Priorities
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30-10-2012, 02:09 AM
Priorities
Okay. Pet peeve time.

Some atheists have managed to irk me.

Not piss me off, exactly, not make me mad. Just irk.

.... okay, I like saying irk.

I can think of a few examples of this. Which is to be expected when we have a large pool on the internet. And most of it I could put down to people expressing themselves poorly once or twice, or chemistry issues, or whatever. As in, take a deep breath and move on. All that's fine.

But that leaves a big irk-category of PRIORITIES.

Let's face it. Barring some form of omnipotence, we have limited time and limited resources. Atheists and other flavors of nonbelievers are particularly outgunned in these respects. This means that, in any competitive scenario, we need to play to our strengths and use our limited time, energy, etc SMARTER than our opponents use theirs. Better tactics, better strategies, and above all better priorities.

This means picking and choosing actions, both for minimum cost and maximum return. (Possibly slap some probabilities, standard deviations, and game theory onto that.) Yet a lot of people in the non-believing community at large (and a few here in this specific community though not many) follow what I think of as the sugar-high kitten strategy.

It's twitching! Where I can see it! POUNCE!

So, for example, when a single theist swings by the forum, makes a couple of shoddy arguments, and then pretty much leaves, a reaction of everyone jumping in with heated responses is... suboptimal. (Yes, I'm guilty of this too. Guiltier than most.) It's minimum return for maximum effort.

And when, say, we learn that there's a prayer group being held down the street that's open to all, but they're not agitating for something we detest, just minding their own business, perhaps trolling the crap out of them isn't the wisest move. Come on, they're small fry. Our time's more valuable than that.

Some basic guidelines for my personal use, which some of you may agree with:

Theists trying to hijack government institutions are a higher priority than those not trying to.
Theists trying to compel others into full or partial compliance with their beliefs are a higher priority than those not.
Theists bending their faiths to harm people (or deny them benefits normally available to all) have higher priority.
Theists with public visibility, a large audience, or other forms of significant influence have a higher priority.
Theists that can ideologically coexist with us and the rest of the world have a lower priority.

So I'd like to pose this question. What are our priorities? Which scenarios are more important to respond to, and which one less? What should be our strategies (long term, rather than just tactics of the moment)? Do these strategies imply priorities in the short term that make the best use of our limited resources?

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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30-10-2012, 02:25 AM
RE: Priorities
Who is we?

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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30-10-2012, 02:34 AM
RE: Priorities
"Indeed, organizing atheists has been compared to herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority. But a good first step would be to build up a critical mass of those willing to 'come out,' thereby encouraging others to do so. Even if they can't be herded, cats in sufficient numbers can make a lot of noise and they cannot be ignored.”


― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

That is all I can really say on this matter, why? Because like ClydeLee says:
(30-10-2012 02:25 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Who is we?

simply, there is no "we" in the manner you seem to imply.

The people closely associated with the namesake of female canines are suffering from a nondescript form of lunacy.
"Anti-environmentalism is like standing in front of a forest and going 'quick kill them they're coming right for us!'" - Jake Farr-Wharton, The Imaginary Friend Show.
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30-10-2012, 02:52 AM
RE: Priorities
I think that quote was just fucking brilliantly perfect. The only thing we atheists and other flavors of non-believers have in common is a general disbelief in any of the gods proposed by any religion we know of. If you lump agnostics in with that, there is even a bigger jumbled mess. There are therefore very few topics on which we will agree on, including changing political policy based on religion. I for one have no problem voting for a candidate that worships the Christian God, Vishnu, or Captain Crunch so long as he/she is embodying my ideals, and is honest. Even if "we" or a majority of "we" only "attacked" (whatever that really means) the people that were generally agreed upon were douche-bags that are trying to push their religious agendas and dogmas on us we are still (in America) vastly outgunned and would be over-whelmed. I appreciate that candor, and excitement, but I have become a little jaded and cynical lately, especially within the last year. If you want to organize something, I'm all ears. Promote, gather, and organize. As for me, I wish you all the luck in the world, I hope you become president one day. That being said, I cannot publicly reveal myself as it would have damaging professional, and personal consequences which I am not currently willing to endure. Someday that will change (assuming I live long enough), but that will probably not happen for another 25-30 years.

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30-10-2012, 03:50 AM
RE: Priorities
Summary as I understand it:

-Some atheists have poor motivations when talking to theists. This I agree with. Some are bored or want to inflict pain as their final objective.
-Some atheists don't have a goal. I'd agree here too.

But you're inflating the importance of atheism for these people, and the capabilities of many of the users here.
a. For many, they are the "small fries" and can only reach out to other "small fries".
b. Many only approach atheism (on this board and off) as a casual hobby, when they're bored, or for some sort of ego boost, or to gain a sense of community.

There is no greater list of values or attributes that atheists can rally behind. Atheism just means "no belief". It says nothing of their morals, or opinions, or values, etc.

You can be an atheist for bad reasons.
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30-10-2012, 03:57 AM
RE: Priorities
I don't know about anyone else, but when I'm sitting in my living room and a cockroach crawls under the door; I respond to it in the same way I would a 200lb. man who kicked the door down: I blast it with a deer-slug from my 870.

It's proved effective in all scenarios thus far. Smile

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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30-10-2012, 04:22 AM
RE: Priorities
(30-10-2012 03:57 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  I don't know about anyone else, but when I'm sitting in my living room and a cockroach crawls under the door; I respond to it in the same way I would a 200lb. man who kicked the door down: I blast it with a deer-slug from my 870.

It's proved effective in all scenarios thus far. Smile

Then you just wind up with a bunch of holes in your floor for no good damn reason (to continue the metaphor). That's how I see it anyway.

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30-10-2012, 04:28 AM
RE: Priorities
Lol. A fine continuation, but the point is rather empty. MY point is that I go all-out on any theist I come across. Is it, at times, what can be considered overkill? Sure. But it's still effective (even if it's more effective than it needed to be), regardless of how strong my opponent is.

Theres no room for "holes in floors" after that point's been made. Wink

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30-10-2012, 04:46 AM
RE: Priorities
(30-10-2012 04:28 AM)Misanthropik Wrote:  Lol. A fine continuation, but the point is rather empty. MY point is that I go all-out on any theist I come across. Is it, at times, what can be considered overkill? Sure. But it's still effective (even if it's more effective than it needed to be), regardless of how strong my opponent is.

Theres no room for "holes in floors" after that point's been made. Wink

Yeah, I'm not so sure you understood my metaphors point. What I was getting at is sometimes if you go all out you only wind up doing more harm than good. For example, to the best of knowledge I am the only non-believer in my family. Now, I could go off on my family about their ridiculous irrational beliefs, but what would that accomplish? Well, Thanksgiving would be more awkward, and I'm sure I'd cause a lot of undue worry about my immortal soul, and that's probably about it. This is only one example, it would also hurt me professionally if I was vocal about my non-belief to my superiors, especially here in the bible-belt.

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30-10-2012, 05:03 AM
RE: Priorities
Sound point.

In that case, I suppose it's a good thing I don't mind a drafty living room Wink

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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