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← Can the Reason Rally resonate in this most religious of democracies?

Can the Reason Rally resonate in this most religious of democracies? - Comments

sycorax's Avatar Comment 1 by sycorax

Love the picture !

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 11:56:48 UTC | #930914

holysmokes's Avatar Comment 2 by holysmokes

Although humorous, holding up a sign with blatant profanity like the one in this picture, does nothing but reinforce the "militant atheist" argument. It also insults the person it is aimed at. Insult his position, not the person. We should rise above that sort of thing.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 12:55:41 UTC | #930921

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 3 by drumdaddy

Agreed, holysmokes. We have serious goals. Ad hominem attacks are logical fallacies that distract from subject matter, connoting deception and feeding negative stereotypes. We have the moral high ground. Honor it.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 13:13:48 UTC | #930923

Avanti3258's Avatar Comment 4 by Avanti3258

" Insult his position, not the person" really? The site rules state that this is to be civilized debate yet comments like this? How can debate exist in an atmosphere of disrespect? Those that use anger and insult in a debate or discussion have already lost the debate. These are the tactics of the ignorant or fearful.

Everyone has the right to their own beliefs. Respect for that right is not agreement but the humble realization that none of us has all of the answers. While a belief may not be proven it is often impossible to disprove it. No that doesn't make it true but it doesn't make it false. E.g. the Big Bang theory.

The Appignai Foundation logo speaks of reason and science yet the posts and speeches, like the signs, show something entirely different. Fear, hatred, anger.

Sort it out. What do you really feel and why? Does another's belief hurt or hinder you or your life? In what way? State the facts and what exactly what you want to debate.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 13:41:25 UTC | #930925

chunkimunki's Avatar Comment 5 by chunkimunki

I'd have MUCH preferred the traditional "I'm (not) with stupid" Tshirt...

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 13:55:01 UTC | #930929

chunkimunki's Avatar Comment 6 by chunkimunki

Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 13:58:35 UTC | #930931

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 7 by Richard Dawkins

Comment 1 by sycorax :

Love the picture !

I don't. How has something beautiful (fucking) become debased, in our language, in the service of an insult? Suppose you translated the words of the sign into their literal meaning: "Copulate with this guy." Yuck. Yuck squared.

Now let's forget the stupid picture, which might have been deliberately designed to turn people off the Reason Rally, and talk about the article itself. I suppose it's mildly encouraging that the rally found its way into the British press.


Wed, 28 Mar 2012 14:06:08 UTC | #930933

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 8 by Richard Dawkins

Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 14:08:13 UTC | #930935

holysmokes's Avatar Comment 9 by holysmokes

Point taken Avanti3258. I should have said something more along the lines of, "Challenge his position, not his person. Thanks for pointing that out.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 14:55:54 UTC | #930941

rookieatheist's Avatar Comment 10 by rookieatheist

@ Avanti3258 What we mean by "insult his position" or "challenge his position" is this:
We respect the right to individual beliefs, but we feel no obligation to respect the individual beliefs themselves. Take this example: somebody asserts a belief that fairies are real and that one should avoid stepping onto land that might be their territory, or else suffer the consequences. We here will all fight for the right for that person to hold such a belief. We will also fight for the right to ridicule that same belief. After all, it is a ridiculous belief, don't you think? The two rights are not mutually incompatible.

It is possible to ridicule a belief, or another person's opinion, through a civilized debate. In the above example, I could simply say to the believer: "I have reflected on your belief and after some thought find it, in my opinion, to be ridiculous". A non-civilized way of debating would be to say: "I conclude that you are a stupid moron to hold such a belief".

Of course, we do not believe it to be moral to seek out other people to explicitly tell them that their beliefs are ridiculous. Neither do we condone efforts to convert believers to atheism. We try to only point out the ridiculousness when provoked (e.g. by a new law based on another groups beliefs). We only try to "convert" others to atheism if they come to us seeking for a debate on the issue.

I hope that makes things a little more clear. (I think my use of "we" was justified, but others on this site may not agree with all my statements).

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:12:21 UTC | #930944

mira's Avatar Comment 11 by mira

The threat on the religious man's sweater suggests that he is possibly fearful and stressed himself. Getting laid could actually do him good and help him relax and make him more at ease to consider taking a critical look at his (likely repressive) religion eventually. There must be people that find him attractive. I doubt though that was meant with the "fuck this guy" sign, it is too personal anyway and very likely an ad hominem attack indeed.

And now I'll go read the article.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:18:11 UTC | #930947

Viveca's Avatar Comment 12 by Viveca

The tone and content of this Guardian article only reinforces my belief that, for most, this is a political rather than a theological struggle. The Republican Right is now overtly aligned with religiosity so, naturally enough, the Guardian supports those who want to undermine it. But it immediately adds the telling caveat that, religious beliefs per se, should be flattered if doing so can produce politically desired outcomes.

How convenient. Most of this support for "secular ideals" is a sham. Please remind me of the Guardian's editorial opposing faith schools and legally enforced religious privilege and exceptionalism, because I've evidently missed it.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:35:52 UTC | #930948

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 13 by mjwemdee

I'm all for saying that people who hold ridiculous views/beliefs make themselves ridiculous. Indeed, ridicule is sometimes the only appropriate response. It seems a little mealy-mouthed of us to shout 'ad hominem' every single time. It seems to line up with the theist 'hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner' logic.

Having said that, appropriately targeted ridicule: yes, expletives: no, hurled bricks: definitely no.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:56:06 UTC | #930952

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 14 by ZenDruid

Comment 11 by mira :

The threat on the religious man's sweater suggests that he is possibly fearful and stressed himself. Getting laid could actually do him good and help him relax and make him more at ease to consider taking a critical look at his (likely repressive) religion eventually. There must be people that find him attractive. I doubt though that was meant with the "fuck this guy" sign, it is too personal anyway and very likely an ad hominem attack indeed.

And now I'll go read the article.

"Somebody -- anybody -- make sure this guy gets laid, please."

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 16:17:29 UTC | #930955

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 15 by aroundtown

Our system of government may purport itself as secular but the Elephant in the room that religion is, is really spooky. Having removed myself from the delusion it is refreshing and liberating personally but when I view the total landscape I am still affected by the condition of religion. It is very easy to see the insanity of religion once you escape it and that is were it gets unusual as you view the world you have been living in, it is still there but it just doesn't include you any longer. The sickening aspect of blind adherence to religion is everywhere and just look at the Republicans who proudly wear it on their sleeve like a badge of honor. I watched Bill Mayer's video Religulous recently and the condition of religious adherence in this country as viewed in the film is actually very, very, scary. If someone like Rick Santorum were to become president I feel my life would certainly be overtly affected by this individual and his belief in a sky god. I am thinking the small steps from non-belivers will prevail and we will receive our due but the road looks bumpy to me.

Is it just me that is offended by the religious guy's sign, it is just as offensive to me as the other sign might be, how pathetic carrying a sign that tells me I should be "Fearful" is just crap and that is what you get in truckloads from religion - be afraid because you are going to be punished. Enough of that crud.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 16:19:45 UTC | #930956

This Is Not A Meme's Avatar Comment 16 by This Is Not A Meme

Modeled on the gay movement, good stuff. The Black Power model may have its use as well. May I suggest a breakfast program for kids?

I believe there's a critical point at which superstition dies off in mass. It used to be a person could run for president on a racist platform, and fifty years later an off color joke made a person unelectable. Truth has inertia. Things could look very different in just a decade.

For some reason, I responded the same to the photo as Dawkins, a moment of confusion wondering 'why?'

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 17:03:39 UTC | #930965

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 17 by AtheistEgbert

The picture confirms a narrative that the media wants to establish--that atheists or sceptics are disrespectful, shrill, intolerant, argumentative and so on.

Let's remember that this was a reason rally, and these religious guys were gatecrashing the event with their obnoxiously loud argumentative and stupid beliefs. No violence or physical force was used, but apparently bad or vulgar language is just so uncivilized!

For me personally, respect is a two way street, and the religious mostly show no respect at all for my individual rights, and simply want to force me to accept their narrative of life.

Funny enough, I had a Jesus botherer knocking on my front door today, spreading the word of her Lord, and I declined to listen without being vulgar or rude. But my patience is growing thin...

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 17:22:56 UTC | #930971

JackR's Avatar Comment 18 by JackR

Comment 2 by holysmokes :

Although humorous, holding up a sign with blatant profanity like the one in this picture, does nothing but reinforce the "militant atheist" argument. It also insults the person it is aimed at. Insult his position, not the person. We should rise above that sort of thing.

Balls to that. Because being respectful and deferential to the religious has always worked so well in the past, hasn't it?

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 17:55:37 UTC | #930975

Katy Cordeth's Avatar Comment 19 by Katy Cordeth

Baseball Cap doesn't actually appear to be pointing his sign at Beardy. How do we know he isn't Beardy's friend and he's been walking round all day pointing the sign at atheists? That's the danger with placards and teeshirts with arrows on them - you have to be aware of your position all the time. An ex-boyfriend of mine had an 'I'm with Stupid' tee with the arrow pointing down.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 19:21:42 UTC | #930997

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 20 by xmaseveeve

A great photo! Congratulations to Jessica -- I'm so glad she got her college money. Now she doesn't have to serve burgers to rednecks while she studies.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 19:43:22 UTC | #931001

Sean_W's Avatar Comment 21 by Sean_W

Comment 20 by xmaseveeve

I hope the check said: Some restrictions. Not applicable everywhere - see Liberty University*

Just for fun of course.


I think it's obvious the Reason Rally resonates.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 20:04:44 UTC | #931006

AlGarnier's Avatar Comment 22 by AlGarnier

It is incredulous in how many totally different ways which people perceive and believe things throughout the world. There is evidence that most people rely predominantly on their feeling about a situation rather than factual details being observed. Most of humanity, even when asked for a detailed description, will always accentuate important facts using emotional terms of reference.

Most witness reports are the emotional recollection of witness observations. Experienced interrogators know this and use specific techniques to separate emotional response from actual fact and details specifically observed. It is a fact of knowledge that the vast majority of humanity relate their knowledge from a personal biased view, even when not personally involved in the situation. The human mind is more spiritually attached than rationally attached to its own perception of reality.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a personal point of view, and absolutely nothing wrong with being spiritual. Without either, life would hardly be worth living. It is this spiritual aspect that brings joy, wonder and contentment in the universe. Nor is there anything wrong with reason and science. Without it our future survival would be extremely limited.

So, as with all natural occurrences, we are faced with two opposite sides of a balance scale, and  paradoxically, cannot balance without each other. On the one side emotion and spirituality, on the other side reason and reality. Even at this stage of our evolution where technology is growing exponentially, our societies are totally controlled by emotion and spirituality, while reason and reality go by the wayside. Don't argue, we have all said it!

The scales of justice will never balance until humanity evolves, or has a shift in psyche toward reason and reality. What will nudge the scales toward an equilibrium, may well be the free global Internet. I have always said that as individuals we are still primates, but as a group sharing our ideas, we are invincible. Due to technology we are thousands of times more knowledgeable about the secrets of nature than we were just fifty years ago. We are also living longer and growing larger.

To confront a future overwhelmed by growing world population, global disaster and food shortages, we need to move toward a more global, cooperative and democratic form of governance. We need to restructure food production and distribution to accommodate our population increase. We need to promote environmentally friendly, renewable fuels and space exploration. We need to freely promote contraception and birth control as a preferred form of human population management, rather than war and destruction. We need to put the control of global finance and resources in the hands of the informed majority, instead of the greedy few.

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 20:35:10 UTC | #931009

Deprogramed's Avatar Comment 23 by Deprogramed

Comment 8 by Richard Dawkins :

Comment Removed by Author

Fuck This Guy < Intercourse with this Homo Sapien?

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 21:36:08 UTC | #931025

AlGarnier's Avatar Comment 24 by AlGarnier

Sarah Posner, just wondering what Richard Dawkins may have posted in comment 8 that spurred your distain to the point of removing it?????

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 21:53:33 UTC | #931035

gr8hands's Avatar Comment 25 by gr8hands

AlGarnier, Comment 8 clearly is marked: Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 22:19:29 UTC | #931041

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 26 by kaiserkriss

Considering that roughly 3.5 % of the US population considers itself gay and has managed to establish significant political power, the roughly 15% of the US population should be able to make more inroads into the political establishments and get the ball towards rationalism rolling. Hopefully the Reason Rally was just the beginning... jcw

Wed, 28 Mar 2012 22:43:23 UTC | #931046

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 27 by aroundtown

I have to say I am a little confused. When I was decoupling from religion I watched a DVD series called the Atheism Tapes and in one episode Mr. Daniel Dennett expressed an opinion about being more forceful in confronting religion at the behest of Richard Dawkins suggestion to do so. Mr. Dennett suggested he saw the benefit of standing up to religion and stopping his being an apologist so to speak by not taking a stand. I eventually fostered the idea that it was an 'us against them' in the end but I am seeing some snags in my views after some posts here at RDFRS. It seems like there are some strong arguments against each others views and when some strong proclamations are made against the religious persuasion I get the sense that some suggest that more accommodation is needed in dealing with them so they won't view us as confrontational.

So which is it, are we against it or not? Do we stand up or do we stay seated? I believe we are still talking about institutions that have been getting away with this for thousands of years. Do you think they are just going to roll over and give us the road so to speak? I really don't see that happening but that's just me I guess. Personally I think when you show up for a fight with your hands tied behind your back the chances that you are going to loose is almost a given. Could it be any different with confronting religion and continuing to give them a free pass and hoping that they will change themselves. I am unsure as I expressed earlier but I think if they were going to give the atheist community any accommodation that would have occurred by now so continuing to ask pretty please doesn't seem like a good avenue to take in seeking respect from the religious community.

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 00:18:26 UTC | #931069

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 28 by aroundtown

I forgot this point. Here in America the F-word is just a strong proclamation against something. It would be something that could be confused like when you British say Bloody hell, I don't think you are suggesting actual blood right? I just thought I might help others to understand our use of the term. We often could say F-that but we are not suggesting you F a thing, that is impossible, the term is only a strong modifier to suggest a strong point in opposition and nothing else really. We do F though just like everyone else.

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 00:34:07 UTC | #931074

holysmokes's Avatar Comment 29 by holysmokes


Yes, I think it's fair to say that some regulars here prefer not to become insulting towards people, even if we do find their religious beliefs silly. Yes, there are also those who think more forceful words are necessary. I don't have the answer regarding the best avenue to take, however I think taking the high road is the better path. I've learned that if you stoop to someone else's level, you run the risk of becoming just like them. I too find it difficult to refrain from getting hostile towards religious folks, my family in particular, however I see little good coming from such an outburst.

Obviously the best way to deal with the religious, is a debate which will continue in this forum. It makes life a bit more interesting. Besides, many of these posts are insightful regardless of which side of the fense the postee sets. Hmmm, is postee a word?

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 01:07:39 UTC | #931081

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 30 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Thu, 29 Mar 2012 01:13:44 UTC | #931083