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Sample's Avatar Comment 1 by Sample

Fascinating topic for discussion Questioningkat,

If someone is clearly wrong, how do you bring this (and facts) to their attention without them digging their heals deeper into convincing themselves that they are right and you are wrong?

The question isn't "how can I learn to be more open" the challenge is how does one convince someone who doesn't want to be convinced?

According to the evidence, you can't.

Mike

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 05:01:32 UTC | #929201

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 2 by VrijVlinder

@ Sample: Indeed , the born again's that tried to convert me must have asked themselves the same thing... :<)

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 05:14:40 UTC | #929203

RDfan's Avatar Comment 3 by RDfan

From the OP:

If someone is clearly wrong, how do you bring this (and facts) to their attention without them digging their heals deeper into convincing themselves that they are right and you are wrong?

Maybe you can start with convincing them that it's not so bad to be wrong (as Kathryn Schulz would say)?

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 06:37:31 UTC | #929214

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 4 by Alan4discussion

Being a designer, I frequently encounter people who think that they are more talented and creative than they really are. After all, you really don't need an education to be an artist or designer. You could wait until you're financially stable in your retirement years to pursue your dream ... and ... after a few workshops with a few prominent artists and a couple of gallery shows, you could even teach some classes. ( I say this with disdain.) Claiming to be an artist is usually harmless, but claiming to be a scientist or understanding areas that are in the realm of science without the objective knowledge accumulated over years, well ... we all know what happens.

There is a scientific (psychological) explanation of this;-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect
Regardless of how pervasive the phenomenon is, it is clear from Dunning's and others' work that many Americans, at least sometimes and under some conditions, have a tendency to inflate their worth. It is interesting, therefore, to see the phenomenon's mirror opposite in another culture. In research comparing North American and East Asian self-assessments, Heine of the University of British Columbia finds that East Asians tend to underestimate their abilities, with an aim toward improving the self and getting along with others

...

Dunning and Kruger were awarded the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology for their report, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments"

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:59:42 UTC | #929245

Southern Humanist's Avatar Comment 5 by Southern Humanist

haha! Have you been listening in to my conversations with global warming deniers? I'm currently in an online debate with a denier and within that, I debate with myself: do I just ignore the ad hominems, do I point out the red herrings, non sequiturs, and other obvious (to me at least) fallacious arguments - will it make a hill of beans worth of difference? At the end of the day, I guess all you can do is stick with the evidence.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 16:25:52 UTC | #929321

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 6 by The Jersey Devil

...acknowledging how I was the one actually making up connections in unrelated events...

and

Since we have been down the religious road plenty of times, I thought it would be interesting if we could discuss this in a more general way.

OK, instead of religion I'll use the topic that started my own de-conversion, baseball.

There is a fallacious belief that certain baseball players can be 'clutch'. Clutch is an ambiguous term which loosely means certain players have the ability to raise their performance when their team needs it most. In other words, a clutch player has the knack of getting the game winning hit in the final inning.

For years I was a true believer in clutch.

It turns out clutch is largely an illusion, demonstrated to me by advanced baseball statistics. Wikipedia has a decent summary of the issue here.

The point I'd like to make is that there is a built in mechanism (meme?) that keeps the blinders on the true believer. By definition, clutch means the ability to outperform one’s own track record in certain key situations. Therefore, in the mind of a true believer the player’s track record – his statistics - becomes meaningless, or at least less meaningful. “You can’t go by the numbers, you have to watch the player and go by what your eyes tell you!” How can you prove something with statistics to someone who discounts statistics?

For my part, I realized I had been wrong. The empirical evidence trumped years of watching baseball. Just as important, I saw how many people could be taken by the same illusion therefore just because a belief was widely held didn’t make it accurate. These were the first dominoes to fall in my de-conversion.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 17:33:51 UTC | #929339

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 7 by Zeuglodon

If I contribute nothing else to the discussion, I at least want to thank QuestioningKat for the link to youarenotsosmart.com. I love stuff like this because it makes for fascinating reading, and the first article I ran into was this one:

The Overjustification Effect

It really made my day. I was having an up-and-down, good-and-bad week for roughly these reasons, and now I feel relieved, even happier, when I learned about this stuff. I think it's a positive message when we point out what is really - psychologically - going on.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 19:31:50 UTC | #929389

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

Comment 5 by rleebays

haha! Have you been listening in to my conversations with global warming deniers?

Welcome to the discussion.

You may find some of these clickable links interesting:

http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/643310-water-cooled-nuclear-power-plants-aren-t-the-only-option#page1

http://richarddawkins.net/discussions/642733-why-the-laws-of-physics-make-anthropogenic-climate-change-undeniable

In view of the title of this discussion,

"You are not so smart"

.. ...you may find this one amusing as well as informative!

http://richarddawkins.net/articles/642270-noaa-study-suggests-aerosols-might-be-inhibiting-global-warming

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 19:59:42 UTC | #929395

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 9 by xmaseveeve

Great website, thanks. I love the bit about the Benjamin Franklin Effect! The author tied it in well with the Stamford Prison Experiments. Human psychology is dangerous stuff!

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 20:42:07 UTC | #929408

starvoyager5150's Avatar Comment 10 by starvoyager5150

If someone is clearly wrong, how do you bring this (and facts) to their attention without them digging their heals deeper into convincing themselves that they are right and you are wrong? After all, it has been shown that telling someone clear facts creates the opposite effect. People will then be more strongly convinced of their view. They sometimes even go to the extremes of getting people on their side creating a support system to reinforce their belief. Now you have a whole posse to deal with.

I believe you have asked and answered your own question.

You can show someone that time dilation is a necessary consequence of the constant speed of light, but the instant that you try to show them that they are bending their knees, clasping their hands, and pleading only to the atoms of our planet's atmosphere, then they are done, and so should you be.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 23:53:22 UTC | #929467

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 11 by QuestioningKat

Maybe you can start with convincing them that it's not so bad to be wrong (as Kathryn Schulz would say)?

I need to check out your link, but when I read this a light bulb went off. This approach holds a lot of potential. Afterall, people want to feel appreciated and heard whether they are correct or not. Perhaps a more gentle approach that tells people your not beating them up is worth considering.

Dunning and Kruger were awarded the 2000 Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology for their report, "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments"

Alan, I'm surprised by this date because I've heard similar information about people being "unskilled and unaware of it." Back when I was studying to be an art teacher we were taught about some students lacking a "schema" and skills and knowledge being on a continuum. In art school it was obvious who artistically had the "it" factor and who did not. It was also obvious that those who lacked the ability seemed oblivious to the fact. Maybe I just put the ideas together and understood that unskilled people lacked the awareness to realize their incompetence. Are you sure this research hasn't been around for decades?

If I contribute nothing else to the discussion, I at least want to thank QuestioningKat for the link to youarenotsosmart.com.

You are very welcome. I just learned about the site myself and have really enjoyed the articles so far. I will definitely read the book. Be sure to see the two videos as a promo. The author takes research and expands upon it. I heard about the research on procrastination some time ago, but finally his video pulled everything together. I had an epiphany on how to conquer procrastination. Improving my understanding of intrinsic rewards and how I can trick my mind into making the task seem enjoyable and worthwhile was enlightening.

Be sure to watch the video depicting the "sharpshooter's fallacy."

It really made my day. I was having an up-and-down, good-and-bad week for roughly these reasons, and now I feel relieved, even happier, when I learned about this stuff. I think it's a positive message when we point out what is really - psychologically - going on.

Isn't it wonderful to understand the real truth about the dynamics of a situation? I hate to be a big cheerleader, but the nontraditional church I used to attend was huge on "psychologizing." Much of it was really good, but now I realize that all the talk about "ego" similar to Eckhart Tolle is false. There is no ego in the sense that they are talking about. They claimed that there is no dichotomy, but talked about how to overcome it all the time.

Just as important, I saw how many people could be taken by the same illusion therefore just because a belief was widely held didn’t make it accurate.

That's why learning how "we are not so smart." is really important. It was the last straw that pushed me off the fence. I had plenty of "synchronicities" and supposed miracles happen to me. So how do you ditch the woo when you've gotten some really impressive messages? You first have to accept that you have fooled yourself.

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 02:33:31 UTC | #929494

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 12 by Alan4discussion

Comment 11 by QuestioningKat

Alan, I'm surprised by this date because I've heard similar information about people being "unskilled and unaware of it." .....
..... Are you sure this research hasn't been around for decades?

A background knowledge of it has! If you look at the Wiki page on Dunning-Kruger, you will see they quote Darwin's comment of this!

Although the Dunning–Kruger effect was put forward in 1999, David Dunning and Justin Kruger have quoted Charles Darwin ("Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge")
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 10:58:32 UTC | #929577

Sinister Weasel's Avatar Comment 13 by Sinister Weasel

I could be misunderstanding your sentiment, but I think you are thinking about this in the wrong way. Those who read about such things about the illusions, be it optical, free will or otherwise therefore become aware of the shortcomings of the human mind. I am aware that what my eyes tell me I see is merely how my brain interprets the information, I also understand that we are hardwired to be irrational about many things (short term gain vs long term being a good example – Dan Ariely is worth a read – predictably irrational). So I think this is all it takes, even if you cannot entirely overcome your biological instincts, being aware that they exist allows you to avoid the irrational negative behaviours. I can be fooled by an optical illusion every single time, but I know I am fooled so there is no ‘magic’ or poor thinking involved.

But to answer your question, to those who refuse to believe it such as Christians who won’t accept they don’t control every aspect of their decisions…Well you need to let people learn from themselves in my opinion. If somebody refuses to learn or accept they might be wrong, then that is little more than you can expect from most people unfortunately. Forcing information down people’s throats is unhelpful and rather insulting, it is no different to being forcefully indoctrinated in their eyes, something most atheists would relate to. If somebody is open to reasoning then you can show them the right path, but the fact is many see little gain in education that doesn’t make them money or get them into heaven.

Thu, 22 Mar 2012 11:09:42 UTC | #929580

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 14 by QuestioningKat

So I think this is all it takes, even if you cannot entirely overcome your biological instincts, being aware that they exist allows you to avoid the irrational negative behaviours. I can be fooled by an optical illusion every single time, but I know I am fooled so there is no ‘magic’ or poor thinking involved.

Yes awareness is key. Even if I cannot figure something out, acknowledging my shortcomings helps to prevent any problems that would occur if I decided to be " right" about my perceptions.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 00:13:53 UTC | #929768

Graxan's Avatar Comment 15 by Graxan

I would put it that autistic people are, out of all humans, the most likely to immune to magical thinking. They tend not to dissemble but tell the blunt truth especially when it may not be socially correct to do so. This is why I believe that most autistic people are atheistic.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 09:35:23 UTC | #929822

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 16 by hungarianelephant

Are we immune to faulty thinking, logical fallacy and magical thinking? No, of course not. But being aware that you might be wrong is a good start. Anyway there's nothing wrong with a bit of whimsy, as long as you realise that that is what it is.

How do you deal with it? People like consistency. So point out the logical conclusions of their "facts" which are inconsistent with other obvious facts.

This is a difficult way to dispose of "magic" arguments entirely, but it can at least help to put them in a more constrained box.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 11:10:41 UTC | #929838

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 17 by QuestioningKat

I started to read the book, You Are Not So Smart, last night. I think I'm going to get a copy for my nephew.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 11:13:18 UTC | #929839

Al Denelsbeck's Avatar Comment 18 by Al Denelsbeck

I don't think that telling people clear facts against their perceptions is what makes them dig their heels (or their heals) in. I think this actually occurs when they believe you have an agenda. If someone has already determined that you are their opposite in views, they have no reason to listen to you.

The more that you appear emotionally motivated or zealous, of course, the faster this becomes apparent to them. And once classified, you're unlikely to ever reach anyone, and may even have certain attributes assigned that you have never displayed (like, I dunno, "shrill" and "strident" and such.)

A lot of people's beliefs were instilled not through logic and evidence, but by being introduced through a trusted person - parent, teacher, counselor, rabbi, etc. In such cases, you're not just telling your opponent that they themselves are wrong, you're telling them that their source is wrong, usually while such source is not there to defend themselves. And you could be working against a lifetime of reinforcement, which also implies that they've been wrong for ages (yeah, churches are for community.)

Another aspect that comes up far too often is one of competition. There are more debates taking place than discussions; rather than exchanging views, the goal is to score points. But even if one side clearly scores more points, they are still the 'enemy,' and all that really happens in such a case is the preparation, and the desire, for a rematch.

We (skeptics/atheists/secularists/whatevs) are guilty of something else, too: the unreal expectation of seeing someone change their mind, or concede. Even when our own conversion stories show how it was a long, drawn-out process, we expect others to immediately reverse their views. I have to say, with some impish glee, that this implies that we think they're smarter or faster than we were ;-)

I'm in favor of drawing parallels that demonstrate special pleading, or inconsistencies, like hungarianelephant (#16) said. I'm very cautious what I believe when someone tries to sell me their car, but will accept a total stranger's testimony about a UFO sighting? The deity wants sex to be a purely reproductive function, but made it the most pleasurable thing we can experience? Ancient and traditional medicines are wonderfully effective, yet life expectancy for most of human history barely hit three decades?

Stating things as matter-of-factly as possible also helps. The message becomes, "That's the way the world works," rather than, "This is what I desperately want you to believe." Even using yourself as an example of being wrong helps, since you're not competing at that point, but admitting we're all human.

Most especially, never look for results. Give your best explanations and move on - let the doubt grow. If you really want to know you're achieving something, watch for the point that you made, or the question that you posed, that went unanswered; that's when you know you've hit home. There's a balance point to this, too. Repeating it, or pointing out that it was ignored, can seem like hounding or twisting the knife, but in a busy public forum you're drawing attention to both the argument, again, and the fact that it wasn't countered. In forums, you not only have your opponent/discussion mate, but an audience who can possibly see the emotional involvement.

But back to the OP: cool website! You've just added something to my regular queue.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 16:44:57 UTC | #929890

Ignorant Amos's Avatar Comment 19 by Ignorant Amos

Comment 18 by Al Denelsbeck

Hi ya Al,

I'd like to add my tuppence worth to a few of the observations you make.

I don't think that telling people clear facts against their perceptions is what makes them dig their heels (or their heals) in. I think this actually occurs when they believe you have an agenda. If someone has already determined that you are their opposite in views, they have no reason to listen to you.

This is certainly true of someone who is dogmatic. Someone with an open mind will be less doctrinal.

The more that you appear emotionally motivated or zealous, of course, the faster this becomes apparent to them. And once classified, you're unlikely to ever reach anyone, and may even have certain attributes assigned that you have never displayed (like, I dunno, "shrill" and "strident" and such.)

This is just not supported by the evidence I'm afraid. Yes, there will always be those who won't, don't or can't listen, but those are beyond reach no matter what approach is taken. They are preachers that only want to talk, but are not prepared to listen.

A lot of people's beliefs were instilled not through logic and evidence, but by being introduced through a trusted person - parent, teacher, counselor, rabbi, etc. In such cases, you're not just telling your opponent that they themselves are wrong, you're telling them that their source is wrong, usually while such source is not there to defend themselves. And you could be working against a lifetime of reinforcement, which also implies that they've been wrong for ages (yeah, churches are for community.)

Agreed, but that is of no consequence. Someone susceptible to reason will be will be susceptible to reason whatever, those that are not, will never be.

Another aspect that comes up far too often is one of competition. There are more debates taking place than discussions; rather than exchanging views, the goal is to score points. But even if one side clearly scores more points, they are still the 'enemy,' and all that really happens in such a case is the preparation, and the desire, for a rematch.

Debate is synonymous with discussion, but I get your point. There is a reason for this scenario. Debates occur when there is at least two conflicting and different points of view, debates are competitions to be won or lost. Discussions are minor debates with the point of sharing ideas or reaching a decision.

We (skeptics/atheists/secularists/whatevs) are guilty of something else, too: the unreal expectation of seeing someone change their mind, or concede. Even when our own conversion stories show how it was a long, drawn-out process, we expect others to immediately reverse their views. I have to say, with some impish glee, that this implies that we think they're smarter or faster than we were ;-)

Certainly on this site we are, those apologists that pitch up are on a mission. In these types of discourse it is the onlooking lurker that must be of consideration, or the forum member that is not 'up' on the thread topic. I've learnt so much from other members of this site you couldn't buy such an education. I might not be able to change someone's mind or have them concede a point online, but I'm sure I've given others some food for thought. We can hardly expect the adversary to hold their hands up in the face of the enemy , but I'm sure that some have left stinging a wee bit and wondering what has just happened.

I'm in favor of drawing parallels that demonstrate special pleading, or inconsistencies, like hungarianelephant (#16) said. I'm very cautious what I believe when someone tries to sell me their car, but will accept a total stranger's testimony about a UFO sighting? The deity wants sex to be a purely reproductive function, but made it the most pleasurable thing we can experience? Ancient and traditional medicines are wonderfully effective, yet life expectancy for most of human history barely hit three decades?

It is certainly one of the strings to our bow, that's for sure.

Stating things as matter-of-factly as possible also helps. The message becomes, "That's the way the world works," rather than, "This is what I desperately want you to believe." Even using yourself as an example of being wrong helps, since you're not competing at that point, but admitting we're all human.

Yep, but that very rarely has any effect with the average religious visitor here...In my limited experience.

Most especially, never look for results. Give your best explanations and move on - let the doubt grow. If you really want to know you're achieving something, watch for the point that you made, or the question that you posed, that went unanswered; that's when you know you've hit home. There's a balance point to this, too. Repeating it, or pointing out that it was ignored, can seem like hounding or twisting the knife, but in a busy public forum you're drawing attention to both the argument, again, and the fact that it wasn't countered. In forums, you not only have your opponent/discussion mate, but an audience who can possibly see the emotional involvement.

The result usually manifests itself in a tirade about insult, lack of respect and hurt feelings followed by a vanishing act.

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 19:04:06 UTC | #929920

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 20 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator - off topic.

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Sun, 25 Mar 2012 13:22:12 UTC | #930369

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 21 by Stephen of Wimbledon

Hi Kat,

If someone is clearly wrong, how do you bring this (and facts) to their attention without them digging their heals deeper into convincing themselves that they are right and you are wrong?

Thousands of people do this every day - it's called diplomacy. Charm, sensitivity and tact go a long way.

After all, it has been shown that telling someone clear facts creates the opposite effect.

Yes it has. There is also a modern tendency towards relativism (all points of view are valid). It is really important to steer clear of this error. Introducing facts into a conversation is often the worst way to proceed when trying to get people to view the World differently. Also, we have to factor in the problem of subjective judgement.

It has been argued that all human decisions are, ultimately, based on the subjective feelings of the Decider.

People also invest in their decisions - the longer they have held a particular view the more likely they are to defend it.

Then there is the problem that most of us did not get a good education. Very few children are taught philosophy and critical thinking. Philosophy would teach us how to think from others' perspectives, logic and what is necessary (and many other good thinking skills besides). Critical thinking skills are essential for understanding the importance of facts, and how to weigh any evidence presented for facts - how to exercise true judgement.

In a nutshell:

  • Be nice

  • Accept that they have a right to an opinion

  • Listen

  • Mirror their thoughts back to them - show that you understand how they feel, that their emotional and subjective feelings are important to you

  • Build trust

  • Respond by asking questions

  • Ask open questions

  • Put your own case without being confrontational

  • Avoid facts, facts are subjective

  • Direct your questions at building on their cognitive dissonance

  • Be: logical, charming and unrelenting

  • Allow no middle ground wherever possible

  • Don't push for a decision, better to leave the conversation hanging, indecisive, thought-provoking

  • Be persistent: Life is a long, unending, sequence of negotiations. All decisions are temporary and all strongly defended positions are merely provisional camps

  • By-the-by, to respond to your first question:

    We'd like to think that we are more competent and aware compared to other people, but are we really immune to faulty thinking, logical fallacies, and even magical thinking?

    I fall into the magical thinking trap on a regular basis, I expound and accept logical fantasies every day - sometimes without even noticing, and I'm always ready to re-check my thinking because I know I make mistakes all the time.

    As Christopher Hitchens was fond of saying: "Our frontal lobes are not all that they might be."

    Peace.

    Tue, 03 Apr 2012 16:23:26 UTC | #932151

    Quine's Avatar Comment 22 by Quine

    Re Comment 21 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

    Hi Stephen,

    There is a thread, here, where I have asked folks to tell how they talk to their believer friends and neighbors. You comments would fit well there, and it would be great if you took a look at that thread and added your thoughts.

    Thanks

    Tue, 03 Apr 2012 19:01:28 UTC | #932174

    HighFlyingBird's Avatar Comment 23 by HighFlyingBird

    Re Comment 21 by Stephen of Wimbledon

    This is my first comment and I hope its not considered off-topic. I recently had cause to use, in part at least, the method Stephen recommends.

    Someone very close to me has bought a book by someone claiming to be a neuroscienctist, but on closer examination is actually a chiropractor who for many years was involved with some strange cult in America. The basic claim of the book is that by using his method you can 're-programme' your cells to change your personality so that your experience of life is a positive one, regardless of external influences. Its something to do with brainwaves and quantum physics apparently. Now even with my -very - scanty knowledge of biology and quantum physics this seems highly improbable. As Lawrence Krauss said in his interview on quantum quackery "if you want to change things you still have to do something. You can't change the world by thinking about it".

    My friend is an atheist, yet when I've looked into this cult it seems to me like religion masquerading as pseudo-science. Now because I don't really understand the theory, and naturally don't want to upset or offend I asked open questions, and this is where I came unstuck. When I didn't understand the answers and asked further questions I was met with a wall of defensiveness.

    Now my question is this: is it fair or right that I should pursue this further, even though logic tells me that its just wrong? I don't think my friend realises the author's dubious history, and she has such faith that this is going to change her life for the better that it almost seems mean to dissuade her from that point of view.It seems like magical thinking to me, but then could that belief itself actually make it work?

    Thu, 05 Apr 2012 22:34:18 UTC | #932638

    Friplo's Avatar Comment 24 by Friplo

    I appreciate and agree with your article. I am a Christian - I'm embarrassed when Christians use faulty logic or irrationality and frustrated when Atheists do the same to attack/defend wrongly. It is so crucial for people on either side of any issue to learn how to think and argue correctly and accurately. The better we learn to do this the more productive our conversations will be.

    Fri, 06 Apr 2012 09:06:30 UTC | #932711

    susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 25 by susanlatimer

    Comment 24 by Friplo

    It is so crucial for people on either side of any issue to learn how to think and argue correctly and accurately. The better we learn to do this the more productive our conversations will be.

    Thank you. I hope we can all agree on that. Now, the question is what is "correct" when we think and argue? What are reasonable guidelines about "knowledge" and "good questions"?

    I hope you'll enjoy the discussion here. Welcome.

    Fri, 06 Apr 2012 09:18:27 UTC | #932712

    Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

    Comment 24 by Friplo - It is so crucial for people on either side of any issue to learn how to think and argue correctly and accurately.

    Welcome - Your comment reflects the objectives of this site.

    The mission of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and suffering.

    Everyone is expected to use evidenced reasoning. Nobody gets a free pass!

    Fri, 06 Apr 2012 10:11:37 UTC | #932729

    xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 27 by xmaseveeve

    Comment 12, Alan,

    Not to mention Shakespeare. (I know, I'm a broken record, but The Man can top anything!) He's The Dude, whoever he was. And unlike Jesus, he definitely existed. I do not, however, believe his characters did (except, up to a point, when based on real people).

    Welcome to the nice new members - honestly we can be good people without 'God'. As Amos points out, this site is the best education anyone could get. You could not pay enough money for it, and yet it's free. That education can only come about through honesty, and threads can often become heated, although moderated for personal abuse.

    It's good to give the brain a workout, to think at full stretch. Because no one here lets you away with anything, you are forced to become your own editor, and to think on your toes. (Think Sherlock Holmes - the man was not on tiptoe - he was running!) Gradually, more of us are running in the same direction, away from brainwashing and towards freedom of thought, whatever our personal beliefs.

    Feel the love, my siblings. (Aye, a friend dropped me round a bottle of red.) Cheers, me dears! xx

    Sat, 07 Apr 2012 04:25:04 UTC | #932849

    RemcoHitman's Avatar Comment 28 by RemcoHitman

    No human possesses the intelligence to comprehend his own stupidity.

    Wed, 04 Jul 2012 19:02:30 UTC | #948575