All About RationalAtheist
I've noticed usage of GameSpot forums is back up to high levels these days. I also notice that much religious propaganda is spreading once again in this site. People previously banned for their direct insults of others are now being unbanned and the TOU has changed to be less restrictive. "Giantbomb.com" and its current state also might have something to do with the increased numbers returning to GameSpot.
The Atheism Union has previously been a useful antidote to religious commentary on Gamespot. It still contains much good information about secularism and religious intolerance. Active use of the union has declined with the rest of the site forums in the past, but now they seem to be on-the-up again, I propose the AU still has it's uses:
The Atheism Union, going forward, should be a place where all-comers can express and discuss their views about religion. It is also a useful repository of information on religious ideas, the secular responses to them and about the philosophies of humanism. I have tried to contact the esteemed union leader Domatron23, but unfortunately have had no response as yet. This a great shame, because Dom's knowledge of Greek thinking and logic was deep, relevant and profoundly interesting. He also made a fair and courteous leader in the union and promoted it well while he was active here.
Women are welcome there too!
I would like the union to grow once again, so that it can be a place where people of all beliefs (and none) can discuss their views in a more considered environment than places like OT. Off-Topic can be a difficult place to express views now, due to the fast movement of the religious threads and seeming disregard of etiquette in discussion. It still does not seem to stop the increasing numbers of religiously inspired threads there though. This shows that deeply-felt emotions are still valid regarding religion, especially as we test our own tolerance of others' intolerance.
I hope you share my view of the desire for an active Atheism Union. You don't have to be a member to post there, or even to include the above link in your sigs (to advertise the existence of union in your posts). I wonder if you have any ideas on how the union can grow again, or if the desire for active participation there is not relevant now. Of course, joining the Atheism Union is free, easy and painless, if you'd like to express your beliefs through the unions you affiliate with.
Personally, I have learned that it is far better not to alienate fellow union members and shall be showing a more conciliatory tone in my arguments against religion and some atheist ideas there myself. I do worry that my recent string of post creation in the AU is starting to make it look like the defunct "Christian Witness Union" and "Bible believers' Union" that ended their usefulness as one-man rants with no responses. Can you help?
I was commenting on another user's GS blog, and got into a discussion on morality after being challenged about it. This was totally tangiential to the topic of the blog, but I'm always keen to scrutinise my own views, so was glad to continue. The debate ran to 24 posts and responses until the blogger started deleting my posts. I thought I'd re-post them here, since I'd cached them all in my browser. I'm doing this because I think my views were credible and hate to think I'd wasted all the typing and tech that preserved it:
I was asked to create a scenario where rape could be viewed as a moral act. I used "rape one or millions die" as a hypothetical case where the morality of rape would be preferable to the death of millions. The unexpected response mentioned atomic bombing as being "impermissible evil", so I used that in my riposte.RationalAtheist wrote:
If you would not commit rape (and also be raped by implication of this scenario) to save a million Catholics, you would be directly responsible for a far worse outcome (a million dead Catholics) than that of rape of two people. Personally, I would find it more morally reprehensible than being forced to rape under duress. Of course morality is relative - we all take morally relative decisions and make morally relative judgements every day.
You asked me for an example that was "not immoral" in describing moral judgements for acts such as rape. You also speak of nuclear weapons. In effect, dropping 2 nuclear bombs on Japan did save hundreds of thousands and even millions of lives. Nuking Japan did far less carnage than fire-bombing it (which was also done), but meant the Allies didn't have to make the Japanese fight to their (and our) deaths (as demonstrated on the Pacific Islands). Perhaps my answer isn't what you asked for, but relative morality does make sense - so much so that it is the basis of most Western law, defence policies, healthcare expenditure, research, etc.
I was wondering when you were going to roll your "empirically demonstrable" critique of relativism out for me to see, or expand more on on how "rationalizing is often irrational" . I think I can still delete my own messages in your blog, so if there's anything you'd like removed, please feel free to ask
In point of fact, more people (150,000) were killed and injured in just one fire-bomb raid on Tokyo, than in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined (about 100,000). The USAF dropped 40,000 tonnes of bombs on Japan.
There had been a threat that my posts would get deleted (hence that last bit of my post). I gather the blogger had found out how to delete other peoples' posts shortly afterwards.
There was a lengthy and rambling reply to my above post before it got deleted, but first, I noted something had been snuck into a previous post of theirs, I assume once they'd read my post. The blogger took trouble to write 5 further lengthy posts explaining their position, while deleting my responses. It makes the deletions and additions seem all the more absurd.RationalAtheist wrote:Post Deleter wrote:
...because let's face it: if you can't posit a situation in which rape could be construed as moral/not immoral/morally permissible/not evil, then really, we both regard rape as being always evil, all the time. In which case, the exact degree of evil is irrelevant; we've arrived at a moral absolute (rape is always evil) even so.
And all I need is one.
Since you added this bit subsequent to my last reply, It'd be a mere courtesy to address it too! I don't subscribe to your "evil=absolute" analysis. By talking about "degrees of evil", you've already admitted a relative scale (in degrees!). I'd view morals in terms of their acceptability: So rape, in almost all applicable cases, is entirely unacceptable. But in the case I outlined; it is more moral than letting one million Catholics die, so would be morally permissible in those terms.
You may see your failure to act as a forced rapist as a triumph for absolutism, but your moral actions in failing to act to save a million Catholics could certainly be perceived as morally questionable by others (the families of the million dead not least), providing further evidence about the relative nature of morality.
The blogger kindly selectively quoted sections of that above response before they deleted it and included it in a litany of replies to my non-existent posts in their blog.
Finally, after some additional banter - allowing me an additional 9 undeleted posts since the first warnings, the blogger started the delete again...rationatheist wrote:
Sorry, could you repeat your question please? You seem to have side-tracked into asking me a variety of questions, despite being displeased with my answers to the point of deletion. You have not demonstrated the irrationality of applying relativism to morality. Rather you concealed it since you deleted those posts of mine you didn't like explaining just that.
So who is this "we" you speak of? How many of "you" are there? And why would scripture be the principle body of evidence in your analysis of those doctrines? I think Pelagians might disagree for a start!
I dislike "tactics" in a discussion; such as personal attacks, derision, post alterations, unnecessary quote-chaining or censorship. If people are prepared to proclaim their views then they should be able to discuss them properly. People resorting to this sort of method are clearly not concentrating on the argument at hand, but on their own motivations or insecurities. Ideas of success can be learned from the way discussions are run, since clear, rational ideas do not need the additional arm-bands of name-calling, cheating, or putting fingers in ears.
For me, these tactics imply an immoral way of framing an equal debate, since the views of one side are suppressed and focus is lost. Surely a focus on the topic of discussion and adherence to "normative discourse" is more moral and productive. Any illusions of rationality evaporate without an equal debate into a farce. Despite being a constant shame, this way of communicating from people of faith is entirely expected and fully anticipated, since it's so common.
On another deleted note, I did notice another recent blog entry (from another religious user), describing great excitement about a "hot date" and asking for guidance over it, has now been removed. All the well-wishing comments have gone too. I hope things did go really well for this blogger on their date, although the lack of any follow-up (aside from the post deletion) is of some concern.
Once I am sure there's nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,
Move forward, run my hand around the font.
From where I stand, the roof looks almost new-
Cleaned or restored? Someone would know: I don't.
Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few
Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce
"Here endeth" much more loudly than I'd meant.
The echoes sn1gger briefly. Back at the door
I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence,
Reflect the place was not worth stopping for.
Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches fall completely out of use
What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep
A few cathedrals chronically on show,
Their parchment, plate, and pyx in locked cases,
And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep.
Shall we avoid them as unlucky places?
Or, after dark, will dubious women come
To make their children touch a particular stone;
Pick simples for a cancer; or on some
Advised night see walking a dead one?
Power of some sort or other will go on
In games, in riddles, seemingly at random;
But superstition, like belief, must die,
And what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,
A shape less recognizable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; one of the crew
That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were?
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff
Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh?
Or will he be my representative,
Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt
Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground
Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt
So long and equably what since is found
Only in separation -- marriage, and birth,
And death, and thoughts of these -- for whom was built
This special shell? For, though I've no idea
What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth,
It pleases me to stand in silence here;
A serious house on serious earth it is,
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognised, and robed as destinies.
And that much never can be obsolete,
Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round.
My Recent Reviews
Some people just don't have opinions. Like RationalAtheist.
Apr 28, 2013 10:03 am GMTRationalAtheist posted the topic Please can we use proper language? on the union blog