Richard Asks: How Can We Constructively Respond to More Religious Visitors?

In the comments on Hemant’s announcement to have this site hosted by Patheos, several readers have expressed apprehension about being “overrun by fundies.” It would be unfortunate if people here instantly reacted with hostility to the first religious visitors who comment after the move. Many of them will be visiting out of simple curiosity rather than seeking to antagonize, and we should not throw a punch the first time they open their mouths.

We should model the behavior that we want to see in them. We teach others how to treat us, and we teach best by example.

If their questions or comments reflect the same old tiresome misconceptions, we can minimize our frustration by having a FAQ that also has recommended links for further reading. Have it always appearing near the top of the page. Don’t bother answering rhetorical questions, Don’t bother trying to educate them, and definitely don’t indulge in the futile and discrediting bad habit of insulting them. Be the grownup in the room. Just politely say,

Dear _____, your question/statement reflects some misconceptions about _____. Please read about it in the FAQ near the top of this page, and then please do more reading at the recommended sites that are linked there.

Then don’t engage with them further on the topic until they educate themselves.

If they do a drive-by sermon, either ignore them or say,

Dear _____, Your comment is what we call a “drive-by sermon,” similar to a drive-by shooting. It is not interesting, it is not original, it is not helpful to the discussion here, and it is not worthy of any further response. Please have your questions and comments reflect a sincere desire for mutual understanding.

Then go back to discussing the central topic of the post. If they persist with the same kind of stuff, copy and paste the very same response, word for word. The rubber stamp nature of it will be discouraging to them, and they’ll eventually stop.

Personally, I’m looking forward to more interaction with religious people. I don’t intend to be obsequious with them, but I also don’t intend to demean myself by being hostile or inflammatory either. I’m looking forward to turning an attempt to provoke a diatribe into a productive dialogue. I’m looking forward to confounding a petulant child with the equanimity of an adult’s response, and I’m looking forward to dismantling negative stereotypes by my example, not just by my assertions.

Does anyone else have positive and constructive ideas about dealing with more religious visitors to Friendly Atheist?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Anonymous

    The RSS feed has indeed automatically moved over. Success!

  • Anonymous

    The RSS feed has indeed automatically moved over. Success!

  • Ricklongworth

    Testing 1, 2, three.

  • ACN

    First post at the new place?

  • Cyberguy

    Lookin’ good.  Clean typeface and graphic.  

    Congratulations on the successful move.

  • Cyberguy

    Lookin’ good.  Clean typeface and graphic.  

    Congratulations on the successful move.

  • Cyberguy

    Lookin’ good.  Clean typeface and graphic.  

    Congratulations on the successful move.

  • Anonymous

    No better place to start on the new location than a Richard post ;-) Continuing on the idea from the original site to set up an FAQ I think we should brainstorm which Qs we’re likely to get. A few to start with:

    1. How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

    2. If you don’t have a god, on what do you base your morality? Don’t you need an absolute standard?

    3.  So you believe that something came from nothing? Where did the Big Bang come from?

    4. Can you prove there is no God? (maybe this should go together with 1)

    5. How could all life just come about by chance? Isn’t that like expecting a hurricane to reconstruct a 747? (here I would vote for gently pointing them in the direction of a site that very simply describes the basics of evolution)

    6. What’s the difference between an atheist and an agnostic? (once the definitions become decent, just linking to them should suffice)

    7. If you don’t believe in God, then why do you care so much? Why do you talk about it so much?

    8. **Some iteration of Pascal’s wager**

    I’m sure there are plenty of others, but these cover some of the most common questions/misunderstandings we encounter.

    • Anonymous

      Bringing up Pascal’s wager should be the equivalent of Godwin’s law

    • Anonymous

      Bringing up Pascal’s wager should be the equivalent of Godwin’s law

    • Anonymous

      Bringing up Pascal’s wager should be the equivalent of Godwin’s law

    • Anonymous

      Bringing up Pascal’s wager should be the equivalent of Godwin’s law

    • Pink Muslimah

      Jeeez! See, this is what I was talking about. I certainly hope that nothing of the sort happens to you guys as you transition to Patheos: this kind of behaviour disgusts me regardless of who displays it. Honestly, I think that people who insist on challenging others concerning matters of belief aren’t themselves certain of their own beliefs. I think that this is why I acted as silly as I did when I first converted to Islam.

      • Anonymous

        I would disagree about challenging showing a lack of certainty about beliefs. If often challenged people on their belief that same-sex marriage is a “threat” to opposite sex marriage. I do so not because I’m uncertain but because I’m passionate about the issue and want to contribute to eliminating myths and prejudices.
        It’s true that some people will challenge because the idea of a conflicting view is threatening to them. Some of this is evident in the defacing/removing of billboards that merely note that atheists exist and are decent people. Still, I think the kind of people lashing out because of fear are readily identifiable in that they’ll put forward almost no argument. Those seeking to converse (like the Christian commenter Blacksheep from the original site) are probably just there out of interest or sometimes a wish to convert.

      • Anonymous

        I would disagree about challenging showing a lack of certainty about beliefs. If often challenged people on their belief that same-sex marriage is a “threat” to opposite sex marriage. I do so not because I’m uncertain but because I’m passionate about the issue and want to contribute to eliminating myths and prejudices.
        It’s true that some people will challenge because the idea of a conflicting view is threatening to them. Some of this is evident in the defacing/removing of billboards that merely note that atheists exist and are decent people. Still, I think the kind of people lashing out because of fear are readily identifiable in that they’ll put forward almost no argument. Those seeking to converse (like the Christian commenter Blacksheep from the original site) are probably just there out of interest or sometimes a wish to convert.

      • Anonymous

        I would disagree about challenging showing a lack of certainty about beliefs. If often challenged people on their belief that same-sex marriage is a “threat” to opposite sex marriage. I do so not because I’m uncertain but because I’m passionate about the issue and want to contribute to eliminating myths and prejudices.
        It’s true that some people will challenge because the idea of a conflicting view is threatening to them. Some of this is evident in the defacing/removing of billboards that merely note that atheists exist and are decent people. Still, I think the kind of people lashing out because of fear are readily identifiable in that they’ll put forward almost no argument. Those seeking to converse (like the Christian commenter Blacksheep from the original site) are probably just there out of interest or sometimes a wish to convert.

    • Pink Muslimah

      Jeeez! See, this is what I was talking about. I certainly hope that nothing of the sort happens to you guys as you transition to Patheos: this kind of behaviour disgusts me regardless of who displays it. Honestly, I think that people who insist on challenging others concerning matters of belief aren’t themselves certain of their own beliefs. I think that this is why I acted as silly as I did when I first converted to Islam.

    • Pink Muslimah

      Jeeez! See, this is what I was talking about. I certainly hope that nothing of the sort happens to you guys as you transition to Patheos: this kind of behaviour disgusts me regardless of who displays it. Honestly, I think that people who insist on challenging others concerning matters of belief aren’t themselves certain of their own beliefs. I think that this is why I acted as silly as I did when I first converted to Islam.

    • Pink Muslimah

      Jeeez! See, this is what I was talking about. I certainly hope that nothing of the sort happens to you guys as you transition to Patheos: this kind of behaviour disgusts me regardless of who displays it. Honestly, I think that people who insist on challenging others concerning matters of belief aren’t themselves certain of their own beliefs. I think that this is why I acted as silly as I did when I first converted to Islam.

    • Pink Muslimah

      Jeeez! See, this is what I was talking about. I certainly hope that nothing of the sort happens to you guys as you transition to Patheos: this kind of behaviour disgusts me regardless of who displays it. Honestly, I think that people who insist on challenging others concerning matters of belief aren’t themselves certain of their own beliefs. I think that this is why I acted as silly as I did when I first converted to Islam.

    • Pink Muslimah

      Jeeez! See, this is what I was talking about. I certainly hope that nothing of the sort happens to you guys as you transition to Patheos: this kind of behaviour disgusts me regardless of who displays it. Honestly, I think that people who insist on challenging others concerning matters of belief aren’t themselves certain of their own beliefs. I think that this is why I acted as silly as I did when I first converted to Islam.

    • Pink Muslimah

      Jeeez! See, this is what I was talking about. I certainly hope that nothing of the sort happens to you guys as you transition to Patheos: this kind of behaviour disgusts me regardless of who displays it. Honestly, I think that people who insist on challenging others concerning matters of belief aren’t themselves certain of their own beliefs. I think that this is why I acted as silly as I did when I first converted to Islam.

    • Douglas Kirk

      Perhaps another common question would be:

      9. But my religion is different.  I don’t believe in (x) like those fundamentalists.  Why are you attacking me?

      Although that may be better on a case by case basis, perhaps we could direct them to Greta Christina’s Atheist Seal of Approval essay? 

    • Douglas Kirk

      Perhaps another common question would be:

      9. But my religion is different.  I don’t believe in (x) like those fundamentalists.  Why are you attacking me?

      Although that may be better on a case by case basis, perhaps we could direct them to Greta Christina’s Atheist Seal of Approval essay? 

    • Douglas Kirk

      Perhaps another common question would be:

      9. But my religion is different.  I don’t believe in (x) like those fundamentalists.  Why are you attacking me?

      Although that may be better on a case by case basis, perhaps we could direct them to Greta Christina’s Atheist Seal of Approval essay? 

    • Douglas Kirk

      Perhaps another common question would be:

      9. But my religion is different.  I don’t believe in (x) like those fundamentalists.  Why are you attacking me?

      Although that may be better on a case by case basis, perhaps we could direct them to Greta Christina’s Atheist Seal of Approval essay? 

    • Douglas Kirk

      Perhaps another common question would be:

      9. But my religion is different.  I don’t believe in (x) like those fundamentalists.  Why are you attacking me?

      Although that may be better on a case by case basis, perhaps we could direct them to Greta Christina’s Atheist Seal of Approval essay? 

    • Kamaka

      How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

      I have a proof that god doesn’t exist.

      Convene a meeting of a catholic priest, an islamic imam, a rabbi, a lutheran pastor, a mormon elder, some baptists and a few fundamentalist preachers and ask them to come to a consensus on the definition of their god.

      Their inevitable failure to do so proves the god story is a bunch of made-up stuff.

    • Kamaka

      How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

      I have a proof that god doesn’t exist.

      Convene a meeting of a catholic priest, an islamic imam, a rabbi, a lutheran pastor, a mormon elder, some baptists and a few fundamentalist preachers and ask them to come to a consensus on the definition of their god.

      Their inevitable failure to do so proves the god story is a bunch of made-up stuff.

    • Kamaka

      How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

      I have a proof that god doesn’t exist.

      Convene a meeting of a catholic priest, an islamic imam, a rabbi, a lutheran pastor, a mormon elder, some baptists and a few fundamentalist preachers and ask them to come to a consensus on the definition of their god.

      Their inevitable failure to do so proves the god story is a bunch of made-up stuff.

    • Kamaka

      How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

      I have a proof that god doesn’t exist.

      Convene a meeting of a catholic priest, an islamic imam, a rabbi, a lutheran pastor, a mormon elder, some baptists and a few fundamentalist preachers and ask them to come to a consensus on the definition of their god.

      Their inevitable failure to do so proves the god story is a bunch of made-up stuff.

    • Kamaka

      How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

      I have a proof that god doesn’t exist.

      Convene a meeting of a catholic priest, an islamic imam, a rabbi, a lutheran pastor, a mormon elder, some baptists and a few fundamentalist preachers and ask them to come to a consensus on the definition of their god.

      Their inevitable failure to do so proves the god story is a bunch of made-up stuff.

    • Kamaka

      How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

      I have a proof that god doesn’t exist.

      Convene a meeting of a catholic priest, an islamic imam, a rabbi, a lutheran pastor, a mormon elder, some baptists and a few fundamentalist preachers and ask them to come to a consensus on the definition of their god.

      Their inevitable failure to do so proves the god story is a bunch of made-up stuff.

    • Kamaka

      How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

      I have a proof that god doesn’t exist.

      Convene a meeting of a catholic priest, an islamic imam, a rabbi, a lutheran pastor, a mormon elder, some baptists and a few fundamentalist preachers and ask them to come to a consensus on the definition of their god.

      Their inevitable failure to do so proves the god story is a bunch of made-up stuff.

    • Kamaka

      How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

      I have a proof that god doesn’t exist.

      Convene a meeting of a catholic priest, an islamic imam, a rabbi, a lutheran pastor, a mormon elder, some baptists and a few fundamentalist preachers and ask them to come to a consensus on the definition of their god.

      Their inevitable failure to do so proves the god story is a bunch of made-up stuff.

  • Anonymous

    No better place to start on the new location than a Richard post ;-) Continuing on the idea from the original site to set up an FAQ I think we should brainstorm which Qs we’re likely to get. A few to start with:

    1. How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

    2. If you don’t have a god, on what do you base your morality? Don’t you need an absolute standard?

    3.  So you believe that something came from nothing? Where did the Big Bang come from?

    4. Can you prove there is no God? (maybe this should go together with 1)

    5. How could all life just come about by chance? Isn’t that like expecting a hurricane to reconstruct a 747? (here I would vote for gently pointing them in the direction of a site that very simply describes the basics of evolution)

    6. What’s the difference between an atheist and an agnostic? (once the definitions become decent, just linking to them should suffice)

    7. If you don’t believe in God, then why do you care so much? Why do you talk about it so much?

    8. **Some iteration of Pascal’s wager**

    I’m sure there are plenty of others, but these cover some of the most common questions/misunderstandings we encounter.

  • Anonymous

    No better place to start on the new location than a Richard post ;-) Continuing on the idea from the original site to set up an FAQ I think we should brainstorm which Qs we’re likely to get. A few to start with:

    1. How can you be so sure God doesn’t exist? If you don’t have proof, doesn’t that make your faith the same as mine?

    2. If you don’t have a god, on what do you base your morality? Don’t you need an absolute standard?

    3.  So you believe that something came from nothing? Where did the Big Bang come from?

    4. Can you prove there is no God? (maybe this should go together with 1)

    5. How could all life just come about by chance? Isn’t that like expecting a hurricane to reconstruct a 747? (here I would vote for gently pointing them in the direction of a site that very simply describes the basics of evolution)

    6. What’s the difference between an atheist and an agnostic? (once the definitions become decent, just linking to them should suffice)

    7. If you don’t believe in God, then why do you care so much? Why do you talk about it so much?

    8. **Some iteration of Pascal’s wager**

    I’m sure there are plenty of others, but these cover some of the most common questions/misunderstandings we encounter.

  • Revyloution

    Ok, I was one of the optimistic people over at the other location.  I’m still thinking this move will be a good thing, but…. can we change the ‘Sharing is caring’  logo?  Those little hearts are awful.

    • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

      Perhaps you can train yourself to not look at those cute little hearts like you have trained yourself to not look at trolling comments.  ;)

      P.S.  I will be experimenting with how I post comments so I can determine what option works best for me. 

    • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

      Perhaps you can train yourself to not look at those cute little hearts like you have trained yourself to not look at trolling comments.  ;)

      P.S.  I will be experimenting with how I post comments so I can determine what option works best for me. 

      • Revyloution

        We’ll of course!  Im just concerned for those who lack my keep censor vision….

      • Revyloution

        We’ll of course!  Im just concerned for those who lack my keep censor vision….

        • Revyloution

          Keen, not keep.   Ok, now I need to learn how to edit.

        • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

          I need a little censor vision myself.  My wife (who is “Christian lite”) frequently tries to slip religious symbols into the household by distracting me with secular imaging.  She is at a week-long art camp and just emailed me the follow image of a mixed media project she is working on.  I like it but I do recognize that it takes the form of a certain Christian symbol.  I am a little distracted by certain parts of the image, though.  Sneaky on her part.

          • Revyloution

            After about a half hour of studying the photo, I noticed that there is also a dog, a little 3 legged bowl and shiny gold paint on the image also.

          • Revyloution

            After about a half hour of studying the photo, I noticed that there is also a dog, a little 3 legged bowl and shiny gold paint on the image also.

          • Revyloution

            After about a half hour of studying the photo, I noticed that there is also a dog, a little 3 legged bowl and shiny gold paint on the image also.

        • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

          I need a little censor vision myself.  My wife (who is “Christian lite”) frequently tries to slip religious symbols into the household by distracting me with secular imaging.  She is at a week-long art camp and just emailed me the follow image of a mixed media project she is working on.  I like it but I do recognize that it takes the form of a certain Christian symbol.  I am a little distracted by certain parts of the image, though.  Sneaky on her part.

        • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

          I need a little censor vision myself.  My wife (who is “Christian lite”) frequently tries to slip religious symbols into the household by distracting me with secular imaging.  She is at a week-long art camp and just emailed me the follow image of a mixed media project she is working on.  I like it but I do recognize that it takes the form of a certain Christian symbol.  I am a little distracted by certain parts of the image, though.  Sneaky on her part.

        • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

          I need a little censor vision myself.  My wife (who is “Christian lite”) frequently tries to slip religious symbols into the household by distracting me with secular imaging.  She is at a week-long art camp and just emailed me the follow image of a mixed media project she is working on.  I like it but I do recognize that it takes the form of a certain Christian symbol.  I am a little distracted by certain parts of the image, though.  Sneaky on her part.

        • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

          I need a little censor vision myself.  My wife (who is “Christian lite”) frequently tries to slip religious symbols into the household by distracting me with secular imaging.  She is at a week-long art camp and just emailed me the follow image of a mixed media project she is working on.  I like it but I do recognize that it takes the form of a certain Christian symbol.  I am a little distracted by certain parts of the image, though.  Sneaky on her part.

      • Revyloution

        We’ll of course!  Im just concerned for those who lack my keep censor vision….

      • Revyloution

        We’ll of course!  Im just concerned for those who lack my keep censor vision….

      • Revyloution

        We’ll of course!  Im just concerned for those who lack my keep censor vision….

      • Revyloution

        We’ll of course!  Im just concerned for those who lack my keep censor vision….

      • Revyloution

        We’ll of course!  Im just concerned for those who lack my keep censor vision….

    • Drew M.

      Care Bear Stare!

  • Revyloution

    Ok, I was one of the optimistic people over at the other location.  I’m still thinking this move will be a good thing, but…. can we change the ‘Sharing is caring’  logo?  Those little hearts are awful.

  • zachofalltrades

    I don’t see the old comments (wonder if they’re being moved…) but it looks pretty good.  Think I’ll try my hand at making a profile.

    (and sorry, just testing and trying out stuff…nothing of interest here)

  • zachofalltrades

    I don’t see the old comments (wonder if they’re being moved…) but it looks pretty good.  Think I’ll try my hand at making a profile.

    (and sorry, just testing and trying out stuff…nothing of interest here)

  • zachofalltrades

    I don’t see the old comments (wonder if they’re being moved…) but it looks pretty good.  Think I’ll try my hand at making a profile.

    (and sorry, just testing and trying out stuff…nothing of interest here)

  • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

    If people are worried about being inundated by ‘fundies’ I suspect they’re simply making baseless assumptions (or perhaps a ‘tiresome misconception’) and didn’t bother to first look at the kind of blogs that are on patheos… I mean – Ben Witherington III blogs there for goodness sake! I suspect much of what is blogged about by the ‘religious’ bloggers is far more sophisticated than the level of theological thinking that usually goes on at FA.

    • http://anthrosarah.blogspot.com Sarah T.

      Actually, a lot of people who expressed concerns had direct experience with a liberal blog moving to Patheos – slactivist (an evangelical blogger, but a liberal one) made the move back in March and his first few posts (at least – I stopped reading around then) did experience extremely problematic comments that were offensive to many of his readers.

      It seems to have calmed down a lot, and the Disqus commenting system means that I can sort comments by popularity (which seems to filter out the trolls). However, the fact is that a wider audience = more unpleasant commenters, and it’s something that Hemant and his readers will have to deal with.

    • Anonymous

      Nice little dig at the end there.  Why do we make these baseless assumptions?

      Do we usually have a lot of theological thinking at Friendly Atheist?  Isn’t that like military intelligence?

    • Anonymous

      Nice little dig at the end there.  Why do we make these baseless assumptions?

      Do we usually have a lot of theological thinking at Friendly Atheist?  Isn’t that like military intelligence?

      • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

        Glad you spotted it ;) Good to see you agree.

      • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

        Glad you spotted it ;) Good to see you agree.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Some atheists study the bible as do some Christians.  Many atheists don’t. Many Christians don’t.  The atheists that study the bible typically do so to understand better what ancient people believed.  The Christians study for the same reason but they also hold the belief that the ancient people were in a special situation where they personally witnessed and directly interacted with  God.  Therefore, if you understand what the ancient people believed, you understand God and understand something about ontology.  The atheists just don’t believe that the ancient people interacted with God so therefore what the ancient people happened to believe doesn’t provide us insight to how the world works.

      • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

        Some atheists study the bible as do some Christians.  Many atheists don’t. Many Christians don’t.

        Yes… and?

         The atheists just don’t believe that the ancient people interacted with God so therefore what the ancient people happened to believe doesn’t provide us insight to how the world works.

        Ok.. I’m not following your train of thought (or recognising the platform we’ve pulled into). I realise that Atheists will (usually) bring naturalist assumptions to the table, which will in turn effect whatever conclusions they make, but what does ‘insight into how the world works’ (I assume you’re talking about the natural sciences – physics, biology etc. ?) have to do with the sophistication of theological thought?

        • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

          I presume by “sophistication of theological thought”, you mean the ability of some people to claim knowledge by revelation from a divine source as opposed to gaining understanding by some other means.  This is an interesting subject.  I leave you with the following questions to consider for when the margins are not shrinking down too much.  How can you tell the difference between revelations from a divine source and “getting ideas by some other means”?  Is the distinction important?  If you think the biblical authors had divine revelations, how can you be sure?  How can you be sure about anything said by someone who claims a divine revelation?  If I made a claim and attributed it to God, you would probably be skeptical.  How about this one.  My recently departed pet dog died for the sins of all other dogs so that dogs that sniffed her butt will reside in heaven after they die but all other dogs will be in doggy hell.  How is that qualitatively any different than any other theological claim?

          • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

            I presume by “sophistication of theological thought”, you mean the ability of some people to claim knowledge by revelation from a divine source as opposed to gaining understanding by some other means.

            No – I mean the ability to think about issues relating to ‘theos’ on a sophisticated level. It’s not about claiming knowledge, but rather thinking about issues and ideas with nuance etc. Sadly, some (if not many) vocal atheists tend to suffice themselves with strawmen and catchy rhetoric.

              I leave you with the following questions to consider for when the margins are not shrinking down too much.  How can you tell the difference between revelations from a divine source and “getting ideas by some other means”?  Is the distinction important?

            Thanks for the question (even if it is a tangent ;p)

            I’m not quite sure what dichotomy you’re trying to set up.. What do you mean by ‘some other means’? We all rely on revelation to learn some kinds of things – e.g. the only way to find out the purpose for the cake I made is if I reveal it to you. So I suppose any distinction we draw would be on the kind of information we’re dealing with.

             If you think the biblical authors had divine revelations, how can you be sure?  How can you be sure about anything said by someone who claims a divine revelation?

            Good question.. If you mean ‘sure’ in an empirical sense, obviously, you can’t be.. How can you be sure that what I reveal about the purpose of my cake?

            I think that your doggy example is an attempt to draw a false dichotomy of either glibly accepting any claim of revelation or otherwise rejecting it. Of course I’d be skeptical, but being skeptical doesn’t preclude the possibility of being convinced of the authenticity of a given claim.

            • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

              We are running out room here…  I’d be happy to accept your revelation to me of your purpose in baking a cake.  Although, if you revealed to me some statement about the destiny of the universe or made un-producible supernatural claims, I would be skeptical.  I also hold the same skepticism for all people who make supernatural claims (like Mark, Matthew, Luke, John, Paul, and others).  I also find the notion of a supreme being eternally torturing those that merely apply skepticism to supernatural claims to not be deserving of the title benevolent.  I think there are big problems with the Christian concept of God.

              • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

                Although, if you revealed to me some statement about the destiny of the universe or made un-producible supernatural claims, I would be skeptical.

                That’s fine.. my point was not about epistemology - I wasn’t suggesting you had to accept any particular theological claims or ideas as true, but rather critiquing the general lack of willingness to consider that some of the theological problems that vocal atheists raise can and are actually thought through by intelligent people.

                • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

                  I grant you that religious people can think logically about the logical consequences derived from the religious axioms they posit.  Atheists just work with a system that doesn’t have those same religious axioms. 

                • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

                   Atheists just work with a system that doesn’t have those same religious axioms.

                  True.. they have their own ;) I guess the point is – when people like Dawkins say that they don’t need to do their homework because they’re just calling the emperor naked, I don’t buy it – IMO it usually goes beyond that to critiquing theological ideas (without having done any ‘homework’) which, to keep with Myers’  courtier’s reply analogy is like also wanting to comment about the emperor’s mismatched socks.

                • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

                  “the emperor’s mis-matched socks” :)

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Some atheists study the bible as do some Christians.  Many atheists don’t. Many Christians don’t.  The atheists that study the bible typically do so to understand better what ancient people believed.  The Christians study for the same reason but they also hold the belief that the ancient people were in a special situation where they personally witnessed and directly interacted with  God.  Therefore, if you understand what the ancient people believed, you understand God and understand something about ontology.  The atheists just don’t believe that the ancient people interacted with God so therefore what the ancient people happened to believe doesn’t provide us insight to how the world works.

  • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

    If people are worried about being inundated by ‘fundies’ I suspect they’re simply making baseless assumptions (or perhaps a ‘tiresome misconception’) and didn’t bother to first look at the kind of blogs that are on patheos… I mean – Ben Witherington III blogs there for goodness sake! I suspect much of what is blogged about by the ‘religious’ bloggers is far more sophisticated than the level of theological thinking that usually goes on at FA.

  • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

    If people are worried about being inundated by ‘fundies’ I suspect they’re simply making baseless assumptions (or perhaps a ‘tiresome misconception’) and didn’t bother to first look at the kind of blogs that are on patheos… I mean – Ben Witherington III blogs there for goodness sake! I suspect much of what is blogged about by the ‘religious’ bloggers is far more sophisticated than the level of theological thinking that usually goes on at FA.

  • http://happycat.pip.verisignlabs.com/ Chris aka Happy Cat

    And so it begins… ;-)

    Congratulations on a seamless transition.

  • Pink Muslimah

    It’s interesting to see the same kind of fundamentalism among atheists that I can’t stand among religious people: anathemetising, proselytisation, lack of tolerance for diversity of beliefs, etc.Perhaps a move to Patheos will be a cleansing experience indeed, for those atheists who are more interested in a dialogue, and in a path of tolerance, diversity, and exchange.

  • Pink Muslimah

    It’s interesting to see the same kind of fundamentalism among atheists that I can’t stand among religious people: anathemetising, proselytisation, lack of tolerance for diversity of beliefs, etc.Perhaps a move to Patheos will be a cleansing experience indeed, for those atheists who are more interested in a dialogue, and in a path of tolerance, diversity, and exchange.

  • Pink Muslimah

    It’s interesting to see the same kind of fundamentalism among atheists that I can’t stand among religious people: anathemetising, proselytisation, lack of tolerance for diversity of beliefs, etc.Perhaps a move to Patheos will be a cleansing experience indeed, for those atheists who are more interested in a dialogue, and in a path of tolerance, diversity, and exchange.

  • Pink Muslimah

    It’s interesting to see the same kind of fundamentalism among atheists that I can’t stand among religious people: anathemetising, proselytisation, lack of tolerance for diversity of beliefs, etc.Perhaps a move to Patheos will be a cleansing experience indeed, for those atheists who are more interested in a dialogue, and in a path of tolerance, diversity, and exchange.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t care what you believe as long as you don’t try to force your ideas or beliefs on me anyone else or try to control my life based on your beliefs.

      That’s usually the point where the issues start.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t care what you believe as long as you don’t try to force your ideas or beliefs on me anyone else or try to control my life based on your beliefs.

      That’s usually the point where the issues start.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t care what you believe as long as you don’t try to force your ideas or beliefs on me anyone else or try to control my life based on your beliefs.

      That’s usually the point where the issues start.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t care what you believe as long as you don’t try to force your ideas or beliefs on me anyone else or try to control my life based on your beliefs.

      That’s usually the point where the issues start.

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      Is it fundamentalism to be constantly critiqued by friends, neighbors, co workers, and to want a break from that? To not want the website you read to have more of that? To be exausted with defending yourself because others continue to make an issue of one of your many opinions? Some of us are in that situation, so maybe you can understand why we’re a a little trigger shy.

      I like open, calm, friendly discussions about these things in their place, but unfortunately my limited sample size has been contaminated. :/

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      Is it fundamentalism to be constantly critiqued by friends, neighbors, co workers, and to want a break from that? To not want the website you read to have more of that? To be exausted with defending yourself because others continue to make an issue of one of your many opinions? Some of us are in that situation, so maybe you can understand why we’re a a little trigger shy.

      I like open, calm, friendly discussions about these things in their place, but unfortunately my limited sample size has been contaminated. :/

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      Is it fundamentalism to be constantly critiqued by friends, neighbors, co workers, and to want a break from that? To not want the website you read to have more of that? To be exausted with defending yourself because others continue to make an issue of one of your many opinions? Some of us are in that situation, so maybe you can understand why we’re a a little trigger shy.

      I like open, calm, friendly discussions about these things in their place, but unfortunately my limited sample size has been contaminated. :/

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      Is it fundamentalism to be constantly critiqued by friends, neighbors, co workers, and to want a break from that? To not want the website you read to have more of that? To be exausted with defending yourself because others continue to make an issue of one of your many opinions? Some of us are in that situation, so maybe you can understand why we’re a a little trigger shy.

      I like open, calm, friendly discussions about these things in their place, but unfortunately my limited sample size has been contaminated. :/

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      Is it fundamentalism to be constantly critiqued by friends, neighbors, co workers, and to want a break from that? To not want the website you read to have more of that? To be exausted with defending yourself because others continue to make an issue of one of your many opinions? Some of us are in that situation, so maybe you can understand why we’re a a little trigger shy.

      I like open, calm, friendly discussions about these things in their place, but unfortunately my limited sample size has been contaminated. :/

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      Is it fundamentalism to be constantly critiqued by friends, neighbors, co workers, and to want a break from that? To not want the website you read to have more of that? To be exausted with defending yourself because others continue to make an issue of one of your many opinions? Some of us are in that situation, so maybe you can understand why we’re a a little trigger shy.

      I like open, calm, friendly discussions about these things in their place, but unfortunately my limited sample size has been contaminated. :/

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      Is it fundamentalism to be constantly critiqued by friends, neighbors, co workers, and to want a break from that? To not want the website you read to have more of that? To be exausted with defending yourself because others continue to make an issue of one of your many opinions? Some of us are in that situation, so maybe you can understand why we’re a a little trigger shy.

      I like open, calm, friendly discussions about these things in their place, but unfortunately my limited sample size has been contaminated. :/

    • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

      Is it fundamentalism to be constantly critiqued by friends, neighbors, co workers, and to want a break from that? To not want the website you read to have more of that? To be exausted with defending yourself because others continue to make an issue of one of your many opinions? Some of us are in that situation, so maybe you can understand why we’re a a little trigger shy.

      I like open, calm, friendly discussions about these things in their place, but unfortunately my limited sample size has been contaminated. :/

  • Pink Muslimah

    It’s interesting to see the same kind of fundamentalism among atheists that I can’t stand among religious people: anathemetising, proselytisation, lack of tolerance for diversity of beliefs, etc.Perhaps a move to Patheos will be a cleansing experience indeed, for those atheists who are more interested in a dialogue, and in a path of tolerance, diversity, and exchange.

  • Pink Muslimah

    It’s interesting to see the same kind of fundamentalism among atheists that I can’t stand among religious people: anathemetising, proselytisation, lack of tolerance for diversity of beliefs, etc.Perhaps a move to Patheos will be a cleansing experience indeed, for those atheists who are more interested in a dialogue, and in a path of tolerance, diversity, and exchange.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Pink Muslimah

    oops! didn’t see it up the first time.

  • Anonymous

    Always sage advice, Richard.  I will aim to be kind and calm and set a good example.  

  • Anonymous

    Always sage advice, Richard.  I will aim to be kind and calm and set a good example.  

  • Anonymous

    Always sage advice, Richard.  I will aim to be kind and calm and set a good example.  

  • Anonymous

    Always sage advice, Richard.  I will aim to be kind and calm and set a good example.  

  • Anonymous

    Always sage advice, Richard.  I will aim to be kind and calm and set a good example.  

  • James Emery

    Not bad, but why is the comment box at the top?

  • James Emery

    Not bad, but why is the comment box at the top?

  • James Emery

    Not bad, but why is the comment box at the top?

  • James Emery

    Not bad, but why is the comment box at the top?

  • TychaBrahe

    I’m not sure I’m going to like this.  It’s hard for the eye not to be drawn to the nice, big, colorful ads for Christian colleges over there on the right.  Unless there’s a huge amount of atheist traffic, I’m thinking I’m not going to see the ads I liked before, for books about atheism, some of which I found very interesting.  

    I like Hemant, as a person, as a blogger, and as a local.  (It’s nice to know that when he posts about an event, I have a reasonably decent chance of being able to attend.)  But how much would someone learn in math class if EVERY idea was challenged.  (“But how do you know that sin^2(x) + cos^2(x) = 1?”  Dude, we learned that on the first day of trig.  Go read your notes or a book and stop bothering me!)

    There’s something you and he (and maybe us, the faithful readers) might consider, and that is creating a set of introductory statements, a 101 course outline if you will.  I ran into this concept when I started reading Shakesville.  There’s a link to Feminism 101, Rape Culture 101, Privilege 101, and if you make a statement that says you don’t get some really basic concept, you’re directed to those articles and no one listens to you until you’ve done some basic research.  

    If 500 people come here and every one of them starts out with some version of Pascal’s Wager, restating the counter arguments isn’t going to be productive.  It’s more helpful to be able to say, “What you’re saying is called ‘Pascal’s Wager,’ and it’s been around since the late 1600′s.  Please read Atheism 101.42 on the topic.”  (This should appeal to the mathematician in Hemant, since it’s basically reducing a new problem to a previously solved problem.)
    Remember the surveys that showed that atheists often knew more about religion than the practitioners of those religions.  If we tend to know more about the history of Christian practice than the Christians, how can we expect them to know about atheism?  Especially since most of them don’t have original ideas about atheism, but are simply regurgitating what their pastors have taught them.

  • TychaBrahe

    I’m not sure I’m going to like this.  It’s hard for the eye not to be drawn to the nice, big, colorful ads for Christian colleges over there on the right.  Unless there’s a huge amount of atheist traffic, I’m thinking I’m not going to see the ads I liked before, for books about atheism, some of which I found very interesting.  

    I like Hemant, as a person, as a blogger, and as a local.  (It’s nice to know that when he posts about an event, I have a reasonably decent chance of being able to attend.)  But how much would someone learn in math class if EVERY idea was challenged.  (“But how do you know that sin^2(x) + cos^2(x) = 1?”  Dude, we learned that on the first day of trig.  Go read your notes or a book and stop bothering me!)

    There’s something you and he (and maybe us, the faithful readers) might consider, and that is creating a set of introductory statements, a 101 course outline if you will.  I ran into this concept when I started reading Shakesville.  There’s a link to Feminism 101, Rape Culture 101, Privilege 101, and if you make a statement that says you don’t get some really basic concept, you’re directed to those articles and no one listens to you until you’ve done some basic research.  

    If 500 people come here and every one of them starts out with some version of Pascal’s Wager, restating the counter arguments isn’t going to be productive.  It’s more helpful to be able to say, “What you’re saying is called ‘Pascal’s Wager,’ and it’s been around since the late 1600′s.  Please read Atheism 101.42 on the topic.”  (This should appeal to the mathematician in Hemant, since it’s basically reducing a new problem to a previously solved problem.)
    Remember the surveys that showed that atheists often knew more about religion than the practitioners of those religions.  If we tend to know more about the history of Christian practice than the Christians, how can we expect them to know about atheism?  Especially since most of them don’t have original ideas about atheism, but are simply regurgitating what their pastors have taught them.

    • Drew M.

      Not to trivialize your complaint about the ads, because it is valid,  but I didn’t even realize there were ads here. Have you considered using an ad blocker, such as Adblock Plus?

      I do like the ideas of introductory articles. I do not know how often they’ll actually be read, but it would be so nice to just point them out.

    • Drew M.

      Not to trivialize your complaint about the ads, because it is valid,  but I didn’t even realize there were ads here. Have you considered using an ad blocker, such as Adblock Plus?

      I do like the ideas of introductory articles. I do not know how often they’ll actually be read, but it would be so nice to just point them out.

    • Drew M.

      Not to trivialize your complaint about the ads, because it is valid,  but I didn’t even realize there were ads here. Have you considered using an ad blocker, such as Adblock Plus?

      I do like the ideas of introductory articles. I do not know how often they’ll actually be read, but it would be so nice to just point them out.

    • cipher

      If 500 people come here and every one of them starts out with some version of Pascal’s Wager

      I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t happen.

    • cipher

      If 500 people come here and every one of them starts out with some version of Pascal’s Wager

      I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t happen.

    • cipher

      If 500 people come here and every one of them starts out with some version of Pascal’s Wager

      I’ll be very surprised if it doesn’t happen.

    • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

      Most people, Atheist and Christian alike have completely misunderstood the point Pascal was actually trying to make.

      But really… what’s with the assumption you’re going to be inundated with philosophically naive Christians?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Really? Care to tell us what Pascal was “really” trying to say?

        • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

          Pascal’s point is that usually non-belief is not purely rational – it is more rational to hedge your bets, than to take a risk. He wasn’t suggesting that God would be ok with a kind of fake bet-hedged lip-service. He wasn’t so much suggesting that people should be hedging their bets, but pointing out that they don’t. It’s not then, an evangelistic apologetic, but intended to make a point about non-belief. Most Christians don’t get that though.

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

            But belief in a magic man in the sky, an invisible, all-knowing, all-powerful man in the sky, is really irrational. More disturbing is the thought that there are some people who literally need to have a cosmic parent figure “watching and guiding” them, all the time — those are the ones who, when they finally “break”, end up on the news in a very, very bad way, usually with a dead body or four (or more!) to their name. There’s nothing healthy about that level of control.

            • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

              Strawman anyone?

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                Missing the point, much?

                Let me spell it out: Belief requires emotional attachment to the idea of a god. Non-belief, by necessity, incorporates a far more rational mindset.

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                Missing the point, much?

                Let me spell it out: Belief requires emotional attachment to the idea of a god. Non-belief, by necessity, incorporates a far more rational mindset.

                • ACN

                  Well said.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Why, thank you! ^_^

                • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

                  Begging the question doesn’t excuse strawmen. Sorry.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Get over yourself, plz.

                • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

                  Stop using fallacious arguments, please.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  It wasn’t “fallacious” — I suggest you find out what words mean before  using them.

                • http://thingsfindothinks.com Andrew Finden

                  Strawmen, question begging(and we can ad ad hominem)are all fallacies. I suggestyoulook them up.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

                  Baseless accusations. The point remains that non-belief is the more rational position.

                • http://thingsfindothinks.com Andrew Finden

                  OK. If you say so.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Really? Care to tell us what Pascal was “really” trying to say?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Really? Care to tell us what Pascal was “really” trying to say?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Really? Care to tell us what Pascal was “really” trying to say?

    • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

      Most people, Atheist and Christian alike have completely misunderstood the point Pascal was actually trying to make.

      But really… what’s with the assumption you’re going to be inundated with philosophically naive Christians?

    • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

      Most people, Atheist and Christian alike have completely misunderstood the point Pascal was actually trying to make.

      But really… what’s with the assumption you’re going to be inundated with philosophically naive Christians?

    • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

      Most people, Atheist and Christian alike have completely misunderstood the point Pascal was actually trying to make.

      But really… what’s with the assumption you’re going to be inundated with philosophically naive Christians?

    • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

      Most people, Atheist and Christian alike have completely misunderstood the point Pascal was actually trying to make.

      But really… what’s with the assumption you’re going to be inundated with philosophically naive Christians?

    • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

      Most people, Atheist and Christian alike have completely misunderstood the point Pascal was actually trying to make.

      But really… what’s with the assumption you’re going to be inundated with philosophically naive Christians?

  • TychaBrahe

    I’m not sure I’m going to like this.  It’s hard for the eye not to be drawn to the nice, big, colorful ads for Christian colleges over there on the right.  Unless there’s a huge amount of atheist traffic, I’m thinking I’m not going to see the ads I liked before, for books about atheism, some of which I found very interesting.  

    I like Hemant, as a person, as a blogger, and as a local.  (It’s nice to know that when he posts about an event, I have a reasonably decent chance of being able to attend.)  But how much would someone learn in math class if EVERY idea was challenged.  (“But how do you know that sin^2(x) + cos^2(x) = 1?”  Dude, we learned that on the first day of trig.  Go read your notes or a book and stop bothering me!)

    There’s something you and he (and maybe us, the faithful readers) might consider, and that is creating a set of introductory statements, a 101 course outline if you will.  I ran into this concept when I started reading Shakesville.  There’s a link to Feminism 101, Rape Culture 101, Privilege 101, and if you make a statement that says you don’t get some really basic concept, you’re directed to those articles and no one listens to you until you’ve done some basic research.  

    If 500 people come here and every one of them starts out with some version of Pascal’s Wager, restating the counter arguments isn’t going to be productive.  It’s more helpful to be able to say, “What you’re saying is called ‘Pascal’s Wager,’ and it’s been around since the late 1600′s.  Please read Atheism 101.42 on the topic.”  (This should appeal to the mathematician in Hemant, since it’s basically reducing a new problem to a previously solved problem.)
    Remember the surveys that showed that atheists often knew more about religion than the practitioners of those religions.  If we tend to know more about the history of Christian practice than the Christians, how can we expect them to know about atheism?  Especially since most of them don’t have original ideas about atheism, but are simply regurgitating what their pastors have taught them.

  • http://www.bullshitexpress.com Izzy

    I stole (cited and used) this post on the University of Phoenix Skeptic/atheist forum.

  • http://www.bullshitexpress.com Izzy

    I stole (cited and used) this post on the University of Phoenix Skeptic/atheist forum.

  • Anonymous

    I agree we absolutely need to be the adult in the room. I’d suggest everyone put themselves on a 7 minute delay for post responses.  Really step back, re-read Richard’s post and commit to being the person that makes an effort to show the best we can be.

    If only they’d allow the Google-type drunk filter on this as well that asks you a bunch of math questions before you can send an email during specified hours.

    I know we all want to “smack down their candy a$$” when someone pulls the drive-by sermon with GOD and LORD and SODOMITES or such in all caps, but we’ve got to exhibit the restraint to avoid playing into the hateful, angry atheist stereotype.  I will personally resolve, with my happy coffee avatar – to be the best secular humanist I can be.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      I can be *very* explosive if I’m not careful and one trick I’ve learned is this:

      Type out what you want to say to the offending party.  Get it all out there.  Vent and blow and have a fit.  Don’t submit the comment and walk away for a few minutes.  Grab a drink, let yourself get distracted by something, heed the call of nature if you’d like, but the important thing is to walk away.  When you come back reread your comment.  9 times out of 10 you’ll tilt your head and say, “Wow, I sound like a total douche-canoe,” and delete the comment and move on.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        This does work — often I find I can rework the reply to be less douche-y while still making my point or voicing my opinion.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        This does work — often I find I can rework the reply to be less douche-y while still making my point or voicing my opinion.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        This does work — often I find I can rework the reply to be less douche-y while still making my point or voicing my opinion.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        This does work — often I find I can rework the reply to be less douche-y while still making my point or voicing my opinion.

      • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

        Well said (I quoted you)  ;)

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Thanks! :)   Glad my advice helped!

          (I used to get myself into a LOT of trouble until I started to do that.  Once I realized how stupid I was coming across, I knew I had to find a way to elongate my short fuse or I’d never be taken seriously.)

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      I can be *very* explosive if I’m not careful and one trick I’ve learned is this:

      Type out what you want to say to the offending party.  Get it all out there.  Vent and blow and have a fit.  Don’t submit the comment and walk away for a few minutes.  Grab a drink, let yourself get distracted by something, heed the call of nature if you’d like, but the important thing is to walk away.  When you come back reread your comment.  9 times out of 10 you’ll tilt your head and say, “Wow, I sound like a total douche-canoe,” and delete the comment and move on.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      I can be *very* explosive if I’m not careful and one trick I’ve learned is this:

      Type out what you want to say to the offending party.  Get it all out there.  Vent and blow and have a fit.  Don’t submit the comment and walk away for a few minutes.  Grab a drink, let yourself get distracted by something, heed the call of nature if you’d like, but the important thing is to walk away.  When you come back reread your comment.  9 times out of 10 you’ll tilt your head and say, “Wow, I sound like a total douche-canoe,” and delete the comment and move on.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      I can be *very* explosive if I’m not careful and one trick I’ve learned is this:

      Type out what you want to say to the offending party.  Get it all out there.  Vent and blow and have a fit.  Don’t submit the comment and walk away for a few minutes.  Grab a drink, let yourself get distracted by something, heed the call of nature if you’d like, but the important thing is to walk away.  When you come back reread your comment.  9 times out of 10 you’ll tilt your head and say, “Wow, I sound like a total douche-canoe,” and delete the comment and move on.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      I can be *very* explosive if I’m not careful and one trick I’ve learned is this:

      Type out what you want to say to the offending party.  Get it all out there.  Vent and blow and have a fit.  Don’t submit the comment and walk away for a few minutes.  Grab a drink, let yourself get distracted by something, heed the call of nature if you’d like, but the important thing is to walk away.  When you come back reread your comment.  9 times out of 10 you’ll tilt your head and say, “Wow, I sound like a total douche-canoe,” and delete the comment and move on.

  • Korou

    Well, if it’s good enough for Fred…
    I don’t really mind – I’m just really glad that everything’s still here as normal. Love your website, Hemant – daily reading, along with Pharyngula.
    And as to the topic of this post – Richard’s hit the nail on the head. Again. As usual.

  • Korou

    Well, if it’s good enough for Fred…
    I don’t really mind – I’m just really glad that everything’s still here as normal. Love your website, Hemant – daily reading, along with Pharyngula.
    And as to the topic of this post – Richard’s hit the nail on the head. Again. As usual.

  • Korou

    Well, if it’s good enough for Fred…
    I don’t really mind – I’m just really glad that everything’s still here as normal. Love your website, Hemant – daily reading, along with Pharyngula.
    And as to the topic of this post – Richard’s hit the nail on the head. Again. As usual.

  • Korou

    Well, if it’s good enough for Fred…
    I don’t really mind – I’m just really glad that everything’s still here as normal. Love your website, Hemant – daily reading, along with Pharyngula.
    And as to the topic of this post – Richard’s hit the nail on the head. Again. As usual.

  • Korou

    Well, if it’s good enough for Fred…
    I don’t really mind – I’m just really glad that everything’s still here as normal. Love your website, Hemant – daily reading, along with Pharyngula.
    And as to the topic of this post – Richard’s hit the nail on the head. Again. As usual.

  • http://twitter.com/hemantmehta/status/91136417002037248 Hemant Mehta

    Richard Asks: How Can We Constructively Respond to More Religious Visitors? http://bit.ly/oSOXr2

  • Jake Meador

    As a Christian reader who read at the old site and also reads Patheos, I just want to point out that Patheos has generally tended to attract a more academic crowd. Some of the essays they’ve posted here have been top notch. 

    So if by “what about fundies?” you mean “what about people who read Tim Lahaye and James Dobson books and love them?” I would say, “don’t worry about it, those sorts of people don’t hang out at Patheos.” As best I can tell, Patheos is an excellent place to host robust and intelligent discussion about religion, philosophy, theology, skepticism, and the like. I’m hoping the non-theists will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the theistic readership here. :)

    Welcome, Hemant. Glad to see you blogging here!

    ~Jake

  • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

    Sadly, the “tips/news/personal stories/marriage proposals” link still doesn’t work for me. Nothing happens when I click it. Sadness.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      It links to an email address (which can open in an email program if you have your computer set up like that).  If it doesn’t work, it’s friendlyatheist at friendlyatheist dot com 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      It links to an email address (which can open in an email program if you have your computer set up like that).  If it doesn’t work, it’s friendlyatheist at friendlyatheist dot com 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      It links to an email address (which can open in an email program if you have your computer set up like that).  If it doesn’t work, it’s friendlyatheist at friendlyatheist dot com 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      It links to an email address (which can open in an email program if you have your computer set up like that).  If it doesn’t work, it’s friendlyatheist at friendlyatheist dot com 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      It links to an email address (which can open in an email program if you have your computer set up like that).  If it doesn’t work, it’s friendlyatheist at friendlyatheist dot com 

  • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

    Sadly, the “tips/news/personal stories/marriage proposals” link still doesn’t work for me. Nothing happens when I click it. Sadness.

  • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

    Sadly, the “tips/news/personal stories/marriage proposals” link still doesn’t work for me. Nothing happens when I click it. Sadness.

  • Kamaka

    Does HTML work here?

  • Kamaka

    Does HTML work here?

  • Kamaka

    Does HTML work here?

  • Kamaka

    Does HTML work here?

  • Kamaka

    Does HTML work here?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Success! I’ll try to make it more clear which tags people can use.

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        ♠ €

        Nā Maka &#256:

      • Kamaka

        It supports numerical and entity name codes! I can correctly spell in Hawai’ian!

        Hemant, why are my three comments inverted?

      • Kamaka

        It supports numerical and entity name codes! I can correctly spell in Hawai’ian!

        Hemant, why are my three comments inverted?

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Check just above the comment thread’s start. There is an option for how you want to view comments.  Hope that helps!

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Check just above the comment thread’s start. There is an option for how you want to view comments.  Hope that helps!

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Check just above the comment thread’s start. There is an option for how you want to view comments.  Hope that helps!

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Check just above the comment thread’s start. There is an option for how you want to view comments.  Hope that helps!

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Check just above the comment thread’s start. There is an option for how you want to view comments.  Hope that helps!

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Check just above the comment thread’s start. There is an option for how you want to view comments.  Hope that helps!

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Check just above the comment thread’s start. There is an option for how you want to view comments.  Hope that helps!

        • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

           Check just above the comment thread’s start. There is an option for how you want to view comments.  Hope that helps!

      • Kamaka

        It supports numerical and entity name codes! I can correctly spell in Hawai’ian!

        Hemant, why are my three comments inverted?

      • Kamaka

        It supports numerical and entity name codes! I can correctly spell in Hawai’ian!

        Hemant, why are my three comments inverted?

      • Kamaka

        It supports numerical and entity name codes! I can correctly spell in Hawai’ian!

        Hemant, why are my three comments inverted?

      • Kamaka

        It supports numerical and entity name codes! I can correctly spell in Hawai’ian!

        Hemant, why are my three comments inverted?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        In my experience, pretty much all HTML code can be used with Disqus.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        In my experience, pretty much all HTML code can be used with Disqus.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        In my experience, pretty much all HTML code can be used with Disqus.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        In my experience, pretty much all HTML code can be used with Disqus.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        In my experience, pretty much all HTML code can be used with Disqus.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        In my experience, pretty much all HTML code can be used with Disqus.

      • http://twitter.com/Templestream Richard Warden

        Dear Hemant,

        I noticed it is your face on the blog but someone else is apparently managing the blog. A bit odd.

        In any event, I’d like to challenge you to come to my blog and refute my proof of God’s existence if you desire to try:

        http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html

        Regards,

        Rick

  • Kamaka

    Does HTML work here?

  • Kamaka

    Does HTML work here?

  • Kamaka

    Does HTML work here?

  • Kamaka

    italic bold

  • Kamaka

    Apparently so.

  • Kamaka

    Apparently so.

  • Donalbain

    PLEASE get rid of threading!

  • Donalbain

    PLEASE get rid of threading!

  • Donalbain

    PLEASE get rid of threading!

  • Donalbain

    PLEASE get rid of threading!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Threading makes it so much easier to follow a conversation, though!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Threading makes it so much easier to follow a conversation, though!

      • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

        I find it much harder to follow the conversation. How do we locate new responses to earlier comments? You have to read through the entire section to find them, and the only way you can tell they’re new is to look at when they were posted.  Sorting by “Newest First” only brings up original comments, not responses to them. I find it so annoying not to be able to automatically find new comments. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          Adapt.

          Besides, you can have the comments sent to your e-mail, complete with a convenient “click here to go to this reply” link. It’s really easy.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          Adapt.

          Besides, you can have the comments sent to your e-mail, complete with a convenient “click here to go to this reply” link. It’s really easy.

          • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

            Well, obviously I’m being forced to adapt. I was just hoping that there was some trick I might have missed.

            I don’t use e-mail, so that’s not an option for me.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      Threading makes it so much easier to follow a conversation, though!

    • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

      Please don’t get rid of threading.

  • Donalbain

    PLEASE get rid of threading!

  • Donalbain

    PLEASE get rid of threading!

  • Donalbain

    PLEASE get rid of threading!

  • Donalbain

    PLEASE get rid of threading!

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    So bashing people on the head with Origin of Species is probably off the table, then.  Sadness. :-(

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    So bashing people on the head with Origin of Species is probably off the table, then.  Sadness. :-(

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    So bashing people on the head with Origin of Species is probably off the table, then.  Sadness. :-(

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    So bashing people on the head with Origin of Species is probably off the table, then.  Sadness. :-(

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    So bashing people on the head with Origin of Species is probably off the table, then.  Sadness. :-(

  • http://invigilator.myopenid.com/ Invigilator

    Where is this blog on the Patheos main page?  There does not seem to be an atheism portal.  How are the religious readers even aware of its existence?

  • http://invigilator.myopenid.com/ Invigilator

    Where is this blog on the Patheos main page?  There does not seem to be an atheism portal.  How are the religious readers even aware of its existence?

  • http://invigilator.myopenid.com/ Invigilator

    Where is this blog on the Patheos main page?  There does not seem to be an atheism portal.  How are the religious readers even aware of its existence?

  • http://invigilator.myopenid.com/ Invigilator

    Where is this blog on the Patheos main page?  There does not seem to be an atheism portal.  How are the religious readers even aware of its existence?

  • http://invigilator.myopenid.com/ Invigilator

    Where is this blog on the Patheos main page?  There does not seem to be an atheism portal.  How are the religious readers even aware of its existence?

  • http://invigilator.myopenid.com/ Invigilator

    Where is this blog on the Patheos main page?  There does not seem to be an atheism portal.  How are the religious readers even aware of its existence?

  • http://twitter.com/Templestream Richard Warden

    Hello Friendly Atheist, and all atheists here at this site,

    I find the title of this post interesting. It is actually the “militant atheists” that are the real hostile ones officially promoting hatred:

    See my article for proof: “New Atheism: New Excuses and New Abuses

    Also, if you, Richard or anyone here can back up your atheism with solid reasoning, I challenge you to refute my article:

    How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God’s Existence

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html

    Good luck,

    Rick

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      An intriguing anecdotal near death experience doesn’t prove the existence of the supernatural.  It is probably just hallucinations due to oxygen deprivation of the brain.    Likewise, paradoxes in contemporary science don’t prove the existence of the supernatural.  They just demonstrate that our understanding of reality is incomplete (or reality is more strange than we previously thought).   Even though it is popular to jump on whatever religious bandwagon prevails in society, the reasonable stance is to withhold belief until there is better evidence.  I will assume ghosts (or holy ghosts) don’t habitate the shadows until proven otherwise.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Richard Warden, To provide some more details, specifically, the following are the problems with your “Proof”. Logic is Based on Universal Truth and ValidityIn this section you seem to imply that because logic is even possible, then therefore there must be a giver of logic (or a God).  This doesn’t necessarily follow.  Your conclusion presupposes that there is a God.  The other possibility is that logic could be a truism without there needing to be anything that provides logic. This section is a  non sequitur argument (also a bit of begging the question). Quantum Physics Undermines Materialist PresuppositionsYou present a straw man argument coupled with a false dichotomy here.  The straw man is that atheism is totally dependent on the current theories of materialism being correct and without paradox.  That is just not true.  One can be an atheist while accepting that our current theories of science are incomplete and sometimes even wrong.  One can even be an atheist and hold the position that the homo-sapien brain isn’t even up to the job of completely understanding nature.  You present a false dichotomy when you imply that a scientific paradox suggests or proves the existence of God.  IMO, as an atheist, such paradoxes just indicate interesting places within science where there is opportunity to do more research.  Science is a work in progress. NDE Studies Verify Harmony of Laws of Logic and Quantum MechanicsNear Death Experiences (NDE) are merely anecdotal stories and cannot be trustworthy for a variety of reasons.  People say a great variety of things (or nothing) when they are close to death.  You are just cherry-picking some reported NDEs that happen to “confirm” your previously held beliefs.  This is called confirmation bias.  You selectively ignore all of the NDEs that don’t confirm your beliefs.  Many people just utter random thoughts from earlier life experiences…  It may all be just due to the brain struggling with oxygen deprivation and reorganizing around earlier strong memories or beliefs.  If the person already believes in heaven and has a hallucination about heaven while near death, then that doesn’t prove that heaven exists.      In conclusion, you don’t offer a proof.  Your words may be reassuring to people who already believe, but they won’t convince anyone who isn’t willing to beg the question, form false dichotomies, provide  non sequiturs, have confirmation biases, and generally abuse logic to reach desired conclusions. And as Richard has said, atheists are in no obligation to “prove the non-existence of God”.  You are free to not-believe in garden fairies without having to prove that garden fairies don’t exist.  Atheists are free to not believe in God merely because they haven’t been convinced that there is a God.  We all don’t need to walk around with a “non-God proof”.

    • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

      Richard Warden, To provide some more details, specifically, the following are the problems with your “Proof”. Logic is Based on Universal Truth and ValidityIn this section you seem to imply that because logic is even possible, then therefore there must be a giver of logic (or a God).  This doesn’t necessarily follow.  Your conclusion presupposes that there is a God.  The other possibility is that logic could be a truism without there needing to be anything that provides logic. This section is a  non sequitur argument (also a bit of begging the question). Quantum Physics Undermines Materialist PresuppositionsYou present a straw man argument coupled with a false dichotomy here.  The straw man is that atheism is totally dependent on the current theories of materialism being correct and without paradox.  That is just not true.  One can be an atheist while accepting that our current theories of science are incomplete and sometimes even wrong.  One can even be an atheist and hold the position that the homo-sapien brain isn’t even up to the job of completely understanding nature.  You present a false dichotomy when you imply that a scientific paradox suggests or proves the existence of God.  IMO, as an atheist, such paradoxes just indicate interesting places within science where there is opportunity to do more research.  Science is a work in progress. NDE Studies Verify Harmony of Laws of Logic and Quantum MechanicsNear Death Experiences (NDE) are merely anecdotal stories and cannot be trustworthy for a variety of reasons.  People say a great variety of things (or nothing) when they are close to death.  You are just cherry-picking some reported NDEs that happen to “confirm” your previously held beliefs.  This is called confirmation bias.  You selectively ignore all of the NDEs that don’t confirm your beliefs.  Many people just utter random thoughts from earlier life experiences…  It may all be just due to the brain struggling with oxygen deprivation and reorganizing around earlier strong memories or beliefs.  If the person already believes in heaven and has a hallucination about heaven while near death, then that doesn’t prove that heaven exists.      In conclusion, you don’t offer a proof.  Your words may be reassuring to people who already believe, but they won’t convince anyone who isn’t willing to beg the question, form false dichotomies, provide  non sequiturs, have confirmation biases, and generally abuse logic to reach desired conclusions. And as Richard has said, atheists are in no obligation to “prove the non-existence of God”.  You are free to not-believe in garden fairies without having to prove that garden fairies don’t exist.  Atheists are free to not believe in God merely because they haven’t been convinced that there is a God.  We all don’t need to walk around with a “non-God proof”.

    • ACN

      There are a number of problems with your discussion about quantum mechanics. 

      It’s clear to me that you don’t really understand anything about quantum mechanics, and moreover, you don’t seem to know where to go for good information about QM. I have no idea why we’re supposed to care about what some 2  bit randroid philosopher thinks about quantum mechanics. 

      There are no logical contradictions in quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is deeply based on operator algebra and couldn’t be worked out mathematically if it weren’t deeply logical. The statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics says, very roughly, that the classical ideas of what a particle is (something localized in space with well defined position, momentum etc) are correct roughly in proportion with the particle’s mass. The fact that QM doesn’t fit intuitively with our macroscopic picture of how things work, does not necessitate that there are logical problems with QM. 

  • http://twitter.com/Templestream Richard Warden

    Richard Asks: How Can We Constructively Respond to More Religious Visitors?

    Richard,

    It would be very constructive for you to print my challenge to debate. You are still “monitoring” my comment  for some reason. Did I use offensive language? Was I rude?

    It would be constructive for you to back up your beliefs with logic and reason for all to see.

    Here is the link to the article I’d like you to try and refute. If you don’t feel up to the task, just say so – no biggie.

    How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God’s Existence

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html

    Regards,

    Rick
     

    • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

      @font-face {
      font-family: “Times New Roman”;
      }@font-face {
      font-family: “Arial”;
      }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 14pt; font-family: Arial; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

      Hi Rick. Thank you for visiting.

       

      I don’t understand why you think that I am “monitoring” your
      comment.  Both of your comments are
      right there for all to see. This is not my blog, I just contribute to it. I
      have no interest in limiting people’s comments unless they become abusive, and
      that takes quite a lot. You haven’t been abusive at all.

       

      You may be making some assumptions about me, such as something
      unclear that seems to be implied in your phrases, “…back up your atheism with
      solid reasoning…” and in your second comment, “…back up your beliefs with logic
      and reason for all to see.” 

       

      I don’t know what beliefs you are assuming that I have.  My atheism, and I can only speak for
      myself, is nothing more than being as of yet unconvinced of the gods that other
      people have proposed.  I have
      listened sincerely and openly many, many times to people wanting to convince me
      of whatever their god is, but so far they have been like door-to-door salesmen
      who show up at my door with no product to show me, only the testimonials of dead
      people who said how wonderful their product is.  I have given them a fair listening, but I cannot help it if
      they are poor salesmen and have come empty-handed.

       

      I looked over your article that you say proves God’s existence,
      and I’m afraid that you are right, I am not up to the task –of making any sense
      of it. I’m sorry, but I must be frank. I found it confusing, too elaborate, disjointed,
      rambling, non sequitur, and ultimately unconvincing. The main reason for this
      is because it is a collection of arguments.  

       

      To be convinced of a claim, any claim, I need evidence. Evidence
      that will convince me of a claim is three-dimensional and has mass. It matches
      the scope of the claim it is supposed to support. It can be observed by anyone,
      and it does not require believing in its existence before it can be observed.  For me, an argument is not evidence. An
      argument needs evidence. If, at its foundation an
      argument does not have any supporting evidence, only more arguments, then it is
      just talk, vibrating air.

       

      Your article reminded me of the arguments of apologists. To
      me, apologetics is the practice of talking about something for which there is
      no evidence eloquently enough, or confusingly enough, or simply long-winded
      enough until folks begin to think that all that talk somehow is
      the evidence. No, it’s not. Piling up argument upon argument is piling up vibrating
      air.

       

      Maybe someone else here is interested in taking up your
      challenge. They might poke holes through your arguments, but because I’ve seen your
      kinds of arguments many times before, I feel safe to assume that you will not
      actually abandon your arguments, and you will certainly not abandon the beliefs
      that you think your arguments support.  So what would the point of all that be, except for them to
      think they’re smarter than you, and for you to think you’re smarter than them?

       

      This is why I have no interest in “debating” the existence
      of gods. I’ve never seen it to be anything more than a futile exercise, a fruitless
      charade from which nothing comes but enmity and wasted time. By “constructive”
      I mean I’m interested in respectful dialogue between theists and atheists for mutual
      understanding of each other, not for convincing one to adopt the
      other’s views.

       

      All the best,

      Richard

       

      • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

        My atheism, and I can only speak for myself, is nothing more than being as of yet unconvinced of the gods that other people have proposed.

        But then you say:

        To be convinced of a claim, any claim, I need evidence. Evidence that will convince me of a claim is three-dimensional and has mass.

        While such a narrowly naturalist-Scientistic definition of ‘evidence’  is not inherent in Atheism, it’s certainly appears to be a presupposition  from which stem your atheistic conclusions.

        But I do agree that the debate is fairly pointless – not only are there usually underlying issues of presuppositions, but I don’t think God is found at the end of a clever syllogism any more than you or I are.

        • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

          Hello Andrew, thank you for those thoughts.

          You said “But then you say:”  between the two statements of mine that you quoted. The “but” sounds like you think that one contradicts the other.  If that’s what you think,  don’t see the contradiction. First I said that I’m unconvinced, and then I described what I, just me, personally, need to be convinced.

          I’m not saying that my description exclusively defines everything that anyone might call “evidence.” What is evidence to one person might be, as you say, just presuppositions to another person. I’m describing the kind of evidence that I, just me, personally, need in order to be convinced of any claim, not just those about gods. 

          I think that you and I in a way agree that questions about deities should not be satisfied by responses that are built on low standards, even though you and I are probably using completely different criteria, and completely different concepts, and completely different methods. 

          My preference for a yes, narrow, naturalist-scientific kind of evidence for any>/em> claim comes from my having seen too often the tragic consequences of people having very broad, loose, sloppy, arbitrary, and convenient  standards and perameters for what they call “evidence.”

          • http://twitter.com/findo Andrew Finden

            I’m not sure I was pointing to a contradiction so much as suggesting that pointing to it as ‘nothing but’ non-belief is slightly misleading as you then promoted a form of philosophical naturalism and Scientism – you may not be including this under the banner of Atheism, but I see it being done all the time (so sorry if I jumped to that conclusion here).  

             

      • http://twitter.com/Templestream Richard Warden

        Hello Richard

        The last time I checked I didn’t see my previous post for some reason. I apologize for jumping to an erroneous conclusion.

         I have been fairly busy  challenging  various high-profile Internet atheists to refute my article offering proof of God’s existence:

        http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html

        I’m compiling a list of the basic responses, as most, like you,  have declined my challenge to come and review my proposition.

        Is there any particular photo you would like for me to use along with your response, or should I just use your thumbnail here?

        Regards,

        Rick

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

          ” I have been fairly busy  challenging  various high-profile Internet
          atheists to refute my article offering proof of God’s existence:”

          Spam-troll.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Hi Rick,

    I didn’t decline your challenge to come and review your article. Read my response. I looked it over, but it was clearly beyond my meager abilities to decipher. You’ll need to file my response in the “couldn’t make heads or tails of it” category.  As I explained, I need a specific kind of evidence for claims as grand as the existence of an almighty being whose almightyness is matched only by his obscurity. 

    I hope you can find someone far cleverer than I who can figure your article out.  If it actually does prove the existence of God, it will be the first time in thousands of years of thousands of luminaries trying with all the mental might they can muster.

    As I said, I’m much more interested in how atheists and theists can accurately understand each other. That’s challenging enough for me, this conversation being a case in point.

    I prefer the thumnail that you see next to my comments. I’m holding a favorite fossil of mine, an ammonite. While is it beautiful, I especially like it because it’s three-dimensional and it has mass.

    Good luck,
    Richard

    • http://twitter.com/Templestream Richard Warden

      Hello Richard,

      You seem a little bit confused.  In your previous comment you wrote:

      “I looked over your article that you say proves God’s existence, and I’m
      afraid that you are right, I am not up to the task –of making any sense
      of it.”

      Now you write:

      “I didn’t decline your challenge to come and review your
      article.”

      But I don’t see your comments at my blog. Strange:

      http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-identity-logic-and-physics-prove.html

      “Read my response. I looked it over, but it was clearly beyond
      my meager abilities to decipher. You’ll need to file my response in the
      “couldn’t make heads or tails of it” category.”

      Oh, you mean you reinterpreted my challenge. Richard, if you’d like to have better communication with theists, try and pay attention to the meaning of words. So far, you haven’t taken up my challenge.

      By the way, why doesn’t Hemant moderate his own blog?  I would prefer if he would come to challenge my article, because he seems to be the star here.

      You see, Richard, here’s the thing. There’s an awful lot of posturing at atheist blogs about reason. But, when it comes down to it, atheism doesn’t have a logical foundation. My article shows this. Unfortunately, most high-profile atheists are afraid to come and back up their ideas and beliefs. As a matter of  fact, the American Atheist blog, No God Blog, recently deleted my friendly challenges. PZ Meyer censored my comment citing him as a debate dodger:

      http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_Debate

      Richard, you can change your mind and you can reinterpret words and concepts in any manner you wish to. But the truth remains, whether or not you are in-sync with it.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

        Troll in the dungeon!

      • ACN

        All it looks like you’re trying to do is build your own blog traffic by blogwhoring in an already popular environment. Stop. You did the exact same thing at pharyngula. It is getting exceedingly tedious.

        If you decide that you want to have a real conversation, and not just annoy people, you might start by checking out the forums or by finding an on-topic post of Hemant’s to comment on. Blogwhoring is not a good strategy if conversations are your goal.

        Side note: The fact that you cited Conservapedia on ANYTHING is exceedingly amusing.

  • ACN

    “You’ll need to file my response in the “couldn’t make heads or tails of it” category.”

    For good reason. The piece was nonsense.


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