebrews.

      The bible is full of bigotry. The bible advocates slavery. The message on the board points that out. And, it does so in a way that will get a lot of publicity.

      • You Know Who says:

        “Holy crap YKW!!! All of this and you only now get around to noting that the only objection you have to the billboard is the particular image of a slave? It’s just that the image is racist?”

        That’s not what I said at all. Clearly you don’t bother to read what your correspondents say to you much more than Bobbo.

        I mentioned multiple times issues with the wording, the deliberate vagueness, and the rather stupid snide reference to “Bronze Age Ethics” that served no purpose in terms of communication put plenty of purpose in terms of the smug self-satisfcation of the author of those words, apparently.

        And did you say “JUST that the image is racist?” Did you really say that?

        Say it again, please, make light of that, dismiss it as something you put the word “just” in front of it. Do it again, really. Please.

        Really?

        “So, let me get this straight, just what image of a slave would not be racist and offensive?”

        ONLY black people have been slaves throughout the course of history and the only images available of slaves are of black people? Really?

        That’s what you just said – you asked what images of slaves exist that do not involve black people. Meaning you haven’t thought through the idea that not just black people were slaves and that an image of a black slave was DELIBERATELY chosen to yield a hostile reaction from black people by the moron who chose the image.

        It’s really pointless to discuss this any further because you can’t see past the end of your nose on this.

        “Would you prefer an image of a Jew slaving away for Pharaoh? I’d be fine with that. I bet you would too.”

        Damned right!!!! But… interesting, a minute ago you couldn’t even imagine any other kind of image being available. Yet now – through the miracle of… actually thinking the issue through for a second perhaps? – you found other possibilities. Demonstrating that your ridiculous assertion that the existing image and wording were the only way to frame the message is hogwash.

        Stop it. You are not being rational about what’s being discussed here in any way whatsoever. You are blindly screaming that the existing imagery and wording in the billboards and ads represents not just the best way or the right way but the only way to convey the supposedly desired message. (Why? Because you are no less a fundamentalist and blind adherent to the voices of your church than those you rail at?) And you know that is a lie. So stop it.

      • When did I ever say I couldn’t imagine another image of a slave? I said that all such recognizable images of slavery will be racist. Enslaving a group of people of another race is a racist concept. That the bible advocates doing so is the problem.

      • You Know Who says:

        “When did I ever say I couldn’t imagine another image of a slave?”

        When you said (and I quote exactly):

        “just what image of a slave would not be racist or offensive?”

        You said quite clearly that you could not imagine a racially offensive image of slavery when you asked what image of a slave could possibly NOT be like that? Again, own your words, accept their consequences, or disown them.

        “I said that all such recognizable images of slavery will be racist.”

        No, you didn’t say that. You’re saying that NOW.

        And still, it’s wrong. YOU constrained the talk if slavery to refer to enslaving those of another race, but there is no such constraint inherent in the words quoted limiting the range of available imagery to black people or even to “people of another race”. (Jews were slaves to other Jews in the Bible, you know.) Meaning that black people were a deliberate chosen target of the message.

        Again, own it, or disown it. But pretending that elephant isn’t in the room doesn’t cut it.

      • I stand by my statement. A recognizable image of slavery is likely to be racist. Non-racist examples are likely to be confused with kinky sex images … a bit of Master and Servant … if you will. Though, since the purpose is to get attention, that may do the job as well. Is that your claim?

        I don’t believe the image was chosen to be racist.

        I believe the image was chosen to be shocking. I believe the biblical statement is shocking. I believe the image accurately represents the biblical quote.

        The intent, IMNSHO, is to shock people with an accurate image of the biblical quote thus turning people away from claiming the bible as the source of their morality. I think the original billboard is effective at that. Unlike you, I care only about respect, not popularity.

        If the message can be transmitted without offense, great! If not, also great! As long as the message gets across and respect is won, I don’t care whether atheists are loved. At least, not at this stage in history when atheists are trying to make the transition away from hated and disrespected.

      • You Know Who says:

        I stand by my statement.

        Of course you do. You won’t back down or knuckle under. It’s what you do.

        A recognizable image of slavery is likely to be racist.

        Since we’ve already discussed possibilities that are not, I will ignore the previous statement and pretend you didn’t say it.

        Non-racist examples are likely to be confused with kinky sex images … a bit of Master and Servant … if you will. Though, since the purpose is to get attention, that may do the job as well. Is that your claim?

        No. Of course not. But pretend that it is because you don’t want to distinguish between slavery and racism.

        I don’t believe the image was chosen to be racist.

        That’s fantastic!

        The intent, IMNSHO, is to shock people with an accurate image of the biblical quote thus turning people away from claiming the bible as the source of their morality.

        Yes, it makes total logical sense that this would work.

        1. Show a racist image intended to be about slavery in general but guaranteed to horrify those who see it.

        2. People react in horror at the crass insensitivity of the image and don’t even bother to read the fine print about religion – though they will be sure to ask “who put this offensive shit up?” and notice the credit at the bottom.

        3. The next step is logically going to be… “Hmm, I see their point, I no longer want to be a part of a religion that advocates slavery. I respect those atheists who put up this billboard.”

        Yeah, that’s the ticket.

        Anyone who believes that this is a likely scenario, that it’s reasonable that this would be the expected reaction to the billboard, is undeniably stupid. Stupid stupid stupid. There is no other adjective that’s appropriate. It is a willful choice to believe something that ridiculous, that contradictory to reality, that devoid of understanding of human nature, and that can only be classified as stupid.

        Do you believe that this is the likely flow of events, Scott?

        I think the original billboard is effective at that. Unlike you, I care only about respect, not popularity.

        I’ve finally figured out what you mean by “respect”, Scott. You’ve said repeated that religious people are ALL bullies (even the ones who aren’t – because “there are no innocent bystanders!”) who kick you in the balls whenever they want, and “respect” means doing something to show them you’re not going to take it all lying down, you’ll put up a billboard and piss them off, that will show them you’re not a wimp, a pussy, someone they can push around. You’ll have their “respect”. This is clearly what you mean when you talk about “having their respect”.

        You clearly think that is a worthwhile goal, a noble goal, the primary goal. I think such a goal is stupid, hormonally-impelled idiocy. But obviously you don’t. So have at it. Consider that the primary purpose behind the billboard. You clearly do. That’s clearly what you mean by “respect”. I just think it’s silly.

        If the message can be transmitted without offense, great! If not, also great!

        No, you’ve said that you would actually PREFER that it was offensive. (Because that’s more shocking and is more likely to get it on the news.) Please don’t lie, Scott. You’ll lose my… respect. By which I mean…

        As long as the message gets across and respect is won, I don’t care whether atheists are loved. At least, not at this stage in history when atheists are trying to make the transition away from hated and disrespected.

        Yeah, you’ll show THEM! They won’t beat you up and give you wedgies and treat you like a “pansy”. They’ll know you mean business. They’ll “respect” you. (They will of course continue to consider atheists to be arrogant evil people… but with respect.)

        I can readily believe this is a common attitude in the organization that put up the billboard. (Assuming I fall for the lie that they are real atheists and not right-wing shills pretending to be atheists and doing outrageous things that make atheists look like idiots.)

  17. You Know Who says:

    “Here’s an analogy, flawed of course as all analogies are:

    We take no action regarding climate change. Taking no action allows people to continue to build coal fired power plants, tap the oil reserves in the tar sands and oil shale, at take all the frackin’ gas they can find.

    And, in that example, doing nothing causes catastrophic warming, and likely an extinction the likes of which this planet has not seen since the Permian/Triassic.”

    Let’s show exactly how flawed this analogy is.

    Instead of taking no action regarding climate change, we take extreme unilateral action that clamps down on hydrocarbon emissions, virtually eliminates the use of private automobiles, and raises the price of gasoline to discourage its usage. Environmental advocates cheer.

    Meanwhile, those who have depended on having their own cars are easy pickin’s for right wing demagogues who warn them (perhaps not unjustifiably) that these radicals are taking away the freedoms they’ve had for decades. The right wingers sweep into office in a landslide, repealing and reversing the actions that might have helped the situation. Instead, “drill baby drill” becomes a mantra lived out in earnest, virtually all restrictions on emissions evaporate (much like our atmosphere will), people driving Prii are sent to reeducation camps to teach them the error of their ways, the fear that the evil Nazi socialists will take away our cars again (as well as our guns, of course) is invoked in subsequent elections leading to further landslides, and poof, end of story. (“But we explained the facts? Why didn’t they listen? What’s wrong with those people?”)

    Would doing nothing have been objectively better than doing the particular set of things done in this scenario? Clearly it would have. The inevitable conclusion, the moral of the story: it really does depend WHAT things you choose to do when making a decision about whether doing nothing would be the better choice. My contention continues to be that the choice made by our billboard posting friends was an unfortunate and damaging one, and plenty of visible evidence (the clearly negative reactions of people in the communities involved) exists demonstrating that my contention is correct, while no adequate counterargument has been made demonstrating otherwise. Some people have indicated that they simply don’t care about the inevitable negative result, and that’s fine, assuming they vocally own the idea that it’s “good” that more people are being alienated and “inadvertently” (sic) propagandized to believe that atheists are insensitive arrogant assholes. One can only assume that such people see the goal of publicizing atheism and non-belief in the broader mass media is simply to satisfy themselves and not to cultivate and nurture allies among the religious communities. That’s really fantastic if that’s the way they feel. They should just come right out and say that, though.

    • And, the flaw in your re-interpretation of my analogy is that you are buying into a bit of Heartland propaganda, even if you don’t know it. A carbon tax could be revenue neutral. When people get the money back, they could then decide whether to continue to buy gasoline with it or buy a more fuel efficient car.

      http://www.carbontax.org/introduction/#no-tax-increase

      It could also be easily modified to give a bit more back to those earning less than $XX,XXX and nothing back to those earning more those earning more than $Y,YYY,YYY.

      • You Know Who says:

        No, again I present an abstract analogy in which the specific implementation details aren’t really relevant. Your Sheldonesque “no, this specific example you provided could be corrected like this…” is irrelevant and misses the point. The idea is that an extreme approach can backfire and make things worse than they were in the first place – which would mean doing nothing would have been better. The way I said it could be.

      • And, I disagreed. The approach you cite is not extreme. You just missed a key ingredient. Perhaps you have not paid enough attention to the climate change issue to look at what the solutions really are. So, that leaves you unable to make a good analogy.

      • You Know Who says:

        LOL! This is the very definition of “Sheldonesque”, isn’t it?

        1. I say: imagine an extreme set of actions so disruptive to people’s lives (whether you believe them to be necessary or not) that it’s easy for the Tea Party to come along and say “see how those librull Nazi socialists are taking away your rights!” and get a 152% majority resulting in a landslide that brings in a government that will constantly re-elect itself forever and will NEVER back off on “drill baby drill” and “pollute baby pollute” even as the planet drops dead underneath them.

        2. I say that this is a simple explicit abstract example of how doing nothing would be better than doing that particular something.

        3. You respond “no, the example you gave could be different, and the approach you cited was not really extreme ENOUGH. Therefore the analogy is incorrect.”

        4. Well, I haven’t chosen what words I would use to respond to that, in part because… I can’t think of any that wouldn’t be ruthlessly disparaging to your ability to appreciate and relate to analogies. But you get the idea.

      • Let’s give up on this analogy. I’m sorry I made it. You do not pay enough attention to the issue to know the solution or that it would help rather than harm those you think it will. I’ll concede that I’m being Sheldonesque while acknowledging your insufficient information on the subject.

  18. You Know Who says:

    “> No, you didn’t respond at all. (At least, not in any way that made any sense.)”

    “Yes. I did. The fact that you didn’t like my reply does not change that fact.”

    Had nothing to do with liking or not liking it. Your reply made no sense because you claimed it was about “standing up to the bully” when that was not what the actions taken were really about or what they actually accomplished. Again, as I stated, if the actions were REALLY targeting just the bully, they would have been better crafted and phrased. And as I stated, what the actions actually accomplish is NOT what you say you wanted the actions to accomplish. Therefore, it made no sense.

    “Take issue with the reply. Don’t try to claim there wasn’t one just ’cause you don’t like it.”

    As I said, it had nothing to do with liking or not liking it. I *did* take issue with it. You ignored the way I took issue with it and you continue to do so. The actions you describe do not have the net effect you claim you want them to have, and what’s more it would have been relatively easy to modify the actions (the wording and imagery on the billboards) to have made them more likely to have produced the supposedly desired effect.

    I have discussed those possible modifications elsewhere in this thread, but to reiterate: using an image not evocative of 19th century racism (I love hearing white people say “I’M not offended by this, I don’t find it racist, so it’s not”), saying something on the order of “The Bible says slaves should obey their masters. (Look it up: Colossians 3:22.) Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.” … instead of the deliberately oblique language and obscure references to “Bronze Age Ethics” that are clearly INTENDED to be unclear and lead to hostile reactions. (“What do you mean? It’s clear to me! I get it! Why don’t other people?”)<– LOL!

    "Here it is again, loudly and clearly so that you will at least understand it. Then you can disagree."

    Whoa, stop right there. Here it is… "again"? No, this is a completely new rewrite of things you never said before. Please don't claim this "was" your response to what I said back when I first said it, when you are saying this now for the first time… 😦

    "There are no innocent bystanders."

    Nice assertion. One often invoked by terrorists and warmongers to legitimize collateral damage to civilians as a result of their willful violence. If you really believe this, great. I don't think you do, I think this is just posturing. But if it is what you believe, I want no part of any "movement" or action you might take part in.

    "The bully has had the whole senior class and the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, egging him on for a decade before these signs were posted."

    Really? More drama? Come on. No, this is not an accurate depiction of the situation. Over the past decades, an increasing number of people WITHIN religious groups have become MORE tolerant, not less. This is evidenced by liberalized attitudes towards gays in MOST communities. (By no means all.) Your complaint, if you have one, is not that the entire spectrum of religious believers has universally starting kicking YOU in the nuts for being a loud vocal atheist, it's that change is not happening fast enough for you, and in some areas you and I never frequent, it's going in the opposite direction. I fully agree. I want that to change. Your approach is to just demand that it change, because it should. Mine is to make sure that it does change by doing the things that led blacks and gays and other groups to gradually achieve increased acceptance. My approach advocates a proven method shown to have worked; yours just advocates a kind of blind take-no-prisoners verbal violence against everyone without concern as to what that violence actually achieves. It makes YOU happy, apparently, and just as apparently, you consider that to be "enough". I don't.

    "people are still voting Republican. These are not innocent bystanders; they are the bullies."

    No, politics is not a one-issue forum. Many people are voting Republican for totally non-social-conservatism related reasons. Your approach is a broad smear that tars everyone with the same brush, declares no one to be an innocent bystander, and takes a Ted Nugent "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" approach. (That kind of odd coming from you – the letting God sort things out, I mean.)

    "I won’t respond in any of the ways you want because I reject your premise and your analogies."

    Good. You didn't explain (not once) how many analogies are flawed, how they represent an inaccurate depiction of the situation. You just… as you said earlier, "don't like them". And I say, as you said, that your not liking them doesn't change the facts. Your approach is a spraygun shoot-em-up reaction that achieves nothing. Mine is based on an approach that has worked for other groups.

  19. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    YouKNowWho: I could I suppose parse through your response/position but after posting very clearly in CAPS that the billboard was aimed at the PUBLIC, and your continued multiple re-interpretation of who the billboard was aimed at simply puts us on more than different wave lengths, it puts us on different wave bands.

    The comparison of aggressive anti-religion with aggressive anti animal cruelty was SPOT ON. To call it apples to oranges is again to be on a different wave band.

    Respond on the wave band. or not.

    Your choice.

  20. You Know Who says:

    “YouKNowWho: I could I suppose parse through your response/position but after posting very clearly in CAPS that the billboard was aimed at the PUBLIC, and your continued multiple re-interpretation of who the billboard was aimed at simply puts us on more than different wave lengths, it puts us on different wave bands.”

    I really have no idea what you intended to mean by this paragraph. Saying “the billboard was aimed at the public” is a cop-out – of course it’s out in the open where anyone can see it, therefore it is visible to the public. But that doesn’t mean that broad vague collection of people (the public) is who it was AIMED at. Is a billboard on the New Jersey Turnpike about a new casino opening in Atlantic City AIMED at the public at large, or aimed specifically at people who like to go to Atlantic City to gamble? And if it’s in Chinese, is it aimed at Spanish-speaking people? (And if the Chinese was written by someone who doesn’t speak Chinese very well, is the intended message going to be understood just because it was “aimed” at Chinese-speaking people?) So many variables, so little reason to accept “aimed at the public” as a reasonable assertion.

    “The comparison of aggressive anti-religion with aggressive anti animal cruelty was SPOT ON. To call it apples to oranges is again to be on a different wave band.”

    You seem to think that my citing explicit reasons for disagreeing with your statements puts me on a “different wave band” which means you have no obligation to respond to the reasons I gave for disagreeing. As if to say, the only way to have a conversation with you, to be “on your wave band”, is to agree with you. OK, that’s one way of having a discussion like this, I suppose.

    Using caps and saying “SPOT ON”… honestly, I’m not getting the point you’re trying to make. I’m glad you think your comparison was SPOT ON. I’m glad you think so highly of your analogizing skills. But had you read what I wrote you know that I said quite clearly (though you acknowledge never actually reading this) things that apply both to PETA and to atheists: “Some people care about how their message is perceived and consider whether the net result is gaining or losing allies. Others don’t care. Mostly because they’re in the game for their own personal satisfaction and not to achieve the supposed goal behind the protest. Bully for them.”

    Clearly you are a person who’s in the latter camp: you like to talk, you like to say things, but you don’t care whether the end result is to say anything persuasive or convincing. You are in it for your own personal satisfaction and not to achieve any genuinely positive goal through what you say. That’s really fantastic. I wish you luck with that approach.

    “Respond on the wave band. or not. Your choice.”

    If you have a problem with the “new wave band” you think I’m invoking here (e.g., The Cars, or possibly Devo), then there really isn’t any basis for discussion. I am making statements about why what you said was not valid. You seem to think that your bringing up these “wave bands” of yours exempts you from answering the points made. In the real world where discussions take place between people of not necessarily like viewpoints, that’s not how it works. In particular, your saying upfront “I suppose I could parse through your response but I choose not to and will instead respond to what I think you said based on my wave band”, that kind of puts you in a wave band of your own, all by yourself. Actual real living people conversing with each other online DO read what the other person has just said as part of the “price” of participating in a discussion with that other person. If that’s not what you do when conversing with someone, then maybe you should go pick one of those “new wave bands” and put on your headphones and go off into your own world.

    So, again, I said that the issue is that some people care about how their message is perceived and structure it so that it succeeds in gaining allies for their position rather than turning people against them. I believe that a billboard not unlike the one in PA certainly could have been crafted to do exactly that, but that the people who put up the billboard basically were incompetent or basically didn’t give a shit about the message conveyed or were just being pompous asses. (I know, never attribute to malice what might be due to stupidity…)

    That’s the point I’m making. Let’s see YOU respond on THAT “wave band”. (Of course, that assumes you won’t engage in a repeat performance of failing to read what was written.)

    (I have to imagine you are the person who drafted and crafted the text on the billboard, because your repeated obsession with “wave bands” continues to be unclear in much the same way that the billboard deliberately aspired to be, with its obscure references to “Bronze Age Ethics” and its purposeful failure to convey its message in a forthright direct manner. Am I right?)

  21. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    All your points are belong to us.

    • You Know Who says:

      It’s nice to know that if I want to get embroiled in an argument with someone who isn’t going to either read the points I make or respond to them honestly, I don’t have to go seeking out an irrational Tea Partyer or an arrogant clueless libertarian – I can come here and chat with an equally arrogant irrational atheist who fancies himself better than that, but isn’t. Thanks, Bobbo.

      • YKW,

        Advice for both of us, though I suspect neither of us will listen:

        If you want people to peruse your replies rather than merely skim them, try not to bury the salient points in thousands of mostly irrelevant words. Note that this is from someone with a recent post almost 5,000 words long. So, pot, meet kettle. Or, is that racist too. Probably yes, come to think of it.

  22. You Know Who says:

    I noticed no retraction on the “there are no innocent bystanders” extremism or the “punch in the nose” condescension… oh well…

  23. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Hey Scotty: in the past two hours I have been given email notice 18 times of updates to this thread–about every 3-6 minutes. I haven’t seen that behavior from any blog before. Just fyi.

    You Know==I’m not dismissing you out of hand. I just find no pleasure in discussing/arguing a position with someone who understands argument/rhetoric/debate/logic as differently from me as you do. This arises rarely but often enough that I’ve spent my time in the barrel.

    You can blame me if you wish.

    • You Know Who says:

      “You Know==I’m not dismissing you out of hand.”

      What words would you use to describe someone who deliberately chooses not to read the words of the person he’s engaged in a discussion to the point of being proud of ignoring and DISMISSING them out of hand without consideration?

      “I just find no pleasure in discussing/arguing a position with someone who understands argument/rhetoric/debate/logic as differently from me as you do.”

      How DO you “understand” argument, rhetoric, debate, and logic. Your understanding seems to involve dismissing all the rules of all of those things when it’s convenient, when you don’t want to participate in those things honestly. To the point that you can’t even be honest about the fact that you clearly and demonstrably do find great pleasure in the way you choose to argue.

      Never mind, clearly you didn’t have anything to say of any merit anyway. Proving my point. Thank you.

    • “Hey Scotty: in the past two hours I have been given email notice 18 times of updates to this thread–about every 3-6 minutes. I haven’t seen that behavior from any blog before. Just fyi.”

      Funny thing is, I actually do know who “You Know Who” is. Believe it or not, he’s a friend. He’s one of three friends I was specifically thinking about when I wrote the introductory paragraph to this post. I asked him to read this post because he and I have had this debate or very similar ones before.

      If you knew who he was, neither this level of activity nor the lengths of the replies would surprise you in the least.

      YKW, I tip my hat to you as the only person I’ve come across in my relatively short life of blogging who can consistently out type me. Hell, I have trouble reading as fast as you type.

  24. YKW,

    “The Bible says slaves should obey their masters. (Look it up: Colossians 3:22.) Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.”

    Funny. The first time you posted this, I thought you were slightly misquoting the billboard and then commenting on your own misquote. I didn’t realize that this, as it is now posted as a single full quote, was your suggestion for a better billboard.

    So, yes, this would be less offensive.

    I think it would also never make the news and never get the attention necessary to get the point across without an image depicting slavery. Further, since it is not a direct quote from the bible but rather a telling that there is such a quote in the bible, most people will not likely believe that the message is what you say it is. And, given the very small number of those who read a blog post and actually click through the links in it (a comparitively simple task), I can’t imagine that more than a very small number will bother to check the reference for themselves.

    Letting the quote stand on it’s own is better. Your way does not do that. How about a mix of the two? What it the billboard had said:

    Slaves obey your masters. Colossians 3:22

    Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.

    But, what image would you put on the billboard? Would you leave the text to stand on its own? I think an image will grab far more attention.

    The quote is from the New Testament.

    So, a recognizable image of slavery that occurred since then makes more sense than one of Hebrew slaves. But, if you think that would somehow not be racist, then perhaps that image would make the point well enough.

    But, there is sort of a disconnect going on here.

    The point is that throughout history, slavery, especially as advocated in the bible, is racist. One group enslaves another. This is typical of widespread slavery and is explicitly made OK in the bible. It says you may own slaves of other nations, actually ha goyim in Hebrew, literally “the nations”, as opposed to Hebrews. The old joke about this was “why can’t I own Canadians?” That joke has made the rounds on the internet repeatedly.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/drlaura.asp

    So, the question comes to this. Is it OK to show a racist image to point out a racist concept in the bible?

    You think no. I think maybe.

    Later, I’ll try to catch up on the great many posts I’ve definitely not yet had time to read.

    P.S. Thinking about this some more. What was wrong with the reference to the Bronze Age? Is it the wrong age? Why is it obscure to speak of the bible as being a product of the bronze age?

    How about this modification to your words?

    Slaves obey your masters. Colossians 3:22

    Honestly, should a book written by bronze age shepherds really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.

    A little bit of shock value gets people talking about the sign. What is the right amount? I don’t know and neither do you. Your version as you wrote it would not offend but would likely also reach no one.

    I don’t think the message on the billboard is the best possible message. I also don’t think yours is. I’m not even sure they started with the best possible bible quote. I think they did a reasonable job though. You obviously think not.

    And, you repeatedly ignore my statement that I don’t agree that someone who is obviously pissed off at a message necessarily wants to then legislate against those who posted it. I think respect is not necessarily about liking someone.

    I still think we must stand up to the bully. And, the message to do so may be offensive.

    • You Know Who says:

      The Bible says slaves should obey their masters. (Look it up: Colossians 3:22.) Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.

      Funny. The first time you posted this, I thought you were slightly misquoting the billboard and then commenting on your own misquote. I didn’t realize that this, as it is now posted as a single full quote, was your suggestion for a better billboard.
      So, yes, this would be less offensive.”

      One word: duh! To paraphrase you: it took you THIS LONG to get to this point of recognizing this?

      “I think it would also never make the news and never get the attention necessary to get the point across without an image depicting slavery.”

      You didn’t read what I wrote, did you:

      1. I said that the image presented should be one representing slavery – just not one so insensitively callously offensive not to religious people but to black people and anyone supportive of their efforts to achieve equality and civil rights. You said (though you deny this) that there was no other possible image than an image like the one there now. And that is simply wrong.

      2. Also at last: you acknowledge that the goal is not persuasion directed at the people you CLAIM the message was directed at – it was designed to be provocative and “get coverage on the news”. Again, it took THIS LONG for you to make this acknowledgement, huh?

      “Further, since it is not a direct quote from the bible but rather a telling that there is such a quote in the bible, most people will not likely believe that the message is what you say it is.”

      And they would look it up in the Bible at the passage whose reference was included in my text and say “Holy shit, it DOES say that!” Not really a problem though, because my wording could easily be adjusted to use the exact words, in quotes. No biggie. No point for your argument.

      “And, given the very small number of those who read a blog post and actually click through the links in it (a comparitively simple task), I can’t imagine that more than a very small number will bother to check the reference for themselves.”

      LOL! This shows how little you get really religious people. Really religious people do read the Bible. They don’t necessarily immerse themselves in it and memorize it (though some do) but they reference it all the time. Some do an “I Ching” thing with it to find a passage at random that they believe will solve today’s nagging problem. So there is a Bible at the ready for anyone with any sense of active participation in a church.

      “Letting the quote stand on it’s own is better. Your way does not do that.”

      Not going to argue that point. My wording could easily be adjusted to show the original quote to satisfy you and I certainly wouldn’t object to that rewording.

      “How about a mix of the two? What it the billboard had said:

      Slaves obey your masters. Colossians 3:22

      Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.

      I think an introductory sentence is warranted and prepares the reader for what is to come in a way that frames the message clearly:

      Did you know the Bible legitimizes slavery and tells slaves that they must do what they’re told?

      For some reason, you seem to be against making that clear, and would prefer obscure references to the “Bronze Age”. (Honestly, do you know the beginning and end years of that age? Do you think most people do? Do you think most people care? Then why are those words present on the billboard? Who are they for?)
      But, what image would you put on the billboard? Would you leave the text to stand on its own? I think an image will grab far more attention.

      “The quote is from the New Testament.”

      So? Not sure I get how that matters. There are plenty of references in the Old Testament to the legitimization of slavery, too.

      “So, a recognizable image of slavery that occurred since then makes more sense than one of Hebrew slaves. But, if you think that would somehow not be racist, then perhaps that image would make the point well enough.”

      Oh dear god, Scott. An image of stick figures with one beating another gets the message across. What is wrong with you? Why are you so hung up on the image “needing” to be a racist image of a black slave?

      “But, there is sort of a disconnect going on here.”

      Yes, Sheldon.

      “The point is that throughout history, slavery, especially as advocated in the bible, is racist.”

      No, the point is that slavery is a terrible thing whether one race enslaves another or one person enslaves his neighbor. Again, there were Jews who were slaves to other Jews and there were rules for them as well. That you don’t know this or get this diminishes the quality of your argument.

      “One group enslaves another. …”

      Really, I’m not going to go down this misconceived line of reasoning. Yes, many if not most examples of slavery involve a form of racism. But slavery is bad for reasons that have nothing to do with race. And the Bible says “Sure, have slaves, but treat them humanely – only beat them THIS way…”
      “So, the question comes to this. Is it OK to show a racist image to point out a racist concept in the bible? You think no. I think maybe.”

      That’s fantastic. Can we move on past this grand misconception of yours?

      “P.S. Thinking about this some more. What was wrong with the reference to the Bronze Age? Is it the wrong age? Why is it obscure to speak of the bible as being a product of the bronze age?”

      Possibly because Sheldon will intervene and say “there really was no bronze age, it should have been called the aluminum age because…”

      • Oh holy crap YKW!! Now you’ve done it. Neither the bronze age nor the aluminum age is correct. It was the iron age. Now I know why the bronze age is offensive.

        Yeah. It took me a long time because you buried the salient point in so much unrelated bullshit, as noted above. How many posts? How many words per post? You’re worse than I am in terms of verbosity.

    • You Know Who says:

      “The Bible says slaves should obey their masters. (Look it up: Colossians 3:22.) Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.”

      Funny. The first time you posted this, I thought you were slightly misquoting the billboard and then commenting on your own misquote. I didn’t realize that this, as it is now posted as a single full quote, was your suggestion for a better billboard.
      So, yes, this would be less offensive.

      One word: duh! To paraphrase you: it took you THIS LONG to get to this point of recognizing this?

      I think it would also never make the news and never get the attention necessary to get the point across without an image depicting slavery.

      You didn’t read what I wrote, did you:

      1. I said that the image presented should be one representing slavery – just not one so insensitively callously offensive not to religious people but to black people and anyone supportive of their efforts to achieve equality and civil rights. You said (though you deny this) that there was no other possible image than an image like the one there now. And that is simply wrong.

      2. Also at last: you acknowledge that the goal is not persuasion directed at the people you CLAIM the message was directed at – it was designed to be provocative and “get coverage on the news”. Again, it took THIS LONG for you to make this acknowledgement, huh?

      Further, since it is not a direct quote from the bible but rather a telling that there is such a quote in the bible, most people will not likely believe that the message is what you say it is.

      And they would look it up in the Bible at the passage whose reference was included in my text and say “Holy shit, it DOES say that!” Not really a problem though, because my wording could easily be adjusted to use the exact words, in quotes. No biggie. No point for your argument.

      And, given the very small number of those who read a blog post and actually click through the links in it (a comparitively simple task), I can’t imagine that more than a very small number will bother to check the reference for themselves.

      LOL! This shows how little you get really religious people. Really religious people do read the Bible. They don’t necessarily immerse themselves in it and memorize it (though some do) but they reference it all the time. Selectively, perhaps, but all the time. Some do an “I Ching” thing with it to find a passage at random that they believe will solve today’s nagging problem. So there is a Bible at the ready for anyone with any sense of active participation in a church.

      Letting the quote stand on it’s own is better. Your way does not do that.

      Not going to argue that point. My wording could easily be adjusted to show the original quote to satisfy you and I certainly wouldn’t object to that rewording.

      How about a mix of the two? What it the billboard had said:

      “Slaves obey your masters. Colossians 3:22

      Honestly, should this book really be the source of our moral code? Let’s think for ourselves instead.”

      I think an introductory sentence is warranted and prepares the reader for what is to come in a way that frames the message clearly:

      “Did you know the Bible legitimizes slavery and tells slaves that they must do what they’re told?”

      For some reason, you seem to be against making that clear, and would prefer obscure references to the “Bronze Age”. (Honestly, do you know the beginning and end years of that age? Do you think most people do? Do you think most people care? Then why are those words present on the billboard? Who are they for?)

      But, what image would you put on the billboard? Would you leave the text to stand on its own? I think an image will grab far more attention.

      Been there, explained that. Never said don’t include an image. Moving on…

      The quote is from the New Testament.

      So? Not sure I get how that matters. There are plenty of references in the Old Testament to the legitimization of slavery, too.

      So, a recognizable image of slavery that occurred since then makes more sense than one of Hebrew slaves. But, if you think that would somehow not be racist, then perhaps that image would make the point well enough.

      Oh dear god, Scott. An image of stick figures with one beating another gets the message across. What is wrong with you? Why are you so hung up on the image “needing” to be a racist image of a black slave?

      But, there is sort of a disconnect going on here.

      Yes, Sheldon.

      The point is that throughout history, slavery, especially as advocated in the bible, is racist.

      No, the point is that slavery is a terrible thing whether one race enslaves another or one person enslaves his neighbor. Again, there were Jews who were slaves to other Jews and there were rules for them as well. That you don’t know this or get this diminishes the quality of your argument.

      One group enslaves another. …

      Really, I’m not going to go down this misconceived line of reasoning. Yes, many if not most examples of slavery involve a form of racism. But slavery is bad for reasons that have nothing to do with race. And the Bible says “Sure, have slaves, but treat them humanely – only beat them THIS way…”

      So, the question comes to this. Is it OK to show a racist image to point out a racist concept in the bible? You think no. I think maybe.

      That’s fantastic. Can we please move on past this grand misconception of yours?

      P.S. Thinking about this some more. What was wrong with the reference to the Bronze Age? Is it the wrong age? Why is it obscure to speak of the bible as being a product of the bronze age?

      Possibly because Sheldon will intervene and say “there really was no bronze age, it should have been called the aluminum age because…”

      • As for one group enslaves another versus people of the same group enslaving each other, we are discussing the bible here, correct?

        Exodus 21:2:

        If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

        Leviticus 25:44

        And as for thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, whom thou mayest have: of the nations that are round about you, of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

        Note the use above of the Hebrew word הַגּוֹיִם, hagoyim — the nations, other nations, non-Hebrews, gentiles. Pick your definition. The point is that the bible has rules about enslaving Hebrews that are different than those regarding enslaving members of other nations or races. So, a correct image of biblical slavery is inherently racist.

        The bible is inherently racist.

        So, an accurate depiction of the bible is necessarily racist. Must it be blacks? No. But, the bible is specific in its avocation of slavery. This comes through in the original image but will likely not come through in the stick image.

        Still, my concern is to get the point across.

        I’m willing to compromise with my fellow atheists about how to get from point A to point B as long as the way is realistic. That means that the image must be shocking enough to get in the news. If we can strike a balance that does not offend excessively, fine. But, I’m less concerned about offending the religious.

      • You Know Who says:

        You want to talk about slavery as it depicted and legitimized in the Bible? – Talk about slavery. There is plenty to say. You yourself supported MY point regarding Jews keeping Jews as slaves in a totally non-racist way with the example above from Exodus.

        You want to talk about the racism inherent in the Bible and legitimized by it? – Talk about that.

        Racism and slavery – two separate things. Do they often appear together? Obviously. But does discussion of one need to embed the other? No.

        Still, my concern is to get the point across.

        No, Scott, you said your concern is to “get respect”. Or to be shocking so that you get on the news. You never said anything about “getting the point across”. That was… er… well, that was me. 🙂

        I’m willing to compromise with my fellow atheists about…

        Once again, we see the problem here. Doing what it takes to get the point across would involve a compromise with your fellow atheists? Why? Isn’t it also THEIR goal to get the point across? A compromise happens between people with different goals and approaches. You say your concern is to get the point across. (For the sake of argument here, I will pretend that that is true.) Yet you believe you would have to compromise with fellow atheists to get from point A to point B. Meaning that your fellow atheists don’t share this goal of getting the point across as a primary one. Which is what I’ve been saying all along.

        There is no need to “compromise” with me as you asserted in a recent comment. According to you, we share the same goal – getting the point across. So whatever is presented as a result of our collaboration would be the optimized most effective presentation. There wouldn’t be anything to compromise – we would logically figure out what worked in getting the point across and eschew the rest. You know, all the stuff injected solely to “get respect” and “show those bullies” and “be shocking for its own sake”.

        Except, as I said, this isn’t your goal, you have made that much clear. You see the “getting respect” and “showing those bullies” and “being shocking for its own sake” as the primary goals. (And clearly so do those “fellow atheists” – meaning there is no need to compromise at all there.)

        Personally, I’m not willing to broker any “compromise” that incorporates both “getting the point across” and those other three rather petty self-serving goals, since those goals stand in the way of achieving the “getting the point across” goal.

        But it seems you are.

      • You Know Who says:

        To be clear: I am just as offended that the Bible endorses slavery regardless of race as I am that it makes rules about many issues that are cruelly biased based on race. BUT THOSE ARE TWO SEPARATE THINGS DESERVING OF AND NECESSITATING SEPARATE COMMENTARY! Failure to distinguish the issues muddles the message. Of course, since you gave shown that your preference IS a muddied message that misses the mark as long as you believe it garners you “respect”, it makes sense that you would deliberately go out of your way to WANT to confuse those two things…

  25. YKW,

    Why do you find that Bronze Age reference so obscure? What exactly is obscure about it?

    • You Know Who says:

      Walk up to ten random people and ask them when the bronze age was and what happened during it.

      Not people in your circle of intellectuals. Randoms. People in elevators and delicatessens and supermarkets. Go on. Accept the challenge. (Kind of like “Jay-walking” only it’s Scott-walking.)

      Not everyone is as much of a knowledgeable intellectual as you, Scott.

      And by the way, I guess you were right after all when you said I wasn’t targeting a time period you would really be familiar with when I went back to the 1980s. Now that we’ve honed in on “the Bronze Age”, I think we’ve finally found the time period I needed to focus on. 🙂

      • People will see it as an indication that this is not from modern times. That is all that is necessary. However, as pointed out above, iron age is correct. Does it matter? I could say a book authored by ancient sheep-fuckers and the point would be fine.

      • You Know Who says:

        Or… you could say “THE BIBLE” and be unambiguous and clear. But that’s not what the goal is, is it? We’ve determined that getting the point across is not the goal. It’s “getting respect”. And being obscure leads to respect. Right?

  26. Wait, perhaps now that we’re on to constructively coming up with a better message, how about this?

    Slaves obey your masters. Colossians 3:22

    Break free of the Biblical chains that bind you to Bronze Age morality.

    Perhaps to be racially inoffensive, we could have the author of the xkcd comic draw us a stick figure drawing of slaves breaking out of their chains. Perhaps they could be breaking free of chains that are anchored to a giant bible.

    Would that message work for you?

    • You Know Who says:

      You’re obsessed with being deliberately obscure for the sake of including rococo verbal filigree into your text. Whatever. It’s pointless to argue this with you when you will not see past the end of your nose.

      • No. I didn’t think anyone would confuse bronze age with today. Pick any wording you like that will say that this ancient piece of shit book is irrelevant to modern times and I’ll be fine.

      • You Know Who says:

        You imagine that people will associate the words “bronze age” (or even “iron age”) with the words “the Bible”. Clearly you have something against being clear. Perhaps it’s some intellectual’s disease that forces one to use rococo verbal filigree rather than direct clear wording.

        See? Clearly it’s contagious, because you’ve given this stupid disease to me! I can’t stop saying “rococo verbal filigree”!!!! Will I ever again be able to use simple clear language to convey my point? (I mean to people in general, Scott – I’ve given up after this thread of ever hoping to convey a point to you…)

  27. You Know Who says:

    I think we are actually close to achieving a kind of closure here. Not agreement, but a recognition that the message are deliberately crafted to be unnecessarily offensive – but remove the word “unnecessarily” if you just like to think that offensiveness and alienation of others are good things, and if you think getting attention and getting on the news are more important than actually convincing individual people of anything.

    With all that in mind, can we maybe change the name of this post to something more reflective of the content of the thread now? Perhaps:

    Reasonable Atheists Concerned About the Image of Atheists in General Offend Unreasonable Atheists – I Say “GREAT!”

    Would that work for you? Or is it too offensive? 🙂

    • You Know Who says:

      Here’s a sketch about a patient in a doctor’s office where the nurse has just stabbed him in the waiting room and the doctor wants him to fill out the forms before he can treat him. The patient must be seriously ignorant to have gotten so many obvious questions wrong. I think he did manage to get the one about the Bronze Age right, though…

      • You Know Who says:

        (The bit in question starts at about 1:40 in – apparently WordPress doesn’t include the start offset when embedding a Youtube Video.)

    • Since I’m not conceding anything, no. I think I’ll leave the title alone just to piss you off. I’m trying to compromise with you, not admitting that being inoffensive is better.

      As I said repeatedly, I care whether theists respect atheists, and more importantly, the rights of atheists. I don’t give a shit whether they like us.

      • You Know Who says:

        Yes, “just to piss me off”. Just like the primary motivation behind the wording of the billboard. I get it.

        You now have my “respect”. Or at least, I have to imagine you think you do.

  28. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Unnecessarily Offensive?

    Ha, Ha. Put up this quote: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” and I would find that about as offensive in its hypocrisy as one elevating slavery as moral principle. Neither expression “works” in the real world and that is the central insult of the bible and all other dogma. No ability to grow and adapt. Set in Stone/Cast in Bronze?

    What was the bronze age?–The one inbetween rocks and steel? I think most Scott-Walkers would take it to mean “early times” which is very apt for the subject. Also, Scott is not approaching strangers in public ((such as the billboard?)) by publishing this blog. People have to come here and stay here. Rather silly and offensive to think Scott should dumb for an audience rather than raise them up……course, thing twice about his audience-just how dumb should Scott get?

    • You Know Who says:

      What was the bronze age?–The one inbetween rocks and steel? I think most Scott-Walkers would take it to mean “early times” which is very apt for the subject.

      Would the Scott-Walkers recognize “early times” to mean Biblical early times? Would they make the association with the Bible and Biblical laws? I think that’s kind of critical, don’t you?

      Scott is not approaching strangers in public ((such as the billboard?)) by publishing this blog. People have to come here and stay here. Rather silly and offensive to think Scott should dumb for an audience rather than raise them up

      The “bronze age” reference is on the billboard. Therefore the use of the term bronze age was made (in particular according to YOUR assessment, Bobbo) to the general public. The discussion you interjected your opinion into was about the text on the billboard.

      Thanks for “dumbing up” the conversation here by totally misrepresenting the context.

      I really do wish you had SOMETHING of substance to say. But notice I answer your comments after reading them as opposed to dismissing them out of hand – which is kind of a bronze age approach to debate, don’t you think?

      • Actually, I’m with bobbo on this one. The reference to the bronze age is just shorthand for a long time ago when people and their technology and most importantly their morals were not what they are today. We’ve progressed a lot since the bronze age and since the iron age, which is more technically correct. The point is that the bible and its morals are not what we want in this day and age.

      • You Know Who says:

        It’s “shorthand” for saying “Biblical times” which would be clear. But you don’t want to be clear. You want to be obscure. Because that helps get you respect, rather than getting the point across, which is not as important.

        I understand.

  29. YKW,

    Since you accept the anecdotal evidence of the video, you have opened the door for other anecdotal evidence. Though, again, I would point out that the responses of those in the video who were offended by the billboard do not indicate any decline in respect for atheists, atheism, or the rights of atheists.

    Anyway, here’s my anecdote. If you’re astute, you’ll probably recognize the characters, especially since you know one of them is me.

    There’s a programmer I know who is probably in the top dozen or so brightest programmers with whom I’ve ever worked. Shockingly, on that particular job, I think I met 4 such programmers, though each has different skills.

    Anyway, this one in particular is a practicing Catholic, as far as I know, to this day. He hand I had loud and frequent debates where each of us repeatedly gave the other a boot to the head. Though I have nothing but respect for this intelligent and religious individual, he and I repeatedly engaged in rather shocking debates, by most people’s standards, especially workplace standards.

    One person a couple of cubes away suggested that this particularly large, well-trained, and lightly armed individual would one day literally kill me. However, he was not lie that at all. He was a wonderful human being with a very different outlook on life than mine.

    Anyway, my point is that he and I would exchange far more shocking statements than this billboard.

    And, at the end of it, he and I each learned new respect for the other viewpoint. I still have nothing but respect for him. If he reads this, I wish him and his family well in all their endeavors. And, I hope that his mind remains as sharp as a knife for all the days of his life.

    That said, at the end of the long and heated discussions we had, I would say that I have a new respect for those who may choose to practice religion even when their own views on life may differ from those of the church.

    And, I am reasonably sure of the following on his side. (You know who you are, if you read this, correct me if I’m wrong)

    1) He has stopped propagating (loudly) the meme that there are no atheists in foxholes.
    2) He has a greater respect for atheists than he had on the way in.
    3) We were discussing death. I pointed out that I don’t fear death. (Though I do fear living beyond my time with air being pumped through the meat that was once me.) He also stated that he does not fear death. I corrected him stating that “I don’t fear death; you don’t believe in death.”

    He grudgingly and surprisingly agreed with this last point. Note that I made it with a shocking and potentially offensive statement, at least to some. It hit home and worked.

    So, sometimes, tact is not necessary. In fact, it may not even be necessary for winning friends. It certainly isn’t necessary for winning respect. Honesty may be the best policy, unless of course one is asked “does this make me look fat?”

    Anyway, it’s just an anecdote, not a statistical universe. But, in my experience being inoffensive is not the only route. Honesty can work too.

    Unfortunately, I have been out of contact with him for a while. Were I still in close contact with him, I would send him the FFRF link and the link to this thread as well. I would welcome his input on this thread. YKW, if you have figured out who I mean, and I assume you have, and are still in contact with him, feel free to send him a link to this discussion.

    • You Know Who says:

      After your advice to condense my output so that salient points are more readily visible upfront, I will skip your comments above entirely (following Bobbo’s approach to argument) and offer some more genuine anecdotal evidence.

      I mentioned this argument to my wife, who is a mostly lapsed but still marginally associative Catholic. I showed her the billboard. Her reactions were threefold:

      1. “Are you embroiled in another stupid argument?” (That was before actually seeing the billboard…)

      2. (After seeing the billboard…) “My god, that is inflammatory, disgusting, horribly offensive, and horrible.”

      3. (And this is the money shot right here.) “Someone should follow the money that paid for this billboard, because clearly, it was not posted by people who genuinely want to promote atheism. It reeks of an effort to slander atheists to make them look demonic. It’s like some religious organization is trying to make atheists look bad.”

      Your little anecdotal evidence, that’s all very nice. It would be an amazing world if all interactions between people about religion were of the form you describe, involving people who get to know each other, who have the time to discuss it all over tea and crumpets (or coffee and donuts) during their work day and use Google to resolve open issues. What I described is the gut reaction of a person simply seeing the billboard and recoiling in horror. And that’s clearly not an isolated opinion.

      The billboard is clearly counterproductive to the cause of promoting acceptance of nonbelievers. The gut reaction of the average person is that of disgust and horror, not “gee, I should really rethink my views about religion”. And if they do take the time to reflect on just how absurd it is that supposedly intelligent atheists would try to promote their point of view this way, then they might consider the notion that the whole thing is a smear campaign by some right-wing religious nuts to make atheists look stupid and arrogant. But for most people it’s not going to get that far.

      So I guess we’re done here. Thanks for playing. Cheers.

      • I’m sorry your wife recoiled in horror. She must now hate you and all atheists, right?

        No. It is still not clear that this is counterproductive.

        And, it is obvious that your wife is incorrect about following the money because an atheist organization put their name on the billboard plainly for all to see. And, the president of the organization defends it and refuses to apologize.

        And, I for one, am glad they are not knuckling under to the bully of public opinion.

        Boot to the head.

        I’d rather deal with the repercussions of this than the repercussions of not taking any action at all.

        But, I would be willing to compromise on a message that is shocking enough to get attention but not be offensive. Let’s get one together and suggest it to American Atheists.

        How are your art skills? Mine suck.

        Still hoping you’ll respond to the racism of slavery in the bible. I’m betting we’re just crossing each others’ posts. But, if not, please do get to that one eventually. Here’s the relevant link since this thread is getting quite confusing and it could easily be missed.

        https://misanthropicscott.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/antitheists-offend-theists-i-say-good/#comment-6101

      • You Know Who says:

        I’m sorry your wife recoiled in horror. She must now hate you and all atheists, right?

        I guess you didn’t read the salient points. Point #3 was that she found it SO reprehensible that she thought it was impossible that this billboard that it actually came from atheists. So why would she hate atheists if she thought that. (Now, someone not as thoughtful and observant as my wife, they would likely not get as far as point #3, would they?

        No. It is still not clear that this is counterproductive.

        ROFLMAO!

        I guess you have the most unusual definition of “counterproductive” on record. (Or maybe it’s the word “clear” that’s the problem.)

        And, it is obvious that your wife is incorrect about following the money

        Actually, no, it’s not “obvious” at all. I heard that and I thought “hmmm, maybe that’s worth looking into – they can’t REALLY all be that stupid and pigheaded and bragging about how they won’t back down, if they were sincere and genuine.”

        But whatever. We’re done here. You don’t see counterproductiveness – the situation where a thing works in opposition to its supposed intended purpose – as counterproductive. That is simply insane. And I’m not going to waste my time having an insane argument against an insane position.

        But, I would be willing to compromise on a message that is shocking enough to get attention but not be offensive. Let’s get one together and success it to American Atheists.

        Really? You think making the effort to create a better, clearer, more effective message is a compromise? LOL! That’s hysterical! You claim you WANT the best, clearest, most effective message. Yet rather than embracing the idea that that’s the goal, you claim it would be a “compromise” with a person who doesn’t share your glee at alienating people who see the message. That’s simply ridiculous. You just demonstrated that you don’t WANT the best, clearest, most effective message – you want the most shocking, most arrogant, most horrifyingly alienating message. Well, good for you. Those right wing Christia… I mean those “atheists” will be sure to help you achieve that.

        Still hoping you’ll respond to the racism of slavery in the bible.

        Hell no. Because it’s an irrelevant deflection from the subject at hand. Why you want me to focus on discussing something that’s irrelevant… well, I get why you want that, who am I kidding? You want to create billboards showcasing the hypocrisy of the Bible? You have a starting point on the subject of slavery. It’s a horrible godawful counterproductive starting point, but it’s “a” place to begin. You want to also create a billboard that showcases the racism in the Bible. Do that too. It’s a great idea. Maybe you can start from a better starting point and actually ENCOURAGE people who see the billboard to agree with your point of view! (Wouldn’t that be precious and new!)

      • How many times must I say it???!!?

        I don’t give a shit if people are pissed off, as long as we win respect. Anger != disrespect.

        And, since American Atheists is not actually funded by the Catholic Lobbying Association of Pedophiles (CLAP) or the Catholic Real Estate Empire Program (CREEP), it does not have the money to fund thousands of billboards across the country or even hundreds across Pennsyltucky. So, a message that gets int eh news gets far more airplay than the organization can otherwise afford.

      • You Know Who says:

        That’s what I just said, Scott. You are not interested in getting the point across. You are interested in this vague tepid idea of “getting respect” which is some sort of testosterone-driven desire to SHOW them that you’re mad as hell and you’re not gonna take it anymore because that’s “respect”. Yawn.

        I could give zero shits about what you see as respect and your belief that it’s important. The important thing is getting the point across. You have no less than five times now declared that getting what you call respect is MORE important.

        We have nothing to discuss. Your goals are completely different than mine. I want to get the point across, make it clear to people that atheists and nonbelievers are decent people deserving of acceptance. You want to “show those **********’s” that you’re deserving of respect, that they can’t push you around. Yippee.

        Nice talking to ya.

      • BTW, did you also show your wife the FFRF ad in the Times?

      • You Know Who says:

        I’m sure you really wouldn’t want to hear her reaction to that.

      • I didn’t really care about her reaction to the billboard either. But, that didn’t stop you from telling me in great detail.

      • You Know Who says:

        Of course you didn’t care! It was a piece of anecdotal evidence that stood in contradiction to everything you’ve been asserting! LOL!

      • You Know Who says:

        Also: if you “didn’t care” about her reaction to the billboard (either), then why did you explicitly ASK me what her reaction to the ad was? LOL!

    • You Know Who says:

      And let’s be honest here: the isolated example you describe is rare beyond measure. There is a strong chance that in a parallel universe right next door to our own this person would have been offended enough by your arrogance (some people who agreed with you were offended in this universe!) that he would have stabbed you to death and he MIGHT have been fired for it. (Yes, might. A good lawyer would have accumulated enough testimony from innocent bystanders that termination would not even have been considered. And as for criminal charges, fuggeddaboudit: justifiable homicide and probation.)

      • I had a similar encounter, though less definitive, with a fundamentalist, minister’s son, ex-marine, special forces type. The result was still respect for each other. And, we’re still in contact.

        Though I doubt I made such tangible headway, so did not choose to use that example.

        You should have seen the fundamentalist, apologetics book he lent me when I returned it with large, lined post-it notes in nearly every page, two in some, contradicting each of the points. He then took the time to read each of them and claimed he could practically hear my voice reading each of them.

        Incidentally, it may seem surprising to many of us atheists, he was very bright and fundamentalist Christian. Our debates were quieter since the larger corporation we worked at was more subdued.. Oh, and he is not a programmer, for what nothing that is worth other than just for background.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      I’m struck by the notion that anecdotal evidence has almost zero value? Good only for knocking down absolutist statements that have no value to begin with?

      A-“There are no atheists in foxholes.”
      B- I knew a guy named Joe Shmow who was an atheist in a foxhole. A- OH! Then I guess there are atheists in foxholes.

      Ha, ha.

      Also puts me in mind that it matters little what people think, what they believe, whats relevant is what we do. I have no problem at all with people thinking abortion is wrong based on whatever they do. Its only when they ACT to restrict my right to an abortion that beliefs become relevant–and then as stated its not the beliefs but the actions that are relevant.

      That might slice and dice much of the discussion above especially regarding friendships with those of variable and contesting beliefs AND why politics is so odious. One group forcing their opinions thru the action of law on other disagreeing groups.

      Same complaint I have about god.

      Yea, verily.

      • You Know Who says:

        All very true. Except that when you are trying to change someone’s mind, what they think is of paramount importance.

  30. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    “what they think is of paramount importance.” /// That posits that there is any thinking going on as opposed to knee jerk nay-saying or parroting of talking points, or jumping for breaths eyebrow deep in dogma. There is no changing of minds. Only acceptance of what you have come across. IOW–dealing with reality.

    People that argue with anecdotes, with conflation and nonseparation of very different issues, those who cannot define their terms, or accept a hypothetical are not people you can change the minds of. OH–I knew an atheist in a foxhole. Very true. Missing the point entirely. Although maybe not if the subject is who are billboards aimed at? That 1 in a 1000 exception? I think so. The general rule is supported and the anecdotal evidence demonstrates its near perfect irrelevance.

    I don’t think Scott or a billboard is about “trying” to change someone’s mind. An offer. An opportunity. The showing of another way. Offering the helping hand>>>all yes. But wanting to “overcome” anothers free will in any significant way?===No.

    One more difference between a “good” atheist, a free man, and those who go religious.

    Yea, verily.

    • You Know Who says:

      “what they think is of paramount importance.” /// That posits that there is any thinking going on as opposed to knee jerk nay-saying or parroting of talking points, or jumping for breaths eyebrow deep in dogma.

      I will concur that you and Scott and the AA have not done much thinking and have been acting in a jneeherk
      There is no changing of minds. Only acceptance of what you have come across. IOW–dealing with reality.

      People that argue with anecdotes, with conflation and nonseparation of very different issues, those who cannot define their terms, or accept a hypothetical are not people you can change the minds of. OH–I knew an atheist in a foxhole. Very true. Missing the point entirely. Although maybe not if the subject is who are billboards aimed at? That 1 in a 1000 exception? I think so. The general rule is supported and the anecdotal evidence demonstrates its near perfect irrelevance.

      I don’t think Scott or a billboard is about “trying” to change someone’s mind. An offer. An opportunity. The showing of another way. Offering the helping hand>>>all yes. But wanting to “overcome” anothers free will in any significant way?===No.

      One more difference between a “good” atheist, a free man, and those who go religious.

    • You Know Who says:

      “what they think is of paramount importance.” /// That posits that there is any thinking going on as opposed to knee jerk nay-saying or parroting of talking points, or jumping for breaths eyebrow deep in dogma.

      I will concur heartily that neither you nor Scott nor the AA has done much thinking, that you are all engaged in knee jerk reactions parroting talking points like Tea Partyers, so wrapped up in their dogma any notion that you could be wrong is prevented from being considered. Just like the people you mock and despise. Well done, atheists. Go Team Dawkins!

      There is no changing of minds. Only acceptance of what you have come across.

      So why don’t you tell us then what the intent and purpose of the billboard is then? (THIS should be fascinating…)

      maybe not if the subject is who are billboards aimed at? That 1 in a 1000 exception? I think so.

      It’s really impossible to deal with a willful liar in an argument, because he will say anything, even contradicting what he knows to be true, to stick up blindly due his point. Very abstract evasion, Bobbo. Why dont you come out and say, explicitly, what you are vaguely wimpily trying to assert: that despite “anecdotal evidence” that anecdotal people anecdotally find the billboard anecdotally horrifying and that it reflects badly on whoever anecdotally put up the billboard, accomplishing the opposite of what the billboard’s backers anecdotally said it was intended for, any people express such horror and disgust and revulsion are the 1 in 1000 exception. Come on, instead of your wimpy roundabout evasions, say, proudly, “I think any people who found the billboard so distasteful that their opinion of atheists (which might not have been that bad before) plummeted to market crash level lows was a 1 in 1000 exception.” Go on, be brave enough to say THAT instead of the wimpy abstract evasive statement you did make. I dare you. I don’t think even you, who cares so little about logic, argument, and honesty, could be that brazenly mendacious. But go ahead, say it. Mean it. 

      The general rule is supported and the anecdotal evidence demonstrates its near perfect irrelevance.

      Still waiting for you to be brave enough to make the concrete statement this little diversion was intended to be a substitute for. 

      I don’t think Scott or a billboard is about “trying” to change someone’s mind.

      Then what IS the billboard “about”? If it serves no rhetorical purpose, and if the money that enabled its posting was so tight, then by definition wasn’t that money wasted if it has no beneficial purpose? Couldn’t it gave been put to some USEFUL use other than a source of amusement for you (since clearly you have plenty of those)? A charitable contribution to those in need? A donation to a legal fund for atheists unjustifiably discriminated against? You advocate wasting the money of people who contributed assuming that their donation would be put to good use. I imagine THEY would be pissed off that so little care and thought was put into it? Or would their expression of concern about this be merely “anecdotal”?

      An offer. An opportunity. The showing of another way. Offering the helping hand>>>all yes. But wanting to “overcome” anothers free will in any significant way?===No.

      Wow, that’s pretty amazing. You view the notion of someone’s mind being changed through rhetorical persuasion as “overcoming their free will”, akin to some kind of brainwashing.

      This would explain why you’ve never changed your mind! Don’t want your free will to be violated by new information… You already know it all. I understand. 

      “There is no changing of minds…” Yup, I can see from this anecdotal example that this is true… here…

      No need to mock this clueless position even further. People with agile working minds have gotten the point.

      One more difference between a “good” atheist, a free man, and those who go religious.

      I’m sorry, what is this difference between these three people? Or was this just a lead-in to a joke about their all walking into a bar?

  31. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    YKW==what do you think of a religion that commands slaves to honor their masters?

    • You Know Who says:

      I think that’s exactly what a religion would do: promote the notion of blind obedience to authority, among regular everyday people who are told to obey parents, priests, and policemen, and among those it tries to impose even more authority on… like slaves.

      Because I consider religion to be a pretty lame thing worth mocking, debunking, and overthrowing where it has power over people.

      Why do you ask?

  32. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Just trying to divine what your motivating interest is.

    Your answer sounding reasonable to me, why do you likewise want to impose your idea of the best way to throw off religious shackles onto the group who posted the billboard?

    The group thought this billboard was one way to go. Of course there are other ways to go as well.

    Freedom—letting others do as they will.

    • You Know Who says:

      Just trying to divine what your motivating interest is.

      For the record, I don’t care what your motivating interest is.

      Your answer sounding reasonable to me, why do you likewise want to impose your idea of the best way to throw off religious shackles onto the group who posted the billboard?

      What an interesting thing for a supposedly scientitic secular atheist to say. “Why do you scientists want to impose your idea that evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of lifeforms, that the scientific method and the use of logic is the best way to reach answers about such things?”

      Good questions, no? … … Sorry, no? No?

      Why would one want to “impose” strict logical criteria for evaluating whether something works or not, whether it is the best approach for solving a problem, or whether it is instead some inadequate flawed approach derived from irrational emotion, blind faith, or ulterior motives?

      Do you think you can answer that question?

      I don’t think you can.

      But, hey, surprise me…

      The group thought this billboard was one way to go.

      Indeed, and “the group” is a crew of rational, logical people who NEVER make mistakes and are NEVER driven by irrational emotion, blind faith, or ulterior motives. It’s only those OTHER people that that concern applies to. Right?

      Freedom—letting others do as they will.

      And also remembering that your freedom to do as you will is coupled with others’ freedom to do as they will – on occasion passing judgement based on any number of methods about what you have chosen to do. Sometimes using logic and reason where you chose not to.

      Why explain this, though – there is no changing of minds. Not of yours, anyway.

      Like I said, I don’t care what your motivating interest is in asking your questions. But I am quite sure it does not involve using logic and reason or trying to get to the truth. So, thanks so much.

      • Wow you read badly. Now I will accuse you of not reading before you reply, even though you quoted bobbo.

        When he said, “Just trying to divine what your motivating interest is.”, it was obvious to everyone but you that he meant’ he wanted to know your motivating interest, not that he wanted you to take an interest in his.

        We all figured out long ago that the only interest you care about with respect to this issue is your own.

        See how easy it is to accuse someone of not reading??!!? NOW STOP IT!

        Obviously, we all come with baggage ….

      • You Know Who says:

        When he said, “Just trying to divine what your motivating interest is.”, it was obvious to everyone but you that he meant’ he wanted to know your motivating interest, not that he wanted you to take an interest in his.

        And duh, it was even more obvious that I was responding reciprocally, saying that, for the record, though he may have been pretending to express an interest in what MY motivating interest was, I had no such interest in what his motivating interest was!!!! Perhaps I should have italicized “your” in case someone was so dense that they didn’t get that, but I honestly didn’t think that was possible. Live and learn.

        Is this the depth to which your “argument” sinks, Scott? Is this all you have to say, is this all you see fit to do, search vainly for picayune little nits that aren’t even the “errors” you imagine them to be, because you have no actual concrete response to the REAL issues I bring up?

        Wouldn’t it be much easier to just say “you’re right, YKW, my blind almost maniacal obsession with the idea that this billboard and that ad, despite their obvious flaws, represent positive efforts to help the nonbeliever community gain acceptance in society at large, when I know that’s not true and I don’t care about that at all (because I in fact have other motivating interests in this), is totally bogus, and I acknowledge that there are certainly ways of presenting something in this manner that would be more effective in achieving that goal, but I don’t care about that goal, I care about my rather unusual notion of respect and not about any of the issues you’ve legitimately brought up.”?

        As convoluted as that sentence was?

  33. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    You think there is “logical truth” in values huh?

    Hey Scotty: it is kinda fun to see some of my own rhetoric used in response to me. A double down on context being so important.

    YKW–so what would you do?

    • It took me a while to get this too. Obviously, YKW is not always clear when he is making suggestions. His changes to the original text of the sign were so subtle that it was actually difficult to tell that he was indeed making suggestions for changes. You’ll probably have to comb through ten or twenty thousand words of vitriol to find those suggestions though. Good luck. Hint: Search for “obey your masters” and look for slight differences in his text versus the actual billboard.

      Glad you’re having fun though.

      I enjoy a heated debate too, obviously. But, in sheer volume, we’re competing with the master. He’s easily out-typing us all combined.

      • You Know Who says:

        You really want to have it both ways. Out of one side of your mouth, you say “the changes he employed were very subtle and didn’t make any noticeable difference”, and out of the other side comes “his radical changes don’t satisfy my desires for what I want the billboard to convey”. Wow. That’s pretty amazing that you think you can pull that off.

        The two of you really haven’t made a hell of a lot of sense or said much of consequence in a LONG time now. I guess I should take that as a personal victory, that you really are left with so little to say. Thanks.

  34. You Know Who says:

    It’s not like you have a point or anything. I made no mention of “values”. If you think what you said made any reference to values, come out of your imagination and join us here in the real world. You didn’t, and I didn’t. You are just being transparently evasive because you have nothing to say. Yawn.

    Scott, I hate to say it, but… my wife was clearly right: and this is the guy who’s pretending to be an atheist but is in reality a hardcore religious irrationalist going out of his way to tar the image of atheists. What a maroon! LOL!

    PS – I wasn’t using YOUR rhetoric, I was saying the OPPOSITE of what you were saying (because I so wholly disagree with pretty much everything you’ve said thus far), I was using simple logical reasoning, and most of all I was making an effort to make sense. Where in your rhetoric do you fantasize that any of THAT happened? Too funny.

    • Actually, to my knowledge, no one on this thread created the verbiage of the billboard or the FFRF ad in the Times.

      Again regarding your amazingly stupid conspiracy theory, American Atheists has been around since 1963. FFRF has been around since 1978 and is staffed with lawyers. They have argued cases in the SCOTUS

      Seems to be an awful lot of groundwork to set up these organizations and put in the kind of history these two fine organizations have all to put up a few billboards in the last couple of years and one ad in the NY Times for the sole purpose of making atheists look bad.

      It also seems to me that could come up with much better funding and do a much better job over a much longer period to make atheists look bad.

      Oh wait, they did.

  35. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    So what would you do?

    -or- why do you care about the billboard? You have said its use of that image will be offensive or turn off some believers who could be teased away from their religion if some other words/image/approach were used?

    So, what would you do?

    • You Know Who says:

      So what would you do?

      -or- why do you care about the billboard? You have said its use of that image will be offensive or turn off some believers who could be teased away from their religion if some other words/image/approach were used?

      So, what would you do?

      You mean… what would I do, if I were you?

      I would go back and actually read what I said about what I would do and why I would do it!!!!

      But why would I repeat myself unnecessarily to someone like you who is proud of not paying attention, whose goal plainly isn’t understanding or enlightenment, for himself OR others (because he firmly believes “there is no changing of minds”)?

      I mean… I could do research on you as a person, find out the things that would REALLY piss you off and irritate not only you but your loved ones (assuming there are such people) as well, and put that on a billboard or on the internet somewhere, using obscure wording and adding private jokes in tiny print, and then act completely stupid about it all and say “duh, what did I do? I was trying to sell corn flakes!”

      But wait… you asked me what would I do if I were you, not what would you do if you were me…

      Sorry, forget all that.

      As for why do I care – I care about the billboard and the ad because I as an atheist am misrepresented by them. And the stupid insensitivity not only to other people’s feelings about them (which I don’t necessarily care about – nobody has the imaginary “right not to be offended”) but to other people’s REACTIONS to them – which for people with social skills (i.e., obviously not the people who concocted the billboard’s imagery and text) is obvious and not something to be dismissed as “anecdotal evidence” – leads seemingly deliberately to those reactions being hostile and unsympathetic to atheists and nonbelievers and to anything we might say or believe.

      And who am I kidding with the “seemingly” when that is precisely what the pompous people who designed the imagery to be THAT off-pissing and arrogant wanted all along, declaring like childish thugs how they “won’t back down”, because understanding and empathy were never on the table among their goals for the ad or billboard.

      Maybe what they wanted was this vague effluvial thing Scott has called “respect”, which seems to be nothing but an immature testosterone-driven “I’ll show those bullies that they can’t pick on ME and that I’m not to be trifled with” pose driven by irrational emotion, which almost always backfires in what is to onlookers a most comedic way. But who can tell, Bobbo? Your kind masks true motivations so well… or so you like to think. 🙂

      • You Know Who says:

        Pre-emptively writing Bobbo’s response for him so we can get this over with:

        “You’re not on my wave band. I wanted an answer from you that I could point and laugh at, not one I had to read and respond to using thinking and stuff. I didn’t bother to read what you just wrote. But clearly you are wrong because I say so. There is no changing of minds, in particular not mine. Let me now re-ask every question I already asked but never read the answers to just to pester you like the troll that I am…”

        There, I think we’re done now. Thanks for playing.

      • You Know Who says:

        See? I was right. No response other than the usual trolling from Bobbo. His original questions of course weren’t genuine. No surprise.

        Again, thanks for trolling. Not expecting any response from you to what I actually said… I mean, not expecting a response with any content in it. Happy trolling! See ya!

      • C’mon YKW. This thread was deliberately obnoxious with no attempt to even make a point.

        Of course he meant what would you do, as you, in place of this billboard?

        Yes. I know you buried some very slightly altered text for the billboard deep in your N,000,000 word tome. But, to be fair to everyone, you hid it so deeply in other text that it’s like looking for needle in a haystack.

        A better question that what would you do though is what have you actually done?

        You criticize so easily. Do you actually take up your cause? Where are your billboards? Where are the news stories about your message of love and understanding between atheists and theists? Clearly they must have been wonderful because we don’t have religious fanatics trying to take over this once-great country of ours.

        Or, do we?

      • You Know Who says:

        C’mon YKW. This thread was deliberately obnoxious with no attempt to even make a point.

        Perhaps that’s true for you. And for your buddy. Thanks for acknowledging this. It wasn’t true for me at all.

        Of course he meant what would you do, as you, in place of this billboard?

        It’s so sad that you’ve lost all semblance of a sense of humor.

        You of all people should know that humor has a place in conveying an argument. My turning the tables on your trolling friend was an example of that. That you don’t get this is sad, it demonstrates how much this argument has deteriorated.

        Yes. I know you buried some very slightly altered text for the billboard deep in your N,000,000 word tome. But, to be fair to everyone, you hid it so deeply in other text that it’s like looking for needle in a haystack.

        Excuses, excuses. There were just as many posts from the two of you as there have been from me. And though you complain about how hard it is to find my salient points, you had no trouble fishing for “incorrectly regarded as error” nitpicks to erroneously chastise me for. Hmmmm…

        Take the mote out of your eye, Scott. It’s obscuring not only your vision but my right-of-way.

  36. You Know Who says:

    Here’s an idea for a billboard. Let me know what you think:

    “How would you like it if we passed a law that said anyone entering a church had to be subjected to a nonbeliever explaining why your religion has no basis in fact before you went in?”

    See? No overt racism. No obscure wording. No tedious full page text they’re not going to read. Offensive, yes. But deliberately provoking a hostile unsympathetic reaction they could justify as a response to your being hostile? No. Forcing a consideration of the question? Perhaps.

    It probably could be a lot better. So improve it. But you won’t hear me screaming “NO, YOU CAN’T CHANGE MY WORDING, I WON’T BACK DOWN! I’M NOT TO BE TRIFLED WITH!” like a whiny bitch…

    Did I offend anyone by saying that?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      My answer even as an atheists would be: I would not like such a law and if passed, I’m sure its unconstitutional. Looks like the ravings of an idiot.

      You are correct–no racism. Just idiocy. There was no full page text on the original billboard. OF COURSE–some if not many will have a hostile unsympathetic reaction to such a billboard==why should the government be enforcing an interference with my desire to simply attend my church? In fact==your wording is more generally offensive than the first example.

      How to make it better? I’d start with a recognition that the billboard in essence IS such a communication to all those who read it before going to church. Don’t need LAWS enforcing one value over another. So, I think the billboard would be better just saying: “your religion has no basis in fact.” Except that is wrong. The Bronze Age did exist after all.

      As I would allow the marketplace of ideas to have as many voices as possible, I’ll leave it to others to make whatever you think is the better/more balanced message. I’m happy with all of them being made and letting god sort them out.

    • Here’s an idea for a billboard. Let me know what you think:

      “How would you like it if we passed a law that said anyone entering a church had to be subjected to a nonbeliever explaining why your religion has no basis in fact before you went in?”

      Not bad. Too many words for a billboard though. And, if you think that is not obscure, you’re insane. No one will get the reference that you are comparing being harassed on the way into church with being harassed on the way into a clinic.

      And, if someone takes the time to explain it to them, the religious might simply respond that they are not killing anyone by going into a church.

      Further, the very suggestion will be moderately offensive to religious folks. So, they will just A) wonder what the hell you’re talking about and B) hate you for it when they figure it out plus C) few will ever hear it at all because by being only moderately offensive, you will not make the news and D) your message is completely irrelevant to PA’s declaration of 2012 as the Year of the Bible.

      See, it’s hard to do this right. First and foremost, you must keep the point you’re trying to make in mind. This billboard is in response to the unanimous decision by the Pennsylvania Senate to declare 2012 to be the Year of the Bible. So, stick to the Bible.

      Finally, you have also created a billboard that most people will not be able to read at highway speed unless they’re stuck in rush hour traffic.

      • You Know Who says:

        Not bad. Too many words for a billboard though.

        Really? That’s what you’re gonna go for? Number of words? When your billboard has only five fewer words? Really?

        It’s almost as if you’re just looking for reasons not to make a more effective billboard.

        And, if you think that is not obscure, you’re insane. No one will get the reference that you are comparing being harassed on the way into church with being harassed on the way into a clinic.

        Really? Because I’ve posted this sentiment using pretty much the same words on several people’s Facebook threads and the reaction from both supporters and detractors was rather upfront and obvious.

        And, if someone takes the time to explain it to them, the religious might simply respond that they are not killing anyone by going into a church.

        But… YOUR billboard is better than this… because… I’d like to hear that one. Every criticism you level at this is multiplied tenfold in relation to YOUR billboard.

        Further, the very suggestion will be moderately offensive to religious folks.

        So? I already said, no one has a right not to be offended. I don’t mind offending if it gives them nothing to respond with. Making it so they complain how “they demonstrated I was wrong” or “they exposed my hypocrisy” makes them sound weak and feeble, but giving them a reason to complain about your racism, your explicit hostility towards their religion, that’s a different story. I’m sorry you don’t get that, but remember, you are the ones too clueless to recognize when something qualifies as racist.

        Finally, you have also created a billboard that most people will not be able to read at highway speed unless they’re stuck in rush hour traffic.

        Then don’t use a billboard. Make it a bumper sticker, a button, a t-shirt. Do what works, not what doesn’t. Your insistence that it’s necessary that this “get on the news” is obsessive – in this day and age, viral internet propagation is more important than television news coverage. If your atheist organization is as stuck in 20th century publicity methodology as you seem to be, it’s no wonder you have been having the opposite of success.

  37. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    You should never anticipate an opponents argument. But I will avert my gaze. You post you did post what you would do…….I doubt that……I very much doubt that……..but let me do the work to review your response and see >>>>>>>>>>

    You say: “Could these billboards and ads have been crafted so as not to explicitly seek to be offensive? Of course they could have! //// Well, ok, but what would you have said? Said/do? Thats the relevant issue. Anything can be criticized, even mindlessly criticized. It is mindless until you suggest a better alternative.

    Let’s look some more: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>”Doubtless there are people with the capacity to envision tactics that yield positive results, /// and yet you do not example this doubtless condition.

    Let’s look some more: >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>”No, you didn’t respond at all. (At least, not in any way that made any sense.)” /// Scott’s response made sense to me. Quite Insightful. You again offer nothing but criticism with no affirmative solution/better effort on your part.

    I’ll stop at three strikes. No==you appear to be a nattering nabob of negativity.

    In your best thinking, if a billboard is to be used at all, what should it have said all to what specific desired end result?

  38. You Know Who says:

    You should never anticipate an opponents argument.

    No, in your case one should. You don’t have anything to say, as evidenced in the rambling babbling of these most recent posts, e.g.:

    My answer even as an atheists would be: I would not like such a law and if passed, I’m sure its unconstitutional. Looks like the ravings of an idiot.

    But it’s obvious (by your own “reasoning”) that this billboard was not directed at atheists – it was directed at people who do go into churches. Which I assume you don’t. It’s also relatively obvious to people who can read and who are aware of current events that this is a response to current enactment of laws forcing women seeking pregnancy termination procedures to undergo invasive procedures and be subjected to lecture before getting such a procedure. So you only made yourself look stupid with your response framed “as an atheists” (sic). But the goal of the troll is to waste time by saying stupid things, so… mission accomplished, dude.

    But I will avert my gaze. You post you did post what you would do…….I doubt that……I very much doubt that……..

    Good for you! It must be nice to be so much of a “skeptic” that you choose not to believe anything!

    but let me do the work to review your response and see

    There’s a first time for everything…

    You say: “Could these billboards and ads have been crafted so as not to explicitly seek to be offensive? Of course they could have! //// Well, ok, but what would you have said?

    See? You said “you should never anticipate an opponent’s argument” – yet I managed to precisely predict what you would say! You ask what I would have said when I in fact already said it! Scott even offered to use it as a basis for a “compromise” – as if the goal here were “let’s compromise between an effort to offer up the best most effective wording and the things I want to say based on irrational emotional impulse!”

    So, see? You ARE a troll. You really do have nothing to say. Just laughable, bye… thanks for trolling!

  39. YKW,

    I’m going to try something new. I’m going to read through your dozen posts and reply to them all here. Actually, this was what I said before I realized I had missed another 14 posts. This is getting ridiculous. YKW, please give someone else a chance to get a word in. For that matter, please give us a chance to read what you write so that you can later complain that we didn’t as seems to be your wont. Anyway, this gets me to about last evening. I’m sure I’ll never actually catch up. But, I’ll be back later.

    If I missed something prior to yesterday evening you can let me know.

    I had hoped this would cut us down from these flurries of replies to a single thread, which may allow time for sleeping, which it seems you did not do at all the last two nights. At least, that is my hope. It will probably cut my advertising revenue in half by reducing my number of replies. But, since my advertising revenue is currently $0.00, I’m willing to lose half to make the replies simpler.

    Before it gets too deeply buried in the N,000 words I’m about to write, this point is important.

    Regarding Respect:

    Yay!! You have finally realized that I am looking for respect rather than popularity. Good for you. I’m sure I’ve said it at least a dozen times. And, you just now get it. Were I you, I would tell you that you should read before you post, or some such nonsense. Instead, I recognize that we each carry baggage into the conversation that may be hard to overcome. In our cases in particular, not only do each of us have our strongly held opinions on the subject coming in, but we also know each other pretty well and also have preconceived notions about each other.

    So, the fact that you read my words 12 or 20 or 30 times before and only get this now may not mean you didn’t read. It may just mean that it took a while to get the message to squeeze around all the baggage.

    So, stop accusing people of not reading your words. You don’t read any more carefully than anyone else.

    Now let’s go into what that respect I’m looking for would mean and see if it might be enough to make you at least satisfied, if not downright thrilled too.

    • Respect would mean that those with religion would respect my rights not to have one.
    • Respect would mean that those with religion would not try to subjugate women in the way that the bible instructs.
    • Respect would mean that those with religion would not try to subjugate women in ways that even the bible does not, e.g. birth control and abortion.
    • Respect would mean that those with religion would not try to block important education that would allow our children to compete on a global scale.
    • Respect would mean that those with religion would not try to rewrite history to give credit to god(s) where credit was hard fought and won by secular individuals.
    • Respect would mean that those with religion would not put their godvertisements in our courthouses, on our money, and in our pledge of allegiance.
    • Respect would mean that the religious would assume that atheists are as moral as the religious.
    • Respect would mean that a qualified atheist might actually be able to win an election on his or her merits instead of having to remain in the closet and yell God every fourth word.
    • Respect might even mean that politicians, in a show of respect for atheists, would not yell God every fourth word even if they believe in God.
    • Respect would certainly mean that congress would not get together to pray on the steps of the capital to show their displeasure with a lawsuit about the pledge of allegiance.
    • Respect would certainly mean that the governor of Texas would not call for prayer for rain during a drought.
    • Respect would mean that the allegedly celibate men of Catholic Lobbying Association of Pedophiles (CLAP) would not be the only witnesses called at a congressional hearing on insurance coverage for birth control.

    Would it be nice if the religious were also actually able to like atheists as human beings? Sure. I’m just not this ambitious. I think winning respect is enough for now.

    Regarding Racism/Slavery in the Bible:

    I think you must have missed the point that these two issues are intimately tied in the Bible. It is not easy to separate them. The Bible explicitly states that lifelong slaves may only be non-Hebrews. Hebrew slaves would be more what we would refer to today as indentured servants. Indentured servitude is also bad, hence laws in NY and NJ that state that all employment is “at will”, but is still far less shocking than slavery.

    The point is that any non-racist image of slavery will, of necessity, be inconsistent with the biblical laws on slavery. The biblical law, if extended to some version of do not enslave “Us” but it’s OK to enslave “Them” will always be racist or bigoted in some way.

    Further, is it racist to point out the racism in the Bible?

    I think not. You think it must be two separate issues even though the Bible does not permit slavery without a discussion of race. I’m not sure how to get this point across. Anyway, if you can think of an image that will not be mistaken for sex games but will instead be easily recognizable at first glance as slavery that does not include race, that will be fine with me.

    This is indeed called compromise.

    I still think that the billboard was fine as was. I still think it was clear. I still think it pointed out both the slavery and the racism inherent in the bible. At least it did until it was vandalized … with only the bible quote left in tact. So, we’re dealing with people so stupid that they believe the sign is better now that it simply and plainly advocates slavery.

    Regarding bystanders:

    Anyone who is still voting republican during the religious war on women going on in this country is not a bystander. Anyone remaining silent about the issues of church and state as states are declaring the year of the bible, declaring that any employer can fire someone for using birth control, declaring that doctors may lie to their patients, anyone who is not standing up for secular society as all of our rights are being burned, is not an innocent bystander.

    Regarding your opinion of how people react, just tell me this. What statistical poll did you use to check people’s opinions of atheism before and after hearing about this billboard? Did you check for respect or only for anger? Did you check anything at all? (I know you didn’t.) Do you think that you alone know exactly how 300,000,000 people will ALL react IDENTICALLY to every input or even to this one?

    I think not.

    I think you viewed the sign through your preconceptions and extrapolated to the world. So, you assert again and again and again that you know exactly what the effect is of this sign. You don’t back down at all because that’s what you do. And, you assume that your knowledge is always 100% perfect. Because, that is what you do.

    Now I’ll move on to miscellaneous less important points from your dozen or more most recent posts, prior to yesterday evening’s flurry that I have not read yet.

    Oh, first, let’s both drop the anecdotes. My original point was that anecdotal evidence is not evidence and that anyway, the anecdotes in the video clip said nothing of respect. Then both of us got caught up in arguing over our anecdotes. We both know better. Let’s ignore that whole line of discussion going forward.

    You said that I ‘imagine that people will associate the words “bronze age” (or even “iron age”) with the words “the Bible”. Clearly you have something against being clear. Perhaps it’s some intellectual’s disease that forces one to use rococo verbal filigree rather than direct clear wording.’

    Is bronze age (or iron age) really a term you’ve not heard before? Does it not conjure up images of “olden times”? The point of using such a term is simply to point out that the bible is old. It was written by people a long time ago when moral standards were very different indeed. The term “biblical times” does not actually conjure up that image as well. I know you feel particularly strongly about this wording and believe it to be obscure, but instead of giving me homework, why not take some upon yourself. Ask some random people on the street. “Have you ever heard of the bronze age?” Then ask, “When you hear the term bronze age, does it conjure up images of last week, last month, or a very long time ago?” That was all that was really relevant about the use of the term. Why are you having so much trouble with it? Did you mistakenly believe it to be the 20th century?

    You now have my “respect”. Or at least, I have to imagine you think you do.

    No. I don’t. On this thread, you’ve shown just as much disrespect for antitheists as the general population does for atheists. You’ve even devised a ridiculous conspiracy that involves the ghost of Joe McCarthy teaming up with 5 year old Rick Frothy Santorum to form American Atheists in 1963, keep the organization alive for decades only to one day put up a total of about a half dozen billboards in strategic locations to make atheists look bad.

    How disrespectful can you be?

    Regarding kneejerk reactions, pot, meet kettle, again. Have you actually given any thought to my comments? Have you thought about what it would mean to have respect? No. You’ve just ranted and ranted and ranted to baffle us all with bullshit to the point where no one (or no three) can keep up with the volume of your posting. How could anyone think about what you say when we barely have time to read the tomes you post?

    Besides, why would we listen? Your entire content is based on your conjecture about how 300,000,000 people you’ve never met will react. You must know that the media will pick the three most shocked and offended people and broadcast only their opinions. For my part, when I saw this billboard, it literally never occurred to me that anyone could perceive a racist message there. Yup, it’s true, believe it or not. I saw it as an image of slavery advocated by the bible and thought it was an excellent way to point out how horrible the bible is.

    But, you don’t care about my reaction because you have no respect for my viewpoint.

    To sum it up, of course it would be nice if we could all sit around the nonfire (cause we can’t afford the carbon tax on the wood for a bonfire) singing

    cumbaya my whatever cumbaya
    oh whatever cumbaya.

    In reality however, I’m only willing to look as far ahead as respect. That will be good enough for me. And, it will probably take decades of boots to heads. IMHO, your way will probably never work, but certainly not in less time. Yes, that’s just an opinion. But, that’s why I take the side I do.

    • You Know Who says:

      I’m going to try something new. I’m going to read through your dozen posts and reply to them all here. Actually, this was what I said before I realized I had missed another 14 posts. This is getting ridiculous. YKW, please give someone else a chance to get a word in.

      Hmmm… aside from my recent original subthread containing my own idea for a new billboard, every comment I’ve added was a response to something someone else (either you or Bobbo) said. So, my words have been alternating with yours and his. Therefore, not only am I letting someone else have a chance to get a word in, I am at a disadvantage because I need to respond to the words of two people. I do obviously “give others a chance to get a word in” – because the words I say are in response to those words that were gotten in.

      For that matter, please give us a chance to read what you write so that you can later complain that we didn’t as seems to be your wont.

      When someone like Bobbo asks the same questions over and over again, particularly questions already answered (which he had even responded to the answers that had been given), he is justifiably labelled a troll. You too have done this – and you do it still more here in this extended post. And when you do, I call you on it. Several times, you’ve accused me of the same thing, but each time you said I didn’t read what you’d said, I show that indeed I had and had provided a response to it, that YOU apparently hadn’t read. These misdirections, deliberate or not, derail the conversation and are basically nothing more than distractions. To sum up, I do not make the accusation you speak of lightly. Believe it or not, it is intended more respectfully than not – the glaring contradiction of words saying things about what I had said that are plainly untrue can only be explained as having “forgotten” what I’d said (not likely given the context of other comments), deliberately omitted for malicious purposes (“never attribute to malice…”), or had simply never been read. The last of those is the most gracious assignment of possibility.

      (cont’d)

    • You Know Who says:

      Regarding Respect:

      Yay!! You have finally realized that I am looking for respect rather than popularity. Good for you.

      Ahem… if you had read what I’d been writing, you’d noticed that I’d reached this conclusion a very long time ago in the history of this thread. Yes, you “said it at least a dozen times”. And each time, you used the word in this vague manner not really defining what you meant by it. Which is not bad or wrong: it means different things to each person! But it would be nice to know what you’ve meant by it, and indeed in this post you let us know!

      I recognize that we each carry baggage into the conversation that may be hard to overcome. In our cases in particular, not only do each of us have our strongly held opinions on the subject coming in, but we also know each other pretty well and also have preconceived notions about each other.

      And that is pretty much what I had to glean indepdendently about what you meant by “respect”.

      So, stop accusing people of not reading your words. You don’t read any more carefully than anyone else.

      Been there, answered that. We’re repeating ourselves. Moving along…

      Now let’s go into what that respect I’m looking for would mean…

      Well, I’m not going to repeat the entire laundry list of checklist items you require before you would say that you have been given “respect”. It’s available above in your text. But I think you left out a few critical items, like “respect would mean there was world peace” and “respect would mean that there was no more disease and hunger and want” and “respect would mean everyone laughed at my jokes all the time”. Still, I’m here to let you know that I talked to all the religions of the world, and I told them this was what you wanted, and using my immaculately amazing negotiating skills… they’ve agreed to your demands! At least seven of the items on the list have already been implemented, and the rest are being worked on as we speak. By tomorrow morning, you will be respected by everyone who is a member of an organized religion. The rest of us… I can’t speak for…

      (I should note that that one last demand, that they laugh at all of your jokes, is going to take some time, but they agreed to put their indoctrinational brainwashing services to work (the ones Bobbo says are used to “overcome people’s free will”) and within the next century, people will have been reprogrammed to find what you say funny. Sort of.)

      I’m going to guess that you’ve never heard the idea that respect is earned, not granted a priori because someone demands it. Among freethinking people, that is axiomatic. Nobody just “respects” someone because they are in a position of authority and demand it. Obviously you and the religious world are at an impasse. They show you and people like you an utter disrespect – to the point where “lack of respect” really isn’t the right phrasing. But you say you want their “respect” the way a teenager demands his parents’ “respect”, where his idea of respect is their giving him his own car and not badgering him about how badly he’s doing in school because he’s on the XBox all day.

      You’ve set a high bar when it comes to what would qualify as “respect”. I don’t think I’m revealing any new information when I say it’s a self-fulfilling prophect that you’re never going to get that kind of “respect” from them, and that thus you’ve deliberately set things up so that you can feel justified in not showing any respect towards them. (I’m not talking about those rare specific cases you’ve met a religious person and befriended them and took that thorn out of their paw and managed to have mutual respect between the two of you. I’m talking about respect for religious people as a group. You won’t offer that kind of respect to them – listen to your rants about “no innocent bystanders” and your presumptions about them – and yet you expect them to provide it in droves to you.)

      So, it’s a nice laundry list you have there. I agree with pretty much every item on the list. But I have no expectations that all or most are going to transpire in my lifetime. In the meantime, I would like to see some progress on all those fronts, but more importantly, I’d really prefer that things not move backwards on any of them. In the end, you present this list and then ask:

      Would it be nice if the religious were also actually able to like atheists as human beings? Sure. I’m just not this ambitious. I think winning respect is enough for now.

      All I can say here… welcome to Scott’s Bizarro planet, where logic works backwards, where you say “I’m not ambitious enough to get one simple thing – I’ll settle (sic) for a long list of nearly impossible-to-attain things.”

      Not like, but tolerate. I’m not ambitious enough to be a social terrorist and demand a long list of things NOW, but I’ll settle for tolerance, acceptance – the recognition that “hey, we don’t have the right to disparage or demean or discriminate against these people just because they don’t believe in God”. That will not come if they don’t genuinely respect you – using the traditional English speakers’ meaning of the term, meaning that they consider you someone worthy of respect. And as long as you and your fellow atheists continue to give them reason to believe you are not worthy of respect and to continue to believe he lies told about you by the demagogues in power in their institutions, you will never be worthy of respect. It’s very simple, and it’s only that stubborn baggage you carry in that seems to keep you from seeing that.

      Respect would mean that a qualified atheist might actually be able to win an election on his or her merits instead of having to remain in the closet and yell God every fourth word.

      This one item I feel obliged to say something about. How would you measure the success of this item? “Hmmm, Joe’s an atheist, but they didn’t vote for him. Clearly that’s because these people still don’t respect atheists. #FAIL – Continued lack of respect among religious people for nonbelievers!”

      You ARE aware that those people vote, Scott, aren’t you? That as long as enough of them vote and as long as enough of them breed enough of them to have a superdupermajority, as long as they continue not to TOLERATE you, not to see you as legitimate decent human people, the greater the chance that stupid laws that are obviously unconstitutional (but who gives a shit if the Supreme Court is packed with religious zealots) will be passed criminalizing non-belief in God, making it legal to kill atheists (because they’re not really people, they have no souls), creating a Department of God that ensures everyone complies with the real law of the land… am I going too fast?

      As long as these people vote, if you want a saner more rational way of life to be preserved, you have to do a better job than the right-wing demagogues are doing to persuade them NOT to vote in the theocracy.

      And you and Bobbo believe billboards and ads designed to be offensive to the point of arrogance and provocation are the way to achieve that? Well, yes, I’m sure you do.

      I have to assume you don’t believe in democracy and want to see it abolished, because all those pesky people getting to vote does get in the way of a rational logical fair and just government of the smart people, by the smart people, and for the smart people, doesn’t it? Personally, I’ll stick with Churchill’s begrudging endorsement of democracy as the best hope we have. But for you, aside from abolishing democracy, what options are on your plate? Canada?

      • Sorry. I’m still way behind and playing catch up. I have at least 20 more posts to read and possibly reply to after this.

        Ahem… if you had read what I’d been writing, you’d noticed that I’d reached this conclusion a very long time ago in the history of this thread.

        Actually, no. You posted no fewer than 30 (Sheldon says 33 but I think we shouldn’t count one-line humorous asides, like post++) replies on this thread, probably at least half directed at me before acknowledging that I was not looking for agreement with the bully but respect, however grudging and however vague you believe the term to be. You used the term respect again and again, but mistakenly equated it with exactly what you want, which I still haven’t really figured out, rather than something else despite my repeated assertions that I wanted something else that I called respect. You might have asked what it meant if you were unsure of my particular meaning. (bobbo does this to me all the time in the most infuriating way. 🙂 )

        Regarding respect, I posted what I’m looking for. I had expected that what you were looking for was all of that plus something even more unrealistic. Now, you’ve made a number of posts that seem in my mind to be contradictory.

        So, why not take that step back and let us know … what is your end goal? You’ve never specified.

        I know you don’t like the prior billboards stat state “You know it’s a myth” because you found that somehow offensive. I know you don’t like the FFRF ad though you’ve never said a concrete word about why.

        And yet, you “consider religion to be a pretty lame thing worth mocking, debunking, and overthrowing where it has power over people.”

        So, offending the religious bothers you … unless you’re the one doing the offending? Is that really it?

        If we briefly take away the race issue from the billboard, it’s text is no more offensive than your suggestions. And, it’s no more obscure than comparing the experience of being harassed in the way into a clinic with being harassed on the way into church. Are you really prepared to state that a clinic is your place of worship? And certainly, both your version and the billboard version of the slavery text are more offensive than the myth billboards’ text.

        So, can it really be that the only thing consistent in whether you find a message too offensive for the general public is whether you are the author of the text? You can do better than that.

        And, if getting religion out of the legal system so that the secular rights are once again respected in this once-great country is not at least a part of your goal, please tell us what is.

        And, yes, I know my goals are unrealistic in my lifetime. But, they are worthy goals. Thus far, I had been of the impression that you were looking for at least as much and then some. What rights are you willing to have legislated away from you (or leave in that position since many have already been so) in the interests of making peace with the bully?

        Can you really imagine having “tolerance and acceptance” in a world where you don’t have legal rights? Explain what that would mean. Be as detailed as I was because I just don’t get that. How would you consider that you had gained tolerance or acceptance in a country that refused to allow birth control and abortion and teaching of science and all the rest?

        Regarding voting in the theocracy. Yes, I do see this as one valid path to that. Can you tolerate disagreement on the subject? How tolerant are you? Don’t we get enough intolerance from the theists? Must we now also suffer it from our fellow atheists?

        Further, democracy is NOT only about majority rule. Protection of the rights of the minority is just as key to living in a democracy. And, civil rights should genuinely not be up for a vote for precisely that reason. That’s why the SCOTUS is tasked with defense of those rights. That’s why ballot proposals regarding gay marriage are a bad idea. The majority often votes against the rights of the minority. Such things should not be up for a vote. That’s why FFRF and ACLU argue cases before SCOTUS, not on a ballot proposal.

      • You Know Who says:

        Truth be told, this comment of yours was not a response to any of the points I made. That seems to be the trend around here. Instead of responding to points, the focus is on spelling errors, seemingly deliberate misinterpretations used for feigned oneupsmanship, and “I know you are but what am I” retorts. Kind of pointless to continue an “argument” that’s deteriorated to that level of inanity.

        “You never acknowledged that I said I was looking for respect until comment #127!”

        “Aha! Clearly YOU are the one who doesn’t read because I misinterpreted what you said and assessed it erroneously as a flaw in YOUR writing, meaning I win!!!!

        “So what, you found something comical that’s analogous to this discourse as a demonstration of the inherent silliness of my argument! I’m going to back to looking at the pretty pictures rather than backing down from my stubborn posturing.”

        This thread stopped being about the points being made a long time ago. Rendering the iteration and reiteration (and of course, because there’s NO trolling here, re-reiteration) of points not only “pointless” – which is a word meaning devoid of points, but… we need some word that means filled with some sort of negative anti-points. But, alas, we don’t have one.

        Regarding respect, I posted what I’m looking for. I had expected that what you were looking for was all of that plus something even more unrealistic.

        Oh dear… I was just making a joke when I referred to the Bizarro planet I suggested you were living on, but… whoa, you really are living there! Let’s be clear: I recognize that you meant something a bit out of the ordinary when you first referred to the “respect” you were expecting from believers, but it sounded like it was simply the immature irrational testosterone-driven “I’ll show those bullies they can’t pick on ME” nonsense. Only when you posted your little collection of items that read like a list of terrorist demands did I realize just HOW irrational your notion of respect really was.
        Now, you’ve made a number of posts that seem in my mind to be contradictory.

        So, why not take that step back and let us know … what is your end goal? You’ve never specified.

        I know you don’t like the prior billboards stat state “You know it’s a myth” because you found that somehow offensive. I know you don’t like the FFRF ad though you’ve never said a concrete word about why.

        And yet, you “consider religion to be a pretty lame thing worth mocking, debunking, and overthrowing where it has power over people.”

        So, offending the religious bothers you … unless you’re the one doing the offending? Is that really it?

        If we briefly take away the race issue from the billboard, it’s text is no more offensive than your suggestions. And, it’s no more obscure than comparing the experience of being harassed in the way into a clinic with being harassed on the way into church. Are you really prepared to state that a clinic is your place of worship? And certainly, both your version and the billboard version of the slavery text are more offensive than the myth billboards’ text.

        So, can it really be that the only thing consistent in whether you find a message too offensive for the general public is whether you are the author of the text? You can do better than that.

        And, if getting religion out of the legal system so that the secular rights are once again respected in this once-great country is not at least a part of your goal, please tell us what is.

        And, yes, I know my goals are unrealistic in my lifetime. But, they are worthy goals. Thus far, I had been of the impression that you were looking for at least as much and then some. What rights are you willing to have legislated away from you (or leave in that position since many have already been so) in the interests of making peace with the bully?

        Can you really imagine having “tolerance and acceptance” in a world where you don’t have legal rights?

        Hell yes! What’s more, I cannot imagine a world in which a group without explicit definition of their legal rights got those rights WITHOUT achieving tolerance and acceptance first. Scott, you have it SO backward. You fancy yourself a logical person, but this is so the opposite of logic in every way.

        Explain what that would mean. Be as detailed as I was
        because I just don’t get that.

        No.

        Any explanation I give, from the simple historical examples to the logical methodological flow of cause and effect, will be brushed aside by you the same way you have ignored every other point I’ve been making until now. So to implore me to “explain” is just another invitation into a whirlpool that goes nowhere.

        So you just don’t get that. That’s too bad. You’ll have to do your own due diligence and figure this out for yourself, without pretending you would listen to me if I offered you an explanation.

        Regarding voting in the theocracy. Yes, I do see this as one valid path to that. Can you tolerate disagreement on the subject?

        No. No more than you would tolerate “OK, you believe in evolution, we believe in creationism, can’t you just accept that our path is as valid as yours?”

        How tolerant are you? Don’t we get enough intolerance from the theists? Must we now also suffer it from our fellow atheists?

        In other words, “why can’t you just agree with us to promote solidarity, even if you have reasons to disagree, rather than adding to the list of people who express disagreement with us and causing problems for our cause?”

        Further, democracy is NOT only about majority rule. Protection of the rights of the minority is just as key to living in a democracy. And, civil rights should genuinely not be up for a vote for precisely that reason. That’s why the SCOTUS is tasked with defense of those rights.

        Indeed! SHOULD not. Absolutely. It is a critical, critical point that needs to be said again and again, that constitutional democracy is designed to protect immutable rights from transient popular whims, and that established protections preventing the erosion of those rights are sacrosanct (which doesn’t mean that God gets to decide whether we have rights or not).

        But I’m distressed by your naivete here. They ARE up for a vote. And just a couple more Alitos on the bench means a Supreme Court that doesn’t give a shit about freedom of (or from) religion. And a country where laws criminalizing non-belief could easily happen. Where the superdupermajority passes laws saying that non-Christians are not allowed to vote, leading to Constitutional amendments that retroactive declare the Founding Fathers to have considered this a Christian nation.

        So, go ahead, try and claim this is a “why can’t you be tolerant of my difference of opinion here, let’s agree to disagree” situation when it comes to whether or not it’s important if you alienate the mass of religious believers to the point that they elect anti-secular candidates on anti-secular platforms. Sure. Do that.

        That’s why ballot proposals regarding gay marriage are a bad idea. The majority often votes against the rights of the minority. Such things should not be up for a vote. That’s why FFRF and ACLU argue cases before SCOTUS, not on a ballot proposal.

        Again: should should should. They’re a “bad idea” if you believe in gay rights, but a very good idea if you are a dominionist who doesn’t think gay people should have rights! As I’ve said repeatedly, these people vote – whether you like that or not! You have said, outright, that you don’t care whether you and our friends alienate them to the point that they consider atheists to be subhuman and vote for dominionist candidates that move forward (or should I say backward) on implementing an anti-secular agenda. You’ve written them off with your “no innocent bystanders” pose. And you’ve claimed this is just something we should “agree to disagree” about.

        Really? You’re gonna go with that?

      • So, you aren’t actually trying to accomplish anything specific. Thanks for letting me know. This conversation could have ended a long long time ago.

        The next few comments look damn near identical. I think you may have wanted to edit one instead of re-re-reposting nearly the same thing.

        Doesn’t matter though. We’ve got nothing to discuss if you’re not looking to make tangible improvements. Because, those bullies you keep denying exist are not taking small incremental steps; they’re steamrolling over us at about mach 3 and accelerating.

      • You Know Who says:

        So, you aren’t actually trying to accomplish anything specific.

        No, I am trying to accomplish what I said I’m trying to accomplish from the beginning – which is to draw attention to the fact that the organization you support is promoting messages through billboards and ads and other media that do the opposite of moving us towards achieving tolerance and acceptance for nonbelievers. And you know this. So stop pretending you don’t. That’s such heinous corrupt bullshit not worthy of an honest discussion.

        Thanks for letting me know.

        I didn’t let you know anything of the kind.

        This conversation could have ended a long long time ago.

        I think you mean “should” – given how little substance you’ve provided in terms of counterargument or rebuttal (focusing instead on petty fishing to find nitpicks you thought you could point out to say “aha, so I win!”, and given how little NEW content I’ve provided owing to my having to repeat my comments again and again because you pretend I didn’t say them.

        Or perhaps you meant “would” – it WOULD have ended a long time ago had you had the honesty to just acknowledge that I just might have a point in criticizing your position, instead of wallowing in the very kind of response you would rightfully disparage had some believer directed it at you.

        Or… well let’s be honest: who knows what you meant?

      • Well, I’m looking to be treated better than a mosquito. Since you won’t define what you mean by tolerance and acceptance, we’re left with my definition.

        Your suggested messages for billboards are every bit as inflammatory to the religious as the myth billboards. With the exception of removing the race issue, which I’ve already agreed to compromise on provided you can come up with a good image, your suggested path is exactly the same.

        The only difference I can find in your suggestions is that you wrote them.

        Why not take some time to produce better messages instead of infighting with your fellow atheists?

        You claim you want to take small steps and make little incremental progress. However, we’re losing our existing rights very fast. So, your little improvements at a speed measured in furlongs per fortnight, will have no effect at all against the rocket powered steamroller crushing us today.

      • You Know Who says:

        Well, I’m looking to be treated better than a mosquito.

        When I start seeing believers dousing you with bug spray or swatting you into two-dimensionality, I’ll stick up for your right not to be “treated like a mosquito”. Until then, I will treat this as just one more dramatic hyperbole from you.

      • You Know Who says:

        Truth be told, this comment of yours was not a response to any of the points I made. That seems to be the trend around here. Instead of responding to points, the focus is on spelling errors, seemingly deliberate misinterpretations used for feigned oneupsmanship, and “I know you are but what am I” retorts. Kind of pointless to continue an “argument” that’s deteriorated to that level of inanity.

        “You never acknowledged that I said I was looking for respect until comment #127!”

        “Aha! Clearly YOU are the one who doesn’t read because I misinterpreted what you said and assessed it erroneously as a flaw in YOUR writing, meaning I win!!!!

        “So what, you found something comical that’s analogous to this discourse as a demonstration of the inherent silliness of my argument! I’m going to back to looking at the pretty pictures rather than backing down from my stubborn posturing.”

        This thread stopped being about the points being made a long time ago. Rendering the iteration and reiteration (and of course, because there’s NO trolling here, re-reiteration) of points not only “pointless” – which is a word meaning devoid of points, but… we need some word that means filled with some sort of negative anti-points. But, alas, we don’t have one.

        Regarding respect, I posted what I’m looking for. I had expected that what you were looking for was all of that plus something even more unrealistic.

        Oh dear… I was just making a joke when I referred to the Bizarro planet I suggested you were living on, but… whoa, you really are living there! Let’s be clear: I recognize that you meant something a bit out of the ordinary when you first referred to the “respect” you were expecting from believers, but it sounded like it was simply the immature irrational testosterone-driven “I’ll show those bullies they can’t pick on ME” nonsense. Only when you posted your little collection of items that read like a list of terrorist demands did I realize just HOW irrational your notion of respect really was.
        Now, you’ve made a number of posts that seem in my mind to be contradictory.

        So, why not take that step back and let us know … what is your end goal? You’ve never specified.

        Oh yes I have. Stop it. If you can’t bear the thought of someone violating the sanctity of atheistically correct thought with contrary opinion, then say so. But I’ve been saying from the beginning what I’ve been looking for: messages that challenge the authority of religious dogmatists by embarrassing and shaming them about the consequences of their ideals and mocking them for claiming that being told they’re wrong is an act of hateful prejudice, without giving them ammunition to say “Look, they ARE engaging in hateful prejudice against us!” But why do I bother saying that when you will pretend once again that I didn’t?

        I know you don’t like the prior billboards stat state “You know it’s a myth” because you found that somehow offensive. I know you don’t like the FFRF ad though you’ve never said a concrete word about why.

        Yup. Did. You just went out of your way to pretend I didn’t because the blinders you wear seem to have prevented you from seeing it.

      • You Know Who says:

        If we briefly take away the race issue from the billboard

        Why? It’s central. Do you want to “take it away” because you are finally acknowledging that your position regarding the inherent racism in it is untenable?

        Can you really imagine having “tolerance and acceptance” in a world where you don’t have legal rights?

        Hell yes! What’s more, I cannot imagine a world in which a group without explicit definition of their legal rights got those rights WITHOUT achieving tolerance and acceptance first. Scott, you have it SO backward. You fancy yourself a logical person, but this is so the opposite of logic in every way.

        Explain what that would mean. Be as detailed as I was
        because I just don’t get that.

        No.

        Any explanation I give, from the simple historical examples to the logical methodological flow of cause and effect, will be brushed aside by you the same way you have ignored every other point I’ve been making until now. So to implore me to “explain” is just another invitation into a whirlpool that goes nowhere.

        So you just don’t get that. That’s too bad. You’ll have to do your own due diligence and figure this out for yourself, without pretending you would listen to me if I offered you an explanation.

      • Well, I was thinking could ignore race for the moment because only one of the 5 messages you hate had any possible racial issue.

        So, we can have a meaningful discussion of what’s wrong with the “You know it’s a myth” message or the FFRF letter. So far, the only consistent reason I have been able to find for your distaste of these other messages is that you are not their author.

        Got something else to say about them?

      • You Know Who says:

        No, Scott, I’m not going to start a NEW argument with you where you can complain that I’m “not showing you respect” because I refuse to agree with the position you’re advocating. That’s just stupid and a real waste of time. Perhaps not for you, but for me.

      • Well, this thread was started with a billboard and an ad from FFRF. You’ve chosen to state that both are terrible. But, you’ve said absolutely nothing specific about the FFRF ad, only that you think no one will leave the church because of it. Why?

      • You Know Who says:

        I guess I have to say it AGAIN because it wasn’t read the first time… again…

        Have a debate with me in which you use nitpicking and deflection to avoid responding to arguments once, shame on you.

        Have a debate with me in which you use nitpicking and deflection to avoid responding to arguments twice, shame on me.

      • You Know Who says:

        Regarding voting in the theocracy. Yes, I do see this as one valid path to that. Can you tolerate disagreement on the subject?

        No. No more than you would tolerate “OK, you believe in evolution, we believe in creationism, can’t you just accept that our path is as valid as yours?”

        How tolerant are you? Don’t we get enough intolerance from the theists? Must we now also suffer it from our fellow atheists?

        In other words, “why can’t you just agree with us to promote solidarity, even if you have reasons to disagree, rather than adding to the list of people who express disagreement with us and causing problems for our cause?”

        Further, democracy is NOT only about majority rule. Protection of the rights of the minority is just as key to living in a democracy. And, civil rights should genuinely not be up for a vote for precisely that reason. That’s why the SCOTUS is tasked with defense of those rights.

        Indeed! SHOULD not. Absolutely. It is a critical, critical point that needs to be said again and again, that constitutional democracy is designed to protect immutable rights from transient popular whims, and that established protections preventing the erosion of those rights are sacrosanct (which doesn’t mean that God gets to decide whether we have rights or not).

        But I’m distressed by your naivete here. They ARE up for a vote. And just a couple more Alitos on the bench means a Supreme Court that doesn’t give a shit about freedom of (or from) religion. And a country where laws criminalizing non-belief could easily happen. Where the superdupermajority passes laws saying that non-Christians are not allowed to vote, leading to Constitutional amendments that retroactive declare the Founding Fathers to have considered this a Christian nation.

        So, go ahead, try and claim this is a “why can’t you be tolerant of my difference of opinion here, let’s agree to disagree” situation when it comes to whether or not it’s important if you alienate the mass of religious believers to the point that they elect anti-secular candidates on anti-secular platforms. Sure. Do that.

        That’s why ballot proposals regarding gay marriage are a bad idea. The majority often votes against the rights of the minority. Such things should not be up for a vote. That’s why FFRF and ACLU argue cases before SCOTUS, not on a ballot proposal.

        Again: should should should. They’re a “bad idea” if you believe in gay rights, but a very good idea if you are a dominionist who doesn’t think gay people should have rights! As I’ve said repeatedly, these people vote – whether you like that or not! You have said, outright, that you don’t care whether you and our friends alienate them to the point that they consider atheists to be subhuman and vote for dominionist candidates that move forward (or should I say backward) on implementing an anti-secular agenda. You’ve written them off with your “no innocent bystanders” pose. And you’ve claimed this is just something we should “agree to disagree” about.

        Really? You’re gonna go with that?

      • You Know Who says:

        So, can it really be that the only thing consistent in whether you find a message too offensive for the general public is whether you are the author of the text?

        How weak was THAT! Is that all you’ve got left in support of your points, Scott? Tsk tsk…

      • You Know Who says:

        Your argument has deteriorated into fishing for spelling errors, deflections, and petty insults like “is the only factor in whether you find a message to be overly offensive is whether you wrote it?” – and you expect that you’re NOT going to be called on how low your argument has sunk??????????

      • You Know Who says:

        Your argument has deteriorated into fishing for spelling errors, deflections, and petty insults like “is the only factor in whether you find a message to be overly offensive whether you’re the one wrote it?” – and you expect that you’re NOT going to be called on how low your argument has sunk??????????

      • NAck NAck Paddywack give your dog a bone. I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about … twice.

        And, as for what, other than the fact that you didn’t write them, is wrong with the myth billboards or the FFRF ad, if you don’t want me to accuse you of hating them because you didn’t write them, then give me another reason.

      • You Know Who says:

        Wow, you’ve now reached a Bobboesque level of incomprehensibility and irrationality. Keep going. I’m not going to respond to this little whack-nacks of yours.

        Of course you know what I’m talking about: as an example of the kinds of responses you’re reduced to offering up, you totally misread the whole “motivating interest” commentary and mistakenly gloated that you thought you “got me”. This level of nitpicky “I caught you in a spelling error” bullshit is the level to which your argument has sunk. So clearly you’re done. Keep saying you just don’t get it. Keep whacking and nacking. The creepy desperation in your responses reflects only on you. Not on me.

      • When the hell did I say anything about catching you in a spelling error? What are you talking about? Please post the quote from me that you’re referencing. It is either lost in tens of thousands of words or never happened. I haven’t even corrected bobbo on spelling or punctuation.

      • You Know Who says:

        The whole erroneous “gloating” about how you thought you “got me” regarding the “motivating interest” exchange between me and Bobbo – that was pretty pitiful and no better than someone nitpicking spelling and grammar errors in order to shout “See, he spelled ‘hypocrisy’ wrong! I win the argument!” I said this already. I contend that if this is the level to which your argument has sunk (and clearly it is) then you have nothing concrete left to say. Your more recent rationalization of extremism does not really add anything new, it just shows the level of desperation present in endorsing extremism and violence and “no innocent bystanders” rhetoric.

      • Post the fucking quote and you’ll see that I never said anything of the kind. No. Maybe you won’t. But, everyone else will.

      • Just a P.S. (Yes, not I’m not giving you time in between and I haven’t even caught up yet.) I just have to add what tolerance and acceptance mean to me so that you will have a bit more incentive to specify what they mean to you. I really am curious.

        To me, the image you have conjured up in my brain is when I go into the forest looking for wildlife. Depending on the type of forest, I may expect there to be any or many (though not likely all in any one forest) of mosquitoes, ticks, bot flies, leeches, ants with particularly nasty biting apparatus and formic acid and even plants with serious thorns or skin irritants on their bark. Hell, there’s even one species of plant that has a symbiotic relationship with biting ants. Touching the plant brings out the ant watchdogs who will bite you.

        I tolerate and accept all of these because I want to see the wildlife in the forest.Though, sometimes, I do swat at some of the bugs, pull the leeches off with pliers or otherwise fight back against the “vermin”.

        Is this the type of tolerance and acceptance you hope to gain? Would that be enough for you? I hope for better, even if that hope is unfounded. I hope you do too. If not, that explains our differences.

        I really would like to know what you strive for in this.

      • You Know Who says:

        I’m not going to bother because a) I’ve already explained my thoughts on that matter and b) explaining again would be less than pointless.

        You say you “hope for better”. Good for you. You do that. But you aren’t “hoping” for better – you’re demanding it! Really, enough of your laundry list of demands about what constitutes “respect”. Sorry if things aren’t moving fast enough for you. Accept your part of the blame for that. Work for small change. Change starts from within. It doesn’t start with expectations that everyone else should change.

    • You Know Who says:

      Regarding Racism/Slavery in the Bible:

      I think you must have missed the point that these two issues are intimately tied in the Bible.

      You know I didn’t miss that point because I read your comments saying this and I debunked them as irrelevant, citing examples of non-race-based discussion of slavery that YOU YOURSELF brought up! Do you want me to go back to “You clearly didn’t read what I wrote” again as an explanation for your failure to acknowledge what I said?

      It is not easy to separate them.

      No, actually it is. You did it yourself. And what’s more, it’s critically important that you do so. Because in the Bible we see justifications for slavery, justifications for rape, justifications for murder… AND we also see justifications for enslaving people of other races, justifications for raping people of other races, justifications for murdering people of other races. Do you get how the Bible justifies horrible things, and then ALSO attempts to justify horrible things when the horrible things are done to people of other races? “X is bad when it’s done to anybody, X is also bad when done to people of other races, but note how the Bible justifies it being even worse!” Separate issues. Merging them mitigates the horror. Slavery is bad no matter who is enslaved. Convey that. Or don’t – convey something else instead that’s more readily conveyable. But don’t pretend the two “need” to be inextricably tied when in reality that was just a weak excuse to put up a billboard offensive more for its racist imagery than for its anti-religious content and then feign ignorance.

      Further, is it racist to point out the racism in the Bible?

      All by itself, as the horrid thing that it is: damned straight. So do that. But it seems you’d rather send a muddled confused message about what it is you’re disparaging so badly formed as to piss off the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

      You think it must be two separate issues even though the Bible does not permit slavery without a discussion of race. I’m not sure how to get this point across.

      So you’re saying your failure to be able to get a point across justifies presenting it badly? Is that the point you’re trying to make?

      I still think that the billboard was fine as was.

      Indeed. A white guy didn’t see it as racist, so it wasn’t. I get that argument. All the time.

      (cont’d)

      • Again, the bible does not separate the issue of race from the issue of slavery. The bible specifies that enslavement of Hebrews is only for a limited time. This is what we now call indentured servitude.

        If you want to separate the issues, I already said I was fine with it. Just, as I said, make sure the image is one that is obviously slavery not some sex game.

        BTW, find or make an image and post it here. I’d love to see it. Unlike me, you’re artistic. I have little imagination or skill in that area. I can’t create such an image.

        When you do so, I would be glad to post it as a suggestion on American’ Atheists’ blog. Perhaps they would take the idea and run with it for their next billboard. Do you want to be part of the solution or just a heckler?

      • You Know Who says:

        Again, the bible does not separate the issue of race from the issue of slavery.

        Yes it does. YOU do not separate the issues. You conjoin them as if they were one and complain when others make the appropriate distinction.

        I said before (and of course you pretended I didn’t and ignored the point completely), the Bible condones slavery, it condones rape, it condones murder, and it also specific mentions condoning enslaving people of other races, the raping of people of other races, and the murder of people of other races. That’s separation any way you slice it.

        Please, you’re just wrong here, and you’re just repeating your assertion “the Bible does not separate race from slavery”, when it talks about each in distinct separate ways, over and over again, as if that helps.

      • You said it. But, the bible quotes I posted do not support your statement.

        So, NAck #5

      • You Know Who says:

        But, the bible quotes I posted do not support your statement.

        You’ve gotta love this one: “Yes, but the quotes I chose to post don’t support that!”

        And the funny thing is, even that’s not true: the quote from Exodus and several others describe slavery in which Jews owned other Jews. Therefore you are wrong, and you know you’re wrong because that’s an example you posted yourself!

        Can one nack oneself?

    • You Know Who says:

      Regarding bystanders:

      I have no intention of going over your words here piecemeal. The cry of “there are no innocent bystanders” is code used by violent terrorists to justify collateral damage against civilians not involved in a conflict. It is heinous. It is disgusting. And it demonstrates that you, demanding respect from a group of people whose beliefs differ from yours, have no intention of showing it to them.

      Next topic…

      Is bronze age (or iron age) really a term you’ve not heard before? Does it not conjure up images of “olden times”?

      Does it conjure up associations with the Bible? No, it doesn’t.

      The point of using such a term is simply to point out that the bible is old.

      But using a word that simply means “old”, that apparently was out of the question for a group of smug intellectuals sitting in a room drafting up a billboard saying “how can we say this oh so CLEVERLY?”

      It was written by people a long time ago when moral standards were very different indeed.

      Yeah, that’s the ticket, that’s the point.

      The term “biblical times” does not actually conjure up that image as well.

      You mean there are people who believe the Bible was written last Thursday?

      Granted, verbally it would be redundant to use wording of the form “the Bible, which comes from Biblical times”. So… is there some other word that means “old”, “ancient”, “primitive”? Like… “old”, “ancient”, or “primitive”?

      Ya think?

      (cont’d)

      • The cry of “there are no innocent bystanders” is code used by violent terrorists to justify collateral damage against civilians not involved in a conflict. It is heinous. It is disgusting.

        Well, now I’m a heinous, disgusting, violent terrorist for pointing out that those who support religious organizations (including the republican party) who seek to rob us of our rights are actually not blameless in the loss of our rights. If you believe that, fine.

        But, it’s a bit surprising that you’re still speaking to me.

        Or, wait, perhaps you actually do see that putting up a billboard actually isn’t terrorism and that people reading it don’t literally die of their shock. We all like to get caught up in over dramatization from time to time. This is your time.

        It’s also a bit surprising to me that you wish to speak more respectfully to those members of religious lobbying organizations running the republican party than you do to me. But, so be it.

        And keep in mind that, though you like to deny it, “grass roots” lobbying organizations like ACLU, NRDC, churches, and AAA really do tout their membership numbers as reason for politicians to listen to them. So, while members of AAA might not realize that AAA is using their name to lobby against fuel efficiency, public transportation, and automobile safety, AAA does indeed do so. And, members of these organizations should be made aware of that and be asked to leave those organizations.

        That is the purpose of the FFRF letter and the much more condensed message of the myth billboards. The slave billboard has another purpose. That one is specifically to combat the PA senate’s Year of the Babble.

        Re: Bronze Age, primitive might convey the age in the same derogatory way as Bronze Age. But, I don’t see it as being less inflammatory. And, Since I never agreed that Bronze Age was unclear, I don’t see any improvement. But, if you do, fine. I don’t care that much about whether we say bronze age, iron age, or primitive.

      • You Know Who says:

        > The cry of “there are no innocent bystanders” is code used by violent terrorists to justify collateral damage against civilians not involved in a conflict. It is heinous. It is disgusting.

        Well, now I’m a heinous, disgusting, violent terrorist for pointing out that those who support religious organizations (including the republican party) who seek to rob us of our rights are actually not blameless in the loss of our rights. If you believe that, fine.

        No, but you are coming mighty close to being a heinous disgusting violent terrorist every time you invoke that rationalized “there are no innocent bystanders” crap. You could always retract that, realizing how heinous that is. After, you’re not Bobbo, and the changing of minds is a possibility for you… isn’t it?

        And of course, that ISN’T what you were “pointing out”. Don’t pretend that it was.

        Re: Bronze Age, primitive might convey the age in the same derogatory way as Bronze Age. But, I don’t see it as being less inflammatory.

        I didn’t say that the Bronze Age wording was the inflammatory part! I said it was the vague unclear part present solely to satisfy the “creative writing” jones of the authors of the billboard. Geez, Scott, are deflections and irrelevancies the only thing left in your pocket to throw at me?

      • NAck #6

        … unless the next billboard explodes upon reading.

    • You Know Who says:

      On this thread, you’ve shown just as much disrespect for … as the general population does for atheists. You’ve even devised a ridiculous conspiracy that involves the ghost of Joe McCarthy teaming up with 5 year old Rick Frothy Santorum to form American Atheists in 1963, keep the organization alive for decades only to one day put up a total of about a half dozen billboards in strategic locations to make atheists look bad.

      Yeah, given a look at the billboards and the ads, that sounds about right. Extremely plausible.

      How disrespectful can you be?

      Let’s see if I understand this – you believe there are no innocent bystanders amongst the religious, that they are deserving of whatever smackdown you feel would be “satisfying” to you emotionally… but I am being disrespectful to atheists as a group? Really? Did you just say that?

      Regarding kneejerk reactions, pot, meet kettle, again. Have you actually given any thought to my comments?

      Ahem… if you’d read what I had to say, well…

      Sorry, no choice but to respond that way given what you said.

      Have you thought about what it would mean to have respect?

      Yes. I’ve said repeatedly that your idea of respect is irrational, outrageous, over the top, and rooted in emotional impulse. You are angry that religious organizations are so arrogant and disrespectful of human civil rights. So you imagine that justifies your lashing out at them, saying whatever makes YOU feel good about what you’ve said, disregarding how they would inevitably react to what was said and done, comparing it to bullies that repeatedly kick you in the balls and declaring how you’re gonna get back at those guys, you’ll show them, those assholes!!!!!

      But for some reason you apparently didn’t see any of that, even though I repeated the same general idea several times, because… you just didn’t read it (sorry, no choice again).

      You offered a huge laundry list of what would qualify as respect, and then you mentioned one further thing and said no, you don’t see respect as involving that other thing, it’s the huge list of demands you provided that would qualify as respect. In reality, it’s completely the other way around. The last part is what constitutes respect, and the laundry list is what just may come after that.

      How could anyone think about what you say when we barely have time to read the tomes you post?

      As I said at the beginning, virtually everything I’ve said has been IN RESPONSE to something you or Bobbo said. This means I am taking the time to read the writing of two people and respond to it thoroughly. So, you’re saying I’m barely giving you the time?

      (cont’d)

      • Yeah, given a look at the billboards and the ads, that sounds about right. Extremely plausible.

        Please tell me that this is another one of your attempts at deadpan humor. I have enough trouble with deadpan in person, if properly executed. I have even more trouble with it in plain text over the internet.

        Let’s see if I understand this – you believe there are no innocent bystanders amongst the religious, that they are deserving of whatever smackdown you feel would be “satisfying” to you emotionally… but I am being disrespectful to atheists as a group? Really? Did you just say that?

        Yes. I said that. As I explained above, members of such religious lobbying organizations, i.e. those likely to take offense at a bible being quoted against them, swell the numbers of those organizations and take part in robbing us of our rights. They are the bullies.

        As for holding you to a higher standard with respect to me, I would not do so for my own part. I have a fairly thick skin. I’m merely pointing your hypocrisy in speaking to the religious more respectfully than you speak to your fellow atheists and even your friends.

        I’m fine with the way you speak to me, or at least tolerant and accepting of it. I just find it hypocritical that you won’t speak as plainly and strongly to those who rob you of your rights.

        Ahem… if you’d read what I had to say, well…

        I read it. Your words do indeed show that you’ve read my words. They also show that you have reacted with very little actual consideration that perhaps, just perhaps, I might have a valid point in there somewhere. Instead of reading my words in such a way as to twist them, misunderstand them, and dispute them, you might take the time to consider whether any of them have a shred of validity.

        That, you have not done once on this thread.

      • You Know Who says:

        Please tell me that this is another one of your attempts at deadpan humor.

        No, I won’t do that.

        > Let’s see if I understand this – you believe there are no innocent bystanders amongst the religious, that they are deserving of whatever smackdown you feel would be “satisfying” to you emotionally… but I am being disrespectful to atheists as a group? Really? Did you just say that?

        Yes. I said that.

        Wow, that’s how low this has sunk.

        I read it. Your words do indeed show that you’ve read my words. They also show that you have reacted with very little actual consideration that perhaps, just perhaps, I might have a valid point in there somewhere.

        Do you realize that you have come to sound exactly like the people who argue religion, science, and logic with you? The ones who say “Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, my opinion that the Bible is the word of God and the creationism is just as valid an opinion as your vaunted evolution? Why won’t you show me the consideration I believe I am due, accepting that I might just have a valid point in my assertions about the Bible…”

        Instead of reading my words in such a way as to twist them, misunderstand them, and dispute them, you might take the time to consider whether any of them have a shred of validity.

        I treat your points the same way you would treat the points of someone you were arguing religion with. I find this shred of validity you speak of to be missing from your points, which is the very reason I stand up against them and the notion that they have validity. And of course, you and I both know I haven’t twisted or misunderstood what you’ve had to say.

        Consider that.

      • But, you don’t treat them the way I would treat the comments of someone I call a friend, so NAck #7. And, actually, I would at least consider the possibility that there might be some good points mixed in with those with which I disagree. So, this one gets a double NAck.

      • You Know Who says:

        Are you saying I can’t call you on glaring errors in your thinking and in your presentation because we’re friends?

        It’s not like you would listen if I privately took you aside and said “Um, Scott… hi… listen, you do realize you’ve descended into the same kind of dogmatic madness you complain about religious believers engaging in, don’t you?”

        Right?

        It’s not like this is a “de gustibus non est disputandum” thing. This is a critical situation where the outcome could determine whether we have rights or whether we live in a theocracy. That’s not debatable, that’s not a case of “I choose not to be concerned about how they vote” or “I don’t care whether they vote based on a negative impression of nonbelievers we did nothing to undo because it’s not my job to do that.”

        You don’t get a special pass if you’re a friend who advocates things that are poisonous to the future of civil rights for people in general.

      • YKW,

        Actually, what I would expect as a friend is that you might recognize that I’ve actually made some valid points on this thread. And, every time I do, you ignore that and go on to some other detail from the post.

        For example, you never said a word about that Faginesque image being in a book about the history of European anti-Semitism.

        For example, you never said a word of recognition that we are losing our rights at an alarming rate that can’t possibly be fought by your slow and gradual improvements.

        For example, you never said a word about how “mocking, debunking, and overthrowing [religion] where it has power over people” could be done in an inoffensive way.

        I know you’ve had debates with religious folk before on the web. I am sure you have found that none of them actually take it well when you mock, debunk, and overthrow their religion.

        So, you are presenting a very self-contradictory message.

        And, when I call you on it, you ignore me.

        As a friend, I’d expect better than that. As a friend, I would expect that if I make a valid point, you will consider it and might even yield a millimeter.

        But, that has happened here exactly zero times. When I’ve yielded a millimeter or two, you’ve harassed me for having done so. What the fuck?

        As a friend, I would expect you to speak to me at least as respectfully as you wish me to speak to our adversaries. But, you don’t.

        Why not try some of your great persuasive powers on me? If you can’t even persuade me of anything, how do you expect to persuade those who have God on their side?

    • You Know Who says:

      Besides, why would we listen? Your entire content is based on your conjecture about how 300,000,000 people you’ve never met will react.

      You see, now we’re in nonsense territory. You are a human being, aware supposedly of human nature and human emotional reaction. (I won’t speak for Bobbo here, I don’t know him.) You know that people react to racist imagery with shock and horror and disgust, seeing the horrid image and often not even bothering to get past that in their disgust and horror to read the “see, it’s not the racist thing you think it is, it’s OK… hello?” Not just black people, the majority of white people too (even the ones with a legacy of racism in their psyche think “oh, dear, our black friend is going to be upset when she sees this”). But you are going to pretend this is not the case. You are going to pretend that I am making up a “conjecture” about how people would react?

      That’s a ridiculous response.

      That’s a pitiful rationalization.

      That’s complete and utter bullshit.

      For my part, when I saw this billboard, it literally never occurred to me that anyone could perceive a racist message there.

      Yeah, the privileged white male didn’t see the racism in the 19th century image of the stereotyped looking black man in chains. That’s really fantastic.

      What you showed with this statement is simply that you should never be the one who has to decide whether an image is racist or not.

      And by the way, the next time someone uses a hooked-nose scowling Faginesque etching to represent Jews, you’ve abdicated any right to complain about it…

      But, you don’t care about my reaction because you have no respect for my viewpoint.

      I’m not obliged to respect a viewpoint I consider to be founded on some irrational idea that has no basis in fact, that is contrary to the realities of the world, that is formulated from a perspective of bias, non-reciprocity, and hypocrisy. I do personally feel obliged, often enough, to take it upon myself to debunk such viewpoints. You’re the victim of that effort here, I guess.

      By your reasoning, all viewpoints should be respected. So why don’t you respect the viewpoint of racism? Why don’t you consider that, hey, those bigots may have a point?

      OTOH, I also often don’t laugh at your jokes, so yeah, maybe I do have no respect for you after all. 🙂

      • You Know Who says:

        Actually one more thought comes to mind.

        You ask, referring to supposed reasons you have for dismissing out of hand much of what I’m saying: “but why would we listen?”

        Yet when formulating the content of billboards and ads directed at members of religious groups, you never stop to ask the question “why would they listen?” And you certainly don’t consider any answer to it.

        Why wouldn’t they, like you feel justified in doing, ignore the salient points buried in your messages, and simply focus on what they see as hostility and crudeness present right on the surface? What would lead you to imagine that your presentation, the style of it and its content, is something they would acknowledge and listen to on your terms, rather than reacting in a natural human fashion to what’s on the surface?

        I once thought that with intelligence came empathy, the capacity to put oneself in others’ shoes, that part of being an intelligent person meant being smart enough to consider other people’s point of view and imagine what that is and how they came to it. But no, that’s not the case. It’s not a standard feature. It’s an extra cost option. Like rims. And for some reason you can’t get it if you select the “smug superior rear spoiler”.

      • And by the way, the next time someone uses a hooked-nose scowling Faginesque etching to represent Jews, you’ve abdicated any right to complain about it…

        When I see such images in a book about 19th century European anti-Semitism, I will indeed not be offended that the author included them. You seem to be having some trouble with context.

        But, as I said, I’m fine with replacing the image.

        Yes, I realize some Jews might be offended by an image of a Faginesque etching. I also realize some are offended by an image of Moses with horns. And yet, there is stands. People, even Jews, travel to Rome to see it. And, no one defaces it. And, no one asks the church to remove it. And, the church does not make an apology for displaying it.

        Actually, I don’t think all viewpoints command equal respect. I was pointing out that you give more to some and less to others in a way that seems strange to me. You give more respect to those who steal your rights than to those who are making an effort to win them back for you, not me in this case, but American Atheists and FFRF.

      • You Know Who says:

        Actually, I don’t think all viewpoints command equal respect.

        Then you should understand that that is how I feel about your viewpoint. And I have explained why.

        I was pointing out that you give more to some and less to others in a way that seems strange to me.

        Well, of course, it seems “strange” to you – the viewpoint in this case that we are talking about that I show less “respect” to is yours! But it’s not really a lack of respect at all – it’s just that after a repeated effort to demonstrate issues with that viewpoint and flaws in the reasoning that produced it, you fail to respond with any concrete rebuttal, yet still insist that your viewpoint be shown “respect”.

        Sometimes that’s just what happens, Scott.

        I assume you have the capacity to deal with someone demonstrating that your point of view is wrong…

      • But, of course you wouldn’t want to comment on whether you find Michelangelo or a church putting his statue on display as offensive to Jews. And, you won’t comment on the importance of context in something like displaying your anti-Semitic image in a book on the history of anti-Semitism. See, those would be actual valid points that contradict your point. So, you just fail to acknowledge them.

        Surprisingly, your argument style is not even annoying me anymore. You’ve overdone it so much that I’m now numb and bored by it.

        Let me know when you’re willing to discuss the billboards that have no racism in them and the FFRF ad that has none either.

        Until then, yawn, I’m not even getting that “someone is wrong on the internet” feeling anymore … and haven’t for a couple of days now.

      • You Know Who says:

        Me: I assume you have the capacity to deal with someone demonstrating that your point of view is wrong…

        I guess not. 😦

      • I do. Here’s an example.

        https://misanthropicscott.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/horus-vs-jesus/

        Facts generally help if you really want to convince me.

        But, a well reasoned argument can work too. I just haven’t seen one here. Hell, you even refuse to define what it is you’re looking for.

        So far, all I can tell is that you want to silence atheists who have a different point of view than yours. Imagine how effective you might be for the atheist cause if you spent this much energy convincing the religious to give us some respect.

        Or, for that matter, if you made some suggestions to the good folks at American Atheists on their blog.

  40. Blog troll definition:

    In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

    ALL,

    I have scanned all of the posts I had missed to this point. I will peruse them thoroughly when I have the time.

    As sole moderator of this blog, for what paltry a title that may be, I hereby assert that as yet, there has been no trolling on this thread.

    If you believe you have seen evidence of trolling on this thread, please open your mind, with a hole saw if necessary, reread the post in question paying attention to content rather than grammar and punctuation, and root our your error.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled heated and inane discussion.

    So, give me a big Hail Caesar and let’s move on (dot org).

    • You Know Who says:

      A common technique among internet trolls is to repeatedly ask the same question over and over again even after it’s been answered more than once. And then to pretend the question was never answered when it was.

      No trolling on this thread? In a pig’s eye.

      • Funny, I missed that in the definition … because … oh yeah … it’s not in the definition.

        Stop hiding your answers inside N,000 words of vitriol per reply and people might see them.

        Hell, it took me many times of reading your posts to notice that you were answering that very question.

        BTW, the decision of the moderator is final. Move on.

      • You Know Who says:

        I said “a common technique among internet trolls is to repeatedly ask the same question over and over again even after it’s been answered more than once.” A definition isn’t required to include all examples of techniques and trickery used by the thing being defined. To assert that it should is ludicrous.

        So no, the decision of the moderator is not final, especially when the moderator’s point of view is biased towards the one he shares with the troll.

  41. buckeyenonbeliever says:

    As a relatively neutral party, I must say the inane banter back and forth makes it difficult for one with limited time to get to the heart and substance of each argument. I would have added a few posts myself along the way, but each time back I found myself behind by 20-30 posts. So with less time than apparently some have, I quickly became very disinterested and frustrated. By the way, that happened about 85 posts ago.

    Wiith that in mind, I will be back when a new post is up and this bru haha has subsided.

    One last note; brevity is not a bad thing. Often times, less is more.

    See ya next time. Thanks.

  42. You Know Who says:

    If you would rather not sift through this entire thread, its essence can be summed up here in this video, in the exchange between Fran Drescher and Tony Hendra:

    (at 1:30 in)

    Just replace Fran Drescher’s statement about the album cover with a description of the content of the billboard, and replace “sexist” with “racist”. No need to make any substitutions in Tony Hendra’s dialog. It’s all there.

    • You Know Who says:

      To make it absolutely clear:

      “Scott, you put a 19th century stereotyped etching of a black man, naked, with a collar around his neck, on a billboard, saying ‘Slaves, obey your masters’, and you don’t find that offensive?”

      “No…”

      “You don’t find that racist?”

      “Racist, no. Racy, yes, racy.”

  43. You Know Who says:

    To make it absolutely clear:

    “Scott, you put a 19th century stereotyped etching of a black man, naked, with a collar around his neck, on a billboard, saying ‘Slaves, obey your masters’, and you don’t find that offensive?”

    “No…”

    “You don’t find that racist?”

    “Racist, no. Racy, yes, racy…”

    • How about historically accurate and an image that is obviously repulsive to all of something we definitely never want in this country again. Hence, we don’t want any part of a book that would advocate this being recommended by our government?

      If that leap is too much for many people, I’m willing to go with something else, as I’ve said now a gazillion times.

      But, it doesn’t make me racist to see the message for what it was intended to be.

      But, can we give up on the race discussion now and move on to why you hate the other messages that had no racial component?

      What was wrong with the myth billboards? What was wrong with the FFRF advertisement. Neither of these had any racial component.

      • You Know Who says:

        Gee, I’m so sorry, I was very wrong – Scott IS the one best qualified to judge what’s racist and what isn’t! And if you disagree, you’re just wrong and need to rethink why you formed the opinion you did. My bad, everyone! (LOL!)

        I didn’t say it “made you racist”. I said it “made you clueless”. That still stands. You have no clue what other people see as racist, yet you continue to insist that you know better than they do, and that THEIR opinions are just “anecdotal evidence”. Doubling down on the cluelessness.

        (There are those who would not unjustifiably say that your claim that you as a privileged white guy can decide for people of other races what is and isn’t racist to them DOES make you a racist. I will let such people advocate for that position if they choose, but I don’t think I should.)

        So of course you want us to “give up on the race discussion” – continuing it would demonstrate one of the main things wrong with your position on that issue. But as long as you acknowledge that that is the reason you seek to “give up” on that discussion, agreeing that you just don’t get what makes something racist for people of other races than you, that the inherent racism that you just don’t see IS a major factor in the damage the billboard does, and that continuing the discussion would only embarrass you, I will agree that despite this being one of the critical problems with the billboard, we can stop talking about it. Until you bring it up again.

        So?

  44. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    “For my part, when I saw this billboard, it literally never occurred to me that anyone could perceive a racist message there.” /// Yeah, me too. But what I did see was racial. Racial vs Racist. I don’t know how many slaves in the Bronze Age (ha, ha!) were black skinned but I think of slaves in the Bible as being indigenous arab/hebrew/caucasion types of some non-negroid breed. The image in the billboard is in my mind a recontextualization of what slavery “in the USA” was because it wouldn’t make sense to show white people in bondage as that wasn’t the USA experience. I don’t think that is “racist” but rather is reflective of the actual history, the racial history, of the USA.

    It disturbs me that anyone takes the time to write down their thoughts and then gets criticized for writing too much? If you don’t have the time to read what is written, then say so, but don’t criticize the effort that you don’t give proper credit to.

    Writing is the highest art man has achieved. Used for good and ill of course, but any honest effort is to be lauded.

    Now, I’ll go back and look at the video==not for its support of this thread, but merely for the video standing alone. Spinal Tap was one heck of a good movie but its use to support some other argument is inherently vague and ambiguous only adding to the ambiguity already present. Well==with rare exception. Can a video regarding Spinal Tap really explain the audience for a billboard or how respect is to be garnered from challenging the utterly convinced?xxxxxxxJust occured to me “the audience” of the message: by using a billboard, the observing/possible audience is the public. Its even in the name: a public billboard==ie, “to” everyone. But at the very same time, the message is expressly to a limited group of the public and that too may be variously described, as it has been herein. Of important: there is no one audience.

    Lots of ambiguity. I must say though, I am very happy with my resolution of all the issues whatever they may be: the more messages the better.

    • You Know Who says:

      “For my part, when I saw this billboard, it literally never occurred to me that anyone could perceive a racist message there.” /// Yeah, me too.

      Yeah, next time I want to know whether something is considered racist I’ll ask you two white boys. Because white people get to define what’s racist to non-white people. And if anyone erroneously finds it racist, I’ll tell them they’re wrong. Thanks. This “debate” has just reached the heights of arrogant idiocy.

      But what I did see was racial. Racial vs Racist. I don’t know how many slaves in the Bronze Age (ha, ha!) were black skinned but I think of slaves in the Bible as being indigenous arab/hebrew/caucasion types of some non-negroid breed. The image in the billboard is in my mind a recontextualization of what slavery “in the USA” was because…

      Because… a smug white intellectual is better qualified to decide what’s racist than the people depicted by the image? Isn’t that… in and of itself racist? (But then, is there a point in asking YOU that question?)

      It disturbs me that anyone takes the time to write down their thoughts and then gets criticized for writing too much?

      Who did that?

      If you don’t have the time to read what is written, then say so, but don’t criticize the effort that you don’t give proper credit to.

      Who are you talking to here? Scott?

      Writing is the highest art man has achieved. Used for good and ill of course, but any honest effort is to be lauded.

      Thank you for lauding my efforts at writing, I guess, even if you didn’t read much of it.

      Now, I’ll go back and look at the video==not for its support of this thread, but merely for the video standing alone.

      So despite your high praise for the act of writing, it seems the way to get to you is with pretty pictures. I would remember that, if I cared anything about getting to you or “overcoming your free will” to convince you of something.

      Spinal Tap was one heck of a good movie but its use to support some other argument is inherently vague and ambiguous only adding to the ambiguity already present.

      I am so glad you are offended by my use of a scene from a movie you love to make a point demonstrating the holes in your argument! It gives me such great joy. In fact, I used a movie I knew you liked precisely because I knew it would upset you so much. 🙂

      Can a video regarding Spinal Tap really explain the audience for a billboard or how respect is to be garnered from challenging the utterly convinced?

      Sure, through use of a thing called analogy. (Obvious to most but clearly not to you…)

      Spinal Tap:
      – a concerned person…
      – talking to a clueless one who was responsible for and finds nothing wrong with an overly offensive sexist album cover…
      – expresses distaste at the sexist image of the naked woman with a collar around her neck humiliated and forced to smell a glove…
      – asking if the clueless male person considered this image of a woman sexist…
      – to which the clueless male answered “No”

      Racist billboard put up by atheists:
      – a concerned person…
      – talking to a clueless one who supports and finds nothing wrong with an overly offensive racist billboard…
      – expresses distaste at the racist image of the naked black man with a collar around his neck humiliated and forced to be a slave…
      – asking if the clueless white person considered this stereotyped image of a black man sexist…
      – to which the clueless white guy answered “No”

      Maybe you can call this “anecdotal evidence”. It’s as good as any other lame response you’ve offered up so far.

      Lots of ambiguity.

      No, not really. We can pretend it’s otherwise, but… no. All very clear.

      Just occured to me “the audience” of the message: by using a billboard, the observing/possible audience is the public. Its even in the name: a public billboard==ie, “to” everyone. But at the very same time, the message is expressly to a limited group of the public and that too may be variously described, as it has been herein. Of important: there is no one audience.

      From this point on, it’s clear there’s no need to respond to anything else Bobbo has to say. It pretty much speaks for itself. Like this.

      Keep on talking, Bobbo. You’re doing my job for me. I appreciate that.

      I must say though, I am very happy with my resolution of all the issues whatever they may be: the more messages the better.

      Me too. Right on. Get on the wave band.

      • From this point on, it’s clear there’s no need to respond to anything else Bobbo has to say. It pretty much speaks for itself. Like this.

        Um … what??!!?

        Is this what your mind has been reduced to now? Determining for others what they should read and respond to. Sorry. You just come out sounding like a complete and total asshole when you say that. Since you’re not, why not pretend to take the high road, at least some of the time? Or, at the very least, when you reach rock bottom, stop digging.

      • You Know Who says:

        No, this is what Bobbo’s rants have been reduced to. You’re not far behind, Scott.

        Sometimes, when engaged in a protracted argument online like this, it pays to let the other guy have the last word, to just sign off and say that the last statement that other guy just made is a better argument for my position than my saying more would be.

        You didn’t reference Bobbo’s statement in the above comment – why not? Could it be it was embarrassing for him and for me to actually repeat it?

        There was no need to respond to that last burst of gibberish. So I really didn’t. Yes, I said a gracious “keep on talking” – basically saying “PLEASE keep writing things in this same vein with this same level of incoherence to make it clear which of us has something to say here.” But that’s it.

        Like I said, sadly, your own posts are getting close to that level, focusing on spelling errors and your misinterpretations of text that you think prove ME wrong and desperate fishing to find something wrong without actually believing you have to address the things that have been said (as usual, like Bobbo, pretending they haven’t been said).

        Either address points directly or admit you can’t, but these evasions and deflections and irrelevancies… uh-uh, I don’t intend to give them credence or legitimacy.

    • You Know Who says:

      “For my part, when I saw this billboard, it literally never occurred to me that anyone could perceive a racist message there.” /// Yeah, me too.

      Yeah, next time I want to know whether something is considered racist I’ll ask you two white boys. Because white people get to define what’s racist to non-white people. And if anyone erroneously finds it racist, I’ll tell them they’re wrong. Thanks. This “debate” has just reached the heights of arrogant idiocy.

      But what I did see was racial. Racial vs Racist. I don’t know how many slaves in the Bronze Age (ha, ha!) were black skinned but I think of slaves in the Bible as being indigenous arab/hebrew/caucasion types of some non-negroid breed. The image in the billboard is in my mind a recontextualization of what slavery “in the USA” was because…

      Because… a smug white intellectual is better qualified to decide what’s racist than the people depicted by the image? Isn’t that… in and of itself racist? (But then, is there a point in asking YOU that question?)

      It disturbs me that anyone takes the time to write down their thoughts and then gets criticized for writing too much?

      Who did that?

      If you don’t have the time to read what is written, then say so, but don’t criticize the effort that you don’t give proper credit to.

      Who are you talking to here? Scott?

      Writing is the highest art man has achieved. Used for good and ill of course, but any honest effort is to be lauded.

      Thank you for lauding my efforts at writing, I guess, even if you didn’t read much of it.

      Now, I’ll go back and look at the video==not for its support of this thread, but merely for the video standing alone.

      So despite your high praise for the act of writing, it seems the way to get to you is with pretty pictures. I would remember that, if I cared anything about getting to you or “overcoming your free will” to convince you of something.

      Spinal Tap was one heck of a good movie but its use to support some other argument is inherently vague and ambiguous only adding to the ambiguity already present.

      I am so glad you are offended by my use of a scene from a movie you love to make a point demonstrating the holes in your argument! It gives me such great joy. In fact, I used a movie I knew you liked precisely because I knew it would upset you so much. 🙂

      Can a video regarding Spinal Tap really explain the audience for a billboard or how respect is to be garnered from challenging the utterly convinced?

      Sure, through use of a thing called analogy. (Obvious to most but clearly not to you…)

      Spinal Tap:
      – a concerned person…
      – talking to a clueless one who was responsible for and finds nothing wrong with an overly offensive sexist album cover…
      – expresses distaste at the sexist image of the naked woman with a collar around her neck humiliated and forced to smell a glove…
      – asking if the clueless male person considered this image of a woman sexist…
      – to which the clueless male answered “No”

      Racist billboard put up by atheists:
      – a concerned person…
      – talking to a clueless one who supports and finds nothing wrong with an overly offensive racist billboard…
      – expresses distaste at the racist image of the naked black man with a collar around his neck humiliated and forced to be a slave…
      – asking if the clueless white person considered this stereotyped image of a black man racist…
      – to which the clueless white guy answered “No”

      Maybe you can call this “anecdotal evidence”. It’s as good as any other lame response you’ve offered up so far.

      Lots of ambiguity.

      No, not really. We can pretend it’s otherwise, but… no. All very clear.

      Just occured to me “the audience” of the message: by using a billboard, the observing/possible audience is the public. Its even in the name: a public billboard==ie, “to” everyone. But at the very same time, the message is expressly to a limited group of the public and that too may be variously described, as it has been herein. Of important: there is no one audience.

      From this point on, it’s clear there’s no need to respond to anything else Bobbo has to say. It pretty much speaks for itself. Like this.

      Keep on talking, Bobbo. You’re doing my job for me. I appreciate that.

      I must say though, I am very happy with my resolution of all the issues whatever they may be: the more messages the better.

      Me too. Right on. Get on the wave band.

  45. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    re video==yes, it is a rephrasing of what YKW takes to be the conflict/issue of the billboard, but it doesn’t “explain” the dispute.

    “You don’t think …. was offensive?” NO. And you should have seen what they wanted to use. /// Yes, it all fits. but so what?

    In point of fact, what is being complained about as offensive IS the bible. The Spinal Tap album cover is the first stimulus. The Billboard is a response to the first stimulus. So, a different dynamic applies right from the get go.

    As with so many things, we find/take our meaning as we will. What still surprises me, is how good the Spinal Tap songs are……….♫ Hog Farm Woman…” Now that is a good song.

  46. Message to others than You Know Who in case my NAcks aren’t clear to others, I see no reason to give any more real consideration to someone who proves with each post that the only purpose of his posts is to say that everything I say is wrong without ever really considering whether some of it may be right.

    For non-geeks, NAck means negative acknowledgement, i.e. I’m explicitly not acknowledging that I received any message from the post in question.

    Oh, and the numbering was just because wordpress detects and disallows duplicate posts.

    • You Know Who says:

      Nackety nack – don’t talk back!

      If your argument is going to sink to petty insults, fishing for spelling errors, erroneously mislabeling what the other person said because you hadn’t bothered to read it, and avoiding providing responses to points again and again, because you simply will not acknowledge what is being said to you, you can expect to be called on that.

      Listen to what you just said: “someone who proves with each post that the only purpose of his posts is to say that everything I say is wrong without ever really considering whether some of it may be right.” Of course I considered WHETHER some of what you said MAY be right. But it wasn’t. And I said so. Yes, the purpose of my posts is to take the wrong things you assert and show them to be wrong. The same way you do when you argue the subject of religion and science with a believer. But when this is applied to YOUR words, for some reason it’s a problem? YCDIOBYCTI.

      The billboard is demonstrably racist, alienating people who vote in large numbers is a bad idea, and respect is not a list of demands that get implemented because you say so as a prerequisite to you giving respect. Not much more to say. So nack that.

      • I’m trying to ask you about the other billboards and the FFRF ad. You’re only talking about the slaves billboard. So, no. You’re not making any point at all.

      • You Know Who says:

        About this idea that you want me to just cast this discussion aside (without you conceding anything, of course) and start another one:

        Have a debate with me in which you use nitpicking and deflection to avoid responding to arguments once, shame on you.

        Have a debate with me in which you use nitpicking and deflection to avoid responding to arguments twice, shame on me.

      • No. Not start another argument. How about consider more than a single point in the original post on this thread? The FFRF ad is not a new argument. It’s just one you refused to acknowledge and debate.

  47. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Same billboard was posted at Dvorak and the discussion is ongoing. Coincidental with this discussion, “if I could” /and in the future I will/ avoid using “gawd” and “bibble” when specifically responding to religious types. Its not as funny ((to me)) in context as when used in a more general/less specifically religious context.

    Scotty: I have wondered from time to time how it is that our discussions continue along a fruitless/confused/unconnected avenue for as long as they have, although I believe we have always found ourselves back to something worthwhile? I’ll never have that concern again.

    http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2012/03/18/aetheist-billboard-manages-to-offend-practically-everyone/comment-page-1/#comment-2040097

    • I’ve not enjoyed a debate on DU for a long time. I see some of the original trolls are still there though.

      Good job quoting Epicurus. That’s one of the most effective arguments against religion of all time. Perhaps we should suggest that for a billboard to the American Atheists.

      Even YKW would likely be OK with that message. Though, who knows? He didn’t write it.

      • You Know Who says:

        Good job quoting Epicurus. That’s one of the most effective arguments against religion of all time. Perhaps we should suggest that for a billboard to the American Atheists.

        Wow, ya think????????

        Nah, too many words… and not enough smugness and vitriol. Plus, it makes a point the zealots really can’t respond to without embarrassing themselves. And who wants THAT?

        It would be awesome if your folks actually put that up as a billboard. Next week: Euthyphro’s Dilemma. Imagine, using the clearest most coherent philosophical arguments against religion, against the religious zealots! What a thought!

        It’s just too extreme and absurd an idea to actually be implemented by a group of atheists with their own skewed agenda, isn’t it?

        (Note that here, once again, I point out how you made an excellent point with solid merit, Scott. Other examples included my high praise for your summary of why constitutional democracy is SUPPOSED to protect us from transient popular whims that would abrogate rights to selected unpopular minorities. I do assert that what you suggest would never happen, but the idea is not only sound but quite good. So stop saying I never acknowledge your good points – I do, you just haven’t made as many of them as you’d like to believe you have in this particular thread. 🙂 )

      • I’m not actually all that creative, personally. But, I am really good at taking existing bits of solutions and putting them together to solve a new problem. Most of the time that’s good enough.

        So, here goes.

        Burma Shave. This is how I’d break it up onto a row of sequential billboards. If you prefer, of course, they could be left in pairs. But, I like the way this always leaves you hanging until the next billboard.

        Billboard 1:

        Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

        Billboard 2:

        Then he is not omnipotent.

        Is he able, but not willing?

        Billboard 3:

        Then he is malevolent.

        Is he both able and willing?

        Billboard 4:

        Then whence cometh evil?

        Is he neither able nor willing?

        Billboard 5:

        Then why call him God?

        Billboard 6:

        Atheism: The rational choice since 300 BCE.

        — American Atheists (atheists.org)

        P.S. Sheldon notes that this particular wording may have been wrongly attributed to Epicurus. Also, is anyone offended by the inexact date?

        P.P.S. Thanks for recognizing that I’ve had some good input. I’d also note that, if American Atheists can fund this many billboards, it may even get some national recognition just for bringing back the retro idea of the Burma Shave billboards.

      • I posted this suggestion on the atheists.org site. Actually, I posted it rather badly since I’m not yet accustomed to the new and disimproved site.

        http://atheists.org/comment/4089#comment-4089

  48. YKW,

    Before I read the next flurry of posts, I’ve been doing some thinking and realized what I need to remind you of.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. did not win the civil rights movement alone. In addition to having a million people marching behind him, he also had Malcolm X. In addition to a whole bunch of “Black is Beautiful” posters and bumper stickers, there were also a lot saying “Black Power”.

    Before Gay Pride Week, there was a time when someone had spray painted in huge letters on the side of a building, “Gays fight back!” And, when the gay bashers came to town, the gays beat the living shit out of them. This still happens on occasion too, though probably not so much in Greenwich Village or even Chelsea anymore.

    These battles were won by people who stood up and demanded their rights. They were won by a little old lady at a whites only water fountain and by people refusing to ride in the back of the bus. They were won by people marching on Washington. They were won with legal battles in the courts.

    And, mostly they were won by people having the self-respect to demand respect from others. No one who does not respect themselves has ever made even a single dent in getting rights from others. So, stand tall. Make your high road speeches. But, remember, they have to be backed up by a large movement of people marching behind them. And, some of those people may be making their demands in a voice you don’t like.

    But, we are on the same side.

    So:

    1) Get the fuck off your high horse.
    2) Stop all of your holier than thou speech directed at your fellow atheists.
    3) Go write your “I have a dream” speech.
    4) I’ll be over here verbally booting some head.

    And, I’ll see you at the reason rally, right?

    http://reasonrally.org/

    Seriously, I will see you at the reason rally, right?

    This is important. This is our million man march.

    • You Know Who says:

      You must be joking.

      From the beginning of this conversation, I pointed out that it was NOT the radicals who won civil rights and acceptance for these groups – it was the ones who engaged in non-violent civil disobedience and gained the sympathy of the broader public, often by getting the shit kicked out of them by police and by bigots with nonchalant look-the-other-way support of the police. And now, from your headquarters on Bizarro planet, you present this backwards view of history, stilted and cockeyed as it is. Believing that it was the radicals who “won” tolerance and acceptance is absurd.

      Chalk this up to yet another example of you not listening to an opposing point of view and pretending it was never presented.

      So tell me, the groups you compare yourself to, the gays, the blacks… what indignities did they suffer? Prejudice keeping them from getting jobs, from living where they wished?Lynchings? Beatings? Firebombings? Bashings? Pretty terrible, no?

      Now let’s compare that to the indignities you and your fellow athiests have endured:

      – Having to see the words “In God We Trust” on coins and paper money.

      – Listening to the Lord’s Prayer at public meetings.

      – Hearing people say “Oh my God” as an exclamation.

      – Hearing public officials mention God in their speeches.

      Oooooh.

      Now, granted, these are really horrible things. I mean, when I hear the word “God”, I want to cringe too. Ewwwww. But to imagine you can compare what you’ve endured to what other groups who’ve endured REAL hardship have suffered, that just invalidates everything those people went through, both in terms of the suffering and in terms of the effort to gain acceptance.

      But you know what? The more I think about it… I’ve been so wrong in what I’ve been saying. KEEP IT UP. Make atheists look like arrogant pricks so that the entire country (even allies and sympathizers) has no tolerance for your position, so that when laws are passed saying “citizens must certify their belief in Jesus to hold office, drive a car, teach schoolchildren, and attend baseball games”, no one will bat an eye.

      And when it becomes not just legal but recreational sport to beat up atheists, to REALLY kick them in the balls (rather than the metaphorical kicking in your metaphorical balls that you’ve been talking about), to stone them to death… then you might actually have something that, when fought against, would garner public sympathy.

      But for now, the complaint of the atheist, in particular the comparison to groups who’ve experienced actual suffering, is that of a whiny bitch. And that’s the perception you are presenting to the country at large, and it gains you no sympathy or support whatsoever.

      Oh wait, sorry, I forgot: you don’t care about whether or not what you do as a group positively or negatively influences the way the public at large thinks about you. You don’t care whether public opinion REALLY turns against atheists in a way that makes today’s disparagement seem like they adore you. It’s not your job to care, it’s your job to TELL THE TRUTH, to SHOW THEM how wrong they all are by presenting the facts, to get them all to RESPECT YOUR AUTHORITAH!!!!!

      Right, my bad, I forgot. And I also forgot that I had changed my mind: you SHOULD keep this up. It’s a wonderful thing you’re doing. JUST DO IT! We need you to do it.

      Because only after real horrid things start happening to atheists, the way such things happened to blacks, gays, and other groups, will there be public sympathy to the point that anyone cares to take a stand for you. Because as I’ve been saying for some time (of course, ignored by you as if it hadn’t been said), those people who currently stand against you VOTE, and they are not diminishing in number. And their demagogues are goooooood. While your demagogues suck.

      No, really, they do. I mean, if they alienate large numbers even among those who agree with you on the issue of God and religion (as you’ve admitted), how objectively good can they be considered to be?

      (“But if YOU and those like you stopped disagreeing with us and with our efforts to put up billboards that have the opposite of a positive effect on the general public, then you couldn’t say our demagogues are bad. So why don’t you just agree with us so we can say that even if you find what we’re doing awful, so we can maintain solidarity?”)

      I won’t respond to that rather ridiculous argument, because you didn’t actually make it… yet… (though you did ask why I didn’t just forget about how heinous I think these counterproductive efforts by AA and other groups really and just agree with you for the sake of solidarity, didn’t you?)

      • Oops. I posted this without the most important point. Once again, you have deliberately ignored one of my most important points. I even bolded it.

        Are you going to the Reason Rally?

        I want to know if you genuinely care about the issue of atheist rights or merely about stopping atheists from saying things you find offensive to theists.

        (No good segue here. I hope no one gives a shit.)

        Well, sociology is sort of a soft science. But, it’s the best we have for this. Do you have a link to back this statement of yours up? Check scholar.google.com. I couldn’t find anything either way. Yes, I tried to do your homework for you to back up your supposed fact.

        I’m sure both you and You Know Who Else (whose proxy I know you hold from an outside email) believe this truth to be self-evident. I do not. (BTW, you are still doing an excellent job of blogging for two.)

        From the beginning of this conversation, I pointed out that it was NOT the radicals who won civil rights and acceptance for these groups – it was the ones who engaged in non-violent civil disobedience and gained the sympathy of the broader public, often by getting the shit kicked out of them by police and by bigots with nonchalant look-the-other-way support of the police.

        You may be right, of course. I just wonder how you separate the effects of so many people taking so many different actions. And, it turns out that even Martin Luther King, JR. et. al. took actions that were considered so radical at the time that they caused serious violence from the other side. So, I’m not sure you’re really correct about this. Those who did not want to end segregation, those who did not want to grant rights to blacks, considered any statement or action toward equality to be radical and worthy of violent response.

        But, one thing you seem not to realize about my position on this is that I’m NOT advocating violence. I’m advocating a verbal punch in the nose or a verbal boot to the head. It’s a metaphor (or possibly a simile, I’m not really sure). It’s not a literal boot to the head or a literal punch in the nose.

        So, is my position really so radical and offensive that it’s going to set us back?

        Regarding what atheists endure, yes it’s not usually physical violence. But, it’s enough social pressure that people think I’m insane for loudly and openly proclaiming my atheism, especially in the workplace! But, I’ve also been fortunate with respect to my workplaces. As you know, a significant number of geeks are atheists. If I were to loudly proclaim my atheism on the trading floor, your guess is as good as mine. I don’t have the cojones for that.

        http://atheism.about.com/od/fundamentalistatheists/a/AtheistsPolite.htm
        http://atheism.about.com/od/atheistbigotryprejudice/a/HateCrimes.htm
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination_against_atheists#United_States

        So, yes. Atheophobia (new word for me, though wikipedia lists it as requiring a citation) may not be as severe in nature as homophobia and racism. But, it is far more widespread.

        Also, the poll where 50% or more in the U.S. would “not vote for a qualified atheist” leaves little doubt that it’s the atheism, not the personality or qualification of the atheist. Jews can get elected despite being members of a much smaller minority. But, atheists need not apply.

        Note that the wikipedia page I cited left out the point that the Massachusetts constitution does not even extend legal protection to atheists. Were that constitution not federally unconstitutional, it would be open season on atheists (and actually all non-Christians) all year long in Massachusetts.

        http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/StateConstitutions.htm

    • You Know Who says:

      Having said all that: I should add that there is always a place for the extreme position. I recall one meeting I was involved in where I worked for the online edition of a large newspaper, where there was concern about the terrible state of a database table that was supposed to indicate which emails a person had signed up for. I said “well, ya know, given how many people don’t really want even the emails they signed up for, we could just flush the entire table, field the support requests we get from those who complain, and rebuild the table from scratch.” Naturally that wasn’t a suggestion to be taken seriously, but putting it on the table was helpful in figuring what our REAL options were. It did horrify some people though. I guess I offended them…

      So it’s not a bad idea to field extreme ideas – but it should be recognized that they ARE extreme and their presence only serves as a remote electric fence encircling the realm of reasonable possibilities. From the beginning, you have seen your extreme positions as the mainstream – as what not only should but MUST be realized for “the cause”. You expressed pride that despite the bad reception the billboards received, the leaders of your precious organization WOULD NOT BACK DOWN! They would SHOW THEM! Those BULLIES!!!! Yeah!!!! We’re not gonna let a demonstration of how ineffective and counterproductive they are stand in the way of our freedom of speech, dammit!!!!!!! Grunt! Ugh!!!

      And when I noted how awful this reception was, and said (from the beginning, loudly and clearly) that something better that WAS effective and WAS productive was absolutely necessary, you stood firm, with your rambling rants about “respect” and “bullies” and “not backing down”.

      Then finally, you begrudgingly acknowledged that “wow, he might have a point there” and said “OK, you want something that will, rather than alienating people and turning them against us, get them to see that we’re not the horrible people their clergy is making us out to be. I get that. So let’s compromise: we’ll find something halfway between what you want – the persuasive effort to undo damage done both by bigoted clergy AND by clueless atheists – and what I want – the neanderthal grunting about how we DEMAND respect and won’t back down. Let’s find something in the middle.

      Do I really need to say that this is like the two children given a cake to divide between them, where the reasonable child says “we should each get half” and the unreasonable child says “no, I want it all”, so the “compromise” is to give the reasonable child a quarter of the cake and give the rest to the unreasonable one?

      Hmmm… I guess I do need to say that.

      That this is like the two children given a cake to divide between them, where the reasonable child says “we should each get half” and the unreasonable child says “no, I want it all”, so the “compromise” is to give the reasonable child a quarter of the cake and give the rest to the unreasonable one.

      (It’s important around here to say things several times anyway, since the first… second… and fifteenth times, some people claim they never heard it.)

      • Do I really need to say that this is like the two children given a cake to divide between them, where the reasonable child says “we should each get half” and the unreasonable child says “no, I want it all”, so the “compromise” is to give the reasonable child a quarter of the cake and give the rest to the unreasonable one?

        I’m glad you think you’re the one being reasonable. So far, we’ve been more like Zack.

        I’m a north-going Zack and I only go north, not a step to the east not a step to the west.

        I’m a south-going Zack and I only go south, not a step to the east not a step to the west.

        I did try a couple of millimeters one way or the other. But, you actively blocked me. Now you claim I’m trying to grab 3/4 of the cake while you remain committed to getting the whole cake. But, you’re the reasonable one.

        Was this another one of your deadpan jokes with which I have so much trouble?

  49. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    YKW–You’ve led a very sheltered life. Why do you think there is only one declared atheist in Congress? No declared atheists have ever won the Office of President–not sure about those who have sought the office, I assume a few nutbags have?

    It is multifaceted but I’m sure women have not dated me or stopped dating me because in my youth I called myself “spiritual and don’t go to church” vs I’m an atheist. I don’t care about people not liking me, but I want to avoid their retribution===such as at work, or at a dinner party of work mates? Bosses?? Ever have a Born Again for a Boss?

    As you say, I could care less about In God We Trust on the money although it is a violation.

    Your issues are all a dodge. The “issue” about religion being forced down our throats is the “anti science” lack of education in schools, the current hyper attack on women’s right to privacy. The anti-gay hysteria is all religiously driven. How much of anti-drug, anti-prostitution is driven by religion?

    It goes deeper. You might suffer yourself from being of a religious frame of mind even though professing atheism. Making things simple. Seeing things in black and white. Its simplistic. Its religious. You can throw off the labels and still be stuck with the mindset.

    Can I get an Amen?

    • You Know Who says:

      YKW–You’ve led a very sheltered life. Why do you think there is only one declared atheist in Congress?

      Um… because atheists generally present themselves arrogantly and pompously and finding a genial example of an atheist with social and political skills is such a rarity that 1 out of 500 seems about right?

      Because the majority of jurisdictions are populated with people who have been taught that worshipping God is a prerequisite to being a “good” person?

      Are those enough reasons for you?

      (I’ve led a very sheltered life! ROFLMAO!)

      It is multifaceted but I’m sure women have not dated me or stopped dating me because in my youth I called myself “spiritual and don’t go to church” vs I’m an atheist.

      Given what I’ve seen of your personality here, I’m very sure the one reason women have refused to date you or stopped dating you has to do with your religious/anti-religious inclinations. And nothing else. (That you believe that this might even be close to a primary factor in that is kind of scary…)

      I don’t care about people not liking me

      Really? Given the care with which you present yourself, the carefulness of your choice of words, your attitude towards others in general, I wouldn’t have imagined that to be the case. I pictured you as a Sally Field seeking approval with plaintive pleas of “you like me, you really like me”.

      Not.

      Your issues are all a dodge. The “issue” about religion being forced down our throats is the “anti science” lack of education in schools, the current hyper attack on women’s right to privacy. The anti-gay hysteria is all religiously driven. How much of anti-drug, anti-prostitution is driven by religion?

      I agree with every thing you said here. Except for that comment that “your issues are all a dodge.” I’m not even sure what that means. I drive a Volkswagen. Which issues are you talking about, and what do you imagine they are dodging?

      It goes deeper. You might suffer yourself from being of a religious frame of mind even though professing atheism.

      Uh oh, now we’re going into “I’m going to psychoanalyze your failure to think as I do based on my own deep-seated issues” mode. This should be fun.

      Can I get an Amen?

      Can we get a “let’s get back on topic and stop with the petty deflections and diversions?”

  50. You Know Who says:

    And while we’re on the subject of saying things twice… here’s something really worth saying twice (for a change): Scott’s suggestion about what would make a really effective billboard.

    Good job quoting Epicurus. That’s one of the most effective arguments against religion of all time. Perhaps we should suggest that for a billboard to the American Atheists.

    Despite his unfortunately characteristic snide remark that followed (and despite my own sarcastic snipe that, because this IS such a good suggestion, it would thus would never get implemented), I have to agree that indeed this would make a most excellent message to convey via billboard, bumper sticker, website, t-shirt, whatever mechanism works.

    For those not familiar with the original text Scott’s referring to, here it is:

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.

    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.

    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?

    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    Offensive? Almost definitively (but so what? – it leaves them with nothing to retort with except “you… you… how dare you!”)

    Discussion provoking, yes. (Among people capable of and willing to engage in dialogue.)

    Actually conveying why atheists feel the way they do despite all the indoctr… I mean despite all the evidence of the Bible? Quite possibly.

    Can be construed as an attack threatening their religious freedom? Well, yes, of course, but only in a way that ends with a flustered frustrated zealot screaming “YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!” (Which, let’s face it, is the goal.)

  51. Holy crap!! From the emails I get, this conversation just might have actually turned constructive. Who’d a thunk it??!!?

    I can’t wait to respond when I have more time.

    • You Know Who says:

      And all it took was taking the time to acknowledge points that had been made repeatedly, and think about what might make an EFFECTIVE message instead of a stubborn arrogant hostile one.

      My work here is done…

      • Not really. We’ve only agreed that this would be a good message. I have not been convinced that the others are bad. At most, you’ve convinced me that the racial image may distract from the real message.

        Oh, and the message from Epicurus does nothing to attack the PA senate for their Year of the Bible. That does warrant an explicit and targeted verbal attack.

  52. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    bobbo said: “It is multifaceted but I’m sure women have not dated me or stopped dating me because in my youth I called myself “spiritual and don’t go to church” vs I’m an atheist.

    Then YKW said: “Given what I’ve seen of your personality here, I’m very sure the one reason women have refused to date you or stopped dating you has to do with your religious/anti-religious inclinations. And nothing else. (That you believe that this might even be close to a primary factor in that is kind of scary…)”

    So–for future reference should a dialectic ever ensue, when I say you are a nattering naybob of negativity, or on a different wavelength, or non-responsive, or thinking religiously, or failing to appreciate any subtlety, or to address the issues fairly raised, THE ABOVE is a good example of that. I could go piecemeal thru the thread and pick out many other examples.

    You have the displayed intelligence to understand the issue without further explanation. All that would be needed is an appropriate table, some straps, eyelid clamps, and Beethoven.

    • You Know Who says:

      Wow, stealing insults from… Spiro Agnew? Explains so much. (I guess this means I’m justified in calling you an alliterate.)

      And it’s “wave band“! Geez, you can’t even keep your own epithets straight!

      Funny, I was going to compare your whiny “no one overcomes my free will” chant to Alex undergoing reprogramming! You’ll be cured, all right…

      I still believe the core reason all those women stopped or never started dating you had nothing to do with your asinine attitude of atheistic arrogance. (Best I could do on short notice.)

      • <aside>

        Wow, stealing insults from… Spiro[chete] Agnew? Explains so much. (I guess this means I’m justified in calling you an alliterate.)

        Good pun. Here’s another to go with it from a New York Times crossword a decade and half or so ago. I believe the clues on this Sunday times puzzle with multiple long answers were just something like “quip part 1”, “quip part 2”, and “quip part 3.” The answer was: (brace yourself)

        That etymologist feeling so poorly is an ill literate.

        </aside>

  53. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    The religious mindset: I don’t care what you say…….”I still believe.”

    Pretty corrosive stuff.

  54. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Misanthropic Scott says:
    March 19, 2012 at 09:09

    Not really. We’ve only agreed that this would be a good message. I have not been convinced that the others are bad. At most, you’ve convinced me that the racial image may distract from the real message. /// EVERY message (images included) detracts from some other message. Appeals to certain people and not to others. Issues may or may not be complex but they are ALWAYS layered, conflicted, subject to dispute, and have multiple interpretations. Issues as you amply illustrated above almost always require multiple messages, multiple messengers, and lots of repetition. Then, the times must be ripe as well.

    Always forward.

  55. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    That entomologist being religious is in sect.

  56. Hey YKW,

    In searching around for either support or contradiction to your statements, I came across this book review. You may be interested since this book seems to be all about supporting your anti-antitheist bent.

    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/04/28/3202269.htm

    This is not intended as derogatory. I genuinely just wanted to share a book you might like.

    • You Know Who says:

      I don’t have an anti-antitheist bent. I have a distaste for the way certain particular people and groups represent atheism and non-belief in the public arena. Doubtless they will get on a high horse and shout how they “won’t back down” or will whine about how I’m “interfering with their personal freedom” (the same way dominionists would claim I am violating their “religious freedom” to insist that their laws that they got from their God apply to me and others who don’t give a shit about their God, real or imaginary). Or maybe they’ll just talk about their wave band and the next venue where it will be performing.

      In return, here’s a link to a book you might like. Nothing derogatory meant, of course, just FYA (for your amusement).

      http://hatinggod.com/id1.html

      But don’t expect any response from me about it. As I said, my work here is done. Getting the two of you to acknowledge even the possibility that you are doing damage to your own cause with your cluelessness and that change to the public presentation is a positive thing, that’s enough good work for one week. The rest will come in time. (As will acceptance and tolerance for non-believers… assuming you two get your asses out of the way.)

      See ya…

      • I love it!! Looks like a great book for the weak-minded enough to believe in God while strong-willed enough to hate the enslavement to Him and the damage He has done to humanity. It’s a very Blasphemous Rumors type of sentiment.

        Were I to lose my mind and pick up a belief in God, I would love this book. As it is, it does nothing for me but provide a bit of amusement.

        Personally, I suspect that the author is a bit disingenuous. I’m having a hard time imagining someone who really believes in God and recognizes Him as the abomination described in the Bible.

      • You Know Who says:

        You just don’t recognize who your best friends are.

        Think of the advantage they have over you in arguments with religious people. Unlike atheists, who have to overcome the “why don’t you believe, there’s so much evidence in the Bible… etc.”, the misotheists can respond “yes, I believe absolutely everything you do, I believe the entire story of God as related in the Bible, every last word of it, I just think that the author of that book is an evil monster and a liar and the very words of that book support my opinion.”

        And consider the religious freedom issues for such people. “Under God” and “In God We Trust” are offensive to them not because they are evil smelly atheists who just piss people off but because they BELIEVE in the existence of God and are offended that it is assumed we should be “under” something evil and trust it.

        It seems you don’t recognize a golden opportunity even when it smacks you in the face. Just saying.

        But my work is done…

        (Hopefully you won’t just call them “weak-minded” and ruin any potential alliance with them.)

  57. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Scotty: I was going to respond after you at that Atheist Billboard website but the registration process says your name will be available to other members. That doesn’t bother me so much, but with no need for that I “have no faith” that my home address will also be revealed?

    I thought you had a bugaboo about your own privacy?

    If you go back–please post that the TRUTH should never be represented as offensive. THE TRUTH is neutral. The fact that people are offended by something neutral is what makes them (xxxx).

    We should not allow our enemies to define us, or our terms of engagement. The TRUTH——will set you free. Not offensive.

    • I entered first name Misanthropic last name Scott. And, I used the email address I always use for blogging, which is not my regular email address.

      You could do first name bobbo, last name EvangelicalAntitheist or some such.

      I’m not thrilled with their new site. The old was simpler and better. I haven’t even figured out how to put my URL in so that others can click through on my name to get to my blog.

  58. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Ha, ha. It never occurs to me to lie. I’m such an innocent in these dark and evil woods. No need to respond regarding the street address they require? 4311 Damnation Street, Uranus.

  59. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    This is tangential but related. Guy who started Post Rapture Pet Care Insurance is being investigated for insurance scamming. I agree. The joke ends when the money is collected. I don’t care how stupid the religious can get, fraud is still fraud.

    Can I get an Amen?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-painful-correction-about-the-end-of-the-world/2012/03/19/gIQAvqLyNS_story.html

  60. I disagree that the joke ends when money is collected. I think this needs to be set up as a valid business, and most definitely not called insurance. The idea began with JesusPets.com years ago, though that site is no longer what it once was.

    They did not claim any certification.

    They merely stated that they were heathen pet lovers who would care for your pets if you get caught up in the rapture. They pointed out that the bible states that animals will not get caught up in the rapture. They said that they love animals and as heathens, “we’re not going anywhere.”

    So, they argued that if you love your pet and expect to be raptured (ruptured?), then you should provide for your pet.

    The obvious conclusion for not doing so is either A) you don’t love your pet or B) you don’t really believe in the rapture.

    But, it’s not fraud if one is really setting up some infrastructure for dealing with the possibility, even if it’s just creating a network of heathen animal lovers and providing each of them with the list of animals to be cared for should the rapture come.

    This need not be a scam.

    I’m just disappointed that I didn’t think of it first.

  61. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    From the link: ““Our issue is only to find out whether he is engaged in the unlicensed business of insurance in New Hampshire.”

    • Yes. That’s why I said it should not be called insurance. This case was fraud. It should have been done without fraud as I described above.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Scotty: how is it fraud other than they sold an insurance product without meeting proper insurance requirements much more the actual insurance licensing requirements?

        Absent insurance fraud, what crime was committed?

      • Fraud was the only crime. But, there were two counts. One, they claimed it was insurance. Two, they claimed their staff was in some way certified, which they weren’t. There was no reason to make either claim. Absent those two claims they could have had a very honest and long-running scam business plan.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        And that brinks us full circle to my first post.

        Again–another billboard approach to contesting god with the religious.

        And to repeat for emphasis–a billboard advertising insurance products for post rupture pet care “should be” allowed “as a joke/free speech”—until they take money.

      • I disagree. If they don’t call it insurance and don’t claim any sort of certification and they’ve set up even the most bare bones infrastructure, I have no problem with separating fools from their money.

        If they maintain a list of the pets to be cared for and, for each one, have a heathen (non-Christian) nearby (need not be an atheist) who has agreed to care for the pet(s) in their area, preferably after being paid so that the contract is legally binding, that would be enough.

        For $20 per pet, would you agree to care for the following 7 pets should their owners be caught up in the rapture? I sure would. And, if the rapture actually happened, I’d take care of the pets.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        You don’t have to “claim” a service/contract/agreement IS INSURANCE. If you are taking money today for a future conditional provision of services THAT IS INSURANCE.

        Silly rabbit. THAT is why they are being investigated.

        “But I never asked the woman to engage in an act of prostitution.” I’ll leave the rest of it for you to fill in. Its the same thing as so much of the law is.

        Gosh Scotty. How naive are you? What kind of evil cavalier are you shredding laws here and there with so much of what you do if you think not calling something what it is gives you a free get out of jail card.

        The law even assumes you know all this, just as I did. Real ignorance is no defense.

  62. Here’s one that can’t possibly offend anyone. I have no idea whether it will get any point across or not.

    And the back story behind it.

    http://ffrf.org/news/releases/this-is-what-an-atheist-looks-like/

  63. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    single sexy women leading men away from Christ? Trying to defeat the chrsters by playing into their foundation myth?

    Troubled waters.

    • I don’t think it says whether she is single or married. And, that’s not a model posing for the photo. That is a photo of the member who won the contest to get her message and her photo on the billboard.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        It doesn’t say she is sexy either. The context is an ad.

      • If you can see her ring finger, let me know.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        No decent woman, if married, would be photographed without her husband and children also present. Your choice: nominally moral and single, or immoral and married. I was just showing good christian charity in my assumptions.

        I can see you really don’t know what being Christian is all about. The Muslims are a good reminder of that. Keeping those of faith out of sight and out of mind.

        Are the conditions express? – No. But the context of any ad is to present a desirable subject. Female, young, sexy, and single. She can also suck the chrome of a boat hitch.

        Again Scott: all you have to do is look.

  64. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Heart warming story here about a Christian group raising money for an atheist who wanted to sue them but instead is going blind.

    My question/relevancy: as a Christian Country why aren’t all Christian groups advocating for a socialist christ based health care system? You know, trying to undo/correct god’s will, but the goal for me would be to get universal healthcare so people don’t need to beg for help and then trust the courts to strike down the religious indoctrination parts. I think thats called: working together?

    http://blog.chron.com/believeitornot/2012/03/texas-christians-raise-money-for-ailing-atheist-critic/

    • Now you’re on the topic of another thread of mine from long ago.

      https://misanthropicscott.wordpress.com/2008/03/23/how-would-jesus-vote/

      You probably missed the part in the bible where Jesus checked citizenship papers and health insurance before healing the sick.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Yeah, its not express but I was thinking that a billboard campaign by atheists imploring Christians to actually honor the principles of their faith would be a different approach from attacking the immoral parts of the good book. So easy for me to get sidetracked when issues of faith and conformity are raised.

  65. You Know Who says:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/03/22/texas-atheist-flabbergasted-by-outpouring-of-christian-charity/

    This is what you are up against. Not the wretched Greensboro Baptist Church or the dominionist lobbyists or even the war-on-women efforts of the Republicans. This.

    Got anything that represents the flip side of this, atheist groups providing charity to a religious believer? No. Then you lose.

    “But wait, we’re right, they’re wrong, logic demonstrates that their ideas about God are all…”

    Nope, you lose.

    “No, no, you’re not understanding our message. We’re directing it at a very specific subset of people that we didn’t mention by name but they know who they are. We don’t have to present ourselves in a favorable light just for show, we just have to show those bullying bastards that…”

    Whoa, there you go again, you still lose.

    “But we shouldn’t have to need to present a kinder, gentler image of ourselves to win against these people. We should just have to present the best argument from the facts, starting with the fact that they don’t have the right to…”

    Uh-uh, you still lose.

    “Look, you’re not talking on the same wave band that I am. I have things to say, and I’m going to say them, and you don’t have the right to interfere with my freedom of speech, and just because you fail to be…”

    Sorry, wasn’t listening – you lose.

    ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!

    Isn’t that the name of a castle? Doesn’t matter, you lose.

    Kvetch all you want about how overdone and flawed sentimentality is when dealing with the issues of the world. That’s very nice. Until you play on the same playing field they do (or to use Bobbo’s private language – until you communicate on the same wave band), a field in which they are winning because they know how to play the game and the super bright logical atheists don’t, because their demagogues know what they’re doing and yours simply suck ass, your attempt to communicate and convince anyone is a great big fail. You lose. So I lose. Because whether or not you and your friends get this and modify your game affects how all of us get to live moving forward.

    Or don’t believe me. I’m wrong. This is just anecdotal evidence. And besides, you’ve always done this this way. Prove to me that there is no changing of minds. That logic isn’t the critical element in persuasion. Either way. My work is done. Thanks. 🙂

    • Got anything that represents the flip side of this, atheist groups providing charity to a religious believer? No. Then you lose.

      ACLU has repeatedly defended religious groups’ right to free speech. Red Cross? Habitat For Humanity? Amnesty International?

      Humane Society and ASPCA would probably not cover religious animals, so I’ll leave them out of it.

      • You Know Who says:

        Since when is the ACLU an atheist organization? Or the Red Cross? (Named after a Christian religious symbol, no?) Naming ecumenical organizations that welcome both religious and non-religious is not what was asked for. I asked for atheist organizations that would enhance the reputation of atheists through their good deeds the way Christians were able to showcase their charitable kindness towards a cranky atheist. And you couldn’t come up with one. Not one.

        So you still lose.

        Not that I care. Not that I care if you care. It’s OK if you choose to lose this game. I’m not out to argue the point with you. But realize the consequences of losing this particular game. You can “win” the game you think you’re playing according to your own rules, but when it comes to a counterdemonstration that shows atheists being good at goodness, you lose. You don’t think that matters. That’s wonderful. Keep not thinking that.

        But again, my work is done here. Just putting the point on the table is a win.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Here’s a game: identify/count the instances of double speak/contradiction in the above few paragraphs.

        I’m at 6. YMMV.

        Silly Hooman: to argue one is not arguing. Just pointing out the points and the table. ……… and the game.

        “Infinite Sheldon!”

      • OK. So, now I think I get your definition of an atheist organization. And, I disagree. Here’s what I think you mean and why I think you’re wrong. Let me know what I’m missing.

        • A secular organization is only an atheist organization if they discriminate xenophobically by excluding theists from their membership regardless of the possibility of them having the same goal as the organization. So, if any Jew or Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist or … has ever given to the Christian Children’s Foundation, they are no longer a Christian organization. Ditto for the Salvation Army.
        • A secular organization may not choose as their symbol anything that even remotely resembles any religious symbol. So, if they choose the reverse video image of the Swiss flag as a highly recognizable image of neutrality, they cannot be an atheist organization. Of course C++ was obviously created by a Muslim and two Christians. The ratio of programmers in this language has been maintained throughout. No atheists or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists have ever programmed in C++.
        • An atheist organization must use the word atheist in their name, just as all Christian Churches must use the word Christian in their names, just like the Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Anglican churches. So, clearly the Secular Coalition for America is not an atheist organization because A) the name does not include the word atheist and B) Secular Jewish and Humanistic organizations are member organizations.
        • An atheist organization must be oriented around the principals of atheism. But, oh wait, there aren’t any. So, just as the Non-Stamp-Collecting Golfers’ Association (were there one) would need to have the words Non-Stamp-Collecting in the name and discriminate against those who do collect stamps, so too must any atheist organization put the word atheist in their name and discriminate against theists.

        So, clearly what you should be asking is for secular organizations. But, no. Before you can improve the image of atheists, we must first form a discriminatory organization that explicitly includes membership from those who have faith. Then, after showing that we can be the same kind of xenophobic bigot as the religiose, we must be the good Samaritans who help the faithful even though we psychologically torture them by telling them they will burn in hell for eternity. I think we can provide a better image by not discriminating when we form such organizations.

        Did I get that right now?

        More importantly, you worry about the damage some atheists do to our common cause by being obnoxious and yet here you are giving the theists their line of argument for hating us??!!?

        No atheist is doing more for the worst of the theists than you are here. Good thing my blog doesn’t have a high readership. Because, you’ve just given the Westboro Batshits plenty of information to say that atheists never do good for others. “See, even an atheist on this blog over here said so. So, it must be true.”

        Shame on you.

      • You Know Who says:

        OK. So, now I think I get your definition of an atheist organization.

        Oh what bullshit. You knew when I first used the term. You pretended you didn’t, you imagined you could get away with using organizations that are no more atheist than the United Jewish Appeal in your examples.

        But the critical point here (which of course you continue to avoid) is that even though your examples were willfully weasely and deceptive, it’s the fact that you chose to provide examples the only way you knew how, recognizing that examples needed to be provided – when of course, you could have stood up and said “I have no need to prove that atheists are charitable and good to others regardless of their religious affiliations, that doesn’t prove anything, who cares about that!”

        It’s because you knew that was the wrong thing to do, that it becomes clear that despite your hostility towards what I’ve been saying, despite your obstinate arrogance about how it doesn’t matter how atheists present themselves, we are on the same page, you recognize as I do how important presentation is when it comes to gaining – or losing – acceptance and tolerance from the public at large.

        And I think that’s great.

        But let’s get back to the deflections and diversions of your post, just because…

        And, I disagree.

        And that’s fantastic. But your argument is just bogus irrational rationalization from the get-go. Organizations that cater to specific groups are not “discriminating xenophobically” – is a bowling club “discriminating xenophobically” if they only include people who bowl? How ridiculous your argument is! Furthermore, what is American Atheists if not an atheist organization? By YOUR own logic, they are according to you an exclusionary organization that discriminates xenophobically!!!!! Therefore you must despise them!

        Not that I agree at all with your implicit assessment of this organization you have in the past expressed support for. It’s great that atheists DO have organizations. Organizations providing solidarity and support for like-minded people, despite your assessment to the contrary, are a good thing. I would imagine that an organization like American Atheists would indeed do charitable things, like… stand up for atheists who actually ARE bullied and attacked and harshly discriminated against, publicize the plight of THOSE people, real people who are really hurt because of their atheism. And maybe, once in a while, show that atheists have a heart by providing similar charity to religious folks in need… hey, wouldn’t that get us back to the original example that prompted all this? Nah, we couldn’t possibly do that, could we? This thread couldn’t stand that much stress.

        Understand, though, that in being shady in your attempt to provide “examples of atheist groups providing charity to religious believers”, you demonstrated that you acknowledge that having that kind of positive presentation of atheists as a community IS important – so important that, lacking any real examples, you felt compelled to make some up. If you didn’t believe that, you simply would have said “who cares whether atheists can show themselves to be charitable?” But you didn’t. And that’s the important thing. You proved that you and I are on the same page in that regard. And that’s good.

        Let me know what I’m missing.

        Oh, you didn’t just give me that amazing an opening, did you?
        What is Scott missing what is Scott missing what is Scott missing… oh, where to begin.

        I will be kind. (Which you haven’t, but that’s OK.)

      • You Know Who says:

        More importantly, you worry about the damage some atheists do to our common cause by being obnoxious and yet here you are giving the theists their line of argument for hating us??!!?

        What did you just say, Bobbo? Bobbo, is that you? It has to be, who else could offer the incoherence of “giving the theists their line of argument for hating us”? What does that even mean?

        No atheist is doing more for the worst of the theists than you are here. Good thing my blog doesn’t have a high readership. Because, you’ve just given the Westboro Batshits plenty of information to say that atheists never do good for others. “See, even an atheist on this blog over here said so. So, it must be true.”

        So, in other words… SHHHHHH!!!! Don’t say OUT LOUD what is actually going on! Stand in solidarity with your fellow atheists and DON’T reveal the fact that atheists don’t engage in the same kind of charity that religious groups gloatfully boast about! If you support your fellow atheists, YOU SHOULDN’T SAY THINGS PUBLICLY THAT MAKE US LOOK BAD! Even if they’re true! That’s what a GOOD atheist would do! A good atheist wouldn’t encourage the idea that perhaps as a group our doing things to promote a positive image of ourselves that challenges the contemptuous way we are depicted is a good idea – because saying “it would be a good idea” to do those things lets everyone know that we don’t actually do those things! That’s criminal. That’s terrible. How dare I…

        Shame on you.

        Yeah, that’s what I meant to say. Shame on me! I am a terrible person because I say out loud that atheists as a group could use a publicity makeover because as a group they fail to care about how they are presented in the public arena. If I just kept my mouth shut, the theists wouldn’t realize this, and wouldn’t have this point to use against atheists! …

        Did you really just say “shame on you” to ME? Really? Shame on me because I dared to stand up to a closed-minded atheist cabal that thinks suggesting how atheists might (and should) improve their public image is a shameful thing to do that does HARM to the “cause”, in a manner befitting an authoritarian cult?

        Shame on ME? Shame on YOU, Scott, for putting up such a pathetic, irrational argument. Tell me something just went wrong with the internet and the words “shame on you” came up on this page by accident, through some glitch, some “miracle”. Because if you really mean to accuse me of having done something “shameful” because I dared to speak truth about how atheists present themselves, then you have hit rock bottom.

      • Yes. I said ‘shame on you’ meaning you should be ashamed of yourself. You are providing pseudorational arguments to the batshits to help them to justify their 11th century bigotry. Where before they could just call us assholes or damned assholes or goddamned assholes who will burn in hell for eternity, now they can use your pseudointellectual bullshit about atheist organizations to justify their bullshit and pretend to sound intelligent.

        Shame on you.

        Oh, and if I were going to censor, I would do so. I have never censored a single non-spam message on my blog. And, I’m not going to start with your bullshit.

      • You Know Who says:

        Nope. I’m not ashamed. I am proud. You would rather I didn’t vocalize the FACT that atheist organizations don’t provide charity the way these religious organizations boastfully do. You may not like the fact that in the public arena you HAVE to compete with that, but you do. Tough. Reality bites.

        You complain that I “provide pseudorational arguments to the batshits to help them to justify their 11th century bigotry,” saying that “where before they could just call us assholes … now they can use your pseudointellectual bullshit about atheist organizations to justify their bullshit and pretend to sound intelligent.” What the fuck are you talking about? Do you imagine that religious groups are unaware of the lack of charity provided by atheist groups? Tell me you are not that stupid. Are you that daft that you imagine that the information, the FACTUAL information, that I provided about the charitable activities of atheist organizations (or lack thereof), is NEW information that your archenemies the religious folks are unaware of? Are you fucking kidding?

        Shame on you.

        Oh stop. You’re the one who should be ashamed putting forth such a godawful weak argument.

      • You Know Who says:

        Here’s what I don’t get.

        When I remark about the failure of atheists to care about how they as a group (and as individuals) present themselves in the public arena, including the level of visible charitable actions by atheist groups, I am accused (irrationally and erroneously) of providing ammunition to dogmatic religious groups who hate atheists and non-believers.

        But when these same atheists endorse hostility and mockery towards the religious that damages the image of atheists as a community, deliberately seeking to inflame people so that atheists are viewed even more contemptuously than before, so that arrogant religionists who would complain whinily for no reason that “those secular people are impinging on our religious freedom and attacking us…” now have a reason for complaining about this, and when I say THIS is giving ammunition to the religious to justify their bigotry against atheists… I get “shame on you”.

        Actually, I’m lying: I totally get the reason behind this. It arises from hypocrisy, pigheaded stubbornness, and a dogmatism worthy of the very religions these people claim to stand against.

      • Secular organizations perform a tremendous amount of charity work. You just fail to acknowledge that this means that good is being done not in the name of religion but in the name of humanity.

        And, just as you ask me to think about the message I transmit and the image I present of atheism, I ask you to do the same.

        That is all. If that is a weak argument, so is yours.

        Did you go around and check what percentage of religious charities actually do provide services to non-theists? I doubt it.

        Did you find out if there are enough organizations organized specifically to benefit atheists alone to have a statistical universe?

        Atheists, as you well know, have no unifying guiding principles and no houses of worship.

        So, members of a single church performed a single act of charity for an atheist. How many churches do not?

        I ask that you think about the messages you send and the negative effects they send just as you ask that I do. Yet, somehow in your mind, you are right to do so but I am not.

        Think about how hypocritical that is and come back when you’ve at least acknowledged that if I should think about my message, you should think about yours.

        Yes. Secular organizations provide charity.

        American Atheists does not even provide charity to atheists. It just provides a meeting place. So, when you say they do not provide charitable acts to theists, consider whether they do so for anyone.

        And, consider that there are many thousands of churches in the country. Some scream “God Hates Fags”; some do not. Some atheist organizations offend the religious; some try not to.

        The fact that one church’s congregation did something wonderful does not absolve the others of their actions against the secular.

        The fact that the religiose always look for atheist organizations and ignore other secular organizations does not mean that we need to encourage that or consider it a valid point. It actually isn’t for the reasons I stated.

        If it were a valid point, then for all the reasons I stated, most Christian organizations would fail the test of being Christian organizations.

        So, why not take a tip from the Secular Coalition of America and stop arguing about the 5% on which we disagree and work together for the 95% on which we do?

      • You Know Who says:

        Secular organizations perform a tremendous amount of charity work. You just fail to acknowledge that this means that good is being done not in the name of religion but in the name of humanity.

        I won’t fail to acknowledge it once you show examples of atheist groups – not “secular organizations” (did you think that was a smooth deflection?) – performing that charity work you speak of.

        And, just as you ask me to think about the message I transmit and the image I present of atheism, I ask you to do the same.

        There’s a big difference. I am asking you to join in improving the message transmitted about atheism because the way it is now is damaging to the overall image of atheists. You are asking me to SHUSH and not bring up the problems in the overall image of atheists and atheism, because you imagine that vocalizing that position would bring new information to theists they would use against us. I cannot keep quiet about how assuming a naivete and ignorance on the part of theists about these things is itself naive and ignorant… and, seriously, downright stupid.

        Did you go around and check what percentage of religious charities actually do provide services to non-theists? I doubt it.

        Doesn’t matter. We just saw an example of one that did. Now show a converse example. Oh, you can’t? Bzzzzzt, the board goes back.

        I ask that you think about the messages you send and the negative effects they send just as you ask that I do. Yet, somehow in your mind, you are right to do so but I am not.

        And I just explained why. You cannot equate your argument to mine. Mine is about noting how the current image projected by atheists is damaging to the cause and needs to be improved if we are to achieve tolerance and acceptance for non-believers. Yours is about how I should shut up and keep the “secret” that atheists aren’t visibly charitable from the theists who you imagine don’t already know this, because my saying this supposedly gives them ammunition to justify their bigotry (while the deliberate mockery and hostility you and Dawkins and your kind endorse somehow does NOT give them similar ammunition).

        Think about how hypocritical that is and come back when you’ve at least acknowledged that if I should think about my message, you should think about yours.

        Ah, I get it: “Think about this and come back when you agree with me that you’re wrong!” I don’t think so.

        Instead, I will note that I have thought about your message, versus mine, and concluded that yours is the one that’s totally hypocritical. And I’ve shown why that is. Whereas you have done no such thing.

        Yes. Secular organizations provide charity.

        Hmm, a second time you thought you could get away with sneakily substituting “secular organizations” for “atheist organizations”? Tsk tsk, Scott. How dishonest.

        American Atheists does not even provide charity to atheists.

        Why not? Aren’t there atheists in need? Aren’t there atheists being discriminated against who need assistance? According to you, the religious people of America are a bunch of horrible terrible bullies ALL OF WHOM (no innocent bystanders!!!!!) are kicking atheists in the balls. Don’t those atheists with their balls kicked in need medical care?

        Indeed, there are atheists being victimized and harassed for their beliefs – but American Atheists won’t help them. It’s more important for them to put up billboards that will lead to more victimization and harassment for them.

        And, consider that there are many thousands of churches in the country. Some scream “God Hates Fags”; some do not.

        Uh uh. According to you, there are no innocent bystanders. So clearly all churches scream “GOD HATES FAGS”.

        Right?

        So, why not take a tip from the Secular Coalition of America and stop arguing about the 5% on which we disagree and work together for the 95% on which we do?

        No.

        And shame on you for presenting such a dismal argument in favor of giving up what one believes to be important in the name of doing what “the organization” wants.

      • You’re deliberately asking the wrong question. The religiose frame the question as you do. It must be an atheist organization. You’ve fallen for a trap. I do not fall for that trap.

        You are letting the religiose define the terms and are playing by their losing game. I’m suggesting reframing the issue to be a more accurate representation of religion vs. secularism.

        Imagine a hypothetical atheist setting up an organization to provide health care around the world, hypothetically let’s call it Doctors Without Borders, though I am not able to find anything about the founders’ religions or lack thereof. Though, the organization was deliberately and explicitly secular right from the start.

        Now let’s imagine that this group wants to actually do the work of its charter. Why would it restrict membership to atheists?

        You have fallen into a trap set by the religiose to look for organized atheists. The only thing I’ve ever heard of atheists organizing for is to defend atheists from legal persecution by the religiose among us.

        Any other purpose would lead to a group formed by atheists that did not restrict membership and did not mention atheism in the charter. After all, Faux Spews semi-correctly defined the reason rally as a rally about nothing.

        In reality, it means Faux finally got the message that atheism is not a belief. That said, they missed the point that the rally was about the rights of those who do not believe.

        By letting the theists frame the issue, we will lose every time.

        By agreeing with them as an outspoken atheist, you confirm there faulty framing of the issue.

        I’m done on this. I’m not going to debate further about atheist groups formed for humanitarian purposes and why they don’t remain limited to atheists or have atheism in the name.

        You are in a maze of twisty passages created by Fred Phelps; you continued; you fell into his pit.

      • You Know Who says:

        You’re deliberately asking the wrong question.

        Oh you’ve just gotta love THIS retort. “You’re not asking the question I want you to ask! Don’t ask about whether atheists as a community provide visible charitable services to those in need, because if you answer THAT question – one the public at large does ask – we will look bad. Instead answer a question we like that we want to answer.”

        In other words: “I’m sorry, professor, I can’t answer question 43 on your exam, so instead I’m responding to a question I chose myself.”

        Inane.

        The religiose frame the question as you do.

        Dude, I’ve clearly read a lot more George Lakoff than you apparently have. And you clearly don’t get the idea of “framing” at all. You don’t frame a discussion by imagining you can control reaction to questions that have already been asked or that you can unask questions already on the table! You don’t get to frame those questions, you have to frame the response. The questions have already been asked, you don’t get to unask them or detour to a question of YOUR choosing. Imagining that what you’re talking about is a reasonable approach to debate in the public forum is simply delusional.

        “What charitable acts do atheist organizations perform?” is NOT – read my lips, NOT – a “when did you stop beating your wife” question. It is simply one you simply don’t like the honest answer to, so you’d rather it not be asked. But clearly even you get the importance of providing a positive response to the question, even if it’s a made-up one – which is why you provided a made-up response as your answer to it.

        And that’s the point. You get it. Even you (even the ever-dense Bobbo) won’t pretend this is a “who cares” scenario where it doesn’t matter what answer is given. Even you don’t want atheists in general associated with the slimy greedy selfish animalistic Objectivists who believe selfishness and greed are positive things and would never consider an altruistic action. That’s a good thing.

        Aren’t you the one who demands we focus on what we agree on? Why does that not include this?

        let’s imagine that this group wants to actually do the work of its charter. Why would it restrict membership to atheists?

        Because smart people know that perception is reality and that having a visible atheist group that does positive things for the community leads to a better public perception of atheists.

        How’s this for a reframing – atheist groups that organize to work alongside other groups to join in relief efforts, that provide collected contributions to worthwhile efforts and can document where the money goes. Now, you compare these groups to churches with their collection plates filled with money contributed by people who needed it far more than whoever got a hold of it in the end, to Mother Teresa’s organization that didn’t really provide genuine help to those in need. (Read some Hitchens.) “Yes, we DO contribute to the welfare of those in need… but we don’t take money from people because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t contribute, and we take care to monitor where our money goes. Can you say the same thing?”

        Now THAT’S reframing. Not “no, I won’t answer YOUR question, but instead I’ll demand that you ask a question of my choosing that I have a better answer for.”

        You have fallen into a trap set by the religiose to look for organized atheists.

        Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a trap!” (Kind of brings us back to Bobbo’s love life, but… never mind.)

        Yes, you’re right, because if they find groups of organized atheists… they might think “holy shit, they’ve organized!” That would be TERRIBLE!

        Your argument is as dumb as saying black people historically shouldn’t have organized and convened together because racists would say “Look, them n-words are gathering together! Let’s get ’em!” (Next you’ll be pulling a Geraldo and saying black people should also not wear hoodies because those
        hoodies are to blame for racists shooting them.)

        The only thing I’ve ever heard of atheists organizing for is to defend atheists from legal persecution by the religiose among us.

        So… maybe you COULD organize for other things too… right?

        (I really don’t understand what your purpose was in including the above sentence. Are YOU disparaging atheists for their lack of broad support for ecumenical charity? Or… what?)

        By letting the theists frame the issue, we will lose every time.

        And why is that? Not all their questions are of the irrational “when did you stop beating your wife” form. The one on charity certainly isn’t. And you can’t claim it is just because the only honest answer you can provide doesn’t cut it. If you “lose” on questions like this, you have only yourselves to blame.

        I’m done on this.

        No you’re not.

        You are in a maze of twisty passages created by Fred Phelps; you continued; you fell into his pit.

        You know, I have no clue who this Fred Phelps critter is. And I don’t care. You’ve turned this into a cult of personality, apparently having collected the entire set of Topps “Religious Dogmatist MVPs” trading cards. These people come and go – and it’s mostly “go” as they all get caught up in making blatant hypocrites of themselves and their movements when they’re found in a hotel room with child porn videos, a llama, and that girl Bobbo still isn’t sure whether she was a transvestite or not (though he IS sure she was sexy…)

        The best way to bring about change is to allow these damned fools to talk, to ENCOURAGE them to talk, to say things that provoke them – not to enable them to point fingers (justifiably) at the atheists whose idea of persuasive rhetoric is Dawkinsesque mockery, but to get them to trip over themselves and say something they really do believe, out loud. Again and again. As they are wont to do.

        Because that’s where you gain allies. Not from convincing people through your actions that their demagogues were right all along about how rotten atheists are as human beings.

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Define: atheist groups.

      • You Know Who says:

        So simple: groups that identify themselves as having been formed by and for atheists.

        You want it both ways: ecumenical groups that are associated with no religion or affiliation, you want credit for those. That’s just asinine. But not unexpected, Bobbo.

        Interesting though how you can “count” up to 6 “instances” of doublespeak/contradiction but cannot identify a single one directly. Again, no surprise. That’s how you “argoo”. (Could it be you’re… lying? No, you said you never do that…)

        Silly Hooman: to argue one is not arguing. Just pointing out the points and the table. ……… and the game.

        I don’t know if I have the time to wait until the English language devolves to the point that THIS paragraph above makes any sense to anyone, including its author. So we’ll move on.

        Again, I asked whether you could provide ANY examples of atheist groups providing charity to a religious believer in need, and you could not come up with one, not a solitary one. Instead, you tried to play a game of deflection by pretending that ecumenical groups that include people of any and all religious affiliations (including none) qualify as “atheist groups”. Let’s just pretend that’s not cheating. Sure.

        Now, you could have argued that it’s not important whether you can provide such examples, that it’s irrelevant to the whole issue. Sure, that would have been a reasonable enough tactic in this crowd. Align yourselves with the Objectivists, the ones who rationalize selfishness in the name of unbridled self-interest and greed. (Hey, they are atheists, aren’t they!)

        But you didn’t. Neither of you tried to do that. Instead, you tried to weasel some way into implying that there were such examples by including groups that don’t really qualify, or pretending that you didn’t understand what the term “atheist groups” meant.

        So you had the opportunity to dismiss my argument by saying “Phooey, who cares whether atheists as a group can be identified with charitable acts towards religious believers in a reciprocal example to the one in the article. That doesn’t matter. It’s not important. We have facts and logic. They’re wrong.”

        But ya didn’t, Blanche. Ya didn’t.

        Instead, you validated the whole premise of my perspective on this issue by attempting to claim you COULD provide such examples. Didn’t you?

        Maybe the answer here is NOT engaging in deflection and deception by saying “Well, the Red Cross provides charitable services to people and I know an atheist who works with them.” Maybe the answer is to make it so that you don’t have to make up shit to demonstrate the charitable humane side of atheism and atheists.

        Just a suggestion that I know will be responded to with hostility and irrational denunciation.

        Thanks.

  66. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Let’s Parse: You Know Who says:
    March 23, 2012 at 10:54

    So simple: groups that identify themselves as having been formed by and for atheists. /// I agree.

    You want it both ways: ecumenical groups that are associated with no religion or affiliation, you want credit for those. That’s just asinine. But not unexpected, Bobbo. /// Not asinine depending on the definition which loosely could include groups not expressly religious or those that often contest against religious groups but as stated that would be “loose.” However, to your point==I took no such credit and simply asked for your definition first.

    Interesting though how you can “count” up to 6 “instances” of doublespeak/contradiction but cannot identify a single one directly. /// Why do you think I did not expressly identify a single one but merely gave the total?

    Again, no surprise. That’s how you “argoo”. (Could it be you’re… lying? No, you said you never do that…) //// No. My motive is to coax you to the half way point, to think before you flail.

    Silly Hooman: to argue one is not arguing. Just pointing out the points and the table. ……… and the game.

    I don’t know if I have the time to wait until the English language devolves to the point that THIS paragraph above makes any sense to anyone, including its author. So we’ll move on. //// I authored it. It makes sense to me. Do you think you aren’t arguing? Do you think you aren’t making the proposition that you aren’t arguing? That means you are arguing that you aren’t arguing. The sense is more than apparent, it is self evident in a tautological way. Yes, the devolution is my own humor.

    Again, I asked whether you could provide ANY examples of atheist groups providing charity to a religious believer in need, and you could not come up with one, not a solitary one. //// Again, I asked for the definition first.

    Instead, you tried to play a game of deflection by pretending that ecumenical groups that include people of any and all religious affiliations (including none) qualify as “atheist groups”. Let’s just pretend that’s not cheating. Sure. //// Again–I did not do that. Scott did that and it would be totally appropriate depending on your definition.

    Now, you could have argued that it’s not important whether you can provide such examples, that it’s irrelevant to the whole issue. /// Thats true.

    Sure, that would have been a reasonable enough tactic in this crowd. Align yourselves with the Objectivists, the ones who rationalize selfishness in the name of unbridled self-interest and greed. (Hey, they are atheists, aren’t they!) /// Thjats not your definition or anyone else’s of what an atheist group is.

    But you didn’t. Neither of you tried to do that. Instead, you tried to weasel some way into implying that there were such examples by including groups that don’t really qualify, or pretending that you didn’t understand what the term “atheist groups” meant. /// Third repetition of a defective argument.

    So you had the opportunity to dismiss my argument by saying “Phooey, who cares whether atheists as a group can be identified with charitable acts towards religious believers in a reciprocal example to the one in the article. That doesn’t matter. It’s not important. We have facts and logic. They’re wrong.” //// Second or Forth interation depending on what part you focus on. There is a reason brevity is admired.

    But ya didn’t, Blanche. Ya didn’t. /// Are you calling Blanche a poor debater or that you are not a stranger to her?

    Instead, you validated the whole premise of my perspective on this issue by attempting to claim you COULD provide such examples. Didn’t you? /// No.

    Maybe the answer here is NOT engaging in deflection and deception by saying “Well, the Red Cross provides charitable services to people and I know an atheist who works with them.” Maybe the answer is to make it so that you don’t have to make up shit to demonstrate the charitable humane side of atheism and atheists. /// but You are the only one making up shit here. And like most monkeys you are throwing it all over the place.

    Just a suggestion that I know will be responded to with hostility and irrational denunciation. //// Yes, it certainly deserves a mirrored response but what I was thinking two things:

    1. There are 1000’s if not 10’s of Thousands of “Religious Groups” who’s expressly includes providing charity. Yet examples of giving to atheists/criminals ((the Quakers giving support to the family of the guy that killed all those school kids is another example)) are rare enough that they are reported on. In this tally, according to your definition, there are only a handful of atheist organizations that are formed for express purposes not including the giving of charitable services. Your complaint is apples to bongo drums. How many bowling teams contribute to the health care needs of people who blow up bowling alleys?

    2. I’m thinking that most so called religious contributions outside of a church’s own needs come not from the church but rather from the individual church members. This case seems to be from the Church itself–probably from donations specifically raised for that purpose?

    3. On tv just now: 12% of Americans claim no religious belief. Higher than I thought–progress? But that shows that all other things being equal==churches/religious should be 8.3 times more evident in any activity you wish to name. Yet, by the generalization of Pt 1 just above, they are grossly under represented in charitable giving. Makes sense==they give their money to the church and have less left over to be more general in their giving.

    Its all in how you slice and dice.

    Thanks. /// You are welcome.

  67. You Know Who says:

    It’s pointless to give in to your deflective provocation to irrational argument, so I won’t.

    I said atheist groups are “groups that identify themselves as having been formed by and for atheists” – and you concurred with that definition without hesitation. Which brings into question why you asked your evasive question if you knew full well what was meant by the term. No matter: YOU AGREED. No argument there.

    You claimed it was “not asinine” to try to use ecumenical groups that welcome both non-believers and believers as examples of “atheist groups” based on not being clear on the definition – yet you WERE clear on the definition. So it WAS asinine. No argument there.

    I noted that, rather than responding by trying to weasel fictitious inaccurate examples or pretending that you didn’t understand what the term “atheist groups” meant, you COULD have simply said that it’s not important whether you can provide such examples, that it’s irrelevant to the whole issue. But you didn’t. And you AGREED that you could have done this but chose not to by saying “that’s true”. Again, no argument there.

    Understand, I don’t mention this in an accusatory or deprecatory fashion. I think it’s great that you did not retort by saying “who cares whether examples of atheist groups being charitable to religious people.” I think it almost makes you a hooman being. Indeed, that’s why this isn’t an argument and that’s why I’m not arguing – I don’t have to. You are making me points for me, without any confrontative effort on my point. You know better than to claim it doesn’t matter whether or not you can show examples of atheist groups being charitable to people (even religious believers) – the same way religious groups brag about their being charitable to atheists. That’s a good thing. You should be proud. It’s a big step in your socioemotional development.

    But then, of course, there were the irrelevant deflections that consumed most of your output:

    Do you think you aren’t arguing? Do you think you aren’t making the proposition that you aren’t arguing? That means you are arguing that you aren’t arguing

    So when DID you stop beating your wife? Oh yes, I forgot, no woman will stay with you long enough to get beaten by you, let alone married to you – all because you’re an atheist! How sad for them.

    Responding to inane provocations and noting them for what they are is not arguing. But keep going – your focus on distraction and obfuscation just demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are a troll, who derails discussions with deflections and irrelevancies to avoid participating genuinely. No problem. Keep it up. You’re doing a great job. No argument there.

    I know I wasn’t arguing. I was presenting an idea, and seeing how you and Scott would react to the idea. You did exactly what was expected of you. Both you and Scott recognized the importance of providing examples of atheist groups acting charitably – to the point of attempting to weasel some way into implying that there were such examples: by including groups that don’t really qualify, or pretending that you didn’t understand what the term “atheist groups” meant. You agree so strongly with the implied point that you felt you had to find a way to “make it so” – even though it wasn’t so. Once again, thanks.

    Then those last few paragraphs… whew!

    according to your definition, there are only a handful of atheist organizations that are formed for express purposes not including the giving of charitable services. Your complaint is apples to bongo drums. How many bowling teams contribute to the health care needs of people who blow up bowling alleys?

    I don’t see examples of an irrational majority seeking to limit the rights of people who bowl. And no conspiracy to blow up bowling alleys. Do you? I mean, judging from the way you form sentences and thoughts I’m pretty sure you hallucinate all kinds of things – perhaps that is one of them. Perhaps this stems from watching The Big Lebowski while listening in sync to “Smell the Glove” by Spinal Tap.

    Besides, what “complaint” are you talking about? I’m not complaining about anything. I am noting a contrast between the way religious groups present themselves and the way atheist groups do. And in response, you and Scott are AGREEING with the implication of that contrast.

    I will let you try to rephrase those three “points” of yours to be more coherent and make a modicum of sense. But until then, I am glad to note your agreement with what I’ve been saying, despite your desperate backpedaling and… what’s the word – flailing?

    No argument there.

  68. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    You Know Who making the exercise of parsing appear to be a waste of energy and good will says:

    March 24, 2012 at 01:16

    It’s pointless to give in to your deflective provocation to irrational argument, so I won’t. /// Its only your insensate response that gives such a conclusion any validity at all. The following parsing will tell:

    I said atheist groups are “groups that identify themselves as having been formed by and for atheists” – and you concurred with that definition without hesitation. /// Yes, that would have been my definition.

    Which brings into question why you asked your evasive question if you knew full well what was meant by the term. No matter: YOU AGREED. No argument there. /// The point is that I fairly wondered what YOU meant by the term because you set forth a false equivalency that atheist organization should in some manner evidence the same charitable intent towards their adversaries. Thats not true, so I did wonder what you thought an atheist group was.

    You claimed it was “not asinine” to try to use ecumenical groups that welcome both non-believers and believers as examples of “atheist groups” based on not being clear on the definition – yet you WERE clear on the definition. So it WAS asinine. No argument there. /// No.

    xxx

    Understand, I don’t mention this in an accusatory or deprecatory fashion. I think it’s great that you did not retort by saying “who cares whether examples of atheist groups being charitable to religious people.” I think it almost makes you a hooman being. Indeed, that’s why this isn’t an argument and that’s why I’m not arguing – I don’t have to. You are making me points for me, without any confrontative effort on my point. You know better than to claim it doesn’t matter whether or not you can show examples of atheist groups being charitable to people (even religious believers) – the same way religious groups brag about their being charitable to atheists. That’s a good thing. You should be proud. It’s a big step in your socioemotional development. /// Just here at the mountaintop in Lotus Position #7 waiting for your evolution.

    Do you think you aren’t arguing? Do you think you aren’t making the proposition that you aren’t arguing? That means you are arguing that you aren’t arguing /// Of course I am arguing. YOU are the one arguing that you aren’t arguing. See the difference?

    xxx

    Responding to inane provocations and noting them for what they are is not arguing. /// Yes, by definition it is.

    But keep going – your focus on distraction and obfuscation just demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that you are a troll, who derails discussions with deflections and irrelevancies to avoid participating genuinely. No problem. Keep it up. You’re doing a great job. No argument there. /// I’m rubber, you are glue.

    I know I wasn’t arguing. I was presenting an idea, and seeing how you and Scott would react to the idea. You did exactly what was expected of you. Both you and Scott recognized the importance of providing examples of atheist groups acting charitably /// No, your point of argument is irrelevant.

    – to the point of attempting to weasel some way into implying that there were such examples: by including groups that don’t really qualify, or pretending that you didn’t understand what the term “atheist groups” meant. /// For the Fifth time, that was Scotts argument which is still valid depending on how you define the concept. You and I would not define it the same way Scottt did. The argument can still continue based on either definition.

    xxx

    according to your definition, there are only a handful of atheist organizations that are formed for express purposes not including the giving of charitable services. Your complaint is apples to bongo drums. How many bowling teams contribute to the health care needs of people who blow up bowling alleys?

    I don’t see examples of an irrational majority seeking to limit the rights of people who bowl. And no conspiracy to blow up bowling alleys. Do you? /// No, and that wasn’t the point of the analogy.

    I mean, judging from the way you form sentences and thoughts I’m pretty sure you hallucinate all kinds of things /// sadly, I don’t hallucinate enough.

    – perhaps that is one of them. Perhaps this stems from watching The Big Lebowski while listening in sync to “Smell the Glove” by Spinal Tap. /// I can see you analogizing insightful parsing to hallucinating. That fits.

    Besides, what “complaint” are you talking about? I’m not complaining about anything. I am noting a contrast between the way religious groups present themselves and the way atheist groups do. And in response, you and Scott are AGREEING with the implication of that contrast. /// Too vague for me. Please expand this thought and we may have the focus of a relevant ARGUMENT. I could recast the development to this point but will not in respect of the space already taken. Here is a quick take: YOU want to argue some other billboard message should have been made. I say: all billboard messages are good rather than nitpicking the particulars of any given message. You have made an imaginary perfection the enemy of the perfectly fine.

    I will let you try to rephrase those three “points” of yours to be more coherent and make a modicum of sense. But until then, I am glad to note your agreement with what I’ve been saying, despite your desperate backpedaling and… what’s the word – flailing?

    No argument there. /// My argument makes the point that YOU are flailing–ie: making little or even contradictory sense. The “I’m rubber you are glue” school yard retort is the best you can do?

    You Know Who—can you even state the “theme” of what position you want to advance? eg: the billboard could have been “better” by not being so confrontational?===sure. But whats wrong with including that billboard as part of the contest between the two positions? Let people have their say. Stop being mindlessly negative. You know: nabob like.

    • You Know Who says:

      LOL! No need to have any argument with Bobbo since we are in full agreement, as he acknowledged repeatedly. Perhaps he’s compulsively retreating from that because he’s afraid his free will has been overcome. But obviously his goal is to ensnare others into an argument when there’s no need for one since we agree. Apparently that’s his preferred mode of communicating.

      No matter. I leave Bobbo to resume his flailing and… what’s his term? Ah yes, “insightful parsing”. Right. From a man who imagines he can argue when he without disagreeing with anyone, and where no one has a position contrary to his. (What’s the sound of one clown arguing… with no one?)

      An argument requires at least two consenting participants. You know better than to believe you can force someone to participate in an argument against their will, “overcoming their free will” as you like to say, no matter how hard you try, no matter how many inane “when did you stop beating your wife” provocations you spew forth.

      No argument here.

      Move along, people. Nothing to see here. Just Bobbo trying to argue with himself. And failing.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        You do realize every post you make here is “an argument.”

        But you fantasize and misconstrue so completely, maybe this is an exception to that general rule.

        I’ll have to think about this rare argument by performance you provide. Nice delicate balance.

      • You Know Who says:

        You do realize every post you make here is “an argument.”

        No, I don’t realize that. Were this an argument, perhaps there could be an effort to convince – but It would not come from you since you don’t believe in that sort of thing. So it will just have to stand as a silly thing someone said.

        But you fantasize and misconstrue so completely, maybe this is an exception to that general rule.

        Sure.

        I’ll have to think about this rare argument by performance you provide.

        Will you, now? Is that so?

        If you’re really looking for an argument, the one you’re having with Scott about whether the woman on your new billboard is sexy or not. “It doesn’t say that she’s sexy” is a fascinating argumentative point. It’s the kind of thing I would expect you to bring up in an argument. It’s almost relevant… but not quite. 🙂

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Yes, a lot of meaning is contextual, point of view, life experiences, education, mental outlook, cultural, and so forth. These things make non expressed statements relevant depending on the degree of concordance. The more you know, the more seemingly irrelevant material becomes insightful as does the ability to note when the claim of relevancy is false. Funny how that works.

  69. You Know Who says:

    Indeed. And for obvious reasons, we’re still in agreement. So again, no argument here.

    Now you can go back to your argument about whether or not that woman is sexy and prove Scott wrong… mo matter which side of that argument he was on. I don’t think it matters much to you, does it?

  70. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Does it “matter?” = No.
    Do I care? = Yes.

    Scotty is always capable of providing a new/different perspective. If I only cared about what I think, I wouldn’t post at all. New ideas/different ideas come from “outside of one’s self.” Jokes too. Whether from Scott or I think one up myself. This feedback just doesn’t come as often or with the variety that quiet contemplation provides.

    Not for me anyway. Sexy is a perception, not something that is actually “there” even if acclaimed by the great majority. She could even be a he? Why not? It would still be what atheists look like. Ladyboys. They can fool you even when you are sober! = = = Hah!!

    Words. They are what we think with and appropriately so, I suppose, all so variable, even when trying to control for it. Can anyone look sexy when they are just sitting passively? Being vs Looking.

    fun and games.

    • You Know Who says:

      Sounds like you’re speaking from experience about all that.

      But clearly you’re transvested in this argument with Scott about whether or not this woman in the picture is sexy or not. Sounds crucial to the course of your life moving forward. (Have to say, though, that “it doesn’t say she’s sexy” does sound like a crucial factor in whether or not she is. For some people, I guess.)

      I’ll stay out of that. After all, it’s an argument you want (and need), and we aren’t arguing. At least I’m not. And you’d look like a fool just “arguing” with yourself, shouting assertions and claims no one disagrees with at the volume and intensity of someone angrily arguing. So I’ll let you get back to the more critical discussion you clearly need to focus on. Good luck!

      (Scotty, shore up your logic for this upcoming argument with Bobbo. It’s going to be a doozy! Even if you agree with him!)

    • We’re actually debating sexy here??!!? This is beyond silly. But, let’s not let that stop us. In my limited experience, there are few women who think, “I’m sexy. I’ll use my body to sell ideas.” The number is probably not zero. But, still, you’re talking about self-image here.

      FFRF (unfortunately, not an atheist organization), did not go out and say, “Let’s create a sign that has a sexy atheist on it and say that this is what an atheist looks like. They simply created a contest for people to submit ideas for billboards associated with a picture of the person who created the billboard.

      So, this woman posted a picture of herself as required by the contest rules and submitted the text, “This is what an atheist looks like.”

      Presumably, she realized she is not unpleasing to the eye. No one would accuse her of looking like a troll or other unpleasant image. But, they did not independently come up with this message and then go shopping for a hot atheist model to play the part. The woman who thought of the message just happens to look like that.

      At the reason rally, there was a booth to take one’s photo framed by that message. So, any of us could have done the same, except that my phone is not also a camera, so I had nothing with which to take such a picture of myself.

      Also, I saw others with that message on them as they walked around.

      The point was not that atheists are sexy, though we all know that we are, but that atheists look like any other human.

      • You Know Who says:

        That was you and Bobbo debating sexy. I was just watching in amusement. It was funny. It still is.

  71. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    YKW–good to see your mindless negativity and kneejerk nay saying is much reduced. Still there, but we survive in adversity.

    Now you need to work on your loose associations and false attributions.

    The expression is you can polish a turd into a diamond, but all I have ever personally witnessed is a polished turd. Still better than what we started with though.

    Projection is a powerful bias, after all we have access to and live with our own thoughts all the time. Still good to know the difference between shit and shinola though.

    YMMV.

    So, YOU have had a few days considering the subject of this thread: is it useful or not to offend theists as the contesting parties put forth their most firmly held views?

    Can you synthesize your best thinking or stay in your rut?

    I remember one sentence of mine in the heap above that still captures my position on the subject. I’ll share/repeat it again but I’m curious if you can do the same?

    • You Know Who says:

      is it useful or not to offend theists as the contesting parties put forth their most firmly held views?

      The “argument” with Scott isn’t enough? You need another argument to satisfy a deep seated lust for confrontation? Awwww… How precious. Not today.

      Can you synthesize your best thinking or stay in your rut?

      I own a synthesizer! I use it to play music, occasionally getting to jam with old band mates and other musicians I connect with. It’s a lot of fun!

      I’m sorry, were you saying something of consequence?

      I remember one sentence of mine in the heap above that still captures my position on the subject.

      That many?

      I’ll share/repeat it again but I’m curious if you can do the same?

      Aww, gee, but no, sorry, I can’t. Oh, and please don’t. Have a great day!

  72. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    YKW–its not another argument. Your progress while subject to rejection is noticeable. The “goal” of any exchange though is to more finely hone/understand one’s own position.

    I will look forward to your synthesis of this discussion. Mine does remain the same: when advocating for social change, the more messages the better. Each will find its own audience.

    Too bad its not repeated but UP with Chris Hayes 5AM weekends on MSNBC just had a two hour show on this topic. Panelists included Steven Pinker and Dawkins and 2-3 others. Discussion-not talking points. Best show on politics/culture on the air right now. Had a nice segue on Why its Legitimate to “trust” Science and not Religion. Good stuff.

    Next week is Obama care. Set your vcr/s.

    • YKW–its not another argument. Your progress while subject to rejection is noticeable. The “goal” of any exchange though is to more finely hone/understand one’s own position.

      And, occasionally to change one’s mind in light of new arguments and evidence. Few among us are so stubborn as to be unwilling to change our minds in light of new information, especially new facts.

      • You Know Who says:

        Hell, dude, provide some new FACTS, the way I’ve been showing them to you and Bobbo, and perhaps my mind could have been changed. Let’s be serious about whose mind was unchanged by the introduction of new information…

  73. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I’d like to see a video on this: Richard Dawkins addressing Reason Rally telling the assembled to “mock” the religious as in do you really believe in transubstantiation. The response from the Christian is pretty good too. Might be a few links to follow.

    Its not express, but looks like Dawkins would approve our Billboard.

    http://gatewaynews.co.za/2012/03/25/us-atheists-rally-urged-to-mock-religious/

    There are a number of other youtubes of Dawkins and others challenging religious faith. Being more aggressive in confronting religionist has been a theme of Dawkins for quite some time. I can see that happening to an evolutionary biologist specializing in genetics.

    Separate Magisteriums indeed!

  74. You Know Who says:

    What huge success for you! I’m sure dozens if not none of the religious believers up with you at that hour watching this show now understand why they should trust science and not what they’ve learned to trust all their lives! What a great victory for your kind! I’m so happy for you.

    And that credo: “the more messages the better”. Quantity trumps quality every time. I get it. No argument here. Such brilliant thought.

    And what a great source for your other reference. That’s so amusing! Cite an article from a “Christian portal” to make… a point? I’m not actually sure you did, of course, but more power to you! THE MORE MESSAGES THE BETTER! (You really ARE a fifth column for the religious inside the atheist camp, aren’t you?)

    “They’re really not rallying for reason. They just say they are.”

    “They have no business claiming the brand of reason [because] “they don’t reason very well.”

    What can one say about a biased lopsided article from a source standing against real freedom of religion, where so much of it, sadly, is absolutely true?

    THE MORE MESSAGES, THE BETTER.

    Keep it up. You are truly a genius. If I had your mastery of communication and language, I would be speechless.

    • You Know Who says:

      Of course, I should make clear, the very bright statements from Dawkins (who is very very smart and is kind of the pope of atheism, at least in your view he seems to be) are NOT examples of antagonizing believers so that atheists are depicted in the media—justifiably—as arrogant jerks. No no no no no! He is the role model and guide for the modern atheist, isn’t he?

      http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/not-your-average-read/2011/jul/16/sexism-atheism-Dawkins-Watson-feminists-Skepchick/

      http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2011/07/richard-dawkins-chewing-gum

      With him as your role model, no wonder your “success with the ladies” is so abysmal. Maybe it DOES have something to do with your atheism after all!

      Hey, didn’t you love that episode of Southpark about Dawkins? It was so funny. It could have been called “Genuinely reasonable people called on to mock the arrogance of irrational atheists”.

      And what a great idea, don’t you think? I mean, there’s so much to mock – the way they claim to use “reason” but fail to have the social communication skills to persuade people who disagree with them of anything, even though they’re actually in the right!!!!! The way they claim to be logical but are logical only in this awkward clumsy aspie-ish Mr. Spock manner that ignores that the emotions of the mere humans they interact with and pretends they aren’t really relevant factors to be considered in dealing with them. (No casting aspersions on the love life of anyone in present company, of course.)

      “Let’s mock them and humiliate them – THAT will convince them that we’re right!” What a fantastic idea! It’s almost as if it had been made up by people who WANT atheists to be despised by more and more people, even potential allies!!! How very very bright of this bright man Dawkins to have come up with these ideas. I’m very sure you agree, of course.

      Note that the same people who complain about how religious groups represent “bullies” who pick on them see nothing wrong with reversing things when it’s convenient. It seems so just and fair that people who advocate mocking should themselves be readily and wholeheartedly mocked. I’m busy. I’m sure you agree, so… no argument there.

      I would go to the trouble of actually mocking these people but, honestly, I don’t have the time. I’m busy. I’m sure you’ll take up the slack and do this yourself, since it is after all something you enjoy.

      Take care. Have a nice day!

      • Of course, I should make clear, the very bright statements from Dawkins (who is very very smart and is kind of the pope of atheism, at least in your view he seems to be) are NOT examples of antagonizing believers so that atheists are depicted in the media—justifiably—as arrogant jerks. No no no no no! He is the role model and guide for the modern atheist, isn’t he?

        Ah, more fuel for the Batshits. Keep it up. They have no need for a brain capable of forming a good argument. You keep doing their work for them.

        No. Dawkins is neither an atheist pope nor a role model. He’s just one among many scientists with a lot of facts backing up his arguments. But, he’s not infallible. And, he does not advocate faith.

      • You Know Who says:

        Not even sure what “more fuel for the batshits” is supposed to mean. If you’re going to be the one Bobbo gets to indulge his argument addiction with, converging on his presentation style (and content) is going to make that difficult.

        Were you going to say something about what I said? … … … … … I didn’t think so.

        It’s really amazing how you now sound EXACTLY, without any divergence from the mold whatsoever, like a religious zealot. I cite examples of Dawkins’ irrationality, his brazen misogyny and his overt prejudices, and in response you rush to the defense of your non-pope non-role model, saying out of one side of your mouth how he’s NOT infallible, but trying to smack me down for daring to point out how fallible he is out the other. Wow.

        Go add fuel to the fires of those who say that atheism has turned into as dogmatic a religious cult as any other out there. After all, who cares what such people say? Don’t let them impinge upon your rights. Just because they seem to be right…

  75. You Know Who says:

    “Atheists are too often portrayed as bishop-bashing extremists and any meaningful debate with the religious becomes impossible. How can this be remedied? At the Guardian Open Weekend, Julian Baggini presented his 12 rules for heathens.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/25/atheists-please-read-heathen-manifesto

    In recent years, we atheists have become more confident and outspoken in articulating and defending our godlessness in the public square. Much has been gained by this. …However, in a culture that tends to focus on the widest distinctions, the most extreme positions and the most strident advocates, the “moderate middle” has been sidelined by this debate. There is a perception of unbridgeable polarisation, and a sense that the debates have sunk into a stale impasse, with the same tired old arguments being rehearsed time and again by protagonists who are getting more and more entrenched. It is time, therefore, for those of us who are tired of the status quo to try to shift the focus of our public discussions of atheism into areas where more progress and genuine dialogue is possible. The so-called “new atheism” may have put us on the map, but in the public imagination it amounts to little more than a caricature of Richard Dawkins, which is not an accurate representation of the terrain many of us occupy. We now need something else.

    Imagine – people, atheists even, upset with the direction extremists like your friends are taking the public discourse about belief and non-belief and religious freedom! Who woulda thunk it! But this is just anecdotal evidence, so we can ignore it.

    Just pointing to a story about people who find your approach to conveying a message in the public arena about atheism abysmal, and what they see as a positive alternative that doesn’t do damage. No argument here.

    • Oh … an atheist manifesto. That should make us every bit as popular as Ted Kazinski. Good idea.

      Heathen is not the term I’d choose. It also means uncultured and uncivilized. Naturalist might have been a good term if it had not already been commandeered for use to mean someone, usually with a biology degree, who guides people on ecotours and explains the natural world and wildlife around them.

      Most of the non-theist organizations have already realized that they will never find a term that all non-believers can agree on. Give it up.

      Other than that, there are some good points and some not so good points in this manifesto. But, calling it a manifesto is a Bad Idea.

      • You Know Who says:

        Are you suggesting that anyone who puts forth a “manifesto” is associated with the Unabomber in the public mind? Really? Did you just say that?

        Heathen is a great term precisely because it was disparaging, because it is so reclaimable, because it has such history. That you don’t get that, that you would prefer the Sheldonesque, more “accurate” but less evocative word “naturalist”, is yet another reason why you should not be in charge of deciding what’s in the best interests of the public image of atheists. But I’ve come to realize you’re not going to get that.

      • That you are even more dictatorial and intolerant of other views than I am is the reason you should not be the one to decide anything about the atheist movement. Hell, you couldn’t even be bothered to answer whether you were going to go to the Reason Rally. I still don’t know if you were there. I didn’t see you. Perhaps you were too busy to go. That would be understandable. But, you wouldn’t even answer the damn question.

        If you can’t stand with any of the great many organizations in support of this rally, why should we even count you among us?

        Some of the organizations there are of like mind with you. But, you’d rather just malign the whole effort.

        And, yes. I think mission statement has less of a negative connotation than manifesto. No one thinks of crazies when they hear a mission statement. Manifesto really is often that way. Not always, I agree. But, it’s talked about in that context often enough.

        Besides, calling something an atheist manifesto without getting agreement from a huge number of atheists is really arrogant and annoying. Why does Julian Baggini speak for all of us? I’ve never even heard of him. He didn’t ask my opinion on this manifesto. How many people did he poll? How many groups signed on to this?

        As I said, no atheist organization yet has even been able to come up with a name for atheists that all atheists can agree upon. The idea of getting atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, brights, antitheists, humanists, nontheists, and all the rest to agree on one term seems pointless.

        What’s the reason that we need to agree? Why pick the one term that is the least used among the various atheists? How arrogant is that? Hell, Christians seem to be doing just fine without a single name or even a single symbol. Why do we all need to conform to use of a single name?

        All we need to do is work together on the 95% of issues on which we all agree. That’s all the various churches are doing and look at how well their stealing our rights.

      • You Know Who says:

        1. I told you I wasn’t going to the Reason Rally and I told you why.

        2. Insisting that attendance at the Reason Rally was a critical component of whether or not someone’s argument is to be taken seriously smacks of some kind of cultish behavior.

        3. It’s actually hysterically funny that you would be so carefully discerning as to care whether the term “manifesto” or “mission statement” was used to describe a document, because you care about the way it is perceived, but you wouldn’t give a microshit about whether mockery and hostility yields a negative perception far more damaging in the long run.

        4. Your insistence that someone disagreeing with you and presenting a position contrary to yours about the net effects of what you are advocating is doing something SHAMEFUL and WRONG worthy of contempt is itself contemptible. It makes you no better than the dogmatic religionists you despise. It puts you in the same league as them with your expectation that people will simply “do what’s best” (what you decide is best) which really means doing what they’re told. Ugh. How disgusting that you would try to justify such a heinous position.

  76. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Well, its called freedom of speech and its going to fall on a continuum whether you like it or not. Might as well cherry pick for the good parts.

    Loose associations and false attributions. No way to go thru life. Missing the actual substance of interactions. Again, it is a very “religious” frame of mind to think there is only one way to address an issue. Its called a marketplace of ideas for a reason.

    Yea, verily.

    • You Know Who says:

      Everyone has the right to unencumbered freedom of speech.

      Few have the wisdom to choose their words wisely.

      But the ones who shout about their freedom of speech the loudest are usually the ones who use it the least wisely of all.

      That’s OK, it just provides opportunities for mockery of what they say, right?

      Right?

      THE MORE MESSAGES, THE BETTER.

      THE MORE MESSAGES, THE BETTER.

      THE MORE MESSAGES, THE BETTER.

      Keep repeating that mantra until it’s true.

      That should keep you occupied for quite a while.

      I noticed you didn’t say anything in response to my comments or my link. Good. It’s nice to know there is convergence and no argument here. But nice to know that, as you say so well, there are alternative opinions, more rational ones, than those of the pompous people who promote their pointless pusillanimous billboards. (Just a nod to your idol, Spiro T.! 🙂 ) Nice that there is open acknowledgement that the arrogant irrational way is not the only way. As you say, that can only be a good thing.

      Have a great day!

      • “… pointless pusillanimous billboards” of which you have only thus far criticized one. So, all of the others are still in good standing here. Perhaps you should have said, “pointless pusillanimous billboard.”

      • You Know Who says:

        Scott, didn’t your pal Bobbo just remind you about freedom of speech? Are you going to argue with him about that topic as well as whether or not a woman in a picture is sexy if it doesn’t SAY she’s sexy? Clearly SOMEONE needs to take charge of the odious task of making sure he gets his argument fix. To misquote Bono, “tonight, thank God it’s you instead of me!” Have at it!

        Now to get back to the sudden uncharacteristic quiet from your corner that transpired after I asked whether anyone could name some atheist groups being charitable to religious believers and you tried to weasel in some obviously inappropriate examples and… I called you on it. You’ve already provided an opening there.

  77. You Know Who says:

    Here’s what I don’t get.

    When I remark about the failure of atheists to care about how they as a group (and as individuals) present themselves in the public arena, including the level of visible charitable actions by atheist groups, I am accused (irrationally and erroneously) of providing ammunition to dogmatic religious groups who hate atheists and non-believers.

    But when these same atheists endorse hostility and mockery towards the religious that damages the image of atheists as a community, deliberately seeking to inflame people so that atheists are viewed even more contemptuously than before, so that arrogant religionists who would complain whinily for no reason that “those secular people are impinging on our religious freedom and attacking us…” now have a reason for complaining about this, literally giving real ammunition to the religious to justify their bigotry against atheists… that’s considered a good thing.

    Actually, I’m lying: I totally get the reason behind this. It arises from hypocrisy, pigheaded stubbornness, and a dogmatism worthy of the very religions these people claim to stand against.

  78. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I’ll just parse the first paragraph as the mindless nay saying gets tiresome in its repetition:

    You Know Who says:
    March 26, 2012 at 10:52

    Here’s what I don’t get. /// And you conclude that you are lying. I would say you have a conflict that you should work on resolving rather than flitting back and forth from one extreme to the other.

    When I remark about the failure of atheists to care about how they as a group (and as individuals) present themselves //// this illustrates a common failure in logical/rational thought: lumping a disparite group into one label and trying to treat them all the same, as if they were one thing. Note the parallels here. There are many different types of atheists just as there are many types of believers. Thats why you need many messages. What definitely won’t work with one group, which you recognize and forms the basis of your unthinking diatribe here, does work with some other group/subset/related/developing group. Its all a continuum, not a single point. I am an anti-theist. I have never presented myself in a group. Like gawd, that idea doesn’t make any sense and is the dogma of stupid.

    in the public arena, including the level of visible charitable actions by atheist groups, /// if some group is organized for certain specific purposes, why should they engage in activities unrelated to those purposes? Silly idea this. I’m not aware that atheists as a theme are out to replace the religious as a source of charitable services. Why not criticize atheists for not polishing bowling balls?

    I am accused (irrationally and erroneously) of providing ammunition to dogmatic religious groups who hate atheists and non-believers. //// That will happen no matter what you say. Haters are haters. Disagreers are disagreers. People who want to do something different than you are…..free and should be encouraged to do so.

    Why the mania to have your view of things be the chosen course of events? I would posit that any single message would fail. Even Coke changes its jingo on a regular basis all the the hoots and howls and congratulations of the thirsty masses.

    Let people do as they wish. Enjoy the process. Learn from each approach. Think, learn, and grow.

    -or- not.

    • You Know Who says:

      Wow, you really succeeded in saying… nothing, Bobbo. That’s amazing, even for you. Every one of your retorts was vapid and pointless. It’s as if you knew you had no response but felt compelled to argu… oh yeah, who am I kidding with the “as if”?

      The “there are many different types of atheists” canard is pretty stupidly applied here. Of course there are many different types – I explicitly pointed out how there are many atheists who are sick and tired of the so-called “new atheism” and its abysmal track record at doing something positive for atheists at large because of its emphasis on loud noxious mockery and hostility. That’s two types right there. There are also quiet atheists who just want to not believe in the existence of God and get on with their lives. So? The atheists who have taken up the mantle of atheism, sadly, are these so-called new atheists, and their dominance in the public sphere is objectively harmful to the cause of tolerance and acceptance for non-believers in general, for reasons I have stated here again and again. And so I state them, again and again.

      The bit about groups and their purposes, and messages… wow, by then that had really degenerated pretty badly. “Atheists as a theme”? “Coke changes its jingo“? WTF? As usual, Bobbo was babbling. Or perhaps the word is bobbling?

      The best bit was this:

      Why the mania to have your view of things be the chosen course of events?

      I do get that. When I seek to promote my view of things and convince people of its worth and make it come to pass, that’s a “mania”. But when Bobbo insists on his own view of things… what do we call that, Bobbo?

    • You Know Who says:

      So since Bobbo’s response wasn’t really a response at all, perhaps I should reiterate what I said:

      When I remark about the failure of atheists to care about how they as a group (and as individuals) present themselves in the public arena, including the level of visible charitable actions by atheist groups, I am accused (irrationally and erroneously) of providing ammunition to dogmatic religious groups who hate atheists and non-believers.

      This much of course was true, as witnessed by both Bobbo’s and Scott’s words. “Shame on me” for pointing things out that theists already know about atheists in general that puts atheists in a bad light, allowing theists to justify already well-established bigotry. Bad, bad me!!!!

      But when these same atheists endorse hostility and mockery towards the religious that damages the image of atheists as a community, deliberately seeking to inflame people so that atheists are viewed even more contemptuously than before, so that arrogant religionists who would complain whinily for no reason that “those secular people are impinging on our religious freedom and attacking us…” now have a reason for complaining about this, literally giving real ammunition to the religious to justify their bigotry against atheists… that’s considered a good thing.

      Did Bobbo respond to this very clear juxtaposition of these two reactions demonstrating how hypocritical, how pigheaded, and how ridiculously dogmatic they are when poised together? Of course not. He had nothing to say. Why would he?

  79. YKW,

    Here is why your dichotomy is false and why you should not accept the framing of your opponent.

    Do you honestly believe that I or you or bobbo or any atheist organization sponsoring the reason rally or the billboards above is trying to create an atheist America where religion is outlawed?

    If yes. You lose. You’ve already completely misunderstood our purpose.

    If no, then you realize that we are attempting to restore this once-great country to its secular origins. The United States of America is the first country in the world to have been founded on secular values. No religion, or lack thereof, has any constitutional right over any other. There is a wall of separation between church and state.

    Do you understand how rare this is?

    The U.K. is not a secular country. France is not a secular country. The former Soviet Union was not a secular country.

    It’s about secularism, not atheism.

    That’s why your dichotomy is wrong. If you accept the framing of your opponent in an argument that was designed for you to lose, you will lose. Always. Every time.

    That framing of religion vs. atheism is an incorrect framing.

    The correct framing in this battle is religious extremism vs. secularism.

    This is why I keep returning to secular organizations not atheist organizations. You have accepted the rules laid down by the religious wrong and are thus wrong yourself.

    Further, by not only accepting their framing but lobbying for it here on my blog, you further their cause by showing that atheists have taken up the challenge.

    It is a challenge based on a false premise.

    We are not trying to form an atheist country but to restore our secular country. Until you get that and recognize the importance of framing and realize that you have been deliberately ensnared by the religious wrong, you are setting yourself and all secular Americans up for guaranteed failure.

    • You Know Who says:

      You can’t possibly be serious with the above comment. Do you imagine I believe that the gang that couldn’t debate straight, the promoters of this rally of yours, are out to create an enforced atheist America? Talk about straw men.

      Here’s the irony: you list a bunch of European countries and announce for each one: “THAT one’s not a secular country, and THAT one’s not a secular country, and …” (sounding a bit like Oprah giving out cars). And yet, each one of them, in practice, is. Far more so than the U.S. is. Why might that be? Is it because those laissez faire welfare state socialist Europeans burned down the churches and railed at the clergy and overthrew the religious oligarchy? Or because it just dissolved of its own dead weight because no one gave a shit about it.

      That’s why your dichotomy is wrong. If you accept the framing of your opponent in an argument that was designed for you to lose, you will lose. Always. Every time. … That framing of religion vs. atheism is an incorrect framing.

      I gave you too much credit in my last comment. You don’t understand a damned thing about framing. You imagine that it means “You are talking about it in these terms, but I demand that you talk about it in THESE terms, because I say so! So do it!” How ludicrous.

      There is nothing wrong with asking the question as to whether atheists are as visibly charitable as theists are. It is not a Sarah Palin “gotcha” question. It’s a question normal everyday people ask when they consider whether or not atheists are good decent people. (That this is under consideration by large numbers of people is abominable, very true. but you can’t by the force of your will, using your super-framing-power, make it NOT the case that it IS under consideration by those people.)

      So if you can’t answer it in the affirmative, maybe that means there needs to be a change in the public perception of atheists, which currently links us to slimy Randroid rationalizers who believe greed and selfishness are good and altruism is bad. Instead of whining about how you’ve been “framed”.

      This is why I keep returning to secular organizations not atheist organizations.

      Well, also, because you can’t think of any atheist organizations that provide needed charitable care to those in need. So you have to… what’s that word you keep using? “Reframe” the discussion? (Except that’s not what you’re doing at all – you’re engaging in evasion and deflection. That’s all.)

      Further, by not only accepting their framing but lobbying for it here on my blog, you further their cause by showing that atheists have taken up the challenge.

      Then let me do that some more. Let me vocally suggest that it’s time atheists recognized that perception is reality and did things to improve how we are perceived. Because that’s important. Really important.

      ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

      Let me say that a few more times so it’s really put out there.

      ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

      ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

      ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

      ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

      OK, I think that’s enough for now.

      For now.

      But I’ll be back. Using your blog as a soapbox to suggest that this is so.

      After all, the more messages the better. Right?

  80. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Hey Scotty–good insight about framing issues as religious vs atheist//compared with: religious vs secular. They are two different things and what you highlight is right on the mark. Off the mark though is to substitute one for the other without a signal–such as you did when asked what atheist organizations provide charity. They don’t because they are organized for different purposes. But more charity if provided by secular organizations than by religious ones so FLAGGING the reframing is most important.

    When the government finally gets around to having a satisfactory social safety net, neither Religion or Secular organizations will have much to do except seek money for “other” purposes.

    YKW–strongest example I think I have ever seen of the stupidity of anticipating, in this case responding to, an opponents position. Atheism is not going to succeed by out chariting religion. Why not say the same thing about science? You know NASA will never get public support for a Moon Base until they open a hospital for injured squirrels. More very lazy loose associations.

    ((Note–your other most excellent meme is Extraordinary Claims require Extraordinary Evidence. I like that each time you bring it up. I haven’t yet posted that idea anywhere myself ((I will eventually)) but I do think about it as I see the issue fairly raised. This is added to my list of excellencies from you. The right for smallpox to exist is still OFF my list.))

    • You Know Who says:

      YKW–strongest example I think I have ever seen of the stupidity of anticipating, in this case responding to, an opponents position.

      I agree. I don’t know what you’re referring, and clearly neither do you, but you have offered some mighty strong examples of stupidity in reacting to what is being said. Since as usual you fail to be specific, I will assume (correctly, of course) that there were no such “strong examples” in my recent comments you could be referring to. So we’ll move on. Thanks.

      Atheism is not going to succeed by out chariting religion.

      Ah, now THERE’S a strong example of someone with great post-cognitive powers reacting with illucid irrelevancy. Someone suggested this? Where? When? Sorry, once again, the board goes back…

      Why not say the same thing about science?

      Because… I’m not you? And I try not to say deflective irrelevant nonsensical things?

      Seems like a reasonable reason. Moving on…

      You know NASA will never get public support for a Moon Base until they open a hospital for injured squirrels.

      And as any semblance of logic dissipates into the ether…

      More very lazy loose associations.

      Indeed. Squirrels, NASA, “out-chariting”… wow.

      Note–your other most excellent meme is Extraordinary Claims require Extraordinary Evidence. I like that each time you bring it up.

      Aside to readers: I’ve never brought it up. Not once.

      This is added to my list of excellencies from you. The right for smallpox to exist is still OFF my list.))

      After this comment, I really feel I need to ask at this point: meth or crack? Which is it? Inquiring minds don’t really give a shit, but it would be interesting to note which of these drugs produces the mental effects that result in the words you put together here.

      Thanks, Bobbo! Have a great day!

  81. YKW,

    I didn’t say the more messages the better. Keep your rhetoric directed at the correct individual please.

    So, I’m going to try this one more time.

    Imagine you and I are both atheists/heathens. We both, coincidentally want to help people out in the same way, by creating our hypothetical soup kitchens, just a nice easy example.

    So, since we obviously spend way too much time arguing about the 5% on which we disagree, we each go off to create our soup kitchen organizations.

    You go out and create Soup Heathens (soupheathens.org). As you publicize and get volunteers, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and even many Buddhists and atheists decide that they are not heathens. So, each of the members of religions go instead to their local church or temple to see if they can volunteer there instead. Some atheists are put off by the name heathens and also do not join, once again feeling disaffected.

    But, some few atheists do indeed like the word heathen and are even amused by it. So they join. And, you and your small and merry band go about providing soup to the homeless. Interestingly, some homeless folks don’t love your name either. So, they also considering themselves non-heathens, also go to the church or temple down the block.

    But, you’ve made a great name for atheists by providing a service to anyone who comes along. Albeit, not many atheists participate and not many homeless avail themselves of your service. But, your work is done.

    I go out and create Secular Soups (secularsoups.org). As I publicize, I get volunteers from all creeds. My organization gets fairly large. Homeless people, not being offended by entering a secular establishment, come by in droves. Some even prefer our kitchen to that of the church, or worse the Salvation Army, because we don’t preach any ideology on them.

    So, my organization ends up with many times the membership of yours and helps many times the number of homeless people.

    But, I have not made any name for atheists because my organization is secular rather than atheist.

    So, which of us is being charitable? Am I being more charitable by trying to help more people? Or, are you being more charitable by creating an organization intended to make a good name for atheists? In fact, since your purpose is only to make atheists look good, as you pointed out repeatedly in big bold letters, can your actions really be considered charitable at all?

    Do you not think that the religiose will see right through your scheme and realize that a charitable act is only charitable if its purpose is charity, not to make yourself and your kind look better?

    • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

      Without stating it, YKW wants atheism to compete with religion using religious values and programs AS IF atheism was a religion too.

      But atheism is not a religion, except for the few who wish to make it so and then they are using one of those special subsets of what the dictionary meaning of the word is.

      The dictionary meaning of atheist is very specific and LIMITED–just as the activities such described people would thereby naturally engage in.

      • I’d click the like button or the plus 1 button, if this were facebook or google plus. But, it’s neither. Further, google+ is obviously a Christian site, using something cross-like in their name. I’ll be canceling my account there now that this has been pointed out to me.

      • You Know Who says:

        Without stating it, YKW wants atheism to compete with religion using religious values and programs AS IF atheism was a religion too.

        So, Bobbo, in referring to “religious values”, you imply that you consider charity to be a RELIGIOUS value? Not a secular moral value? You consider charity to be something associated with religiosity and not simply with secularly evolved enlightened self-interest? Really?

        Please explain.

        (I can’t wait to hear this.)

        What a maroon!

        But atheism is not a religion, except for the few who wish to make it so

        Thankfully, we won’t run into any of THOSE types here…

    • I know, talking to myself is not a good sign of mental health. But, I’d add that religious organizations who provide soup to the homeless but only after preaching at them are also not being at all charitable. They are merely trying to increase their membership.

      • You Know Who says:

        I know, talking to myself is not a good sign of mental health. But, I’d add that religious organizations who provide soup to the homeless but only after preaching at them are also not being at all charitable. They are merely trying to increase their membership.

        In a word: duh!

        And organizations that provide soup to the homeless without preaching to them – for instance, those non-existent atheist organizations that say “nope, we have no preacher whose sermon you have to sit through – enjoy your soup!” Where do they fit in in your conversation with yourself?

      • You asserted that there were none. You challenged everyone else to find one.

        However, those organizations would be providing charity. That was implicit and damned near explicit in my statement.

      • You Know Who says:

        You asserted that there were none. You challenged everyone else to find one.

        I did. And you failed. What’s your point?

        However, those organizations would be providing charity. That was implicit and damned near explicit in my statement.

        The organizations I describe were hypothetical. Because as you yourself acknowledge, there are none in real life. My question was regarding the hypothetical behavior of these hypothetical organizations, how you envisioned they might act within the framework of this conversation you’re having with yourself.

        So, again, what WAS your point?

    • You Know Who says:

      I didn’t say the more messages the better. Keep your rhetoric directed at the correct individual please.

      Since your rhetoric has been rapidly descending to the gibberish level of Bobbo’s here, it is natural to lump the two of you together, as if you were one. I’ll continue to do that until one of you emerges as having a distinct voice in all this.

      Imagine you and I are both atheists/heathens. We both, coincidentally want to help people out in the same way, by creating our hypothetical soup kitchens, just a nice easy example.

      I’m not going to allow myself to be distracted by your irrelevant deflective story comparing Soup Heathens, Soup Secularists, Soup Nazis, and Soup Ercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Instead I will describe how the Thank God for Godlessness Foundation, a group of charitable atheists WANTING to promote a positive image for atheists, rather than wasting their money on affrontive media blitzes and self-congratulatory billboards, has just contributed a large sum of money to Secular Soups, enabling it to serve many more communities in need. Many members of TGFGF join in participating in the efforts of the SS group. In the end, many recipients of the care and services of SS come to know TGFGF, and actually prefer to hang out at their soup kitchen rather than the one at the church where the soup has so many strings attached to it. (“Waiter, there’s a string in my soup!” “What’s it doing?” “Preaching!”)

      I like my story much better than yours. It’s more reflective of reality, and it has a happier ending. What’s more, it gives an example of how reframing REALLY works.

      So, my organization ends up with many times the membership of yours and helps many times the number of homeless people. But, I have not made any name for atheists because my organization is secular rather than atheist.

      Yet somehow, Catholic Charities, United Jewish Appeal, and so many other religious-based charities DO succeed in “making a name” for their respective associations. Are you just conceding that they know how to promote themselves and you don’t? Because as a logical atheist you simply refuse to consider presentation and persuasion important aspects of how you are perceived in the public arena? Because you lack their skillfulness at persuasive rhetoric and image making?

      So, which of us is being charitable? Am I being more charitable by trying to help more people?

      Since I know you were ostensibly raised Jewish, I will assume you are familiar with the ladder of Tzedakah, which ranks which forms of charity are considered “more charitable” according to Jewish law. The most charitable? Where neither the donor and the recipient know each other or are aware of each other’s participation in the charitable transaction. Why? Because if the donor does not know who the recipient is and the recipient does not know who the donor is, there can be no sense of obligation, of pride, of indebtedness, of control, tied to the charity. Which is the lowest form of charity? Where both donor and recipient know who the other party is. Why? Because the opposite is true: obligation, pride, indebtedness, control, all creep into the connection between the two parties.

      Yet despite this rather vivid and not terribly inaccurate portrayal of the nature of charity, most charity IS of the lowest form, or at best one of the more deprecated forms present on the ladder. “We are responsible for this… you’re welcome!” is the mark of almost all boldly public charitable acts. Plaques, signs, public displays, and putting one’s name on a building are things that accompany most acts of charity. That’s the real world.

      Of course this would be the case – religion is responsible for horrible terrible things across the span of history. Being able to point and say “but we also built that hospital, and rebuilt that town after the earthquake so they would rename it after the patron saint of our church” – as wrong as you (and I) may think it is, it balances things out in the view of people in general.

      People think of Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Bill Gates today as great benefactors – forgetting what heinous scum these men were in their day as they stepped on people to make their billions, which they eventually gave away to “redeem” themselves in the public eye.

      THEY all got it. You still don’t. (Or at least you say you don’t. But I think you do, otherwise why else would you have fabricated a fairy tale about how the organizations you listed in your initial answer to my question were atheist organizations, noting that it was important to answer my question by providing a positive example rather than dismissing the notion of the necessity of presenting a positive public image at all?)

      Or, are you being more charitable by creating an organization intended to make a good name for atheists? In fact, since your purpose is only to make atheists look good, as you pointed out repeatedly in big bold letters, can your actions really be considered charitable at all?

      No, I guess not – in the sense that they are on the lowest rung of that ladder. Just like virtually all the charitable efforts of the religious.

      So? What’s your point? The lowest rung is still on the ladder and does provide care and services to people in need, does it not? In fact, providing the equivalent level of visible low-rung charity that the religious provide, but refraining from preaching to and haranguing the recipients of that charity, that certainly marks such efforts as one hell of a lot better than their religious-oriented counterparts. We one-up their efforts by not being in it for the recruitment/proselytizing aspect.

      Do you not think that the religiose will see right through your scheme and realize that a charitable act is only charitable if its purpose is charity, not to make yourself and your kind look better?

      Twig. Mote. Eye. Theirs. Ours. Yours. Got it?

      Or, in less Christian terms, “how now, black kettle?”

      • You lost me. TGFGF does not exist, according to a quick google search. What was your point in this whole reply?

        Again, you’ve presumably buried a point somewhere in these thousand words. What was it?

        My point was that an organization formed to chariwash atheists is less charitable than an organization that gets boatloads more done just for the purpose of actually getting the job done. What was your point?

        Is your point that you are a totally non-charitable human who cares only about external validation?

        Is your point that appearing charitable is more important than actually being charitable?

        I’m missing something in your post. But, again, you’ve probably buried 3 choice words in among the thousand words of worthless bullshit.

      • You Know Who says:

        You lost me. TGFGF does not exist, according to a quick google search.

        Neither does Secular Soups. What, you get to use a hypothetical allegory, but I don’t? What nonsense!

        What was your point in this whole reply?

        To show that you’re wrong. Again.

        I’ll keep doing it until you stand down and acknowledge it.

        Is your point that appearing charitable is more important than actually being charitable?

        My point was and always has been that in the marketplace of ideas as presented in the real world, it IS important, whether you like it or not, and those you despise acknowledge how important it is while you don’t, causing you to lose to them again and again on the playing field of public persuasion.

        So don’t care about it. You have the “right” to. It’s a free country yadda yadda yadda. But failing to care about is a great big fail. And that’s clearly not just an opinion. The failure is happening live as we speak, isn’t it? Religious people on the fence about nonbelievers, even potential humanist and secular allies, are being persuaded that “Well, maybe those atheists really are selfish bastards only concerned with themselves and totally unlike the good people of my church who take my money to be used for charitable purposes. What do THEY do?” Still, that’s just anecdotal evidence and nothing to be concerned about… right?

        I’m missing something in your post. But, again, you’ve probably buried 3 choice words in among the thousand words of worthless bullshit.

        Or, alternatively, it’s right there, out front, for all to see. But you have some sort of block preventing you from seeing it.

        You’re missing something, all right. (Why you insist on leaving me that opening again and again is beyond me…)

      • When you said it was a more “real world” example, I expected a more real world example. Clearly you didn’t have a more real world example though, did you?

        So, clearly I got it right.

        Your message is that it is more important to present the appearance of atheists doing good work than to actually look at the good work already done by atheists in secular groups.

        When you realize that chariwashing will be immediately recognized for what it is, you will see that the important thing is that atheists actually be good people not pretend to be good people.

        When you see this, you will know that creating an illusion will never be a substitute for the real thing. Nor is it so with religious organizations.

        Let’s just leave it there, shall we?

        Our words and our meanings speak for themselves.

      • You Know Who says:

        Since you don’t seem to live (or argue things) in the real world, I guess my example didn’t qualify as a “real world” example. Sure.

        But let’s not forget: your little storyline was purely hypothetical, about made-up organizations and made-up situations, and yet I was expected to provide a “real world” example in response to it? What utter nonsense! TGFGF doesn’t exist, but neither does Secular Soups. Do you really think stacking the deck like that makes for an honest argument?

        The real question is “why DOESN’T an organization like TGFGF exist?”

        Don’t worry, no pressure, I certainly don’t expect YOU to answer that question.

        Besides, you’d only shift between a made-up story and a demand for a “real world” example. Cuz apparently, that’s what you do when you argue. How sad.

      • Actually, there was such an organization at the reason rally. Too bad you weren’t there to talk to them. It may have been this one.

        http://www.atheistalliance.org/

        I’m not positive though.

        The real question is why you haven’t started Soup Heathens or similar. Why must it be someone else? Where’s your 501(c)3? Why must you bitch about the way others do things for atheists instead of doing it “right” yourself?

        Me? I’m fine with Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, ACLU, Humane Society, ASPCA, and all of the other secular organizations.

        In fact, my charities of choice are mostly environmental organizations. I’d rather save the biosphere so that we all have a chance than save a few dozen humans. But, that’s just my order of priorities.

        Yours appears to be chariwashing atheism. Go for it! What are you waiting for?

  82. You Know Who says:

    It occurs to me how low things have sunk. My behavior is called shameful because I dare to stand up against a dogmatic oligarchy and note how the actions they insist on taking are counterproductive and detrimental to the quest for the very thing they’re SUPPOSED to be seeking. What is this analogous to?

    “Billy?”

    “Yes, Father McCafferty?”

    “I know you’re not going to tell anyone about what you and I just did in the rectory? Are you?”

    “But I just did, Father.”

    “Wh-wh-wh-what? But why?”

    “Because I know what you just did was horrible and people should know about it, especially other kids who might spend time alone with you.”

    “You… you SHAMEFUL little boy! SHAME ON YOU! Don’t you realize if you let people know about what we did, people’s faith in me, and in the church, would be decimated! Can’t we just accept that 95% of what we do here is good, and forget about that 5% we disagree on?”

    “Well, that was a right nasty 5%, it was really horrible, it makes you a hypocrite and an evil person.”

    “Well, yes, but we can’t have people knowing that, now, can we? Those atheists would use that information to… to… They’re heathens! You’re giving them ammunition to use against us!”

    “I don’t care! You think they don’t already know what bastards you and all your superiors who’ve covered this up for decades really are? Are you kidding?”

    “They can’t know, it’s our little secret…”

    Alternate storylines include the rationalizations of traders at Goldman Sachs, a discussion between Bernie Madoff and his clients where he tells them how shameful it would be for them to go public with what they know, ruining his reputation and causing his house of cards to collapse, and of course any given day at the White House during the Bush administration where some lone soul decides on a whim to tell the truth about something while Dick Cheney is in the room.

  83. You Know Who says:

    I thought I’d ask the experts here whether this image is racist.

    Take your time.

  84. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Thats a good image. Heart and soul of Political Cartooning.

    Its totally definitional isn’t it?

    Is satire racist?

    Is the simple truth racist?

    Can the protected class ever discriminate or be racist?

    Is complaining of racism be racist?

    Does a work of art have meaning separate from what might be the express purpose of its author?

    racist:
    Web definitions:
    a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others

    By definition: No.

    • You Know Who says:

      Bobbo – I knew I could count on you to be… you. That’s why you should be in charge of how atheists present their image to the public at large. Thanks. 🙂

  85. Your actions are shameful because you’re smart enough to realize that the battle is between secularism and theocracy. That you accept the false dichotomy and lobby for it is shameful.

    Again, as my hypothetical example points out, an atheist who wants to actually accomplish something charitable, other than promoting atheism which is not all that charitable, will accomplish more by creating a secular organization.

    An atheist who only wants to chariwash atheism is not being charitable at all. So, by definition, there will be no truly charitable atheist organization.

    So, if you feel that chariwashing is worth it, start your organization and dispel the myth in which you believe and I do not.

  86. You Know Who says:

    Your actions are shameful

    No, they’re not. Not in the least. Your effort to paint my actions, my dissent with your irrational dogmatic viewpoint, as shameful – now THAT is what’s truly shameful. And disgusting.

    Apology?

    because you’re smart enough to realize that the battle is between secularism and theocracy.

    That this has nothing to do with what is being discussed here clearly isn’t going to stop you from lying and claiming that it does.

    Refresh my memory again, what was the topic of this thread? Oh yes, it was about a group called American ATHEISTS and their billboards, some of which sought to seek out closet ATHEISTS who still belong to religious congregations, with great empathy for the plight of “atheists in the pews”.

    So when you spin and deflect and change the subject and claim we have been talking about secularism vs. theocracy – now, when it is convenient for YOU – you are simply full of shit. And, of course, acting shamefully. (But what else is new?)

    And I’d ask you what the f— “chariwash” is supposed to mean, but… I’m afraid you’d actually tell me. So please, don’t. It’s clear you think the term is witty and clever and makes a point, but as far as I can see, it doesn’t. And that’s fine with me. Because I don’t give a shit. And because it keeps your discourse at that same level of irrelevancy and meaninglessness you seem to feel most comfortable at.

    Whatever the invented meaning of your little word might be, it’s clear you read nothing of what I said about the nature of charity and the various levels at which it can operate, and naturally you failed to acknowledge and respond to any of it. But that doesn’t stop you from spouting nonsense. Putting you and Bobbo in charge making the case for atheists through your lucid words is like putting the Three Stooges in charge of finding a cure for cancer.

    Oh, before I forget, I have to use your blog as a soapbox to convey an important message to readers:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    I’ll be back to do it again later. Thanks.

    • Apology? Hell no.

      Off topic? Hell no.

      Now you’re bringing up an older discussion that you have refused to discuss on this thread. Now you are bringing up other billboards.

      The two pieces posted on this thread are:

      1) A billboard combating the PA Senate’s declaration of 2012 as the Year of the Bible, a clear issue of theocracy, i.e. the state advocating biblical religion versus separation of church and state, i.e. secularism.

      2) A political request by FFRF (no atheism in their name) to Catholics to leave their lobbying organization en mass, if they do not agree with what the organization is lobbying for. This is another clear case of theocracy versus secularism.

      Now, if you’d like to bring up the billboards not mentioned here, I’m fine with that. However, you have never pointed out any issue with them that makes me think there is anything wrong with them. They are certainly less offensive than any attempt on your part to mock, debunk, and (my favorite) overthrow religion. I almost forgot you said that. Maybe one of us really is trying to create an atheist country. Not me though.

      But, you seem to think that each and every religion in this country is out there being charitable and humane. Do you see the charitable works of Scientology? Where are the Christian Science hospitals?

      The truth of the matter is atheists are under a microscope because people expect atheists to be selfish, inhumane and uncharitable, not because we are.

      You keep repeating the same message over and over saying atheists need to blah. Well, go ahead and blah! Who the fuck is stopping you?

      For probably less than a kilobuck a year, you could create an organization with heathen in the name and just make it a passthrough to other organizations you feel are worthy. You could put up a pretty website explaining about your good works, and of course asking for donations from your fellow heathens.

      Hell, you can and even should create a manifesto (though, if you take my recommendation, which you won’t, you should call it a mission statement).

      You probably give more than a kilobuck a year to charity. You’re not concerned with actually accomplishing anything other than chariwashing (creating the appearance of being charitable rather than actually doing so, cf. greenwashing) the name of atheists. So, it doesn’t matter if anything actually gets done or if you get more than the money you put in.

      So what if the result is that you pour in $1,000/yr and, after paying filing fees and an accountant, end up giving only $25 to some good organization? You’ll be able to say here is a genuinely charitable atheist organization that helps by collecting money for the home for indigent religious cats, a charity chosen to show that you are helping the religious.

      Go for it!!

      DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!

      Don’t get all holier than thou with me for not doing it. Just do it.

      • You Know Who says:

        Apology? Hell no.

        Of course not. I didn’t expect you to.

        Off topic? Hell no.

        Well, actually, hell yes, but I didn’t expect you to acknowledge that either.

        A billboard combating the PA Senate’s declaration of 2012 as the Year of the Bible, a clear issue of theocracy, i.e. the state advocating biblical religion versus separation of church and state, i.e. secularism.

        Now, refresh my memory (since you don’t see fit to include information that contradicts what you claim here, perhaps because… it contradicts what you claim here – obviously not a very honest way to argue, and one I’m sure you call out dogmatic religionists for doing when they try to do that to you). The name of the organization that posted the billboard was… American Gladiators? No, that can’t be right. American… Airlines? (I think I’m getting closer.) American… yes, I’ve got it. American Assholes. Yes, the American Assholes were the organization responsible for that billboard. But certainly not American ATHEISTS. Oh wait, yes, that IS who it was.

        Funny how your editing scissors managed to cut that information from your statement above without remembering to paste it back into it. (I’m sure you just forgot.)

        Shame on you.

        Now, if you’d like to bring up the billboards not mentioned here, I’m fine with that. However, you have never pointed out any issue with them that makes me think there is anything wrong with them.

        Since you are among the clever white elite who didn’t see anything racist in the Pennsylvania billboard, I think we can justifiably rule out your opinion about whether or not billboards have anything “wrong” with them and instead look to the “anecdotal evidence” that doesn’t count because it shows actual people’s actual reactions – things not of concern to the logical scientific atheist, of course, but things that should be and would be if those people were actually smart rather than “bright”.

        But, you seem to think that each and every religion in this country is out there being charitable and humane.

        LOL. No, I never said that. But thank you for making that up as a “rebuttal” to my points. It’s very lucid.

        Shame on you.

        Do you see the charitable works of Scientology? Where are the Christian Science hospitals?

        That’s actually really really funny – “Where are the Christian Science hospitals?” That’s an active discussion that’s been going on in light of the erroneous belief some religions who put their names on hospitals profess about their right to just not provide certain kinds of health care they just don’t like for religious reasons. The notion of a Christian Science hospital is thus absurd because you would be admitted with a broken leg, or a bullet wound, or cancer, and they would put you in a room and say “God will cure you” and walk out. Granted, I’ve seen similar treatment in real hospitals, but still, you picked a doozey of an example.

        And as for Scientologists – I don’t know if you’ve noticed the heinous reputation Scientology has in the world at large. Looking to them to be a model for how atheist groups should act seems like a dumb idea. But then, you’ve put forth several dumb ideas and get upset when I say they’re dumb, so I should be quiet lest you “shame” me again for criticizing you.

        The truth of the matter is atheists are under a microscope because people expect atheists to be selfish, inhumane and uncharitable, not because we are.

        Why are you so embarrassed by what you believe will be found by people looking through a microscope at the atheist community? If you aren’t any of those things, then what’s the harm in people looking? Clearly you believe there IS reason to not want those people to be looking closely at the atheist community. But your response is not to do something to change things so that there’s nothing negative for those people to see; your response to berate someone who SUGGESTS that things be changed so that there’s nothing negative for those people to see.

        So, shame on you.

      • You Know Who says:

        You keep repeating the same message over and over

        Because the message is clearly true! And clearly even you believe this yourself. But your answer is not to fix the things pointed out in the repeated message so they’re not true. Your answer is to kill the messenger (or at least, to say “shame on you” to him at every opportunity).

        chariwashing (creating the appearance of being charitable rather than actually doing so, cf. greenwashing)

        Geez, I told you not to explain what your made-up unexplained word meant and yet you still did! I don’t care. Go ahead and wash your chair (or your chari) or whatever you want to do. Leave me out of your little “carwashing” or whatever it is enterprise.

        Once again, you simply did not read a word I wrote about the nature of charity and the various levels on which it operates. You narrowly referenced only your own limited perspective on charity, your notion of “chairwashing”. (Yes, that’s how I’m going to spell your little made-up word from now on – since it doesn’t exist, I can’t be spelling it wrong.) Charity simply means voluntarily doing good for others in need at your expense.

        Does performing charity for the sake of being recognized as having done something charitable “count”? Yes, it does. It’s not as pure and gold star noble as the highest step on the ladder of Tzedakah, is it? But it still counts. Someone gets helped. (It’s a different story if all you mean by “chairwashing” is pretending to be washing your chair… I mean pretending to be doing something that helps others – but that’s not what you said you meant.)

        Hard to imagine why an atheist would make a distinction between the levels of charity. Are you suggesting that performing “chairwashing” doesn’t get you into Heaven because God can see that your motives weren’t pure? I doubt that. So, then what were you suggesting?

        I already said the majority of religious charity is of that lowest form that glorifies the chair washer. Mother Teresa sought to convert more and more of the Indian poor not to help them, not to save them, but to set a record so she could be beatified. She said it was GOOD that the poor were poor, because it gave her opportunity to show how “good” she could be. And yet that woman is the poster child for charity throughout the world, even among most secular thinking people. (That should make you sick.)

        You’re pretending that you’re just too good to do mere chairwashing, that you think atheists are too good to do mere chairwashing. That somehow it would be better to be at a higher rung on that ladder (hint: the one you keep not reading about). And it’s true, it would, to some degree – but only to a significant degree if you believed there was a God who was judging you on the “quality” of your charity.

        But if there isn’t, then all that matters is that people are helped. And the only distinction you can make is “Did my charity come with strings, like having to associate with the religious organization that provided it and listen to their prattle?” versus “Was my charity provided without strings, as it should be?”

        Atheists and nonbelievers are in the best position to do the latter and score points for doing it.

        You like to pretend that presentation doesn’t matter, that whether or not atheists as a group come off in a positive way isn’t what’s important – what’s important is that you’re right, that you have facts and logic, that they get told how stupid and wrong they are for believing what they do, that you SHOW them who’s right, that you get to invoke your right to say whatever you want, yeah, grunt grunt ugh ugh pound chest thud. That’s very nerdy, very scifi geeky, very comic book store guy-ish, very intellectual ivory-tower idealistic – and at the same time just a little bit neanderthal. But not very real. And not very helpful. And certainly not at all pragmatic. Pragmatic would mean doing what works. You’re doing the opposite of that.

        Shame on you.

        Oh, and one more thing:

        ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

  87. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I’ve always been fairly “anti-charity” as well as anti-god. for different reasons. Most charities are frauds out to bilk the public to support the chairty more so than their stated goals. The head the of Red Cross earing $850,000 is only one example. But that charity ranking website shows that it is the rare charity that raises much more than the salaries of its own staff. And by own staff I mean the President and his family members serving in lower positions. Its disgusting.

    Once past that rip off you got your preaching to the captive audience. Need not be straight religion but too many people motivated enough to “give/support” charity also want to preach the issue of concern. I say fug them.

    So–like a good non believer, NON JOINER, I am happy to pay my taxes for a good solid securlar government run social safety net.

    Too much of charity is a crock.Christopher Hitchens and I agreed that that Sister Theresa on one level did good work in Calcutta by tending to the poor, but she did shit little to help them NOT BE POOR to beging with==like having access to birthcontrol and family planning.

    Its a religiously corrupted mind that think atheism gains anything of worth to contest religious in their corrupted justifications.

    I’ll have NONE OF THAT.

    • You might want post a link to whatever charity ranking site you mean. I found two. Both gave moderately high marks to Red Cross despite one of them stating that the CEO salary is just shy of a megabuck.

      http://www.charitynavigator.org/
      http://www.charitywatch.org/

    • You Know Who says:

      I’ve always been fairly “anti-charity” as well as anti-god. for different reasons. Most charities are frauds out to bilk the public to support the chairty more so than their stated goals.

      That would mean you’re anti-corruption and anti-greed, not necessarily anti-charity. Most of your argument centers around your distrust of charity (or, as you spell it, “chairty” – a nod to the idea of “chairwashing” perhaps?) as it exists in chairtable (good one!) organizations, and not a specific dislike for the notion of chairty itself, which is independent of the fraud issue.

      The head the of Red Cross earing $850,000 is only one example. But that charity ranking website shows that it is the rare charity that raises much more than the salaries of its own staff. And by own staff I mean the President and his family members serving in lower positions. Its disgusting.

      So far, you have offered strong solid reasons for disliking the way chairty is implemented without mentioning the merits of the notion of chairty itself. I’d ask you for elaboration on that but… I’m afraid you’d actually offer it. Still…

      Once past that rip off you got your preaching to the captive audience.

      As someone already mentioned (oh yeah, it was me – so you probably skipped over it), providing non-corrupt, non-preaching charity is a fantastic publicity opportunity for those who want people to come away with a positive image of their group and what they offer. I know you don’t care. You’re one of those comic book guy types who doesn’t think presentation and message matter. OK, fine. I get that. (Scott isn’t, so I’m surprised he advocates for that kind of attitude.)

      Too much of charity is a crock.Christopher Hitchens and I agreed that that Sister (sic) Theresa on one level did good work in Calcutta by tending to the poor, but she did shit little to help them NOT BE POOR to beging with==like having access to birthcontrol and family planning.

      Clearly you don’t understand what her motivations were: had nothing to do with HELPING people, she was there to convert them, to make sure they made MORE babies so she could get credit for more converts, and to keep the poor poor because that to her was a good thing. (Did you even read Hitchens’ book? I’m not sure what things you believe HE considered to be “good work”?)

      Its a religiously corrupted mind that think atheism gains anything of worth to contest religious in their corrupted justifications.

      I’ll pretend that was a sentence with at least some content and meaning and say “What do you mean by that?” I realize I’m opening the door for more gibberish sentences, but I’m genuinely curious to know what Bobbo means here. He implied (but never confirmed when called on it, of course) that chairty was a religious value – by which he presumably meant a value associated with religion and not simply a positive moral value independent of religion based on secularly evolved enlightened self-interest. After all, we nonbelievers frequently note (for good reason) that “don’t hurt other people” and “don’t steal” and “don’t murder” are moral values derived independently from religion and notions of divine decree. Why isn’t the principle of chairty a similarly derived moral value? Why does Bobbo feel it is, in his words, a particularly “religious” value?

      I’d like to see him logically demonstrate what he meant by his statement. Of course, I’d like to see him logically demonstrate ANYTHING he’s said, so clearly this is just a shot in the dark.

    • You Know Who says:

      “Chair-table” (i.e., charitable) organizations justify the high salaries of executives the same way corrupt financial companies justify the exorbitant payouts to their CEOs – they “need” to attract the best people and can’t get them unless they pay enough. Sounds like a rationalization, but it does explain why salaries of those in middle management working for non-profits are generally good. Does that mean that chairties waste money that could be put towards actual aid and assistance on employee salaries? Perhaps. The alternative is to pay less to unqualified people, or only use volunteers and get less work done.

      In any case, none of this is about charity in and of itself. The two of you have been relatively dismissive of charity but your arguments are only about how it is implemented, not about the idea of charity itself. Bobbo has labeled charity a “religious value” but has not explained what this means or how he comes to that conclusion. I don’t really expect him to. But it’s an interesting question. Does he also think not murdering people and not stealing are “religious values”?

  88. YKW,

    This was your opportunity to show that you have an open mind and actually listen to what others say when you debate them.

    Oh well. Too late now.

    I pointed out quite thoroughly that any atheist organization visibly contributing to charitable efforts under a banner of atheism is deliberately doing less charity than it could. Regardless of your ladder or type of charity, it is quite simply accomplishing less of its goal than it otherwise could without the atheist banner. The ladder is irrelevant to this point.

    Therefore, an atheist organization doing so is not really charitable.

    You ignore this again and again and again.

    Then, you say that atheists should be less charitable but do so under a banner of atheism to make atheists look good. A) That is not the definition of charity. B) No one is stopping you.

    Seriously, this is my most important point on this subtopic. What are you doing? Who is stopping you from performing this charity under a banner of atheism?

    If you spend more than a kilobuck a year on charitable contributions, cut off your other charities since you don’t really care about actually being charitable.

    Then take the kilobuck, go to a lawyer and an accountant to set up your 501(c)3. An accountant is actually probably enough. I can refer you to the accountant who set up my conslutting company. He didn’t charge a lot for it.

    Then, spend the $30 or less to register your domain name. And, write your web site. You’re by far the best web programmer I’ve ever met. I’m sure you can do an excellent job of it. You’ve got plenty of verbiage in your head to fill up web pages describing your mission and values and goals. You’ll need to lie a bit on the goals. It won’t sound good to explicitly state that your goal is the improvement of the image of atheists.

    Then, all you need to do is funnel the money from your 501(c)3 into other charitable organizations to do the work, as you suggested for your Tiptoe Through The Tulips Foundation, or whatever you called it … oh yeah … Thank God For Godlessness Foundation. It’s kind of a catchy and cute name. Good job on naming it.

    Now, go forth and wash chairs.

    As for American Atheists, they were also not the only organization this post was about. So, talk about picking and choosing and selectively ignoring issues I bring up repeatedly, Pot, meet Kettle.

  89. You Know Who says:

    YKW,

    This was your opportunity to show that you have an open mind and actually listen to what others say when you debate them.

    Oh well. Too late now.

    I pointed out quite thoroughly that any atheist organization visibly contributing to charitable efforts under a banner of atheism is deliberately doing less charity than it could.

    So?

    WTF does “than it could” really mean? A chair-table organization thats pays its CEO close to a million dollars a year is doing “less than it could” in that it could have found a CEO who would work for $3000 a year and could have had an additional $9,997,000 to spend towards helping people. But the reason he’s willing to work so cheap might be that he’s a crook who skims $3,000,000 from their coffers, and the reason HE got hired is because the HR person who hired him… and so on. Your “than it could” is a stupid vacuous straw man. You form your theories in the plane of the ideal, and then make assertions about real world events that do not match up to your theoretical ideal and complain. Aren’t you the one who noted that “theory and practice are exactly the same… in theory… but not in practice”? Your comparison to a “than it could” ideal is specious because, corruption aside, real world charities don’t achieve your ideal because they ARE real world charities.

    Atheist charities would operate in the real world. As such, they would be exist in the same plane of existence as other charities most of which operate at the lowest level of charity in which there is self-promotion involved. So? Why do you care so much about the self-promotion angle? The self-promotion aspect is not what’s WRONG with religious charities – what’s wrong with religious charities is the strings they tie to the acceptance of assistance and the bonds they impose on people who get assistance. Your focus on this kind of charity being “wrong” is specious, a red herring.

    Therefore, an atheist organization doing so is not really charitable.

    Nope. It certainly is. You are talking about your stilted definition of charity, invented ass backwards to make it seem like you have a point here. Charity simply means people volunteering to help others. It isn’t “what Scott says charity is”.

    You ignore this again and again and again.

    And I’ll keep on doing so, because your insistence that this kind of charity is bad or wrong or “not enough” is simply without foundation.

    Besides, you’re on the bandwagon of dismissing the value of charity in and of itself, aren’t you? So why hypothetically defend the value of what you think charity “should” be?

    That is not the definition of charity.

    Yeah, it fucking is. So stop imagining you get to rewrite the dictionary a la Winston Smith to invent an imaginary point that simply isn’t true.

    As for American Atheists, they were also not the only organization this post was about.

    So? It was the primary national organization behind the billboard in question – yet as a comeback against my remarks you deliberately pretended that the original conversation did not have anything to do with atheists or atheism. Which is a lie. Because it did. So stop lying.

    Unless you’re saying “don’t lie” is a “religious value” that atheists don’t see as having any merit.

    • You Know Who says:

      This was your opportunity to show that you have an open mind and actually listen to what others say when you debate them.

      Why do you define “actually listen to what others say” to mean “agree with what others say and not question or challenge it”?

      Do you really imagine that you get to write the dictionary?

      The line is that one should have an open mind, but not so open that one’s brains fall out. I have an open enough mind to listen to what you say, to know conclusively that I disagree with it wholeheartedly, and to explain why. That you cannot live with other’s people disagreement with you is your character flaw, not mine.

      One more time, shame on you.

  90. WTF does “than it could” really mean?

    It means, once again, that Soup Heathens will get fewer volunteers, fewer candidates for employment, fewer contributions, and fewer people willing to avail themselves of its services than Secular Soups.

    Atheist charities would operate in the real world. … Why do you care so much about the self-promotion angle?

    Because, in a very real way, labeling themselves atheist will reduce the amount of good they do. Therefore, their purpose is to promote atheism not to do charity. I could, would, and do say the same about religious charities.

    … what’s wrong with religious charities is the strings they tie to the acceptance of assistance and the bonds they impose on people who get assistance.

    No argument here. I’ll agree with that statement wholeheartedly. But, it does not change how I feel about a secular versus an atheist or religious charity. One is inclusive; the other two are exclusive. By excluding a great many people who believe in the cause, they show categorically that what the true cause is self-promotion rather than the charitable act.

    That is not the definition of charity.

    Yeah, it fucking is. So stop imagining you get to rewrite the dictionary a la Winston Smith to invent an imaginary point that simply isn’t true.

    By your definition, I suspect that any organization that gives away a television with the stipulation that one must sit through a sales pitch for a timeshare in a marsh is a charitable organization.

    Charity‘s definition begins with “generous actions”. It is not generous to be self-serving. If one expects a return on investment from one’s charity, such as PR, then it isn’t charity.

    When a corporation supports a good cause to improve its image, I may well make my decision to buy from them based on that. But, that is my reward to them for doing something good, even if only to make themselves look good. But, it isn’t charity.

    It’s PR, bought and paid for.

    As for American Atheists, they were also not the only organization this post was about.

    So? It was the primary national organization behind the billboard in question

    There were at least two things in question on this thread. One that you ignore and one that you keep harping on. Why not address the second? Try this experiment for me, please, as a friend.

    Scroll to the top of this post.

    Look at what is two paragraphs below the billboard. It’s an even bigger image. Read it. Check the message. Check the name of the organization.

    Thanks.

  91. You Know Who says:

    Why do you care so much about the self-promotion angle?

    Because, in a very real way, labeling themselves atheist will reduce the amount of good they do.

    Perhaps you could explain why that is.

    Therefore, their purpose is to promote atheism not to do charity.

    It’s as if you’ve never heard of the word “multi-purpose”.

    … what’s wrong with religious charities is the strings they tie to the acceptance of assistance and the bonds they impose on people who get assistance.

    No argument here. I’ll agree with that statement wholeheartedly.

    Yay! At last, you “had an open mind and actually listened to what others have been saying while you were debating them!” About time!

    it does not change how I feel about a secular versus an atheist or religious charity. One is inclusive; the other two are exclusive.

    So? There isn’t a place for both? I never said I was against secular non-denominational non-affiliated charities or desired to ban them. Organizations that are exclusive based on some common group association are not necessarily evil as you depict them to be. Not every organization that targets a particular group for membership is horrible for its exclusivity.

    So…

    1. There are atheist organizations, groups that target atheists as potential members and “market” the group appropriately.
    2. Those organizations, like it or not, are viewed as representative of the atheist community.
    3. Having those organizations visibly contribute to charity and relief efforts of other chair-table organizations – ecumenical/secular and religious – or even to organize participation in such efforts themselves – is something that lends a positive image to atheists and atheism and shortcircuits the accusation that atheists are… what were those words we’ve been using to describe atheists hypothetically that too many religious folks already use to describe atheists literally?

    I know you claim image and perception and presentation are not important. But you’re wrong in that. And I think you know you’re wrong. So, why can’t you see your way clear to, for a second time, have an open mind and actually listen to what others are saying while you’re debating them?

    By excluding a great many people who believe in the cause, they show categorically that what the true cause is self-promotion rather than the charitable act.

    And yet, somehow that isn’t the case with the perception of religious-based charities and their efforts. Why do you think that is?

    That is not the definition of charity.

    Yeah, it fucking is. So stop imagining you get to rewrite the dictionary a la Winston Smith to invent an imaginary point that simply isn’t true.

    By your definition, I suspect that any organization that gives away a television with the stipulation that one must sit through a sales pitch for a timeshare in a marsh is a charitable organization.

    If a television was a life necessity, or (to reframe the example in a better way), if what the organization was giving away was not a television to a middle-class vacationer being targeted as a victim in a time-share selling racket, but food/shelter/some other necessity to a person genuinely in need, then yes, THAT organization would have to be considered charitable, despite your reservations and selective definition choice.

    Charity‘s definition begins with “generous actions”.

    You had to search long and hard to find that particular definition from multiple dictionaries. The common thread across dictionaries and definitions is helpfulness towards those in need. But I must say, your belief that you are in a position to judge and measure the generosity of others… makes you sound much more like an advocate of religious dogmatism than like someone whose goal is to eliminate it.

    Beyond that, I’m not going to cater to your attempt to deflect and evade regarding the fact that this conversation began with a focus on atheism – not “secularism vs. theocracy” as you pretend it did. Your very first paragraph referred to ATHEISTS and ATHEIST organizations explicitly. Don’t pretend that it didn’t. Stop the bullshit. You’re not going to weasel-word into a “win” here because you are simply wrong and you know it. Stop it. It’s unbecoming.

  92. Perhaps you could explain why that is.

    Again??!!? OK. I’ll go with my shorter explanation for a change. Here it is again.

    Soup Heathens will get fewer volunteers, fewer candidates for employment, fewer contributions, and fewer people willing to avail themselves of its services than Secular Soups.

    See? It will do less good because it is a restrictive group.

    It’s as if you’ve never heard of the word “multi-purpose”.

    I have. But, you’ve so severely sacrificed the purpose of charity for the purpose of self-promotion that it becomes blatantly obvious that your only real purpose is self-promotion, IMNSHO.

    Yay! At last, you “had an open mind and actually listened to what others have been saying while you were debating them!” About time!

    Would that I were not the only one to do so.

    Not every organization that targets a particular group for membership is horrible for its exclusivity.

    Really? Care to provide some examples?

    I know you claim image and perception and presentation are not important.

    Actually, no. I claim that our image will not be improved by being obviously ineffectual and doing so for the obvious sole purpose of appearing charitable. That is what I’m calling chariwashing. When a corporation greenwashes itself, I recognize it for what it is and am not impressed. When it does something genuinely good, then I am impressed. If you could somehow prove that your charitable work is more than chariwashing, I might be convinced. So far, you have not even addressed my concern about its being an obvious ploy without any real concern for whether the actual charitable work.

    You start with the cause of making yourself look good.

    IMNSHO, charity should begin with the desire to actually do good.

    Charity‘s definition begins with “generous actions”.

    You had to search long and hard to find that particular definition from multiple dictionaries.

    Actually, if you had clicked through to my link to the definition of greenwashing, you would know that I always pick dictionary.com. Hell, It’s one of the search engine plugins I have for firefox right at the top of my screen. Does your dictionary define charity without using “generous actions” in the definition? Please do provide a link. Or, if you have to go to some hard copy source to find one that does not, name the dictionary and its publication date.

    The thread started with atheists offending theists right in the title. But, if you look at why the atheists are offending theists and what the fight is about, it is clearly about maintaining a secular United States of America.

    You’re the only one who wants to “overthrow religion”. Mock and debunk? Sure. Overthrow? That sounds a bit totalitarian to me.

    But, I’m just loving having that quote to go back to because it so contradicts our prior conversation elsewhere about the other billboards. In that conversation, you seemed worried about offending the religiose. Not so here where you wish to mock, debunk, and overthrow religion.

    It’s hard to offend the religiose more than that. So, if you believe those words you wrote, the only argument you have left against this original topic is race. You’ve lost on the FFRF letter and on the “You know it’s a myth” billboards. Neither the letter nor the myth billboards goes any further than mocking and debunking religion.

    • You Know Who says:

      labeling themselves atheist will reduce the amount of good they do.

      Perhaps you could explain why that is.

      Again??!!? OK. I’ll go with my shorter…

      When I asked if maybe you could explain why that is, I meant why specifically labeling themselves as “atheist” (as opposed to some other label) reduced the amount of good that could be done. Because other groups with other labels manage to do good despite the labeling. Not enough good, you say? Not as much good as they could? Also, not as much good as if we lived in a world without friction, perhaps, or in a world where we all spoke the same language, or where money grew on trees, or where… it’s nice that you choose to measure amounts of good that might be done relative to an abstract ideal you have of how much good a charity “should” perform before you will deign to call it a charity. I measure it relative to not doing good at all. Bully for you, Scott. Nothing will ever be “good” enough for you. Remember theory and practice, Sheldon?

      It’s as if you’ve never heard of the word “multi-purpose”.

      I have. But, you’ve so severely sacrificed the purpose of charity for the purpose of self-promotion

      I think what you seek is a system of charity where no humans are involved. That way those pesky PEOPLE who would promote themselves in the course of doing good for people wouldn’t diminish the quality of that good… based on your irrational measure of what constitutes high-quality good.

      I believe when the machines take over, the Skynet Foundation will create a system of charity in which no people are involved in the process, so it won’t be “tainted” by the stain of human presence you have such disdain for, because the robots would never engage in self-promotion. Perhaps that would satisfy you. (Even though there will be no one left to receive any charity by that point.) But probably not. And who cares whether you do or not? Because your ideas about what’s “good enough” aren’t good enough to pass muster in the real world.

      Not every organization that targets a particular group for membership is horrible for its exclusivity.

      Really? Care to provide some examples?

      Oh gee, this is going to be “hard” (by which I mean “easy” and “obvious”).

      – the American Medical Association (only licensed doctors and medical students)

      – the American Bar Association

      – the American Institute of Architects (your buddy Mel the “software architect” is not welcome)

      – alumni associations (you can’t be a Harvard alum unless you went there)

      – co-op boards (and any home ownership associations)

      – any sports team, for that matter any organization that affords membership on merit, like Mensa

      – and oh… what was the name of that organization I keep mentioning and you keep pretending you didn’t mention? American Aardvarks? Anteaters?

      I know you claim image and perception and presentation are not important.

      Actually, no. I claim that our image will not be improved by being obviously ineffectual

      Yes, let’s see how Scott defines “ineffectual”.

      BEFORE: No measure of good performed

      AFTER:: Infinitely more good performed, but it’s coupled with “self-promotion”, so it “doesn’t count”

      Yeah, I see what you mean about it being “ineffectual”.

      and doing so for the obvious sole purpose of appearing charitable.

      Gee, you’re right. The United Jewish Appeal, the Catholic Charities, the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Doctors Without Borders… everyone sees through these posers in the world of charity and knows they’re just faking it, and no one considers them genuine charities. And by “no one”, I mean “not Scott”.

      When a corporation greenwashes itself, I recognize it for what it is and am not impressed. When it does something genuinely good, then I am impressed.

      I’d love to hear an example from your catalogue of a corporation doing something “genuinely good”. But remember – if you know about it, and can document it and tell me about it, that means it has the obvious taint and stink of self-promotion, and thus by YOUR reasoning it doesn’t qualify.

      I hope you’re up to this self-imposed “challenge” to name an action by a corporation that is genuinely good by your standards where those standards include the absence of any form of self-promotion.

      If you somehow did know of such an action, obviously that WOULD be the highest form of charity on that ladder. You have no idea whether ExxonMobil is secretly (without even their own knowledge) providing clean green forms of energy to heat the homes of underprivileged families, or whether GoldmanSachs is tithing their profits through “accounting errors” to benefit the homeless. Since only non-self-promoted charity is genuinely good by your reckoning, you have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they might be doing the only form of charity you consider genuine. Will this alter your attitude towards giant corporations? Somehow I don’t think so.

      If you could somehow prove that your charitable work is more than chariwashing, I might be convinced.

      Now THIS, this is a when did you stop beating your wife scenario you put forth here! “If you can prove you’re not publicly doing those charitable things because you want people to know you’re doing them, then and only then will I consider your charitable work worthy.” “But… but… the only way I could do that is either by doing it anonymously, which would mean you wouldn’t know it was me doing it in the first place, or by not doing it at all!” “Not my problem, dude!”

      I hope I didn’t make your position on what qualifies as genuinely legitimately good look totally insane and ridiculous… actually, I’m kidding, of course that’s what I hope I did. And I’m pretty sure I succeeded. Because it is insane and ridiculous.

      So far, you have not even addressed my concern

      Luckily, close examination demonstrates that your “concern” is irrational and that no one needs to “address” it because no one but you shares it.

      I’m not even going to bother to address the rest of your comment point by point because it is so filled with lies. Claims that I want to “overthrow religion”. That I said it was wrong to offend when I said explicitly that there is no “right not to be offended”. Claiming that my “only argument” against the billboards is based on the racism issue. The list of made-up shit just goes on and on. It looked for a moment like you were becoming reasonable here – despite your babyish “I know you are but what am I” retort, it genuinely looked like you, indeed, had an open mind and were actually listening to what others have been saying while you were debating them. But apparently that’s not the case. Come back when you’re GENUINELY going to participate in an honest discussion untainted by such distractions.

      • Come back when you’re GENUINELY going to participate in an honest discussion untainted by such distractions.

        Gee. Think you could possibly get any more arrogant and obnoxious? You’re in my virtual living room and are throwing me out of my virtual house.

        That is NOT how to have a discussion.

        I meant why specifically labeling themselves as “atheist” (as opposed to some other label) reduced the amount of good that could be done.

        Oh. I had no idea you meant that. Why would you ask such a silly question?

        No. I can’t explain how labeling one’s charity Christian or Catholic or Jewish or any other race or creed is any better than atheist. Each is restrictive in who can participate in the giving and often in who can receive the benefit. So, by definition, each is limiting the amount of good it can do.

        And, each loses my support and that of many others as a result.

        Not as much good as they could?

        Exactly. Not as much good as they could with the restriction removed.

        This is not abstract at all. It’s incredibly simple logic.

        <real-world-example>
        Christian Childrens’ Fund (did I get the name right?) is doing less than it could if it were called something like the International Childrens’ Fund. Their name is a turn-off to those who would otherwise contribute but are not Christian. They probably get some non-Christians. But, do you really think they get as many as they would without the discrimination inherent in their name? Really? Seriously?
        </real-world-example>

        Not every organization that targets a particular group for membership is horrible for its exclusivity.

        Really? Care to provide some examples?

        Oh gee, this is going to be “hard” (by which I mean “easy” and “obvious”).

        Obviously, I should have specified charitable organization here. I thought it obvious that we were discussing charities. I should also specify that I mean racial and/or religious discrimination.

        <real-world-example>
        Of course, Doctors Without Borders is looking for doctors to provide medical care. They probably don’t want me, a former programmer, going in to a developing or failed nation and performing surgery.

        That is not discrimination.

        That is looking for particular skills. They might want me to help program their computers, however. And, they probably don’t care that I was born Jewish and am now an atheist. They also don’t care whether I’m white, black, red, yellow, green, pink, or chatreuse.
        </real-world-example>

        Yes, let’s see how Scott [really] defines “ineffectual”. Well, if you really wanted to know, you’d ask instead of putting words in my mouth. I corrected your text below.

        BEFORE: No measure of good performed

        AFTER:: Infinitely more good performed, but it’s obvious that the primary purpose was the improvement of the name of atheism with little concern given for how much good could be done, so it will be recognized as chariwashing and will do little to improve the name of atheism.

        Remember though, this is not mere rhetoric. There is no one stopping you from creating your organization. Hell, as a friend, I’ll even help out a bit. I won’t send money. But, I’ll give a bit of my time, probably somewhat less than either of us have spent on this blog post, to help you with something that is important to you. Want me to contact my accountant and start getting the 501(c)3 set up?

        Gee, you’re right. The United Jewish Appeal, the Catholic Charities, the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Doctors Without Borders… everyone sees through these posers in the world of charity and knows they’re just faking it, and no one considers them genuine charities. And by “no one”, I mean “not Scott”.

        What a crock of shit! The only two in your list that are applicable here are UJA and Catholic Charities. Individuals who give large blocks of money to their own charity are not discriminatory. They do not discriminate based on color or creed. They simply set up their own trust. As I showed above Doctors Without Borders is non-discriminatory as well. They are a perfect example of a secular charity. How do you not see the difference? It’s not Christian Doctors Without Borders. It’s not Jewish Doctors Without Borders. It’s not Black Doctors Without Borders.

        It’s just Doctors Without Borders.

        This is what I have been arguing is a better type of charity. This is non-discriminatory. This is a charity whose purpose is solely to accomplish their work.

        But wait, wasn’t it just some doctor who wanted to make a good name? Well, most importantly, that’s still not discriminatory. It doesn’t limit who can support them or who they will provide services to. It doesn’t stop people from giving. It doesn’t restrict who can receive their services.

        Less importantly, no. I googled. I couldn’t even find the names of the doctors who originally created the international organization Médecins Sans Frontières, not on wikipedia, not on their own site.

        Regardless though. Even if they did want the fame, how is that the same as wanting to improve the image of a race, creed, or lack thereof, by discriminatorily doling out charity?

        I’d love to hear an example from your catalogue of a corporation doing something “genuinely good”.

        Jaguar the car company has contributed to the maintenance of the Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve in Belize.

        I recognize this as a publicity stunt. I still think it’s a good thing they’ve done.

        I hope you’re up to this self-imposed “challenge” to name an action by a corporation that is genuinely good by your standards where those standards include the absence of any form of self-promotion.

        You really should read what I’ve written before you make shit up. Here’s what I said in an earlier post.

        When a corporation supports a good cause to improve its image, I may well make my decision to buy from them based on that. But, that is my reward to them for doing something good, even if only to make themselves look good. But, it isn’t charity.

        It’s PR, bought and paid for.

        I hope I didn’t make your position on what qualifies as genuinely legitimately good look totally insane and ridiculous… actually, I’m kidding, of course that’s what I hope I did. And I’m pretty sure I succeeded. Because it is insane and ridiculous.

        No worries. You didn’t.

      • You Know Who says:

        I meant why specifically labeling themselves as “atheist” (as opposed to some other label) reduced the amount of good that could be done.

        Oh. I had no idea you meant that. Why would you ask such a silly question?

        Why would you dismiss my question as silly rather than answering it? I think that’s the better question here.

        No. I can’t explain how labeling one’s charity Christian or Catholic or Jewish or any other race or creed is any better than atheist.

        Me neither.

        Each is restrictive in who can participate in the giving and often in who can receive the benefit.

        Key word is “often”. I keep saying “it doesn’t have to be that way, atheist charity does not need to be like charity associated with religions”, and you keep forgetting to say “You’re right, that’s very true.”
        So, by definition, each is limiting the amount of good it can do.

        Don’t care. Every actual real world action “limits” the targeting of its effects by being a real world action and not a hypothetical ideal in someone’s fantasy world. Opening a soup kitchen in Manhattan means homeless people in Kansas will not benefit from it. Providing a particular kind of meat to starving people in one region limits the benefit to people for whom that meat is not forbidden by religious restrictions (no matter what you may think about such restrictions). Providing classes for people to acquire technical skills will only help people who speak the language in which the classes are taught. Me, I’m planning to stick to the real world and genuine legitimate possibilities of what real people CAN do to help others. You can stick to your pie-in-the-sky dream world irrational Platonic ideal of things that you consider charitable (which in the real world apparently corresponds to the null set).

        And, each loses my support and that of many others as a result.

        This sounds like anecdotal evidence to me. Show me how many other people you can find that feel as you do that charity coupled with self-promotion is not charity and would not gain the support of those people?

        I’m guessing you, plus the guy you look at in the mirror, makes two.

        Not as much good as they could?

        Exactly. Not as much good as they could with the restriction removed.

        That restriction being… what? That it has to be something done in the real world? Oh yeah, there’s so much one can do with that restriction removed.

        This is not abstract at all. It’s incredibly simple logic.

        <real-world-example>
        Christian Childrens’ Fund (did I get the name right?) is doing less than it could if it were called something like the International Childrens’ Fund. Their name is a turn-off to those who would otherwise contribute but are not Christian. They probably get some non-Christians. But, do you really think they get as many as they would without the discrimination inherent in their name? Really? Seriously?
        </real-world-example>

        <better-example>
        The Thank God for Godlessness Foundation makes a $1,000,000 donation to the Christian Children’s Fund to help children in a particular region the CCF is currently focusing on. The CCF either uses it honestly and helps children in need, or they couple the assistance with Christian proselytization, leading to an outcry from the TGFGF and other groups who are equally upset at how the money is being used.
        </better-example>

        Not every organization that targets a particular group for membership is horrible for its exclusivity.

        Really? Care to provide some examples?

        Oh gee, this is going to be “hard” (by which I mean “easy” and “obvious”).

        Obviously, I should have specified charitable organization here.

        Why? That has no bearing on what you said in response to what I said.

        I thought it obvious that we were discussing charities.

        And many of the aforementioned organizations do provide charitable contributions including scholarships and assistance in their name. You would assert that it is not charity when they do this (because you say it is – no other real argument besides that has been offered by you). Again, that’s very nice that you feel that way. I’m certainly not stopping you from feeling that way or embarrassing yourself by talking about it out loud.

        Again, you want it both ways. Sorry, not gonna happen.

        Yes, let’s see how Scott [really] defines “ineffectual”.

        Well, if you really wanted to know, you’d ask instead of putting words in my mouth.

        No, this was MY constructing of points of comparison before and after that according to your own words you would call ineffectual. It’s you who are putting words into other people’s mouths here.

        I corrected your text below.

        No, not “corrected”, you altered the text to suit what YOU wanted the comparison to be.

        What I actually said:

        BEFORE: No measure of good performed
        AFTER: Infinitely more good performed, but it’s coupled with “self-promotion”, so it “doesn’t count”

        How Scott changed the comparison to suit his own agenda:

        BEFORE: No measure of good performed
        AFTER: Infinitely more good performed, but it’s obvious that the primary purpose was the improvement of the name of atheism with little concern given for how much good could be done, so it will be recognized as chariwashing and will do little to improve the name of atheism.

        According to Scott, it is “obvious” that the primary purpose of the charitable acts was the promotion of the one performing those acts. By his reasoning, this also condemns all the religious (and secular) organizations I listed: Catholic Charities, United Jewish Appeal, The [insert-asshole-billionaire’s-name here] Foundation, etc., since it’s obvious that Henry Ford just wanted to have his name associated with something positive after having mistreated his employees, maligned the Jews, and done countless other horrible things to reap his fortune. Shame on them! All of them!

        But the important question to ask is, who is it that thinks this is “obvious” and thus doesn’t consider the acts performed by these organizations to be charitable? Certainly not the IRS, who credits the donations and efforts as “charitable contributions”. Certainly not the people who continue to contribute to these organizations considering the efforts to be charity. No, I think the critical significant group of people who have this reaction and make this assertion that those acts are simply NOT charity are the group called “Scott”.

        Remember though, this is not mere rhetoric.

        Indeed. It is merely bad rhetoric.

        Gee, you’re right. The United Jewish Appeal, the Catholic Charities, the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, Doctors Without Borders… everyone sees through these posers in the world of charity and knows they’re just faking it, and no one considers them genuine charities. And by “no one”, I mean “not Scott”.

        What a crock of shit! The only two in your list that are applicable here are UJA and Catholic Charities.

        The rules you set forth about what makes something a charity or not apply whether the organization is religious or not. Are you asserting otherwise? Are you saying “well, it’s OK if the Scott Foundation puts its name on a hospital because the Scott Foundation isn’t associated with a religion, so I still consider it to be a charity”? Because if you are, that’s pretty a stupid argument.

        Your statement was that self-promotion makes something NOT a charity. And I call bullshit – that’s your opinion, but not what people in general think. So your opinion here is just a piece of anecdotal evidence from someone who’s basically going to scream “but the people who disagree with me about this are WRONG!” until he’s blue in the face.

        Perhaps there’s a charitable organization that helps people who have become blue in the face. But you wouldn’t accept their help because the place where they help blue people like you is named after the religious group who built it – The Transpolypastafarian Center for People Who Are Blue in the Face. (</real-world-example>).

        This is what I have been arguing is a better type of charity. This is non-discriminatory. This is a charity whose purpose is solely to accomplish their work.

        But meanwhile, back in the real world … … … … … (a lot of ellipses because it takes a long time to get from Scott’s imaginary world back to the real one), charities tied to religions, to people’s families, to other groups daring to violate the Misanthropic Scott edict that “no charity shall publicize the work it does and associate it with its name in such a way that will cause people to know about “, all are still (through some miracle) still considered charities, still get credit and praise for their work, and don’t have their reputations tainted for washing chairs. (Those organizations who really ARE just washing chairs, if exposed, deserve the disdain they get. But the others not only don’t deserve such disdain, they don’t receive it… except from Scott.)

        You say you are “arguing for a better type of charity”, but no charity in existence has fulfilled your requirements for what a charity MUST be to be a charity. It’s not unlike the Randroids’ dream of the libertarian island paradise where the real innovators run free unencumbered by evil government regulations… and where they all kill each other off in a bloodbath caused by lack of viable government services to keep order (or, alternatively, where they all die of a disease contracted from a dirty telephone).

        I’d love to hear an example from your catalogue of a corporation doing something “genuinely good”.

        Jaguar the car company has contributed to the maintenance of the Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve in Belize. I recognize this as a publicity stunt. I still think it’s a good thing they’ve done.

        Oh for Pete’s sake, Scott. (Or alternatively, for Scott’s sake, Pete.) Clearly you’re trying to have it both ways now. Your original premise was that it’s only charity if it was “genuinely good” – now you’re saying this was genuinely good, but not charity, just a publicity stunt. BZZZT! What would be considered “genuine” charity in Scottland?

        You really should read what I’ve written before you make shit up.

        And I did read what you wrote and I responded without making anything up. You had made the claim that self-promotion negates the ability of an action to be called charitable and that only the absence of any self-promotion made an action “genuinely good”. And I noted how mixed up that labeling scheme really is.

        When a corporation supports a good cause to improve its image, I may well make my decision to buy from them based on that. But, that is my reward to them for doing something good, even if only to make themselves look good. But, it isn’t charity. It’s PR, bought and paid for.

        Again, YOU alone make this assessment about what’s charity and what’s not, and you alone make this claim that the “obviousness” of self-promotion means people consider action to not be charitable. It’s a nice set of assertions, and it’s amusing to watch you use them as a basis for assessing what’s charity, what’s genuinely good, and what’s not, and then get tripped up in the contradictions.

        I hope I didn’t make your position on what qualifies as genuinely legitimately good look totally insane and ridiculous… actually, I’m kidding, of course that’s what I hope I did. And I’m pretty sure I succeeded. Because it is insane and ridiculous.

        No worries. You didn’t.

        Well, no, not to YOU, of course not! Who could convince you of anything! I was talking about how my analysis of your method of assessment looked to reasonable people.

      • You Know Who says:

        I’m not even going to bother to address the rest of your comment point by point because it is so filled with lies. Claims that I want to “overthrow religion”. That I said it was wrong to offend when I said explicitly that there is no “right not to be offended”. Claiming that my “only argument” against the billboards is based on the racism issue. The list of made-up shit just goes on and on. … Come back when you’re GENUINELY going to participate in an honest discussion untainted by such distractions.

        Gee. Think you could possibly get any more arrogant and obnoxious?

        If I feel I need to, if I feel the behavior I describe is being repeated and can document it, yes. Conveniently, your comment above left out the long list of egregious transgressions against honest argument that you engaged in. I re-included them for reference.

        You’re in my virtual living room and are throwing me out of my virtual house.

        No, just saying not to come over to where I’m sitting in this virtual living room of yours and attempt to re-engage me in conversation if your strategy is going to involve more of those egregious transgressions. (Sadly, from the response above, it seems like you didn’t heed this message at all.)

        That is NOT how to have a discussion.

        Damned right.

  93. BTW, I forgot to mention it earlier. I’m glad you appreciated the humor of a Christian Science hospital. That was entirely deliberate on my part. I am well aware that these are the wackos who let their kids die of diabetes and other highly treatable and sometimes curable illnesses.

    As a diabetic myself, I am horrified by letting one’s child die of something that need not seriously curtail one’s lifestyle and that causes an extremely unpleasant death filled with excessive thirst and violent vomiting prior to diabetic coma.

    It is a clear case of natural selection taking place at the wrong generation.

    Regarding Scientologists, are they really less respected than atheists? Last I had heard, we were right down there with rapists. And yet, somehow the Catholic Church does better on public opinion even with actual child molesters in their ranks. Hmm…

  94. <tangent>
    An idea for fun that I’ve never had the balls to actually do:

    Me (walks into the Christian Science Reading Room): Excuse me. Would you direct me to the lab?
    Staff: Huh?
    Me: The Christian Science Laboratory. Would you please direct me there? I’d like to be an independent observer of their scientific method.
    Staff: I don’t know of any laboratory.
    Me: And what about this makes it any form of science?
    </tangent>

  95. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I posted:

    Its a religiously corrupted mind that think atheism gains anything of worth to contest religious in their corrupted justifications.

    YKW apparently in earnest asks:

    I’ll pretend that was a sentence with at least some content and meaning and say “What do you mean by that?” /// What I posted just before that in the same threaded response. That too many charities are about self promotion rather than actually providing a service. Referring to Rome being more concerned with its Golden Candlestick and the actual mission of Sister Teresa are two more examples. Beyond that, they require people to identify themselves as requiring Charity and to stand in line obediently to get it. I just personally don’t like much about it. No–I am against the notion of Charity itself in favor of Government Programs to the same goal. Charity is the default when society fails its basic mission.

    I realize I’m opening the door for more gibberish sentences, but I’m genuinely curious to know what Bobbo means here. He implied (but never confirmed when called on it, of course) that chairty was a religious value/// yep. One of the big three: “Faith, Hope, and Charity” and Sermon on the Mound, and blessed be the poor and on and on.

    – by which he presumably meant a value associated with religion and not simply a positive moral value independent of religion based on secularly evolved enlightened self-interest. After all, we nonbelievers frequently note (for good reason) that “don’t hurt other people” and “don’t steal” and “don’t murder” are moral values derived independently from religion and notions of divine decree. Why isn’t the principle of chairty a similarly derived moral value? /// As stated, there should be no “need” for charity in a properly organized society.

    Why does Bobbo feel it is, in his words, a particularly “religious” value? /// Religion is rife with the idea that without religion, man would fall into sin. They do claim charity and morality as foundational to their inherent goodness. You have fallen for this propaganda thinking that Atheist Organizations to be valid/more successful need to stress charitable activities themselves. ……and Again: Religion has charity as one of its principle purposes/justifications. Atheism addresses a completely different issue. Reminds me of Monty Python skip where the Great Philosophers are made to compete on a soccer field. Thats not their point and relevancy.

    I’d like to see him logically demonstrate what he meant by his statement. Of course, I’d like to see him logically demonstrate ANYTHING he’s said, so clearly this is just a shot in the dark. /// I do hope you won’t demand a third iteration.

  96. You Know Who says:

    Its a religiously corrupted mind that think atheism gains anything of worth to contest religious in their corrupted justifications.

    I’ll pretend that was a sentence with at least some content and meaning and say “What do you mean by that?”

    What I posted just before that in the same threaded response. That too many charities are about self promotion rather than actually providing a service.

    Basically the same opinion as Scott’s, except phrased maybe a little better. Certainly there are fake charities out there that exist just to say “See? Look at me, look at what WE have done!” without actually doing anything. I contend though that any charitable organization whose efforts you are aware of has ipso facto engaged in some degree of self-promotion, otherwise you wouldn’t know about the work or that particular organization’s involvement in it. Scott’s thinking is binary, all or nothing, and it compares reality to a Platonic ideal and complains about the failure to achieve that ideal. Your statement more clearly condemns organizations who fall into the “rather than” category – they promote themselves RATHER THAN providing assistance to those in need. Can’t disagree with you there, although certainly not all such organizations are that horrible. However…

    I’m genuinely curious to know what Bobbo means here. He implied (but never confirmed when called on it, of course) that chairty was a religious value

    yep. One of the big three: “Faith, Hope, and Charity” and Sermon on the Mound, and blessed be the poor and on and on.

    This was the question I was really getting at, and this is the first hint of topical reference to it: Bobbo’s claim that charity is a “religious value”, inextricably tied to religion, rather than a positive moral value derived secularly, just like we try to tell the theists that “don’t murder”, “don’t steal”, etc. can be derived without need for a reference to a big daddy God who tells us what’s right and what’s wrong.

    Bobbo asserts this idea, but never really supports it in a logical way. There seems to be no basis for saying that charity is inextricably tied to religion, except that historically it has been. Charity could be derived independently, non-religiously, as a form of enlightened self-interest. I certainly see it that way and don’t bind it to religion at all. And I’m clearly not alone in that.

    Personally, I think it would be a good thing for that perspective to be publicized and demonstrated – that charity isn’t just for the religious. Despite the valid criticisms of charitable institutions that are corrupt, wasteful, and manipulative in the way they offer assistance, it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not even talking about Scott’s magical imaginary ideal of “charity without self-promotion” that simply isn’t going to happen and shouldn’t be expected to happen (though Scott clearly does). I’m just talking about honest non-manipulative non-demagogic non-proselytizing charity.

    The question still stands then: are our atheist/antitheist friends here disparaging charity itself – viewed by a large number of people as an indicator of whether a person is good or not – or are they just disparaging the religious institutions and what they do when they manipulate and harangue people with their religious dogma as a precondition for receiving assistance? I’m getting the feeling from Bobbo’s text that he believes charity is a “religious value” and thus is to be despised and eschewed.

    Why isn’t the principle of chairty a similarly derived moral value?

    As stated, there should be no “need” for charity in a properly organized society.

    I guess you’re living in Scott’s ideal world where things are the way you want them to be (because you say they should be) and not the way they actually are. OK, that’s nice.

    Show me one of the properly organized societies you refer to? Atlantis? Valhalla? Galt’s Gulch? Any of those qualify? Any real world examples?

    Point being: we don’t live in Bobbo’s dream world (or Scott’s). Given that, regardless of whether the privileged white boys think there “should be no need for charity”, in the real world, where there is such a need, do you consider charity to be a bad thing just because YOU choose to erroneously link it to religion?

    Why does Bobbo feel it is, in his words, a particularly “religious” value?

    Religion is rife with the idea that without religion, man would fall into sin. They do claim charity and morality as foundational to their inherent goodness.

    Eloquent speech. And no real disagreement. But it needs to be said that nothing in Bobbo’s pronouncement here answers the original question. Nothing Bobbo said demonstrates an inextricable link between charity and religion. Charity clearly can and does exist independent of religion. So again, why Bobbo’s expression of distaste for it if his argument rests on the weakest of correlation, never mind causative connection?

    You have fallen for this propaganda

    Nope, haven’t fallen for anything. (It’s a very weak argument to assert that the other person has “fallen for propaganda” just because he disagrees with you – especially when your own position is rooted in unsupported subjectivity. But never mind all that…)

    thinking that Atheist Organizations to be valid/more successful need to stress charitable activities themselves.

    It isn’t “propaganda” – it’s the popular conception that the charitableness of a person or group is a component in the measure of their goodness. (Just a component – the gangster who murders his rivals but builds a health care facility for the community is being charitable, but that alone isn’t necessarily enough to make people consider him “good”.)

    Religion has charity as one of its principle purposes/justifications.

    An organization says that baking cakes is one of its principal purposes. It turns out the organization is involved in extortion and harassment and murder. Therefore baking cakes is a bad thing.

    That’s pretty much your argument in a nutshell regarding charity and religion, filled with glaring obvious logical fallacies.

    I’d like to see him logically demonstrate what he meant by his statement

    I do hope you won’t demand a third iteration.

    I understand why you would hope that – your iterations #1 and #2 were woefully inadequate in demonstrating your point for all the reasons I’ve laid out here, and you’d have to actually show your work to provide a response that WAS adequate. The connection you assert between charity and religion isn’t there the way you claim it is. So I ask again: do you have something against charity in and of itself, or just against charitable organizations that are corrupt and wasteful and manipulative? If the former, you’ll have to come up with a better justification than the one you’ve already offered. Or not, you could just say “I just don’t like charity, period.” And that would be fine. It would provide a baseline for the origins of your point of view about things.

  97. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    YKW–you agree that religion as a matter of fact is linked to charitable activities but challenge my association of religion with charity because it is not necessary for that link to exist?

    That not even a fine parse—its just a stupid distinction without value.

    Then you claim I’m speaking about an ideal world?===when its you that make the theoretical vs actual reality distinction.

    By and large, the European/socialist entities have the social services I am thinking of. Yes, various charities exist in Europe ===== but for the very reasons I stated. Charity is not needed by the recipients, the charities are doing for their own various interests.

    Both of your arguments only underline the validity of what I said.

    Just as it should be.

  98. You Know Who says:

    Oh dear…

    YKW–you agree that religion as a matter of fact is linked to charitable activities but challenge my association of religion with charity because it is not necessary for that link to exist?

    Nope. Your phrasing is (as it often seems to be) muddled and unclear. “As a matter of fact linked to”? What does “linked to” mean in this context? Causally connected? Having a vague statistical correlation? Friended on Facebook? How do you come to the conclusion that what I said represents such a “linkage” in whatever sense you mean at any given point in time?

    I agree that religious groups (cf. “religion”) generally associate themselves with charitable efforts and that the religions associated with these groups (again, cf. “religion”) generally emphasize the importance of charity to their followers. But your mention of an “association of religion with charity” is specious because it employs deliberately ambiguous wording. Are you suggesting that religion as an abstract class of God worshiping philosophical systems (for lack of a better term) and charity go together like a horse and carriage? Are you suggesting a bi-directional link that causally connects charity with religion such that religion is a prerequisite condition for the existence of charity? Are you suggesting that charity cannot exist in the absence of religion? Hard to tell because you deliberately chose words and structured sentences to be ambiguous. (Not the first time.)

    So, no – pretty much every assertion in your opening paragraph is completely unfounded. I do not agree that religion as a matter of fact is “linked” to charitable activities, and I certainly see no basis for acknowledging your assertion of an “association” between religion and charity aside from the fact that charity is PRESENT in most religions as an idea. Trust me, I’m not going to accept a purposely ambiguous reference to a vague “association” between religion and charity that isn’t actually present as you assert it is.

    That not even a fine parse—its just a stupid distinction without value.

    And now, apparently, back to the gibberish – a “stupid distinction”, eh? Stupid apparently because you don’t like that I see no cause in your statements to indicate even a correlation between the two. Great, don’t like that. As I’ve already said, your statement about what you claim I “agree” with is patently false (naturally) and your idea of what constitutes an association between two things is ill-defined. So, don’t-like away.

    Then you claim I’m speaking about an ideal world?===when its you that make the theoretical vs actual reality distinction.

    To say this sentence makes no sense is to besmirch the name of senseless people everywhere. Yes, I make the distinction between theory and practice, between fantasy and reality. Why wouldn’t I? Further, when did I say anything about you and an ideal world – I said it was Scott making negative judgements about things because they didn’t conform to HIS ideal. I really have no idea what you mean here and clearly, neither do you.

    By and large, the European/socialist entities have the social services I am thinking of.

    I figured that’s what you were referring to, and I fully agree.

    Yes, various charities exist in Europe ===== but for the very reasons I stated. Charity is not needed by the recipients, the charities are doing for their own various interests.

    Knowing some actual Europeans, I can tell you this is a ridiculous falsehood. When disaster strikes, charities do indeed go to work, even in Europe, filling gaps that government services leave. Your vision that the government takes care of everything obviating the need for independent charity is as specious as Scott’s assertion that organizations who promote their charitable works are not perceived as charitable because he says they are. Again, even Europe is not the perfect socialist paradise you claim it is, in particular when it comes to providing charitable assistance to people. Your naive pronouncement that no one needs charity because the government takes care of everything is also wholly specious.

    Both of your arguments only underline the validity of what I said.

    Wow… Since you can’t even define what any ONE of my arguments was, let alone describing “both” of them, your sentence naturally makes no sense. Of course, if you replace just one letter in your sentence (an “L”) with another (an “M”), then your statement would be right on the money. (Hint: there is no such word as either “onmy” or “vamidity”.)

    Again, you claimed that charity is an innately “religious value” (wrong), and thus one that it’s a bad idea for atheism to be measured by (also wrong). I noted that this is poppycock. “Charity could be derived independently, non-religiously, as a form of secularly defined enlightened self-interest.” And “nothing Bobbo said demonstrates an inextricable link between charity and religion. Charity clearly can and does exist independent of religion.” This means your argument is completely false from top to bottom. Atheist organizations engaging in charitable actions is just one thing that can help counteract the incorrect impression many theists have (gleaned from their demagogues who clearly understand and make use of persuasive rhetoric much better than you ever will) that atheists are “bad” people. That you have such a phobic reaction to the very idea of charity, such an allergic aversion to it, that you feel the need to invent reasons not to be charitable, speaks volumes.

    So, keep on talking, and speak more volumes. It’s fun to watch.

  99. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    YKW–down to quibbling about what words mean when the meaning is clear enough huh?

    I could say mindlessly negative, but sadly there is a mind at work? And that “links to” a long and frustrating discussion regarding the nature of sentience in the development of Artificial Intelligence Scott, myself and others had a while back.

    Are you sentient YKW, or are you mindlessly negative?

    In another score set, you and I are running about 20 to zero. I thing you and Scott are running about equal. Yes, I’m being intentionally vague but only by not stating the context.

    Still playing the synthesizer?

    • You Know Who says:

      YKW–down to quibbling about what words mean when the meaning is clear enough huh?

      Yes, that’s what happened. 🙂

      I could say mindlessly negative

      You could. I’ll bet, under the right circumstances, you could even spell the words correctly and use them in a sentence. Let’s see if that’s going to happen here anytime soon.

      but sadly there is a mind at work?

      Was that supposed to have been a question? “But sadly there is… ?” How well crafted your words are! How clear! The question this sentence of yours would have been had you been coherent, I ask it all the time while attempting to have a conversation with you. It goes unanswered, like the clarion call of the trumpet in that famous Charles Ives composition.

      (That was clear to you what was I talking about, I thing, right?)

      And that “links to” a long and frustrating discussion regarding the nature of sentience in the development of Artificial Intelligence Scott, myself and others had a while back.

      I imagine it was very productive. As an example of NS rather than AI yourself, I’m sure you had a lot to “contribute”.

      Are you sentient YKW, or are you mindlessly negative?

      Yes.

      In another score set, you and I are running about 20 to zero.

      Was this last sentence an example of you thinking the meaning of your words was “clear enough”? I’m sure it was. Ayukyukyuk.

      Oh goody. And in the back and fourth, it’s more like twenty to ten! You understood that, right? You’re not going to quibble because you don’t get it, right?

      I thing you and Scott are running about equal.

      That was a sentence where the meaning of all the words was perfectly clear! I thing you, too! You really are a walking example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.

      Yes, I’m being intentionally vague but only by not stating the context.

      Luckily, there is no context here, is there?

      The beautiful thing about this last post of yours is that you make it self-evident that you care little about being clear but get angry that despite your typos, malformed sentences, and misuse of words, others fail to understand you. That’s OK. So we can review:

      1. Despite Bobbo’s deliberately misleading wording intended to claim otherwise, there is no inextricable link, no “association”, between charity and religion. Most religions make reference to the worthiness of charity, but then many philosophies not associated with religion do as well. Charity can exist independent of religion in an organization having no religious affiliation, in a person who does not believe in any religion. Nothing Bobbo said demonstrated anything that contradicts this. Yet he still claims otherwise.

      2. Charity is not a “religious value” despite Bobbo’s claim that it is. Charity, much like “do not hurt others”, “don’t steal”, and “don’t murder”, can be derived as a form of secularly defined enlightened self-interest without any “association” with religion or a supposed divine source of morality. This is an obvious point atheists and other nonbelievers make to prove that one doesn’t need God or religion to be a good moral person. Apparently Bobbo is unfamiliar with this. I’d ask whether he thinks “don’t hurt others” also qualifies as a “religious value”, but… again, I’m afraid he’d clumsily try to tell us. And what a clusterfuck THAT would be.

      3. Bobbo never said anything to contradict the idea that engaging in charitable actions would serve to undermine (not underline) any assertion by dogmatic religionists that “atheists aren’t good people because they don’t do good deeds like being charitable”. That doesn’t mean he agrees with that idea. Of course he doesn’t. He just has no rational argument against the idea. But why would that stop him from offering up more of his clear, well-constructed collections of words?

      I thing he has a lot to say, but there is any chance will it make any sense? (No quibbling, Mr. Clear. You understood that.)

  100. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    YKW–down to responding to partial quotes to make a totally dishonest response are we now huh? Make the score in that separate evaluation now 21 to zero. I suppose I could have added not only is the context for this score not given, the thought of it was raised by a contradiction you made in your precedent post.

    You see, when discussions like yours fail so entirely, pleasure will develop in alternative ways. Thats all the reason you should become mindful of your evasions and kneejerk naysaying……because everyone else does.

    Your nonsense about religions link to charity is a good example. I’m sure you present the argument as an idiot for your own alternative pleasure.

    We are all alike and different at the same time.

    Yea, verily.

    • You Know Who says:

      Here is the content from the “totally dishonest response” Bobbo is referring to. It should be easy to note how, in his followup, he addressed these statements logically and clearly, providing honest rational rebuttal.

      1. Despite Bobbo’s deliberately misleading wording intended to claim otherwise, there is no inextricable link, no “association”, between charity and religion. Most religions make reference to the worthiness of charity, but then many philosophies not associated with religion do as well. Charity can exist independent of religion in an organization having no religious affiliation, in a person who does not believe in any religion. Nothing Bobbo said demonstrated anything that contradicts this. Yet he still claims otherwise.

      2. Charity is not a “religious value” despite Bobbo’s claim that it is. Charity, much like “do not hurt others”, “don’t steal”, and “don’t murder”, can be derived as a form of secularly defined enlightened self-interest without any “association” with religion or a supposed divine source of morality. This is an obvious point atheists and other nonbelievers make to prove that one doesn’t need God or religion to be a good moral person. Apparently Bobbo is unfamiliar with this. I’d ask whether he thinks “don’t hurt others” also qualifies as a “religious value”, but… again, I’m afraid he’d clumsily try to tell us. And what a clusterfuck THAT would be.

      3. Bobbo never said anything to contradict the idea that engaging in charitable actions would serve to undermine (not underline) any assertion by dogmatic religionists that “atheists aren’t good people because they don’t do good deeds like being charitable”. That doesn’t mean he agrees with that idea. Of course he doesn’t. He just has no rational argument against the idea. But why would that stop him from offering up more of his clear, well-constructed collections of words?

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

  101. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    You Know Who says:
    March 30, 2012 at 07:43

    Here is the content from the “totally dishonest response” Bobbo is referring to. It should be easy to note how, in his followup, he addressed these statements logically and clearly, providing honest rational rebuttal.

    1. Despite Bobbo’s deliberately misleading wording intended to claim otherwise, there is no inextricable link, no “association”, between charity and religion. Most religions make reference to the worthiness of charity, but then many philosophies not associated with religion do as well. Charity can exist independent of religion in an organization having no religious affiliation, in a person who does not believe in any religion. Nothing Bobbo said demonstrated anything that contradicts this. Yet he still claims otherwise. /// YOU are the one suggesting atheist organizations should do charity work to avoid this claim of the religious groups. YOU! Not me. Simple case of YOU raising an issue and then critizing any effort to respond to you as lacking a mandatory linkage when only a moderate correlation is claimed and that only in response to your irrelevant issue.

    2. Charity is not a “religious value” despite Bobbo’s claim that it is. Charity, much like “do not hurt others”, “don’t steal”, and “don’t murder”, can be derived as a form of secularly defined enlightened self-interest without any “association” with religion or a supposed divine source of morality. /// You respond “as if” I said that charity is EXCLUSIVELY A RELIGIOUS VALUE, but thats not what I said. Just because two groups have a common value doesn’t mean that one group “owns it” over the other.

    This is an obvious point atheists and other nonbelievers make to prove that one doesn’t need God or religion to be a good moral person. Apparently Bobbo is unfamiliar with this. I’d ask whether he thinks “don’t hurt others” also qualifies as a “religious value”, /// of course it does. Again–just not an EXCLUSIVELY RELIGIOUS VALUE.

    but… again, I’m afraid he’d clumsily try to tell us. And what a clusterfuck THAT would be. /// I’m afraid this is only another example of your muddled thinking and “logic” outside the mainstream. An example of all or none thinking. Not appreciating values fall on intersecting continuums and are shared by many different even opposing groups. I hope its as simple as that?

    3. Bobbo never said anything to contradict the idea that engaging in charitable actions would serve to undermine (not underline) any assertion by dogmatic religionists that “atheists aren’t good people because they don’t do good deeds like being charitable”. //// It would for some, and not for others. Don’t tell me you can’t think of a response to spin good works by atheists? You live in a very tightly wound universe where stimuli have only one response? Simple minded.

    That doesn’t mean he agrees with that idea. Of course he doesn’t. He just has no rational argument against the idea. But why would that stop him from offering up more of his clear, well-constructed collections of words? /// Atheists are not about doing charitable works. Its like criticizing a bowling team for not painting houses.

    http://www.personality-and-aptitude-career-tests.com/wechsler-iq-test-ratings.html

  102. You Know Who says:

    YOU are the one suggesting atheist organizations should do charity work to avoid this claim of the religious groups. YOU! Not me. Simple case of YOU raising an issue and then critizing any effort to respond to you

    I will always “critize” efforts (if that’s the right word) made to respond to me that lack any concrete argument, that invoke disparagement and deflection as rebuttal content, that are weak and pathetic and ill-formed but claim to be the opposite.

    as lacking a mandatory linkage when only a moderate correlation is claimed

    You’ve got it backwards: I claimed there was at best only a “moderate correlation”; you claimed there was what you call here a “mandatory linkage”.

    To reiterate what I said:

    Despite Bobbo’s deliberately misleading wording intended to claim otherwise, there is no inextricable link, no “association”, between charity and religion. Most religions make reference to the worthiness of charity, but then many philosophies not associated with religion do as well. Charity can exist independent of religion in an organization having no religious affiliation, in a person who does not believe in any religion. Nothing Bobbo said demonstrated anything that contradicts this. Yet he still claims otherwise.

    Still, no real response to this from Bobbo.

    You respond “as if” I said that charity is EXCLUSIVELY A RELIGIOUS VALUE, but thats not what I said.

    From Bobbo:

    Without stating it, YKW wants atheism to compete with religion using religious values and programs AS IF atheism was a religion too.

    Since the thing Bobbo was referring to, that he claimed I wanted to be something atheism “competed” with religion over, was the performing of charitable acts. He is asserting, not “without stating it” but by stating it here overtly, that he views charity as a “religious value”, presumably (since the modifying adjective is one he put there himself) in contrast to a value that is not necessarily religious (e.g., a secular moral value derived without reference to God or religion).

    In others, replace “as if” in Bobbo’s sentence with “because”, and remove that last bit about “but that’s not what I said”, because that is what he said.

    Just because two groups have a common value doesn’t mean that one group “owns it” over the other.

    Absolutely! That’s what I said! You are the one who claimed charity was a religious value, and you vociferously complained that I was “making” atheism “compete with religion using religious values”. You said that. Go undo that if you don’t like the consequences of your own words.

    I’m afraid this is only another example of your muddled thinking and “logic” outside the mainstream.

    We all know that “logic outside the mainstream” is a bad thing… except when you’re the source of it.

    An example of all or none thinking.

    How so? Explain?

    Not appreciating values fall on intersecting continuums and are shared by many different even opposing groups.

    That would appear to be YOU who has this problem you describe, then, because YOU are the one who labeled charity a “religious value” and complained that I was forcing atheism to be compared to religion (or to compete with it) using a “religious value”. Your words. You said that. Remember?

    Don’t tell me you can’t think of a response to spin good works by atheists? You live in a very tightly wound universe where stimuli have only one response? Simple minded.

    Yeah, you’re so right. I am so simple minded. A regular Homer Simpson. Doh is me! So it will have to be you who comes up with this “response to spin good works by atheists”. (By which I assume you meant “spinning a response to showcase the good work done by atheists”. Since you’re NOT simple minded, since you DON’T live in a very tightly wound universe where stimuli have only one response, it’s on you then to come up with this alternate response you speak of, the one that doesn’t involve atheists visibly doing charitable things.

    … … … … … … … … Well? What’s taking you so long?

    Atheists are not about doing charitable works. Its like criticizing a bowling team for not painting houses.

    Would spinning the works of a bowling team to show that they paint houses improve the image of bowlers? No? Then why did you pretend this was even remotely analogous?

    Now you reverse your “mandatory linkage association” perspective: earlier, you insisted that charity WAS a religious value (meaning, presumably, not a secular one). Now, you assert that atheists “are not about” doing charitable works. That would appear to mean that you find the notion of atheists and charitable works somehow disjunctive, contradictory, oxymoronic even. If that’s not what you mean, then… (easy now, be careful: remember, he might answer you) what do you mean when you say “atheists are not about charitable works?” That atheists cannot do such things? That it is unnecessary for atheists to do such things? That it is BAD for them to do such things? Is there a “mandatory linkage association” between atheism and NOT doing charitable works?

    (now you’ve done it, he’s going to answer you… needless to say, it won’t be pretty… or understandable…)

  103. YKW,

    Still no answer from you on this. So, I guess before I respond to anything else in your posts, I’ll have to try your own uber-obnoxious, droning, repetitive, Human League-esque (a la Rock Me Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again (six times), the only Human League song I know and actively dislike) technique of debating, or more accurately, very definitely NOT debating.

    Don’t worry though. I’ll only post this crap exactly as many times as you did, i.e. 7, not the full 42 of the Human League (nod to Douglas Adams?).

    You Know Who screamed and ranted 7 times:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    Scott responds:
    But you are an atheist.
    And yet, you are not visibly blah blah blah.
    I’ve even offered to help you blah blah blah.
    And still, you won’t blah blah blah.
    You won’t even respond about why you won’t blah blah blah.
    THEREFORE, YOU ARE AN IMPOSSIBLY ANNOYING HYPOCRITE!

    You Know Who screamed and ranted 7 times:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    Scott responds:
    But you are an atheist.
    And yet, you are not visibly blah blah blah.
    I’ve even offered to help you blah blah blah.
    And still, you won’t blah blah blah.
    You won’t even respond about why you won’t blah blah blah.
    THEREFORE, YOU ARE AN IMPOSSIBLY ANNOYING HYPOCRITE!

    You Know Who screamed and ranted 7 times:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    Scott responds:
    But you are an atheist.
    And yet, you are not visibly blah blah blah.
    I’ve even offered to help you blah blah blah.
    And still, you won’t blah blah blah.
    You won’t even respond about why you won’t blah blah blah.
    THEREFORE, YOU ARE AN IMPOSSIBLY ANNOYING HYPOCRITE!

    You Know Who screamed and ranted 7 times:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    Scott responds:
    But you are an atheist.
    And yet, you are not visibly blah blah blah.
    I’ve even offered to help you blah blah blah.
    And still, you won’t blah blah blah.
    You won’t even respond about why you won’t blah blah blah.
    THEREFORE, YOU ARE AN IMPOSSIBLY ANNOYING HYPOCRITE!

    You Know Who screamed and ranted 7 times:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    Scott responds:
    But you are an atheist.
    And yet, you are not visibly blah blah blah.
    I’ve even offered to help you blah blah blah.
    And still, you won’t blah blah blah.
    You won’t even respond about why you won’t blah blah blah.
    THEREFORE, YOU ARE AN IMPOSSIBLY ANNOYING HYPOCRITE!

    You Know Who screamed and ranted 7 times:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    Scott responds:
    But you are an atheist.
    And yet, you are not visibly blah blah blah.
    I’ve even offered to help you blah blah blah.
    And still, you won’t blah blah blah.
    You won’t even respond about why you won’t blah blah blah.
    THEREFORE, YOU ARE AN IMPOSSIBLY ANNOYING HYPOCRITE!

    You Know Who screamed and ranted 7 times:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    Scott responds:
    But you are an atheist.
    And yet, you are not visibly blah blah blah.
    I’ve even offered to help you blah blah blah.
    And still, you won’t blah blah blah.
    You won’t even respond about why you won’t blah blah blah.
    THEREFORE, YOU ARE AN IMPOSSIBLY ANNOYING HYPOCRITE!

    So, please respond or admit you are an incredibly annoying hypocrite. Why won’t you create your atheist charity and visibly blah blah blah??!!?

    Rock me.

  104. Cerberus says:

    I think it was a mistake from the beginning . At least in my opinion, if you’re going to make such a statement, then you must include all races or don’t bother.
    After all, it affects us all, and not just one particular group.

    Atheist Charities
    1. Atheist Centre India
    2. Foundation Beyond Belief
    3. The Fellowship of Freethought
    4. International Humanist and Ethical Union
    5. Atheist Helping The Homeless
    6. American Humanist Association
    7. Kiva Lending Team : Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics, Freethinkers, Secular Humanists,and The non-religious
    8. Secular Humanist Aid and Relief Effort
    9. Atheist Relief Fund
    10. Secular Center USA
    11. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    12. Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation
    Just to name a few.

    • You Know Who says:

      Appropriate name, because now the one dog has THREE heads.

      Wondering why when cutting-and-pasting from a list found in the first result of a Google search for “atheist charities”, Earthward, perhaps the best example of how atheists provide actual help to people hurt by religion, managed to be omitted.

      I’m not sure if this is an acknowledgement of how wrong Bobbo is about how “atheists don’t do charity”, of how wrong Scott is about what qualifies as charity, or just much needed publicity for underreported charitable efforts by atheists. (But if you’re going to post a list, be honest about who you include. The evidence that Bill Gates is an atheist is spotty and circumstantial at best, and Kiva is by no means a particularly atheist or secular organization but has an active group of members who advertise who they are for the very reasons I’ve said that is a good idea.)

      So, where are the billboards that say “So you think atheists aren’t good because they aren’t charitable” and list these groups? Certainly that will shut up more hostile obnoxious theists than the examples provided in this thread would. In fact, it might even turn more theists away from hostility towards non-believers than the billboards shown here would manage to turn TOWARDS hostility towards nonbelievers. 🙂

      • Wow. I guess it would have hurt too much for you to just say, “holy shit!! There really are atheist charities after all. What was I thinking when I posed this challenge?”

        Instead, you even have to be mildly derisive to the one person on this blog thread who made your point for you far better than you did with all your many thousands of words.

      • You Know Who says:

        Wow. I guess it would have hurt too much for you to just say, “holy shit!! There really are atheist charities after all. What was I thinking when I posed this challenge?”

        I never said there were no atheist charities. I was quite sure there were, and I was relatively sure a Google search could turn some up. I said that atheists being charitable are given short shrift and ignored – not just by the media, or by evil conspiring theists, but by atheists themselves, who collectively (as we’ve seen here) often dismiss charity as being unworthy and unnecessary for nonbelievers. But remember, these are the same “morans” who think they can invoke an argument that “there’s no scientific basis for race” as support for their position that an image broadly described as racist that horrified those who looked at it was not racist, because PEOPLE and their feelings and emotions are irrelevant to their scientific analysis of what’s racist and what isn’t. Ayuckyuckyuck!!!!

      • Cerberus says:

        1. Appropriate name, because now the one dog has three heads.
        Why thank you, You Know Who.

        You wondered why Earthward was omitted?
        Well. I thought that maybe if I’d not mention that one, perhaps you might find it within yourself to not unfold to much objection in having a more considerate and civil discussion?
        3. I’m not sure if this is an acknowledgements of how wrong Bobbo is about how “atheists don’t do charity “, or how wrong Scott is about what qualifies as charity, or just much needed publicity for underreported charitable efforts by atheists.
        Well … maybe not.

        You see, I don’t particularly find any fault with Bobbo and Scott’s arguments, as both have very valid points to share. The same as you do, You Know Who.

        4. Be honest about whom I include?
        I’m being very honest sir, those were the organizations I took from a website and they’re listed as “atheist charities “.
        So, I’m sorry if my attempt at trying to answer your question was a disappointment for you, but I at least tried to make the attempt.

        Later on

      • You Know Who says:

        And when does the fourth head appear? Is that a sign of the apocalypse? Or of the apology?

      • Cerberus says:

        Damned if you know.

      • You Know Who says:

        And damned if you don’t. 🙂

      • Cerberus says:

        Why thanks You Know Who!

    • Great list Cerberus. Well done.

      I would personally remove Bill & Melinda from the list since they do not seek donations for their charity. So, based on that, it’s not clear that they’ve limited to their charity to donations from atheists rather than limiting it to donations from themselves. I see no way to contribute to their foundation on their site.

      YKW,

      Regarding Kiva, once again you have misunderstood. Cerberus did not list Kiva the organization but one team within Kiva that is specifically atheist.

      http://www.kiva.org/team/atheists

      As for whether Kiva itself is secular, of course they are. Where does it say on their site that they are affilated with any sect that would make them sectarian? If the answer is nowhere, then they are non-sectarian, i.e. secular.

      • You Know Who says:

        Again, confusing “secular” with “atheist”. Wait, not “confusing”, what’s the right phrase I’m looking for? … … … Ah yes, “deliberately being deceptive by conflating secular and atheist erroneously”. Yes, that’s it.

      • Cerberus says:

        Thank you Scott.

      • You Know Who says:

        I would personally remove Bill & Melinda from the list since they do not seek donations for their charity.

        Their WHAT???????

        Clearly it’s not a CHARITY, because the Gates’s names are right on the letterhead and in the name of the foundation! Naturally this is just self-promotion, a heinous digital robber baron seeking to frame his name in a positive light! Obviously NOT a charity! Not by Scott’s definition. It would do a lot more good if the Gateses took their name off of it and just called it “The Guy Who Gave Us The Windows Blue Screen of Death Foundation”. Right?

  105. You Know Who says:

    Wow, what an embarrassing retreat, Scott! It’s as if to say “no, I’m not to going to address a single one of your points, I don’t want to, waaaaaaaaa!”

    I am not visibly anything. That is my choice as an individual. Your attempt to demand that I be and do what you want me to be and do is apparently some kind of political-correctness I-can-tell-you-what-have-to-do fascism gone nuts.

    How pathetic that your “argument” (if there ever was anything to it) is reduced to this desperate stunt. Because that’s all your last post is. It is certainly not a response to my arguments, an admission of being wrong (heaven forfend), or an apology for insulting someone and what they did in a heinous manner (ditto).

    You want your own hypocrisy not to be showcased, but you will call someone else a hypocrite simply because they will not follow your expectations of what they as an individual have to do.

    You asked for this.

    Why Scott is a blatant hypocrite:

    1. Because he will rail at religionists for presenting irrational baseless arguments, yet when he presents irrational baseless arguments and is called on them he complains that the one calling him on those irrational baseless arguments is doing something shameful for his actions.

    2. Because he will complain about the evil hostility of another group of people and how they unjustifiably smear and besmirch the entire group of people Scott identifies with, but he will declare that “there are no innocent bystanders” (code used to justify terrorism and violence against civilians) among the group he expresses and disdain, in an attempt to legitimize his being as and will do this proudly and pompously without regret or retraction when it is pointed out how horrid and hypocritical that attitude is.

    3. Because he as a member of a frequently-discriminated-against minority group himself has the nerve to imagine he could decide for another group what qualifies as racism towards them, in a manner befitting a clueless white Republican political candidate he would mock for daring to make similar arrogant statements from their positions of white male privilege, and because even after seeing the visible reaction from others to what to everyone else felt was an obviously horrid racist image, he would dare to insist that their reactions constituted merely “anecdotal evidence” and that it still wasn’t clear to him that the image was racist at all, and because even after all of that has made clear he was wrong, rather than acknowledging this and admitting he was wrong, he simply said “OK, let’s not talk about the racism issue anymore, I was hoping we could forget about that and ignore race for the moment ” to avoid further discussion or acknowledgement of the wrongness of his position about this.

    4. Because after dismissing “anecdotal evidence” in the situation above, he used the example of the one person he used to work with that he would argue with loudly as “proof” that it was a good idea to be tactless and arrogant and hostile when trying to convince people of a point of view.

    5. Because after being justifiably harangued for not reading opposing arguments presented to him, having ignored those arguments as if they hadn’t been presented, rather than responding to those arguments directly, he fished for an opportunity to say “Ha, look, here’s a case where YOU didn’t read things yourself!” – except in the example he chose his fishing netted him an example that HE didn’t read carefully, that he misinterpreted as an error in his desperate zeal to find something he could point a finger at rather than having an honest discussion. And, once called on this, there was neither acknowledgement or apology for the mistake, because… that’s how Scott rolls.

    6. Because in response to suggestions presented to him about how public presentation of atheists could be improved, he waffled between “the changes were so subtle I didn’t even notice them” and “making those radical changes wouldn’t adequately lead to the result I am seeking from these billboards” – for the very same set of suggestions, depending on the moment.

    7. Because when presented with an alternative message for a billboard, his criticism was simply “Too many words for a billboard” (even though the difference in word count was minute).

    8. Because after it was pointed out to him several times that slavery is not inextricably coupled with racism in the Bible – that both are horrible things but that examples in the Bible exist of each one distinctly described and justified in heinous ways individually – he insisted that it was impossible to separate the two, in order to justify the usage of that racist image on the billboard… even though he himself provided examples of how the Bible described (as a legitimate thing) slavery in which Jews enslaved other Jews. All because he refused to back down about the obvious racism of that billboard.

    9. Because after asking what my “goal” was, even though I had stated it several times previously (demonstrating his choice not to read what had been said), and having that repeated to him again and again, he continued to say “so, you don’t have any specific goal in challenging what atheist groups are doing with these billboards.”

    10. Because although he would never accept an argument from religionists like “Can’t you just accept that my view, that of believing that the world was created by God 4000 years ago and that evolution is invalid, is just as reasonable as yours?”, he expects that a similar argument coming from him, on the order of “Can’t you just accept that my opinion, that it doesn’t matter how atheists are perceived by the general public because I choose not to care about their perception and whether or not they vote, is just as valid as yours?”, should be blindly accepted as reasonable.

    11. (this list goes to 11) Because after he (justifably) condemns religionists who would claim they are being persecuted being their “religious freedom” is being denied (where the freedom they are talking about is the right to impose their religion on other people), he tries to play that same “victim card” himself in an equally erroneous manner when he complains that I am “persecuting” him by pointing out where he’s wrong in the same way he would point out how religionists are wrong.

    12. (and one more for good measure) Because when I pointed out how the public image of atheists suffers because, as a group, atheists have the reputation of not being charitable, and that this could be improved through organized public examples of atheists being charitble, instead of responding that “hey, there’s an opportunity where we as a group can improve our image in the eye of the public at large”, Scott LASHED OUT and exclaimed “Shame on you for bringing that fact to the attention of our enemies!” – in much the same manner that a molested Catholic schoolboy would be chastised for daring to bring his sexual abuse by a priest to the attention of authorities.

    I’m not even halfway through the thread.

    If you actually try to provide “rebuttals” to each of these overt examples of wretched hypocrisy on your part rather than addressing the original arguments the way you’re supposed to, or (heaven forfend) just admitting you’ve been wrong, then you are much more pigheaded and dishonest than I ever imagined you could possibly be. I certainly hope you are better than that, and better than your last lame purposefully deflective post makes you out to be. But I fear at this point you are so entrenched you will not turn back.

    Quit while you’re behind.

  106. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    So—the billboard was put up as described and was vandalized within a few days.

    All part of the process. Would a billboard that upset no one with its message and was still standing today be a better game changer? for some–yes, for others no.

    Many different messages, for all the many different people.

    Yea, verily.

    • You Know Who says:

      So—the billboard was put up as described and was vandalized within a few days.

      Within a day, actually. Not with graffiti shouting “GOD IS GREAT” or “GOD LOVES YOU, ATHEIST SCUM”, but by simply shredding as much of the billboard as they could to erase its horrifying content.

      Clearly the reactions of people in that video, as Scott said, were just those of a couple of extreme vocal people and not a broad feeling among people in general. Just “anecdotal evidence”. Not logic and science. After all, there’s no scientific basis for the idea of race. Tell that to Trayvon Martin. (Oh wait, we can’t, he’s dead – not because of his race, no, because he wore a hoodie. There IS a scientific basis for hoodies, right?)

      It seems some wise atheist types are upset at how the billboard was vandalized – according to them, the “choice” of which content was erased was deliberate, that the etching of the slave and the line from the Bible being the only things left on the sign was somehow intentional. I guess they imagine that defacing a billboard is a deliberate methodical process where you have time to paint Guernica over the existing content rather than “get up there and draw a mustache or scrawl your personal tag or rip off whatever you can reach before the po-po show.” Oh well.

    • You Know Who says:

      Public reactions to the billboard ranged from “disgraceful and disrespectful” to “if this group thinks somehow this is an effective way to communicate to African Americans, they’re kind of crazy.” Yeah, that’s the word I was looking for, crazy. Among reactions to the reactions from atheists, we hear the expected “those locals are stupid and ignorant and don’t understand social commentary” – right, the fault doesn’t lie with the inept clueless creators of the badly formed, badly timed, and badly placed message. A message which even the head of the PA Nonbelievers even acknowledged (in his begrudging insincere apology) was unclear and poorly worded – an obvious fact given that he needed to overtly explain its intent. But yeah, blame the stupid ignorant locals. (I suppose we should be thankful that the head of this organization at least had the sense to apologize for his group’s gaffe, even if his strident supporters were so pleased that they would “not back down!”)

      The best reactions online came from (apparently) one atheist and one believer.

      As an atheist myself, I must speak out to express my opinion that the image depicted on this billboard is very counterproductive in promoting our cause because it reinforces already existing negative stereotypes of atheists as troublemakers. The billboard is equally as abhorrent as those billboards depicting aborted fetuses, and it is as equally ineffective in promoting in its message. Yes, the message the billboard contains may be true, but it is not likely to win many friends or influence many minds.

      and

      While attempting to show the bible in its true light, Ernie and his group have shown themselves in their true light… classless, clueless and crass. Leave it up. Let everyone see them for what they are.

      With this in mind, perhaps we should be thankful that the billboard is defaced beyond recognition, in particular that the association of it with atheists has been excised. It strikes me as plausible (given the previous comment) that the culprit responsible for the vandalism could have been, not stupid ignorant locals who were offended believers, but atheists so disgusted with how the billboard depicted them that they felt they had to take action.

      Perhaps next time an opportunity arises to post a billboard, the creator can include on it the phrase he claims he commonly says: “Read the Bible, it’s unbelievable.” Wow, even the inclusion of that one sentence might have made a 180-degree difference in how the billboard was perceived!

      Except, clearly, he wasn’t all that concerned with that. Idiot.

  107. YKW,

    First, thanks for being a bit more coherent and a tad less obnoxious in your last post. It is a big improvement, though still far from civil.

    Overall, you have been even more pigheaded than I on this thread. So, add another point to your own hypocrisy in that you can call me pigheaded when you have not given a single millimeter on this thread, even when you are blatantly wrong, even when you have to make up things I didn’t say in an effort to prove me wrong for those things I didn’t say, a tactic you have used repeatedly on this thread.

    Two quotes from you:

    ATHEISTS NEED TO VISIBLY CONTRIBUTE TO CHARITABLE EFFORTS EN MASSE UNDER A BANNER OF AN ATHEIST ORGANIZATION SO THAT THE RELIGIOUS DOGMATISTS DON’T HAVE ANY VALID WAY OF ACCUSING ATHEISTS AS A GROUP OF BEING UNCHARITABLE, SELFISH, INHUMANE PEOPLE.

    I am not visibly anything. That is my choice as an individual. Your attempt to demand that I be and do what you want me to be and do is apparently some kind of political-correctness I-can-tell-you-what-have-to-do fascism gone nuts.

    You know, it’s kind of funny. But, when I see that someone has typed in ALL CAPS AND IN BOLD AND HAS POSTED IT SEVEN TIMES SEVEN TIMES SEVEN TIMES SEVEN TIMES SEVEN TIMES SEVEN TIMES SEVEN TIMES, I assume that what they are saying is important to them.

    So, the first quote appears very important to you indeed.

    I’m not trying to tell you what you should do. I’m trying to tell you do what you say you should do. This above all to thine own self be true. You scream the scream, now walk the walk.

    For the amount of time you spent haranguing on this thread, you could have done all the work necessary to create and maintain an atheist charity for a year.

    And, I offered to help you do it. I’m so glad you appreciated the offer … NOT.

    But, as with much of this thread, when you didn’t like the point because you couldn’t contradict it because it was true, you simply ignored it as you have done so many times on this thread.

    I also said, in my ‘Rock Me’ post:

    Still no answer from you on this. So, I guess before I respond to anything else in your posts, I’ll have to try your own uber-obnoxious, droning, repetitive, Human League-esque (a la Rock Me Again and Again and Again and Again and Again and Again (six times), the only Human League song I know and actively dislike) technique of debating, or more accurately, very definitely NOT debating.

    Note that I did not say I would not answer other points, only that I wanted an answer to this one first.

    Now I have it. You are a hypocrite.

    We’re all hypocritical to varying degrees. If this is a level of hypocrisy with which you feel comfortable, fine. To me, it seems rather extreme. But, maybe you don’t actually feel so strongly about your ‘Atheists need to blah’ statrement. Maybe that was just a really awful form of rhetoric. Maybe you just like flame wars.

    I’ll address your other points shortly. It’s time to bounce my computer for software updates.

  108. You asked for this.

    Not really. Are you making stuff up that I said again? 🙂

    But, I’ll take it.

    Why Scott is a blatant hypocrite:

    1. Because he will rail at religionists for presenting irrational baseless arguments, yet when he presents irrational baseless arguments and is called on them he complains that the one calling him on those irrational baseless arguments is doing something shameful for his actions.

    Actually, no I don’t. You’re making shit up again. The truth is subtly but importantly different. I rail at religionists for attempting to impose their religion on me. I am willing to debate religionists when they seem to be people who enjoy a good debate and are willing to have a respectful discussion about their religion versus atheism with me. Despite what you may have overheard from 2 cubicle rows away, neither I nor my practicing Catholic coworker in the next cube were ever as abusive or obnoxious to each other as you and I have been on this thread. It was always a debate, never a flame war. I had hoped for a debate here and have been very disappointed.

    2. Because he will complain about the evil hostility of another group of people and how they unjustifiably smear and besmirch the entire group of people Scott identifies with, but he will declare that “there are no innocent bystanders” (code used to justify terrorism and violence against civilians) among the group he expresses and disdain, in an attempt to legitimize his being as and will do this proudly and pompously without regret or retraction when it is pointed out how horrid and hypocritical that attitude is.

    Wrong again. Making shit up again. I will complain about the evil hostility (not really the words I would have chosen, but perhaps close enough) of a group that wants to rob me of my rights as a secular citizen. I will also point out that members of a lobbying organization like the Catholic Church add to its lobbying power by simply checking the box Catholic in the same way that people paying membership dues to AAA are giving it more power to lobby against automobile safety, against public transportation, against fuel efficiency, etc.

    3. Because he as a member of a frequently-discriminated-against minority group himself has the nerve to imagine he could decide for another group what qualifies as racism towards them, in a manner befitting a clueless white Republican political candidate he would mock for daring to make similar arrogant statements from their positions of white male privilege, and because even after seeing the visible reaction from others to what to everyone else felt was an obviously horrid racist image, he would dare to insist that their reactions constituted merely “anecdotal evidence” and that it still wasn’t clear to him that the image was racist at all, and because even after all of that has made clear he was wrong, rather than acknowledging this and admitting he was wrong, he simply said “OK, let’s not talk about the racism issue anymore, I was hoping we could forget about that and ignore race for the moment ” to avoid further discussion or acknowledgement of the wrongness of his position about this.

    Actually, I pointed out that the racist image of a slave accurately represented the racist vision of slavery inherent in the bible. You never responded about how you would feel about your Faginesque image of a Jew in a book about the history of antisemitism in Europe.

    4. Because after dismissing “anecdotal evidence” in the situation above, he used the example of the one person he used to work with that he would argue with loudly as “proof” that it was a good idea to be tactless and arrogant and hostile when trying to convince people of a point of view.

    I admitted it was wrong to have the whole anecdotal evidence conversation. You started it by accepting as valid the very few opinions on the news. Do you now admit this was wrong to use anecdotal evidence on your side too?

    5. Because after being justifiably harangued for not reading opposing arguments presented to him, having ignored those arguments as if they hadn’t been presented, rather than responding to those arguments directly, he fished for an opportunity to say “Ha, look, here’s a case where YOU didn’t read things yourself!” – except in the example he chose his fishing netted him an example that HE didn’t read carefully, that he misinterpreted as an error in his desperate zeal to find something he could point a finger at rather than having an honest discussion. And, once called on this, there was neither acknowledgement or apology for the mistake, because… that’s how Scott rolls.

    I’ve got dozens of examples from this thread where you did not read the opposing views of others. Would you like me to comb through all N00,000 words and find a few of the cases? You’ve been much worse about this than anyone else on this thread. So, if this is hypocrisy, if the boot fits, kick yourself with it.

    6. Because in response to suggestions presented to him about how public presentation of atheists could be improved, he waffled between “the changes were so subtle I didn’t even notice them” and “making those radical changes wouldn’t adequately lead to the result I am seeking from these billboards” – for the very same set of suggestions, depending on the moment.

    Wait! How can I waffle and be pigheaded at the same time?

    Some of your changes were so subtle as to point to the fact that the only messages you like are the ones you write. Some were so radical as to lose track of the intended message. We went back and forth on multiple revisions. My opinion of each revision is different. That’s not waffling.

    7. Because when presented with an alternative message for a billboard, his criticism was simply “Too many words for a billboard” (even though the difference in word count was minute).

    Your main message was far more words. The words you are counting to add to those of the other billboard are fine print near the bottom, not the main message.

    8. Because after it was pointed out to him several times that slavery is not inextricably coupled with racism in the Bible – that both are horrible things but that examples in the Bible exist of each one distinctly described and justified in heinous ways individually – he insisted that it was impossible to separate the two, in order to justify the usage of that racist image on the billboard… even though he himself provided examples of how the Bible described (as a legitimate thing) slavery in which Jews enslaved other Jews. All because he refused to back down about the obvious racism of that billboard.

    Totally fucking backwards on this one YKW!! I proved to you, though you were too pigheaded to acknowledge it, that the rules regarding slavery in the bible are absolutely racist and inextricably so. I gave the quote from the bible stating that Hebrews could only own non-Hebrew slaves. I gave the quote showing that Hebrews must be treated differently, as indentured servants for a limited time, rather than as life-long slaves.

    Read this point again since your response to it clearly indicates that you did not read it before.

    https://misanthropicscott.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/antitheists-offend-theists-i-say-good/#comment-6101

    9. Because after asking what my “goal” was, even though I had stated it several times previously (demonstrating his choice not to read what had been said), and having that repeated to him again and again, he continued to say “so, you don’t have any specific goal in challenging what atheist groups are doing with these billboards.”

    Please state your goal again, as a goal. I still don’t know if I ever got the message. I’m still under the impression that you have no actual goal. What was it? Tolerance and acceptance? Was that it? You’re still just looking for tolerance and acceptance the way that I tolerate and accept that mosquitoes exist, though I may swat one occasionally?

    10. Because although he would never accept an argument from religionists like “Can’t you just accept that my view, that of believing that the world was created by God 4000 years ago and that evolution is invalid, is just as reasonable as yours?”, he expects that a similar argument coming from him, on the order of “Can’t you just accept that my opinion, that it doesn’t matter how atheists are perceived by the general public because I choose not to care about their perception and whether or not they vote, is just as valid as yours?”, should be blindly accepted as reasonable.

    I never asked you to accept this view. I asked you to understand that what I wanted was respect. I didn’t try to impose my view on you the way you do me. I just wanted you to understand my view. Apparently, you still don’t.

    11. (this list goes to 11) Because after he (justifably) condemns religionists who would claim they are being persecuted being their “religious freedom” is being denied (where the freedom they are talking about is the right to impose their religion on other people), he tries to play that same “victim card” himself in an equally erroneous manner when he complains that I am “persecuting” him by pointing out where he’s wrong in the same way he would point out how religionists are wrong.

    I’m not really parsing this out. I suspect I’m missing your message. Are you trying to say that atheists are not being victimized by religion in having our rights taken away?

    BTW, this is another amazing example of where you make shit up. You see, when you put persecuting in quotes like that, it makes people think I actually said that.

    Show me where!

    Learn how to and when to use quotes please. The very first occurrence of the word persecuting on this thread is in your post. Most of what you say I said is just coming out of your own brain. Perhaps it explains why you think so poorly of me.

    If I read my words and misinterpreted all of them the way you do, I’d hate myself too. But, the real problem here is your reading comprehension. When you read my words, what you hear inside your brain is completely different than what I have said more often than not.

    12. (and one more for good measure) Because when I pointed out how the public image of atheists suffers because, as a group, atheists have the reputation of not being charitable, and that this could be improved through organized public examples of atheists being charitble, instead of responding that “hey, there’s an opportunity where we as a group can improve our image in the eye of the public at large”, Scott LASHED OUT and exclaimed “Shame on you for bringing that fact to the attention of our enemies!” – in much the same manner that a molested Catholic schoolboy would be chastised for daring to bring his sexual abuse by a priest to the attention of authorities.

    No. Wrong again. I said shame on you for accepting their framing.

    You refuse to admit the extremely obvious that if one’s goal is to help those in need and one needs charitable contributions from others in order to do so, then it will, of necessity and by definition, reduce the amount of good they can do if they restrict the people who can contribute to the organization only to those of a certain belief or non-belief.

    So, Red Cross does more than it would if it were the Jewish Red Cross or the Presbyterian Red Cross or the Catholic Red Cross or the Atheist Red Cross because if it were not simply the secular Red Cross, they would not get as much in contributions as they do.

    If that is still not obvious to you, then you have some seriously broken logic circuit somewhere in your brain. I would suggest running it in your debugger.

    I’m not even halfway through the thread.

    Thank God?!

    If you actually try to provide “rebuttals” to each of these overt examples of wretched hypocrisy on your part rather than addressing the original arguments the way you’re supposed to, or (heaven forfend) just admitting you’ve been wrong, then you are much more pigheaded and dishonest than I ever imagined you could possibly be. I certainly hope you are better than that, and better than your last lame purposefully deflective post makes you out to be. But I fear at this point you are so entrenched you will not turn back.

    Wow!! You’ve gone beyond asinine and even asiten. You’ve gone to asieleven.

    So, If I actually see things differently than you, for example, if I know how badly you’ve misread the vast majority of what I’ve said on this thread and point it out to you as I have just done above, that somehow makes me a bad person?

    Learn how to have a debate, not a flame war please.

    • You Know Who says:

      ROFLMAO! Ayukyukyukyukyuk!!!!!!!

      I knew I could count on Scott to respond to my list of his obvious transgressions – certainly not with acknowledgment, apology, or retraction – but with (being the good “all we have to do is ploddingly state the facts as we see them and that will convince everyone that’s still awake” intellectual progressive) a belabored, tedious, whiny diatribe. Thanks, Scott. I couldn’t have stated my case through your words better myself.

      Here’s the short form for anyone not wanting to be bored with nonsense like “I proved to you, though you were too pigheaded to acknowledge it, that the rules regarding slavery in the bible are absolutely racist and inextricably so” (even though Scott himself gave an example where slavery was in no way related to race). You know that famous song by Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”? (Scott probably doesn’t, it’s a “new” song from the early 90s.) You know the last few lines of that song? Well, that’s Scott longwinded tiring posts in a nutshell.

      A DENIAL, A DENIAL, A DENIAL, A DENIAL, A DENIAL, A DENIAL, A DENIAL, A DENIAL, A DENIAL!!!!!

      • ROFLMAO! Ayukyukyukyukyuk!!!!!!!

        I knew I could count on Scott to respond to my list of his obvious transgressions – certainly not with acknowledgment, apology, or retraction

        We agree on this much. This is your funniest post yet.

        What do you know of acknowledgements, apologies, or retractions??!!?

        On the rules from the bible. YKW, this is really one where you own me an acknowledgement, apology, or retraction.

        Once again, here are the quotes from the bible, both of which explicitly require consideration of race:

        Exodus 21:2:

        If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

        Leviticus 25:44

        And as for thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, whom thou mayest have: of the nations that are round about you, of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

        And, now I will translate it into pseudo-java code, which is less ambiguous. Then, you can tell me where you think my code is wrong and we can discuss why you think race is separable from slavery in the bible instead of merely asserting that it is.

        So, to translate into pseudo-java (and don’t attack me on syntax, I’m not writing this in an IDE):

        public class Person {
            public void enslaveSomeone(Person slave) {
                long maxEnslavementYears;
                if (slave.getRace().isHebrew()) {
                    maxEnslavementYears = 6;
                } else {
                    maxEnslavementYears = Long.MAX_VALUE;
                }
                for (long i = 0; i < maxEnslavementYears &&
                      slave.isAlive(); i++) {
                    slave.work();
                    beat(slave);
                }
                if (slave.isAlive() && slave.getRace().isHebrew()) {
                    slave.clearAllDebts();
                }
            }
        }
        

        How do you read the bible so differently? How is race separable from slavery for you? When I read this, I see that Hebrew (i.e. God’s chosen people) may only be enslaved for a limited time. Goyim may be enslaved for life. The race of the slave is integral to the concept of the enslavement. In fact, the Hebrew slave is not really a slave at all, but is instead an indentured servant for a limited time.

        What are you reading?

        It’s time for an acknowledgment, apology, or retraction from you on this. I won’t get it. But, I should because you’re simply flat dead wrong.

        Race is integral to and inseparable from the concept of slavery in the bible.

        It is also found elsewhere. But, slavery is absolutely different for Hebrews and Goyim. Hell, the bible even uses the Hebrew word Goyim. The term itself is a racist one that sets all Goyim beneath any of God’s chosen people. The fact that the chosen people are chosen to be the butt of all of God’s little practical jokes (inquisitions, pogroms, etc.) is a separate issue.

        Will you still claim race is separable from slavery in the bible?

        Also, with respect to secular versus atheist charities, will you acknowledge that the Red Cross gets more donations that in would were it called the Atheist Red Cross or the Catholic Red Cross or the Jewish Red Cross or the Muslim Red Cross?

        This is incredibly obvious to me.

        When you admit this, which you probably won’t, will you then admit that an organization that does name itself ‘Atheist Helping The Homeless’, or similar, will do less good than simply ‘Helping the Homeless’?

        When you admit that, which you probably won’t, will you admit that ‘Atheist Helping The Homeless’ is really an organization to help atheists rather than an organization to help the homeless?

      • You Know Who says:

        OK, well, we’ve successfully gotten past 50 odd (very odd) lines of deliberate deflection and distraction, including geeky computer code intended to “prove” either that there’s no scientific basis for race, that the billboard’s image wasn’t racist (even though those that put it up, at least, had the good sense to disown it), and/or that the Bible inextricably links racism and slavery together and it is IMPOSSIBLE to talk about slavery in the Bible without talking about racism. Funny, people manage to. It’s just Scott who has the speech impediment preventing his saying those words “Both racism and slavery are discussed in heinous ways in the Bible and sometimes mixed together but they are also discussed separately and there is nothing forcing discussion of one to involve the other, as tempting as that might be, no more than discussions of stoning people for adultery and justifications for murdering the native inhabitants of a land you want to inhabit need to be merged.” (Among the other sets of words apparently impacted by Scott’s apparent impediment: “I’m sorry I disparaged you for being a horrible person merely because you disagreed with me”, “I admit my biases are as bad as those of the people I despise”, and of course, “I was wrong”.)

        Are there rules in the Bible describing different behaviors for slaves of your own race and slaves of other races? Yes. Does that alone “mean” that discussion of slavery and race MUST be linked together? Of course not!!!! Only to Scott!!!!

        Folks, my in-laws have an expression, show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are.

        If your deflective disparaging evasive behavior continues, Scott, if you refuse to simply acknowledge that yes, it’s possible to discuss slavery as it is depicted in the Bible independent of the issue of racism, because the Bible endorses BOTH slavery AND racism at different times in different ways, and BOTH things are worth discussing individually, if you won’t apologize for the name calling you engaged in directed at me merely because I dared to “reveal” the secret information that atheists are perceived as uncharitable troublemakers based on their own behavior (having nothing to do with the irrational disparagements from the pulpits of the dogmatic demagogues), then you won’t have to worry about “showing me” to your in-laws. Not at all. You’re just being an ass. Grow up (or grow some), and accept that when you’re wrong and when you’re caught in a lie (or twelve), the appropriate response is not to dig in and get stubborn and deflect things in order to avoid talking about what you’ve done.

      • If your deflective disparaging evasive behavior continues, Scott

        Ack. And I apologize. I was busy removing the disparaging text from the post as you were replying to it.

        But, you must cite something in the bible that says that it’s OK to own slaves without talking about race in order to show that the issues are separable in the bible.

        We have ‘slaves obey your masters’. But, the condition of slavery still relies on race. Show me where it says otherwise. Post a quote in support of your argument.

        AFAIK, the bible makes slavery very much conditional on race. Show me where it doesn’t.

      • Wait! I just reread your post.

        Are there rules in the Bible describing different behaviors for slaves of your own race and slaves of other races? Yes. Does that alone “mean” that discussion of slavery and race MUST be linked together? Of course not!!!! Only to Scott!!!!

        What??!!?

        Certainly slavery can be discussed without race. Slavery can be discussed without the bible. But, slavery as it is endorsed by the bible can only be discussed within the context that true life-long slavery can only be enslavement of other races.

        How else?

      • You Know Who says:

        f your deflective disparaging evasive behavior continues, Scott

        Ack. And I apologize. I was busy removing the disparaging text from the post as you were replying to it.

        But alas not the deflections or the evasions. (Perhaps those things weren’t in that particular comment, but… come on…)

        But, you must cite something in the bible that says that it’s OK to own slaves without talking about race in order to show that the issues are separable in the bible.

        No, I must not. The Bible talks about slavery and condones it. That’s despicable. (There is an argument that the Bible was “of its time” and thus how can we expect it not to condone slavery, but gee, why then do those dogmatic buffoons not accept the “of its time” argument about all the other things they cling to?) It also justifies racism, and that’s despicable. That YOU cannot find a way to separate slavery from racism does not mean a rational person could not. And besides, as I said, the whole basis for this subdiscussion was your insistence that the image on the billboard HAD to be that of a black person, which smacks of so much cluelessness as to be embarrassing,

        Certainly slavery can be discussed without race. Slavery can be discussed without the bible. But, slavery as it is endorsed by the bible can only be discussed within the context that true life-long slavery can only be enslavement of other races. How else?

        By showing that the Bible endorses slavery and using that one passage which, independent of race, says “SLAVES, OBEY YOUR MASTERS!” Frigging duh!!!!!

      • Are there rules in the Bible describing different behaviors for slaves of your own race and slaves of other races? Yes.

        Are there rules in the bible that allow for slavery without specification of race? I’m not aware of any. Are you? If so, please cite one.

        “Slaves obey your masters” does not indicate who can be slaves.

        What deflections and evasions are you talking about?

      • You Know Who says:

        “Slaves obey your masters” does not indicate who can be slaves.

        Yes. And? So? It is a perfect example of a passage in the Bible that talks about slavery independent of a race! – Something you claim is not present in the Bible at all anywhere anytime anyway.

        It’s as if you said “you must show me a passage in the Bible that talks about slavery but does not make any reference to race… no, not THAT one, that does not make any reference to race!” I get the feeling you don’t get how wrapped up in your circular logic you have become.

        What deflections and evasions are you talking about?

        Self-referential much?

      • Ignore my issues much? I pointed out that “Slaves obey your masters” does not indicate who may and who may not be a slave. Care to find someplace in the bible that does?

      • You Know Who says:

        Ignore my issues much?

        No. I make it a point to point out how you seem to have issues with so many things – in particular, acknowledging when you’re wrong.

        I pointed out that “Slaves obey your masters” does not indicate who may and who may not be a slave.

        Yes? And? This is important WHY? Because it is “one of your issues”?

        Care to find someplace in the bible that does?

        That does what?

        ARE YOU LISTENING TO YOURSELF?

        I repeat: It is a perfect example of a passage in the Bible that talks about slavery independent of a race! – Something you claim is not present in the Bible at all anywhere anytime anyway. It’s as if you said “you must show me a passage in the Bible that talks about slavery but does not make any reference to race… no, not THAT one, that does not make any reference to race!” I get the feeling you don’t get how wrapped up in your circular logic you have become.

        It’s no longer a feeling. It’s obvious. This last comment from you really makes clear how lost you are in your own argument. “Care to find someplace in the Bible that does?” That does what? Say who may or may not be a slave? Who cares about that? YOU DO. That’s all, just you. That is only relevant to YOU, because YOU are insisting that it’s important to talk about the link between racism and slavery. I’m saying it’s not necessary to do that. THIS IS THE POINT WE ARE *ARGUING* ABOUT. “To prove your point, that it’s impossible to discuss how the Bible justifies slavery without talking about race, you must show me a passage that talks about slavery but does not make any reference to race… no, not THAT one, that doesn’t make any reference to race! THAT’S NOT WHAT I WANT!” LOL!!!!!

        Please, I want to hear you go one more round, saying “No, your example of a passage in the Bible that mentions slavery with no reference to race is not valid, because it makes no reference to race, the way I want it to.” Do that. Go for it. Come on, this is fun! Isn’t it?

        (Practice those three words. I know it’s difficult, but try.)

      • You Know Who says:

        Also, with respect to secular versus atheist charities, will you acknowledge that the Red Cross gets more donations that in would were it called the Atheist Red Cross or the Catholic Red Cross or the Jewish Red Cross or the Muslim Red Cross?

        Then why do there exist (precisely because the Red Cross’s origins are as a Christian charity) a Red Magen David, and a Red Crescent – the very institutions you claim do not exist?

        This is incredibly obvious to me.

        Yeah, Scott, a lot of things are “obvious” to you that simply have no basis in fact. Why is that? Do your doctrinaire dogmatic religious beliefs blind you from integrating any factual information that contradicts what you already “know” to be true? What does that make you?

      • Presumably, the Red Crescent and Red Magen David, the latter being one I was unaware of, exist because, like you, the people who formed these mistook the reverse video Swiss flag for a Christian symbol, and so, wouldn’t contribute. Perhaps, here too, a more obviously secular symbol would have been better.

        Hell, some illiterate Jews wouldn’t even make an X as a signature when they immigrated to this country and used an O rather than an X to sign to avoid making a cross. This led to the name kike for Jews who would, in Yiddish, make a kikela (a circle) rather than an X as a signature.

        But, the more important question is whether either of these organizations does as much as the parent Red Cross. I bet not.

        Of course, now you’ve got me imagining an alternate universe where their version of the red cross is called the Red Circle. The humor in that being that it would no longer be mistaken for a religious symbol, but rather a target.

        So, how about if we try the same thought experiment with an organization whose symbol will not be mistaken for something else? How about if we try the thought experiment with Doctors Without Borders? Would Jewish Doctors Without Borders be as effective?

        In short, why are you so resistant to admitting the fact that an organization with a sectarian name is obviously promoting their sectarian beliefs as the primary purpose rather than performing the charity work as the primary purpose?

        Why is that so hard for you to see?

      • You Know Who says:

        Presumably, the Red Crescent and Red Magen David, the latter being one I was unaware of, exist because, like you, the people who formed these…

        “Presumably”… “Like you”…

        Presume much?

        There are discrete charities of this form organized by people of different religions. You said there weren’t. You were wrong. Can you just say “yeah, I was wrong, sorry” and move on?

        I didn’t think so.

        Hell, some illiterate Jews wouldn’t even make an X as a signature when they immigrated to this country and…

        And some “clueless” black people aren’t aware that there’s no scientific basis of race and that they shouldn’t be concerned about the horrid reminder of slavery that YOU simply don’t see as racist because you’re so much smarter than them and know better. Sure.

        How can someone whose head is filled with so much data not be able to translate that data into knowledge and ultimately into wisdom about the real world and the people within it who aren’t confined by your Sheldonesque logical chains?

        But, the more important question is whether either of these organizations does as much as the parent Red Cross.

        No, that’s not an important question at all. It’s only important to YOU. Because your supposed point is so wrapped up in inane circular logic that you believe only your way of looking at things and your “questions” about them has any bearing on reality.

        Of course, now you’ve got me imagining an alternate universe where their version of the red cross is called the Red Circle.

        NOW I have you imagining an alternate universe? You’ve been living in an idealized alternate universe since the beginning of this particular subthread of the conversation, perhaps longer!

        So, how about if we try the same thought experiment with an organization whose symbol will not be mistaken for something else?

        You go do that. I’ll stick to the topic at hand and not succumb to your silly attempt to deflect the conversation.

        In short, why are you so resistant to admitting the fact that an organization with a sectarian name is obviously promoting their sectarian beliefs as the primary purpose rather than performing the charity work as the primary purpose?

        Because it isn’t necessarily true, and even if it is it doesn’t matter. That’s why. It is not a FACT simply because you say it is. Self-promotion is not the criminal act in and of itself that you depict it to be, the only situation that would be heinous is where the receipt of charity is contingent upon acceptance of evangelistic proselytizing. Which it OFTEN is, yes!!! But often is not always. You claim a causal connection between the two that isn’t there. And you know it isn’t there. But because it fits your agenda to claim there is one, you will assert it until you’re blue in the face. Well, join the Blue Man Group, Scott, because there you are: royal, navy, sky, robin’s egg, as many shades of blue as it’s possible for a human face to be.

        Why is that so hard for you to see?

        In other words, “why do you have a different position, based on the points I rather weakly make here, than I do?”

        Awwwww…

        It’s “hard for me to see” because what you say simply isn’t true. And shouting and pouting and repeating it isn’t going to make it true.

      • There are discrete charities of this form organized by people of different religions. You said there weren’t. You were wrong. Can you just say “yeah, I was wrong, sorry” and move on?

        Make shit up much? I said that sectarian charities do less because they restrict their membership. I never said they don’t exist. Show me that one of these accomplishes more than the generic Red Cross and maybe I’ll pay some attention.

        I also asked if you’d care to do the same thought experiment with an organization whose logo didn’t get mistaken for a religious symbol. Did you? No. You chose to pretend that isn’t the topic at hand.

        It is. It always was.

        I have maintained from the start that a charitable organization does less when it restricts its donors based on race or creed. You have chosen to divert the topic away from this numerous times, as you are doing now by finding that there are red triangles or some such.

        The issue is, and has been since I brought it up, whether a charitable organization can do as much by restricting its membership as it can without restriction. If the answer is no, and it is, then any charitable organization that discriminates in its membership based on race or creed is not truly going after the goal of performing their charitable work.

      • You Know Who says:

        I said that sectarian charities do less because they restrict their membership.

        Less than what? Than the imaginary alternate universe ideal you conceive of?

        I also asked if you’d care to do the same thought experiment with an organization whose logo didn’t get mistaken for a religious symbol. Did you? No. You chose to pretend that isn’t the topic at hand.

        All true, except for the “pretend” part. I chose to remember, maybe that’s the word you were looking for. I chose to REMEMBER that this isn’t the topic at hand.

        I have maintained from the start that a charitable organization does less

        LESS.

        THAN.

        WHAT?

        Your argument is completely specious and beside the point. You have no figures for Red Crescent on which to base your assertion despite Islam being arguably the largest religion by population on the planet. If there were only the Red Cross and not the Red Crescent, would all the work done by Red Crescent have been accomplished at all, would those who contributed to it have found a source of charity or a place to donate to? Your whole argument is specious and ridiculous but most of all you don’t even remember why you brought it up – because of your insistence that atheist charities were a “bad idea” because secular charities could (in theory only) do more than “sectarian” ones. This devolved into your assertion that anything that promotes its own name and affiliation as part of its charitable efforts is not a “real” charity. Which is of course more bogus bullshit. (Suddenly, when your third head listed atheist charities discovered in a web search, you were all behind them all of a sudden. Hmmmm…)

        You have chosen to divert the topic away from this…

        What’s funny, Scott, is your persistent assertion that people trying to stay ON topic while YOU are straying and being evasive are the ones “diverting the topic away”. LOL!

        The issue is, and has been since I brought it up, whether a charitable organization can do as much by restricting its membership as it can without restriction. If the answer is no

        And it’s not – your argument that the answer IS no is just you repeating your assertion over and over again. Nothing more. And I’ve demonstrated this repeatedly – that your argument is purely blue sky theoretical based on a “thought experiment” of yours that apparently didn’t involve very much of thought in terms of relating your “findings” to the real world. As I said, the PRESENCE of sectarian charities alongside secular ones (which are distinct from the atheist charities we were talking about) adds to the total amount of good done. Would the Red Crescent do better if it called itself the “Red Croissant”, or the “Red Scone”, or the “Red Cruller”? All secular baked goods (although the croissant technically does derive from anti-Muslim sentiment), right?

        You imagine that defining an organization as secular would draw in more people – in reality, it has just as much potential to draw in fewer. Because beyond your imaginary mathematics of enforced inclusion, PEOPLE are involved in this little equation you’ve concocted. Sorry, but those pesky people just get in the way of everything, don’t they? They ruin your arguments about racism, about charity… gee, if we could only get them out of the way so that logic would reign supreme…

    • You Know Who says:

      1. “The truth is subtly but importantly different” according to Scott. In reality, there might be what lawyers call a distinction without a difference, but nothing more. Truth: he is quick to pounce on religionists for engaging in obvious argumentative fallacies and overt logical errors, and he sees nothing wrong in such pouncing (because there isn’t anything wrong with it), but when similarly caught in a fallacy or error, he lashes out and claims he’s being attacked or that the speaker is behaving “shamefully”. (Oddly enough, the same way religionists often react to such errors being pointed out to them.)

      2. Irrelevant deflection by Scott. The issue was his invocation of the slogan “there are no innocent bystanders” which is a rationalization used by those who engage in violence and abuses against non-participating civilians and anyone nearby the target of the violence who happens to be “in the way”. It is a heinous disgusting thing to claim, that when actions taken against a specific target that cause collateral damage to those who just happen to be nearby, that damage is OK, because “there are no innocent bystanders”. It’s not a fact, it’s not even an opinion, it’s a rationalization for heinous behavior. Scott’s response to this point of mine… actually contains no reference at all to this. It was a weak dishonest evasion. Next?

      3. Scott once again demonstrates how once he makes an assertion, nothing in the world can make him un-assert it – not even his own acknowledgment that he’s wrong. Are racism and slavery inextricably linked in the Bible? Simply, no. Not at all. There are many examples where the two are linked but many where they are not, where racism stands alone, or coupled with other heinous things like rape and murder, and where slavery stands alone. Racism, slavery, rape, murder, all evil terrible things condoned by the Bible under the “right” (sic) circumstances. But Scott insists there is a hard link between slavery and racism in the Bible, despite his giving an example that contradicts this. Why? Because acknowledging this would force him to admit that they need not have used the racist image in that billboard – after he had insisted vociferously that an image of slavery NEEDED to be that of a black man and NEEDED to evoke racism. It didn’t. He was wrong. Again. Admission? Not on your life.

      4. Scott continues to claim that broad-based horror about that same racist image among those who have seen it represents only “anecdotal evidence”. Because two privileged white guys are better qualified to judge what’s racist (and ignore the testimony of those who disagree) than the people justifiably offended by it. When these guys say “anecdotal evidence”, they seem to be saying “that’s just the emotional reactions of people, not anything based on logic and reason.” As if the emotional reactions of people were a pesky annoyance that should just be dismissed when the two white boys say “No, that’s not racist, here’s a definition of racism from my white dictionary that proves they’re all wrong for having the reaction they had – now all we have to do is tell them they were wrong!”

      5. “I’ve got dozens of examples from this thread where you did not read the opposing views of others. Would you like me to comb through all N00,000 words and find a few of the cases?” Oh dear god, yes, I would! Please, go do that! I really do want you to bore people with your plodding examples, each of which will demonstrate that (as with the “motivating interest” farce) it was you who misread or failed to read what I wrote! Once again, the declaration is made that “I’ve got dozens of examples” and “you’ve been much worse”, but these are just assertions. This is a kind of argument, I suppose – one in which all one has to do is assert that the other person’s position is wrong, that they engaged in ad hominem attacks, or that they failed to acknowledge what was said. No need to prove, just assert. I went to the trouble of exposing example of your failing to acknowledge what I said, engaging in ad hominem attacks, and being wrong. You will just assert these things because… well, it’s all you can do.

      Well, honestly, you could do one other thing: apologize for the ad hominem attacks and admit you were wrong. But of course, this is not that ideal universe where all “genuine” charity is anonymous, is it?

      • Why would I ever apologize for all of your ad hominem attacks?

        As for the rest of this post it just shows that your reading comprehension skills are so poor that you can’t make distinctions between things that are subtly different and even those that are quite significantly different.

        On point 3, I’m really dying to see how you’ll respond to my prior post. The bible has rules about slavery. The rules are explicitly based on race. How can race be separable? How can you think that the quotes I posted, both of which have race as an explicit condition, show that race is separable? How can your reading skills be so awful as to miss that point, even when it is repeatedly pointed out to you? How can you continue to assert that the quotes I posted from the bible make your point when it is so obvious that they both make my point.

        Race is integral to the concept of slavery in the bible.

        Retraction? Apology? Acknowledgement?

        Or, should I expect the continued stubbornness of a large boulder?

      • You Know Who says:

        Why would I ever apologize for all of your ad hominem attacks?

        Like? … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …

        As for the rest of this post it just shows that your reading comprehension skills are so poor

        Whenever Scott uses this line, it simply means “it just shows that you disagree with me and I can’t deal with that because I know I’m right so I’ll lash out at you and make up stuff and call you names.” Yawn.

        On point 3, I’m really dying to see how you’ll respond to my prior post.

        Done and done. Responded the same way I’ve responded to your false point time and time again. It is possible to discuss how horrible slavery is and mention how the Bible condones it without reference to race. What’s more, recall that the reason this subtopic was brought up in the first place was Scott’s belligerent insistence that there was NO WAY to convey an image of slavery without using a picture of a black person. Even if this were true (which it certainly isn’t), a genuinely intelligent person (not someone whose smarts are confined to the “logic” of “there’s no scientific basis for race, so the sign can’t be racist, at least I don’t see it that way and that’s all that matters”) would recognize that using this imagery would inevitably result in some “anecdotal evidence” where people demonstrate visible anger at the posters of the billboard, and would have said “hmmm, that’s a bad choice for our billboard, it will stain our image even more than it is and reflect badly on us – perhaps there’s some other part of the Bible worth putting up there to showcase its hypocrisy and heinousness”. (Got to be at least one, right?)

        Race is integral to the concept of slavery in the bible.

        Nope. It’s not. You just keep asserting this over and over again and the only argument you really present is “it’s true because I say it is”. Bzzzt!

        Retraction? Apology? Acknowledgement?

        Yeah, still waiting for one or all of those. Thanks.

      • Responded the same way I’ve responded to your false point time and time again.

        No. Actually, this time, at least above, you did acknowledge that the bible links slavery to race. You then just chose to state that we could treat them separately anyway.

        Why?

        Of course, you seem perfectly willing to retract your agreement with me.

      • You Know Who says:

        Actually, this time, at least above, you did acknowledge that the bible links slavery to race.

        I never said there weren’t connections in the Bible between slavery and racism, or that there weren’t passages in the Bible specifying rules about slavery according to race. I disagreed with your original assertion that it was impossible to discuss slavery as it is supported in the Bible without mentioning racism. YOU changed the conversation (deflection and evasion), which was originally about the choice of the racist image used on the billboard, to claim that it was IMPOSSIBLE to discuss slavery without referring to racism. But obviously it is! – the very passage on the billboard is a perfect example of something in the Bible that talks about slavery independent of race, exhorting all slaves to obey their masters!!!! Duh!

        You then just chose to state that we could treat them separately anyway.

        Um, because that’s still true. There being “a link between” is not the same as an assertion that there is an inextricable association that makes the two inseparable. Pretending that those two situations are equivalent, deliberately when you know otherwise, is patently deceptive and dishonest.

        Why?

        Um, because I was right and you were wrong. Still. Or again. Whatever.

    • You Know Who says:

      In the interest of time and space, and in consideration for those who foolishly pore through all this back-and-forth, I’ll say that decimating the first five of Scott’s responses is enough for now. (If you disagree, Scott, say the word, and I will tear apart more of your bad arguments with honest evidence.) But I will jump to the last one in the list because it is the most heinous:

      12. Scott claims that he said “shame on you” to me because I “accepted their (the theists’) framing” – that framing being that one of the reasons atheists are perceived as “not good people”, even after getting past the belief or nonbelief in God issue, is that we supposedly don’t do charitable things. Scott claims he flamed at me because I “accepted their framing” (is it untrue that atheists are perceived as uncharitable and could that image not be improved by overtly publicizing atheist charitable efforts? – what’s to “accept” about something so blatantly true?), but… well, that’s absolutely not what he said at all:

      No atheist is doing more for the worst of the theists than you are here. Good thing my blog doesn’t have a high readership. Because, you’ve just given the Westboro Batshits plenty of information to say that atheists never do good for others. “See, even an atheist on this blog over here said so. So, it must be true.”

      Doesn’t sound like his complaint is that I’m “accepting their framing”, does it? No, it sounds more like… like Scott is saying that I’m a Benedict Arnold to the atheist “cause” because I’ve “given plenty of information” to the enemy to use against atheists! (Does anyone believe that theists need help – from a traitorous freethinker who fails to abide by the party line of certain dogmatic atheists – to come up with a perception they already have that atheists are not charitable?)

      In other words, Scott lied once again when he gave his reason for berated me as “he accepted their framing”. That was pure bullshit. He chastised me because I failed to tow a party line and said something negative about atheists as a group and how we are perceived, and because I said that something needs to change in the way atheists as a group present ourselves if there is to be any improvement in how we are perceived and how we are treated. Being as stubborn as Scott is, it was more important that there be NO change in the way atheists present themselves, that hostile arrogant messages that turn people away continue to be presented, and that he get the opportunity to lash out at someone who pointed out how stupid that attitude is, than that he actually have the humility to acknowledge that the way he thinks about these issues just might be wrong.

      I’m not even halfway through the thread.

      Thank God?!

      To think, I was claiming it was impossible to change Scott’s mind. But look – I’ve gotten him to believe in the existence of God! (Not the change of mind I was hoping for… but beggars can’t be choosers. Seeing him change his mind about anything, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, isn’t it?)

      Learn how to have a debate, not a flame war please.

      You turned this into a flame war by being the one who “made up shit”, who engaged in ad hominem attacks, and who refused to admit when he was wrong. You’ve made your bed, now lie in it. The way you’ve been lying throughout this thread.

  109. YKW,

    In the interest of reducing pigheadedness on this thread, even though I still consider myself less pigheaded than you 🙂 , I will make one more concession.

    I am probably not the best person to determine whether something is racist.

    I have long since internalized the fact that there is no scientific basis for the existence of race in humans. I rarely think in terms of race unless someone else brings up the topic. From a racial/genetic stance, there is no Us and Them, only Us. I believe a recognition of this will be required for us to stop killing each other in droves.

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/1998-10/WUiS-GSRD-071098.php
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/does-race-exist.html
    http://www.ahc.umn.edu/bioethics/afrgen/html/Themythofrace.html

    Did you know that 90% of the entire human genome can be found within the Khosa tribe of South Africa? Did you know that the number increases to 95% of the entire human genetic diversity if one includes natives of the whole continent of Africa?

    Regardless, I’ll cede the point that I am a bad judge of race while still stating that I see the image on the sign as being an accurate representation of the inherently linked concepts of race and slavery in the bible.

    Now, will you concede that the myth billboards below and the FFRF ad that you’ve repeatedly ignored are not any more offensive than any attempt you could make at “mocking, debunking, and overthrowing [religion] where it has power over people.”

    Your words. Check your own post on the subject since you seem to have forgotten saying this.

    https://misanthropicscott.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/antitheists-offend-theists-i-say-good/#comment-6146

    So, here are the myth billboards, in case anyone has not seen them. The FFRF ad from the NY Times is at the top of this post in case you need to actually read it, since you’ve given no evidence of having done so thus far.

    Here’s a new one I hadn’t seen before. What do you think of this one?

    Remember your own words about mocking, debunking, and overthrowing religion as you comment on these lest you be seen as a hypocrite.

    Aside: I still can’t believe you actually did say overthrowing. You might want to retract that one. You could say something like, “on further reflection, perhaps that was a mistake.” I’d surely recommend it. We’d all understand if you briefly mistyped. Overthrowing is a very totalitarian concept. Even I don’t wish to overthrow religion. I just want it out of my life, not out of everyone’s life. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’d love it if there were no religion. Imagine that. But, I don’t want it to be by forcibly overthrowing religion.

    • Oh, and before you accuse me of attempting to broaden the topic, this was always the topic. See my introductory paragraph.

      I’m hearing a lot from atheist friends who don’t want to be offensive. They are upset by the tactics being used by some atheist organizations today. I have an alternate take on things.

      This was a reference to our facebook discussion about the myth billboards above. It’s why I sent you the link to this discussion, thus setting off the worst flame war and least coherent discussion my blog has ever had.

    • You Know Who says:

      I’m sorry, this must be added, because it really takes the cake:

      In the interest of reducing pigheadedness on this thread…

      You’re going to stop posting gibberrish and making up shit? Yay!!!!! … … …

      Awww, it was too much to ask, wasn’t it?

      I will make one more concession. I am probably not the best person to determine whether something is racist.

      Thank you! I know what a big deal it is for you to admit you are wrong about anything, and so…

      I have long since internalized the fact that there is no scientific basis for the existence of race in humans.

      Uh oh… all bullshit meters pegged and shattered! We’ve entered… the rationalization zone!!!!!!

      Yes, there is no scientific basis for race. Just the “anecdotal evidence” of people discriminated against, beaten, tortured, and lynched because of their ra… oh wait, I can’t mean “because of their race”, because there’s no such thing as race.

      I cannot adequately describe the incredible stupidity of FRAMING the race discussion from this starting point of “the absence of a scientific basis for race”, citing “the human genome” and “genetic diversity” as if those things were relevant to the human experience of race. No wonder there is no acknowledgement of so many things by these people. “All those people complaining about how racist that image is, that’s just anecdotal evidence – I can prove logically that it’s not racist!” Why care about the perception other people have when that perception is WRONG, based on smart white people analyzing the FACTS? All that needs to be done is to CORRECT the incorrect impression by telling them why they’re wrong, and if they fail to agree, it’s THEIR fault!

      I’m sorry, this would be hysterically funny if it weren’t so sad. This goes beyond the pathetic effort to unilaterally ignore the human factor in defining what is and isn’t racist, imagining that a privileged white boy can decide for others what represents racism to them, invoking “science” to dismiss their personal experience as irrelevant. This dismissive attitude towards what people think and feel bleeds into most of the other bad thinking we’ve seen in this thread from dogmatic atheists. Which is kind of sad. I know there are saner, more compassionate voices, just as there are atheists who see the worth in engaging in charitable efforts. We just need not to have them drowned out by the more arrogant, socially retarded voices.

  110. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Scott–you carefully say: “no scientific basis for the existence of race in humans..” supported with links. The pbs/nova link provides two experts who disagree on the subject. How does THAT amount to “no scientific basis?”

    I know you know what I’m going to say……………………
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    ………………..
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    Its definitional, in science and in sociology–its definitional.

    Everyone knows what the races are—all you have to do is look. JUST LOOK!!! Silly to raise an issue beyond what common sense tells us. Whats in error is what follows after race is identified. You know: racism. Racism is not supported but race is. The fact that the races are intermixing more now causing much more overlap/tweeners/multis or whatever is only a related issue that does not disprove the concept. If you can tell black from white frown yellow—you can tell what race a person is.

    and race defined as skin color is only one definition.

    It could be done on eye color or hair color too. Or on Height, or on length/shape of the nose or earlobes. What you can see can define a race. What you want to think about brown eyes vs blue eyes is probably wrong. Race identification does not raise racism on its own.

    Whats the genetic difference between men and women? Are there no sexes either?

    • You caught me. Obviously, when I read that article, I happened, while scrolling, to have my screen end at the paragraph that begins with “Finally” and thought I had reached the end of the article.

      So, which argument convinced you? Obviously, the one with all of the definitional crap.

      But, did you hear anything in that second argument supporting a genetic difference? If not, then the differences are largely environmental. What could cause changes that can be recognized in bones? Well, if not genes, it must be lifestyle, i.e. environment.

      Genetically, there would be more races in Africa than in the entire rest of the world combined. And yet, we would call them all black.

      No. I’m not convinced by such minor differences as skin color. Nor are you when you consider that people from India are, for some reason, not black.

      If you break up race by such obvious traits as skin color, many people from around the world currently living in the U.S. suddenly become “African Americans” even though they are from nowhere near Africa. Or, rather, all humans the world over are African, which is far more accurate than calling all blacks in the U.S. ‘African Americans’.

      Sorry, even though I inadvertently gave you the fodder for your argument, I don’t agree. We’re still all Us. And, the sooner we realize it the better.

      Keep in mind though, even if you are still convinced by the pro-race argument, I am not. Therefore, I still concede that I am not really the best judge of racism.

      Now let’s see if YKW can concede anything at all. Wouldn’t that be amazing?!

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        No wonder you and YKW are going at it so vigorously. You both have posted: “I don’t care what the facts are…I still believe….”

        Scotty===”everything” is definitional. People fall right dab on point/definition and 100% of people judging will agree. Then it falls off for people of mixed heritage. That doesn’t negate the idea of race at all. Races mix. Thats like saying you can’t tell a tiger from a lion because of ligers.

        But don’t let the obvious dissuade you.

      • bobbo??!!? Oh. It’s you. I thought it was YKW the way you just made shit up about me.

        No. I care very deeply what the facts are. The facts include the fact that there is no real genetic signature to race. That is a fact that is not in dispute between the two individuals in the article. The proponent of race does not mention genetics because there are no definitive genetic differences in the so-called races of the world. That is the fact that most successfully convinces me. Other facts that convince me include the bit about there being no hard line where the races switch over geographically, as their are in animal species that have racial differences.

        Ligers don’t occur in nature. So, it’s easy to tell them apart. They simply don’t exist. Even in areas like India where both tigers and lions exist, there are no ligers or tigons. Zero.

        But, the whole point of bringing up tigers and lions is erroneous. Those are truly different species. You may as well call bonobos, chimps, and humans different races if you’re going into that as an argument.

        But, there is no genetic signature for black. And, why are people in India not black? Good luck explaining either of these as you discuss races.

    • You Know Who says:

      LOL! This is just like when the two of you “debated” whether the woman in the photo was sexy or not – also based on some sort of “scientific” analysis. Hilarious! Though I must admit: Scott, you should be embarassed that Bobbo is making more sense than you on this topic (which may be why you accuse him of “making up shit about you” simply because he disagreed with you).

  111. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Well Scott: define race.

    Then define the genetics of race.

    As easy as black and white. Genetics codes for skin color.

    If one defines the Negroid Race as those having sufficient melanin in their skin with all the consequences therefrom how is that not a race and how is that not genetics and how does science in your mind avoid what is obvious to a child?

    Its all the ancillary issues after admitting reality where the disputes are fairly raised. You don’t like the disputes, so you deny the reality.

    What is the biological meaning of race? There are certain medical probabilities that vary but not overwhelmingly in the modern age, so I think it is fair to say there is no meaning to race other than an inequitable basis on which men discriminate among their own. That means race is very important even though it has no biological meaning at all.

    And isn’t that what Hoomans do?===find meaning in nothing?

    I’ll say it again: look. Just LOOK!!!

    I’m sure Scott that you and I appreciate “race” about just the same. What we disagree about is understanding how its all definitional, and I admit there are other people that disagree with me, that have different points of view. Very much like the message on the billboard. I have my own opinion on what would best be put on it, but I accept others think something else.

    Only fools will, and have, argued about that simple recognition.

    • So, in your mind, people from India are negro?

      • You Know Who says:

        You’re really going to argue with yourself about this, aren’t you?

        LOL!

        I say again, if your starting point in the “debate” about whether a tasteless stereotyped 19th century etching of a black man in chains is racist is “there is no scientific basis for race, therefore the image is not racist”, then you might as well retreat into your insular bubble of pseudo-logic where the pesky anecdotal evidence of people and their nasty icky emotional reactions do not interfere with your process of reasoning about “the truth”. Yes, there is no racism, because there is no scientific basis for race, and so people who have been victimized because of their non-race by people of another non-race have clearly been delusional about being the victims of racism – and continued to be up until they took their last breaths hanging from the non-racist tree in the non-racist world you live in.

        I know you don’t watch Stephen Colbert, but as part of his “schtick” he insists that he doesn’t know if he’s white or not, that people tell him he is so he assumes they’re right, but he doesn’t see race, he doesn’t believe in it, and thus he has no prejudice. Of course, he is playing the part of a clueless idiot, and knows this and plays it up to good effect.

        Playing the part, Scott, playing the part… remember that.

  112. YKW,

    Re: Making shit up.

    Here are some examples of where you began inserting your own words to describe my feelings rather than actually listening to the words I wrote. I call that “making shit up” because, when you want to disagree with me, you should disagree with what I say, not what you say I said, which are often very different things.

    In this post, you began, softly at first, to alter my words to make them something easier to disagree with.

    Or, based on your words, can we say that you’ve
    written those people and don’t give a shit about them?

    But, these are not my words. You made them up and then argued about why they were wrong for several paragraphs. Why did you do that?

    This post is another fine example of you making shit up that I never said. When you said:

    ONLY black people have been slaves throughout the course of history and the only images available of slaves are of black people? Really?

    That’s what you just said – you asked what images of slaves exist that do not involve black people.
    Meaning you haven’t thought through the idea that not just black people were slaves and that an image of a black slave was DELIBERATELY chosen to yield a hostile reaction from black people by the moron who chose the image.

    See that? Now, exactly where did I ask what images of slaves would not involve black people? I asked what images of slaves do not involve race?

    See? You do make shit up. You pretend I said things I did not and then argue about what I didn’t say. It’s incredibly annoying.

    This post is another fine example of you making shit up.

    You said, “You said (though you deny this) that there was no other possible image than an image like the one there now. And that is simply wrong.” No. I didn’t say that. I said any image of slavery was likely to be racist or mistaken for kinky sex.

    Re: Ad hominem attacks.

    Actually, so far I have not found any from either of us directed at the other. I have found a few from you directed at bobbo. I’m still looking. So, perhaps neither of us needs to apologize to each other for that. You may owe bobbo an apology or three.

    I only made it halfway through though. If you cite an example of an ad hominem attack I made on you, I will certainly apologize.

  113. You Know Who says:

    Here are some examples of where you began inserting your own words to describe my feelings rather than actually listening to the words I wrote.

    You know, I am allowed to paraphrase what you say for brevity, to condense several things you’ve said into one, and to (most important of all) note the consequences of words you say whether you come out and use those exact words or not. That is part of any solid political argument – noting the consequences of what your opponent is advocating.

    I call that “making shit up” because, when you want to disagree with me, you should disagree with what I say, not what you say I said, which are often very different things.

    But they’re not different things. Be honest, you call it “making shit up” because you know these are the sentiments and positions you have conveyed and whether or not my words were exact quotations or not (if they were, my comments would have been ten times as long – something you already complain about…) you do not like that I expose those sentiments and positions as flawed or as having consequences you hadn’t considered. The “making shit up” is what you are doing when you accuse me of “making shit up”.

    In this post, you began, softly at first, to alter my words to make them something easier to disagree with.

    Or, based on your words, can we say that you’ve
    written those people and don’t give a shit about them?

    But, these are not my words.

    No, THESE were your words:

    “When do we accept that moderate religious folks who say nothing while their radical nutjob counterparts legislate away our freedoms are every bit as much a part of the problem as the nutjobs they refuse to denounce?”

    (Funny how, when attempting to accuse me of “making shit up” and distorting your words, you didn’t see fit to offer up what those words WERE. Why might that have been, Scott?)

    You made them up and then argued about why they were wrong for several paragraphs. Why did you do that?

    Because your words did indeed say that you’ve written off those people and do not give a single solitary shit about them! In what way could your words – your actual words that you seem to have forgotten about saying and wanted others to forget about as well! – be interpreted other than to mean that you have written those people off because they “say nothing while their radical nutjob counterparts legislate away our freedoms” and that because they “refuse to denounce” you don’t give a shit about them? (Remember this all ties back to your irrational terrorist sloganeering about “there are no innocent bystanders” which you have still refused to back down from!)

    Did I make shit up? No. Did I focus attention on the consequences of YOUR statements about these people and your irrational justification for your nonsensical arrogant “there are no innocent bystanders” posturing? Yes. Damned well yes. And I will do it again every single time you push this nonsense as it were some truthful logical statement with a rational basis.

    ONLY black people have been slaves throughout the course of history and the only images available of slaves are of black people? Really? That’s what you just said – you asked what images of slaves exist that do not involve black people. Meaning you haven’t thought through the idea that not just black people were slaves and that an image of a black slave was DELIBERATELY chosen to yield a hostile reaction from black people by the moron who chose the image.

    See that? Now, exactly where did I ask what images of slaves would not involve black people?

    Um, maybe right here?

    “So, let me get this straight, just what image of a slave would not be racist and offensive?”

    Again, leaving out the context of what YOU said so you could claim it was me who was making up shit.

    I asked what images of slaves do not involve race?

    And refresh my memory: what was the race of the person in the image in question? Was he… Nordic? Inuit? Pacific Islander?

    The debate was about the CHOICE of image put up on the board. It was that of a black man. Why do you continue to assert this fatuous link between race and slavery simply to retroactively justify the bad choice in imagery made by your friends in what they put up on this billboard which even they (having a lot more sense and humility than you do, I guess) acknowledge was chosen and presented badly?

    See? You do make shit up. You pretend I said things I did not and then argue about what I didn’t say. It’s incredibly annoying.

    So yes, I was “making shit up” again, where “making shit up” is defined to mean “calling someone who is engaging in deflective or evasive argumentative tactics on what they are doing and not letting them get away with it.” You can bet I’ll continue to do what I do as long as you continue to do what you do.

    And yes, I am very very glad it is annoying to you, because my hope is that it will become so annoying that you will stop the behavior you’ve been engaging in throughout this thread under the assumption no one is noticing it and that you can get away with it.

    Re: Ad hominem attacks.

    Actually, so far I have not found any from either of us directed at the other.

    And yet you accuse me of making them. Bzzzt, the board goes back.

    I have found a few from you directed at bobbo.

    Since you for some strange reason also didn’t notice Bobbo’s behavior to be that of a common troll, I’m not going to accept your assessment of interaction with Bobbo as unbiased or fair. So let’s move on. The guy either posts while drunk/stoned/on crack or cares nothing about conveying an argument clearly, and then lashes out when he’s not understood with HIS ad hominem attacks. Not one complaint from you about HIM (until recently when he miraculously dared to disagree with you… why might that have happened?)

    So, perhaps neither of us needs to apologize to each other for that.

    No, since you ACCUSED me of making ad hominem attacks when I didn’t, you are obliged to apologize to ME for accusing me of that erroneously and deliberately. Dontcha think?

    Nah, you don’t, do you?

    You may owe bobbo an apology or three.

    Hey, look at those pigs flying past us… and the weather report for hell indicates a blizzard is coming. Hey Bobbo, got something to tell you… not.

    That you would single out MY comments and ignore the petulant flatulent boozed-up hostile drivel that Bobbo posts to be reasonable discourse not worthy of the contempt you show for my words, well, this says so much. It says your judgement of my participation in this conversation is not to be taken seriously. So I won’t.

    The board goes back.

    • But they’re not different things. Be honest, you call it “making shit up” because you know these are the sentiments and positions you have conveyed and whether or not my words were exact quotations or not (if they were, my comments would have been ten times as long – something you already complain about…) you do not like that I expose those sentiments and positions as flawed or as having consequences you hadn’t considered. The “making shit up” is what you are doing when you accuse me of “making shit up”.

      Actually, I call it making shit up because when I read what you write that you think I said, it does not match in my mind what I did say or what I believe. It is generally very far from both.

      That is making shit up.

      Or, based on your words, can we say that you’ve
      written those people and don’t give a shit about them?

      But, these are not my words.

      No, THESE were your words:

      “When do we accept that moderate religious folks who say nothing while their radical nutjob counterparts legislate away our freedoms are every bit as much a part of the problem as the nutjobs they refuse to denounce?”

      And, you really see those two statements as the same? They’re not even remotely similar. I’m stating that X are the problem. You paraphrase that as I don’t care about X. I care about the people who are the problem. I want them figuratively booted in the head.

      Because your words did indeed say that you’ve written off those people and do not give a single solitary shit about them!

      Again wrong!! You really need to work on your reading comprehension. I do give a shit about them. I want them figuratively booted in the head.

      I think they need it as a wake up call.

      See? Different.

      Remember this all ties back to your irrational terrorist sloganeering about “there are no innocent bystanders” which you have still refused to back down from!

      Exaggerate much? I’m talking about a figurative/verbal boot to the head/punch in the nose. You’re talking about terrorism. Whether I happened to use a similar phrase does not change the context of my use. But, I will stop using that phrase now that I see how it is perceived. I will find another way to say that I think that anyone stating on a poll that they are (insert religion here) gives power to the block lobbying as (insert religion here). I will further state that any church/temple/mosque lobbying for anything should also be taxed. But, that’s a different issue.

      ONLY black people have been slaves throughout the course of history and the only images available of slaves are of black people? Really? That’s what you just said – you asked what images of slaves exist that do not involve black people. Meaning you haven’t thought through the idea that not just black people were slaves and that an image of a black slave was DELIBERATELY chosen to yield a hostile reaction from black people by the moron who chose the image.

      Caught you again!! Those were your words, not mine. Totally made up shit. You’re still attributing that to me. That’s not what I said at all. This is:

      So, let me get this straight, just what image of a slave would not be racist and offensive?

      See how the word ‘black’ is only in your quote not in mine? That’s called making shit up! Stop it!!!

      And refresh my memory: what was the race of the person in the image in question? Was he… Nordic? Inuit? Pacific Islander?

      But, my question ‘just what image of a slave would not be racist and offensive?’ was precisely worded to ask what other image of slavery would work. Later, we discussed the possibility of stick figures. I pointed out that the meaning might not be clear. But, all of that is irrelevant to this point.

      You misunderstood my question and misquoted me dramatically putting in the word black where I had deliberately left it out to explore other options.

      Actually, so far I have not found any from either of us directed at the other.

      And yet you accuse me of making them. Bzzzt, the board goes back.

      Yes, before I looked up the precise definition and then searched our text and … this is important … after you accused me of the same. So, please provide some examples or move on (.org)

      So, perhaps neither of us needs to apologize to each other for that.

      No, since you ACCUSED me of making ad hominem attacks when I didn’t, you are obliged to apologize to ME for accusing me of that erroneously and deliberately. Dontcha think?

      Yes. And I will. Just as soon as you either show me an ad hominem attack on you that you accused me of first or you apologize to me for your accusation of me.

      I, unlike you, have already proved that I can admit when I’m wrong and apologize for it.

      That you would single out MY comments and ignore the petulant flatulent boozed-up hostile drivel that Bobbo posts to be reasonable discourse not worthy of the contempt you show for my words, well, this says so much. It says your judgement of my participation in this conversation is not to be taken seriously. So I won’t.

      Nah. When bobbo accuses me of an ad hominem attack then I will put his words under a microscope, as I often have before.

  114. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Scot – I will say again the issue of race and whether races exists is purely definitional–both scientifically and sociologically. I note that every extended exchange we have ever had includes the issue of defining the terms being used. You do it, rarely, but you do do it.

    This is a near perfect example to drive the issue home. Races EXIST entirely because of the power of defining words. Lots of arguments come from people having different defintions, or the same definition but different contexts and they never back up and find out their values/thoughts are the same but they start with different definitions.

    I already have asked you questions/made points that you do not respond to except by way of diversion. But since you asked, I will give you the fine example of answering direct questions before responding with your own: NO, I don’t consider Indians to be negro. I think of them as a caucasian mix of the “sub-continent” kind. Don’t know where I got that idea–probably lots of disagreement there because who cares?

    In America, the races of greatest impact and significance are black and white.

    Your direct question: do you deny there are people that “everyone” will recognize and agree are of the white and black race?

    xxxxxxxxxxxxx of Note, just because: its not appropriate to take an issue like race out of its sociological context, apply a scientific definition that provides a variable outcome depending on the set up question, and from that other context bring that answer back to the sociological one. Its kinda like religion and god? God cannot be established using scientific metholds therefore he doesn’t exist and therefore people using god as a concept is invalid……oops!===gee that does sound about right……………NOT! As stated caucasions have white skin, negroids have black skin==we can all see it. Science can confirm and explain it as genetic inheritance of melalin the result of being in high direct sun shine vs low indirect sun shine and there are consequences that flow from that from vitamin D production/insufficiency to cycle cell, to forms of cancer and on and on. Its all what definitional of “race” is given to science to study.

    What is not debateable is whether or not the various races are human or not, natural slaves or not, deserve human rights, etc.

    What is more problematic is what it means when other variables that can be measured and do show differences according to race, but I’ll leave that discussion for the future. No profit there if you won’t believe what your own eyes inform you about.

    Scott: are there races or not?

  115. bobbo said just one post earlier:

    Then define the genetics of race.

    As easy as black and white. Genetics codes for skin color.

    If one defines the Negroid Race as those having sufficient melanin in their skin with all the consequences therefrom how is that not a race and how is that not genetics and how does science in your mind avoid what is obvious to a child?

    Then in his most recent post, bobbo adds:

    NO, I don’t consider Indians to be negro. I think of them as a caucasian mix of the “sub-continent” kind.

    So bobbo, I would remind you that there just just as much melanin in the skin of Indians as there is in the skin of Africans. But, for some reason they are not black.

    This is the problem with race. There are no hard definitions. There is no genetic basis for any racial breakdown of our species. You might as well break down the races by such characteristics as whether someone is a supertaster, a characteristic determined solely by genetics.

    Scott: are there races or not?

    In reality, in hard science, no. Though, I admit that the appearance of races and the fact that humans put so much importance on this not truly existent concept means that it has effects on humanity. This is sort of the same, in my opinion, as stating that religion has had effects on humanity while still acknowledging that there are no gods.

  116. You Know Who says:

    you call it “making shit up” because you know these are the sentiments and positions you have conveyed and … you do not like that I expose those sentiments and positions as flawed or as having consequences you hadn’t considered.

    Actually, I call it making shit up because when I read what you write that you think I said, it does not match in my mind what I did say or what I believe.

    Perhaps that says more about “your mind” than about my analysis of what comes out of it.

    It is generally very far from both.

    Indeed. Alerting clueless or deluded people to the consequences of their words, beliefs, and actions is what the gadfly generally does. It often (perhaps usually) evokes hostile reactions rather than acknowledgement, because the targets of the gadfly’s words are often chosen because they are so high and mighty, so self-absorbed, so sure they are right that they imagine any disagreement with what they say is treasonous, heinous, “shameful”. The gadfly shows them to be wrong. They can’t deal with that.

    On any given day, it’s easy to pick on the worst offenders in the world of bad thinking, point out how bad that thinking is, showcase the consequences of that thinking, make the ones propagating that thinking look foolish. Do you think you are immune? Do you think you are THAT good? You’re not. Again and again, I’ve shown how your arguments extend from presumption, how your attitude is no better than that of those you despise. Do you accept this lying down? Of course not! You stand up, you engage in namecalling (unapologetically), you will not allow your irrational presumption to be challenged!

    What fun!

    can we say that you’ve
    written off those people and don’t give a shit about them?

    versus

    “When do we accept that moderate religious folks who say nothing while their radical nutjob counterparts legislate away our freedoms are every bit as much a part of the problem as the nutjobs they refuse to denounce?”

    Scott says:

    And, you really see those two statements as the same?

    Of course! In the context of your declaration that “there are no innocent bystanders” (STILL no retraction on that, eh?), saying “moderate religious folks who say nothing while their radical nutjob counterparts legislate away our freedoms are every bit as much a part of the problem as the nutjobs they refuse to denounce” is absolutely, exactly, positive the same as writing those people off and not giving a shit about them. What else could you possibly have meant when you said they are “every bit as much of the problem as the nutjobs”, after you declared that whatever action you take against the entire group as a whole is warranted because “there are no innocent bystanders”? How exactly, aside from “well, I just don’t see it that way”, can you pretend that what I said you said is not in fact what you said?

    They’re not even remotely similar. I’m stating that X are the problem. You paraphrase that as I don’t care about X.

    Since your diatribe about “no innocent bystanders”, saying that
    “non-combatant” folks within a group are “part of the problem” means you don’t care about them in the context of your plans to be hostile to the entire group they belong to en masse. You don’t care about them. You don’t see it as important to address them, to possibly convince them to be allies to your cause rather than enemies, because you don’t see that as a possibility. You don’t care about them.

    Nothing I said in the above paragraph was wrong. None of it was made up. None of it was “shit”.

    I care about the people who are the problem.

    Indeed – and you labeled people who aren’t part of the problem (who may in fact be part of the SOLUTION) as part of the problem. You don’t care about them.

    Because your words did indeed say that you’ve written off those people and do not give a single solitary shit about them!

    Again wrong!!

    No, again RIGHT! Do you remember saying “there are no innocent bystanders”, code for “whatever collateral damage happens to non-combatants in a fight is OK”? Do you still stand by that? (You seem very reluctant to acknowledge that you said this or to reiterate your support for that sentiment. Why might that be?)

    You really need to work on your reading comprehension.

    To make it worse so that I don’t notice the things I notice in statements like the ones you make? Nah, I don’t think so. I’ll leave my reading comprehension level where it is.

    I do give a shit about them. I want them figuratively booted in the head.

    Yes, because of your guilt by assocation “no innocent bystanders” dogma! Boot ’em in the head! Boot ’em in the head! Boot ’em in the head! Boot ’em in the head!

    No better than racist skinhead thugs. But “figuratively”, of course. Not literally. So it’s OK. Wanting to give them a boot in the head is how you show you give a shit about them, how you show you care about them.

    Please don’t care about me, Scott. Please. No human being deserves your idea of “caring”.

    I think they need it as a wake up call.

    Yes, and because you’re so much better than they are, YOU get to decide!

    See? Different.

    Yes, I see. No different. No different from them. Not in the least. Agreed.

    Oh, wait, you said “See, different”. Well, I have to disagree. Which of course in Scott’s eyes means I need a (figurative) boot to the head.

    Remember this all ties back to your irrational terrorist sloganeering about “there are no innocent bystanders” which you have still refused to back down from!

    Exaggerate much?

    Nope. That would be you, Scott.

    I’m talking about a figurative/verbal boot to the head/punch in the nose. You’re talking about terrorism.

    You’ve decided what other people need, be it “figurative” or otherwise, based on this “no innocent bystanders” crap that you STILL refuse to acknowledge or back down from! I’m talking about an attitude towards other people that you share with terrorists. They see collateral damage done to uninvolved people as acceptable in trying to achieve their goal. So do you. Is it a different kind of damage? Yes. Is it a different kind of attitude. No, not at all. That you will not see that or admit that doesn’t change what it is. You think other people being the victims of whatever you choose to dish out in the name of achieving your goal is acceptable because you claim there are no innocent bystanders and thus whatever you do is justified and not heinous. That’s not the case. It is unjustified and it is heinous.

    Whether I happened to use a similar phrase does not change the context of my use. But, I will stop using that phrase now that I see how it is perceived.

    Oh shut up. Yeah, really, shut up. Are you running for office now? Are you playing the “well, I see that the position I put forth is PERCEIVED badly by some people, so I’ll rephrase what I said”. Like “perhaps I shouldn’t have used the word ‘slut’ to describe that girl, not because I was wrong to do that, but because people were so outraged by it.” OK, Rush, you go “find another way to express your true feelings that isn’t as impromptu and honest and doesn’t really convey your feelings, but is more palatable to those sensitive people who found what you said upsetting.

    What crap.

    I suppose I will be accused of “making up shit” because I noted Scott’s cowardly retreat into “I will now change my phrasing because it upset people without actually changing my position” in a truly Limbaughesque fashion. Yeah right, Scott. Do that.

    I will further state that any church/temple/mosque lobbying for anything should also be taxed. But, that’s a different issue.

    And I would agree with you, except you are only bringing this up to change the subject and deflect discussion from what was actually being discussed, so…

    ONLY black people have been slaves throughout the course of history and the only images available of slaves are of black people? Really? That’s what you just said – you asked what images of slaves exist that do not involve black people. Meaning you haven’t thought through the idea that not just black people were slaves and that an image of a black slave was DELIBERATELY chosen to yield a hostile reaction from black people by the moron who chose the image.

    Caught you again!!

    Don’t you have to “catch” me a first time (which you haven’t) to use the word “again” here?

    Those were your words, not mine. Totally made up shit.

    Nope: fact, actually. The discussion was focused on why the racist image of a black man in chains was chosen (in particular, with the billboard apparently put up in a black community, ostensibly because it was cheaper to put up a billboard there), asking why they couldn’t have come up with an image of slaves that “wasn’t from the antebellum South”, and THEN, and only then, did you come up with:

    So, let me get this straight, just what image of a slave would not be racist and offensive?

    Since your “question” was in response to that comment, you were claiming that the image NEEDED to be from the antebellum South, and thus NEEDED to be that of a black person. Which is bullshit.

    Are you really going to deny this?

    Yes, you are, aren’t you? And you’re going to call this “making up shit”.

    Sure.

    See how the word ‘black’ is only in your quote not in mine?

    See how the weasely evasion is only in your words and not in mine?

    Later, we discussed the possibility of stick figures. I pointed out that the meaning might not be clear. But, all of that is irrelevant to this point.

    No, it’s actually very relevant. It was all part of your insistence that the image HAD to be that of a black person. You’re trying to claim that because you didn’t say the word “black”, that’s not a consequence of what you were talking about, but since the discussion was about why the image had to be “from the antebellum South”, which means “had to be of a black person”, you are the one making shit up here.

    You misunderstood my question and misquoted me dramatically

    No, you tried to be evasive in your wording of this “question” and pretended the discussion wasn’t about the supposed necessity of this image being that of a black person. Nice try. But bzzzzt, the board goes back.

    since you ACCUSED me of making ad hominem attacks when I didn’t, you are obliged to apologize to ME for accusing me of that erroneously and deliberately. Dontcha think?

    Yes. And I will. Just as soon as…

    Never mind. Please don’t bother. All the wishywashy provisos… It would be disingenuous and insincere. You would imagine that you can go back and choose new phrasing that isn’t upsetting to anyone as an “out”, but keep inventing the same shit, claiming to be a victim just like the Christian right, lashing out because you feel you’ve been “attacked” when all that’s happened is that someone pointed out you were wrong. Really, please don’t bother. Your kind of apology, I don’t need.

    Go back to accusing Bobbo of “making up shit” because HE also disagrees with you. You should be focusing your paranoid anger on just one target. And besides, I think you and Bobbo arguing is fun to watch.

    • You stand up, you engage in namecalling (unapologetically), you will not allow your irrational presumption to be challenged!

      Example of name-calling please. A real quote too. Don’t make one up and attribute it to me.

      You don’t care about them. You don’t see it as important to address them, to possibly convince them to be allies to your cause rather than enemies, because you don’t see that as a possibility. You don’t care about them.

      Like a neutered dog, you still don’t get it.

      I care very much about these people. I want to verbally punch them in the nose.

      How can you quote me exactly and not read what you quoted? You can disagree with my opinion that they are indeed the problem. But, you don’t get to say I don’t care. I have to care a lot to figuratively punch someone. I’m simply not agreeing that they are non-combatants.

      No, again RIGHT! Do you remember saying “there are no innocent bystanders”, code for “whatever collateral damage happens to non-combatants in a fight is OK”?

      This is the source of our disagreement. I don’t agree that they are non-combatants. I’m not calling it collateral damage.

      You can disagree with me all you want. But, to change my wording is to inaccurately represent my thinking. It is indeed making shit up.

      Now, if you want to explain why you think that they are non-combatants, go for it.

      We might have an interesting discussion about that, if we can both take it down a notch.

      So, let me get this straight, just what image of a slave would not be racist and offensive?

      Since your “question” was in response to that comment, you were claiming that the image NEEDED to be from the antebellum South, and thus NEEDED to be that of a black person. Which is bullshit.

      Presume much? This is also made up shit. But, at least now I understand why you made it up. You didn’t get that it was a legitimate question. I was looking for what image would get the point across and satisfy you as non-racist. That you misinterpreted this right from the get-go caused you to make shit up and put words in my mouth that I never said. Read my words again without your words and see if it makes sense now.

      Perhaps if you would read my words more literally and remember that I am a geek you might get a less biased opinion of me. Are you capable of this?

      No, it’s actually very relevant. It was all part of your insistence that the image HAD to be that of a black person.

      Except that I never ever said that.

      You assumed that because you failed to read my words literally when I asked what image of a slave would not be racist and offensive. I even suggested Hebrew slaves of Pharaoh, though the time frame is wrong for a new testament bible quote.

      • You Know Who says:

        You don’t care about them. You don’t see it as important to address them, to possibly convince them to be allies to your cause rather than enemies, because you don’t see that as a possibility. You don’t care about them.

        Like a neutered dog, you still don’t get it.

        Is that really the best you can do? It’s not even clever.

        I care very much about these people. I want to verbally punch them in the nose.

        What a sick twisted way to “care” about people.

        It sounds a hell of a lot like the way religionists “care” about gays, wanting to “figuratively” fuck them up the ass (not literally, of course, because they figure they might like that) to correct their evil behavior.

        A hell of a lot like the folks who similarly want to correct the behavior of women who claim ownership of their own minds and bodies. They care very much about those women. They want to forcibly rape them with some sort of probe before they would be allowed to have an abortion. Or lecture them (in other words, “figuratively” give them a boot in the head or punch in the nose) before they are allowed the freedom to do what they want with their own bodies.

        You do realize your “caring” is just as positively motivated as their “caring” about you, their praying for you, their wanting to make sure you see the light and pray to God like they do. The exact same amount of positivity.

        Oh, I forgot, except YOU’RE right and they’re wrong. And that makes a difference. Of course it does. You really believe that, don’t you?

        How can you quote me exactly and not read what you quoted?

        Oh but I did. And I also read between the lines. Because that’s where the real content is.

        You can disagree with my opinion that they are indeed the problem. But, you don’t get to say I don’t care.

        Yeah, I do. Because your idea of “caring” is dysfunctional and anti-social, as horrid and wretched as the “caring” attitude of the people you “care” so much about.

        I have to care a lot to figuratively punch someone.

        It’s a sick twisted sociopathic notion of “caring”, and in fact it’s one you share with the very people you “care” so much about.

        Do you remember saying “there are no innocent bystanders”, code for “whatever collateral damage happens to non-combatants in a fight is OK”?

        This is the source of our disagreement. I don’t agree that they are non-combatants. I’m not calling it collateral damage.

        Exactly my point. You don’t agree that they are non-combatants. You don’t agree that they are innocent bystanders. Like the Germans who bombed London, the Americans who bombed Dresden, all those who have bombed civilians since then in war or other conflict, you have bought into the utter bullshit that there are no innocent bystanders, no non-combatants, and justified your hatred of them (what you call “caring” in the most doublespeakish way imaginable). So you have thus found a way to justify to yourself your “caring” actions towards these people (the same way terrorists justify THEIR actions).

        That you erroneously believe there is a difference between you and them is one of the saddest things to come out of this thread.

        “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

        Thanks for making the enemy “us”, Scott. Nice job. Keep up the good work.

        Now rail at me for giving the theists ammunition against us by vocalizing the fact that someone amongst the atheists recognizes how heinous this attitude is and how prevalent it has become in the atheist community.

        You can disagree with me all you want. But, to change my wording is to inaccurately represent my thinking.

        No, it is not.

        You claimed and continue to claim that actions directed against people you disagree with are justified because you believe there are no non-combatants, no innocent bystanders, that anyone standing in your way is deserving of this “caring” you have to offer them.

        THIS MAKES YOU EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE PEOPLE YOU DESPISE.

        No different. And certainly no better.

        Now, if you want to explain why you think that they are non-combatants, go for it.

        That may be one of the stupidest statements in the course of this thread so far. Demanding that I prove that these people you “care” about are NOT non-combatants. That’s precious.

        And it probably doesn’t sound a bit to you like “if you want to explain why you think God doesn’t exist, go for it”.

        Nah, why would it?

        That would involve reciprocity and empathy.

        Bzzzt, the board goes back.

      • I care very much about these people. I want to verbally punch them in the nose.

        What a sick twisted way to “care” about people.

        So close. You almost understood me there for a minute. You quoted the wrong word though. I said ‘care about‘, not ‘care for‘.

        But, thank you for finally deciding to discuss things with me instead of making shit up and then arguing against the made up shit. Now we can begin a real conversation.

        First, I would note that again and again and again, you use military and terrorist terms to describe my thinking. I’m merely talking about offending people, not bombing them, not even literally hitting them. I’m talking about being in their face criticizing them for membership in an organization that seeks to turn the United States into a theocracy.

        I just want to be clear on why your bombing and terrorizing examples are not affecting me much.

        A verbal boot to the head does not actually cause anyone physical harm. Nor does it deprive anyone of their rights. It’s just a verbal offense. I’m not actually booting people. I’m certainly not chaining myself to their church doors with Kryptonite locks. I’m not shooting priests. I’m just being offensive. Big fat hairy deal.

        Now let’s see about these non-combatants you want me not to offend.

        They certainly don’t come from the 51% of the population who consider atheism a show-stopping trait and would not under any circumstances vote for an atheist or from the 49% who believe the world is less than 10,000 years old; let’s just for sake of ease of calculations assume this latter group to be a subset of the former, though it may not be a true proper subset.

        They don’t come from the 15% of the country who are ‘none of the above’. They aren’t the 1.1% who are Hindu or Buddhist and wouldn’t care about these billboards. That leaves about 33%, give or take, who might not just sit in the pews swelling the ranks of the wackos.

        How exactly are they separating themselves from the wackos rather than providing them more power in numbers?

      • You Know Who says:

        You’re a lost cause, Scott. There’s no distinguishing you anymore from those you despise. You imagine you have the right to (“figuratively” of course) deliver a boot to the head or a punch to the nose of people who disagree with you. Then certainly they have as much right to proselytize to you, to harangue you and tell you how they’re going to pray for you, to consider it reasonable to give you boots to the head and punches in the nose, to be in your face criticizing you not for what you’ve done but what they imagine you could do, what they are angry that you have “failed” to do based on their judgments, to put “In God We Trust” on money, to recite the Lord’s Prayer at public meetings.

        These actions of theirs aren’t hurting anyone. Just like you imagine yours aren’t.

        That you have descended so far into the bowels of hostility, shirking all compassion and empathy, not recognizing your own face in the mirror, is horrifying. Not to you, of course. You have reached a point where such behavior and attitude does not horrify you at all.

        Yes, I use military and terrorist terms to describe your thinking. Because you are at the point of seeing these people not just as “the enemy” but as disposable, unnecessary, irrelevant, unimportant vessels who, because they fail to be what you want them to be and do what you want them to do, are unworthy of humane considerations. They’re not even human to you.

        “Care about” vs. “care for” – damn, that was weak. Either way, it’s a condescending obnoxious attitude towards other people, believing that your desire to (metaphorically or otherwise) clock them in the head is a sign of “caring”. Your brand of “caring” is the same kind you despise the religious for engaging in towards you. What a world you’ve created, Scott – a mirror image of the hell you imagine a theocracy would be, only with you in charge, “preventing” all the terrible things a theocracy would be by engaging in them first, pre-emptively. It’s a stroke of genius, isn’t it? (In your mind, I mean…)

        You make me ashamed to share a lack of belief in God with you. I think others who think and act no differently than you do are similarly making many other atheists, closeted in the pew or out in the open, reconsider any affiliation with the notion of being an atheist. I guess they’re all stupid and ignorant, like the fools who don’t get the reference to “bronze age” or who erroneously think an image is disgustingly racist because they foolish imagine there IS such a thing as race when science knows there isn’t.

        Clearly your hostility (and your rationalizations for it) aren’t limited to just evil awful theist types – you’ve certainly lashed out at me harshly for no other reason than my disagreeing with a position you consider obvious (even though it isn’t, as evidenced by my repeatedly noting obvious errors in your thinking again and again). You’re not even embarrassed at how low you’ve sunk and how twisted your arguments have become – imagine, demanding a passage from the Bible that is about slavery but doesn’t make a reference to race, and then when provided with one, shouting “No, that one doesn’t count, it doesn’t make a reference to race!” Ayukyukyuk!

        Clearly it’s not just theists that you “care” about (or “care for”, or whatever rationalized bullshit notion of “caring” you stamp on your behavior), it could be anyone. So keep your goddamned metaphorical foot the fuck away from MY metaphorical head.

      • Aw … the disappointed dad routine.

        Don’t worry Dad. I treat my enemies with more respect than you treat your friends.

      • You Know Who says:

        Sounds like you’ve heard that a lot, judging from your referring to it as a “routine”. I guess you have some experience with this “routine”. But I don’t particularly care.

        I’m not your Dad. I was disappointed at one point in your behavior, I will admit. But now that I get to see your true character visibly at work, I realize I was wrong to have expectations high enough that your current behavior could be perceived as disappointing.

        Sorry to disappoint you that I’m not disappointed. It sounds like you were actually striving for that. Again, something you have some experience with?

      • You Know Who says:

        Since your “question” was in response to that comment, you were claiming that the image NEEDED to be from the antebellum South, and thus NEEDED to be that of a black person. Which is bullshit.

        Presume much? This is also made up shit. But, at least now I understand why you made it up. You didn’t get that it was a legitimate question.

        A “legitimate question” – a rhetorical one – in response to the point about the claim that the image NEEDED to be from the antebellum South. And therefore framed as a question about whether the image NEEDED to be that of a black person.

        I was looking for what image would get the point across and satisfy you as non-racist.

        You would think that was a simple answer: one that wasn’t racist. But no, not to Scott…

        That you misinterpreted this right from the get-go

        Please, stop being disingenuous. The question was in relation to the claim that the image NEEDED be that of a black person (i.e., from the antebellum South). There was no misinterpretation. The discussion was about whether the image of a black person was NECESSARY for this billboard. You claimed that it was, that there was no other way to present the message.

        (Which would have led a rational person to say “hmmm, if there’s no other way to present this message than to be apparently racist, perhaps we should choose another message.” But no, that’s not what they did, is it? It certainly was an option. But not for them. They were on a mission. A mission from… well, not God, I guess, but someone apparently like him whose missions cannot be backed down from.)

        caused you to make shit up and put words in my mouth that I never said. Read my words again without your words and see if it makes sense now.

        It does. You were asking what image other than the one up there could have been used, but you asked the question rhetorically, claiming in the course of discussion “I can’t think of any other imagery, the other ones that come to mind don’t work for ME, therefore it HAD to be the image of a black person, didn’t it? – so what’s wrong with it then?”

        Which is what I said you were saying originally.

        Perhaps if you would read my words more literally and remember that I am a geek you might get a less biased opinion of me.

        What does being a geek have to do with any of this? Don’t besmirch the good name of geeks with your attempt to evade responsibility for what you said.

        No, it’s actually very relevant. It was all part of your insistence that the image HAD to be that of a black person.

        Except that I never ever said that.

        Reiterating: you asked a rhetorical question about what other image could possibly have replaced the image of the black man in chains, you came up with reasons why every single one that came to YOUR mind wouldn’t work, for YOU. That is insistence that the image HAD to be that of this black man in chains.

        So you did say that.

      • The question was not intended to be rhetorical. You took it that way. I meant it as a legitimate question.

      • You Know Who says:

        Stop lying.

        Your question was in response to a previous question about why the image had to be “one from the antebellum South” (i.e., that of a black slave in chains) – you responded by asking “what image of a slave would NOT be racist?” And then you proceeded to answer your own question: that you couldn’t think of ANY – that whichever ones you could think of were insufficient to convey the message you were trying to convey, that images of slaves from other countries and other periods in time simply wouldn’t do, etc.. It HAD to be THAT image, according to all the answers you had at hand ready to offer. (Presumably this was part of the stubborn “we’re not going to back down no matter what about this billboard and we’re proud of it” idiocy.)

        That’s what a rhetorical question is – a question where the asker already has an answer in mind but “asks” the question rhetorically in order to “prove” (e.g., by the process of elimination) that his presumptive answer is correct. “What image of a slave would NOT be racist?” Answer: none, I can’t think of any, therefore THIS image was justified!

        Don’t imagine you are not transparent.

        Your question was not asked with the goal of “yes, please tell me what images of a slave would not be racist so we could find a better one to replace this offensive one”. In fact, you’ve been insisting that there is an indelible bond between racism and slavery that cannot be broken – except for all the good examples where racism and slavery are discussed and displayed individually, of course. So don’t imagine

        Your question was rhetorical.

        Get over it.

        Stop pretending it wasn’t.

      • You have got to be fucking kidding me.

        I know exactly what a rhetorical question is. This was never intended to be one.

        Are you really going to pretend that you know what was going on in my mind better than I do when I, not you, typed that question?

        Really?

        Think about that for a while before you type yet another long-winded knee-jerk moronic reply.

        You were faced with two choices.

        Choice A) Admit to an honest misunderstanding of my intent when I typed the question. This would force you to admit that an enormous chunk of the text on this thread was caused by one misunderstanding on your part. But, it was an honest one. We could have moved on.

        Choice B) Continue to refuse to budge an inch on any point and assert that you are some kind of all-knowing being (dare I say god?) who can and does know the minds of others better than they know them themselves. This choice involves calling a friend a liar to his face. But, at least it wouldn’t cause you to admit to any part in an error, something of which you seem completely and utterly incapable.

        You actually chose B.

        Fuck you.

        Will you apologize for the accusation? Or, will you continue to assert your god status? It might cost you your claim to be an atheist. You might have to admit you believe in one god, yourself.

        I may make mistakes. I don’t lie. And, I remember very clearly when I typed that question. And, I remember very clearly intending that it be answered as a legitimate question.

      • You Know Who says:

        You have got to be fucking kidding me.

        Nope.

        I know exactly what a rhetorical question is.

        I’m sure you do. I gave a definition – why don’t you offer your own definition, or concur with mine if it so pleases you. Providing the definition is the only way one can draw a proper comparison to determine this was actually i