A few questions for atheists on AR
I have noticed that some of you can’t speak freely.
What do I mean? Well there are some views from atheists that when shared get pounced on by the alpha atheists and I see that you either digress, accept blame for even going in that direction (what was I thinking), or just remain silent. In some rare occasions there are few who stand their ground, even when rejected by most.
I don’t blame you for doing so. That is not my point. We all see the brutal brunt that theistic views can get and you don’t want to be on the receiving end. I get it.
Sometimes the hypothetical is unacceptable. Sometimes a question of curiosity is not acceptable.
So this question goes to the alpha atheists. Why should atheists feel afraid to admit some views ex: paranormal experiences, without being hounded? After all, they are not admitting to supernatural powers because they don’t believe in that. They merely have experiences they themselves have no direct answer for. Would you allow them to speak freely without hounding them?
Do atheists think there is room for improvement in the AR forum that could allow more free speech without the ‘salad getting tossed’ at their own?
Or is this a free for all in the AR Coliseum?
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Quite simply, in any properly constructed arena of discourse, ideas are a free-fire zone. It is only by subjecting ideas to robust critique, that we determine which ideas are bad ideas to be discarded, and which ideas are good ideas to be integrated into our body of knowledge. Subject, of course, to revision in the light of new data or new deductions in appropriate formal systems.
As for atheists claiming that they have to express circumspection, with respect to disseminating their thoughts in a public arena of discourse, you'll find that the vast majority of them do so because they are subject to hostile attention from supernaturalists, not because of any critique of their ideas here. Without that hostile attention, they would probably disseminate their ideas freely here, and accept whatever critique thereof was presented.
As for myself, anyone trying to shut me down in a debate is going to discover the hard way, that this is a very bad idea indeed. You need only look at representative samples of my extant output here and elsewhere, to learn that lesson quickly.
I happen to be one of the more persistent and vigorous applicants of the maxim "bad ideas exist to be destroyed, before those ideas destroy good people", Even elementary examination of history teaches us that bad ideas, when allowed to persist, have inevitably incited adherents thereof to begin enforcing conformity thereto in a homicidal manner. I prefer to unleash my ordnance on ideas instead of people wherever possible, and reserve personally aimed comments for instances of manifest and egregious duplicity.
Being mistaken about a concept isn't an offence in itself - it's merely the consequence of humans having to expend effort learning. Those who understand this, seek to take a pedagogical approach to the requisite mistakes where possible. Wilful abuse of discourse, on the other hand, IS an offence, and to be treated accordingly. You should find that the regulars here have enough data to call upon, allowing them to determine the difference in a reliable manner.
I could only wish that there would be more like you. When you destroy other arguments you do so professionally. I have no problem with your style. My OP refers to a different commanding style and what the hell is wrong with you boy attitude towards atheists.
I am referring to the alpha atheists who do not like certain things mentioned by other atheists and the discussion/debate gets shut down. They know who they are and it is not my objective to point them out. Those who digress and get back in line know who they are as well. This picture hinders honesty and more debates.
@In Spirit Re: "I am referring to the alpha atheists who do not like certain things mentioned by other atheists and the discussion/debate gets shut down."
Hey there, In Spirit. Interesting topic here. Been trying to think of the best way to address it from my own experiences on here. Here goes nothin'...
Yes, there are some members who are a bit more "dominant" and more outspoken than others when it comes to certain subjects (other than religions/gods) brought up by other atheist members. It is only natural, because - obviously - not everybody has the same personalities/mindsets and such. In all fairness, though, those members are equally stern across the board, regardless of whether the "target" is atheist or theist. In other words, they do not play favorites. And, at the end of the day, each person is entitled to his/her own opinion(s), and they are free to express those opinions on here if they choose. And that is the key. If a person comes in here wishing to air out any ideas/thoughts/beliefs he/she may hold, then that person needs to be aware they are fair game for any critiquing that may come their way. And, like you said, there are folks on here who are more dominant and direct who do not pull any punches. Personally, I am rather fond of seeing that in most cases, even if it is directed toward me. Absolutely, there are times for politeness and diplomacy and maybe giving a person the benefit of the doubt. However, sometimes a swift kick in the nuts is just what the doctor ordered to help somebody unfuck their brain. But I digress...
As for those you consider the "alphas" around here, if an individual (atheist or otherwise) gets intimidated by remarks made by them, then that individual should maybe find another site in which to discuss the topic being criticized. (Personal opinion.) Otherwise, man up and defend your position, or simply keep your shit to yourself. (And because it is difficult to determine attitude in writing sometimes, please know I am not in any way upset/annoyed or trying to be an asshole. Simply trying to state a straightforward observation.)
One other thing to consider real quick, and I believe I saw somebody else mention it already. As we have seen countless times on this site, there have been "proclaimed" theists visit here and spout off some of the most incredibly vile and ridiculous nonsense in defense of their respective god/religion. But I have yet to see another theist (other than you) make any attempt to correct their behavior. The way I see it, at least those "alpha" atheists on here are not afraid to call out other atheists on issues they see to be ridiculous or outrageous. I know I've been checked a couple of times here and there since joining. And while the initial hit may have at first seemed harsh or rude, the fact is I ended up being grateful for the "eye opening" that it provided to help me learn. Are we (atheists in general) always right? Nope... *chuckle*... Not hardly. But are we open to criticism and to questioning those things we believe? For the most part... Yes.
Anyway, just my two cents worth. Hope it helps.
In my opinion, most atheists are critical thinkers and also reject spiritualism. Most, not all. And for most atheists, no position or proposition is above critical examination and brutal dissection.
That applies to theists and atheists. It does not matter the source, if someone perceives a flaw, it can be questioned.
What amuses me is that the current alpha theist, ferguson1951 has not been questioned by any theists. It appears that the crazier, more dishonest, and exaggerated the theist, the rest just stand back as if he was the pope and a source of reverence and inspiration.
For myself, I understand my limitations. I have also had some of my shit questioned, and in response, I think, and change my position. I am not afraid to be proven wrong. That is one main reason I am here, to learn and grow. No one has the answers to everything.
I did question Ferguson1951 and got no reply so I don't waste my time by attempting more questions even though I have many questions for him. You are probably right in assuming that some theists stand back as if he was the pope. Some atheists have found him amusing but personally I think that anyone who takes preaching to that level is dangerous.
It's just that I've noticed that some atheists would rather not open up on specific topics in the AR forum and I wish it wasn't so. I do understand that i'm touching on free speech as well. All I'm doing is opening up a conversation on it.
Thanks for participating
Then I retract my previous statement and apologize for you standing up to fergie.
I was wrong.
Thanks David Killens
What are these specific topics you are talking about?
I wish I had kept track of them. The only one I do recall is on the topic of strange experiences, be it paranormal (even though atheists believe there are natural causes) experiences that make you wonder what was that. I would like to hear more from atheists about their personal UFO sightings and if they have any explanation. That word shouldn't frighten them to speak up. It just means unidentified. How others interpret it is another topic altogether.
I just think it would make for interesting conversation and if anyone remembers my Spinning Wheel OP I thought it quite interesting on the input from many on the possible natural causes. It was becoming scientific.
There are so many shows promoting the paranormal and UFO's linked to aliens I think it would be interesting and refreshing to hear how atheists or anyone for that matter show how it doesn't have to be paranormal or alien linked...even if it has to get into theories or hypothesis
'even though atheists believe there are natural causes'
More like we don't really have any good reason to believe in any non-natural causes, the supernatural hasn't been demonstrated to exist as of yet so there is no good reason to believe in it at all.
Even if say ghosts were real they could still be a natural phenomenon of some kind as well for all we know and they could therefore be explained. Perhaps for example there's some kind of rift in space/time people can get trapped in or some kind of inter-dimensional echo of a person bleeding through into our own reality. The kind of thing you would likely get in an episode of Doctor Who.
95% of UFOs can be explained I have no idea what the other 5% are. I don't think they're alien spacecraft unless they're unmanned probes of some kind that would make some sense. We would send things like that out to other inhabited planets if we had the technology.
No, atheists don't have to believe this at all, though undoubtedly many of them do, this has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.
What's more, it's an objective fact that natural phenomena exist. If all you have is an experience we can't yet explain, then this in no way indicates the explanation is not a natural one, but rather a supernatural event, that any objective unbiased observer must acknowledge no one has ever once demonstrated a shred of objective evidence for.
Again this sounds an awful lot like an argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy, and of course this common logical fallacy is always what such claims are based on in my experience.
Atheism though is entirely irrelevant, beyond the fact that most atheists, particularly on here, tend to treat all claims with an open mind and without bias, and recognise the significance of claims and arguments based on known logical fallacies. Whereas most proponents of these kinds of superstitious claims are not objective, or open minded, and set a different standard for evidencing such claims, nor do they know about common logical fallacies or understand their significance.
As an atheist, I say what I want to say. If no one likes what I say, then don't read it.
@ In Spirit
Atheists do not have a common view except the lack of belief in a god or gods.
Other subjects are entirely open..but you have to remember that many atheists are healthy sceptics and if you bring to the table "mediums', 'psychic abilities' and the other fake news that some use to fraudulently feather their nests then be prepared to come with evidence or face hostile fire.
And that is the problem, personal experience is not evidence. Something Kafei could never get through his head, nor many theists who experience a hallucinatory conversion. They are equally convinced of their experience and equally bare of evidence to convince others.
Of course there is that category of 'spiritual" experience that is used to fleece the gullible of their money. Normally under the guise of fortune telling, but can include talking to the dead, bending spoons, seeing auras etc all of which can be quickly proved or disproved by means of a simple test. Unsurprisingly most adherents to this form of fraud do not want to undertake a reasonable test and will attempt to change the parameters, avoid the test or make claims about "wrong day" "my vibe was out of alignment" or other such transparent fakery.
UFO sightings are very common, 'probings' by aliens much less so but risible. I cant see any alien interested in beer swilling corpulent Southern unemployed redneck 's anal contents, nor can any compelling evidence be produced of these events.
UFO sightings are an agreed phenomena, but as to exactly what they are, we do not know, hence the title. I am happy to await that discovery, in the meantime keeping an open mind on the subject.
And there is the rub for such as you "In Spirit", you have no evidence for your claims of fortune telling and 'retire hurt' when robustly questioned regarding the facts surrounding your claims.
By all means open as many discussion boards as you like on as many topics as you like, but realise that without evidence you are just one more chancer with dubious originality. You will be called out.
There are people like myself on these boards who do post frequently, I don't consider myself an 'alpha' anything. I often take a back seat and settle down to watch a debate when those better qualified than me are taking part..and I learn from them.
I ask for evidence for claims and will not kindly tolerate lies, evasion, procrastination, straw men, misquotes that is the standard fodder offered by the mendacious and charlatans.
So what was you first topic to be?
@In Spirit: RE: "Why should atheists feel afraid to admit some views ex: paranormal experiences, without being hounded?
Atheists should never feel afraid. Atheists should hold their bullshit to the same standards they hold theistic bullshit. If you get called on your shit around here, it's because you are being held to a reasonable standard.
Recently I was called to task on my 911 position. I believe the 3 buildings were brought down with controlled demolition. (That is the extent of my belief. I cite no conspiracy and have no idea why or by whom. My assertion is only that controlled demolition was used.) So I cited a few articles that seemed to support my position and unfortunately chose some really poor sources. I got called to task and rightfully so.
I needed better sources. I joined Architects and Engineers and am now in possession of professional papers written by Architects and Engineers who are all calling for a re-investigation of 911. They are presenting their evidence to the US Congress. Everything from multiple explosions, the buildings dropping without resistance, molten metal weeks after the collapse, military grade thermite, and more. A and E has done their research and disagree with the findings of the 911 commission. I happen to agree and I got caught with my shorts down. Rightfully So. I feel that I am on firmer ground now. I just want answers to what I consider to be realistic and serious questions.
Okay, the 911 crap is not exactly the same as spiritual bullshit but it does present the exact same problem. Anyone spouting nonsense is going to be held to a reasonable standard of evidence and support for that nonsense. NO ONE IS EXEMPT. NOT ME, NOT YOU, NOT THE TIN MAN, NO ONE!
Asking for facts and evidence, citing contrary facts or evidence, and challenging unsubstantiated opinion has nothing what so ever to do with blocking anyone's freedom of speech.
^^^^^ What Cog said ^^^^^
What the heck is an ‘alpha atheist’?
Is it the person who has no gods who gets to eat first? Is it a person without gods who has an opinion and states it? Is it a person who posts here who has no gods and makes rules?
I don’t understand what it is and who here in the AR forums would qualify for the title.
@Cyber Re: "What the heck is an ‘alpha atheist’?"
I have no idea. Personally, though, I would rather be the Omega Atheist.... *raising clinched fist into air*.... Last man standing! Yeah!... *chuckle*...
I'm guessing you mean something like: an atheist comes here and starting talking about how ghosts are real, and probably receives some criticism about the idea of ghosts from someone like me?
Restricting criticism to support free speech, does not sound like a way to support free speech.
I think a lot of the users here struggled for decades to escape the non-sense masquerading as religion in their lives. I doubt they are looking to replace that religion with new non-sense.
Atheism is not a lack of belief in the supernatural, it's a lack or absence of belief in any deity or deities.
I can't speak for other atheists but I've never seen anyone demonstrate any objective evidence for anything supernatural or any deity, hence I disbelieve the claims for their existence.
The only things I "pounce on" are claims made without any or insufficient objective evidence.
Define exactly what you mean by "paranormal experience", because it has been my experience that this is a precursor to an argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy. Where someone wants to believe something they can't explain represents evidence for something supernatural. It's a "god of the gaps" polemic every single time.
I simply don't agree that this forum somehow suppresses freedom of expression. The only posts derided by most atheists here are those presented without proper evidence.
It would be rather strange to believe in the supernatural but not believe in any gods/powerful supernatural beings. What would be the point? Even Buddhists and Taoists have gods.
@Dark One: Anemmmm.... " It would be rather strange to believe in the supernatural but not believe in any gods/powerful supernatural beings."
No Dieties Required....
1. Crystal Magic
2. Pyramid Power
4. Levitation, Psychokinesis, all things ESP
8. Holistic Health
9. Magical magnatism.
10. Color Magic and Auras
12. Feng Sui
13. Sex Magic
14. Tarot, Tea Leaves, Ru Stones, Palmistry....
16, Sympathetic and para-sympathetic magic. (Sooth healers).
18. Power of Mantras
19. Talismans and Amulets and other charms.
There are thousands of ways to believe in supernatural things without involving supernatural beings.
'There are thousands of ways to believe in supernatural things without involving supernatural beings.'
Yes but that would be pointless? Talk about defeating the entire idea. You may as well be an atheist and believe the Earth is flat that's some rational thought right there.
@Sheldon! "The only posts derided by most atheists here are those presented without proper evidence." HERE HERE!
I want to thank everyone who participated. You're comments are refreshing to say the least
Please go to my next OP for the answers to some questions posed here and for a refreshing new perspective on very old topics.
NATURAL PHENOMENA AND UNUSUAL SIGHTINGS
While being "Hard" a-theist, and almost entirely skeptical of woo and "spiritism" etc, I strongly pounce on the other hard skeptic sorts who try to insist that a-theism necessarily means skepticism about everything else from astrology, flat-Earth, ghosts, reincarnation, spirit-mediums, UFOs, global conspiracy of elite super-wealthy etc.
All "a-theism" means is lacking in god-belief, and I will not let the hard-complete-skeptic "Alphas" steal the term.
Just as Southern Baptists or alternately Catholics, try to say their version of religion is predominant in the US, just because ~85% of people will respond "yes" to the question do they believe in a higher power, or "something beyond, or after death".
One does not follow the other, and plenty of a-theists believe in reincarnation, spirits, etc. Many primitive pre-Abrahamic monotheistic or other-than theist beliefs had heavily fantastical elements, without being theistic. Nothing theistic necessarily about many forms of woo and spirituality-without-religion.
The "Nones" are non-religious, but some are theistic, just not following any church doctrine. They're the majority of Westerners who say they believe in existence of the soul after death, or a higher power. Some of the "Nones" lack theism, but have all sorts of woo and spiritism, are still a-theist.
That's also why I carefully use the hyphenated term lack of theism is a-theism, not Atheist such as the OP calls "alphas".
In the natural world "Alphas" are always taken down. In the human interaction works, they exist to be taken down as better ideas come along, or in physicality, they get justly turned into cold meat in self-defense by someone who's not an "Alpha" human gorilla, but just tired of their sh!t.
I'm past being tired of other atheist activists claiming that alpha Atheist skepticism of everything, is all that a-theism is about.
I haven't been a member as long as others on this forum, but I feel I could happily admit that there is an exceptional space for civil discourse amongst atheists.
Some do perhaps go a little to aggressively after theists, thus shutting down an avenue of conversation.... however I can see why, after seeing the similar pattern of posts and the blatant evasion of fair questions.
But back on topic, i have found my views on many subjects haven't always been agreed upon, such as... I'm an advocate of naturalism, not everyone is! I quite like the many worlds interpretation in cosmology, again, others disagree.
And I've also had disagreements in regards to other aspects of life and right up to current issues like transgender athletes.
The one thing though that has been constant is the civility of conversation, and I know this for a fact because I am 100% the type of person that if someone goes off at me for no reason, I'll tell you to fuck off. :-)
Furthermore, I've also found people tend to be more open in that ideas are discussed rather than being an echo chamber that you see on other sites.
@Randomhero1982: As long as you argue fairly and intelligently, no one on this site is going to have any sort of issue with you. Disagreeing with an idea does not lessen the respect of a well presented position.
That's exactly what I have discovered Cog, everyone has been receptive to ideas and arguments and even given constructive criticism when required.
This is one of the better athiest forums, in my humble opinion.
Improvements? Not sure what you mean.
However, there is a difference between attacking an argument and attacking the person. I admit there are times when I tend to forget this. Probably because I don't suffer fools, and we have a couple of beauts (imo) I consider that to be a personal failing, and I will try to do better. Sadly, I think there will probably always be limits to my patience. This has consequences.
I've been on a lot of forums in well over 10 years. What tends to happen is I upset someone, they retaliate and I become emotionally upset. Then I think to myself :"Oh fuck, I did it again!" and leave the forum, without final words or snide comments.
I'm a hard person to like ,even harder in person. PART is because I have what used to be called Asperger's Syndrome.(high functioning) Among other things, that means I have the social skills of a carrot and very limited empathy. The main reason though is because I'm a cranky old cunt .