I see this differently, because it's possible to choose what to read and what not to read. A lot of outsiders might want to come to TA to learn. So if they're attracted to TA by what Jerod or Michael write, they can also learn from counterpoints (i.e. us). I'm not here just for myself, but to make atheism more attractive to others, especially if all they've been exposed to up until now is the drivel.
I'm for more tolerance and inclusion rather than religion's theme of intolerance and exclusion.
That is exactly why I participate on sites like Yahoo! Answers in the Religion & Spirituality section.
You honestly think people are going to be attracted to TA by what Jerod or MIchael write? Or is it what we write in response? If it is the response, do we actually need Jerod or Michael here? Seems like we get a similar effect with threads like How do I respond to this? where we can discuss different opinions amongst ourselves.
I completely agree with making atheism more attractive to others and especially those who have only been exposed to the drivel. So I get what you're saying. But my question is, are those people really here? (And are they here because Jerod and Michael are here?)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not handing out pitchforks and lighting torches. I'm just trying to understand why they're allowed to be here. Michael, it seems, is only trying to proselytize which is against the CoC. I don't mean to debate the point either so I don't really need a response. I'll just rhetorically ask whether we wouldn't be better off maintaining a "safe space" as opposed to being inclusive of those trying to "change the paradigm." :) Cheers! Love the avatar by the way.
I think it adds a bit of liveliness to the group. It always has. It also provides us a set of test cases to see how various techniques fare against mental gymnastics and belief perseverance.
Here's another point Kyle - and I'm certainly not jumping on you, just explaining - I've seen posts before from people who watch our site and read our responses, without ever commenting or making their presence known, in some cases, because they are trying to make up their minds. Often we help without knowing it.
Oh, I don't feel jumped on at all... don't worry about that. And I'm not debating this point, I'm asking about it. Mostly because I'm new to this community and want to know more about this community to determine what kind of commitment I might like to make to it based on how it suits my desires.
There are thousands of sites that welcome debate about religion and related issues. People like Michael and Jerod are a dime a dozen on those sites. I have no lack of opportunities for debate. Well, more to the point this thread isn't even a debate - it's just nonsense. Again, there are some brilliant and rational religious people out there who I'd love to talk to. These two are practically trolling.
And yes, there are always going to be lurkers but would they not get the same benefit (if not more) lurking here without having to wade through this thread? Or are they such bad ambassadors for theism that they're real life strawmen?
Sometime I want to debate for sport. Sometimes I want to be a strong advocate for atheism. But sometimes I want to relax and not have to worry whether I'm going to be blithered at by Christians in the next article I read on an atheist social network. :D That last desire is much more difficult to fulfil, it seems.
Good to know, Kyle, because I only "jump" on mindless theists like Michael - even theists with some degree of intellectual objectivity, as Trevor sometimes exhibits, deserves, to that same degree, respect.
But the Lurkers are out there, and I really hate to use that negative term, because many of them are only looking for information, and do not necessarily have ill intentions.
(Sorry Kyle, but this was intended to be inserted after your post saying you didn't feel jumped on, but this site's software seems to have a mind of its own, ergo, if there's no rational explanation, then GodDidIt! Never mind that there may well BE a rational explanation that we just haven't thought of yet, once the mind accepts that GodDidIt, then the search is called off.)
I won't say much more about it because it's not up to me to decide who's acceptable or not here. So it's just my opinion anyway. My blood pressure doesn't go up very often, perhaps because I learn to ignore certain people instead of beating dead horses, and (again) I'm into inclusion over exclusion, because I think we're better at inclusion than most religionists.
The only reason atheists call themselves atheists is because of theists. So it wouldn't be unreasonable for some atheists to come here to get away from theists. But--and again, this is just my opinion--I'd rather have the choice of engaging with a theist when I want to, because it is so easy to ignore anyone I want to. (I just looked, and domain names like JustAtheists .com, .org, and .net are still available.)
I agree, PP - it wouldn't be very fulfilling if we were just here to pat each other on the back for sharing the same basic beliefs. I welcome theists, as they force us to reach deep inside ourselves for responses. Otherwise, TA is little more than a mutual admiration society.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Google it. Literally, it means "after it therefor because of it" and it is a very basic logical fallacy. In other words, it's a logical fallacy to assume that simply because B happens after A that A is the cause of B.
If I ask God to help me out of my poverty and boredom and I win the lottery and marry Lady GaGa, how do I know if it was God or just luck?
The only way to establish a causal relationship is through reproducibility. We're certain water boils at 212F (at sea level) because we can make it happen over and over and over again. It's generally a property of so-called "miracles" that they are one-offs, like the examples you cited.
@Unseen - N+1 would probably obfuscate the issue, so I won't mention it --
You are confusing before-and-after with cause-and-effect.
Jim asked for a sign. Jim got cancer. Jim got cured.
Just as logical as this:
I ate oatmeal. I bought a lottery ticket. I won a hundred dollars.
What happened with your friend, Jim, was that he was looking for a sign. Anything dramatic that happened to him after that was open to his magical explanation. Here's how that works:
My horoscope says I'll have trouble focusing on mundane tasks. I mismatched socks while folding laundry. Ta Da! Astrology is true!
By the way, not a single advancement in medicine (the actual cause of Jim's cure) has come from someone who accepted magic as an appropriate solution.
@Karen - Don't forget the proof or reproducibility - have another bowl of oatmeal, maybe you'll win another $100! (I'll split it with you --)