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Intersectionality’s The Thing: Andrew Tripp’s Reply

Sparked by his piece on transmisogyny from a little while ago, Andrew Tripp and I have been having a conversation about atheist activism and what its priorities should be, amongst other things.

Andrew has posted his reply to my most recent response:

Intersectionality’s The Thing: Responding to Greta.

If you’re interested in this conversation and have been following it, please go read it.

And here’s a list of/ links to the previous posts in this conversation, including Andrew’s original post that sparked the conversation:

Andrew: Papercuts: Transmisogyny, Western Atheists, and the Meaning of Oppression
Me: Is Anti-Atheist Bigotry A Papercut? A Conversation with Andrew Tripp
Andrew: Responding to Greta: The Scale of the Thing
Me: “Whatever activism gets them excited”: A Reply to Andrew Tripp
Andrew: Intersectionality’s The Thing: Responding to Greta

Comments

  1. cornell says

    Greta says “Andrew Tripp and I have been having a conversation about atheist activism and what its priorities should be, amongst other things.”

    How exactly does atheism and activism go in the same sentence when I’m constantly reminded that atheism is equivalent to non-stamp collecting?

    Walcarpit states in the 2nd comment:

    “The title Non Stamp Collector is a rhetorical pun on the absurd occasional accusations made that Atheism is itself a religion – a reaction, perhaps, to the new wave of radical Atheists (eg Douglas Adams) that don’t hide how they think.

    From the channel:
    If atheism is a “religion”, … then Not Collecting Stamps is a “hobby”.

    Source: http://www.atheistapologist.com/2010/06/im-non-stamp-collector.html

    Now this is interesting, so taking what you said up above, can someone be part of a non-stamp collecting activism? How does one actually have ‘priorities’ given a lack of belief? Or do you disagree with Walcarpit? (who is one of many atheists that hold to this line of reasoning)

  2. Jethro says

    Just because atheism isn’t a religion doesn’t mean it isn’t anything. Certainly in a society where it is assumed that everyone has a hobby and where 75% of the adult population self identifies as a stamp collector, the hobbyless can come together and discuss how not having a hobby affects them.

    See also Atheism and the real search for meaning.

  3. says

    can someone be part of a non-stamp collecting activism

    When stamp collectors are trying to oppress anyone who doesn’t collect stamps, then one can be an activist in fighting back against that oppression. Not that difficult to understand.

  4. cornell says

    Physicalist says “When stamp collectors are trying to oppress anyone who doesn’t collect stamps, then one can be an activist in fighting back against that oppression”

    So atheism is MORE than just a lack of belief then, right?

    From infidels.com

    “Atheism is characterized by an absence of belief in the existence of gods. This absence of belief generally comes about either through deliberate choice, or from an inherent inability to believe religious teachings which seem literally incredible. It is not a lack of belief born out of simple ignorance of religious teachings.

    Some atheists go beyond a mere absence of belief in gods: they actively believe that particular gods, or all gods, do not exist. Just lacking belief in Gods is often referred to as the “weak atheist” position; whereas believing that gods do not (or cannot) exist is known as “strong atheism.”

    Regarding people who have never been exposed to the concept of ‘god’: Whether they are ‘atheists’ or not is a matter of debate. Since you’re unlikely to meet anyone who has never encountered religion, it’s not a very important debate…

    It is important, however, to note the difference between the strong and weak atheist positions. “Weak atheism” is simple skepticism; disbelief in the existence of God. “Strong atheism” is an explicitly held belief that God does not exist. Please do not fall into the trap of assuming that all atheists are “strong atheists.” There is a qualitative difference in the “strong” and “weak” positions; it’s not just a matter of degree.

    Some atheists believe in the nonexistence of all Gods; others limit their atheism to specific Gods, such as the Christian God, rather than making flat-out denials.”

    Now this ‘some’ atheists tidbit gets a bit tricky, as well as this ‘strong’ atheism and ‘weak’ atheism, does that mean there is a ‘weak’ non-stamp collectingism, and a ‘strong’ non-stamp collectingism?

    . “Not that difficult to understand.”

    Well considering I hear different views regarding the definition of atheism from atheists and that there is an atheism plus who says people that are not in atheism plus are a bit wrong, I find it’s quite hard to keep up with the jargon. SO which atheists should I listen too? Perhaps you can all square this away at your next organized atheist convention.

  5. cornell says

    “Just because atheism isn’t a religion doesn’t mean it isn’t anything. Certainly in a society where it is assumed that everyone has a hobby and where 75% of the adult population self identifies as a stamp collector, the hobbyless can come together and discuss how not having a hobby affects them.”

    Thanks Jethro, so what about those communist societies who had atheist leaders in the 20th century or North Korea as it is today? What do they come together and discuss?

  6. Holms says

    So atheism is MORE than just a lack of belief then, right?

    No, the basic qualifying trait in order for one to be considered an atheist remains a simple lack of religion. In that hobby analogy, the only requirement for one to be considered a non-collector of stamps is a lack of stamp collecting. You seem to be deliberately obfuscating the issue by bringing in all sorts of tangents presented as if they were one and the same issue.

    After that entry point of ‘not having a religion’, things do indeed get diverse; but they are not the basic trait that determined whether or not you are an atheist.

    Thanks Jethro, so what about those communist societies who had atheist leaders in the 20th century or North Korea as it is today? What do they come together and discuss?

    Massive non-sequitur. What he said is true and is not invalidated, or even related, to the fact that some nations do not have an official religion.

  7. says

    Physicalist said:

    When stamp collectors are trying to oppress anyone who doesn’t collect stamps, then one can be an activist in fighting back against that oppression”

    cornell replied:

    So atheism is MORE than just a lack of belief then, right?

    No; that doesn’t follow. The status of people holding a position being oppressed, and what they choose to do about it, does not change the position. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods regardless of what atheists choose to do about it, and regardless of what is done to them.

    Nice attempt to derail the discussion from the get-go, though.

  8. christophernicholas says

    One person who doesn’t collect stamps holds liberal beliefs. Another holds conservative beliefs. One might choose to be politically active, another might not. The fact that they don’t collect stamps doesn’t define them, and if all they have in common is a lack of interest in stamp collecting that’s a rather weak bond. But they may have many other things in common: a person who doesn’t collect stamps is more than just a non-stamp collector.

    Different non-stamp collectors might have different opinions of the hobby of stamp collecting. Some might see it as a harmless but unappealing pass-time, others might point out negative aspects of stamp collecting and try to persuade stamp collectors to give up their unhealthy pursuit. Both groups of non-collectors might make common cause if, say, the government tried to pass a law making stamp collecting mandatory for all citizens, or discriminating against non collectors.

    If the government actively forbade stamp collecting, many non-stamp collectors might make common cause with the collectors, because they understand that the government has no more business forbidding stamp collecting than compelling it. (It’s a personal choice to collect or not collect and while I might be interested in persuading you not to collect, or in rebutting your pro collection arguments, I’d damn well want everybody to have the freedom to choose for themselves, and to hear – or make – any argument pro or con.)

    In Stalinist Russia and present day North Korea, you have (or had) basically a de facto state religion where the leader was/is revered as a deity, or a cult of personality. Such regimes have no separation of church and state – forbidding religious belief is as much state involvement in religion as promoting religious belief. I would imagine being an atheist in North Korea would entail being skeptical about some of the miraculous claims made regarding the dear leader’s infallibility, and chafing at the compulsory displays of devotion required by that society. I would imagine being an atheist in that society would entail working towards a separation of church and state. At least, that’s what I would want to do if I were unlucky enough to live there.

  9. christophernicholas says

    The above embarrassing rant I should have specified @Cornell. Not a coherent post, wish I hadn’t hit “submit.” Apologies.

  10. Greta Christina says

    cornell:

    The strictest, most narrow definition of “atheist” is “someone who lacks belief in any gods,” or, “someone who has come to the conclusion that there is no god.” And in the strictest, most narrow sense, that’s all that atheists have in common.

    However:

    a) In the strictest, most narrow sense, all that African-Americans have in common is their skin color, and all that LGB people have in common is their sexual attraction to people of the same sex. In a perfect world, where there was no racism/ homophobia and never had been, African-Americans and LGB people might not have formed communities and social change movements around their skin color/ sexual orientation (or might only do so in a looser sense, having to do with familial bonds and desires to make sexual/ romantic connections). The reality, however, is that racism/ homophobia exist, creating a need for these identities/ communities/ social change movements. In the same sense, the reality is that anti-atheist bigotry exists, and religion has excessive power and privilege… creating a need and a desire for atheist communities, organizations, and activism.

    b) Like most conclusions, the conclusion of atheism doesn’t stand in a vacuum. It has implications. Many atheists (although not all) have come to some of the same conclusions based on the implications of atheism: conclusions about values and so on. What’s more, people who come to the conclusion of atheism often have similar thought processes and values that led them to this conclusion. And many of us choose to organize communities and do activism around those commonalities. Not all atheists share these conclusions and implications — just as not all African-Americans and LGB people share the general goals of the civil rights and gay rights movements. But enough of us do that these communities and movements make sense, and have value.

    And there is no one atheist authority deciding what the values and priorities are of the atheist community/ movement, or speaking for all atheists. Any more than there’s one authority speaking for all African-Americans, or for all LGB people. Not everyone in a movement has to march in lockstep in order for it to have value and power and cohesion.

    Oh, and for the record: I don’t know anyone in Atheism Plus who has any objection to atheists not being part of Atheism Plus. There are lots of people in Atheism Plus who think it’s bad for atheists to oppose the general values that motivated the formation of Atheism Plus… but that’s not the same thing.

  11. cornell says

    @Holms

    “No, the basic qualifying trait in order for one to be considered an atheist remains a simple lack of religion.”

    I don’t agree with this at all, hence one can be religious, but still hold to the belief that there are no God’s. ie: Buddhism, a buddhist can technically be an atheist and still believe in the karma, reincarnation etc.

    Atheism as defined above deals with a rejection or lack of belief in God (s) not a rejectiomn or lack of belief in a religion.

    So I reject this, as it doesn’t match up with anything in academia

    “In that hobby analogy, the only requirement for one to be considered a non-collector of stamps is a lack of stamp collecting. You seem to be deliberately obfuscating the issue by bringing in all sorts of tangents presented as if they were one and the same issue.”

    Then this analogy is clearly false, obviously atheists act differently than non-stamp collectors. We don’t see books about non-stamp collecting, or non-stamp collecting conventions.

    “After that entry point of ‘not having a religion’, things do indeed get diverse; but they are not the basic trait that determined whether or not you are an atheist.”

    Then you agree with me, and reject your very statement of this conversation.

  12. cornell says

    @Gretchen

    “No; that doesn’t follow. The status of people holding a position being oppressed, and what they choose to do about it, does not change the position. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods regardless of what atheists choose to do about it, and regardless of what is done to them.

    Nice attempt to derail the discussion from the get-go, though.”

    Nice attempt to distort my ‘intent’ though I can easily dissect this and show you why your assertion fails.

    First off you say

    “the status of people holding a position being oppressed, and what they choose to do about it, does not change the position”

    Well that’s great, because I never said it did, so this is a strawman on your part.

    “Atheism is a lack of belief in gods regardless of what atheists choose to do about it, and regardless of what is done to them.”

    If you choose this definition, and only this definition then atheism becomes nothing more than a psychological stance and is meaningless to discuss whether or not God exists, as you are equivalent to a cat or a dog.

    By this defintion, rocks are atheists, dogs are atheists, birds are athiests, my car is an atheist etc

    Michael Payton states:

    “anything that lacks a belief at all, would fall under that definition, which is babies, bricks, maple syrup, and rocks being atheists..

    Fundamentality the term then becomes one about psychology, what I mean by that can be best explained by an analogy. Let’s take the term virginity, then that means all types of things would be virgins, such as babies, trees, rocks, anything that lacks that kind of experience.

    Now comes the problem, if you look at atheism and virginity in the same way, fundamentality atheism becomes a state of affairs about tour minds and about psychology, in that case they become more like adjectives and nouns they are descriptors about something so atheism can only be applied to said nouns. So for instance a cup can be a virgin and an atheist, but one thing about psychology states is in philosophical jargon they are not truth preserving, they can’t actually be true.

    So it can be true that a brick is an atheist or a virgin, but it’s kinda of weird to say virginity is true. Just like we can use the word sad or happy person, a happy man or a happy famale, but we can’t ask the question is happiness true? Fundamentally the language doesn’t work that way.

    So if we are going to say atheism is lack of belief, you are saying it is not a candidate for being wrong, but it can’t be true? because the sentence doesn’t make sense in that grammatical form. It’s like me asking you Is virginity true? Is not being a member of the union true?

    Like I can say Timothy is not a member of the union, but you can’t say is non-membership true.
    .
    If you use this term “lack of belief” then that means you can’t have a debate on whether or atheism is true, because it’s not even grammatically a sentence. ”

    QED

    In conclusion this psychological definition is incomplete, you MUST add the classical definition that is in virtually every dictionary as well.

    Oh and please don’t accuse me of derailing the thread again, if you can’t handle questions or disagreement then just say so. I’d appreciate that!

    ty

  13. cornell says

    @Christopher

    “One person who doesn’t collect stamps holds liberal beliefs. Another holds conservative beliefs.”

    Good I can see with this atheism, though it is very rare finding an atheist conservative.

    “One might choose to be politically active, another might not. The fact that they don’t collect stamps doesn’t define them, and if all they have in common is a lack of interest in stamp collecting that’s a rather weak bond.”

    So you don’t think ‘atheism’ doesn’t do much in DEFINING a person? But what about all that talk of being a free-thinker, or a skeptic? I actually can’t see how this would work with stamp collectors and non-stamp collectors, so I’m finding this ANALOGY to be quite weak.

    “But they may have many other things in common: a person who doesn’t collect stamps is more than just a non-stamp collector.”

    But we are working on the analogy here. David Hume warned people (especially layman philosophers) a long time ago to STAY away from analogies, unless you have good reasons to state them as analogous, and since analogies need to be analogous for potency, I don’t think this non-stamp collecting analogy works very well.

    “Different non-stamp collectors might have different opinions of the hobby of stamp collecting. Some might see it as a harmless but unappealing pass-time, others might point out negative aspects of stamp collecting and try to persuade stamp collectors to give up their unhealthy pursuit. Both groups of non-collectors might make common cause if, say, the government tried to pass a law making stamp collecting mandatory for all citizens, or discriminating against non collectors.”

    Granted

    “If the government actively forbade stamp collecting, many non-stamp collectors might make common cause with the collectors, because they understand that the government has no more business forbidding stamp collecting than compelling it. (It’s a personal choice to collect or not collect and while I might be interested in persuading you not to collect, or in rebutting your pro collection arguments, I’d damn well want everybody to have the freedom to choose for themselves, and to hear – or make – any argument pro or con.)”

    Though I still find a category error here, as “stamps’ are physical whilst a belief is not as it is a mental state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true. I also can’t touch, smell, taste or see my belief in Theism, though I can for a stamp. So I find this analogy to be even more dubious, and I think atheists should stop using this IMO, as it makes them look ignorant.

    “In Stalinist Russia and present day North Korea, you have (or had) basically a de facto state religion where the leader was/is revered as a deity, or a cult of personality.”

    How are we defining ‘religion”?

    And though he was revered as a deity, did people actually think that Stalin or KIM II sung are the creators and sustainers of the universe? If this is the case then how do the people of North Korea feel about their former leader DYING? a few years ago? How is that a trait of a deity? I don’t find this to be ANYWHERE near a property of a deity at all.

    “Such regimes have no separation of church and state – forbidding religious belief is as much state involvement in religion as promoting religious belief. I would imagine being an atheist in North Korea would entail being skeptical about some of the miraculous claims made regarding the dear leader’s infallibility, and chafing at the compulsory displays of devotion required by that society.”

    Well then how do you explain this as North Korea is considered to be an atheist state:

    “North Korea’s government exercises virtual total control over society and imposes the cult of personality of Kim Jung Il and Kim Il Sung, described as a political religion. Their ideology has been described as “state-sanctioned atheism”.[79] Although the North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted,[80] free religious activities no longer exist in North Korea, as the government sponsors religious groups only to create an illusion of religious freedom.[81][82] Cardinal Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk has said that, “There’s no knowledge of priests surviving persecution that came in the late forties, when 166 priests and religious were killed or kidnapped.” which includes the Roman Catholic bishop of Pyongyang, Francis Hong Yong-ho.[83] The Juche ideology, based on Korean ultranationalism, calls on people to “avoid spiritual deference to outside influences”, which was interpreted as including religion originating outside of Korea”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism

    The country is in fact mostly non-religious

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_North_Korea

    Also how are you defining ‘church’? If you mean Christian church, then the point is dubious as only 1.7% of the North Korean population is Christian.

    “I would imagine being an atheist in that society would entail working towards a separation of church and state. At least, that’s what I would want to do if I were unlucky enough to live there.”

    DO they really fear the 1.7% Christian population? Is that 1.7% of the population the main reason on why North Korea is a horrible place to live?

  14. cornell says

    @Greta

    “cornell:

    The strictest, most narrow definition of “atheist” is “someone who lacks belief in any gods,” or, “someone who has come to the conclusion that there is no god.” And in the strictest, most narrow sense, that’s all that atheists have in common.”

    Can you link me an academic definition? Also I just went over some things with Christopher and it appears that atheists in North Korea are different from atheists in North America, so this aspect of having X in common needs to be clarified a bit here.

    “However:

    a) In the strictest, most narrow sense, all that African-Americans have in common is their skin color, and all that LGB people have in common is their sexual attraction to people of the same sex. In a perfect world, where there was no racism/ homophobia and never had been, African-Americans and LGB people might not have formed communities and social change movements around their skin color/ sexual orientation (or might only do so in a looser sense, having to do with familial bonds and desires to make sexual/ romantic connections). The reality, however, is that racism/ homophobia exist, creating a need for these identities/ communities/ social change movements. In the same sense, the reality is that anti-atheist bigotry exists, and religion has excessive power and privilege… creating a need and a desire for atheist communities, organizations, and activism.”

    So what exactly does a perfect world supposed to look like? Are you perfect? If you are not perfect then how can you imagine what a perfect world *a posteriori* would look like if you indeed someone who is imperfect? Also I don’t see why we need to create a desire for atheist communities or activism, when we haven’t even justified whether or not humanity has an ULTIMATE PURPOSE for it’s existence.

    Does the unconscious, purposeless, meaningless, valueless universe smile upon athiests who strive to make atheist communities?

    Does ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ even exist, or is it just an illusion in our mind?

    Michael Ruse states:

    “The position of the modern evolutionist is that humans have an awareness of morality because such an awareness of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth. Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate when someone says, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves. Nevertheless, such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory.”

    “Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics,” in The Darwinian Paradigm (London: Routledge, 1989), pp. 262-269)

    You kind beg the question here on two things, 1. That God does not exist, and 2. that Nihilism is false

    So I would like it if you gave a little support here as you have atheist philosophers who disagree with you:

    “”There is but only one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.”

    “Hence the intelligence…tells me in its way that this world is absurd. Its contrary, blind reason, may well claim that all is clear…But despite so many pretentious centuries and over the heads of so many eloquent and persuasive men, I know that is false”

    - Albert Camus ‘Myth of Sisyphus’

    Albert Camus contended one must rebel against the logical conclusion on an existential and practical basis so he was the most honest that it was impossible. It would mean that one could only accept personal concerns for matters but no longer be able to argue for any rightness or wrongness about any significant matters due to the fact that one could not account for values or meaning beyond one’s only subjective account.

    “b) Like most conclusions, the conclusion of atheism doesn’t stand in a vacuum. It has implications. Many atheists (although not all) have come to some of the same conclusions based on the implications of atheism: conclusions about values and so on. What’s more, people who come to the conclusion of atheism often have similar thought processes and values that led them to this conclusion. And many of us choose to organize communities and do activism around those commonalities. Not all atheists share these conclusions and implications — just as not all African-Americans and LGB people share the general goals of the civil rights and gay rights movements. But enough of us do that these communities and movements make sense, and have value.”

    Granted..mostly, but what is the conclusion that gives justification for the proposition of an ULIMATE PURPOSE for humanity? This needs to be justified before we can go on. I know want to know what are the goals here, if it is the case that the universe doesn’t care about whether or not we live or die.

    I take it that you are a moral-realist, yes?

    “And there is no one atheist authority deciding what the values and priorities are of the atheist community/ movement, or speaking for all atheists. Any more than there’s one authority speaking for all African-Americans, or for all LGB people. Not everyone in a movement has to march in lockstep in order for it to have value and power and cohesion.”

    But you do agree that some atheists are looked upon with more respect than others, yes? Surely Richard Dawkins has much more of an influence than an average joe.

    “Oh, and for the record: I don’t know anyone in Atheism Plus who has any objection to atheists not being part of Atheism Plus. There are lots of people in Atheism Plus who think it’s bad for atheists to oppose the general values that motivated the formation of Atheism Plus… but that’s not the same thing.”

    That’s wasn’t really my point, There are athiests who disagree with the attitude of atheism plus:

    “There is at the present time quite a bit of immaturity among advocates of Atheism Plus as noted by Avant Garde, which includes verbal abuse, bullying, lying, hypocrisy, equating disagreement with misogyny, among other objections. So if I were to say just one thing to Atheism Plus advocates then it would be this: Grow up. If you want to appeal to more and more atheists then “don’t do that.”

    Cf: http://skepticink.com/debunkingchristianity/2012/12/01/an-open-plea-to-advocates-of-atheism-plus-apologize-and-then-start-over/

    He links this article that is titled:

    Athiesm Plus: We’re Athiests…BUt we behave like Christians

    http://skepticink.com/avant-garde/2012/10/13/atheism-plus-we-are-atheists/

    This athiest basically calls athiesm plus nothing more than a bunch of bullies, who verbally abuse others just because of disagreement.

  15. great1american1satan says

    Greta, can you replace Cornell’s last post with a picture of a cool dildo? Something shiny, nice, and useful, and offensive to cretins. Don’t know what your policy is on that, but, y’know… I’d be grateful.

  16. christophernicholas says

    @13 you said: “Well then how do you explain this as North Korea is considered to be an atheist state:

    “North Korea’s government exercises virtual total control over society and imposes the cult of personality of Kim Jung Il and Kim Il Sung, described as a political religion -”
    -Isn’t that what I said in my comment?

    ” free religious activities no longer exist in North Korea, as the government sponsors religious groups only to create an illusion of religious freedom.[81][82] Cardinal Nicolas Cheong Jin-suk has said that, “There’s no knowledge of priests surviving persecution that came in the late forties, when 166 priests and religious were killed or kidnapped.”
    -like I said, that’s the very opposite of a separation of church and state. In any society I would wish for a separation of church and state, where the merits of various belief systems could be freely debated, without the state attempting to legislate religious belief. In North Korea that would mean expressing skepticism towards the cult of personality and mandatory expressions of devotion to the dear leader, and opposing it’s policies wrt religious expression.

    As for the “truth” of Atheism, I’ve always heard atheism called the “null hypothesis” of claims to the existence of a deity. The believer asserts that there is a god, or some other spiritual claim. The burden of proof rests with the person making the claim.

  17. Greta Christina says

    cornell, please read my comment policy. In particular, please read #3: No comment hogging or hijacking of comment threads.

    You’ve made about twelve different arguments here, none of which is on-topic. (None of which is a good argument, either, but I don’t have the energy or indeed the interest for a line-by-line fisking.) I’m willing to accept a fair amount of topic drift in my comment threads: but when someone is derailing, I want them to at least stay on the subject they’re derailing to. I’ll cite my comment policy again: If you’re essentially using this blog as if it were your own, then maybe you should be starting your own blog. If you already have a blog, maybe you should be posting there. (If you want to reply to my blog in your own, you are welcome to leave a comment here in my blog letting people here know that you have done so.)

    Also, please read #10 in the comment policy. Don’t be an asshole. If you are barely walking the line of acceptable behavior in this blog, but you are consistently being unpleasant, nasty, snide, sarcastic, nitpicky, assuming the worst possible intentions, or otherwise just generally being an asshole — towards other commenters, or towards me — you will be banned from this blog. Please stop it. Thank you.

  18. Nicholas Olsen says

    I’m not exactly sure where Cornell is being nasty or sarcastic. He’s simply responding to each claim brought up against him. Nitpicky sure, but insofar as it pertains to his general point that “atheist activism” is inconsistent with where atheism leads. It seems to me that in-order to address “atheist activism”… a line of definitions need to be hammered out, which does derail the blog although needed to get to the point.

  19. says

    Connell lives in a vacuum. An atheist island unto themselves. Their lives have reached the apex.
    “There is no God. My job here is done.”
    Exeunt!

  20. cornell says

    @Greta

    “You’ve made about twelve different arguments here, none of which is on-topic.”

    Well, this just goes to show how bankrupt your worldview is, it’s not my problem that ‘naturedidit’ has so many holes. Now if you think Nihilism is off-topic then it just goes to show how ignorant you are of philosophy and I suggest picking up some introductory books to ethics regarding this very crucial branch of philosophy. In conclusion, you should actually thank for me pointing this out to you, because it seems as though you haven’t taken the time to look things over, IF you are indeed a free-thinker then you should be happy with this CHALLENGE. We can stick to nihilism as it is the most important factor to your OP.

    “(None of which is a good argument, either, but I don’t have the energy or indeed the interest for a line-by-line fisking.) ”

    Well saying, X is a bad argument, because Greta says so, may work for you, but it doesn’t for me. I’d like some reasons on why my argument is bad.

    Even a freshman who has only taken Logic 101 knows that there are only two ways to refute an argument:

    A. Show the facts are wrong and/or

    B. Show the logic is invalid

    There are no other ways to refute an argument. In fact, all you have done is made an Ad hominem which is indeed a fallacy. Rather than refuting my argument you have called me an asshole. So what if I am asshole? (by your make believe standards of morality) Even if I was an asshole you still have not refuted my argument. Even an asshole could state and subsequently prove that “the square root of 4 is plus and minus 2″ and have presented a valid argument.

    I’m also using atheist philosophers here in my argument, so if you have a problem with their reasoning, I’m all ears.

    “I’m willing to accept a fair amount of topic drift in my comment threads: but when someone is derailing, I want them to at least stay on the subject they’re derailing to. I’ll cite my comment policy again: If you’re essentially using this blog as if it were your own, then maybe you should be starting your own blog. If you already have a blog, maybe you should be posting there. (If you want to reply to my blog in your own, you are welcome to leave a comment here in my blog letting people here know that you have done so.)”

    There is no topic drift at all, as what I’m saying GROUNDS your whole ‘activist’ agenda. So if you think that you have an ultimate purpose to your existence, I’d like to hear how this is possible given the fact that we hear this from authorites on the subject:

    CF:

    “The universe cares nothing for us. Humans are nothing even in the evolutionary process on earth. There is no ultimate meaning for humans.”

    —William B. Provine, Prof. of Biological Sciences, Cornell University

    “The existentialist….thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can no longer be an a priori Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is we are on a plain where there are only men. Dostoievski said; “If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible.’ That is the very starting point of existentialism. Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist, and as a result man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to. He can’t start making excuses for himself.”

    Jean Paul Sartre “Existentialism, New York, Bernard Frechtman”

    You constantly talk about ‘rights’ and ‘values’ so I’m simply asking YOU:

    How do “rights” or “values” emerge from valueless matter? Matter has properties (Shape, mass, color, texture, and so on), but moral value isn’t one of them. If God does not exist, human dignity, worth, and moral duty must have emerged from valueless processes. In fact, and in contrast, from valuelessness, valuelessness comes.

    So my objections here are very much to the topic at hand, and you have to explain to me where this ‘purpose’ of yours comes from, if you indeed think of it as Ultimate and Genuine. If you want to say, it’s just subjective and you know that you live a pointless existence and need to create a delusion of being ‘special’, then admit to it. If not, then ARGUE why it is the case that humans have an Ultimate goal given a purposeless universe.

    “Also, please read #10 in the comment policy. Don’t be an asshole. If you are barely walking the line of acceptable behavior in this blog, but you are consistently being unpleasant, nasty, snide, sarcastic, nitpicky, assuming the worst possible intentions, or otherwise just generally being an asshole — towards other commenters, or towards me — you will be banned from this blog. Please stop it. Thank you”

    This is nothing but an abject cop-out

    If being an asshole entails disagreeing with Greta, then I plan on being the biggest asshole you’ve ever encountered as I find many of your views towards the nature of reality to be entirely irrational, inconsistent, and emotional wishful thinking. If you can’t handle disagreement then don’t call yourself a skeptic or a free-thinker, you argue like fundy from the Westboro Baptist church.

    Remember Richard dawkins says this in his book about the delusion of stamp collecting, because stamp collecting is such a great analogy:

    His 7th and 8th Commandment states:

    7.Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.

    8.Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you.

    You don’t follow this at all, and neither do your faithful followers who think saying ‘NATUREDIDIT” automatically makes them smart.

    I expect so much more from people who pat themselves on the back and call themselves ‘rational’, I believe it’s time to back up that up a bit here. After all I’m just a Theist, so you should EASILY handle what I’ve thrown at you, right?

    And check out the rationality here from Greta’s faithful following, look at this intellectual rigor:

    great1americansatan: “Greta, can you replace Cornell’s last post with a picture of a cool dildo? Something shiny, nice, and useful, and offensive to cretins. Don’t know what your policy is on that, but, y’know… I’d be grateful”

    Notice how Greta says nothing about this blatant insult towards me which goes against her rules, it’s obvious that she is biased towards her own kind. By Greta saying nothing here also shows that promotes this type of behavior, as she doesn’t care about offensive behavior if it comes from someone who is on her side. Complete BIAS.

    Cynickal “Connell lives in a vacuum. An atheist island unto themselves. Their lives have reached the apex.
    “There is no God. My job here is done.”
    Exeunt!”

    Perhaps you should get my name right Cynickal lol…I’ll let Connell know though!

    Though I actually live on an island where I see alot of godless people rebelling against nihilism, I’m just curious on why this is the case, as I see this rebellion as nothing more than a fantasy. Now if Greta wants to ban me for stating my opinion, then it just goes to show that she is afraid to take on a challenge and isn’t very secure in her views pertaining to the nature of reality. I thought this was supposed to be a freethought blog? I feel like I’m arguing with Fred Phelps and friends.

  21. cornell says

    @Christopher

    I hope Greta and company can see the example you’ve left for them as you actually ENGAGED with my comments instead of calling me names.

    “Isn’t that what I said in my comment?”

    Right, so I don’t see where any STRICT generalizations comes into play here, as we see this same type of behavior from countries like Iran as well who are not anywhere near being an atheist state. Therefore it doesn’t matter if it’s an atheist state or a theocracy, we see similar actions among humans. So my reply to this:

    “Such regimes have no separation of church and state – forbidding religious belief is as much state involvement in religion as promoting religious belief. I would imagine being an atheist in North Korea would entail being skeptical about some of the miraculous claims made regarding the dear leader’s infallibility, and chafing at the compulsory displays of devotion required by that society.”

    Pertaining to the beginning of our discussion, So what? We see the problems on both ends of the spectrum.

    “like I said, that’s the very opposite of a separation of church and state. In any society I would wish for a separation of church and state, where the merits of various belief systems could be freely debated, without the state attempting to legislate religious belief.”

    Granted!

    “In North Korea that would mean expressing skepticism towards the cult of personality and mandatory expressions of devotion to the dear leader, and opposing it’s policies wrt religious expression.”

    And that would be great, skepticism is very important IMO. Skepticism is the default position! Anything believed needs a REASON for being believed.

    “As for the “truth” of Atheism, I’ve always heard atheism called the “null hypothesis” of claims to the existence of a deity. The believer asserts that there is a god, or some other spiritual claim. The burden of proof rests with the person making the claim.”

    Sort of, if a person is an atheist, and a naturalist at the same time (which virtually every atheist I encounter IS) then that person has the burden of showing naturalism to be true as well. If an atheist thinks utilitarianism is the best ethical approach, then they have the burden to show this. So it usually ends up being the event of both sides needing to give their case. I could easily ask play this burden of proof game for anything though, especially the reliability of the senses. Though we must also remember that the Burden of proof isn’t a principle of logic. It’s a pragmatic principle of debate, however it is still important.

    ty

  22. says

    Greta: Cornell does take the conversation off in a different direction, admittedly, but it doesn’t look to me like he’s being all that obnoxious, incoherent, or uninteresting along the way. And philosophically, he’s challenging you more deeply than Andrew Tripp. So it would be interesting to see your response, if you find time, even if not in this particular forum.

    I enjoyed your book, even gave it 3 stars on Amazon though I’m a Christian, heterosexual, Republican, and a critic of the New Atheism (The Truth Behind the New Atheism), more or less in that order. Hope you don’t find that distressing. But I also question your fundamental critique of “religion,” and also the coherence of your definition, by which you exclude yourself:

    http://christthetao.blogspot.com/2013/01/why-is-greta-christina-so-angry-and.html

    Some of that may be more pertinent to your issues with Andrew; or maybe not.

  23. says

    cornell and davidmarshall, I’m not sure why you chose precisely this post on precisely this blog to attempt to so wildly deviate from the discussion on intersectionality. If you’d honestly like to encounter people who are interested in talking these things over at length with you, you should seriously consider taking a look at the Usenet newsgroup, “alt.atheism.” “The Atheist Experience” show backlogs might also be a good resource, as would emailing the show, or perhaps even calling in. I wouldn’t tell them, davidmarshall, that you think public school teachers are brainwashing children with pro-Islamic propaganda, though; they might just think you’re trolling.

    On the actual topic: can I just say that I’m honestly having trouble clearly seeing what Tripp’s full position is? He seems to be coming on strong and backing off with his points alternately, to the point that I am genuinely confused on where he’s going. The “intersectional activism is better than activism solely in favor of your own marginalized group” is very clear, but the rest (like whether or not self-centered activism is actually bad, or a waste of time, and if so how much, or how to pursue intersectional activism coherently) is hazy at best.

  24. says

    Taylor: As is plainly apparent, I’m responding to a comment Greta made on January 31st, as well as to much of the rest of the conversation (already deterred) on this thread. So there are no more grounds for complaining that I am off-topic, than for complaining that you are off-topic, since you do exactly the same thing.

    I read some of the thread Greta cited, and found it mildly interesting, though it seems like a bit of a tempest in a teapot. Most of my comments were NOT about Cornell, and some were relevant; the post was not that different from yours, in the latter respect, anyway.

    As for Islamic propaganda in public schools, I’ve dealt with the text myself, and can verify everything I say about it.

  25. cornell says

    I’ll just bow out then, though the next time I engage with Greta hopefully she will reconsider my ‘intent’ and not see me as an ‘asshole’ just because I disagree with her.

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