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Author Topic: Elliquian Atheists  (Read 35613 times)

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Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #600 on: March 07, 2013, 11:06:45 PM »
Thank you, Saria. This is exactly what I meant earlier when I said that silence is implicit assent to the status quo, and eloquently put.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #601 on: March 07, 2013, 11:34:01 PM »
Thank you, Saria. This is exactly what I meant earlier when I said that silence is implicit assent to the status quo, and eloquently put.
Well... careful there. Silence is not always implicit assent. There are many, many legitimate reasons for why someone might be unwilling, or unable, to speak out. In the case of the Scouts, most of them are kids. I'm sure you could easily think of a thousand reasons why kids might be unwilling or unable to stand up to the Boy Scouts of America, in favour of LGBT or atheist rights. I mean, damn, that's a hell of a target to stand up to, and a hell of a cause to fight for, in America.

Making a blanket statement like that "silence is implicit assent" is probably not a good idea, because you really do have to consider each person case-by-case, and those people who have valid reason for why they can't speak up shouldn't be stigmatized or made to feel guilty. I do believe that anyone who doesn't have a good reason not to speak out should speak out. But I don't think we should be pressuring anyone to make that happen. Those who are willing to do it should be celebrated; those who aren't, though, I don't think we should dump guilt on them or lump them in with the nasties by saying that they "assent to the status quo". They may not be fixing the problem, but it's not fair to accuse them of making it worse.

I only call for those who can make a stand to do so - I don't want to accuse everyone who doesn't of being evil. The Scout case is icky, because it mostly involves kids. But the leaders, and the former scouts that are now grown up - they can take a stand. They have an extra obligation to do so, really, because they surely know that the kids probably can't do it without support. The leaders should also encourage the kids to stand up. And those kids - and leaders, and former scouts - that do stand up should be hailed as the heroes they are... but I'm not really cool with accusing the ones that don't - especially the kids - of assenting to the hate, implicitly or otherwise.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #602 on: March 07, 2013, 11:49:52 PM »
You're right. I tend to assume adults or at least adult mindsets in a political context, and given the subject matter, that was wrong. I think my argument holds for people old enough to damn well know what their silence is supporting, though.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #603 on: March 08, 2013, 12:23:31 AM »
That is one of those slippery slopes where almost any action can be shown to "silently support" a horrific cause.  Such as having an iphone suddenly implicates someone into unfair labor conditions or buying an engagement ring suddenly ties them to the wars in Africa. 

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #604 on: March 08, 2013, 12:29:06 AM »
You're right. I tend to assume adults or at least adult mindsets in a political context, and given the subject matter, that was wrong. I think my argument holds for people old enough to damn well know what their silence is supporting, though.
Well... even adults can sometimes have valid reasons for not speaking up. Like, take Roman Catholics, for example: a good Roman Catholic (that is, a good person who happens to be Roman Catholic, not a "good" Roman Catholic, which strikes me as a bit of an oxymoron) may strongly oppose the Church's position on birth control, divorce, abortion, gay rights - hell, just about everything - but still have valid reasons for why they can't speak out. They could live in a very Catholic area, or work for a very Catholic boss, or have a very Catholic family, and there could be very real concerns of social, career or even physical reprisal for speaking out. But even just the lack of a support network to help you out if and when you take a stand can be a valid reason for not doing it. That's why I lurves-so-much those initiatives that offer support for apostates, such as that program that offers to secretly retrain disbelieving pastors/preachers to get a real job - without it, a cleric who disbelieves the religion is just stuck living a lie, because they can't just quit when they have no other job prospects.

I think the only place you and I part ways has to do with the old is/ought thing. Are those who stay silent when the organization they're in turns evil complicit in that evil, implicitly or otherwise? I say that is true, but shouldn't be, while I think you say it ought to be true. Those in the Boy Scouts (and Roman Catholics, and so on) who stay silent are being counted as supporting the organization, but I don't think that's right. Those that take a stand for right should be lauded, sure, and those that take a stand for wrong should be called out... but those that don't take a stand, for or against, I don't think should be counted for either side.

Will the silent ones be counted as supporting the bad leadership? Yes. But should they? No. They should certainly check their own conscience, and see if they're comfortable with taking support from and giving support to an organization that's gone bad. But they should make their own decisions about how much they're willing to give up for the sake of taking a stand; we shouldn't judge them, certainly not without knowing their situation as well as they do - not if we truly believe they are adults capable of making their own decisions. If they decide they have too much to lose if they stand up, then that's their decision, and we shouldn't lump them in with the really bad people just because we don't like it.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #605 on: March 08, 2013, 12:30:09 AM »
I... hmm. Need to think this through more, it would seem. What I'm actually thinking of when I say this is issues that are clear and well-known - southern evangelical Baptist rejection of abortion and homosexuality, for example. Prominent folks within the culture keep saying that the more extreme versions of these positions are marginal and not representative of evangelical culture as a whole... and yet, the people who espouse them enjoy continued popularity and a complete lack of stigmatization.

If this is still unclear or fails a basic check, I'll withdraw the point until such time as I've clarified it in my own head well enough to either reject or adjust it appropriately.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #606 on: March 08, 2013, 12:34:11 AM »
Will the silent ones be counted as supporting the bad leadership? Yes. But should they? No. They should certainly check their own conscience, and see if they're comfortable with taking support from and giving support to an organization that's gone bad. But they should make their own decisions about how much they're willing to give up for the sake of taking a stand; we shouldn't judge them, certainly not without knowing their situation as well as they do - not if we truly believe they are adults capable of making their own decisions. If they decide they have too much to lose if they stand up, then that's their decision, and we shouldn't lump them in with the really bad people just because we don't like it.

Still thinking things through, so unwilling to make a definitive statement at the moment, but some questions to help me get a grip on your position: Do you believe there is such a thing as systemic injustice or rot, wherein an organization becomes structured in such a way as to promote or encourage abusive practices? Do you attach absolutely no moral weight to choosing to support such an organization? Are you familiar with the concept of the banality of evil, and do you think it's a real danger?

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #607 on: March 08, 2013, 06:25:11 AM »
I... hmm. Need to think this through more, it would seem. What I'm actually thinking of when I say this is issues that are clear and well-known - southern evangelical Baptist rejection of abortion and homosexuality, for example. Prominent folks within the culture keep saying that the more extreme versions of these positions are marginal and not representative of evangelical culture as a whole... and yet, the people who espouse them enjoy continued popularity and a complete lack of stigmatization.

If this is still unclear or fails a basic check, I'll withdraw the point until such time as I've clarified it in my own head well enough to either reject or adjust it appropriately.

I would say watch some of the so called popularity and see if it isn't in fact the same kind of popularity that comes with watching things like Jerry Spring, Jersey Shore or The Bad Girls Club.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #608 on: March 08, 2013, 06:37:55 AM »
Oh yes, I read that apparently hundreds of people have sent back their badges. It's kind of a pity - I hope once the organization stops discriminating they can get them back. They're really the best of the bunch, after all.

It's also important to note that the discriminating is being done by the NATIONAL organization. From what I've read, the majority of the local branches explicitly oppose the discriminatory policies. There have even been cases where a local organization has outright defied the national one, and faced reprisal for it.

I think those are both signs of the should-be-obvious fact that most Scouts are good people. Most people are good people, after all (at least in the absence of irrational ideologies). But - same as is the case for Roman Catholics, and many others - if the organization you're working under has gone sour, it should be the duty of those in the organization to fix things. It shouldn't be necessary for LGBT or atheist activists to hound the government or corporate sponsors for funding the BSA; all the good Scouts in the organization themselves should either quit or - if they think the organization is worth saving - walk themselves right up to the national leaders and demand changes. Or if that's impractical, then do something like at the next big Jamboree or whatever it is they have, put up a rainbow flag, and surround it, and refuse to allow it to be taken down. Or even just wearing the damn badges upside down. Or something else, but do something, other than quietly living off of the benefits of an organization you know to be discriminatory and/or corrupt, and being counted among the numbers they use to claim support for their hate. Every Scout should be doing that, not just the few who have to take the fall by giving up their badges because the rest of the good Scouts won't stand up with them.

Mm. I recall seeing a program which mentioned some of this, and warmed the cockles of my heart; proof that even within a hugely corrupt organization on the national level, you still have people who can see through the crap and do what is right.

Well... even adults can sometimes have valid reasons for not speaking up. Like, take Roman Catholics, for example: a good Roman Catholic (that is, a good person who happens to be Roman Catholic, not a "good" Roman Catholic, which strikes me as a bit of an oxymoron) may strongly oppose the Church's position on birth control, divorce, abortion, gay rights - hell, just about everything - but still have valid reasons for why they can't speak out. They could live in a very Catholic area, or work for a very Catholic boss, or have a very Catholic family, and there could be very real concerns of social, career or even physical reprisal for speaking out. But even just the lack of a support network to help you out if and when you take a stand can be a valid reason for not doing it. That's why I lurves-so-much those initiatives that offer support for apostates, such as that program that offers to secretly retrain disbelieving pastors/preachers to get a real job - without it, a cleric who disbelieves the religion is just stuck living a lie, because they can't just quit when they have no other job prospects.

I think the only place you and I part ways has to do with the old is/ought thing. Are those who stay silent when the organization they're in turns evil complicit in that evil, implicitly or otherwise? I say that is true, but shouldn't be, while I think you say it ought to be true. Those in the Boy Scouts (and Roman Catholics, and so on) who stay silent are being counted as supporting the organization, but I don't think that's right. Those that take a stand for right should be lauded, sure, and those that take a stand for wrong should be called out... but those that don't take a stand, for or against, I don't think should be counted for either side.

Will the silent ones be counted as supporting the bad leadership? Yes. But should they? No. They should certainly check their own conscience, and see if they're comfortable with taking support from and giving support to an organization that's gone bad. But they should make their own decisions about how much they're willing to give up for the sake of taking a stand; we shouldn't judge them, certainly not without knowing their situation as well as they do - not if we truly believe they are adults capable of making their own decisions. If they decide they have too much to lose if they stand up, then that's their decision, and we shouldn't lump them in with the really bad people just because we don't like it.

It's a shame, because as you point out, a lot of people do get caught up in these things and yes, while it would be nice for them to stand up, it shouldn't be expected of them, especially considering the positions it can put them. The Clergy Project, I think it was called, is an example of this, a secular orgazation created to help ease out those of the faith who've lost their faith, but fear leaving their position due to not being able to support themselves or their family (coming from a religious area, or not being able to find a job and fearing ostricization, for example), as it's been discovered that a surprising portion of those working within a religious institution have long given up on their 'faith' and are now stuck in the motions just trying to earn their paycheck because they're not sure what else they can do.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #609 on: March 08, 2013, 04:57:32 PM »
Still thinking things through, so unwilling to make a definitive statement at the moment, but some questions to help me get a grip on your position:
Well, question-by-question:

Do you believe there is such a thing as systemic injustice or rot, wherein an organization becomes structured in such a way as to promote or encourage abusive practices?
Yes, of course.

However, I also recognize that just because something may have rotted, that doesn't necessarily mean it can or should be thrown out - usually it should, but not always. In the case of an organization, even if the core of the organization becomes entirely corrupt and the mission of the organization itself is being co-opted for evil, that doesn't always mean that the whole organization should be junked, and it doesn't mean that it's practical or possible to just walk away from it.

Take the Boy Scouts as an example of the first case. It's gone sour at the top, sure, but it still provides lots of opportunities and training for young people. The question is: when you consider all the bad stuff and all the good stuff, is the bad stuff so bad, compared to the good stuff, that the entire organization should be scrapped? (For the Boy Scouts, I'd say: no, it can be salvaged. For the Roman Catholic Church, i'd say: yes, it should just be dumped.)

Take the Roman Catholic Church as an example of the second case. It's also gone sour at the top (and all the way through, really), but most people can't just walk away from it. That would tear families apart, and ruin lives. In that case, the question is: the organization is bad, but standing up to it has very real costs, so is the bad so bad compared to the costs of standing up that I can accept those costs? (That question has to be asked by each person on a case-by-case basis. But, for example, I don't think it's right to anyone to tell someone else that they should turn their backs on their family and community to take a stand against the Catholic Church's various evils. If they decide they are prepared to do that, that's their choice, but it should be a decision they make themselves.)

So even if you realize the Boy Scouts leadership is misguided and wrong, and their policies are unjust and discriminatory, it doesn't follow that the one and only obvious answer for what to do is "stand up or walk away". A Scout leader, for example, could decide that they'd do far more good for the kids to stay and teach, rather than to quit or take a stand and be fired.

And even if you realize the Catholic Church is corrupt and immoral, it doesn't follow that the one and only obvious choice for you to make is "stand up or walk away". A person whose entire family, community and place of employment is all devoutly Catholic (which is a very common situation in many parts of the world) would basically be throwing their entire lives into ruin if they took a stand of any kind. You can't morally ask someone to do that, and morality aside it would be irrational to do so. As with the Scout leader case, if all the good people took principled stands all the time - with no regard to the bigger picture - then only the bad people would be left with all the jobs and teaching the kids, which would just make the situation worse off than ever.

So yes, organizations can go bad, but that doesn't always mean they should be destroyed, or that you should stand up or walk away.

Do you attach absolutely no moral weight to choosing to support such an organization?
Oh, of course I accept that there are moral issues involved when choosing to support organizations that do some bad.

But the real world is not black or white. Very few organizations do ONLY bad or even mostly (the Boy Scouts, for example, do a lot of good, too). And for those that do, it's not always a morally black or white choice when deciding whether to stand up to them (take the Catholic Church for example - is it moral for a mother to break up her marriage with her devout Catholic husband and ruin her children's relationship with their devout Catholic extended family and devout Catholic community with all their friends and such... just to take a principled stand).

In theory you can reduce this decision to a single moral question. But in the real world, a person has to weigh many factors - some of them moral, and some of them practical - when deciding whether or not to take a stand. It's not just a moral decision, and even if it were, it's highly unlikely it would be a simple black-or-white moral decision.

So I do agree that there are moral considerations. I just say that there are more moral considerations than that single one, and that there are other, practical considerations that you cannot morally ignore.

Are you familiar with the concept of the banality of evil, and do you think it's a real danger?
Yes and sort of (I think the idea is overrated), but that doesn't apply here.

I'm not talking about people who just don't care about the evil the organization is doing, or who don't care enough to do something. I'm sure those people exist, though I doubt they exist in the kinds of numbers most people think they do. The way I see it, there are 7 types of people in a corrupt organization:
  • Those who see the corruption, approve of it, and do something for it.
  • Those who see the corruption, approve of it, could do something for it, but don't.
  • Those who see the corruption, approve of it, want to do something for it, but can't.
  • Those who see the corruption, disapprove of it, and do something against it.
  • Those who see the corruption, disapprove of it, could do something against it, but don't.
  • Those who see the corruption, disapprove of it, want to do something against it, but can't.
  • Those who don't see the corruption.
The only people the "banality of evil" concept applies to are #5.

Now, when people count the members of the organization who support the organization's bad policies, they're going to count #1, #2, #3, #5, #6 and #7 - basically everyone except those who actually take protest action (#4), right? As you said yourself, "silence is implicit assent". #5, #6 and #7 aren't saying anything (that goes with "doing nothing"), so they're silent, so they assent, right?

Only, they obviously don't.

Now I get what you're trying to say. #5 is the "banality of evil" crowd. You're saying that people like #5, who a) see the problem, b) are able to take a stand, yet c) don't take a stand, are - in effect - just as morally responsible for the problem as #1. I don't argue that - I think you're right. I just point out that there people for whom (c) is true, but (a) or (b) (or both) aren't. And it is wrong to say that those people - the ones who don't know they should take a stand (#7) or who know they should but can't (#6) - are morally equal to #5 and #1. That's just not right. Those people who are trapped in the system - who disapprove of the organization but for whatever reason, are unable to stand up against it - they deserve our support, not our contempt.

I don't think what you're saying is wrong, I just think you're casting too wide a net. In order to be morally responsible for an organization's evil, you either have to approve of it (obviously) or:
  • You have to be aware of it; AND
  • You have to be able to do something about it; AND
  • You have to not be doing anything about it.
All three of those conditions must be true for you to be morally responsible for the organization's nastiness, not just the last one. Silence alone is not enough to make you morally responsible for the organization's actions.

It's a shame, because as you point out, a lot of people do get caught up in these things and yes, while it would be nice for them to stand up, it shouldn't be expected of them, especially considering the positions it can put them. The Clergy Project, I think it was called, is an example of this, a secular orgazation created to help ease out those of the faith who've lost their faith, but fear leaving their position due to not being able to support themselves or their family (coming from a religious area, or not being able to find a job and fearing ostricization, for example), as it's been discovered that a surprising portion of those working within a religious institution have long given up on their 'faith' and are now stuck in the motions just trying to earn their paycheck because they're not sure what else they can do.
Yes, The Clergy Project - that's the name I was trying to remember!

I think that approach is not only the more positive and constructive way to deal with people involved in an icky organization - rather than simply accusing them of being complicit if they don't speak out - it's actually the more rational approach, because it takes into account the reality that there are usually many people who want to stand up to an organization's wrongness, but can't.

Of course, those people who can stand up, but don't... well, as Ephiral says, that's really just assent.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #610 on: March 08, 2013, 05:05:19 PM »
Mm. Of course, the constructive approach, like the Clergy Project, is a great thing in my eyes. It's something I like to see. It's something which has to be accepted; religion is, and most likely will be, around for many, many years. I think the world would be better without religion, but that doesn't change the fact that religion exists now and it is something which can and will affect a good majority of us, directly or indirectly. Some parts of religion I can't find a way of fixing (my opinion is that the entire moral foundation of Christianity is morally wrong reprehensable), but that doesn't change the fact that a good majority of people don't abide by these parts of the religion. Ignoring it won't do anything; all we can do, is to help those who seek to get out of religion do so, while bringing to light the people within religion who are causing problems for not only the non-religious, but those within the religion (I'm quite sure many Catholics don't agree with the Vaticans history of child abuse) the religion to make things as good as we can, for all people involved.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #611 on: March 08, 2013, 05:06:30 PM »
Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful response, Saria. I... think you've convinced me, though I do think that people have a natural and marked tendency to overvalue the costs to themselves if they take a stand, and undervalue the harm done to others by supporting the problem organization. But now we're talking matters of degree, not principle.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #612 on: March 08, 2013, 06:02:15 PM »
Interesting stuff from Saria. Just a side-note on "banality of evil": as Hannah Arendt used the term, I think she applied it to people (like Eichmann, her main subject) who simply accepted the premises of their organization and went about their business assuming their actions were "normal."

Offline Oniya

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #613 on: March 09, 2013, 11:11:34 AM »
Interesting stuff from Saria. Just a side-note on "banality of evil": as Hannah Arendt used the term, I think she applied it to people (like Eichmann, her main subject) who simply accepted the premises of their organization and went about their business assuming their actions were "normal."

Whereas the average German of the time mostly fell under #6 and #7.

Offline Saria

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #614 on: March 09, 2013, 06:01:57 PM »
... though I do think that people have a natural and marked tendency to overvalue the costs to themselves if they take a stand, and undervalue the harm done to others by supporting the problem organization.
Yes, I do agree with that. There are certainly some people who could take action, but mistakenly think they can't.

I just think that a better way to deal with that problem is to make it easier and less costly to take action, rather than to use guilt and shame. If we make it less costly to take action, then even if people overestimate the costs, more people will still be able to take action.

You can never really be sure whether someone is actually overestimating the costs or not. It's not only not fair, it's cruel to shame people who want to take action but actually legitimately can't, just because you want to shame those who can take action but don't. That's why I say it's not that what you were saying is wrong, it's just that you were casting too wide a net. You were casting shame at people who deserve it, yes, but you were also hitting people that really don't - people who are already feeling weak and powerless and trapped by the organization, and really don't deserve to be made to feel worse.

Just a side-note on "banality of evil": as Hannah Arendt used the term, I think she applied it to people (like Eichmann, her main subject) who simply accepted the premises of their organization and went about their business assuming their actions were "normal."
Ah, my mistake. I'd always thought it meant "disapproved, could have done something, did nothing" (#5) rather than "didn't disapprove" (#1, #2, or #3 - though I guess it sounds mostly like #2, in that they're not enthusiastically supporting the organization, but they're okay with it and supporting it indirectly by just doing their day-to-day thing). I always thought it was "explaining" why Eichmann could do what he did, by saying he didn't really buy into the evil, he was "just following orders" because he didn't disagree with it strongly enough.

Offline Skynet

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #615 on: March 09, 2013, 06:06:16 PM »
So I've recently been watching YouTube clips of The Magic Sandwich Show (an online atheist radio show where they debate and discuss religious issues).  Do you guys have any recommended clips/episodes I should watch, or highly regarded ones?

You're welcome to post other atheist channels, too!

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #616 on: March 09, 2013, 06:10:49 PM »
So I've recently been watching YouTube clips of The Magic Sandwich Show (an online atheist radio show where they debate and discuss religious issues).  Do you guys have any recommended clips/episodes I should watch, or highly regarded ones?

You're welcome to post other atheist channels, too!

I'm pretty sure you'll have already seen if, if you've done any searching for Atheist shows on Youtube, but The Atheist Experience is pretty awesome. For something a bit more rambling and in your face, The Amazing Atheist is good. Penn and Teller's Bullshit! is easy to get ahold of or just view on Youtube, which has a lot of episodes revolving around religious issues. Google Richard Dawkins or check his Wikipedia entry, which has the names of some very interesting Atheist documentaries which can be found on Youtube, too. Potholer55 has some good stuff, mainly revolving around the Golden Crocoduck Awards (Kinda' like the Darwin Awards for religious theories which don't hold up; he's a very smart man, who does a very good job of explaining the sciences he's talking about).

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #617 on: March 09, 2013, 06:12:21 PM »
I would recommend The Atheist Experience. That one's weekly. They even managed to get Ray Comfort on the show.

As for MSS, I haven't seen much, but do a seach for NephilimFree, Venomfangx, and any clip you see with a known Creationist/Theist in the title. Those tend to be the most interesting, since there's an actual back and forth, and not 5 Atheists all discussing a topic they agree on.

AE seems to have more Trolls and stupid Theists calling in from what I've seen. The only troll on MSS I've seen so far was an Atheist who did it in good humor and managed to get the entire cast laughing and thanking him for the mood raiser.

And if you don't know who NephilimFree is... I'll put it this way. God personally told him to tell Youtube about Lunar Bukkake.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #618 on: March 09, 2013, 08:18:42 PM »
For something a bit more rambling and in your face, The Amazing Atheist is good. Penn and Teller's Bullshit! is easy to get ahold of or just view on Youtube, which has a lot of episodes revolving around religious issues.

Fair warning: The Amazing Atheist has serious issues with women, basically amounting to "I'm a raging misogynist". Bullshit! is great for the first few seasons, but after that rapidly spirals into libertarian-crackpot territory.

Offline Vanity Evolved

Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #619 on: March 09, 2013, 08:27:53 PM »
Fair warning: The Amazing Atheist has serious issues with women, basically amounting to "I'm a raging misogynist". Bullshit! is great for the first few seasons, but after that rapidly spirals into libertarian-crackpot territory.

I remember his one rant on... I think it was genital mutilation? But yeah, the guy is entertaining, but goes off on some pretty extreme tangents (I recall a bunch of fans attacking me for pointing out that one of his videos was terrible, even edging on racist with the sheer level of terrible impersonations he was doing of the Chinese women in question.)

What I remember most for Bullshit! is just how many goddamn tits they managed to throw in by about season three onwards (which I certainly wasn't complaining about <3)

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #620 on: March 09, 2013, 08:30:21 PM »
Yes, I do agree with that. There are certainly some people who could take action, but mistakenly think they can't.

I just think that a better way to deal with that problem is to make it easier and less costly to take action, rather than to use guilt and shame. If we make it less costly to take action, then even if people overestimate the costs, more people will still be able to take action.

You can never really be sure whether someone is actually overestimating the costs or not. It's not only not fair, it's cruel to shame people who want to take action but actually legitimately can't, just because you want to shame those who can take action but don't. That's why I say it's not that what you were saying is wrong, it's just that you were casting too wide a net. You were casting shame at people who deserve it, yes, but you were also hitting people that really don't - people who are already feeling weak and powerless and trapped by the organization, and really don't deserve to be made to feel worse.

I think you're on far shakier ground here than you seem to think. I understand where you're coming from, but... well, you're overestimating the "thinks they can't" group and underestimating the "doesn't care" group. (And the "doesn't know there's a problem" group, but I'll touch on that in a moment.) How much does it really cost someone to say "Dude, not cool" at a sexist joke, or "That doesn't sound right to me." when someone calls all atheists evil? It might make for a bit of social discomfort. There's really not much way to reduce the cost of such minimal action. I'm not saying everybody must devote every ounce of energy to fighting injustice, but... if you can't even do as much as acknowledge the existence of the problem, then yes, you're directly promoting its continuance. If you're going to face total social ostracization for the mildest possible objection to injustice... well, frankly, you probably needed new friends anyway.

This does not, of course, apply if you're not actually aware of the problem. Privilege blinders are insidious things, after all. But that only raises the value of the most minimal action - by speaking, even in a minimal way, of the problem, you encourage others to actually think about it.

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #621 on: March 09, 2013, 08:50:23 PM »
I remember his one rant on... I think it was genital mutilation? But yeah, the guy is entertaining, but goes off on some pretty extreme tangents (I recall a bunch of fans attacking me for pointing out that one of his videos was terrible, even edging on racist with the sheer level of terrible impersonations he was doing of the Chinese women in question.)

Well, a quick search shows him going from "The problem with objectification of women is that it taunts men!", through silencing tactics re: Amanda Todd, to complete and total meltdown in which he rants about how great it was that someone was raped. So... he might be the greatest entertainer in the world. I will not reward him with my attention, and I would recommend that others not do so either.

What I remember most for Bullshit! is just how many goddamn tits they managed to throw in by about season three onwards (which I certainly wasn't complaining about <3)

While gathering the above links, I also stumbled across this. Oh, Penn. I want to like you. Stop making it so hard.

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #622 on: March 09, 2013, 08:52:24 PM »
I'm just going to throw an example out here.

I know someone who sends her kid to a private Catholic school.  She's not Catholic, but the public schools in the area really suck, and this is the only place that her kid can get a decent education in a safe environment.  There's a waiting list for families trying to get their kids into this school for the same reason:  a safe place where the kids can learn.  Now, if she sees something wrong at the school and pushes for change, it's no skin off the school's nose to tell her 'Fine, your kid can't come here any more,' and still not do a thing about the problem.

Here, standing up for the right thing would have cost her child rather severely, to no lasting effect as far as the corruption goes.  Does she probably 'need a better school anyways'?  Yes.  Is she likely to get one?  No.

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #623 on: March 09, 2013, 09:11:37 PM »
I'm just going to throw an example out here.

I know someone who sends her kid to a private Catholic school.  She's not Catholic, but the public schools in the area really suck, and this is the only place that her kid can get a decent education in a safe environment.  There's a waiting list for families trying to get their kids into this school for the same reason:  a safe place where the kids can learn.  Now, if she sees something wrong at the school and pushes for change, it's no skin off the school's nose to tell her 'Fine, your kid can't come here any more,' and still not do a thing about the problem.

Here, standing up for the right thing would have cost her child rather severely, to no lasting effect as far as the corruption goes.  Does she probably 'need a better school anyways'?  Yes.  Is she likely to get one?  No.

...and this is why I loathe unbending moral rules. Yes, exceptions will always exist, and someone whose least horrible educational option is to go to a school that aggressively pushes its faith, which is so oppressive that it will throw her kid out if she so much as mentions that women are people too, is such an exception. It is extremely far from being the general case.

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Re: Elliquian Atheists
« Reply #624 on: March 10, 2013, 06:24:22 AM »
...my opinion is that the entire moral foundation of Christianity is morally wrong reprehensable...

It's important to seperate the hideous institution that protects child rapists (rape is the appropriate word) and maybe, strangely, somehow actually creates the behavior in people... from what underlies it. Terry Eagleton makes a good explanation of that. Or you could look up Jordan Peterson, who has pointed out that critical points of Christianity and they're hard ones to shrug off.

Obviously atheism is a gut reaction and most Christians don't believe in the Christianity described by someone like Eagleton, but one wishes to have the most solid form of any position (and besides, it's entertaining.)