Insults anyone?

Into statistics? Curious what everyone else thinks? Then start a poll here.

Do you feel it is appropriate to engage in insults, name calling or other ad hominems?

Yes:
6
29%
No:
15
71%
 
Total votes : 21

Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:16 am

I don't get why some people on this forum don't want to discuss a topic without resorting to incessant insults and personal attacks. What is their problem?

Mitch

Rian

Why not discuss something intellectually instead of just putting down the other's ideas and person? would that be a bad thing?

Am I the only one here who feels this way? If so, then I'm clearly on the wrong forum. I'm really curious, what is the opinion of others on this forum? If you disagree with another person's point of view, should you resort to insults or just disagree, particularly when there are options to compare your ideas and perhaps find common ground?
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Keep The Reason » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:12 pm

Your poll is a bit misleading, because at some point, being insulted by people like mitch is going to result in replying in kind-- that's human nature. Mitch insults, insults, insults -- and eventually you gotta just say to him, "Hey, you're being a douchebag" because-- he's being a douchebag!. So, is that insulting in kind? Strictly speaking, yes. But there's unnecessary insult-- the kind that mitch starts off with, and then there's retaliatory insult-- the type mitch engenders by his methods.

Notice too that you are citing two theists. Well, I am accused of insulting people as well, but my insults are "the bible is a fairytale". Is this really an insult? Actually, what I say about the bible is that's it's really an amazing book of myth and literature, but as "reality" -- that it is clearly not. When people insist that the stories in the bible are true, if they don't get the point that they are not actually true, I will eventually use the term "fairytale". This is viewed as insulting because theists see their books as "holy" (whatever that means), and therefore above criticism.

Atheists tend to see their atheism as a simple conclusion, on the order of "Cars have engines". Our lack of belief in theistic proposals don't have anything to do with our personalities; we don't get our honesty, integrity, authenticity from their myths. But theists actively rely on their religions as the source for their personalities. They are good, decent, honest, have integrity because their god is in his heaven and has created them. So when we tell them, "God is imaginary" -- they filter this into meaning that their decency is founded on something we dismiss as unreal-- hence, they are not really good, or decent, or have integrity, etc.

The problem is, I would think them all vastly more decent if they managed their belief better. The weird thing is, the desperation to prove these beliefs against all countering facts and evidence turns them into intellectually dishonest, and often astonishingly hypocritical people. I mean, mitch prattles on and on about how he "loves humanity" and he is easily one of the most misanthropic people I've come across on these forums. But then, I have long felt that the standards of most religion are so impossible for humans to achieve, that they cast themselves into a cauldron of hypocrisy almost from the outset. As a Reaonsit, I have no obligation to a creed that I love humanity-- though it happens that I think it reasonable to do so within a rational parameter. the Christian is actually tasked to love humanity, and they clearly are just as human as the rest of us at this-- in other words, flawed at it. My love of humanity is tempered with reason, and it's not thrust upon me as a requirement; hence, if I fail to love humans or any human specifically, I'm at the very least not hypocritical. The theist however is always tasked to love humans, and this he or she cannot actually do (I mean, it's human not to love everyone) hence is in a constant state of conflict; often in a state of hypocrisy.

So I get it why they tend to be the first to hurl insults. Religion and theism itself inculcates division at many levels-- not just the obvious social level. There are sweeping psychological levers at play... and I haven't even touched on the topic of innate self-doubt. I think no theist is 100% certain that their belief system is correct. In fact, I would argue that our arguments create a deep fear in them. We articulate things that activate their deepest held fears that they are really just fooling themselves, that they know there is no god, and that their own worldview betrays them.

No wonder they lash out so often, and are often historically frenzied at anything that disagrees with their worldview. This, I contend, is the reason why there has been so much bloodshed in the name of theism. Not because "humans are innately violent" but because when you create such deeply held beliefs, that define your very core personality, you have a very hard time responding to criticism or outright denial of that belief (which competitive religions have historically done).
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:46 pm

gary_s wrote:I don't get why some people on this forum don't want to discuss a topic without resorting to incessant insults and personal attacks. What is their problem?

I don't know. That's been a complaint of mine for the last year or so, when the board took a turn for the worse, IMO. There are many nice people on both sides, but I think that the atheist side is more insulting and attacking.

I try to always be respectful, thoughtful and courteous, but I've found that when I respond to something that atheists start, even at a level that is far below what they use, they cry foul - IOW, they can dish it but not take it. But I think that a big part of the problem is that what is an insult to one side isn't to the other, and vice versa.

Rian
Yes?

Why not discuss something intellectually instead of just putting down the other's ideas and person? would that be a bad thing?
Are you putting this question to me? If so, I don't know what to say - that's what I always try to do. Now in the last year, after I pleaded with Emery for some moderation on behavior and got shot down (rather rudely by the atheist side), I decided to be less reticent, while still keeping it WAY below what is typically dished out. I consistently see some atheists starting things and being quite rude, and I respond at a much lesser level, and they lose it. I guess they just can't see things from another POV.

Am I the only one here who feels this way?
Absolutely not! I've been very frustrated at how this board has degenerated, and pleaded with Emery for some moderation, but got turned down. I finally decided to put the worst offenders on ignore, and choose only the nicest atheists to respond to.

If so, then I'm clearly on the wrong forum. I'm really curious, what is the opinion of others on this forum? If you disagree with another person's point of view, should you resort to insults or just disagree, particularly when there are options to compare your ideas and perhaps find common ground?
Your latter option is what I have always wanted here, and what I always try to do.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:39 pm

Keep The Reason wrote:Well, I am accused of insulting people as well, but my insults are "the bible is a fairytale". Is this really an insult? Actually, what I say about the bible is that's it's really an amazing book of myth and literature, but as "reality" -- that it is clearly not. When people insist that the stories in the bible are true, if they don't get the point that they are not actually true, I will eventually use the term "fairytale". This is viewed as insulting because theists see their books as "holy" (whatever that means), and therefore above criticism.
But KTR, this isn't true! at least for any theist that I respect. But I guess that's another thread. But that's definitely a cause of conflict - people assuming things about other people. But I think some of that is good for discussion, too, so where's the balance? We ALL do it, but tend to get insulted when someone does it about US, and don't see it as insulting when we do it about someone else.

Atheists tend to see their atheism as a simple conclusion, on the order of "Cars have engines". Our lack of belief in theistic proposals don't have anything to do with our personalities; we don't get our honesty, integrity, authenticity from their myths. But theists actively rely on their religions as the source for their personalities. They are good, decent, honest, have integrity because their god is in his heaven and has created them. So when we tell them, "God is imaginary" -- they filter this into meaning that their decency is founded on something we dismiss as unreal-- hence, they are not really good, or decent, or have integrity, etc.
Again, what?! Ditto what I said above.

So I get it why they tend to be the first to hurl insults.
I think that atheists tend to hurl the insults first, except for Mitch. I think Mitch has some great things to say, but it's just a shame that he loses his temper so often. I think it's because he sees insults where they aren't, and doesn't think he's insulting when most people would say he is. We ALL do that, IMO, but he does it a LOT more, and that has caused a lot of threads to degenerate.

I think no theist is 100% certain that their belief system is correct.
Isn't that a good thing? I think it is. I hope atheists are the same way about their belief system.

In fact, I would argue that our arguments create a deep fear in them. We articulate things that activate their deepest held fears that they are really just fooling themselves, that they know there is no god, and that their own worldview betrays them.

(OK, this statement from you might help in the discussion. Let's just try to use this example as something to study, OK? )

What you said above about "fear" is a typical statement from many atheists. I'm guessing you don't think it's an insult. However, not only is it an insult, it's so far beyond insult that it's just comical. And I"m guessing that you don't even see that, because why else would you put it on a thread about insults? Anyway, my first response is to think "yet again, another mind-reading guess and another insult", and then to laugh at how ridiculous that statement is, and how I could easily turn the tables and point out what I think atheists' fears are. But the problem is that my response, then, to a complete guess on your part about the minds of Christians, is usually taken as an insult, and then we start the downward spiral. YOU start with the insult, but don't see it's an insult, as well as a guess about people's thoughts, and if I respond in kind, you say it's an insult, but don't see YOUR insult.

I think that's a good picture of what often happens - what do you guys think? and what can we do about it? Personally, I see the atheist side as being more hypocritical in this - they make assumptions about us, then get insulted if we do the same about them in return. But the atheists probably see it the other way.

Anyway, just for the record, I ALWAYS try to discuss things with respect and thoughtfulness and consideration. In fact, once I took almost 2 weeks to respond to a post from an atheist - he's someone that thinks he's very logical, but says really outrageously silly things sometimes (and please, people on this thread, DO NOT TAKE THIS PERSONALLY! It's only for an illustration, and who it is doesn't even matter). Anyway, once he said something so ridiculously silly that I literally could NOT think of a reply other than "That is just so totally stupid!" I could NOT think of a better way to respond - it was just that stupid. Finally I came up with something and responded. But the point is that I always try to respond with respect.

Posts can be read many ways, and I'm guessing that things that I do NOT mean as an insult are taken that way sometimes, and that's caused some problems. And posts that atheists don't mean as insulting are taken that way, and that causes problems. I'm open to ideas, because I really value the exchange of thoughts that we have here, and it was better here a year ago, so I think it CAN improve. Shall we put moderation back on the table?
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Keep The Reason » Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:10 pm

What you said above about "fear" is a typical statement from many atheists. I'm guessing you don't think it's an insult. However, not only is it an insult, it's so far beyond insult that it's just comical. And I"m guessing that you don't even see that, because why else would you put it on a thread about insults? Anyway, my first response is to think "yet again, another mind-reading guess and another insult", and then to laugh at how ridiculous that statement is, and how I could easily turn the tables and point out what I think atheists' fears are. But the problem is that my response, then, to a complete guess on your part about the minds of Christians, is usually taken as an insult, and then we start the downward spiral. YOU start with the insult, but don't see it's an insult, as well as a guess about people's thoughts, and if I respond in kind, you say it's an insult, but don't see YOUR insult.


Of course I can see how they would take it as an insult. And I explained why in the paragraph before it.

Theists believe their decency and honesty and integrity are all "god-given" attributes. They conflate their existence and their personalities into that belief system. If you attack god, this translates into attacking them, personally. If I say god doesn't exist to someone who thinks god made them an honest person, I will be triggering that person into thinking I am accusing them of dishonesty.

For me, I am merely criticizing a belief system. And in fact, there are reasons why theists classically look down on atheists. You say "we insult first" but you don't stop to realize that those we engage in defend a belief system that states, without a hint of shame:

Psalm 53:1
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good
.

And before you defend people here as not believing it, the fact is many of them have said they do believe it, and remember such verses in the bible have been an insult to us for 5,000 years. And this doesn't even embrace the casual, "well, you'll be burning in Hell" insult most of them actively believe as well.

If you want to know where the spiral really begins, start at the beginning. Not the part that starts at us saying, "No more!"
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:47 pm

There's a lot that I disagree with, and you continue to make wholesale statements about what you think theists believe, but I'll keep it to the main points -

Keep The Reason wrote: For me, I am merely criticizing a belief system.
But you are also criticizing the people that have that belief system. That's what this thread is about.

The verse you listed is cherry-picked and devoid of context, so I won't discuss that further, although I see what you're saying about how it made you feel.

If you want to know where the spiral really begins, start at the beginning. Not the part that starts at us saying, "No more!"
We can disagree about where it starts, but even if I grant, for the sake of argument, that Christianity started it (which I don't agree with), is that helping us in any way?

KTR wrote: Well, I am accused of insulting people as well, but my insults are "the bible is a fairytale". Is this really an insult?
Well, I'd say that's the whole point. I've said things that are similar about atheists and some of them blow sky-high with indignation over something that I don't think is an insult. And you can see that theists take the fairy-tale thing as an insult, but you question if it's an insult.

This seems to be the crux of the matter. Thoughts?
Last edited by Rian on Sun Oct 02, 2011 1:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Sat Oct 01, 2011 10:55 pm

ps - also, I'd say that we all bring baggage with us and we often apply this to others when it really isn't deserved, and that typed communication is really, REALLY difficult!
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby mitchellmckain » Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:02 pm

No it is not acceptable to make posts for no other purpose than to insult other people.

Name calling is unbelievably childish.

The ad hominem tactic of turning the discussion to your opinions of the other persons character is completely dishonest.


I do not however complain when people do these things. I personally don't care. The perception of insult is a highly subjective thing and so I do not waste my time with things which nobody can prove. If I determine that a person is no longer posting anything but empty insults and name calling then I will simply ignore their posts.

But frankly, it is my experience that people typically complain about these things as a pretext to do these very things themselves. They fabricate charges of insults and name calling and then proceed to carry on an unambiguous campaign of blatant insult and unreserved name calling and all of that in order to shift the focus of the discussion from the topic to something completely irrelevant.

Some people seem to think that just by complaining more loudly than anyone else that this makes their charges true. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Look the primary charge here is that these two christians are being "rude" to these totally honest, respectful and polite atheists. LOL The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife. There is NOTHING more subjective and unprovable than their opinions of what constitute rudeness, which I could swear they invent on the spot for the most ridiculous self-serving reasons. I show them the hypocrisy of their rhetoric and they just don't like hearing that and so they are EXACTLY like the religious people who declare that people are being rude and insulting when they dare to criticize their religion.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Keep The Reason » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:29 am

Rian wrote:There's a lot that I disagree with, and you continue to make wholesale statements about what you think theists believe, but I'll keep it to the main points


What's "wholesale"? Do theists not believe that the god that created everything also did not create them capable of honesty and integrity, etc? I mean, this is pretty simple... If a person considers themselve a child of the god who makes all things, then they must further believe that the characteristics that make them who they are must come from god too. Do you dispute this? If you do, great! Because theists would then lose a core argument they've been waving around, about how morality can only come from god. I truly wish all theists would stop thinking their human attributes (except for evil, of course. That doesnt come from god for some reason) come from god... We'd have quite a success story there.

But you are also criticizing the people that have that belief system. That's what this thread is about.


No, I am NOT criticisizing the people, until the people use disingenuous tactics. Then I point out those tactics, and if someone behaves cowardly or disreputably, or with overt subterfuge, I call them out on that. I have robust criticisms of Christianity. Instead of engaging me on them, mm for instance resorts to name calling. Then he puts me on ignore, citing me a troll. Ok, the first action by him is disingenuousness and the second is cowardice. I'm not shy of pointing this out. Indeed, you yourself are criticizing him as well! This is completely apart from my critique of Christianity, although there is an entire VALID topic we could discuss about whether theism or christianity makes a person a better person. My position on that totally valid topic is "No" but in order to have that discussion I have to discuss behaviors.

The verse you listed is cherry-picked and devoid of context, so I won't discuss that further, although I see what you're saying about how it made you feel.


See? Here is a tactic, and one that is used so often by theists that it's no longer possible to decipher what the intent of the tactic really is. Are you being purposely subversive, or naive? I'm asking, not accusing. But those are the only two alternatives-- you either know why the verse has impact and are ignoring it's consequence (which would come under the heading of subverting) or you don't know how that verse has had impact, and thus are simply naive. In terms of "ouch" factors, naive is less of an ouch than subversive, but make no mistake-- both are ouches.

It doesn't matter if I'm "cherry picking" the verse (as it happens, I'm not cherry picking it or missing it's context at all-- read psalms 14 or 53-- they are redundant-- but the very first verse is this attack on non believers). The problem, of course is that throughout history, believers have taken it at face value and non-believers are the victims of that verse! So given that atheists have been the most despised of minorities, and given that the parade of believers have had this verse waved at them from pulpits for a few thousand years, and given the reactionary way in which believers respond to atheists, and given studies that have shown those who buck the authority of religious figures gain the greatest degree of calumny, and given that theists know themselves they can't produce evidence to support their claims, it's not much of a stretch to infer or opine that theists may be responding to the atheist trigger of speaking outright the awful truth they cannot bear to confront themselves.

This is my view, not a verified fact. I'm not saying I know how theists think, but having been one, I know how I thought when confronted by atheists and often enough it was, "Uh, shit, that's a damned good point-- how the hell can I answer that?". Check out the podcasts that drive all of this. Emery presents this problem to Scott so well, that Scott is often stuck for an answer. I'll bet, however, if this was done strictly online via posts, that the tension between them would be amped up considerably.

We can disagree about where it starts, but even if I grant, for the sake of argument, that Christianity started it (which I don't agree with), is that helping us in any way?


Again, this is said from the perspective of someone who isn't the target of the disdain. I don't care either who threw the first punch, but after thousands of years of being punched, it goes unacknowledged and Christians in the USA-- an overwhelming 94% majority-- has the unmitigated gall to insist they are under siege, and they are discriminated against! Not only do they refuse to acknowledge their abuse, they cast themselves as the victims.

Here's the thing. Have you ever tried to negotiate with someone who is that far out of integrity? If we want to be helping one another, then ownership of this behavior must be the first step. Surely atheists, who have only recently finally started to speak up, have had the stage for an inarguably tiny slice of time. And, the minute we speak out, Christians insist they are being victimized. I don't see mm, or cleve, or mike, of CH adopting the integrity needed to have productive dialog. Mm is the worst of them all. He continually attacks (we all agree on that one point) and he tanks the Christian position because of it. How is that helping us, and where are the lectures to him? Instead, people coddle the guy... You included.

Well, I'd say that's the whole point. I've said things that are similar about atheists and some of them blow sky-high with indignation over something that I don't think is an insult. And you can see that theists take the fairy-tale thing as an insult, but you question if it's an insult.


What things do they blow sky high over? I have seen few instances of that from any atheist here, so cite some examples please.

And I don't question if the word "fairytale" is an insult, but at some point, the referent to the stories in the bible can only be equated to just that-- a fairy tale. Talking mules is a good example. It's a fantastical story, or, in common parlance, a "fairytale". I didn't write it, but it can be nothing else. Point this out to some Christians and they defend the idea.

Why?]
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:06 am

I'm sorry to say, KTR, that given your sarcastic screed on the ghosts thread, I've chosen to not discuss things with you anymore. I've tried and tried, but I've reached the point where I've decided that it's impossible unless you can change.

Here's my post in response to your sarcastic one if you want more details. viewtopic.php?p=59075#p59075
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:21 am

Keep The Reason wrote:Your poll is a bit misleading, because at some point, being insulted by people like mitch is going to result in replying in kind-- that's human nature. Mitch insults, insults, insults -- and eventually you gotta just say to him, "Hey, you're being a douchebag" because-- he's being a douchebag!. So, is that insulting in kind? Strictly speaking, yes. But there's unnecessary insult-- the kind that mitch starts off with, and then there's retaliatory insult-- the type mitch engenders by his methods.


My point here is reserved for initiating non-constructive discourse. I agree with you that when you are having insults hurled at you, then there's no need to just keep taking it in the face. What I'm hoping to highlight here are times when reasonable discourse is taking place, as I was under the impression it was on the testability thread, then someone flies into a meaningless vindictive rant, as Mitch did. There's just no point to that kind of behavior except to deflect your own inability to either counter the other person's argument or to demonstrate your own prejudice against the opposing argument. Either action is childish and completely disruptive. Why Mitch thinks someone would be accepting of such asinine behavior is a mystery to me.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby Rian » Mon Oct 03, 2011 8:54 am

I think Mitch's behavior is a case by itself, but I was hoping to make some progress in general between the two groups (and no, you don't have to be a member of anything official - I'm just talking of the two groups in the title, for the sake of convenience, because typically the problems are between members of the two groups). I put up several points on the subject of insults that I think could be talked over (how perception matters, and moderation) and I haven't seen your response yet, Gary. Could you please respond when you get a chance?


Now about your last post in the testability thread - I don't see how we can get any farther, so I don't see any point in trying.

You say I keep missing your points, yet you keep missing mine.

You keep trying to police my behavior by telling me to stop being OT (according to YOUR definition) and even that I didn't need to give "further analysis" on something (who do you think you are to tell me what I can and can't say, especially when even by the furthest stretch of imagination, it's no insult?)

And this - you can't even keep straight what I said was "strange" - you keep substituting things like I said "defending a position" was strange and then saying how ridiculous that is. Of course it's ridiculous, and I never said it.

And that's only a few of the issues that I have with your post. So I'm done responding to that issue.




If we can be productive in this thread, I'll keep responding and tossing around ideas with people. I'd like your response to what I've said about perception of insults, for example, and for some moderation.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:25 am

mitchellmckain wrote:No it is not acceptable to make posts for no other purpose than to insult other people.


Wonderful, we agree on something.

Name calling is unbelievably childish.


Another agreement.

The ad hominem tactic of turning the discussion to your opinions of the other persons character is completely dishonest.


Another agreement.

I do not however complain when people do these things. I personally don't care. The perception of insult is a highly subjective thing and so I do not waste my time with things which nobody can prove. If I determine that a person is no longer posting anything but empty insults and name calling then I will simply ignore their posts.


You are wrong, or very forgetful. Some months back I made the mistake of commenting on something you said regarding weak individuals who were depending on medical technology to keep them alive and/or functioning. I did not mean it as an insult and even stated that it was not an insult toward you and I in no way assumed that you meant it in an insulting way (in fact I considered you to be just the opposite), but I only wanted to point out that some people in that situation would find that choice of words offensive. Well, Mitch you took great offense and began to rant and lecture me on PC "bullshit" as you called it. I have apologized for suggesting that you meant it that way. But you most certainly do take offense to things and you react just as childishly as anyone else might. So you are no bigger in this regard than the rest of us. The sooner you admit that, the sooner you will understand the hurtful nature of your own words.

But frankly, it is my experience that people typically complain about these things as a pretext to do these very things themselves. They fabricate charges of insults and name calling and then proceed to carry on an unambiguous campaign of blatant insult and unreserved name calling and all of that in order to shift the focus of the discussion from the topic to something completely irrelevant.


Yes, this is precisely what YOU were doing in this case! Bravo for admitting it, Mitch. The conversation was going quite well, I thought, until you derailed it with accusations, rants and ultimatums. I'll re-post them here so we can take a look:

Mitch wrote:Don't be silly with your "thesis project" bullshit. It has nothing to do with the scientific method PERIOD.


This was an unnecessary use of a gratuitous vulgarity, but I can usually handle that. It isn't enough to derail a conversation on its own, although Mitch's line of argument here was wrong and was missing my point, as I explained after that. Perhaps he misunderstood my attempt at humor with this comment and thought I was trying to be trite; I can't really say how Mitch interpreted it. All I can say is that my "thesis" comment was meant completely jokingly, to highlight the fact that I know people don't typically engage in hard core science when they visit the grocery. He obviously thought I meant something completely different and showed no restraint in labeling my comment as "bullshit". This was at the very least a rude thing to say.

gary_s] The fact is, we practice very informal and subtle examples of the scientific method all the time when making decisions[/quote]

This is where things went really off kilter.

[quote="Mitch wrote:
LOL Oh this is rich. This must be how nonscientist-atheists pretend they they are actually scientists themselves. LOL


Now, this is demeaning for sure. First of all, Mitch doesn't know that much about me. I could have a job as a biochemist and he wouldn't likely know, so he's certainly making an assumption here. Plus, the LOL's he's using are clearly intended as a "laughing at you" kind of thing. Again, rude.

It explains how they turn their ideology into kind of religion to the point where they cannot understand how their "high priests" the scientists can believe in the things of religion. I imagine that their shock is rather similar to the reaction of the christians in the film "Man from Earth", finding that their holy one(s) are not quite what they have thought to be. LOL


At this point, Mitch is in full-blown assumption mode, and he's also deflecting the attention away from the subject matter and on to a new subject of his own choosing. He's making sweeping assumptions about me which he cannot possibly know. He's also lumped me in with others that I have no knowledge or affiliation with. As far as I know, I belong to no atheist clubs of any sort and I subscribe to no doctrines as he describes. He conveniently uses the pronoun "they", which is addressing an unnamed and faceless group of people that meet a definition that only Mitch knows. This rant simply does not address any point that I have made. It's merely his personal attack on what he perceives to be some coordinated group to have. It's a straw man to be sure, but that's the least insulting thing about it.

I wonder just what response to these comments that you feel I should have made. Were you expecting me to agree with you and accept the skewed and warped definition for myself and my views that you described? Or would you rather I just said, no that's not me and gone on with the discussion? I sometimes might do just that, but in this case your vile ranting just took me completely by surprise and erased any ideas I might have been formulating because it was so much of a straw man and so completely inaccurate. You wouldn't have been much farther off if you had called me a Chinese fisherman in search of the holy grail, but at least that would have been less of an insult.

Some people seem to think that just by complaining more loudly than anyone else that this makes their charges true. Nothing could be further from the truth.


Yes, I think Rian is often guilty of this behavior and I have told her so. I am not in this particular case. The term "loudly" hardly has any meaning on a forum, unless you equate large fonts with volume. A continued and lengthy argument might be more meaningful here. But you are correct, no prolonged effort could make an untrue statement more true. But in this case, my assertions are that you were:

A. Insulting
B. Deflecting the conversation
C. Ranting (making some argument that is not related to my comments, but rather to something within your own mind)

Look the primary charge here is that these two christians are being "rude" to these totally honest, respectful and polite atheists.


I made a charge of only you and Rian to me, no one else. I'm not fighting anyone else's battle for them. And my designation here is Agnostic, not Atheist, thank you very much. And yes, in this case I had not engaged in any ad-hominems with you. Please prove me wrong and show me where I labeled any of your ideas as "bullshit" or linked you to some sort of cult with warped ideals of hero-worship.

LOL The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife. There is NOTHING more subjective and unprovable than their opinions of what constitute rudeness, which I could swear they invent on the spot for the most ridiculous self-serving reasons. I show them the hypocrisy of their rhetoric and they just don't like hearing that and so they are EXACTLY like the religious people who declare that people are being rude and insulting when they dare to criticize their religion.


Yes, again Mitch you employ the assertion that you may say nearly anything you wish and it should never be deemed insulting, offensive, rude or even inappropriate. That is complete nonsense. You don't get to poke someone and then tell them that it shouldn't hurt. And as I demonstrated earlier in this post, I unintentionally insulted you some months ago and you were very quick and blunt to make the point that you didn't appreciate even the hint of such an insult. So you are no less guilty of these same things that you are now accusing me of. My point to all this is that is we play by Mitch's rules, which is to say, no rules at all, then we should all feel free to toss out any insulting thing we feel like throwing. I'm fine with that if everyone else is. But that will put any reasonable discourse and interesting debate in jeopardy.

And let me make it clear here that I'm not a prude when it comes to insults. I feel that there are certainly times where insults are warranted and I can hold my on, thank you very much. But in the discourse of discussing things on an intellectual level, I think it truly unnecessary and even childish.
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:44 am

Rian wrote:You say I keep missing your points, yet you keep missing mine.


Rian, all I'm asking is that you see something from some perspective other than your own for a change.

You keep trying to police my behavior by telling me to stop being OT (according to YOUR definition) and even that I didn't need to give "further analysis" on something (who do you think you are to tell me what I can and can't say, especially when even by the furthest stretch of imagination, it's no insult?)


Rian, you have a very unusual way of not escalating things. You are now claiming insult here because I labeled you comments as off topic. So, you defend your own insults, yet now you want to charge me with a new insult for arguing that your comments were inappropriate? This is crazy, and you say you don't like to escalate things. Your further analysis wasn't part of my question; I only wanted an answer of agree or disagree, no half-answers or qualifications. You were simply qualifying your answer and adding your support of Mitch's ideas. So, if you insist on this never ending spiral of insult begets insult, then we are simply done.

And I'm not doing any policing, either. I pointed out that the reason your post was so infuriating is because of it's insulting content and the fact that it had nothing to do with the topic anyway, so why post it? What's the point? The only point I can think of is that your true intentions are to cast out a subtle insult, to demean the ideas that I was posting. You may feel that it was appropriate, but I disagree and I do so on the grounds that I have seen you rage against such things in the past. And you will likely do so again and again. So, if you agree that an off topic comment laced with insults (as you admitted they were) is inappropriate, then it should be true of both of us.

And this - you can't even keep straight what I said was "strange" - you keep substituting things like I said "defending a position" was strange and then saying how ridiculous that is. Of course it's ridiculous, and I never said it.


Rian wrote:And another thing - have you noticed this? - the more outspoken of these personify science quite often, and sometimes to a rather strange degree, such as "We need to look to science for our answers ..." or "Science tells us ...", like "science" is some type of authority figure.


This is the comment that I find offensive. Just take it at that. What you consider to be a strange degree, I consider to be doing a good job of discussing a point. Just as we are doing with this topic of what is an insult. Either way, both of us are putting forth a lot of effort in debating this. So, am I doing this to a strange degree or you?
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Re: Insults anyone?

Postby gary_s » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:04 am

Rian wrote:I think Mitch's behavior is a case by itself, but I was hoping to make some progress in general between the two groups (and no, you don't have to be a member of anything official - I'm just talking of the two groups in the title, for the sake of convenience, because typically the problems are between members of the two groups). I put up several points on the subject of insults that I think could be talked over (how perception matters, and moderation) and I haven't seen your response yet, Gary. Could you please respond when you get a chance?


Rian, I looked but could not find the posts you are talking about. For what it's worth, I totally agree that perception of insults is very important. But I think both you and Mitch (especially Mitch) are being ridiculously coy here when you argue that the things Mitch posted and the thing you posted were not intended as an insult, or at the very least to dilute or demean my argument. You just don't say something like that with any other purpose. Actually, you did agree that your comments were "slightly" insulting. So, I just don't get it. Why post something that you have a general idea might be insulting, especially when you know that it won't be accepted with a smile? The best thing that could happen is that it would be ignored. But if I retaliate with some similar kind of remark, don't you think that you would have taken issue with it? I just think you have a better filter than that and are choosing not to use it.

As I have said before, I admit that I make mistakes and misjudgments. If I say something that you interpret as insulting, then I'm willing to take an honest look at it and admit guilt and go on. I've done so in the past. But you show me something I said to Mitch before he went on his rant that was insulting.

And I try to avoid sweeping generalizations about people as well, and lumping others into groups they don't subscribe to.

On the moderation question, I'm simply split. I don't like the idea of a word police, but it's clear to me that when something is said and feeling are hurt, that nearly no one on this board is willing to step up and apologize, least of all Mitch. Rian, I think that if you make the right kind of statement and realized later that it was hurtful, you would probably apologize, I'll give you the benefit of this. But with Mitch, I just don't believe he has the capacity. He just seems hell-bent on justifying whatever outrageous thing he says. And he seems to often get into this situation when he's losing a debate, when he hasn't gotten his "opponent" to admit defeat on the topic. This, to me, is just sad.

So, I wouldn't mind a moderator that might gracefully warn a member when he/she is being an ass. What might be even more useful would be a board where logical debate only is allowed, no OT or ad-hominems allowed whatsoever. Anyone engaging in them would immediately be cut out of that thread. But that takes resources, so it isn't likely to happen.
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