I'm Too Hostile to Believers
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20-06-2014, 11:12 AM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
(20-06-2014 12:12 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  I grew up as a believer. The entirety of my childhood was focused on (and, I now realize, stolen by) the ritualized belief in and worship of God. Everything I did, I did for God.

But that's a story many of you are familiar with, because you've lived it as well. Since losing our faith, though, we now see belief for what it really is. It is irrational. It is unreasonable. And, in many ways, it is positively harmful. It is morally disruptive, and it causes a great deal of damage to our society - even in the most subtle of ways. For this reason, I am angry. Yes, I am the stereotypical "angry atheist" who belittles the beliefs of others and encourages them to do away with such ways of thinking.

The problem is that I'm a little too hostile. In fact, I can be downright savage toward others when engaging with them about their beliefs. A lot of people point to Dave Silverman, for example, as someone who is "too aggressive" with believers. He posts billboards that read "You know it's just a myth" or "You know they're all scams," and everyone - even those within the atheist community - gets up in arms about how he's being too direct and how he's only going to turn people off. But frankly, I could never see what was so offensive about such methods. To me, people like Silverman aren't being hostile enough. Here are just a few gems of vitriol that I've spewed against believers:

"Your beliefs are dog-shit. Plain and simple. No, I don't have to respect them. Your beliefs are a disease."

"When did I suggest that human life is superior to ANYTHING? Now you're pulling blind assumptions out of your ass. Not surprising, really; it's what you believers do."

"Once you stop being a selfish prick, maybe you'll be able to make a positive change, rather than masturbating in your god's love."

"Your belief is a disease of the mind. There is no "tolerable" level of disease. There is no point at which your beliefs are ok."

And, of course, the ever-popular punctuation to any argument:

"Fuck yourself."

So…I'm more than a little hostile. (Those were all culled from just the last hour of argument with several individuals, btw. We've not even begun to examine the tip of the iceberg)

I've been listening to a lot of the "Dogma Debate" podcast, lately. In fact, it's become my new favorite podcast of all time. I can't get enough of it. One thing that's really begun to sink in with me is how the host(s) go about arguing with believers. They don't shame and ridicule. They don't berate and they certainly don't issue profanity-laden insults. Quite the opposite, actually. The main host - David Smalley - has a stern method of compassion when dealing with these people. He doesn't try to change their minds by yelling at them. Rather, he tries to change their minds by relating to them as human beings and connecting with them on a personal level. He prefers compassion over vitriol.

And the truth, if I'm being completely honest, is that it works much better than my method. Yes, aggression has its uses. It really does. But I'm beginning to feel as though I've been using that as an excuse to be hostile with believers. "Sometimes you have to smack people in the intellect with a sledgehammer in order to wake them up," I've always said. But while that may be true, it doesn't mean every problem requires a hammer. It doesn't mean I have to go swinging left and right and knocking everyone's intellectual teeth out. It makes me feel a lot better to do that, yes. But I'm slowly beginning to accept the truth that it does little to make them more susceptible to a change of mind. In reality, their walls go up, and it becomes a competition of who can be more hostile than the other before everyone storms off. Invariably, I spew such hatred that they give up and leave; telling me they'll pray for me and that they hope I can "one day learn to live a life of love with God, instead of a life of hatred without him." I just end up making non-belief look bad for everyone else.

The point of all this rambling is that I want to be more calm in my interactions with believers. I actually have had civil interactions in the past, and the results were always much more rewarding. They were open to my views, and, to some extent, even changed their own in accordance with my arguments. People really are more open when I'm not being a complete asshole to them. (Imagine that) The problem is that I get so fucking angry when I'm confronted with certain beliefs or with certain arguments that I can't control myself. I go off. I try to keep it cool, but my fuze is very short and I become a ravenous, angry, "militant" atheist. I don't wish harm upon any of my opponents, but I do completely break down who they are as individuals. I attack their beliefs (as we should), and then I attack them for holding such hideous beliefs (as we…shouldn't? Should we?). Again, this is when walls go up, and no progress is made.

How the hell do people manage to be so calm and collected with believers? Teach me your ways.

For me, the secret to calmness (which I don't always achieve, or try to achieve) is three pieces of knowledge.

1) You're right and they're wrong. You've got very good reasons to believe this. You've seen the flaws in the religion that they, likely, have either turned a blind eye to or spackled over as unsightly and then ignored. You're secure in your position. Every falacy they shout is a soothing balm, because it emphasizes this.

2) As you noted, aggression is bad tactics. You'll get further with calm arguments, compassionately presented. (You'll get EVEN further by identifying the role that religion plays in each individual's psychology and attacking the particular hooks it has in them.) And there IS the added smugness of being the better man. The best tell-off when some Christian storms off in a huff about the evil amoral atheist is shouting after them a completely genuine "have a nice day!"

3) They're on the losing side of history. Most of the things that make Christianity awful are on their way out. Their complaints will not stop this.

None of these are proofs that you're right, and few constitute evidence, but they might help you act nicer in your confrontations.

My main problem with Smalley on the logical argument front is that he's got a short attention span. (Though he says he's actually accommodating his listeners' short attention spans. It works out the same way.) He'll jump in questioning before he's even gotten his Christian guest painting a broad picture of the argument. Part of the problem is that he allows his guests to dive into the argument depth-first... Premise A, Premise B... and he should start off by asking them to paint a broad road map before going into details. Like a clear thesis sentence in an essay. By not doing this, he takes up a lot of airtime pressing against a fairly solid Premise A, without ever realizing that the argument's fatal flaw lies in a completely untenable Premise B... because he hasn't let the speaker even mention Premise B yet.

(20-06-2014 09:20 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(20-06-2014 08:48 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  In fact, whenever someone "goes off on me" and begins saying things like "you're stupid" or "you're gay" or something like that in response to an argument I have put forward, I smile and think about what Christopher Hitchens said once. He said that whenever people resort to the ad hominem, he took it as them having nothing to say about his arguments.

So I think you are taking a step in the right direction. You are realizing that in order to get your point across there are more effective ways than berating and attacking the person you are talking with.

What if someone says to you "You're stupid" and you actually *are* stupid though Consider

Then they should be able to provide a large amount of evidence of stupidity to back up the ad-hominem, and that evidence, if immediately topical, will include a strong debunking of the proffered argument's flaws.
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20-06-2014, 11:17 AM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
(20-06-2014 10:23 AM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  
(20-06-2014 08:48 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  In fact, whenever someone "goes off on me" and begins saying things like "you're stupid" or "you're gay" or something like that in response to an argument I have put forward, I smile and think about what Christopher Hitchens said once. He said that whenever people resort to the ad hominem, he took it as them having nothing to say about his arguments.

What Hitches said does not apply to Jerry though, as he has had every single one of his pustulant thrashings he calls "arguments" soundly destroyed by multiple people on this very forum (to say nothing of other forums).

Here is the quote that applies to his idiocy.
"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."
~Thomas Jefferson~

People don't call him stupid because we can't address his arguments, we call him stupid because we already have dismantled every argument he has and his is to stupid to realize it.

Posts like this only serve to reinforce my point. Calling me "Jerry" does not help you at all. Using the word "to" instead of "too" does not help you either.

And guess what?

Even if all of my arguments here were refuted, that in no way means that ad hominems used to invalidate people's argument(s) are not logical fallacies.

When an atheist can provide nothing more than "you're" stupid or "you're dishonest" to invalidate my argument(s) it demonstrates they have nothing else to say about the argument so they attack me personally to invalidate my argument which is fallacious.

Nor do I agree with Jefferson. Why ridicule an unintelligible proposition? Why not just show how it is unintelligible?

Lincoln said that the best way to conquer your enemy is to make them your friend. This seems far wiser and productive. But how is one to befriend someone through ridicule?
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20-06-2014, 11:22 AM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
(20-06-2014 11:12 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(20-06-2014 12:12 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  I grew up as a believer. The entirety of my childhood was focused on (and, I now realize, stolen by) the ritualized belief in and worship of God. Everything I did, I did for God.

But that's a story many of you are familiar with, because you've lived it as well. Since losing our faith, though, we now see belief for what it really is. It is irrational. It is unreasonable. And, in many ways, it is positively harmful. It is morally disruptive, and it causes a great deal of damage to our society - even in the most subtle of ways. For this reason, I am angry. Yes, I am the stereotypical "angry atheist" who belittles the beliefs of others and encourages them to do away with such ways of thinking.

The problem is that I'm a little too hostile. In fact, I can be downright savage toward others when engaging with them about their beliefs. A lot of people point to Dave Silverman, for example, as someone who is "too aggressive" with believers. He posts billboards that read "You know it's just a myth" or "You know they're all scams," and everyone - even those within the atheist community - gets up in arms about how he's being too direct and how he's only going to turn people off. But frankly, I could never see what was so offensive about such methods. To me, people like Silverman aren't being hostile enough. Here are just a few gems of vitriol that I've spewed against believers:

"Your beliefs are dog-shit. Plain and simple. No, I don't have to respect them. Your beliefs are a disease."

"When did I suggest that human life is superior to ANYTHING? Now you're pulling blind assumptions out of your ass. Not surprising, really; it's what you believers do."

"Once you stop being a selfish prick, maybe you'll be able to make a positive change, rather than masturbating in your god's love."

"Your belief is a disease of the mind. There is no "tolerable" level of disease. There is no point at which your beliefs are ok."

And, of course, the ever-popular punctuation to any argument:

"Fuck yourself."

So…I'm more than a little hostile. (Those were all culled from just the last hour of argument with several individuals, btw. We've not even begun to examine the tip of the iceberg)

I've been listening to a lot of the "Dogma Debate" podcast, lately. In fact, it's become my new favorite podcast of all time. I can't get enough of it. One thing that's really begun to sink in with me is how the host(s) go about arguing with believers. They don't shame and ridicule. They don't berate and they certainly don't issue profanity-laden insults. Quite the opposite, actually. The main host - David Smalley - has a stern method of compassion when dealing with these people. He doesn't try to change their minds by yelling at them. Rather, he tries to change their minds by relating to them as human beings and connecting with them on a personal level. He prefers compassion over vitriol.

And the truth, if I'm being completely honest, is that it works much better than my method. Yes, aggression has its uses. It really does. But I'm beginning to feel as though I've been using that as an excuse to be hostile with believers. "Sometimes you have to smack people in the intellect with a sledgehammer in order to wake them up," I've always said. But while that may be true, it doesn't mean every problem requires a hammer. It doesn't mean I have to go swinging left and right and knocking everyone's intellectual teeth out. It makes me feel a lot better to do that, yes. But I'm slowly beginning to accept the truth that it does little to make them more susceptible to a change of mind. In reality, their walls go up, and it becomes a competition of who can be more hostile than the other before everyone storms off. Invariably, I spew such hatred that they give up and leave; telling me they'll pray for me and that they hope I can "one day learn to live a life of love with God, instead of a life of hatred without him." I just end up making non-belief look bad for everyone else.

The point of all this rambling is that I want to be more calm in my interactions with believers. I actually have had civil interactions in the past, and the results were always much more rewarding. They were open to my views, and, to some extent, even changed their own in accordance with my arguments. People really are more open when I'm not being a complete asshole to them. (Imagine that) The problem is that I get so fucking angry when I'm confronted with certain beliefs or with certain arguments that I can't control myself. I go off. I try to keep it cool, but my fuze is very short and I become a ravenous, angry, "militant" atheist. I don't wish harm upon any of my opponents, but I do completely break down who they are as individuals. I attack their beliefs (as we should), and then I attack them for holding such hideous beliefs (as we…shouldn't? Should we?). Again, this is when walls go up, and no progress is made.

How the hell do people manage to be so calm and collected with believers? Teach me your ways.

For me, the secret to calmness (which I don't always achieve, or try to achieve) is three pieces of knowledge.

1) You're right and they're wrong. You've got very good reasons to believe this. You've seen the flaws in the religion that they, likely, have either turned a blind eye to or spackled over as unsightly and then ignored. You're secure in your position. Every falacy they shout is a soothing balm, because it emphasizes this.

2) As you noted, aggression is bad tactics. You'll get further with calm arguments, compassionately presented. (You'll get EVEN further by identifying the role that religion plays in each individual's psychology and attacking the particular hooks it has in them.) And there IS the added smugness of being the better man. The best tell-off when some Christian storms off in a huff about the evil amoral atheist is shouting after them a completely genuine "have a nice day!"

3) They're on the losing side of history. Most of the things that make Christianity awful are on their way out. Their complaints will not stop this.

None of these are proofs that you're right, and few constitute evidence, but they might help you act nicer in your confrontations.

My main problem with Smalley on the logical argument front is that he's got a short attention span. (Though he says he's actually accommodating his listeners' short attention spans. It works out the same way.) He'll jump in questioning before he's even gotten his Christian guest painting a broad picture of the argument. Part of the problem is that he allows his guests to dive into the argument depth-first... Premise A, Premise B... and he should start off by asking them to paint a broad road map before going into details. Like a clear thesis sentence in an essay. By not doing this, he takes up a lot of airtime pressing against a fairly solid Premise A, without ever realizing that the argument's fatal flaw lies in a completely untenable Premise B... because he hasn't let the speaker even mention Premise B yet.

(20-06-2014 09:20 AM)morondog Wrote:  What if someone says to you "You're stupid" and you actually *are* stupid though Consider

Then they should be able to provide a large amount of evidence of stupidity to back up the ad-hominem, and that evidence, if immediately topical, will include a strong debunking of the proffered argument's flaws.

Attacks against a proponent of an argument in an attempt to invalidate the argument is fallacious regardless of how much evidence you have for a person being "stupid" or whatever you call them.

A pathological liar can present an argument. Saying he is a patholohical liar, therefore his argument is false is fallacious.
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20-06-2014, 11:27 AM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
An additional thought I had after my previous post is about Ghandi. His tactics strongly showed that when you yourself do nothing wrong, the wrong from the opposition stands out like a sore thumb. I think this applies to discussions with the religious too. Let them be the ones to create their own downfall with arguments that don't hold up.

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20-06-2014, 03:02 PM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
I think it is important to accurately reflect your beliefs. Neutering your position so as not to offend or alienate someone is counter productive. As Richard Dawkins as become fond of saying recently "People don't like clarity. They expect you to weasel around a little bit".

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and...ction.html

It is important to be clear and unwavering. Calling out christianity as a mythos and supporting that is neither offensive nor aggressive.

This does not include, nor is it helpful, to insult or belittle the person you are talking to. If you call someone an asshole or tell them their religion is horse shit then you have just given them permission to stop listening. There is very real evidence that shows, neurologically, that when a person is intimidated, or scared, or angry that the rational centers of their brain literally stop functioning, and the emotional centers take over. If you lose the person you are talking to in this way it becomes quite literally impossible for them to rationally consider your argument or their own position. The most threatening you can be to a religious person is calm, collected, respectful (to them as an individual), and to speak with certainty and clarity.

I think, in general, atheist need to be more vocal and visible to religious people. The "fight" if you will doesn't include keeping track of members and non members, and the "scoreboard" of converts to deconverts is not all that important. Religion, when left unchallenged, becomes an uncontrollable beast. You need look no further than the middle east, or consider the domination of the catholic church in the middle ages and early renaissance, to gain an appreciation for this fact. Religion, if regularly challenged and belittled, becomes impotent. People may still believe in god but they might not claim you need to believe in god, for example. I just think there are better and more productive ways to be vocal than others.
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20-06-2014, 03:14 PM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
(20-06-2014 12:12 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  I grew up as a believer. The entirety of my childhood was focused on (and, I now realize, stolen by) the ritualized belief in and worship of God. Everything I did, I did for God.

But that's a story many of you are familiar with, because you've lived it as well. Since losing our faith, though, we now see belief for what it really is. It is irrational. It is unreasonable. And, in many ways, it is positively harmful. It is morally disruptive, and it causes a great deal of damage to our society - even in the most subtle of ways. For this reason, I am angry. Yes, I am the stereotypical "angry atheist" who belittles the beliefs of others and encourages them to do away with such ways of thinking.

The problem is that I'm a little too hostile. In fact, I can be downright savage toward others when engaging with them about their beliefs. A lot of people point to Dave Silverman, for example, as someone who is "too aggressive" with believers. He posts billboards that read "You know it's just a myth" or "You know they're all scams," and everyone - even those within the atheist community - gets up in arms about how he's being too direct and how he's only going to turn people off. But frankly, I could never see what was so offensive about such methods. To me, people like Silverman aren't being hostile enough. Here are just a few gems of vitriol that I've spewed against believers:

"Your beliefs are dog-shit. Plain and simple. No, I don't have to respect them. Your beliefs are a disease."

"When did I suggest that human life is superior to ANYTHING? Now you're pulling blind assumptions out of your ass. Not surprising, really; it's what you believers do."

"Once you stop being a selfish prick, maybe you'll be able to make a positive change, rather than masturbating in your god's love."

"Your belief is a disease of the mind. There is no "tolerable" level of disease. There is no point at which your beliefs are ok."

And, of course, the ever-popular punctuation to any argument:

"Fuck yourself."

So…I'm more than a little hostile. (Those were all culled from just the last hour of argument with several individuals, btw. We've not even begun to examine the tip of the iceberg)

I've been listening to a lot of the "Dogma Debate" podcast, lately. In fact, it's become my new favorite podcast of all time. I can't get enough of it. One thing that's really begun to sink in with me is how the host(s) go about arguing with believers. They don't shame and ridicule. They don't berate and they certainly don't issue profanity-laden insults. Quite the opposite, actually. The main host - David Smalley - has a stern method of compassion when dealing with these people. He doesn't try to change their minds by yelling at them. Rather, he tries to change their minds by relating to them as human beings and connecting with them on a personal level. He prefers compassion over vitriol.

And the truth, if I'm being completely honest, is that it works much better than my method. Yes, aggression has its uses. It really does. But I'm beginning to feel as though I've been using that as an excuse to be hostile with believers. "Sometimes you have to smack people in the intellect with a sledgehammer in order to wake them up," I've always said. But while that may be true, it doesn't mean every problem requires a hammer. It doesn't mean I have to go swinging left and right and knocking everyone's intellectual teeth out. It makes me feel a lot better to do that, yes. But I'm slowly beginning to accept the truth that it does little to make them more susceptible to a change of mind. In reality, their walls go up, and it becomes a competition of who can be more hostile than the other before everyone storms off. Invariably, I spew such hatred that they give up and leave; telling me they'll pray for me and that they hope I can "one day learn to live a life of love with God, instead of a life of hatred without him." I just end up making non-belief look bad for everyone else.

The point of all this rambling is that I want to be more calm in my interactions with believers. I actually have had civil interactions in the past, and the results were always much more rewarding. They were open to my views, and, to some extent, even changed their own in accordance with my arguments. People really are more open when I'm not being a complete asshole to them. (Imagine that) The problem is that I get so fucking angry when I'm confronted with certain beliefs or with certain arguments that I can't control myself. I go off. I try to keep it cool, but my fuze is very short and I become a ravenous, angry, "militant" atheist. I don't wish harm upon any of my opponents, but I do completely break down who they are as individuals. I attack their beliefs (as we should), and then I attack them for holding such hideous beliefs (as we…shouldn't? Should we?). Again, this is when walls go up, and no progress is made.

How the hell do people manage to be so calm and collected with believers? Teach me your ways.

I may have come across some of your comments posted around the internet or maybe is was some other angry atheist. Some of the comments under The Atheist Experience youtube videos are real gems. I'm going to go ever right now and read some!

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Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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20-06-2014, 08:32 PM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
Quote:You are learning why ad hominems are fallacious. Attacking a person in no way refutes their arguments.


Pfffffft -- a personal attack is not in itself fallacious, you fucking moron. An Ad Hominem fallacy claims that a person's argument or assertion is false SOLELY on the basis of some *irrelevant* alleged personal flaw. YOUR personal flaws that we have pointed out are quote relevant here, BTW -- your constant outright lying, willful ignorance, disingenuousness, and blatant ignoring and sidestepping of arguments and rebuttals that destroy your batshit assertions, and your running away from threads and debates only to troll the same asinine bullshit you got beat up over in another thread, for example. Calling you out on your disingenuousness, dishonesty, lying, obfuscation, dodging, equivocating, willful ignorance, and intentionally dishonest bullshit-artist tactics (all of which you refuse to acknowledge and correct, or even to examine), puts you on notice that your shit will not be tolerated and serves to warn anyone paying attention to any threads you defile that you are trying to manipulate and trick people into buying your snake oil, and anything you say should be treated with suspicion.

Your idiotic claim that the use of personal attacks negates any and all points that such attacks accompany is simply your own sad failing attempt to dodge legitimate rebuttals that destroy your batshit-crazy assertions.

You are in the Real World, you whiny pussy. People don't have to play nicey-nice with asshole trolls like you who come in here trying to shove your superstitious bullshit down our throats. We are free to both destroy your inane drivel AND tell you exactly what we think of you at the same time. If you don't like it, there's the fucking door. We are under no obligation to pretend to welcome asshole trolls like you.


Quote:He said that whenever people resort to the ad hominem, he took it as them having nothing to say about his arguments.

That might be true if there is nothing presented AT ALL besides personal attacks. He was more likely referring to Ad Hominem FALLACIES, which would certainly make his statement true, since Ad Hominem FALLACIES, as he points out, fail to address a person's actual argument. But again you, in your desperation to DODGE real arguments and rebuttals, are fallaciously attempting to disingenuously equivocate incidental personal attacks with Ad Hominem FALLACIES. They are completely different animals. But you already know this: you have been advised of this many times here, and your continuing attempts to pander the lie are just more evidence of your dishonesty. As if anyone here needed any more evidence to convince them. There is no pretending to take the high road for asshole trolls like you. You aren't fooling ANYONE here.

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20-06-2014, 08:49 PM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
(20-06-2014 11:17 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  [quote='WhiskeyDebates' pid='596318' dateline='1403281429']

What Hitches said does not apply to Jerry though, as he has had every single one of his pustulant thrashings he calls "arguments" soundly destroyed by multiple people on this very forum (to say nothing of other forums).

Here is the quote that applies to his idiocy.
"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."
~Thomas Jefferson~

People don't call him stupid because we can't address his arguments, we call him stupid because we already have dismantled every argument he has and his is to stupid to realize it.

Posts like this only serve to reinforce my point. Calling me "Jerry" does not help you at all. Using the word "to" instead of "too" does not help you either.[/quote]


Not at all. Your smoke screen isn't fooling anyone.

Quote:And guess what?

Even if all of my arguments here were refuted,

They have been. Many times over.



Quote: that in no way means that ad hominems used to invalidate people's argument(s) are not logical fallacies.

NO ONE HERE tries to use personal attacks to "invalidate an argument", or thinks that a personal attack invalidates an argument, you fucking idiot. NO ONE.

[Image: strawman1.jpg]


Quote:When an atheist can provide nothing more than "you're" stupid or "you're dishonest" to invalidate my argument(s) it demonstrates they have nothing else to say about the argument so they attack me personally to invalidate my argument which is fallacious.

There is not a single case in which that was ALL that an atheist here used to destroy your batshit assertions. NOT ONE. Personal attacks don't "invalidate" arguments, and no one here believes that to be the case. YOU, on the other hand, moronically believe that the inclusion of personal attacks in the dismantling of your tripe invalidates the destruction of your idiotic drivel. That would be a Fallacy Fallacy, but it's not even that since we are not employing Ad Hominem FALLACIES in the destruction of your horseshit.


Quote:Nor do I agree with Jefferson. Why ridicule an unintelligible proposition? Why not just show how it is unintelligible?

Good of you to admit that your propositions are unintelligible.


Quote:Lincoln said that the best way to conquer your enemy is to make them your friend. This seems far wiser and productive.

And how did that work out for him at Ford's Theater, asshole?



Quote:But how is one to befriend someone through ridicule?

We don't make friends with asshole trolls like you.




(20-06-2014 11:22 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  [quote='Reltzik' pid='596335' dateline='1403284379']

For me, the secret to calmness (which I don't always achieve, or try to achieve) is three pieces of knowledge.

1) You're right and they're wrong. You've got very good reasons to believe this. You've seen the flaws in the religion that they, likely, have either turned a blind eye to or spackled over as unsightly and then ignored. You're secure in your position. Every falacy they shout is a soothing balm, because it emphasizes this.

2) As you noted, aggression is bad tactics. You'll get further with calm arguments, compassionately presented. (You'll get EVEN further by identifying the role that religion plays in each individual's psychology and attacking the particular hooks it has in them.) And there IS the added smugness of being the better man. The best tell-off when some Christian storms off in a huff about the evil amoral atheist is shouting after them a completely genuine "have a nice day!"

3) They're on the losing side of history. Most of the things that make Christianity awful are on their way out. Their complaints will not stop this.

None of these are proofs that you're right, and few constitute evidence, but they might help you act nicer in your confrontations.

My main problem with Smalley on the logical argument front is that he's got a short attention span. (Though he says he's actually accommodating his listeners' short attention spans. It works out the same way.) He'll jump in questioning before he's even gotten his Christian guest painting a broad picture of the argument. Part of the problem is that he allows his guests to dive into the argument depth-first... Premise A, Premise B... and he should start off by asking them to paint a broad road map before going into details. Like a clear thesis sentence in an essay. By not doing this, he takes up a lot of airtime pressing against a fairly solid Premise A, without ever realizing that the argument's fatal flaw lies in a completely untenable Premise B... because he hasn't let the speaker even mention Premise B yet.


Then they should be able to provide a large amount of evidence of stupidity to back up the ad-hominem, and that evidence, if immediately topical, will include a strong debunking of the proffered argument's flaws.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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20-06-2014, 09:04 PM
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
Quote:I'm Too Hostile to Believers

You say that as if its a bad thing.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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20-06-2014, 09:34 PM (This post was last modified: 21-06-2014 12:50 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: I'm Too Hostile to Believers
(20-06-2014 11:22 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  Attacks against a proponent of an argument in an attempt to invalidate the argument is fallacious regardless of how much evidence you have for a person being "stupid" or whatever you call them.

A pathological liar can present an argument. Saying he is a patholohical liar, therefore his argument is false is fallacious.

(20-06-2014 11:12 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  Then they should be able to provide a large amount of evidence of stupidity to back up the ad-hominem, and that evidence, if immediately topical, will include a strong debunking of the proffered argument's flaws.

Translation: Immediately topical evidence is evidence relevant to the immediate topic, ie, the argument in question. This is the difference between calling someone an idiot, versus showing that the argument that they have put forward is idiotic and that they are by extension an idiot. One, as you point out, is a baseless ad hominem that does not address the idiot's actual argument. While correct in the abstract, as a response to my comment this was a straw man on your part. The other addresses the idiot's argument quite thoroughly, and then uses the idiot's failure in argument to provide reasonable support for the additional, tangential point that the idiot is an idiot. I suggested that this would be feasible in the case that the idiot was in fact an idiot rather than just being called an idiot, and you maliciously and/or ignorantly (and either way idiotically) chose not to address this, in favor of a straw man that was itself a subtle ad-hominem.

Have a nice day! Big Grin
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