These are actual encounters in an atheist forum. Words of various atheists will be in different colors.
This occurred in the combox of an atheist blog.
Jim Jones: Your ‘god’ has done a great job then. Why is gravity so convincing and religion so unconvincing? Don’t you claim your god made them both?
Newton seemed to think both were, since he was a theist (Arian, to be exact).
Satanic_Panic: That’s a crappy argument. Your [sic] saying that since Newton was mostly right about one thing* then he’s necessarily right about another, wholly unrelated topic.
You do realize that Newton’s “Laws of Gravity” have been superseded by General Relativity, yes? And that General Relativity will be superseded by a quantum theory of gravity?
I never stated such an idiotic thing. That’s simply you projecting it onto me.
HairyEyedWordBombThrower: The $%#& you weren’t. You made a $%#&ing BLATANT Appeal to Authority, misplaced, as well, since Newton had no need for religion in explaining gravity, and now you have the GALL to deny it?
Sanctimony, thy name is Dave Armstrong.
Really? Ok, let’s parse your previous comment then. You said “Newton seemed to think both were, since he was a theist (Arian, to be exact).” in response to the following “Why is gravity so convincing and religion so unconvincing? Don’t you claim your god made them both?” Your answer clearly implies the argument from authority, to whit: Newton was right about gravity (even though he wasn’t exactly) therefore he’s right about religion.
That’s BS. I simply noted that Newton (a pretty smart guy, even granted by atheists) thought both religion and science were convincing (contrary to your broad statement). It was a statement of fact. I could also say the same about Einstein, who was a pantheist or panentheist, not an atheist (he expressly denied the latter and said he was angered by atheists claiming him as among their number).
You extrapolate from that, that I am supposedly making an argument from authority. I was not at all (nor does this follow inexorably or necessarily from what I stated); I was simply providing a provocative counterfactual example.
You fancy that I am saying that Newton was right about gravity; therefore also about religion. But I already refuted that by noting that he was an Arian (one who denies trinitarianism). So I obviously don’t think he was right about religion, either. Both Catholics and Protestants regard that as rank heresy and not even Christian at all (Jehovah’s Witnesses are also Arians, as are Christadelphians).
HairyBrainedCrappyLogicThrower did even worse.
All this shows is that here are two more atheists who only very poorly understand how logic works: something I have demonstrated times without number.
Thanks for the textbook examples! Very entertaining.
At least Geoff Benson grasped my actual point, and went on to make a (weak) argument based on that. But you two don’t even get what I said in the first place and so you go into the usual Straw Man Territory. [yawn]
[completely undaunted and unfazed, SP simply repeats the same nonsense that I just refuted]
Why is gravity so convincing and religion so unconvincing? Don’t you claim your god made them both? was the question asked. Instead of providing an actual answer, you default to the authority of Newton – he thought religion was convincing, he must be right, he’s NEWTON.
Jim Jones didn’t ask for Newton’s thoughts, he asked for yours. And, instead of providing an actual answer, you take the traditional christian route of obfuscation and appeals to authority.
Yawn. See, we can both do that!
You were not “simply” being provocative, for the the provocative nature of your statement relied on the implied authority of the person referred to. Further, you at-least-subconsciously already know this.
I know that you at-least-subconsciously know this, because even here in your strikingly strident and incompetent attempt to defend yourself from the charge of [appealing to authority], you repeated your appeal!: “I simply noted that Newton (a pretty smart guy, even granted by atheists)” I know that you are committed to refusing to acknowledge or admit this. I expect nothing less from a weasel like you, a man of extremely weak moral character. . . .
You appealed to authority, that authority is not relevant, so your appeal was fallacious.
Here’s another example from a second thread:
Mark Landes: Although some of us can imagine believing in a religion since some of us have come from religious backgrounds, the religious identity is so ingrained in their lives they cannot (even as a thought experiment) imagine not believing.
In my humble opinion, this is why they view attacks on what they believe to be so personal that they shut themselves off from any information that challenges their beliefs. They feel it is an attack on them and is why many of them (especially evangelicals in the US) grab on to the persecution complex.
My blog is certainly no such place, with dialogues such as one I had with an “atheist transgender Satanist.” And if you read it you’ll see that I treated this person with perfect courtesy: no insults at all (unlike how I am treated here by dozens of people).
Dave your reply actually proves my point. The fact that you had to put double quotes around ‘atheist transgender Satanist’ indicates to me that you do not think or cannot believe that those things can be true or real. . . . We all know that you cannot rationalize or imagine being an atheist but add to that a Satanist – Well God Bless you for being able stoop so low to talk to the dregs of society. How did you manage to have a polite conversation with someone who “worships” everything you see as evil. . . . I know that it can be frightening and difficult to to disassociate your Catholic teaching from you[r] identity and view the world from another perspective but please give it a try.
Nice try. All the quotes mean is that this was the self-description of the person. LOL Thanks for another quintessential display of the vaunted atheist tolerance and superior intelligence.
You completely miss the point in context. Having been massively accused of living in some bubble and not talking to anyone different from myself, I gave an example of someone about as far away from the Catholic view as can be imagined. But of course it doesn’t matter. I have to be wrong, no matter what I say.
But you guys are infinitely more rational and intelligent than we are (and of course far more loving and compassionate). That really shines through your comment and that of many others.
Do you always use quotes when describing other people and their self-description? Are you a “Catholic”? What would happen if someone in this community would call you “Catholic”? What exactly would your interpretation of that mean?
I do [use quotation marks] when one simultaneously claims to be an atheist and a Satanist: Satan being a supernatural being, and so, according to 99% of all the atheists I have ever met, inconsistent with atheism.
If I hadn’t done it, then other of your comrades would have been regaling me about how ignorant I am regarding basic atheist categories and the nature of atheism.
As it is, this was the claim of the adherent: not me. Quotation marks show that it was their claim, not mine.
You completely miss the point and try to make it out that this is a situation of rank bigotry: which clearly derives from your existing hostility to Catholics.
Pathetic . . .
Photo credit: Max Pixel / CC0 Public Domain.