Stupid?
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23-05-2011, 01:38 PM
RE: Stupid?
I'm not saying it's the likely case for everyone but... if this man who is feeling immense pain would spend more time working on his life in reality and spending less time wishing and praying for a better afterlife he (or some others like him) might actually start heading in a better direction. That's where a bit of mocking might actually be a plus. I've been mocked away from some silly ideas in my time and learned from it. I didn't appreciate the mocking when it happened but it probably accelerated the process of thinking realistically.

We all enter this world in the same way: naked; screaming; soaked in blood. But if you live your life right, that kind of thing doesn't have to stop there.
Dana Gould
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23-05-2011, 02:03 PM
 
RE: Stupid?
[Image: rapture-nonsense.jpg]

Stupid? Yes. Some believers are indeed just plain stupid.
Others are simply ignorant. I find it impossible that a thinking person, who applies a rational critical eye to the Bible, could ever be a Fundamentalist believer in it or in the god it describes.

Personally, I don't pity anyone weak enough to look forward to the Rapture. They deserve the contempt and ridicule they receive, for being so gullible as to give their life to a lie.

If god didn't forgive Adam and Eve why does anyone think he is capable of forgiving them?

There's a reason Christians are called sheep. And it's not because the animal is a genius.
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23-05-2011, 02:48 PM
RE: Stupid?
I am with those who say stupidity deserves no sympathy. We aren't illiterate goat herders any more, we are supposed to be a bit smarter than just fall for every stupid superstition that comes our way. The problem is that these idiots also get to vote, and therefore their stupidity does end up affecting me personally. These are the people who want creationism taught in school, or make abortion illegal, or make stem cell research illegal, etc.
If it was for me, I'd make stupidity illegal...

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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24-05-2011, 06:23 PM
RE: Stupid?
Thanks for all the responses, erbody (except you, Gassy. Man. That was just cold).

And thank you for that video, Dancing Stan. I thought it was tremendous.

I understand the difficulty that some of you are expressing and I respect it.

I think one of the most profound moments of my life came after a meeting of the International Socialists that I had attended. We went to the pub and had a beer (in the Shatner building I might add). We were discussing armed South American socialist revolutions and one of the people at the table said that she felt that the great mistake of one of those revolutions was that they didn't kill the generals. Because they didn't execute them, they concocted a counter revolution and seized power once again. Hearing that, my life changed instantly. I realised that we're all in this together. Someone's right is always someone else's wrong. We can laugh at them for it, we can kill them for it, but none of that ever brings us together. Either everyone moves forward or none of us do. I became a lover of the notion that difference is fine, that humans are humans regardless of any beliefs and that inviting people in does way more than kicking them out, or when they're down and out.

Anyhoo, that was all a very dramatic way of saying that all of this was, I think, a frittered opportunity for dialogue cashed in for self-gratification and that more positivity would come from coming together over this.

I don't think I quite got across what I meant, so time for another story. I was at a club in Montreal called Les foufounes électriques. It's a bit of a magnet for sub-cultures of every kind; a sort of sub-culture nexus. I was on the dance floor standing next to a neo-nazi skinhead (quick reminder, I'm black). He dropped his cigarettes on the floor (back in the days when you could smoke in clubs) and a half dozen of them spilled out. I reached down, picked them up, put the cigarettes back in the pack and handed them to him. His face changed. I could see the wheels turning. He couldn't comprehend why a black man handed him, a neo-nazi in full regalia, his cigarettes when he would just as same knife me in the alley. He was so overwhelmed that without a word, he pocketed his smokes and left the club.

I don't know. Anyone picking up what I'm putting down?

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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24-05-2011, 06:59 PM
RE: Stupid?
Of course I am, but at the same time that's individual encounters. Mockery is often done on a group and the reason you do a lot of it is because many people follow a majority thinking idea. Prove that most don't agree and they will wonder. If I'm talking with someone I would rarely (I do have militant times) attack that person. I focus on educating people when I can, but I can't educate a group I can only dissuade them, because I am not a group. It's a huge difference.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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26-05-2011, 09:46 AM
 
RE: Stupid?
To be frank, I find it hard to sympathize with these doomsdayers.

Do you want to sympathize with somebody who throws out all the food in his home, and then claims to be hungry ? I find this exactly the same. I feel these sort of people need ridicule, as they are beyond rational repair. They abandoned reason, for faith and this is what they deserve. I would rather thoroughly ridicule them, in the hope that it might spark on their long hibernating brains. But, I would sympathize with their children for the misery they had to endure, due to their parents stupidness.
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26-05-2011, 01:02 PM
RE: Stupid?
We also have to remember that these people were looking forward to a time where they would be scooped away leaving us in a world that was to be ravaged by disaster and damnation.

Ghost, I understand what you're saying. Underneath all this bullshit we're still people and if any one of them fell into the river I'd give them a hand to keep them from drowning. However, their belief system tells them we are evil and deserve a lesser place in their eternity. Until they can take a look at their own belief system and realize it's twisted and immoral I can't sympathize with their ideological failures.

It could also mean you have a better capacity for empathy than I do. So it goes. I probably could not have done what you did in the club (and I've never been the target of that kind of hate either). Maybe I'll get to that point sometime in my life, cheers.

We all enter this world in the same way: naked; screaming; soaked in blood. But if you live your life right, that kind of thing doesn't have to stop there.
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30-05-2011, 11:48 PM
RE: Stupid?
(24-05-2011 06:23 PM)Ghost Wrote:  And thank you for that video, Dancing Stan. I thought it was tremendous.


I realised that we're all in this together. Someone's right is always someone else's wrong. We can laugh at them for it, we can kill them for it, but none of that ever brings us together. Either everyone moves forward or none of us do. I became a lover of the notion that difference is fine, that humans are humans regardless of any beliefs and that inviting people in does way more than kicking them out, or when they're down and out.

Anyhoo, that was all a very dramatic way of saying that all of this was, I think, a frittered opportunity for dialogue cashed in for self-gratification and that more positivity would come from coming together over this.

Hi Matt,

First, sorry for taking so long to respond, I don't check in as often as I might, and sometimes miss responses to some of my posts.

I'm glad you enjoyed that video, I thought he made some very valid points. And I do believe some of us have missed an opportunity for self reflection on the areas where we might ourselves be blind on certain issues. It's very easy for me to see your delusions, much harder for me to be aware of, or accept, my own. That being said I also realize that some beliefs are potentially dangerous (Ask an Atheist TV, in Tacoma WA linked to a report of a teen who might have committed suicide because the rapture failed to happen), and while I agree that making fun of such beliefs is unlikely to change them, they do need to be shown as what they are, superstitious nonsense, so that these beliefs have less chance of influencing peoples behavior in the future.

I also agree that civility can cause a moment of disconnect in people who are perhaps expecting a different behavior, and I would always try to accord a degree of respect to someone I disagree with when in a one-on-one encounter, but, again, in the hopes of creating some disconnect for those who are unsure of whether or not to accept patently absurd stories, I think the ridicule of ideas that are patently delusional serves a valid and perhaps even commendable purpose.

I did attend a Left Behind Party (Countdown To Backpedaling, in Tacoma by the Seattle Atheists) where we had much fun at the expense of those ludicrous ideas, but, in the same way as I attempt to be as compassionate as possible toward those with brain disorders or possible mental illness, I would try to treat someone I encountered who believes in the rapture in a similar manner. However some folks will insist on following their irrational beliefs straight to the barrel of cool-aide. The same people who, I might add, would be quite happy to see those of us who disagree with them be eternally tortured if their predictions materialized.

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx
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01-06-2011, 08:29 AM
RE: Stupid?
Hey, Stan.

I think one of the important things is to recognise how ideas propagate within the human mind. I don't just mean memes and the study of memetics, but rather how they wind up in people's minds, why, for what reasons they are held in place and what strategies work to extricate them and which strategies entrench them. Identifying maladaptive memes is easy. Getting rid of them is hard. And mockery is not in any way a good extermination strategy.

For example, one meme I have been trying to eradicate for a long time is the unlimited growth meme. The notion that not only can we magically grow unlimitedly within a finite system, but that growth is a good and that we should produce a surplus whenever and wherever possible. That meme is one of the core reasons that we're currently devouring our planet. It's lunacy and on a long enough timeline it will lead inevitably to the extinction of our species. But identifying it as madness is easy. Identifying the need to get rid of it is easy. Disarticulating it has proven exceptionally difficult.

Dancingstan Wrote:I also agree that civility can cause a moment of disconnect in people who are perhaps expecting a different behaviour, and I would always try to accord a degree of respect to someone I disagree with when in a one-on-one encounter, but, again, in the hopes of creating some disconnect for those who are unsure of whether or not to accept patently absurd stories, I think the ridicule of ideas that are patently delusional serves a valid and perhaps even commendable purpose.

Very well said.

You point out something important at the end there. There must be a separation between an idea and a person. An idea, a meme, can exist in anyone's mind. A person is simply a host to a meme, they are not that meme. So it is the idea and the idea only that we should address. I don't think that ridicule is a good strategy because if the idea is stupid, then the person feels they are hosting a stupid meme which makes them think you're calling them stupid. To tell you the honest truth, I don't know what the best strategy for extricating memes is (and if I did I'd be a billionaire) but I do know that ridicule aint it.

To me, there are only two reasons to be so vociferous about the stupidity of an idea. 1 - You're saying (universal you) you're smarter than anyone who would host such a stupid idea. There must be something wrong in them that is not wrong in you. 2 - You're smart enough to avoid stupid ideas. It's very self-congratulatory and masturbatory, but it falls short of reality. Every person that exists can host any meme that exists. It has nothing to do with intelligence; it has to do with what memeplexes are in your mind and which memes they are resistant to invasion from. There is nothing wrong with these Rapture people and we are not smarter than they. Not to take all responsibility out of it, our choices do affect things for sure, but good and bad choices aren't synonyms for smart and dumb.

Dancingstan Wrote:The same people who, I might add, would be quite happy to see those of us who disagree with them be eternally tortured if their predictions materialized.

Slightly off topic, but I have an issue with this idea.

Granted, some people revel in the idea of others going to hell, but it's that same mechanism I described above. I'm too smart to go to hell and they're too stupid to get into heaven. I sure do rock the Kasbah!

Most people who believe in heaven and hell believe that getting into a heaven is a good. There are very specific rules for getting into heaven. When they say, you're going to burn in hell if you keep doing X, Y and Z, they are trying to warn you. It comes from a place of love and compassion. They want what they consider is best for you. If they're wrong, they acted out of love as misguided as they were. If they're right, they warned you.

But I think this idea of, I suppose Christians in particular, wanting others to go to hell is bunk. I know several ministers and none of them would ever preach that sort of twisted theology.

Back to the topic at hand, I think that it's very easy to dismiss a human being for the memes they host because it means we don't have to engage with them. Out of sight, out of mind. These Rapture types are damaged goods, less than human, without value, so they can die for all I care. But if we're interested in moving forward together, we need to pay closer attention to the skills that allow us to engage with people with different memes and with people with maladaptive memes.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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01-06-2011, 11:00 AM
RE: Stupid?
(01-06-2011 08:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  You point out something important at the end there. There must be a separation between an idea and a person. An idea, a meme, can exist in anyone's mind. A person is simply a host to a meme, they are not that meme. So it is the idea and the idea only that we should address. I don't think that ridicule is a good strategy because if the idea is stupid, then the person feels they are hosting a stupid meme which makes them think you're calling them stupid. To tell you the honest truth, I don't know what the best strategy for extricating memes is (and if I did I'd be a billionaire) but I do know that ridicule aint it.
It seems to me you are denying people have any personal responsibility for what they believe. I disagree. Santa Claus is a strong meme. But an adult who believes in Santa Claus is stupid. People have minds and reason and they should be expected to use both. If they don't we can call them stupid. A school educated westerner who insists the Earth is flat is stupid, not the helpless victim of a nasty meme. Personally I think ignorance is excusable, stupidity is not.

Quote:To me, there are only two reasons to be so vociferous about the stupidity of an idea. 1 - You're saying (universal you) you're smarter than anyone who would host such a stupid idea. There must be something wrong in them that is not wrong in you. 2 - You're smart enough to avoid stupid ideas.

No, I know some very smart people, that is smart in practically every other aspect of their life, who believe some really dumb stuff. Anything from the 2012 apocalypse to alien anal probing. I don't know why they don't apply the same critical thinking to those wacky ideas as they do to everything else. My guess is that they actually LIKE to believe that stuff, it satisfies some inner need of theirs.

Quote:Back to the topic at hand, I think that it's very easy to dismiss a human being for the memes they host because it means we don't have to engage with them.
People are to be held accountable for their beliefs. What they believe tells much about them and their character. Some very intelligent people are horrible racists. Their intelligence doesn't change the fact I don't respect them for holding racist beliefs.

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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