From the 'Why be moral without god' thread.

I'm replying here to avoid clogging up the original thread as requested.

From Misty: BayAtheist

So can you all just do me a little favor and cut the troll comments and non-contributing comments?

Please? Because that's even MORE bullshit I have to read. And that cuts into my beer drinking and pot vaping time.

And I don't like it.


I also think it makes us look bad. 

I think it represents our community as ungracious, impatient and utterly fucking rude.

So this is where I take issue. There are two reasons, which I will try to explain.

1) We were polite and reasoned for page after page.  The patience shown was massive.  We were ignored and our arguments just might as well have not been there.  That tells us that the author is not here in good faith - and of course we all know that is true.

2) The 'tone' argument is universally used to defend theists territory from legitimate question.  This is what they do: they say that we are rude, and therefore they can focus on that and ignore us.  "Those rude atheists".  Well - challenging them is considered rude.  But a) they are much ruder in coming to argue with out having the integrity neede to debate and b) no one has been that rude here that I have seen (just going through so I may have missed something). 

After all: we patiently reply  for page after page, and it then becomes apparent that the other side of the debate has absolutely no interest in the argument.  So sure - we can keep it polite.  And carry on posting variations on the same argument, which he will continue to dodge and evade.  By keeping it polite he is able to get away with really bad behaviour.  Theists know this somewhere deep down, and they move the focus from substance to tone all the time.

Eventually focusing on his behaviour is all we can do.  And I believe it is absolutely critical that we do so.  I think it makes us look bad if we do not point out bad faith debating techniques.


Well: it was this that helped me personally to escape from my religion.  Atheists pointed out to me how warped my argument techniques were.  Eventually that got through.  My reliance on false equivalence, moving the goal posts and straw men.


So in this case, I have called a troll.  But I carefully evidenced the troll behaviour: it was not just a case of name calling.  It was carefully evidenced.

And why continue?  I could put up some stuff about needing to because eventually it might work for him.  But that would be BS.  Somehow I find it compelling and I try to work out why - no answers as to why yet: that's deep personal psychology.

I would personally rather be seen as polite, intelligent and welcoming of challenges to our preconceived notions (When there is actually a challenge.)

I really don't care so much about being seen as polite when these arguments are so frequently used to avoid substantive discussion.  And our rudeness was nothing in compared to his.  He came with no intention of sincerity.  Now that is truly rude.  He came to troll - though I accept he probably doesn't realise that.  But it remains the truth.

I admit, there has been more side stepping and straw-men than challenges, but I am willing to keep weeding through it and keep attempting to engage him. No one is obligating YOU to. So if you don't wanna, then don't. But quit wasting your own time and mine.

Which is fine: a multitude of approaches is probably the way to go.  But calling a troll is not a bad thing to do.  And he is a troll because he posts repetitively on subjects that he is ignorant of, that have been thoroughly debunked both in the thread and a zillion times elsewhere - and yet he keeps posting.

It is important to point out that this approach is bad. If we avoid doing so, we fall right into his world.  After all - this is how religion survives.  One is never allowed to question the method or the person.  And they hide behind it.

So please, if you don't have anything constructive to say, or if you are worn out with this man's opinions, then move along. Go post in another thread. 

But it is highly constructive to point out bad faith.  In fact: I think it is imperative.  And it is not rude or impolite to do so.  It is really quite poor to allow it go unchecked in fact.

I am very disappointed in the civility level of this discussion.

Well: I am disappointed in the susbtance of the discussion (though not surprised).  It is a shame that the focus on tone has come up.

We are all adults.

If you get too frustrated to act like one then step away from the keyboard or go somewhere less frustrating. 

But no!  Continuing even when it is frustrating is important.  If we let trolls troll and don't point it out they never know. I really disagree here.  It is not rude to point out when people behave badly.

Please use the block/ignore feature for members you don't feel you can interact with civilly, eh?

Was it really so uncivil on our side?  We pointed out that he moves the goal posts, that he lies and misrepresents, that he cherry picks from scripture, that he does not answer the points made.  That is not uncivil.  And pointing out that this is how he operates is not uncivil either.  It is essential in the discussion with religion.





Views: 44

Comment by Tex in the City on August 7, 2011 at 9:46am
Well said, Jim. I didn't even comment on that thread because I would have lost it if he came back at me with "The operative here is conscience...". He must have repasted that meaningless gibberish 25 times.
Comment by Arcus on August 7, 2011 at 10:49am

I'm usually not exactly know for being nice (or agreeing with Jimmy), but I condone this message wholeheartedly. When someone steps into my metaphorical internet "house" no quarter is given to those who act uneducated. Respect is not given, it is earned, and by culture I'm used to calling a spade a spade.

The Golden Rule of internet debating: Only write that which you would also say to the counterparty's face if you were to meet in real life in a similar setting.

Comment by Doug Reardon on August 7, 2011 at 12:08pm

The first thing that bothered me was his question.  It's an insult.  He implies that without god we are immoral and will do whatever we can if we won't be caught.  Personally, I find that despicable, and demeaning.

Comment by Meghan McWilliams on August 7, 2011 at 7:02pm

I agree with you. He is just trying to annoy the crap out of us. If he really wanted to spend eternity in heaven worshipping god, because worshipping god forever sounds so awesome, why do anything other than worship god? why is he on TA and not off in some church?

Comment by Kairan Nierde on August 8, 2011 at 4:17am

I did not follow the original thread to the very end (just skimmed through pg 48), for the sake of protecting my sanity, but unless people began making personal attacks, I think holding members responsible for their trolling is constructive.   

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 8, 2011 at 10:46pm


I'm having some issues posting so I'm going to have to make this brief. (Sorry. I had a huge post written up, first on your profile page and then again here but there are some browser issues going on...)



Here's the recap.


Thank you for posting here instead of hijacking his thread. 

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. First for stating your opinion and stating it in the proper place and also for providing some good role model behavior to the rest of the community. The people in that discussion in particular. 


Look. I know how annoying these people can be. I know we want to label them trolls and allow ourselves to use words with them that we wouldn't use towards each other. 

But the fact of the matter is, this guy is a participating member of our community. 

And we are a COMMUNITY. 

So basic courtesy of no Name-Calling, please. 


Now, if you want to argue that you weren't calling names but instead pointing out a repetition of behavior, that's fine.

Just make sure to include that disclaimer in your post when you do so. 

Attack the behavior, not the person. That's all I'm asking for. 

No one says you have to agree. 

Hell, no one says you even have to be nice. 

I'm not nice! 

But you have to not-be-nice in a way that covers your own a way that doesn't break the rules. 

Cus generally speaking, the rules keep this place much more fun than most other forums on the internet. 


Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 8, 2011 at 10:48pm

...oh, and while I'm thinking about it?


I do agree you should call out the behavior. I also think you should LINK to posts where his questions were answered.

EVERY TIME he asks the same question over and over again. Just an auto response of "We've already covered that here" until he gets the hint. When that's the only response he gets, he'll either get bored and move on, or maybe it will sink it. 

Just a suggestion. 

Comment by Jimmy Boy on August 12, 2011 at 12:40pm

OK Misty: World Baytheist (sorry: I've been getting your name wrong - that's a bit lazy of me)

So how about it - I can 100% agree with what you've suggested!  I never agree with anyone either... so excellent.

I don't know how to link to a post though: is that easy?

But calling the behaviour and avoiding the person is just fine with me.

Comment by Jimmy Boy on August 12, 2011 at 12:41pm

And very sorry for the slow reply...I've been travelling and just back to the office now.


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