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Youtube hater, I respect your right to free speech. - Comments

Sinful Messiah's Avatar Comment 1 by Sinful Messiah

Does Brian Sapient hurt the public image of atheists with his low brow humor and unprofessionalism?

Should Dawkins distance himself from these armchair amateurs?

As atheists, do we need unsophisticated, belligerent representatives?

Sat, 15 Sep 2007 22:18:00 UTC | #67052

Janus's Avatar Comment 2 by Janus

No, I don't think Sapient or the RRS hurt our image. Some of their stuff might be low brow, but it's not stupid or illogical.

On the other hand, I really don't see why this particular piece was posted on the Richard Dawkins website. The previous one I understand, the message had to be spread, but this? It deserves a thread in the forums at the very most.

Sat, 15 Sep 2007 22:29:00 UTC | #67055

Arcturus's Avatar Comment 3 by Arcturus

I don't know what's going on here, but this lady seems ridiculous. Atheists are addicted to smoking?

Because she sees one of them smoking, it means we all are. Interesting way to think ...

Anyways, I only hope that the Rational Squad keep it rational and civil. They should take the example of Richard Dawkins and his very polite way of deconstructing the crazies.

Sat, 15 Sep 2007 22:34:00 UTC | #67056

Tim Marsh's Avatar Comment 4 by Tim Marsh

I will say this about Brian Sapient, despite his often disappointingly juvenile response style, I love the name of his group.

"Rational Response Squad"

If there were an Australian Rational Response Squad, surely, I would attempt to join it. I suppose I could try to start one.. but then I may be infringing their copyright.

Sat, 15 Sep 2007 23:11:00 UTC | #67058

Logicel's Avatar Comment 5 by Logicel

RRS mode of operation in on the ground and front lines of the confrontation against theism. It operates in the most religious of all the developed, industrial countries in the world. Its projects, like The Blasphemy Challenge, appeal to the religites' favorite group for indoctrination--the young. It is an understatement that this focus is something the religites will not tolerate sitting down. Hence, a Christian group is claiming that RRS violated their copyright so as to cramp RRS style and mode of reaching out to the young.

Sapient, in particular, has a unrelenting style--when the religites dish out their crap to the RRS, he may serve up a fast-food plate to sling right back at them, but it always contains solid and nourishing logic and reality.

RRS may be very in-your-face, but they are consistent in their emphasis on the irrationality/dangers of religion.

Sat, 15 Sep 2007 23:22:00 UTC | #67059

Veronique's Avatar Comment 6 by Veronique

4. Comment #70537 by Tim Marsh

Tim, see if you can start an Australian 'chapter' of the RRS or something like that. I reckon it would go down fairly well in Oz.

I am too old to really appreciate this kind of in-your-face stuff and its humour, but I did donate $A500 to their beginnings because I think they are another arm to the Medusa that is being spawned (lousy sentence I know).

I am a little pissed - I have just come home from a boozy birthday afternoon:-)

Try it on, it's not a silly idea.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 00:40:00 UTC | #67065

doodinthemood's Avatar Comment 7 by doodinthemood

I think Brian Sapient is pretty good as a representative for, how should I put this, simpler minded peoples. It's easy to look at Dawkins and think "He knows so much about science it scares me" or Harris and think "He knows so much about politics it scares me" or Hitchens and think "He scares me". Sapient offers a bloke-down-the-street atheist philosophy.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 00:59:00 UTC | #67067

GBG's Avatar Comment 8 by GBG

I agree with what the RRS stand for, But i do believe sapients approach gives them an easy target. Not because what he is saying is incorrect, But because his approach gives them reason to direct their responses at his personality and the way he puts his argument. And this gives us a long drawn out argument where both sides are basically calling each other "stinky poo poo faces" over and over again.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 01:40:00 UTC | #67071

epeeist's Avatar Comment 9 by epeeist

Comment #70546 by doodinthemood

I think Brian Sapient is pretty good as a representative for, how should I put this, simpler minded peoples.

Presumably this is why the story is now on Slashdot ( ;-)

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 01:43:00 UTC | #67072

Veronique's Avatar Comment 10 by Veronique

7. Comment #70546 by doodinthemood

Please don't be elitist about this. It's unnecessary and divisive. People of all sorts are able to understand the silliness of religiosity. RRS caters for a group of people who have no other voice. Good on them!! They have my support, even if they are outside my cultural norms.

I don't care for intellectual division on this front. Remember Everyman. It's important.


Sun, 16 Sep 2007 02:03:00 UTC | #67073

doodinthemood's Avatar Comment 11 by doodinthemood


I think you misread my post. Misread it horrendously by the looks of things, because you start by accusing me of being elitist, and then continue by doing little more than rephrasing what I'd said.
"RRS caters for a group of people who have no other voice" would have worked well as a summary line at the end of what I'd written.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 02:51:00 UTC | #67078

Paula Kirby's Avatar Comment 12 by Paula Kirby

It's easy to look at Dawkins and think "He knows so much about science it scares me" or Harris and think "He knows so much about politics it scares me" or Hitchens and think "He scares me".

! ! !
I liked this very much, doodinthemood! :-)

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 03:23:00 UTC | #67080

Severus Snape's Avatar Comment 13 by Severus Snape

Better judgment ought to be exercised in selecting what gets posted to the site IMO.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 03:35:00 UTC | #67082

Yorker's Avatar Comment 14 by Yorker

1. Comment #70530 by Sinful Messiah

"As atheists, do we need unsophisticated, belligerent representatives?"

Yes, we certainly fucking do! If you think atheism is about elitism, you're deluded, without the people you disparage, where will the support come from?

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 04:31:00 UTC | #67086

Yorker's Avatar Comment 15 by Yorker

7. Comment #70546 by doodinthemood

"Sapient offers a bloke-down-the-street atheist philosophy."

Well said! And in conjunction with scientifically supported atheism, is EXACTLY what the atheist movement needs!

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 04:34:00 UTC | #67087

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 17 by Dr Benway

I'd like to see the RSS do a bit more editing for the sake of my limited attention span. But that's a minor criticism.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 05:03:00 UTC | #67092

Yorker's Avatar Comment 16 by Yorker

There's a lot of disappointing intellectual elitist nonsense going on here, I could single out comments and refute each one but better just to state one simple fact.

The days when atheists were lone freethinkers with self-assured superior mental capacity than the masses, are over. Whether we like it or not, atheism is now a movement, the strength of this movement will be drawn from the masses or it will fail. When dealing with the masses we must speak their language and treat them as the most important people we have, because they are. It's time to treat ALL atheists as brethren and stop snubbing our intellectual noses at them. Atheism must appeal to all; just like religion has tried to. Religion made the promise that death was not the end, we can't beat that; we must make the offer of freedom and joy in this life that knowledge and understanding brings, we must emphasize how precious life is and ask our fellows to value it.

This all seems obvious to me, I don't understand why there are some who don't see this; perhaps they don't want to. Those atheists who can't bring themselves to be part of a movement will simply be marginalized as we always have been.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 05:03:00 UTC | #67091

Yorker's Avatar Comment 18 by Yorker

Worth pointing out that in the days when smoking was not unfashionable and the health dangers understood, the world's most intelligent people did it.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 05:16:00 UTC | #67095

flobear's Avatar Comment 19 by flobear

Yorker: Hear hear!

I would also like to emphasize how your point applies to our most important audience, the youth. They're not going to read The God Delusion, or any other philosophy book if they can get away with it. But they *will* watch Youtube. The funnier and cruder, the more it will appeal to them.

Our job should be to encourage the movement to spread. Just think of all those trapped individuals that don't even know there's an alternative to their religious lifestyle. If they grow up knowing that there is, they'll be much more likely to change when the chance comes their way.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 05:39:00 UTC | #67099

Prufrock's Avatar Comment 20 by Prufrock

"As atheists, do we need unsophisticated, belligerent representatives?".

Atheism should be the broadest church of all.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 05:50:00 UTC | #67102

Yorker's Avatar Comment 21 by Yorker

Thanks flobear, glad to see I'm not alone and of course, what you say about young people is clearly correct.

TGD is a best seller, it didn't get to be one through the efforts of just intellectuals, no-one will be more aware of that than Richard Dawkins so I'm certain he'll also be strongly in support of the need to involve young people. Far from editing or suppressing certain items or modes of behaviour as some suggest, I'm sure he has the wisdom to see the necessity of them.

Richard, please correct me if I'm wrong.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 06:32:00 UTC | #67108

ksskidude's Avatar Comment 22 by ksskidude

I think maybe all of you should go to the Rational Responders( web site and see for yourselves that they are incredibly important for our cause. There are many different ways to skin a cat, and the Rational Response Squad is putting it out there. They are trying to invoke change, because before the last year and half, atheist's were manily silent, and what had been done before obviously wasn't doing anything, IMO.

Both Brian and Kelly are incredibly intelligent and express themselves very well indeed. Do they come across as angry at times, yes, but I'm pissed off a lot as well. Basically they have said, enough is enough. Kind words and logical arguments might work for some, but there are plenty of ignorant fools out there, i.e. Kirk Cameron, Ray Comfort, Kent Hovid, etc.. that need to be put in thier place.

I for one support the RRS 110%!

One last thing, RD was a guest on their show, and I don't think he would have done that if he did not support them either.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 06:57:00 UTC | #67112

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 23 by Chrysippus_Maximus

To Prufrock and Yorker:

I don't think so. I think that's silly.

Indeed, I must admit that one of the criticisms of the Rational Response Squad did seem valid, and that is that perhaps many of the people who took the "Blasphemy Challenge" were the same kind of idiots who think that TimeShare scams really give away a free boat.

This may or may not be true, but honestly, the larger a population, the more likely it is that at least some of the members of that population are idiots.

Idiots annoy me, and I really wish no atheists were idiots.

But it seems more and more likely that there is a phenomenon of bandwagon atheism that The God Delusion has started... and it's not even clear that some of the "converted" even know what concepts they're disbelieving in.

I've heard atheists proclaim that Richard Dawkins is the closest thing they have to a god.

What the fuck is that?!

I have actually been laughed at when I've said that Dawkins is one of my favourite writers... (usually this is from people who have only heard of The God Delusion, or maybe read it, but never read The Ancestor's Tale, Selfish Gene, etc etc).

But in any case, the whole idea of proselytizing to and TRYING to "convert" people to atheism kinda sits funny with me.

If you think it's a good idea, go for it...

I just happen to be one atheist who doesn't like it.

Feel free to castigate me now.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 07:02:00 UTC | #67113

captain underpants's Avatar Comment 24 by captain underpants

Yorker wrote:
atheism is now a movement, the strength of this movement will be drawn from the masses or it will fail.

In another thread I stated my belief that the counterattack needs to be as broad-based as possible, and I think it needs to be emphasised that counterattack is what we are about here. It's not an exaggeration to say that everything that humanity has achieved since the Enlightenment is under threat. There have been precedents - think of the Library of Alexandria, think of the so-called "Golden Age of Islam" - and the more people who publicly state their opposition to religious superstition and cruelty, the better. Liam Gallagher is an unpleasant little shit, but I'm glad that he publicly declared himself to be an atheist. I'd never heard of Kathy Griffin and I have no idea what her merits as an entertainer might be, but I applaud what she did.

As for the RRS: It's not my style, but I'm not 19 anymore, I don't live in America, and I didn't grow up being cowed, bullied and indoctrinated by religionists.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 07:15:00 UTC | #67114

Yorker's Avatar Comment 25 by Yorker

23. Comment #70594 by Spinoza

"Feel free to castigate me now."

I don't need to - you're doing a fine job yourself, such as:

"Idiots annoy me, and I really wish no atheists were idiots."

They annoy me too, but I'll refrain from calling you one...

"But it seems more and more likely that there is a phenomenon of bandwagon atheism that The God Delusion has started... and it's not even clear that some of the "converted" even know what concepts they're disbelieving in."

You don't get it do you? Your statement is irrelevant.

"I just happen to be one atheist who doesn't like it."

Then you'll be one of the marginalized atheists, you'll have to get yourself another differentiating name; "anti-atheist" perhaps?

"...I think that's silly."

Spinoza, if trying to unite humanity in support of reason is silly, then I'm glad I don't think like you. I hope you're old, you won't win many young friends with this philosophy!

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 07:30:00 UTC | #67116

Yorker's Avatar Comment 26 by Yorker

I forgot to add the RRS has my support also. I hope that's true of at least most atheists here.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 07:39:00 UTC | #67118

prettygoodformonkeys's Avatar Comment 27 by prettygoodformonkeys

This is what 'herding cats' is going to be like, people: uncomfortable personal growth.

If we're too comfortable with our own demographic, we will ALL stay marginalized.

It's not OUR table that we are inviting the others to.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 07:57:00 UTC | #67119

Canuck#1's Avatar Comment 28 by Canuck#1

Having taught and coached and worked with young people most of my life, RRS does not surprise thing I learned, young people come in all sizes and shapes...and I learned early to accept them all...sometimes they did silly your face kind of things....some were shy and scared...but you accept them for what they are...RRW is not my "cup of tea" but I agree With Yorker...I am with you RRS ..."rattle their cages"...

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 08:20:00 UTC | #67121

brake's Avatar Comment 29 by brake

My biggest problem with religion is the ingroup, outgroup mentality.

If atheists want to become a group you are in or out of ( marginalized atheist, gimme a break ), rather than just being "a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings", count me out.

I haven't kept up much with TRRS, but this bickering being posted on seems very out of place to me. I wouldn't say it's idiotic, but I will say it's tactless, which has little to do with intelligence.

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 08:31:00 UTC | #67122

BlazingArrow74's Avatar Comment 30 by BlazingArrow74

... For what it's worth, we need all the 'idiots' we can get our hands on to support the R.R.S. ... There are too many people out here who still think we barely even exist; I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of pride in order to be heard ... Brian and Kelly need our support; this is no time for elitism in any form ... Maybe it's high-time for more common representatives: ones who don't hold any college degrees or come from financially stable backgrounds ... The more diversity we can get, the more appealing we'll be -- and the more others will relate to us -- above all: this should be our aim ...

... and to Brake: as much as it grates the eardrum, it "just is" ... You either believe or you disbelieve; there is an in-group-outgroup; the difference here, with us, should be that to be a member of the "outgroup" affords you no-less respect, sincerity, or well-wishes and you're treated just the same as an in-group member on a day-to-day basis ... What we disagree-on as atheisits and theists alike, has no real-world consequence the majority of times ... and, to me, this is what matters more than any of our dissent ... However, I don't think the in-group issue is worth denying ... It's the truth; it should just be put in it's place as a fairly irrelevant fact ...

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 08:38:00 UTC | #67124