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  1. #31
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post

    In the US, at least, it’s “marketplace-of-ideas” rules: We mix it up, and we accept that not everyone is going to agree with us. As I see it, the bottom line is that you just don’t like the fact that there are some new players in town.
    And the new players are shaping up to be as obnoxious as the old players. They aren't there, yet, but perhaps they will be. Um, yay?

    You don't appear to have read any of my previous posts about what my actual beliefs are, but you're content to make assumptions about them and dismiss them accordingly. Yet somehow, new atheism represents a triumph of logic and reason?

    I'm not so optimistic. I think the problems with fundamentalism actually exist within human psyhology on a level deeper than religion. In the Soviet Union, they got rid of religion, but people just started worshipping Lenin and Marx and treating Das Kapital as the Bible. They may have not believed in a supreme being, but that didn't stop dogmatism and groupthink.

    I value open discussion and people thinking for themselves, but I don't think New Atheism is the way to go, unfortunately. It's more like people changing which set of ideas they adopt uncritically than a genuine pro-rationalism/empiricism movement.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


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  2. #32
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I hear a lot of talk in this thread about how mean "militant" and "new" atheists are but not about the specific behaviours that are troubling, or what makes someone "militant" (as in, the actual question brought up by the OP).

    As someone who is atheist with a social circle that is almost entirely atheist as well, I would like to hear more about what atheist behaviours people are finding problematic (preferably in real life - trolls on the internet don't count, as they exist for every group imaginable). I expect that it goes beyond simply being open about not believing in a god, and being willing to elaborate on why in an appropriate context.
    -end of thread-

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    And the new players are shaping up to be as obnoxious as the old players. They aren't there, yet, but perhaps they will be. Um, yay?

    You don't appear to have read any of my previous posts about what my actual beliefs are, but you're content to make assumptions about them and dismiss them accordingly. Yet somehow, new atheism represents a triumph of logic and reason?

    I'm not so optimistic. I think the problems with fundamentalism actually exist within human psyhology on a level deeper than religion. In the Soviet Union, they got rid of religion, but people just started worshipping Lenin and Marx and treating Das Kapital as the Bible. They may have not believed in a supreme being, but that didn't stop dogmatism and groupthink.

    I value open discussion and people thinking for themselves, but I don't think New Atheism is the way to go, unfortunately. It's more like people changing which set of ideas they adopt uncritically than a genuine pro-rationalism/empiricism movement.
    One of the key concepts of the “marketplace of ideas” is that proponents of differing views take an adversarial stance and duke it out. It means scrapping, feuding, and wrangling. It means getting one’s hands dirty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketplace_of_ideas

    Formal atheism has been largely absent from the marketplace of ideas for several decades. Now that some proponents of atheism have sprung up and are willing to scrap, I fully expect them to be as adversarial and scrappy as their opponents.

    Another key concept of the “marketplace of ideas” is that there are lots of different ideas contending and vying for attention. If you don’t like New Atheism, then follow some other idea. Personally I don’t care whether you like New Atheism or don’t like it.

    New Atheism is just there in the marketplace, scrapping and vying for attention like all the rest. If you don’t like it, that’s fine. Pay it no heed. Or better yet, get involved and scrap directly with its proponents yourself.

    But personally I don’t care what you do or how you feel about it. I’m basically just happy to see some scientists showing up, getting in the ring, and trading punches with the established religious figures. It’s a nice change from the passive posture most atheists have assumed up till now.

  4. #34
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I hear a lot of talk in this thread about how mean "militant" and "new" atheists are but not about the specific behaviours that are troubling, or what makes someone "militant" (as in, the actual question brought up by the OP).

    As someone who is atheist with a social circle that is almost entirely atheist as well, I would like to hear more about what atheist behaviours people are finding problematic (preferably in real life - trolls on the internet don't count, as they exist for every group imaginable). I expect that it goes beyond simply being open about not believing in a god, and being willing to elaborate on why in an appropriate context.
    I'll bite. You're correct, for me it's more than simply being open about atheism. It's a specific rigid, humorless, self-righteous approach that appears to be incapable of recognizing that believers are not monolithic. One example would be attacking non-fundamentalist Christians for being "inconsistent" and "picking and choosing", a behavior which will probably not accomplish anything other than pushing people into fundamentalism. Another one would be just flipping out every time religion (or even things that no one actually believes in, like leprechauns) is even mentioned, which has happened in real life.

    I know you wanted real-life examples, but I think a good place to witness many of the things I find so obnoxious and off-putting would be the atheism subreddit.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
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  5. #35
    Senior Member Chiharu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I think the sorts of people who try to spread their personal views and opinions, whether they are theist or atheist, are usually of a curious sort of person who is insecure in their opinion and need others to share it in order to confirm it as true to themselves.
    I think that this is a true but one-sided observation. Some people may do this, but some Christians share their beliefs because they truly believe that they are saving you from eternal damnation. And "militant" atheists are trying to cut down on persecution stemming from religion.
    Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness." ― Kurt Vonnegut

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  6. #36
    Senior Member Chiharu's Avatar
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    Idk, I can't but feel that anytime an atheist asserts themselves, they're "militant". Atheists are discriminated against all day, every day in America, a country which prides itself on toleration. I think it's high time we pushed back a bit.
    Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness." ― Kurt Vonnegut

    ENFP. 7w6 – 4w3 – 1w9 sx/so. Aries. Dilettante. Overly anxious optimist.

  7. #37
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    I'll bite. You're correct, for me it's more than simply being open about atheism. It's a specific rigid, humorless, self-righteous approach that appears to be incapable of recognizing that believers are not monolithic.
    Ok, I don't know any real-life atheists who are like that...
    One example would be attacking non-fundamentalist Christians for being "inconsistent" and "picking and choosing", a behavior which will probably not accomplish anything other than pushing people into fundamentalism.
    Here I think a lot depends on the context. In a discussion about religion, I don't think it's unfair to point out that by definition, non-fundamentalism involves choosing an interpretation of the religious texts that make sense to you (so essentially yes, "picking and choosing", although that isn't the most accurate way to phrase it). I also don't think it's unfair to discuss why some sections of religious texts are ignored while others are upheld, and whether it's a good idea for people to accept the interpretations of their religious leaders rather than forming their own ideas about the texts' meanings.

    On the other hand, it's not really cool to start judging someone for this once you learn they are Christian, without asking them about what they actually believe. So I guess context, as well as attacking behaviours rather than people, makes the important difference here. I think tone is important as well, although a lot of (particularly young) atheists are oblivious to the emotional importance that religion has for many people, and therefore neglect to approach the subject with the sensitivity that some religious people need in order for a rational rather than emotional discussion to occur.
    Another one would be just flipping out every time religion (or even things that no one actually believes in, like leprechauns) is even mentioned, which has happened in real life.
    Can't say anything about this one since I don't know what you mean by "flipping out". If it's "having an emotional/angry reaction", I've never seen anyone do this in real life. If it's stating their opinion in response ("I believe in science and things that are real"), I don't really see the issue. If it's ok for one person to mention that they think elves exist, surely it's ok for someone to reply that they don't. A lot here is dependent on tone, I suspect. A lot of people in the world are not very good at expressing disagreement without hostility (intentional or not), and this applies to theists as well as atheists, and to many people on the forum (including me, at times). In other words, I would say it's more of a human nature problem, particularly in young people, rather than a "militant atheism" problem.

    I know you wanted real-life examples, but I think a good place to witness many of the things I find so obnoxious and off-putting would be the atheism subreddit.
    See, this is exactly why I wanted real-life examples. I stay far far away from that subreddit (and most of reddit in general) because it's overwhelmed by misogyny, hatred, immaturity, and lack of self-awareness. It is far more of a "reddit population" thing than an "atheism" thing though, IMO - admittedly they are hard to separate due to the overlap, but there are many hateful subreddits that have nothing to do with atheism. Some subreddits are great, but many are overwhelmed by angry young men with a chip on their shoulder who want to blame someone, anyone, for all their problems in life. People also say things on the internet that they would never say in real life.

    I think it's monstrously unfair to associate any subreddit with the larger population of people associated with the thing the subreddit is discussing. From the subreddits I do participate in, I know that the reddit population is far from representative of the overall population - sometimes positively, sometimes negatively.
    -end of thread-

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randomnity View Post
    I hear a lot of talk in this thread about how mean "militant" and "new" atheists are but not about the specific behaviours that are troubling, or what makes someone "militant" (as in, the actual question brought up by the OP).

    As someone who is atheist with a social circle that is almost entirely atheist as well, I would like to hear more about what atheist behaviours people are finding problematic (preferably in real life - trolls on the internet don't count, as they exist for every group imaginable). I expect that it goes beyond simply being open about not believing in a god, and being willing to elaborate on why in an appropriate context.
    Dismissive comments that convey a sense of superiority and unwillingness to consider other perspectives. Obviously, behavior that isn't exclusive to "militant"/"new" atheists. To be more specific, any comments along the lines of "Religion is a crutch," "Religion was only used to explain phenomena that science now fully accounts for," and "Religion is inherently bad," which reflect simplistic and extremely half-hearted attempts at understanding either a. religion as a cultural phenomena, as others have mentioned and b. agnostic/ignostic arguments.

    *Edit: I'm not opposed to all of those comments themselves, but the atheists I've known have generally been terrible at backing them up or presenting them in a compassionate, non-confrontational way.

    I find it disturbing that people ever come to a point in their life where they think they've figured it all out and put a guard up to new ideas. But I'm willing to accept that even this will change for me as I encounter new theories and people.

    I'm still coming to grips with the fact that, on this subject, I'm in agreement with the dude who wrote "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus," but this line always comes back to me: "It is a funny sort of humanism that condemns an impulse that is peculiarly human. Yet that is what evangelical atheists do when they demonise religion." The article it comes from is really good.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by decrescendo View Post
    Dismissive comments that convey a sense of superiority and unwillingness to consider other perspectives. Obviously, behavior that isn't exclusive to "militant"/"new" atheists. To be more specific, any comments along the lines of "Religion is a crutch," "Religion was only used to explain phenomena that science now fully accounts for," and "Religion is inherently bad," which reflect simplistic and extremely half-hearted attempts at understanding either a. religion as a cultural phenomena, as others have mentioned and b. agnostic/ignostic arguments.

    *Edit: I'm not opposed to all of those comments themselves, but the atheists I've known have generally been terrible at backing them up or presenting them in a compassionate, non-confrontational way.

    I find it disturbing that people ever come to a point in their life where they think they've figured it all out and put a guard up to new ideas. But I'm willing to accept that even this will change for me as I encounter new theories and people.

    I'm still coming to grips with the fact that, on this subject, I'm in agreement with the dude who wrote "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus," but this line always comes back to me: "It is a funny sort of humanism that condemns an impulse that is peculiarly human. Yet that is what evangelical atheists do when they demonise religion." The article it comes from is really good.
    I tend to see religious people presenting a straw man view of atheism (for example, that atheists are supposed to present their views "in a compassionate, non-confrontational way") and then putting down atheists for not living up to that straw man view.

    Why should atheists be non-confrontational? I don't think any of the New Atheists claim to be non-confrontational. Debate involves confrontation. See my comments above about the "marketplace of ideas."

  10. #40
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiharu View Post
    Idk, I can't but feel that anytime an atheist asserts themselves, they're "militant". Atheists are discriminated against all day, every day in America, a country which prides itself on toleration. I think it's high time we pushed back a bit.
    That's essentially how I feel.

    As for it being a confrontation, that is inevitable, because theism and atheism are mutually exclusive views. They cannot be held at the same time. You are one or the other or you don't know (a pure agnostic). You cannot feel both are true at the same time. If this were only a cosmic matter, it would be strictly academic and there'd be no point in talking about it. However, religious people often let religion influence (if not downright control) their notions of cosmology, morality, and even logic. Because of that, it is not strictly academic, but a practical social problem. Crying about the other side being confrontational can only be a self-serving trick in this case.
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