Religion

Deliberately obfuscating a message or: I don’t understand English

On April 11, a blogging friend of mine Tildeb, posted an encounter he had with a recent convert to the Christian religion.  His blog is titled Questionable Motives and I recommend you take a gander at it.  He’s slowed down on his postings over the last year unfortunately but what is already there is very well written and thought-provoking.

The convert’s name is Eva and she has a blog titled The Aspirational Agnostic.  Her convert story contained what one might come to expect from people who, now that they have found the correct god and discovered the correct way to worship him, have become an all-around better person – you know – more accepting, more tolerant, more humble…the list goes on and on.  She’s left behind her nasty old intolerant, fundamentalist, angry, opinionated, atheist self.  She’s left behind The God Delusion – which was her “bible” and she’s found the REAL bible.  If you have any capacity at all for critical thinking, you’re probably saying to yourself right now (or ought to be) “Hey wait a minute!  How can you use The God Delusion as a bible?  How can you be a “fundamentalist” atheist?  Neither of those things make any sense whatsoever.”  The whole point of being an atheist is that one rejects all supernatural deities and obviously couldn’t hold a book to be written by such a being.  You can’t be a “fundamentalist” atheist, because atheism contains no principles to be fundamentalist about.  It is simply a word used in place of the phrase “non-belief in gods”.  That’s it.  That’s all there is to atheism

Enter the discussion/debate/argument stage which for me, started when I read tildeb’s blog post, calling out Eva and her use of atheism and the God Delusion as scapegoats for her past intolerant, angry, opinionated behavior.  The reaction was as you’d likely predict.  First, tildeb was banned by Eva – because she’s so tolerant.  After that, she re-instated his comment and “apologized” by saying “Oh crikey. I just came over to leave a comment, just in case you don’t get a notification. I reinstated your comment and have apologized for deleting it. Its the first time that I have ever deleted a comment, or banned someone, and I think that I over reacted.”.  So far so good right?  No admitting of fault or anything like that but at least an apology.  But wait, there’s more!: “I’m sorry that you took it so much to heart, although your readers must pleased that it finally got you to post again!”   Not, I’m sorry, it was my fault.  No.  I am sorry that it’s YOUR fault you took my deleting of your comment and your subsequent banning “to heart”.  Is this a great apology or what?!?!  What happened next?  She allowed him to post for a while, addressing none of his criticism and instead blaming the whole thing on him and his “misunderstanding” of what she wrote.  And oh yeah and of course “you sound like I rejected your date to the prom. Get over yourself and your high and mighty motives, Tildeb. Youre just an angry internet keyboard warrior who lost a platform.”  Because hey, if you criticize someone, that must mean you’re “angry”, which immediately invalidates the criticism.  Then she banned him again.  Tolerance anyone?

Enter the Professional Apologist.  Barry, over at Another Spectrum WordPress blog.  He has been doing the best excuse making and tap dancing I’ve ever seen an apologist do.  I have continually repeated the same message ad nauseam.  Although Eva has claimed that she was an atheist because she disliked Christians and found them to be stupid and ignorant and that she used The God Delusion as her “bible” to justify her behavior, she is being dishonest and disingenuous.  Disliking Christians does not make you an atheist, it makes you an bigoted or prejudiced person.  There is no promulgation of intolerance, prejudice or bigotry contained within The God Delusion, certainly not aimed specifically at Christians.  None of her behavior can be attributed to either of those things.  She was an intolerant, angry, opinionated person, SCAPEGOATING her behavior on atheism and The God Delusion.  This was the SOLE reason tildeb took exception to Eva’s conversion story in the first place.  It’s a very simple message.  Eva is committed to her position that she didn’t smear atheism or The God Delusion and Barry is committed to not understanding the objection.  It is literally like talking to a brick wall.  This is the kind of thing that happens when you abandon critical thinking.

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24 thoughts on “Deliberately obfuscating a message or: I don’t understand English

  1. Thanks for this, Ashley.

    My motivation for using Eva’s testimonial as an example of typical lying for Jesus was the ongoing vilification of New Atheists who are regularly smeared by the false accusation of containing some fundamental intolerance and bigotry. That so few people – especially from the Left and within the ranks of atheists themselves – seem to really grasp this as the main justification to hold New Atheists in contempt is rather disappointing. I think it would be of some service to what’s true if more people would stand up to this kind of bullying deceit, to expose it, and challenge the claim as the lie it really is in order to reveal it’s imaginary substance. People are welcome to believe what they want but they have no right to claim these beliefs as if a fact.

    What is also disappointing to me is how I have never encountered another Christian receiving this typical Christian testimonial about once being and angry, intolerant, and bigoted atheist and then questioning its honesty. Ever. The assumption seems to be that intolerance and bigotry really are fundamental to atheism generally – with a few exceptions of atheists personally known, of course – and New Atheism specifically. I encounter this reverse bigotry all the time and any honest and direct language that responds to and challenges this false accusation is immediately used as evidence for the accuracy fo the false belief, that the atheist challenging the claim demonstrates the inherent anger and intolerance ‘those’ atheists practice!

    Nice circular reasoning, eh?

    What is of the greatest disappointment is how prevalent is the scope and depth of self-censoring by other atheists who may offer a very tepid and innocuously worded response, the dearth of atheists and other honest people willing to stand up to this smearing… presumably out of fear of being seen as one of ‘those’ kind of people… you know, the intolerant and angry kind like those New Atheists.who actually criticize religious ideas and their privileging in the public domain.

    So thank you for your efforts, Ashley. They are an example of what more people – believers and non believers alike – should be exercising if they actually hold more respect more for what is true than they do for tolerating intolerable ideas that are not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Clearly she was never a true atheist. 😎

    Sounds like a real piece of work. I get the feeling that this convert is still just as hateful and misguided as a x-ian as they may have been as a (no true) atheist . They are just too dense to understand their own true nature. And far to willing to make a fallacious argument out of the situation.

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    • Imagine how silly it would look (and dishonest and disingenuous) if I wrote this:

      “In my mind I disliked Muslims, they made me irritated by their stupidity, and I was a Christian because of this”

      Sounds pretty stupid wouldn’t you say?

      Somehow, in her mind, it makes sense if you substitute Christians for Muslims and atheist for Christian.

      That’s the point I have been trying to make to Barry for about 20 odd posts that just cannot penetrate his commitment to not understanding.

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      • Some people are so dense and ideologic that reason and common sense cannot penetrate the defenses they have put up.

        It’s like every single thing they see is not a problem at all because… Jebus.

        Maybe we could call them Barry’s?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Peter says:

    I look at this matter somewhat differently. I don’t see there is any point in vilifying Eva who seems like a good decent person to me. Sometimes it is better to let a matter rest. From Eva’s perspective she now concludes a number of on-line atheists are just ‘aresholes’, I don’t see that outcome as being productive in the longer term.

    I have reviewed the debate and even though I am atheist I felt she was harshly treated by many of the atheist commentators.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter, I understand from people who were once believers and now atheists that the format for such common testimonials as the one Eva wrote is intended to show a ‘before’ character as somewhat craven and an ‘after’ as a distinct improvement. There is also a common thread for such people to paint their ‘before’ as related to non belief in a very negative way. Probably the one that is most common is to claim that the non belief contained or promoted a fundamental set of principles that involved intolerance and bigotry towards believers. It was this claim that I took issue with because it is a lie. It is not true. It is a deceit. It is intentional.

      Telling such lies about one’s self is bad enough. You know and I know that atheism does not comes with any such set of negative and nasty principles. So do the people like Eva who write such testimonials. But the consequences go further than just vilifying one’s ‘before’ character; it smears other non believers like you and me with the same brush not because of our character but by our shared non belief. This characterization is then redistributed by other believers as if evidence for the fundamentalism that atheism-that-criticizes-religious-belief is true for most if not all non believers who do so… and then justified by believers who legitimately say that this characterization of atheists is based on so many testimonials that include this intentional lie.

      Now, it is also my experience that when a non believer challenges the truth value of the claim that there is a kind of common atheism that contains a set of fundamental principles that include intolerance and bigotry, this challenge is evidence for intolerance and bigotry because of the ‘angry’, ‘strident’, ‘militant’, ‘rude’ tone by which the challenge is made. What’s put aside, of course, is the challenge itself, that someone is lying about their non belief containing these fundamental principles and the contentious issue then becomes one about tone of the person being smeared by association, of being a representative of a kind fo atheism that is intolerant and bigoted BECAUSE one challenges with honest language.

      So my question to you is how should one challenge this Big Lie with the actual person who is repeating it that avoids the description of ‘vilifying’ the person who is telling it… when the definition of ‘vilification’ is equivalent to challenging the lie in any way?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I would sum up what tildeb said thusly: It’s very hard to call someone out on a lie or tell them that they are a liar in a nice way. Impossible actually. This is usually where the “harsh treatment” accusation comes in. There’s just no pleasant way to say it. You come across sounding like a d*&k. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that the accusation is without merit and shouldn’t be made. I notice that throughout the whole process, Eva never admitted to any wrongdoing, smearing, obfuscating, lying or anything of the sort. Everyone BUT her was at fault. I can’t for the life of me figure out how anyone can say they were an intolerant, angry, opinionated atheist, who used The God Delusion as their “bible” and then turn around and say that it’s not a slight against atheism or The God Delusion. How anyone can read what she wrote and not be able to see the obvious connection she drew between her non-belief, her shitty attitude and her “using the God Delusion as her bible” is completely beyond me. When I finally cornered her after she admitted to drawing parallels between her behavior and “The God Delusion is my bible” and asshole Christians using the real bible to justify their behavior, did she admit that she’d slighted atheists, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, etc? NO. What did she do? Threw her hands up in the air and declared that she gave up and that I won because “she had no idea what I was talking about” and that she didn’t realize she’d be “subjected to the Spanish Inquisition”. Apparently this was a very complicated subject. There are only 2 options that I can think of, off the top of my head that someone acts like this – One either refuses to admit wrong doing, or one simply does not understand the English language. Hence the title of this post. Personally, I believe that it’s a deliberate obfuscation. And I believe that because it’s what religious apologists do for a living. It’s not really shit on your ice cream. It’s a chocolate sundae. There’s just a very nuanced way of describing shit and chocolate that make them essentially interchangeable that someone like me just can’t understand.
    As far as pushing Eva further into the “all atheists are assholes” territory, that could well be true. However, That doesn’t really mean anything to me, because she is clearly a person who doesn’t care about the truth of anything, is willing to blame all of her shortcomings, faults, past and present behavior on everything and everyone but herself. In other words, I am not very concerned about what people like that think of me, tildeb or atheists in general because clearly, they can’t think rationally, objectively or critically about anything in the first place.
    She done found Jesus and hallelujah, she’s been magically transformed into this more tolerant, less fundamentalist person – who bans people and deletes their comments at the drop of a hat because she doesn’t like what they have to say. She and her apologist friends have already trotted out all the excuses you can think of for doing such a thing, completely absolving her and themselves of any wrong doing in the process. I suspect that none of them appreciate any of the delicious irony of her pathetically childish, tyrannical, intolerant behavior while claiming to be a more tolerant person. I do though.

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    • Ashley, even with a very nice tone in my very first comment about her and her blogging – and her generally kind and respectful treatment of others that I saw displayed over the years – even that I doubted she was ever such a nasty piece of work as she described her former self being, that I would dare call her out on her very intentional deceit about being a fundamentalist atheist loaded up on intolerance and bigotry she attributed to the God Delusion that she said she used as her bible, I was banned.

      Just. Like. That.

      To many people ready to excuse Eva forget or ignore that starting point entirely. What’s intolerant isn’t intolerance demonstrated, I guess: what’s intolerant is criticizing those who exercise it, who intentionally falsely accuse New Atheists in order to smear them. That’s fine in the minds of many.

      I posted a critical but fair response on my site knowing full well she would receive a pingback and have her deceit exposed in spite of banning my accusatory comment. That’s what I wanted: to expose the Big Lie with an example of someone who did it.

      So, Peter and Consoledreader, I sincerely hope you understand why other atheists might take equal license you are willing to grant to Eva and presume the worst about her.

      Now, she took the time – after allowing such commentary to resume on her site – to mitigate some of the more serious negative assumptions made about her and I think many people reformed a better opinion of her for doing so. That’s fine. But not once she did admit that my accusation held merit, that she really did smear New Atheists and that she was sorry for doing so. Not once.

      What’s of particular concern to me is how many others went along with the Big Lie and did not hold her accountable for smearing New Atheists with this false accusation of holding fundamental principles of intolerance and bigotry; instead, what I continue to read is people who tell me that my tone is too harsh, that my criticism is misplaced, that I have not understood her testimonial correctly, that sticking to my accusation is a poor reflection on more reasonable and tolerant non believers.

      You have got to be fucking kidding me.

      What is forgotten is that Eva has not retracted her false claims against New Atheists. Not one person eager to absolve Eva from her personal responsibility for intentionally lying has been able to show this supposed fundamentalism she claims she ‘followed’. Not one… because the claim IS a lie! My accusation IS accurate.

      Why doesn’t Eva retract her lie? Why are so many others willing to go along with this lie?

      Well, I think it’s because people who wish to think well of themselves like Peter and Consoledreader and most especially Barry have gone to some effort to grant her cover and allowed her to hide behind all the counter-accusations about MY motivations, MY reading comprehension, MY tone, and so on. What’s lost in all the noise is the fact that Eva lied, was accused of it by me, banned for it not once but twice, and has not corrected her intentional deceit. She hasn’t had to… because people who should know better have propped up the Big Lie perhaps not intentionally but actually in their eagerness to appear oh-so-tolerant and nice… not like those nasty folk who call her out over what she has done: lied about her ‘fundamental’ atheism.

      What has really been accomplished by all the apologetic noise busy defending Eva as a nice person is that the smear stands. There really is a fundamental nastiness at the heart of New Atheism that is intolerant and bigoted because that’s what you are if you disagree with the Big Lie and have the nastiness and poor tone and poor manners and questionable reading comprehension to stand up and challenge it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I should have qualified my statement “You come across sounding like at dick” and added “to them”. Actually, if I am not mistaken, Eva actually did call you a dick! ha! More deliciously rich, creamy irony.
        It doesn’t sound dickish to me because I recognize she’s not being honest and she’s attributing her intolerant behavior to things that it shouldn’t be attributed to – and refused (and continues to refuse) to admit it. This is Religious Apologetics 101. Ignore the message and feel insulted, accuse the other person of being nasty and angry and so on.
        I hate to say it, but it seems to have worked quite well wouldn’t you say? Nearly everyone but you and me (and maybe 4 other people on your site) went right along with it! (Post Publishing edit: and Shelldigger)

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        • I see this tactic of prodding and smearing others and then taking offense at any pushback as a root in the tree of victimhood; believers seem to need a common enemy to bolster a sense of community and so I can’t help but feel disappointed that so many others not similarly invested are not just willing to go along with this duplicitous charade but actually go out of their way to help justify it. Again, in my original and quickly deleted comment, one of the reasons I responded was because no one else was. This demonstrates collaboration and so for others to pitch in with excusing the deceit is a form of collaboration, a means used to help maintain the deceit and yet, for people who SAY they are concerned about fairness and reasonableness to the person doing the deceiving, it’s doubly disappointing to then receive more criticism for criticizing the deceiver than any support for criticizing the lying and smearing itself. This is what accommodationists do, what apologists try to get other to do on their behalf: defend the indefensible – intentionally lying and smearing others – and tolerate intolerance – assume the banning is justified for reasons of tone – and supporting the image of being a helpless victim of bigotry – a bigotry to which one once belonged.

          That so many people don’t spend much if any time thinking about what it is they are defending – Eva has been unfairly criticized and called names! – is a clue about the effectiveness of denialism and claiming victomhood. I can’t help but think many people have been successfully manipulated and duped.

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        • My first post was this one where I wrote,

          “Having followed her writings for years, I am aware of no such intolerant and fundamentalist ‘pattern’. Quite the opposite, in fact. She was almost always polite and considerate to believers and non believers alike. Of course, from her blog title am quite aware of the agnosticism she admittedly had. So, when I wrote a comment to the above conversion story directly criticizing her for doing this seemingly mandatory smearing of atheism, she then did what so many religious bloggers do: exercised knee-jerk censorship and removed my ‘offending’ comment (plus ban me from any further commenting apparently).”

          What she wrote in her original post was far more ‘offending;’ a comment (primarily because it is not true and smears other New Atheists with the charge of holding fundamental principles of intolerance and bigotry that she pretends she simply followed) than me challenging it with honest and blunt language many consider rude and harsh. My first comment was highly critical of her associating what she claimed was her fundamental atheism with New Atheism (“The God Delusion was my bible, and I was about as intolerant and fundamentalist as you can get”) and not taking responsibility for herself as the source for her intolerance and bigotry. That was whole point of the comment, that the association she was claiming between her kind ‘fundamental’ atheism was the intolerant kind found in the God Delusion. I said that was crap. It still is crap, what I call the Big Lie. And she’s never retracted the smear nor admitted her intolerance and bigotry she said she exercised came solely from her and was her responsibility to correct.

          Sure, you’re mostly fine with her lying, her smearing others and refusing to own it, her banning, but holding her accountable using language you deem of questionable tone and harshness is worthy of your criticism that labels me as an ‘extremist’ (with the added bonus of appearing more tolerant and kinder than I). I think your priorities are badly warped.

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          • You very easily could have made your points without half the aggression and attack-mode.

            —————————————————————————————
            The way you’re depicting non-belief isn’t accurate. It is a stereotype that atheists who criticize religion are intolerant, fundamentalist, and angry. These exact stereotypes are often used to vilify all of atheism by believers. It is a common trope of Christian conversion testimonials. So you can imagine my concern at hearing these stereotypes presented once again right after your conversion. These so-called “fundamental” atheists are merely criticizing bad ideas, such as religion, as a failed method of insight. You might have seen yourself as angry and intolerant (it’s hard for me to speak to a person’s personal life experience), but this has nothing to do with atheism. There is nothing “fundamental” about atheism since there are no principles or tenets to be fundamental about.

            ——————————————————————————————

            I removed all your attacks on her new found beliefs, all the accusations of her being a liar, the aggressive, emotional language, most of the condescending. While I can’t promise you she would’ve changed her mind, this likely would’ve had a better chance at doing so.

            I suppose it depends on what you wish to accomplish. Do you want to actually stand a chance at persuading the other person or do you just wish to be heard and reaffirmed by your friends?

            The reason I failed to change my mind is that you haven’t convinced me your right, not because I wish to protect Eva.

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            • You haven’t convinced me you’re right, that the softer tone of gentle criticism increases its effectiveness. Sort of the homeopathy kind of approach. Indeed, any criticism at all is often seen by faitheists as just too harsh. My experience is that the harder and harsher one challenges deceit, the less likely it will be so easily and breezily repeated. But thanks for your editing; wouldn’t it be great if this is all it took?

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            • And once again, we seem to be talking solely about tildeb’s (or really anyone’s for that matter) tone and language approach to his criticism of Eva, rather than the MERIT for the ACTUAL criticism.
              The most important conversation – the only one that really matters – the one that almost EVERYONE seems to be absolutely determined to avoid is whether or not the criticism was warranted. I know what my answer is: Yes, it was. I read what she wrote and it was as clear as day to me, that she was painting her former “atheist” self as an intolerant, fundamentalist person, using atheism and The God Delusion as scapegoats for her past bad behavior, in order to score points from the unthinking, uncritical Christians (and even some atheists) on her blog who have tripped over themselves to unquestioningly fawn over her new found tolerance and acceptance.
              If you read through my responses with Eva here (:https://theaspirationalagnostic.com/2016/04/09/hopefully-this-will-be-the-last-time-i-talk-about-being-an-atheist/#comments), – scroll down to my comment that starts the thread – April 15, 2016 @ 5:21am (approx. 3/4 of the way down the page). I don’t accuse her of being a liar, I keep the “offending” language out and make my points with utmost tenderness. And what do I get in the end? Obfuscating, question-dodging GARBAGE like this as a response:
              “I’m going to tell you that, yes Ashley, you are completely right, because this seems very very important to you, and I actually have no idea what you’re talking about at this stage. So yes, Ashley. You have won, with your superior reasoning skills and dogged determination to bring the truth to light. I am humbly sorry that I ever though that I could ever pull a fast one over you. I did not, in fact, expect the Spanish Inquisition, as noone really does, but now I shall be prepared, always.”

              She apparently has “no idea” what I am talking about and she is being “subjected to the “Spanish Inquisition”?!?!?! NONSENSE. These are the actions of dishonest and disingenuous person, who’s talked themselves right into a corner with their lies and bullshit and is too cowardly to admit it.

              So Consoledreader, when I see you type something like this “It is a stereotype that atheists who criticize religion are intolerant, fundamentalist, and angry. These exact stereotypes are often used to vilify all of atheism by believers” right after I see you type this: “You very easily could have made your points without half the aggression and attack-mode.”, I see that it’s a stereotype that you are all too willing to perpetuate. That makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution.

              So the question is this: Was the criticism warranted? Yes or no? What is your answer? Feel free to explain why you answered the way you did (yes or no) but if we’re going to have an honest conversation about what happened, you have to have an answer to that question.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Fair enough. You probably won’t hear any new points though. So I’ll keep it simple.

                1) I understood her post to be a description of what she was like as an atheist. Her friends that know her in real life that posted confirmed that she was an atheist and somewhat antagonistic to hearing about religion and earlier posts on her blog at least have her claiming that she saw herself this way (suggesting consistency in her view of herself). So from those pieces of evidence I think it’s reasonable to at least give the benefit of the doubt that she’s not lying about herself.

                2) The comment about her husband functions to limit the scope of her comments: she isn’t talking about ALL atheists.

                Now maybe she does mean all atheists-who-criticize-religion. Or maybe she just means New Atheist or Anti-Theists (not exactly the same group as all atheists who might criticize religion).

                While I would disagree that everyone in those groups are angry, opinionated, and intolerant, I do think that is a pretty good description of a sub-section of Anti-theists/New Atheists. My reason? Well, my own direct observation interacting with certain atheists that fit that description, the experience of other theists sharing similar observations, and even other atheists who feel such a sub-group exists from their observations. Plus some empirical studies that have found correlation with things like anger, narcissism, dogmatism with that particular group.

                3) I would agree that fundamentalist is a poorly chosen word.

                4) God Delusion was my Bible. When people use phrases like this what they’re really saying is, “the ideas in X are important to me.” Not that the book was literally the scripture of some new religion, hence when well-known 19th century atheist writer, Robert Ingersoll writes, “Shakespeare is my Bible and Burns my hymnbook!” he doesn’t mean he saw Shakespeare as a literal Holy Book for a new religion.

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                • So, to return the editing favour, criticizing Eva for lying about adhering to a particular kind of atheism that is angry, intolerant, and dogmatic is unfair because there really is such a kind of atheism. There really is a connection between these principles that are not espoused in the God Delusion to which she subscribed and a kind of atheist who criticizes her for making up this kind of atheism.

                  I don’t think you’re going to correct this Big Lie by pretending it’s true. In fact, I think you’re supporting this Big Lie.

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                  • Anger, intolerance, and dogmatism aren’t principles though; they’re personality traits.

                    What someone takes away from ANY book and the behaviors/actions they believe they should follow from its ideas will vary from person to person.

                    Why would I try to correct a lie that I don’t believe is a lie? At least not entirely so.

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  5. @ consoledreader

    Your belief is factually wrong. But does that even matter to you?

    Eva ATTRIBUTED her intolerance and bigotry to BE THE SAME KIND of atheism she ASSUMED – incorrectly – was promoted in the God Delusion. That’s why SHE claimed this kind of atheism had FUNDAMENTAL principles of intolerance and bigotry that she agreed with. She did not take responsibility for her intolerance, her bigotry, but tried to SHARE it as if she were merely a follower of an atheism – New Atheism specifically – that was intolerant and bigoted. This is not true. It is a lie. yet it is commonly believed.

    Now you can reorder her words and meaning to your heart’s content and continue to believe that calling people on promoting this kind of Big Lie that smears the character of New Atheists as dogmatic and extreme all you want (I’m sure the term ‘militant’ isn’t far from you lips). I think this not just foolish but draws the quality of your own concern for what is true into question. After all, if you don’t care about what’s true and go willingly along with claims that aren’t, then any commentary you offer about the truth value of these claims has been undermined, wouldn’t you agree?

    All this rewording and favourable editing produces – after the obfuscating and mewling apologetics is dropped – is releasing people like Eva from any personal responsibility for saying what she says, believing what she believes, cliaming what she claims, and eliminates by your fiat any need to either justify or retract a falsehood when made aware that it is a falsehood. That doesn’t make what you believe – contrary to what is the case – either justified or correct; all it does is cast you as a willing and active ally and apologist (and I think dupe) to those who are willing to continue to promote this Big Lie: that intolerance and bigotry is fundamental to New Atheism and so must be embraced by those who publicly criticize the merits of religious belief and its privilege. In effect, this is what you’re doing. This claim of fundamentalism is not true. Neither is the claim that New Atheism possess a principle of intolerance and promotes bigotry against religious believers. Again, not true. There is no such fundamentalism, no dogma, attached to New Atheism. There is only concern for what is true and upholding its central importance… not something, apparently, you think is important if the tone isn;t to your liking.

    I find it disappointing that you cannot see the harm you are doing by going along with the lying and the intentional deceit and the resulting smearing it enables. I think it’s rather poor form to so willingly change the playing field and then hold anyone who challenges the Big Lie with honesty and bluntness to be the dogmatic extremist. Sharing this deceitful belief does not cast you as someone who cares about what’s true; it casts you as someone who cares more about making yourself appear tolerant and respectful to those who intentionally lie and critical of anyone who thinks this is a really bad idea and is willing to challenge it, a bad idea that has all kinds of negative consequences you assume must be less than the consequences of daring to stand up to blatant lying.

    I think you need to give your head a shake.

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    • Thanks for starting a new thread. I was going to do the same but you beat me to the punch.
      Anywho, on to the topic at hand.
      Consoledreader, I notice that you did not take me up on my challenge that you answer my questions directly – namely, was Tildeb’s criticism of Eva’s story warranted or not? However, if I take this “Why would I try to correct a lie that I don’t believe is a lie” to mean what I think you mean by it, that must mean that you don’t think Tildeb’s criticism was well-founded. To take your points from your previous answer:
      1) I agree that Eva’s is describing what she was like. That point has never ever been under contention. Ever. What IS under contention is her REASONS as to WHY she behaved that way. It’s been the argument since day 1 – the entire reason that tildeb criticized her in the first place.
      To spell it out as clearly as I can, tildeb DID NOT object to her post because she described herself as intolerant and fundamentalist atheist. Tildeb DID object to her post because she attributed her intolerant and fundamentalist behavior to atheism and The God Delusion. That’s the BIG LIE that he keeps talking about – the one everyone seems determined to avoid talking about.
      2) The comment she makes about her husband is a platitude that she offers to avoid making a blanket statement about an entire category of people (atheists), to appeal to the “I’m an atheist but..” crowd and also uses it to magically separate these categories of people into further sub-categories that don’t actually exist except inside her and her religious apologist friends’ heads. There is no such thing as a fundamentalist atheist. Those 2 words, used in that order, make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Atheism does not promote intolerance. It promotes nothing. It is a non-belief. Being an atheist, does not and CAN NOT turn you into a rabid anti-Christian, intolerant asshole. That is what prejudice and bigotry do. Not atheism. Not The God Delusion
      “Plus some empirical studies that have found correlation with things like anger, narcissism, dogmatism with that particular group.” No, there are no empirical studies that show that dogmatism is correlated with atheism. That’s not possible. There’s nothing to be dogmatic about in regards to atheism. Just like there’s nothing to be fundamentalist about. You show me a study that explains that the reason a group of people are angry and narcissistic BECAUASE they don’t believe in and god, and I will show a study founded on COMPLETE BULLSHIT. Are there narcissistic and angry atheists? Yes. Are they narcissistic and angry because they don’t believe in any god? NO. They are angry and narcissistic for a whole host of psychological reasons that have nothing to do with not believing in god (or leprechauns or tooth fairies or unicorns either for that matter.)
      3) Fundamentalist is not only a poor choice of word, it is a nonsensical use of the word. It is a mangling of the English Language.
      4) Unfortunately, unlike you, I cannot pretend to be a mind reader when reading someone’s written words. I can only take what they say at face value. That’s why I ask lots of questions, because I want to make sure I have interpreted what they said correctly.
      So when someone tells me they used to be an intolerant, fundamentalist asshole atheist and in the very next sentence, tells me that they used The God Delusion as their bible, and then in follow up discussion, tells me that they said that because they were drawing parallels between their intolerant, fundamentalist asshole atheist self and their intolerant, fundamentalist Christian asshole counterparts, who use the bible to justify their behavior, I don’t need any more information. They’ve made themselves CRYSTAL CLEAR. Yes, that book (The God Delusion), LITERALLY was the scripture of some new religion – New Atheism. It’s what she said and it’s was she admitted she meant. As tildeb and myself have been pointing out for several weeks in several forums to more people than I care to count, IT’S BULLSHIT. Well, those are my words. He’s been calling it The Big Lie, which doesn’t sound as harsh as my description of it. Is there a word or phrase you think that I could use that would not make me sound so angry and intolerant? Because I really do object to what she said and her smearing of atheists and The God Delusion. I think she lied and deliberately spread this falsehood about, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so I need to know how I can do this in a tolerant and respectful manner. Any suggestions?

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      • I thought I answered the question pretty directly. Sorry that it wasn’t clear. My position is I don’t think Tildeb’s criticism of Eva was warranted for the reasons listed above in my previous post. I am not pretending to be a mind-reader. Just a close-reader.

        None of the studies in question suggest their nonbelief caused them to be angry, narcissistic, dogmatic, etc. (correlation is not causation after all), nor did I claim that. To oversimplify a complex psychological concept, Dogmatism in psychology is a psychological measure of how “open-minded” or “close-minded” a person is about their ideas and beliefs about the world, not necessarily whether they adhere to a dogma or not. Put simply it’s different than the everyday dictionary definition of the word.

        It seems to me we’ve explored each others positions on this topic pretty thoroughly. We’re all pretty much on repeat mode at this point. So I’m not really that interested in continuing. If you want to keep going on without me, it’s your blog, last word is all yours!

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        • “God Delusion was my Bible. When people use phrases like this what they’re really saying is, “the ideas in X are important to me.””
          “I am not pretending to be a mind-reader. Just a close-reader. ”
          Yes, you are pretending to be a mind reader. Your statement completely contradicts everything Eva told me about why she used that phrase and it had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with “the ideas in X are important to me”. So you either you don’t know what the hell you are talking about, or she is lying and you’re reading her mind. Personally, I think it’s the former – an apologist making up excuses out of thin air.
          “Now maybe she does mean all atheists-who-criticize-religion.” (referring to “angry, fundamentalist atheists”). I can’t know it for sure and I certainly can’t prove it, but I would bet my bottom dollar that yes, she and you and all apologists are referring to all atheists who criticize religion. The minute anyone says anything any apologist doesn’t like, the first thing that comes out of their mouths are such accusations. They can’t address the actual accusations and refute any arguments against religion, because it’s so utterly irrational and illogical, so they go straight for the ad hominem. It’s religious apologetics 101. Read through the entire “discussion” that tildeb and Eva had – well, what you can find of it that is, because portions of it have been deleted. See if there is a single instance of her addressing any of Tildeb’s accusations. Not a one. Her rebuttal? “No I didn’t do anything wrong.” “You’re making this up.” “You’re angry.” “You’re banned.” End of story.
          She’s a liar, she’s a hypocrite and she’s an intolerant bigot. She’s a perfect Christian in my opinion.

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