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  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by raiderfaninTX View Post
    Again I believe we do it to our selves, how electable do you expect to be as a group when a group that represents atheist sue the city of New York because of the 9/11 cross. Or sue states because a cross is on a mountain top. I personally believe and the majority of the people in this country do as well, that it is ridiculous. You know you are in the wrong when on these articles the only people supporting you are internet trolls.

    Why do Muslims or Jews not sue if it is so offensive, the loudest faction of atheist are those who want a war on religion more specifically Christianity, which IMO there are areas that should be fought but fighting schools prayer at games, graduations, and any time is just sad. It does not bother me to just sit there and let people pray, who cares they do not sit there and try to cast some spell on me.

    Lastly we have taken our belief in nothing and used our countries laws to push that belief on people. Some of us have become the very thing that we fight against. I believe you have the right to believe in what you want and as long as you are not hurting anyone then it is fine.
    The loudest and most extreme voices always echo louder than the less controversial majority.

    Some atheists argue that they believe what they believe because they are sick of religious people pushing their beliefs on them, but as you stated brilliantly in your last paragraph...they are becoming exactly what they claim to be fighting against.

    I am an atheist and personally I think arguing to take down crosses off of public land, or the 10 commandments in front of a school is ridiculous. This kind of stuff makes for great news, especially on Christian media outlets like FOX News. They want to create the narrative that all atheists are this way, when in reality these are a small minority that I certainly do not support or agree with.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Schmooze View Post
    The loudest and most extreme voices always echo louder than the less controversial majority.

    Some atheists argue that they believe what they believe because they are sick of religious people pushing their beliefs on them, but as you stated brilliantly in your last paragraph...they are becoming exactly what they claim to be fighting against.

    I am an atheist and personally I think arguing to take down crosses off of public land, or the 10 commandments in front of a school is ridiculous. This kind of stuff makes for great news, especially on Christian media outlets like FOX News. They want to create the narrative that all atheists are this way, when in reality these are a small minority that I certainly do not support or agree with.
    Doesn't it seem like all of the loud, angry, extremist factions within every group in this country share one common goal: to wage war on common sense and unity? It's so sad and pathetic.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by raiderfaninTX View Post
    Again I believe we do it to our selves, how electable do you expect to be as a group when a group that represents atheist sue the city of New York because of the 9/11 cross. Or sue states because a cross is on a mountain top. I personally believe and the majority of the people in this country do as well, that it is ridiculous. You know you are in the wrong when on these articles the only people supporting you are internet trolls.

    Why do Muslims or Jews not sue if it is so offensive, the loudest faction of atheist are those who want a war on religion more specifically Christianity, which IMO there are areas that should be fought but fighting schools prayer at games, graduations, and any time is just sad. It does not bother me to just sit there and let people pray, who cares they do not sit there and try to cast some spell on me.

    Lastly we have taken our belief in nothing and used our countries laws to push that belief on people. Some of us have become the very thing that we fight against. I believe you have the right to believe in what you want and as long as you are not hurting anyone then it is fine.
    So when there are First Amendment violations, nothing should be done about it lest people not like you? We could try to rely on the majority to police themselves, but clearly they've done a terrible job of it so far.

    This is still just a naive perspective. Jessica Alquist, a high school student, was attacked by fellow students and by elected officials for trying to get a religious banner removed from her school. And she was right! It was clearly a violation. Are you saying she should have done nothing, so people would like her better?
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  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShockerArt View Post
    Doesn't it seem like all of the loud, angry, extremist factions within every group in this country share one common goal: to wage war on common sense and unity? It's so sad and pathetic.
    Ordinarily, these people would be shunned.

    On the 24-hour news cycle, however, where the main motive is high ratings, they must be covered. Meanwhile, intelligent debate gets pushed to the side.

    Covering the nuttiest people also is a valuable tool for politics in general. You find the extremist element of one group then go: "See? Wow can you believe what (insert goup here) is doing now?" They did it in the 60s with the anti-war movement, and ocntinue to do it today with OWS and the Tea Party.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by raiderfaninTX View Post
    uh as a non-believer athiest do it to themselves. How about go to the CNN faith blog and read the post, then go to msnbc and read any article on religion. Some of the most ruthless remarks are from Athiest, and we wonder why we're not liked. It is embarrassing that uneducated people claim to be one because they think it is cool. I see more hateful post now days from non-believers than those who do believe. Atheist need to remember this country allows us to believe what we want not we all have to believe in nothing.

    It goes even deeper but this is not the place.
    Yeah...I really don't think atheists are the most unelectable group in the US because of comments people post on blogs and because of a handful of obnoxious and seemingly pointless lawsuits, protests and demonstrations. It's been like this for ever. There's an ingrained stigma that exists. Luckily, the trend seems to be dipping in favor of atheists, and I think it will continue to do so.

    But you're right, this isn't really the place.
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  6. #21
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    Well, I'm not surrounded by the 'news' media like you all in the US, and thank God I don't have Faux news, but my experience on the web really is very different.

    I'm an atheist too, from a non-practicing Jewish background. I don't care to argue religion or atheism on the web, and I don't seek out sites that cater to those who do. Going by the sites, forums, and FB pages that I see regularly, I can tell you that the only offense and aggression I see is from people professing religion, and telling others how they should lead their lives. These same forever bible-quoting and thumping zealots, and there are loads of them out there, would also tell others what is moral and what isn't based on their own literal interpretation of 'the word of God'. They talk about God all the time, God appears in most conversations, they are good, the rest of us are evil and will burn in hell, the POTUS is a Muslim socialist and so on. I honestly have seen no such thing as an aggressive atheist in the political context - though I'm sure they probably exist to some extent in their arguments with believers on sites that I don't go to.

    Remember - "Rational arguments don't work on religious people, otherwise there wouldn't be any religious people." (House)

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by natepro View Post
    So when there are First Amendment violations, nothing should be done about it lest people not like you? We could try to rely on the majority to police themselves, but clearly they've done a terrible job of it so far.

    This is still just a naive perspective. Jessica Alquist, a high school student, was attacked by fellow students and by elected officials for trying to get a religious banner removed from her school. And she was right! It was clearly a violation. Are you saying she should have done nothing, so people would like her better?
    no not at all, if the people attacked her or she was punished because she did not believe then of course fight the fight, but I am talking about the people who go out of their way to make a point. If they are not forcing or openly attacking you then why speak out against someone praying even if it is public. Not all prayers are to convert people.

    So in teh school I grew up in they took part in a prayer week, every morning if you wanted to you could meet by the flag pole to pray, guess what they never tried to convert or force anyone to participate. In fact the protest would tell some of my friends before praying you pray to your god and I will pray to mine. As an atheist I see no harm in that even if it is at a public school. Again the problem with this country is there is no middle grown you have to be one way or the other.

    and from other post why do people use extremes to prove a point, may as well just use the crusades and Hitler in every argument. It is asinine for both sides
    Last edited by raiderfaninTX; 01-23-2013 at 02:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShockerArt View Post
    Well said. As a Christian, I run into the same issues with people that share the same beliefs. It's frustrating to see people try so hard to be divisive and intolerant. Christians ignore so much of the Bible's message about loving everyone and refraining from passing judgement on others. So many would rather wage political wars and judge everyone who isn't exactly like them.

    I feel the same as you do about the outspoken faction of the atheist population. For me, being atheist is simply being non-religious. A lot the more outspoken atheists that I encounter despise Christians for being intolerant, yet they themselves exhibit intolerant behavior in their hatred of all Christianity.

    I guess that there will always be angry, outspoken groups within any larger group of people. You see it in politics, religion, sports, etc. It's just frustrating to feel like you have to constantly defend what you believe because the loud, angry faction of your group invites negative feelings towards the whole.
    That's agnosticism.

    Atheists are also non-religious, but it's a life that doesn't acknowledge any "god."


  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by raiderfaninTX View Post
    no not at all, if the people attacked her or she was punished because she did not believe then of course fight the fight, but I am talking about the people who go out of their way to make a point. If they are not forcing or openly attacking you then why speak out against someone praying even if it is public. Not all prayers are to convert people.

    So in teh school I grew up in they took part in a prayer week, every morning if you wanted to you could meet by the flag pole to pray, guess what they never tried to convert or force anyone to participate. In fact the protest would tell some of my friends before praying you pray to your god and I will pray to mine. As an atheist I see no harm in that even if it is at a public school. Again the problem with this country is there is no middle grown you have to be one way or the other.

    and from other post why do people use extremes to prove a point, may as well just use the crusades and Hitler in every argument. It is asinine for both sides
    That example is far different than from displaying something physical that is in violation of one of the most important aspects of the Constitution.


  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by debo View Post
    That's agnosticism.

    Atheists are also non-religious, but it's a life that doesn't acknowledge any "god."
    I know the difference b/w agnosticism and atheism. I was just saying that some of the more extreme atheists take an "evangelical" approach to atheism and push their non-belief on people in the same way that some of the more extreme religious people push their beliefs on everyone. I personally don't see why anyone of any belief or non-belief would feel the need to force their values and beliefs on other people. I was agreeing with raiderfaninTX.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by raiderfaninTX View Post
    no not at all, if the people attacked her or she was punished because she did not believe then of course fight the fight, but I am talking about the people who go out of their way to make a point. If they are not forcing or openly attacking you then why speak out against someone praying even if it is public. Not all prayers are to convert people.

    So in teh school I grew up in they took part in a prayer week, every morning if you wanted to you could meet by the flag pole to pray, guess what they never tried to convert or force anyone to participate. In fact the protest would tell some of my friends before praying you pray to your god and I will pray to mine. As an atheist I see no harm in that even if it is at a public school. Again the problem with this country is there is no middle grown you have to be one way or the other.

    and from other post why do people use extremes to prove a point, may as well just use the crusades and Hitler in every argument. It is asinine for both sides
    What you're talking about is called See You At the Pole, is run by students, is completely legal, and has never been targeted by groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I know all this, because I used to go to that when I was in high school. And sure, you're going to run into idiots on the internet who want to demean those people, but you're not going to find atheists suing to try to stop them. It is exactly that that we want to happen, in fact.

    If not wanting a school to portray a picture of Jesus (an actual case) is going to make them unelectable as a group, then you have to admit that's a pretty sad situation for our country. It is not an attack on anyone's beliefs to ask that they follow the same rules every other group has to follow. Atheists are not asking that the picture of Jesus be removed and replaced with one of Dawkins. They're not asking that the Ten Commandments be removed and replaced with a Flying Spaghetti Monster monument. Just... no religion in government. Why is that so wrong?
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  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Schmooze View Post
    The loudest and most extreme voices always echo louder than the less controversial majority.

    Some atheists argue that they believe what they believe because they are sick of religious people pushing their beliefs on them, but as you stated brilliantly in your last paragraph...they are becoming exactly what they claim to be fighting against.

    I am an atheist and personally I think arguing to take down crosses off of public land, or the 10 commandments in front of a school is ridiculous. This kind of stuff makes for great news, especially on Christian media outlets like FOX News. They want to create the narrative that all atheists are this way, when in reality these are a small minority that I certainly do not support or agree with.
    The problem is, however brilliantly he may have said it, his last paragraph is just wrong. Forcing religious displays off public land is not forcing any belief on anyone. No one becomes less Jewish or Catholic or Protestant or Muslim or anything else by the removal of a religious symbol from a school or federal lands or a court room. They are free to plaster their cars in religious symbols, they are free to go to church seven days a week, they are free to stand on the street corner and pray out loud, etc.

    But taking my tax dollars and your tax dollars and using them to create or display religious symbols isn't legal. And it takes a real leap of logic to make not allowing them to do so into forcing them to do or believe anything.
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  13. #28
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    For the record, I've been making this same point for quite a while now.

    There is this trend in politics to blindly reference "science." "We're the party that believes in science" is a common thing I hear from a lot of liberals. But a lot of them don't actually give a **** about science. It's mostly a rhetorical device.

    They'll use the exact same debate tactics as a creationist when the weight of expert opinion does not go in their favor.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcoll View Post
    For the record, I've been making this same point for quite a while now.

    There is this trend in politics to blindly reference "science." "We're the party that believes in science" is a common thing I hear from a lot of liberals. But a lot of them don't actually give a **** about science. It's mostly a rhetorical device.

    They'll use the exact same debate tactics as a creationist when the weight of expert opinion does not go in their favor.
    The problem, and it's the same problem I and others (PZ Myers had a good writeup on it yesterday or the day before) have, is that you don't see the same number of people in power in the Democratic party espousing the anti-science views the way Republicans do. You can almost pick an area of science and find a nationally elected Republican that disagrees with something in it. The left has their crazies, no doubt - anti-vaxxers, out of their minds enviros, etc. - but you don't see the candidates for the Dem Presidential nomination on stage saying that vaccines cause autism the way you do Republican candidates denying global warming or evolution. You don't see Dem Congressmen calling embryology and the Big Bang "lies from the pit of hell." Democrats are not trying to force anti-GMO views into schools the way Republicans around the country are trying to force Creationism or Intelligent Design into schools. There are no laws, that I am aware of, allowing students to opt out of certain lessons about nuclear energy because they disagree with what is being taught they way students can with evolution in Missouri. To equate the two, as Shermer has done, and as you seem to be doing now, just doesn't work.

    Rebecca Watson did a nice job with all of this, too:

    If so, Michael Shermer hasn’t made a very good case for it.

    Today, via io9, I stumbled across an article by Shermer in Scientific American called “The Liberals’ War on Science,” in which he argues that liberals are no better (or not much better) than conservatives when it comes to science denial. This may be my bleeding heart liberal bias speaking, but it’s not terribly convincing. Here are his points:
    Democrats believe stupid things, too!

    Shermer states that 41% of Democrats believe god created man as-is within the previous 1,000 years [EDIT: I mean 10,000, not that that's much better] and 19% doubt global warming. The creationism question comes from a recent Gallup poll of 1,000 people, and the global warming figure comes from this 2011 poll that also found that only 36% of Democrats doubted evolution. But let’s say that yes, a large minority of Democrats don’t believe in evolution and a smaller minority doesn’t believe in climate change.

    Does this equal a “liberal war on science”? Hardly. A lot of people believing something inaccurate does not mean there’s a war – a war requires action, and conservatives are the people who are performing the actions: namely, introducing and sponsoring antievolution bills. While I’m sure that some Democrat must have introduced an antievolution bill, my Google skills have failed to turn one up. Bill after bill in state after state, conservative Republicans are the ones who are attempting to legislate their religious beliefs.
    Liberals hate evolutionary psychology!

    Shermer writes:

    As Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker documents in his 2002 book The Blank Slate (Viking), belief in the mind as a tabula rasa shaped almost entirely by culture has been mostly the mantra of liberal intellectuals, who in the 1980s and 1990s led an all-out assault against evolutionary psychology via such Orwellian-named far-left groups as Science for the People, for proffering the now uncontroversial idea that human thought and behavior are at least partially the result of our evolutionary past.

    The characterization here is very interesting: first, Shermer equates criticism of evolutionary psychology with a belief in the mind as a blank slate, as though there are no critics who put forth a more complicated view of the development of human nature. Second, he states that Science for the People and other critics were “liberal intellectuals,” as opposed to using the much more explanatory term, “scientists.” Of course, SftP weren’t all scientists, but the group was a fractured collection that consisted primarily of students, professors, and scientists like Stephen J. Gould who were concerned that evolutionary psychology was contaminating real science efforts with pseudoscience. While Shermer writes that their “assault” spanned the 1980s and 1990s, the group actually began in the 1960s as Scientists for Social and Political Action, which became Science for the People in 1969. They were perhaps best known for their disruptive protest of a AAAS conference in 1969.

    Shermer (and many others) may not care for some of their tactics, but the least he could do is represent them fairly and get the basic facts right. And if he’s hoping to argue for a present-day Liberal War on Science, he’ll have to do better than citing a 30-years defunct group of scientists who made some rad zines and whose criticism of evolutionary psychology is carried on today by a multitude of scientists from a spectrum of disciplines who are critical of different aspects of the field, like biologist PZ Myers, psychologist Christopher Ryan, neurobiologist Steven Rose, and philosopher of science David J. Buller, here interviewed in Scientific American. It’s absurd to pretend that all these scientists, Gould included, are just ignorant, anti-science liberals.

    And need I even criticize the use of the phrase “Orwellian-named?” No, I suppose I don’t. Moving on.
    Liberals hate energy!

    This, perhaps, is Shermer’s most baffling argument:

    On energy issues, for example, the [2012 book Science Left Behind] authors contend that progressive liberals tend to be antinuclear because of the waste-disposal problem, anti–fossil fuels because of global warming, antihydroelectric because dams disrupt river ecosystems, and anti–wind power because of avian fatalities. The underlying current is “everything natural is good” and “everything unnatural is bad.”

    First of all, the final sentence makes no sense in relation to the previous. Wind energy is about as “natural” as it gets, so obviously that’s not an explanation for why liberals would be against these technologies. A more reasonable explanation would be that they’re against them for the reasons that Shermer lists himself: there is a waste-disposal question when it comes to nuclear power. Dams can disrupt river ecosystems. Wind power may cause avian fatalities. You or I may not think those are sufficient reasons for stopping the exploration of those technologies, and there may be other anti-science beliefs behind opposition to some of those technologies, but that list doesn’t cover them at all. And the most galling part is that liberals are criticized for being anti-fossil fuel because of climate change a mere two paragraphs after they’re accused of not caring enough about climate change. Which is it?

    If Shermer wanted to make a point here, he may have been able to argue something about liberals inhibiting the progress of nuclear power, but he fails.
    Liberals hate GMO!

    Finally, Shermer focuses on the liberal hatred of all things genetically modified. He writes:

    Comedian Bill Maher, for example, on his HBO Real Time show on October 19, 2012, asked Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirshberg if he would rate Monsanto as a 10 (“evil”) or an 11 (“f—ing evil”)? The fact is that we’ve been genetically modifying organisms for 10,000 years through breeding and selection. It’s the only way to feed billions of people.

    Far be it from me to defend the ridiculously anti-science vaccine-denier Bill Maher, but Shermer appears to be completely ignorant of the criticisms of Monsanto and how they can differ from the criticisms of GMO. I acknowledge that there are plenty of people out there who misunderstand the science of GMOs, but the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of people (scientists like Ben Goldacre included) who have a lot of very valid arguments against the practices of the Monsanto corporation.

    And what about the people who hold anti-scientific biases against GMOs? I’d like to see the evidence that they’re all liberal, because I’ve seen a bit of evidence to suggest that GMO concern is a cross-platform issue. The best I could find showing a liberal bias is this ABC News poll that says:

    Republicans divide evenly on whether genetically modified foods are safe or unsafe. Independents rate them unsafe by a 20-point margin; Democrats, by a 26-point margin.

    Then again, last year’s California vote on labeling GMO foods showed fairly equal support amongst Democrats and Republicans:

    As a Republican, I don’t want government bureaucrats or corporate lobbyists deciding what I can and can’t know about the food I eat.

    Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on many issues – but Prop. 37 is an exception.

    Poll after poll shows approximately 90 percent of Republicans and Democrats support the labeling of GMOs, and over 1 million Americans submitted comments to the FDA urging they be labeled, too, more than any petition received in the agency’s history.

    The point being: the “Liberal War on Science” described by Shermer seems to me to be, well, a bit Orwellian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by natepro
    The problem, and it's the same problem I and others (PZ Myers had a good writeup on it yesterday or the day before) have, is that you don't see the same number of people in power in the Democratic party espousing the anti-science views the way Republicans do. You can almost pick an area of science and find a nationally elected Republican that disagrees with something in it. The left has their crazies, no doubt - anti-vaxxers, out of their minds enviros, etc. - but you don't see the candidates for the Dem Presidential nomination on stage saying that vaccines cause autism the way you do Republican candidates denying global warming or evolution. You don't see Dem Congressmen calling embryology and the Big Bang "lies from the pit of hell." Democrats are not trying to force anti-GMO views into schools the way Republicans around the country are trying to force Creationism or Intelligent Design into schools. There are no laws, that I am aware of, allowing students to opt out of certain lessons about nuclear energy because they disagree with what is being taught they way students can with evolution in Missouri. To equate the two, as Shermer has done, and as you seem to be doing now, just doesn't work.
    The liberal position on nuclear power and free trade is pretty close to the positions Republicans take on global warming, and evolution.

    And the reason you don't see the educational activism on the part of liberals, is because the liberal positions are accepted as dogma in most schools. And also, the Republican positions have religious undertones. When you add religion to the mix, people take things more personally.

    But the logic is the same. Like I said, inform a liberal about the near universal consensus among economists on free trade. Watch how quickly they start sounding like a creationist.
    Last edited by gcoll; 01-24-2013 at 03:24 PM.

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