Delusion, Redux

Christians take quite a bit of umbrage at this word delusion, especially when we atheists use it to describe their beliefs. Richard Dawkins wrote a best seller about the god delusion, with just that title, and Christians everywhere called him a strident, militant fundamentalist as a result, when all he did was point out the silliness of religious beliefs.

I haven’t posted anything about the rapture that was called for by Harold Camping for this past Saturday, which subsequently didn’t occur (unless you read Andy Borowitz). I could have jumped on the bandwagon, and declared well in advance that he was delusional, and been on prior record as accurately predicting that we’d all be here the next day, as more sane people believed, including most Christians. But I didn’t. That would be akin to jumping on the blue sky bandwagon, or the wet water bandwagon, or the burning fire bandwagon. (What? You weren’t aware that the sky was blue, that water was wet, or that fire burned? Shame on you. You should get out more.)

I was not really aware that many people took him seriously, but apparently some did. I know his family didn’t, other than his wife of 68 years. But some fool in New York spent $140,00 of his life’s saving advertising the coming rapture, and was “dumbfounded” (emphasis on “dumb”) when it didn’t occur. Camping himself was flabbergasted.

But the delusion still continues to hold sway.

“You can imagine we’re pretty disappointed, but the word of God is still true,” [Camping's PR aide, Tom] Evans said. “We obviously went too far, and that’s something we need to learn from.”

No, you need to learn that the Word of God is not true. Compare this to statements before May 21:

But “it’s no laughing matter,” Camping told The Huffington Post. “It is not something where it’s a tiny, tiny, tiny chance it may happen. It is going to happen.”

C’mon, the guy was batshit crazy then, and is still batshit crazy. Crazy like a fox. Here’s his pre-rapture rationale:

He says certain numbers repeat in the Bible along with particular themes. The number five means “atonement;” ten equals “completeness;” 17 is “heaven.” Multiply those numbers by each other and multiply the result by itself. It equals 722,500.

“Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he says. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.”

If you multiply that number by 365.2422 — the number of days in the solar calendar — it equals 722,449. And if you add 51 (the number of days between April 1 and May 21) to that number, it equals 722,500.

Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? What’s really the icing on the delusion cake (besides his use of science to get there) is this attitude:

[He's] “disappointed” that 200 million true believers weren’t lifted up to heaven on Saturday while everyone else suffered and eventually died as a series of earthquakes and famine destroyed the Earth.

Let’s see. The population of the Earth right now is about 6 billion, 900 million. That’s 6,900,000,000. Now subtract his favored 200 million and that leaves 6,700,000,000 people to die horrible deaths by earthquake, famine and the consequences of the earth’s destruction -all in one day! And he’s disappointed?

What a sick, pathetic loser his religious beliefs have made him. Oh, wait. I take that back.

In 2009, the nonprofit [Campings Family Radio company] reported in IRS filings that it received $18.3 million in donations, and had assets of more than $104 million, including $34 million in stocks or other publicly traded securities.

He’s a big winner, all the way to the bank. But back to the word, delusion.

The lesson for most people in this will not be that religion, specifically here Christianity, but really all theist beliefs, are delusional. No, the lesson most will take from this is that some people go just a little to far, and that failing to live by the old adage “everything in moderation” can make you, well, a little nutsy. And there will be some little nutsy people we have to deal with in life, and Harold Camping, as wealthy as he is, is just another example.

But the Christian belief system is full of little nutsy people, from pedophile priests, all the way up to the Pope, from fire and brimstone, snake-handling ministers with bad hair, to the Pat Roberstons and Jerry Fallwells of the world, from the belief that god loves you to the belief that you will have sex with 72 virgins if you take out enough innocent bystanders when you kill yourself, all of which add up to one grand delusion – the belief in the supernatural and the divine.

Harold Camping is just one of the most extreme and noticeable tips of the theistic iceberg. Every single Christian who dutifully goes to church every Sunday, who puts their money in the collection baskets, and says “God Bless You” when you sneeze, and prays that it doesn’t rain today, and thinks the Pope is a great guy because, well simply because he’s the Pope and for no other reason, and who thinks atheists are the scourge of the earth because they don’t share their beliefs, and believes god created marriage for man and woman, and that without religion we will rape, plunder and murder; they all give cover to the underlying grand delusion of Christianity, and they allow people like Harold Camping to be tolerated, they allow him to bilk the delusional out of their hard earned savings, they allow him to enrich himself on their working backs, rather than be locked away in a padded room, where to all appearances he belongs.

I really don’t want to hear any of you Christians say “well, he’s nuts, I don’t believe what he believes”, because at the root of your beliefs, you do. You believe exactly what he believes. You’re just not smart enough to make a buck off of it.

So who’s the real delusional one?

162 thoughts on “Delusion, Redux

  1. There are many delusions that otherwise sane people can have. Calling someone delusional is not to call them insane, but unaware that they are being deceived by their perceptions. It is an offense that people wish to take, in the case of being upset by Dawkin’s title, that’s my opinion.

    But don’t worry about me. I am not delusional. I am not a Christian.

    Atrology is true, UFO’s are real, Climate Change is a liberal scam, the Mexicans are going to destroy America if the gays don’t do it first, Obama is a liberal.

  2. Why are people like that? Why do they believe such things?
    Parke Godwin explains it quite well in his books, Waiting For the Galactic Bus and The Snake Oil Wars.

    Closer at hand, I’d suggest you go to the website (still up) of the late Joe Bageant and read his essay about the meaning of the Left Behind series. Joe cut to the chase, he’s missed quite deeply.
    But Joe has the answer, really, and if his discription of a “near-rapture” experience as a child doesn’t make you take a deep breath, nothing will.

    Actually, if you want to hear some nice stirring music regarding the “end of days”, I suggest the symphonic piece, “Universal Judgement”.
    Music: fantastic! Subject: not so much… but give it a lesson, anyway. Best way to experience the “end of time”.

  3. There’s a lot you can make off of hate and fear. America is full of hate and fear, so it’s a goldmine for religions and other snake oil salesmen. Camping made $70 million.

    “End Times” and the “Rapture” are like crack for people full of hate and/or fear.

  4. “Christians take quite a bit of umbrage at this word delusion

    Amazingly, so do Atheists. Try it some time. “Absolute atheist morality is a delusion”, “If you believe X moral thing and claim to be an atheist you are delusional”, “human rights are a delusion”
    It’s amazing how people don’t like to be called mad. You would think that would be obvious.
    Especially when 1) there are scientific definitions of these things (I work in mental health) and Christians do not qualify, 2) using “mad” or “delusional” as a pejorative to describe people who you disagree with and consider to have chosen stupid beliefs contributes to the stigmatisation and prejudice against actually mad people – people who suffer from real mental health difficulties (not just people you dislike) are not responsible for their actions, to compare them to Christians who are is to blur the line between the delusional who need help, and dickheads who need to be opposed.

    Wow you’re an idiot.

    “Every single Christian who dutifully goes to church every Sunday, who puts their money in the collection baskets, and says “God Bless You” when you sneeze, and prays that it doesn’t rain today, and thinks the Pope is a great guy because, well simply because he’s the Pope and for no other reason, and who thinks atheists are the scourge of the earth because they don’t share their beliefs, and believes god created marriage for man and woman, and that without religion we will rape, plunder and murder; they all …”

    Does it matter what “they all” do since what you’ve described doesn’t describe many Christians at all? This is your description of a ‘basic Christian’ and it’s just silly, like describing atheists as “angry at God” or whatever.

    ” really don’t want to hear any of you Christians say “well, he’s nuts, I don’t believe what he believes”, because at the root of your beliefs, you do. You believe exactly what he believes”

    Well, he’s nuts, I don’t believe what he believes. Also the root of my beliefs are not the same, p.s. to people who are not idiots “the root of your beliefs are the same” does not equal “You believe exactly what he believes”

    If you’re not smart enough to avoid contradicting yourself in the space of one sentence, how are we supposed to trust your ‘analysis’ of believers?

    • Thank you. It’s nice to have someone with an opposing viewpoint with some apparent intelligence stop by, rather than the usual reactive, unthinking trolls that just want to oppose for the sake of opposing.

      I get what you are saying. And believe me, I have to deal with enough mental health issues in my life and work that I certainly am sensitive to painting with that broad brush you seem to be taking me to task for. So I have a couple of questions for you.

      1. Is “mad” a clinical, mental health term? I’m curious because I didn’t use that term. You were the first to apply it.

      2. Do you agree that the word “delusion” can have something other than a scientific, clinical or mental health connotation, because nowhere have I suggested that Christians are mentally ill; simply delusional.

      3. Does my analysis touch a nerve with you other than from a mental health perspective? I.E. Are you a Christian, and do you feel insulted to have your beliefs deemed delusional?

      The reason I ask is because what I wrote really seemed to piss you off, and I sense something other than a concern for the mentally ill.

      Let me explain myself a little more.

      The word delusion has a real world, dictionary definition outside of the area of mental health. Simply put, it’s a false belief in something that has no validating evidence. If I believe I left my keys in the ignition, when in fact they are in my pocket, in a relatively minor way, I’m suffering from a delusion. Does that make me mentally ill? It might if there is an underlying pathology, and it happens with regularity, such as with people with Alzheimer’s.

      There’s a sliding scale where delusional beliefs eventually are classified as a symptom of mental illness. If they interfere with one’s life in a significant way, then they tend to be classified as mental health problems. Some delusional beliefs are culturally acceptable, yet are still equally delusional. For instance, (and I’m going to use a very prevalent Christian belief here) many people believe in a man who rose from the dead around 33 BC. He also supposedly raised another man from the dead. There is no evidence for that, and science says it’s impossible. Yet billions believe it. In the absence of validating evidence, its false and hence a delusion, yet we don’t call Christians mentally ill because culturally we accept that delusion. Christians can go about their day to day lives otherwise functioning well, despite their delusional beliefs. Well, most of them can.

      (now here, if you are an insulted Christian, is where you point out that there is ample validating evidence, such as the four gospels, but I’ll leave that to another discussion about evidence).

      So clearly, Mr. Camping and all his followers are arguably delusional (unless you consider numerology as scientific evidence). And if you are a Christian, you and Mr. Camping share a multitude of beliefs, many of which are equally delusional. So, you may think I’m an “idiot” (an old, disfavored mental health term itself, thank you) but I believe a very good case can be made for delusional Christian beliefs, without affecting the mental health profession one iota.

      And as far as your rhetorical skills, claiming that because many Christians don’t share all of the beliefs of the nuttier versions of Christianity proves nothing other than that Christianity is so amorphous, and so capable of changing and deflecting and morphing in response to criticism, that it’s really not a single valid belief system at all. It’s “Whatever you want to believe, you can”. It’s also another way of stating the One True Christian fallacy (look it up), so it is easily dismissed.

      Finally, I don’t mind if you call me delusional, as long as you can back it up with evidence. We’ll then discuss the evidence, not the semantics.

      One other question: Do you think that a culture that encourages belief in delusions is healthy? Put another way, do you think religion might actually contribute to a declining mental health in a population?

      • 1. No. I’m not a mental health professional, but ‘mad’ is the colloquial term they use when not being specific about which mental health problem people have. It’s not formal, nor polite, but behind the scenes people use the words of their trade.

        2. Absolutely, colloquially delusional is an impolite way of saying “Someone who is incredibly incredibly wrong, beyond all reason”

        3. Does my analysis touch a nerve with you other than from a mental health perspective?

        Yes. The casual use of stigmatising phrases which impact on people with mental health issues wasn’t what annoyed me about your post; you’re either a good person who will acknowledge that problem, or you’re not, and your opinion is worthless. You are clearly the former.

        I.E. Are you a Christian, and do you feel insulted to have your beliefs deemed delusional?

        No. I am a Christian, but I have been aware that people with other beliefs think mine are crazy for as long as I can remember.
        What annoyed me what the inept way you described Christians, and your foolish conflation of All Christians with Some Christians. Also, I have experience on blogs, so had the expectation that you would simply insult me if I tried to explain why you were wrong, so I chose to simply say that you were. Baldly.

        “The word delusion has a real world, dictionary definition outside of the area of mental health. Simply put, it’s a false belief in something that has no validating evidence. If I believe I left my keys in the ignition, when in fact they are in my pocket, in a relatively minor way, I’m suffering from a delusion.”

        The word you’re looking for here is “unevidenced belief”. If that unevidenced belief is incorrect then the word you are looking for is “wrong.”
        I suspect that you do not truly use “delusional” in this sense, though you are claiming that’s what it means.* If someone says “I left the file in the drawer” and it is not, do you reply “You are delusional”. When you think you’ve copied the entire album to your Ipod, but several songs are missing do you consider yourself to have been “temporarily delusional”?

        If you truly do use the word in this way, why do you use the word exclusively for Christians (or theists)? The way you have defined it here most people are delusional most of the time.

        “There’s a sliding scale where delusional beliefs eventually are classified as a symptom of mental illness. If they interfere with one’s life in a significant way, then they tend to be classified as mental health problems. “

        Nope. Medical delusions are a specific type of thing.
        If you do have an underlying mental health problem which could include fixed delusions, but it does not interfere with your life in a significant way then you are still classified as having a mental health problem and a delusion, but you cannot be forcibly treated.

        This is the kind of problem that carelessly throwing around “delusional” causes. You said above that you’re using ‘delusional’ in the colloquial sense that you defined not as a mental health diagnosis. But here you are saying that they are on the sliding scale of mental health problems. Just low. This is scientifically not the case, I will explain later.

        “many people believe in a man who rose from the dead around 33 BC. He also supposedly raised another man from the dead. There is no evidence for that, and science says it’s impossible. Yet billions believe it. “

        Nope and nope. There is no scientific evidence for it, merely circumstantial evidence. Science does not say it is impossible. He could have been an advanced alien scouting the planet, with highly effective resurrection technology, he could have been an insanely unlikely mutation with a death-like hibernation state, etc, etc. (Also unless by ‘science’ you mean ‘philosophical naturalism’ science does not rule out the supernatural, merely ignores it. And many religious beliefs are not supernatural as you would understand it, including Catholicism)
        If you have scientific evidence that it is impossible, my mind is open, please cite it. Proper scientific papers though.

        “In the absence of validating evidence, its false and hence a delusion, yet we don’t call Christians mentally ill because culturally we accept that delusion.”

        No. I had breakfast this morning? In absence of validating evidence is that now false?
        We don’t call Christians mentally ill because being wrong is not a mental illness. This is what I’m talking about, you say on one hand “I didn’t call Christians mad, just delusional in the colloquial sense” then you say “But they are mad, it’s just a madness society doesn’t recognise because it’s culturally accepted”
        Make up your mind. Are they delusional in terms of “unevidenced, wrong” or in terms of “mental illness”. And choose carefully, because I’m still going to get back to why religious beliefs, whether wrong or not, are a different category to mental illness.

        “(now here, if you are an insulted Christian, is where you point out that there is ample validating evidence, such as the four gospels, but I’ll leave that to another discussion about evidence).”

        That Christian would be an idiot.

        “So clearly, Mr. Camping and all his followers are arguably delusional (unless you consider numerology as scientific evidence). And if you are a Christian, you and Mr. Camping share a multitude of beliefs, many of which are equally delusional. So, you may think I’m an “idiot” (an old, disfavored mental health term itself, thank you) but I believe a very good case can be made for delusional Christian beliefs, without affecting the mental health profession one iota.”

        No. And yes. A very good case can be made that Christian beliefs are delusional as in “unevidenced”, a category that contains all political beliefs, belief in morality and ethics, belief your partner truly loves you and hasn’t cheated, belief that your friend is not a rapist, belief that your friend is not one of the small number of operating psychopaths, belief that we are not in the Matrix, belief that we are not a butterfly dreaming we are a human being, belief that widespread Atheism would lead to better outcomes than widespread any random religion, belief we landed on the moon (if you haven’t done the research yourself which I have, and there is evidence)

        No case at all can be made for Christian beliefs being on the scale of Mental Health problems.

        See, religious delusions are common in mentally ill people. We had one guy believing he was royalty. We had another believing he had an explicit mission from God, people believe they are deities or that God is speaking to them. These beliefs are delusions, and you know what, they respond to medication. Normal religious beliefs whether they are wrong or not do not respond to medication. (Though it could absolutely be argued that most creators of religions were in fact delusional)

        That is why there is a category difference between “incorrect beliefs” and “delusions”. One is an organic and chemical problem, rectifiable(ish) with drugs. The other is a belief. In common with all other beliefs it can be wrong, but is not affected by psychotropic medication.

        “And as far as your rhetorical skills, claiming that because many Christians don’t share all of the beliefs of the nuttier versions of Christianity proves nothing other than that…”

        You were wrong when you described all Christians as sharing the beliefs of the nuttier versions of Christianity. Which was my point.

        “Christianity is so amorphous, and so capable of changing and deflecting and morphing in response to criticism, that it’s really not a single valid belief system at all.”

        Of course it isn’t. You were claiming it’s a single belief system. You were wrong.

        “It’s “Whatever you want to believe, you can”. “

        No. There are many different types of Christianity. A few of which actually teach something similar to that.
        There are also many different types of utilitarianism. (Rule, motive, act, intuition, negative, average, total etc). Utilitarianism, like Christianity, and Atheist morality, is “really not a single valid belief system at all”. Would you therefore argue that it is ““Whatever you want to believe, you can”. No. There are merely different types of Utilitarianism, as there are different types of Christianity, and under each individual type there are specific beliefs you must adhere to.

        “It’s also another way of stating the One True Christian fallacy (look it up), so it is easily dismissed.”

        No it isn’t. The OTC fallacy is not a claim that there are lots of different kinds of Christian and your ‘One’ description fails to capture them.
        It’s like you’ve written something about “Birds” and said that they are “large flightless animals that run very fast”. I then say “that fails to describe many birds” and you’ve said “That’s the one true Bird fallacy”. No it’s not. You have proposed a singular definition, you are wrong because they are not all the same, and not all covered by your description.

        “Finally, I don’t mind if you call me delusional, as long as you can back it up with evidence. We’ll then discuss the evidence, not the semantics.”

        Ok. By your definition you are delusional if you believe in morality unless you have some scientific evidence that things are “right” or “wrong”, “good” or “evil”, and unless you have evidence for atoms of morality pervading reality.
        That’s a useless definition of delusional though. You are not delusional by any reasonable definition. (Not even in the sense of, wrong and won’t listen to reason, since you are willing to dialog)

        “Do you think that a culture that encourages belief in delusions is healthy? Put another way, do you think religion might actually contribute to a declining mental health in a population?”

        No. You see, you’re doing it again. You claimed that you were not using ‘delusional’ in the medical sense, but clearly it has pervaded your thinking and you are thinking of it in terms of mental health. The causes of mental illness are not fully understood, but there is no evidence that being wrong without evidence can cause mental illness.
        No matter how long you believe that you’re the Sheik of Sultan, a confidant of Prince Philip and that the universe was created by a biscuit, you will not become a paranoid schizophrenic, or develop schizotypal personality disorder, and if your belief is based on no evidence, or incorrect evidence, or faulty logic, as opposed to mental illness, medication will not relieve those beliefs.

        A couple of questions for you:

        1) When you say delusional, do you mean “wrong”, “unevidenced” or “mad”? Or other.

        2) Now it has been explained to you the difference between mental illness and being wrong, do you still think incorrect religious beliefs are on the same scale?

        3) Do you really use “delusion” and “delusional” as you say you do? i.e. for every incorrect or unevidenced belief people have?

        4) If you do, how do people react? And why do you consider it interesting that Christians are delusional if everyone is?

        5) Do you see how you’ve switched from saying “nowhere have I suggested that Christians are mentally ill” to claiming their delusions are on the sliding scale that runs up to mental illness, and claiming that Christians are only not considered mad because it’s culturally acceptible, and wondering if these delusions could cause other mental health problems?
        Do you see how risky it is to throw around words that are associated specifically with medical conditions when discussing similar things that are not medical conditions, how easy it is for even a smart self aware person like yourself to prevaricate between the two definitions.

        p.s I wrote this at work (I’m a terrible human being) so pounce on any errors, and if it’s just semantic or me mistyping I will clarify. Also “deluded” is not the same as “delusional” though they are related. When people believe someone is deluded they tend to mean “fooled by someone” whereas when they believe someone’s delusional they either mean “mad” or “an idiot whose wrong enough I’m insulting them”

        *Words mean what we use them to mean. Even if no-one else used delusional outside a clinical context except you and your little community you would not be “wrong” merely “different”

        • Damnit. I meant to add, after the bit about your description of Christians and the hypothetical description of birds – a definition that does describe Birds or Christians could be written – it would just not be the one you wrote.

          For starters, you will find that most protestants are not as fond of the Pope as you suggest :p

          • p.p.s Thanks for your reply, it’s nice to encounter someone intelligent to argue with, confident in their beliefs, and who does not fly off the handle even with provocation. (I would not necessarily have reacted so equanimously to being called an idiot, which was rude of me, I just meant that you were wrong)

            I would also like to re-emphasise that if I’m right and there is a category difference between ‘wrong’ and ‘delusional’ then with our semantic blurring of these terms we will risk letting dickhead Christians off the hook, or stigmatising delusional people by accident.

    • Especially when 1) there are scientific definitions of these things (I work in mental health) and Christians do not qualify,

      How does one qualify for delusions? Why are Christians exempted from this?

      • How does one qualify for delusions?

        By writing blogs? ;)

        Why are Christians exempted from this?

        They are not. Dorel assumes the negative of that which is being contested – that Christians – indeed, all theists – are delusional. Maybe not to the point of dysfunction, but delusional nonetheless.

  5. No. I’m not a mental health professional, but ‘mad’ is the colloquial term they use when not being specific about which mental health problem people have.

    Who are “they”? You’re not suggesting mental health professionals, are you?

    The word you’re looking for here is “unevidenced belief”. If that unevidenced belief is incorrect then the word you are looking for is “wrong.”

    And thus, delusional
    • (Psychiatry) A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence
    • (Psychiatry) a mistaken or misleading opinion, idea, belief, etc.
    • (Psychiatry) A belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason

    I can’t speak for SI, but I do use “delusional” for non-religious situations, and you’ll have to do more than merely assert that doing so stygmatizes those seeking mental health for their delusions. In fact, it’s your negative reaction to being labelled delusional which stygmatizes those people because you’re essentially saying ‘I’m not one of THEM’. You further sygmatize other Christians by labeling some as idiots.

    Those suffering addictions and delusions deserve some sympathy, especially if they are seeking treatment. Those who refuse to seek treatment or are so deluded as to not recognize they have a problem are another matter, but they’re not idiots just for that. People who believe they won’t get cancer from smoking, liver damage from excessive drinking, or other comparable harms tied to their specific addiction aren’t idiots for such beliefs. They’re just in need of help.

    Oh, and rationalizations are just foundations and buttresses for delusions and indulgences, like justifying belief in the Jesus character’s resurrection abilities with something like, “He could have been an advanced alien scouting the planet, with highly effective resurrection technology.” ;)

    • I can’t speak for SI, but I do use “delusional” for non-religious situations…

      I used it at various times to describe Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon. etc. The list is really long. While these people share some of the delusions of the religious, they seem to have escaped into other realms, and brought their delusions with them.

    • “He could have been an advanced alien scouting the planet, with highly effective resurrection technology.”

      Ah, a Cylon.

  6. Well, I’m back after a nice long (although it seemed short) sunny holiday weekend. No real access to computers, hence no response from me.

    I find what Dorel says both interesting and …ummm…wrong, in many ways.

    First, I’m not sure of Dorel’s gender, but because she reminds me of an atheist I know who argues in a very similar fashion, I’ll assume female. That’s probably just me, and if I’m wrong….he’ll let me know.

    Second, arguments over semantics are just that. Arguments over words. I can get as pedantic as the rest of them, and using words that might cause confusion isn’t really helpful in, say a scientific treatise, or a college classroom, but this is just a dumb shit atheist’s blog, so I really can’t get too worked up about it. What your argument boils down to, Dorel, is that “delusion” is a word that means something within a limited community (the mental health community) and to avoid confusing the delusions of religion with the delusions of the aberrant brain, we should keep the word delusion out of the atheist/theist debate. Sorry. No can do. If the glove fits, you can’t acquit, to paraphrase OJ’s attorney.

    Look, you want me to say theists are just plain wrong, as opposed to delusional, fine. Every time I say they’re delusional, feel free to translate the word delusion into Dorelspeak, and consider my claim that theists are just plain wrong. Wonderful. You’ve now rationalized a serious dilemma down to the simple truism that some people are right and some are wrong. The problem with that is that it’s really not a matter of where my car keys are, it’s an entire concept of reality we’re talking about, one that has serious questions for the continuation of our species. Frankly, semantically speaking, when so much is at stake, I’ll claim the pastor down the street is delusional, and call the guy on the street corner mumbling to himself simply wrong about his dentist who planted a radio in his fillings.

    2) Now it has been explained to you the difference between mental illness and being wrong, do you still think incorrect religious beliefs are on the same scale?

    No, I don’t. The mentally ill are delusional because of some brain chemistry dysfunction (or maybe something else we do not know yet) but in the end, they can’t help themselves. The theist can. Usually he’s in a position to evaluate competing evidence, he has a fully functioning brain, he understands the basics of rudimentary logic and reason, yet somehow chooses to believe in something that is categorically wrong, (because it makes him feel good? Sounds like a drug to me. Maybe Marx was right.) and despite being shown the error of his ways, refuses to modify his beliefs. Frankly, I think the word delusional is better applied to this type of person, than someone who’s brain isn’t functioning properly. The former is willful, the latter is not. A willful delusion can certainly do more harm than, say, an unintentional wrong belief. So to answer your question, no, I think religious delusions are worse.

    I didn’t say it in the post (because the post was not about the semantics of religious delusions), but my last question to you was posed because I do think religious belief, especially when acted on in harmful ways, is a mental health issue.

    As an example, take the guy arrested in Wisconsin last week who took a gun to shoot abortion providers at Planned Parenthood. His was a classic religious belief (he quoted the Bible as justification for “laying out” abortion doctors). He has all the hallmarks of delusion, and it may be that he would have found something else to be delusional about if he didn’t find it in his sacred book, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he was delusional. Now, should we get into a pissing match about which of his beliefs are delusion (the existence of god versus the command from god to kill abortion doctors, the latter of which presumes the former) and which are not? No, we won’t get anywhere with that. I think you will agree that he had a false belief in something that could not be validated with evidence. He is delusional.

    Is he as delusional as my neighbor who goes to church every Sunday, tithes, and is otherwise an exemplary citizen? Our culture says I can’t call him delusional (and you agree – save it for the nuts) but I say he has exactly the same delusions as the Wisconsin shooter. He just doesn’t believe in them strongly enough to take them to their logical conclusion. Deep down, most theists don’t either. That guy with the gun is a True Christian. Fred Phelps is a True Christian. The rest are just situational, cafeteria Christians. They pick and choose what they like from Christianity, and ignore the rest, because they really don’t have the guts, or one might say the strength of their convictions, to follow their beliefs, as delusional as they deep-down know they are, to their logical conclusions.

    Since my culture won’t allow me to get away with calling Mr. Meek-and-Mild Christian delusional, and you think the word should be left to only psychiatrists and psychologists, what am I to do? Well, I say, fuck it. I’ll use the word anyway, provocatively, and correctly I might add, and just maybe it’ll get someone to think about their beliefs. You don’t want me to transgress semantic conventions, but I say – tough shit.

    Does that answer the rest of your questions? As usual I tend towards verbal diarrhea, but I suspect you’ll find that semantically, I probably agree with you, only now it’s time we change the semantics.

    You were wrong when you described all Christians as sharing the beliefs of the nuttier versions of Christianity.

    Strawman. No I’m not. I don’t claim that all Christians share all beliefs of Christianity. But all Christians do share the core beliefs – that there is a god, in heaven, (or somewhere similar) and that that god sent his son, named Jesus, to supposedly save us from something and that son was tortured and killed, and then rose from the dead. Those are core beliefs that all Christians have to believe in order to call themselves a Christian. And those beliefs are delusional, and hence “nutty”.

    The rest is fluff, because much of what many Christians believe are also shared by non-Christians, agnostics and even atheists. Such as a belief that the Golden Rule, or some variant of it, is a good rule to live by.

    You were claiming it’s a single belief system.

    Really? Where? I don’t think I ever claimed that. If anything, I simply observe that if you ask any Christian, he’ll claim that it is a single belief system, hence the One True Christian fallacy. It can get very frustrating to pin down a Christian on just what he believes, because frankly, much of it is made up as they go along.

    They’ll even go so far as to claim that the word delusion can’t be used (scriptura non grata?), because of the mental health ramifications, but mad and idiot are OK. 8)

  7. Dorel,

    …using “mad” or “delusional” as a pejorative to describe people who you disagree with and consider to have chosen stupid beliefs contributes to the stigmatisation and prejudice against actually mad people – people who suffer from real mental health difficulties (not just people you dislike) are not responsible for their actions, to compare them to Christians who are is to blur the line between the delusional who need help, and dickheads who need to be opposed.

    Of course, it also contributes to the “fear and hate” Phillychief ironically whines about. Classifying other groups as inferior is the first step towards genocide, right?

    …foolish conflation of All Christians with Some Christians.

    That’s par for the course here. I think it’s more an indication of slop in SI’s writing than actually-held belief. IOW, he knows better.

    SI,

    It’s nice to have someone with an opposing viewpoint with some apparent intelligence stop by, rather than the usual reactive, unthinking trolls that just want to oppose for the sake of opposing.

    Right, because nobody’s ever made any of Dorel’s objections before… get real! You’re obviously delusional [tongue in cheek]. Seriously though, by your definition, all humans are delusional. We all believe in things for which there is no “validating evidence.” So, come down off that high horse, and give the memo to Dawkins and the rest of your team.

  8. It’s hilarious to me how atheists hardly ever call you on your nonsense. First, you define “delusion” as “false belief in something that has no validating evidence.” Then, you say that “all theist beliefs” are delusional, yet you fail to give EVEN A SINGLE IOTA of validating evidence for your claim! Lastly, you have the nerve [or stupidity, I'm not sure which] to pompously ask, “So who’s the real delusional one?”

    You are! By your own definition! Yet you act like you’re intellectually superior to the rest of us!

    • Try not to be such a fucking douche, CL. You know perfectly well what evidence theists give, and I even recite some of it up there. Camping used some woo-woo numerology as evidence, and he couldn’t prove anything. It’s not my burden to prove it’s rubbish, it’s theirs to prove it’s valid.

      They can’t and neither can you.

  9. si,

    “You know perfectly well what evidence theists give..”

    that’s not the issue. i believe cl’s (and cl correct me please if i’m mistaken) point is: what evidence do you give for your statement that “all theist beliefs” are delusional? if in fact delusion is defined the way you say (and i am not saying it isn’t), without validating evidence to support your claim, you, by your own definition, are delusional in making the claim.

    i see it as exactly the same as scientism’s claim that truth can only be known through science. except, of course, that claim itself can’t be shown to be true using science. doh!

    • what evidence do you give for your statement that “all theist beliefs” are delusional?

      What? You want me to give you a litany of theistic beliefs , and then provide evidence why they are not supported by evidence? As usual, you and cl have burden of proof issues that you fail to understand.

      YOU pick a theistic belief. Any one. Start with “God exists”. I say it’s invalid and without evidence. Since you are the theist, try to validate it. It’s your fuckin’ burden, not mine.

      i see it as exactly the same as scientism’s claim that

      Oh, to laugh. Scientism? Scientism is a pejorative used by people who can’t let go of their childish religious beliefs when they find them contradicted by science. In other words, it’s a made up “ism” to make theists feel better about their delusions.

      And when are you going to stop trying to differentiate your writing from cl’s, and capitalize those words in the English language that should be capitalized? Your mask is soooo transparent.

      • “You want me to give you a litany of theistic beliefs…”

        no, just validating evidence to support the claim that all claims made without validating evidence are delusional.

        “…it’s a made up “ism”…”

        hmmm….the word scientism returned 942,000 relevant “hits” in a google search. pretty good for a made up “ism”, don’t you think? much better than most other made up “isms” like, oh, let’s say exslarbertonism.

        sorry you don’t think its a real word with a real meaning and believed by real people. some of them atheists. maybe you’re delusional.

        • no, just validating evidence to support the claim that all claims made without validating evidence are delusional.

          I’ll tell you what. When I figure out what the fuck you’re talking about, I’ll go get it. Don’t hold your breath.

          pretty good for a made up “ism”, don’t you think?

          Actually, I got that pejorative characterization from the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. You didn’t really think I made it up, did you?

          • “Don’t hold your breath.”

            don’t worry. i won’t.

            “I got that pejorative characterization from the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy.”

            ooh, fancy. i guess that settles it then.

            • It does for me.

              Perhaps now you could explain why scientism holds so much sway with your take on Delusional Theists.

  10. and please spare me the old “oh look, here’s cl, oops, i mean jason here to defend a statement made by jason, oops, i mean cl.” although its been mildly amusing in the past, its now trite and needs to be retired – unless the main idea of suggesting it is to distract from and obfuscate the issue, in which case color me unsurprised.

    • Yea, right. Not only do you show up whenever cl does to support him, you preempt the obvious conclusion.

      You know what they say about smoke and fire.

      • obvious for what reason? and keep in mind, it wouldn’t need preempting but for the fact that you initially made the false assumption and the idea has now caught on.

        and i see that you have presented no validating evidence to support your claim that claims with no validating evidence are delusional. i’m shocked.

        • obvious for what reason? and keep in mind, it wouldn’t need preempting but for the fact that you initially made the false assumption and the idea has now caught on.

          and i see that you have presented no validating evidence to support your claim that claims with no validating evidence are delusional. i’m shocked.

          Funny. That’s exactly what cl would say.

    • His comments get snagged, then they mysteriously get transported to heaven.

      Or somewhere.

      • I am just amused that Team Jeebus takes umbrage with you on this rather innocuous use of “deluded”. After all, there are so many people out there who speak in such truly HARSH terms about the religious “state of mind”….

        Your ideas are kind of polite. just sayin’.

  11. Every single Christian who dutifully goes to church every Sunday, who puts their money in the collection baskets, and says “God Bless You” when you sneeze

    If you hold back a sneeze when you’re around religious people because you don’t want them to say ‘God Bless You’, then you might be an atheist extremist. :-)

  12. A claim without validating evidence isn’t delusional, but believing it to be true probably is. Believing it in spite of invalidating evidence certainly is, by definition.

    Classifying other groups as inferior is the first step towards genocide, right?

    You mean like calling people sinners, infidels or just saying they lack belief, right?

    Seriously, everyone has flaws. Some, like you, perhaps have more than their share, but pointing those flaws out isn’t necessarily labeling someone as inferior and most certainly is not marking for genocide. Of all the incredibly asinine and outrageous comments you’ve ever made, under whatever name suited you that day, that one perhaps takes the cake.

    What’s in a name? That which we call a jackass by any other name would be as ridiculous.

  13. SI,

    Try not to be such a fucking douche, CL.

    Ah, yes, the tried-and-true “insult the interlocutor instead of justify one’s position through logic and evidence” technique. If you think it’s “douchey” to hold you to your own standard, you’re even more delusional than I thought.

    They can’t and neither can you.

    What, is that some sort of victory in your mind? I agree with you in that regard. This is probably why the Bible says no man knows the time. Think about it, instead of proffering these knee-jerk reactions that betray all these lofty appeals to rationalism.

    jason,

    that’s not the issue. i believe cl’s (and cl correct me please if i’m mistaken) point is: what evidence do you give for your statement that “all theist beliefs” are delusional? if in fact delusion is defined the way you say (and i am not saying it isn’t), without validating evidence to support your claim, you, by your own definition, are delusional in making the claim.

    That’s exactly the issue, but you’ll notice that SI either completely missed the point, or purposely chose to spin the discussion in a different direction. Hell, even after you spelled out, he still didn’t understand it [cf. "What? You want me to give you a litany of theistic beliefs , and then provide evidence why they are not supported by evidence?"]. Uh, yeah, way to miss the point! Of course, it doesn’t matter, because you know they’ll just run this schtick where they call me “douche” and any other unsavory term of choice. Or, as you point out, run that lame “oh look, here’s cl, oops, i mean jason” diversion–which is another example of a delusion SI embraces–and that with wanton unconcern that their now-defunct little atheist blog circle perfected that technique and employed it on others ["Larry Wallberg" aka "Exterminator" used to post as a imbecilic Christian named "Trinity," in case that last part didn't make sense]. The funny thing is, if SI knew some basic technology, he could easily use evidence to investigate his claim that I’m really you–as opposed to being paranoid and delusional in that regard.

    ToughGuy,

    You mean like calling people sinners, infidels or just saying they lack belief, right?

    Yeah, except that the Bible calls everyone a sinner, I don’t use the term “infidel” towards you guys or anybody else [except maybe for a joke or something], and saying somebody “lacks belief” does not entail that they are inferior–unless of course you’re one of those hypersensitive atheists who likes to get their panties in a wad about anything and everything religious. Try to at least think this stuff out, tough guy.

  14. Eh, why not… since it’s so easy. Someone who fancies themselves “almost always right” [yes that's a direct quote] said:

    A claim without validating evidence isn’t delusional, but believing it to be true probably is. Believing it in spite of invalidating evidence certainly is, by definition.

    Oh really now? So, Einstein was “probably delusional” because he believed his claims of relativity before the validating evidence could amass? The Greeks were “probably delusional” because they believed in atoma thousands of years before the validating evidence could amass? That’s a pretty interesting approach to take there, ToughGuy. You make delusional a less bitter pill.

  15. Evo,

    Why you changin’ names? You paranoid or something?? Anyways, that’s false. Strident denial of any and all evidence and/or argumentation presented does not entail absence of evidence and/or argumentation. Brush up on your premises and conclusions.

    • Perpetual claims that your so-called evidence isn’t accepted due to unfair bias does not magically make your so-called evidence into actual evidence.

      As for your arguments, they’ve always been shown to be stridently flawed, and then you leave, or you obfuscate for awhile first and then leave.

      Yawn.

      • Address the topic, else, quit flappin’ your jaw. It’s old. Your man SI is delusional by his own definition. Get with it.

  16. LOL! “Paranoid” is more reflected in your comment than by my “name change”. SkepticalHominid is my email name. It’s not my real name, any more than John Evo is my real name. If I were trying to “hide”, I wouldn’t have linked the user name skepticalhominid back to the EvolutionaryMiddleman blog, now would I?

    Premise? Conclusion? What are you going on about? I made an observation. You saying something to the effect of “no, no! There really IS evidence. YOU just don’t accept it”, is hogwash. It makes you happy to keep declaring it, so – declare away! ;)

    As for “argumentation” – I never said there was no “argumentation” for a supreme being. Hell, you and others provide the “argument” all the time. It just isn’t good enough. I’m thinking you COULD make a really worthy “argument” – if the evidence were there. It’s not. You don’t.

    Sincerely, John Evo, Happy Hominid, Skeptical Hominid, Evolutionary Middleman, Ancient Atheist (*shrug* If there are any others, call me on it and I’ll admit to it if it’s me).

  17. Unlike your crackpot theories about supernaturally moving objects in your house, Einstein didn’t just pull relativity out of his ass. It’s where the math took him. As for the Greeks, they were pulling atoma out of their asses, and the fact that their navel pondering is even remotely close to reality doesn’t magically make them scientists or their beliefs warranted to believe in their time. Some of them believed thoughts and perceptions were made of little indestructible bits, too. That’s what happens when you pull ideas out of your navel, or ass, jackass.

    It’s sad how hard you try to justify to yourself it’s ok to indulge in believing the nonsense you believe.

    • It’s funny that a religious person would try to co-opt the Greek philosophers. Sure, they were way ahead of their time (especially when you compare what they were talking about to what was concurrently being preached in small Middle Eastern desert communities) but they were (as should be expected) wrong much more than they were right. And they disagreed with each fiercely (as should also be expected, considering they were as you said, pulling it out of their asses).

      To say that the Greeks believed in Atoms is not correct. It was proposed. Some thought it was a good idea, others didn’t, but it wasn’t a consensus and they had no evidence for it beyond navel gazing. Yes, it’s pretty impressive that someone even came close to the actual target on that one, (again note: none of the Abrahamic tribes made a similar proposition) but if ANYONE at that time actually believed it to be FACT, then it’s fair to say that they WERE INDEED delusional. There was no valid reason for thinking of it as anything more than a philosophical exercise.

      • It’s funny that a religious person would try to co-opt the Greek philosophers. Sure, they were way ahead of their time (especially when you compare what they were talking about to what was concurrently being preached in small Middle Eastern desert communities) but they were (as should be expected) wrong much more than they were right. And they disagreed with each fiercely (as should also be expected, considering they were as you said, pulling it out of their asses).

        Of course, that’s all completely irrelevant to the question of whether or not they were delusional by your man’s definition.

        …if ANYONE at that time actually believed it to be FACT, then it’s fair to say that they WERE INDEED delusional.

        Aha! There we go: “one can be delusional, yet correct.” Too classic. Personally, I couldn’t care less about being labeled “delusional” by the self-appointed defenders of reason. I care about being correct.

        • A fuckhead: “John, you are so delusional for believing that humans have visited the moon”.

          John: “Is that what you think about me? Well, here is the evidence that humans landed on the moon in 1969 and several other times through the early 1970s – A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Please review the evidence. See ya, fuckhead.”

    • The Greeks believed in the atoma without validating evidence. Were they delusional? Or not? Give a CLEAR answer.

  18. Around 2,500 years ago or so, Democritus observed that things can be broken into smaller and smaller pieces, and posited that sooner or later you’d have to get to a piece that couldn’t be broken down any smaller- ‘atomos’ or ‘that which can’t be split’. Not only is this a theory that many children arrive at before they’re 12 (I certainly did), but, in fact, the theory turned out to be wrong as far as the namesake ‘atom’ is concerned. ‘Atomos’ would now refer to…what…quarks? At least, for now. We’ll see.

    As far as the term ‘delusional’ is concerned, well, the definition seems to run the gamut from mere misconception to outright hallucination. If we have to rate these things on a scale from 1 to 10, I suppose I’d have to rate Democritus’ misconception at a 1.5, general Christian belief between 6-9 (depending on various factors such as biblical literalism and personal ‘supernatural experiences’), and anyone who can’t see through cl’s batshit gyrations at a solid 11 (cue Spinal Tap).

  19. Around 2,500 years ago or so, Democritus observed that things can be broken into smaller and smaller pieces, and posited that sooner or later you’d have to get to a piece that couldn’t be broken down any smaller- ‘atomos’ or ‘that which can’t be split’.

    Right, so drop the semantic schtick and you see that they were correct–despite the fact that they were “delusional” by your man PhillyChief’s definition of the word.

    • But…but…but, cl/jason/this fake atheist/that fake atheist/that OTHER fake atheist/Deputy Dog/Mary Queen of Scots, didn’t you recognize that all your contentious folderol is exactly ABOUT semantics, and nothing else? Nah, of COURSE you didn’t. You get a 12.

      • Now, to the semantics of the term ‘delusional’. I would weigh in at a ‘no’, since I would consider a truly ‘delusional’ belief or opinion to be one held contrary to very strong evidence against that belief.

        So then, let’s say one of your coworkers got murdered, and the authorities claimed it was you. You, of course, hold the belief that you didn’t do it–because you didn’t do it. However, the authorities are able to present “very strong evidence” against your belief, up to and including establishment of motive and DNA evidence at the crime scene. Are you delusional for maintaining your innocence?

        Your definition as currently stated requires you to say “yes,” you are. However, since I can guarantee that your answer will be “no,” in what way is your definition of “delusional” inadequate?

        • So let’s see, so far it’s the memory of my own actions vs. motive and DNA evidence at the crime scene. Of course, motive by itself doesn’t account for much, and DNA evidence can be fudged and or misinterpreted. Naturally, so far my memory is still going to hold great sway in my opinion as to my innocence. Am I delusional at this point? Perhaps, though I’m not convinced of that yet. Next, let’s throw in a few disinterested and seemingly reliable eyewitnesses to my having committed the murder. Oh, and did I mention that somebody had a video camera, capturing a closeup of me with the bloody knife in my hand and giving a ‘thumbs up’? Then, after a search of my home, the cops come up with a rambling diatribe about how God told me through my alphabet soup that I must cleanse the world of this person’s presence…in His name, of course. Etc, etc.

          As you should be able to see, the evidence has mounted up step by step, demonstrating that I am, indeed, the guilty party. Taking for granted here that nobody’s calling me a liar, then the logical conclusion is that I’m a delusional killer who either has no memory of the crime-perhaps for some biological reason- or that I’ve somehow managed to repress the event beyond the reach of memory. Of course, whether I’m delusional or not ultimately depends on the actual facts i.e. did I really do it?, but things aren’t really looking very good for me at all, are they? Yep, at this point I’d say that I am delusional of one stripe or another. Then again, if I really am delusional then none of the above evidence is going to convince me, is it?

          Now, as far as your ‘guarantee’ is concerned…?

        • Addendum:

          “You, of course, hold the belief that you didn’t do it–because you didn’t do it.”

          Here you’re offering a fact that runs against all the evidence, in what I can only see as an attempt to fundamentally divorce evidence for or against a fact from reaching a conclusion regarding the fact itself. Certainly this can work as a hypothetical, but as always what we’re really dealing with here is the fundamental weighing of evidence to discover truth. The more evidence that accrues, the more likely it is that I committed the murder, and that I am suffering under a delusion of innocence.

  20. “The Greeks believed in the atoma without validating evidence.”

    I’d say Democritis’ conjecture was premature based on the evidence he had at the time, and that that still holds true today. Now, to the semantics of the term ‘delusional’. I would weigh in at a ‘no’, since I would consider a truly ‘delusional’ belief or opinion to be one held contrary to very strong evidence against that belief. You know, like believing that intricate crop circles are visitations from aliens instead of practical jokes foisted upon the public by practical joking yahoos, or that there really IS a very deep hole that goes straight down to hell instead of it being just another…well…hole, or that the bible is actually an accurate message from an omniscient being. Or that you are a basically honest person. Now THERE’S a delusion for you!

  21. ‘Camping himself was flabbergasted’…

    Christ, you just can’t make this stuff up, can you? LOL!

  22. “The lesson for most people in this will not be that religion, specifically here Christianity, but really all theist beliefs, are delusional.”
    S.I.,
    I think one can believe in something that isn’t true and still not be delusional. We are all ignorant regarding many things, and probably almost all of us are wrong about SOMETHING. The kind of delusion you’re talking about sets in when a belief is contradicted by the weight of evidence but is still clung to regardless of that evidence. I don’t think anybody can say where exactly that tipping point is when mere misunderstanding spills over into delusional thinking, but at some point it’s pretty evident to most relatively objective observers. In this sense, all the talk about ‘atomos’ becomes just another red herring to obscure the obvious. Gee, there’s a surprise! :)

    Then again, to the delusion thinker the delusion is what’s most obvious, isn’t it? Hm, it’s a vicious circle, no?

    • In this sense, all the talk about ‘atomos’ becomes just another red herring to obscure the obvious.

      And what would “the obvious” refer to there?

        • No, I’m serious, and I don’t really want to rehash the past: did “the obvious” refer to your opinion that I’ve not provided any evidence for God? If so, then you’re wrong: the talk about atoma is no red herring at all. We’re discussing when the term “delusional” can be rightly applied to somebody, and the atoma is directly relevant.

          If not, then, what were you referring to when you said “the obvious?”

          • sigh…alright, then. Once. The ‘atomos’ discussion concerns simple conjecture based on very limited observational methodology, whereas S.I. is talking about a belief held in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence. If I believe that astronauts in orbit float because they’ve escaped the Earth’s gravity well, instead of understanding the principle of ‘free fall’ in the context of spaceflight, I simply don’t understand the principle. If, however, I believe that the moon orbits the Earth at my personal whim, regardless of what science tells me, I am most likely highly delusional.

            • In case somebody doesn’t understand why astronauts float, btw, it’s because their orbital velocity keeps them falling just over the edge of the earth, much like the ‘artificial’ weightlessness temporarily achieved by people inside a, say, plummeting aircraft. Same goes for planetary orbits.

            • …S.I. is talking about a belief held in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence.

              He didn’t say that, though. I saw that you and ToughGuy made that distinction, but the only criteria SI supplied about the word “delusional” seems to be this:

              The word delusion has a real world, dictionary definition outside of the area of mental health. Simply put, it’s a false belief in something that has no validating evidence.

              So, how is it a “red herring” to discuss the atoma?

            • At any rate, my original comments focused on SI’s aforementioned criteria for delusional. I took issue with that, because in the OP alone, SI expressed at least four beliefs that had no validating evidence:

              1) the Word of God is not true.

              2) [Camping] was batshit crazy then, and is still batshit crazy. Crazy like a fox.

              3) The lesson for most people in this will not be that religion, specifically here Christianity, but really all theist beliefs, are delusional.

              4) [any of you Christians] believe exactly what [Camping] believes.

              There’s no validating evidence for any of those claims, anywhere in this thread, or on this blog. So, why shouldn’t we apply “delusional” to SI?

              Here’s something else that’s odd. ToughGuy wrote:

              Unlike your crackpot theories about supernaturally moving objects in your house, Einstein didn’t just pull relativity out of his ass. It’s where the math took him.

              Besides the fact that he displays poor attention to detail [it was my neighbor's house], Camping didn’t pull May 21st out of his ass, either. As SI noted, Camping also arrived at his conclusion via mathematical calculations.

              ****************

              For the record, I don’t actually believe that any of you are delusional. I am only saying that per SI’s definition, you are.

          • “There’s no validating evidence for any of those claims, anywhere in this thread, or on this blog.”

            Then again, you’ve offered no validating evidence that there’s no validating evidence for any of those claims anywhere in this thread, or on this blog.

            On the other hand, I guess I’ve offered no validating evidence that you’ve offered no validating evidence of there being no validating evidence anywhere in this thread, or on this blog.

            But, wait! Then you’d have to offer validating evidence that I’ve offered no validating evidence of your offering no validating evidence that there’s no validating evidence anywhere in this thread, or on this blog!

            I believe a pattern is emerging here. Then again, I suppose you’d demand validating evidence for that, and then I’d have to ask you to offer your validating evidence that I haven’t already offered validating evidence for the pattern that I see emerging.

            Can I validate any of this? On the other hand, can you validate that I haven’t already validated it? Etc.

            • Wow, that’s a might unsupported assumption you’re making there, cl. Where’s your validating evidence that I’m ‘just toying’? Did I mention I was ‘just toying’ anywhere in this thread? Actually, I was just responding in the same specious, repetitive style that is your wont; admittedly, a bit exaggerated to make my point. It seems to have annoyed you. Well, guess what? Guess what, cl? Can you guess? Huh? Can you? Shall I repeat the question over and over again to you? Or do you get it yet?

              No, I’m more than certain you don’t.

  23. Make that ‘delusional thinker’. Or you could just substitute ‘cl’ and be done with it. Your call.

  24. It might be interesting to do a word study parsing the differences between ‘illusion’ and ‘delusion’. Off the top of my head, illusion might be characterized as being perceptive trickery, while delusion might describe someone so taken in by that trickery that he/she refuses to allow an alternate hypothesis that answers more of the confounders.

  25. In case somebody doesn’t understand why astronauts float

    Picturing Pennywise the Clown:

    “Oh yes, they float. They ALL FLOAT UP HERE!”

    • LOL! He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
      He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
      He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
      He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
      He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.
      He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.

  26. Personally, I couldn’t care less about being labeled “delusional” by the self-appointed defenders of reason. I care about being correct.

    You care about being justified in believing what you know you shouldn’t.

    If discussing anything other than your indulgent beliefs you appear competent, yet when it comes to them you’re both an idiot and a douche. Somewhere in that head of yours you must realize your indulgence is wrong but the desire to keep indulging is just too strong. Perhaps you try to pacify that nagging voice of reason in your head by attacking atheists. If they claim to be the voices of reason and you can best them, then maybe you can tell yourself that your indulgence isn’t an indulgence, that it’s rational.

    Problem is you don’t best them, and you especially don’t do well against me. What do you do then? Well history shows you do one of two things, you either mind-numbingly deny you’ve lost or you switch to some trickery like arguing semantics, moving the goalposts, obfuscating, crying foul, etc. Hell, sometimes you do both. Sad really, but then what else can you do? In order to quiet the conscience and happily continue indulging, you can’t lose, especially to someone who repeatedly belittles you.

    Now does this “delusional” thing hit a little too close to home for you, or is this just another in a long line of stupid arguments to try and one up an atheist and thus, justify to yourself that you’re not a loon for believing the crazy shit you believe? I don’t know, and at the end of the day I don’t really care. I just know that you’re a perpetual annoyance and, imo, pathetic for squandering what might be an intellect on cockamemy rationalizations to indulge in faith.

    Btw, which part is more satisfying about having atheists believe you and jason are the same person, getting evidenced based people to believe something without evidence or, like your atoma argument, seeing people have correct beliefs without sufficient evidence to warrant them? Justifies your continued indulgence either way, right?

  27. Btw, S.I., when you said-

    “I really don’t want to hear any of you Christians say “well, he’s nuts, I don’t believe what he believes”, because at the root of your beliefs, you do.”

    how can you validate that beliefs have ‘roots’? Have you seen these so-called roots? Or if you meant something else, then why the hell didn’t you say so? If I were to say that your atheism has branches, would you take umbrage? And about that ‘he’s nuts’ part…what kind of nut are you referring to, and why use that term in a disparaging way? Nuts are good for you. Plus, they feed the squirrels, and your vaunted big bang was sort of a nut for the universe to spring from, wasn’t it, huh, wasn’t it? And what do you mean by ‘belief?’ Nowhere in this thread or in this blog have you defined your meaning of belief, and this is something I’ve thoroughly validated. I mean, the Greeks ‘believed’ in atoms, so what’s the difference between that and ‘believing’ that my bowel movements speak to me in Aramaic? Don’t believe me? Watch this! 22+7billion-241virgins+7millionpluschange! There, I can do math too. I didn’t just pull this bowel movement thing out of my ass. Well, er, admittedly it DID sort of FALL out of my ass, but that’s not the same thing at all!

    Man, I must be BORED tonight! Sorry.

  28. “4) [any of you Christians] believe exactly what [Camping] believes.”

    No, no, no. It’s like this: 4) All Christians are fundamentally as delusional (or any other word you want to use for having supernatural beliefs) as Camping is. Declaring a date for the Rapture is no more delusional than simply believing there is going to BE a Rapture.

    Let’s make the boo-boo all better for you. You are butt-hurt at being called delusional, so….

    Instead of “Bahahaha!! You are delusional”

    Bahahahaha!!! You have supernatural beliefs!

    You wouldn’t disagree that you have supernatural beliefs, would you? Exactly. Now, you can make the argument all you want that I am (or SI is) “delusional” because I have said some things without evidence. Fair enough. If you think it’s adequate to equate my opinions on some subjects with a person who believes a ghost sits at the end of his bed every night – fair enough. Others might disagree with you, but I’ll give it to you for sake of argument.

    But you can’t say “you TOO have supernatural beliefs, Evo”.

    Well, you can say it. You’ve come up with lamer arguments. But it would rank as one of the weakest of all your arguments. I don’t believe anything supernatural and I mock those who do. It’s funny! It’s kind of fun to call you delusional and watch you throwing a shit-fit, but I agree it’s a bit more difficult to justify than the much easier and accurate – “You believe supernatural shit”!

  29. Camping didn’t pull May 21st out of his ass, either. As SI noted, Camping also arrived at his conclusion via mathematical calculations.

    Yeah, but they were mathematical calculations based on meaningless numbers. Sort of like John Nash in the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’ poring through newspaper articles and “finding” secret Russian codes. In both cases, the edifices they constructed had their foundation in the delusion that what they were reading contained the information that they were looking for.

  30. “I don’t believe anything supernatural and I mock those who do. It’s funny! It’s kind of fun to call you delusional and watch you throwing a shit-fit”

    and that right there is what this REALLY all boils down to. well done evo, you summed it up perfectly.

    • And that right there is what this REALLY all boils down to, gamesmanship, such as trying to paint the skeptic who mocks you as being flawed somehow in an attempt to diffuse the mocking rather than address why you’re being mocked in the first place, which is for believing things without demonstrable evidence or even a solid argument.

      • really, its obvious – no painting necessary. we’re all flawed but to embrace those bad qualities in us and revel in them is gleeful acrimony at best and pure vileness at worst. mocking and the open admission that that is what one is doing and enjoys it is small minded and indicative of the person that thinks himself superior to others. i find no need to address anything a person like that has to say. really, what end would it serve? differences of worldview aside, i should hope that all here can agree with that. as for evidence and argument, those have been presented here ad nauseam – if you don’t accept it as evidence or it fails to convince you, that’s perfectly fine by me.

        • No painting necessary, yet you still try to paint.

          Mockery is not equivalent to “vileness”. That’s simply ridiculous. If that were true, every comedian and satirist would thus be “pure vileness”, and what would that make the rest of us who laugh along? What a thing to say from someone so hung up on semantics. Like I said earlier, when it comes to protecting your silly beliefs or yourself for indulging in them, you can’t think things through the way you can other things and thus, you make ridiculous statements like this. LOL!

          • now you’re just putting words in my mouth. if you read through my post again you will discover that i did not universally equate mockery with vileness (although i certainly believe it can be vile depending on the situation) but what i did write was to openly embrace and unabashedly enjoy the bad qualities of ourselves can range from acrimony to vileness (and i would even extend that to downright evilness in some cases) depending on which bad quality we’re speaking of. i guess reading the many posts you’ve authored it shouldn’t surprise me that you find it necessary to defend the contemptible qualities in people but it does. btw – as far as i can tell, comedians and satirists are not exempt from being just as purposely vicious and mean spirited as any other bloke. the people who would laugh at such comedy are just showing that they too are subject to enjoying the nasty bit that resides in them. ask yourself, “would i teach my children that mocking another is ok ?” if you answer no, then it probably isn’t. you may disagree, but i wouldn’t for the life of me know how you morally justify it if you do, though.

            • I guess reading the many comments you’ve authored it doesn’t surprise me that you’d unabashedly continue to try and disparage those who disagree with you rather than take on the meat of their objections, and it certainly doesn’t surprise me to see you continue in this ridiculous portrayal of mockery as immoral as a means to that end.

              You can keep trying to equate mockery as immoral until the cows come home, but it’s a lost cause. There’s quite the literary canon alone to have to argue against, let alone the obvious value of other media such as stage, cinema and broadcast.

              You mock yourself and your beliefs by continuing to exhibit this foolishness. If only your book addressed this stuff, like encouraging believers to turn the other cheek and to have your actions be positive examples to others. Oh wait…

    • And, even setting aside what Philly says, it would still only “REALLY boil down to [mockery]” as regards EVO, right Jason?

      Anyway, paint ME, however it pleases you. I DO indeed find your superstitions sadly amusing. As was just pointed out to you, give evidence to the rest of the world that it’s not just superstition and you’ll diffuse anything I have to say.

    • As was just pointed out to you, give evidence to the rest of the world that it’s not just superstition and you’ll diffuse anything I have to say.

      Any claim that we here are biased or closed-minded such that we’d deny claims despite evidence or refuse to accept actual evidence should warrant going elsewhere to make your case, right? But they don’t. Why? Well aside from fellow indulgers, no one else will accept their so-called evidence, either. Hell, even fellow indulgers will say evidence doesn’t matter, it’s all about faith. If anyone actually had demonstrable evidence of the supernatural or better yet, a god, then all the so-called biased, closed-minded deniers would be the fools and delusional if they maintained their denials in the face of such evidence. So then why not share this evidence with the world if you have it?

      We know why, of course. Despite the blustering claims of our biases, they don’t actually have evidence. Now maybe there’s some conspiracy to suppress this evidence, ala Stein’s Expelled.

      So again, why keep coming back here alleging bias and repeatedly trying to show people here are also illogical, irrational, and guilty of other flaws? Well, I’ve already expressed my theories on that. ;)

  31. “we’re all flawed but to embrace those bad qualities in us and revel in them is gleeful acrimony at best and pure vileness at worst.”

    Your opinion of mockery sounds like my opinion of torture. I do NOT find mockery to be a bad thing. It shouldn’t be used indiscriminately of course, but when it’s called for, it’s much better than slapping someone for being silly.

    “differences of worldview aside, i should hope that all here can agree with that.”

    No. I don’t even agree with you on that! Anyway, WHATEVER you think of the mockery, there is a way to end it. If the village elders mocked one of the men for continuing to shit his loin cloth, they would be the ones to look silly if they kept up the mockery after he started using the shit-pit.

    And notice that evolutionary advantage of mockery. :D

    • If only there was a god who would come to his aid when he’s mocked, who would do something like send two bears to maul us. ;)

  32. Philly,

    “You can keep trying to equate mockery as immoral…”

    When used intentionally in a snide and mean spirited way towards another, yes i do see it as immoral. when one does that they are being intentionally uncharitable toward another and i don’t think anyone with half a wit would think one that displays deliberate uncharitableness is, at core, a good and morally upright person.

    “When arguing morality, I think often people are talking past one another because they’re working from a different set of what’s best. If two people differ there, then arguing practices is futile.”

    i agree. seems to be the case here wouldn’t you say?

    • When used intentionally in a snide and mean spirited way towards another, yes i do see it as immoral.

      You mean, if it has no legitimate purpose? Like the little kids mocking Elishu? Well, yea, then by all means, call out the bears.

      But every stick of mockery here has a legitimate purpose. The fact that you are the object of the mockery doesn’t diminish that.

      Damn. And I wasn’t going to get involved.

  33. “But every stick of mockery here has a legitimate purpose.”

    LOL! but of course it does.

      • Nawww. He agrees with me. It’s obvious.

        Of course, I need to record this in a database somewhere, so I can recall it at a moment’s notice.

        You wouldn’t happen to have a database I could borrow, would you CL??

        • You know…. it’s interesting. This now 92 comment long thread BEGAN with me mocking Christians. I mocked them in a style that I’ve used many, many times over the years. It wasn’t over the line. It wasn’t hurtful (unless you have an extremely sensitive butt). It wasn’t “vile”. It WAS done with “legitimate purpose” and it made an excellent point (if I do have to say so myself).

          Funny how “mockery” wasn’t the topic around here for the next 80 comments or so. Isn’t it? ;)

  34. When used intentionally in a snide and mean spirited way towards another, yes i do see it as immoral. when one does that they are being intentionally uncharitable toward another and i don’t think anyone with half a wit would think one that displays deliberate uncharitableness is, at core, a good and morally upright person..

    So it’s immoral to mock the Klan? How about NAMBLA? Al-Qaida?

    • yes, i believe it is. we are commanded to pray for them, not mock them. of course, i’d guess that you’d probably disagree with that position.

      • Interesting.

        So, you might be an exception, but I think you would agree that nearly all Americans who call themselves Christian found nothing immoral with the killing of OBL. So, my question to you is – is it somehow immoral to mock OBL, but not immoral to kill him? Can you see that in a continuum of possible social sanctions we employ, “mockery” would hold a valid position, on the very LOW end of sanctions?

        Personally, I would say a modest financial penalty would rate as less severe than mockery. Apparently you see it differently, but you can always pray for me. That would stand as good a chance of changing my opinion as praying for Al Qaida would have in stopping terrorism.

        Well, fuck me. I just made an analogy between me and Al Qaida. I guess you win!

  35. That settles it, then. Jason is a complete idiot. Anyone willing to cast away giants like Swift, Defoe and Twain into the fire, Orwell, Vonnegut, All in The Family, The Daily Show, Carson, and on and on is a fucking idiot.

    Here’s why I mock you, because you’re a willful idiot. Now we can all take pity on the dull witted and otherwise handicapped, and we can all agree jokes at their expense are cruel, but when one throws away their mind because they’d rather indulge in fantasies about a god, the supernatural, or whatever else then yeah, that deserves mocking, especially when it’s been made abundantly clear that there is no rational argument that can break through that desire to indulge. In fact, you’ve repeatedly tried to use trick arguments to make your points, and I find that immoral. I’d guess that you’d disagree with that position.

    You indulge in beliefs that are irrational; no demonstrable evidence exists to support them nor solid argument. You are voluntarily delusional, and that is mock-worthy. It’s contemptible behavior and you should be ashamed, but I’d guess you’d disagree with that position.

    • Hey Jason… at least Philly didn’t fine you 250 bucks for “willful idiocy”. Don’t you think what he said is much easier on you than that?

    • “That settles it, then. Jason is a complete idiot.”

      -shrug- if you think so.

      “you’ve repeatedly tried to use trick arguments to make your points, and I find that immoral. I’d guess that you’d disagree with that position.”

      yes, i would.

      “You indulge in beliefs that are irrational; no demonstrable evidence exists to support them nor solid argument.”

      absolute hogwash, every word. if that were actually the truth this blog wouldn’t exist. no evidence or argument that convinces YOU is what is actually true.

      “You are voluntarily delusional, and that is mock-worthy. It’s contemptible behavior and you should be ashamed, but I’d guess you’d disagree with that position.”

      yes, i would.

      • Back to painting this as a problem with me. Right, well you could sell that claim by having a recognized, peer reviewed journal accept your so-called evidence. Until then at least, you’re just another delusional jackass without demonstrable evidence or even a serious argument to support your claims.

        • perhaps not trusting your own mind and powers of reasoning, you need a peer reviewed journal to give its nod of approval in order for you to accept the particular truth claims you hold – i do not.

          • BINGO!!

            “perhaps not trusting your own mind and powers of reasoning…”

            That’s ME, Jason! You nailed it. I require more than my “own mind and powers of reasoning”. Hell, I use them all the time. I think they are, ehh, pretty good for the most part. There are moment to moment decisions in which I have no choice but to go with my gut. But my mind and reasoning have been proven again and again to be HIGHLY, EXTREMELY fallible.

            To believe something which is contrary to normal expectation (like that animals all evolved from a single or very few distant ancestors – that, on the surface, runs counter to my natural intuitions) I need a lot more than my mind and power and reasoning. So, in this “for instance”, because of the indisputable and excessive peer reviewed science, I set aside the natural intuitions which rise up from my precious “mind and powers of reasoning” and fully accept the fact of evolution.

            Guess what, J? You’re no different – except that you DO trust your mind and reasoning on some subjects. You are unwilling to believe that mountains of evidence to the contrary your intuitions is in fact – the correct answer.

            • “…except that you DO trust your mind and reasoning on some subjects.”

              oh, the horror. how do i even make it through the day using only my own mind and reasoning.

              “You are unwilling to believe that mountains of evidence to the contrary your intuitions is in fact – the correct answer.”

              can you clarify to which of my intuitions you are referring? then we may decide if there is “mountains of evidence” to contradict it as you say.

  36. I think atheists should can all this “delusional” garbage, as it cuts so easily both ways. We should rise above calling names.

    • Here I’d have to disagree. It’s not “calling names” to point out delusional thinking, indeed, intentionally delusional thinking. I don’t think ideas have feelings, so to be purposefully disrespectful of those ideas hurts no one. If a person IS hurt by someone calling their ideas delusional, then perhaps , the nerve being struck, they’ll take a second look to see why.

      And if it cuts both ways, I’m certainly open to inspecting my own delusional thinking. Feel free to tell me what it is.

  37. “I don’t think ideas have feelings, so to be purposefully disrespectful of those ideas hurts no one.”

    Oh, you’re absolutely right, but… c’mon. Atheists don’t always stick to attacking the ideas, and often take to attacking the people who hold them, right? You called Camping, the man, “batshit crazy,” right? Plus, look at all the name-calling in the thread. It’s often at people, not always their ideas, right?

    “And if it cuts both ways, I’m certainly open to inspecting my own delusional thinking. Feel free to tell me what it is.”

    If you *really* believe that the namecalls are limited to ideas and not people, that is definitely delusional thinking. Just sayin’. We all hold beliefs without evidence. It’s inevitable. But like I said, we agree on the main stuff like the merits of science and all that. I feel that offering too much criticism might just get in the way of where we agree.

    Take care.

    • OK. I’m back. Long day. Don’t ask. ;)

      Oh, you’re absolutely right, but… c’mon. Atheists don’t always stick to attacking the ideas, and often take to attacking the people who hold them, right? You called Camping, the man, “batshit crazy,” right? Plus, look at all the name-calling in the thread. It’s often at people, not always their ideas, right?

      Here’s the way I look at it.

      First, this seems to be a real bone of contention here, this “civility” and as cl/jason calls it, a lack of “Common decent discourse”. cl/jason have a long history here. Basically he’s a troll, so he gets special treatment. I won’t try to explain it beyond that.

      Second, attacking people and attacking ideas, as you’d agree are not the same thing. The first falls into the category of ad hominem, but not always. As was pointed out, an ad hominem is where I say your argument is wrong because you’re ugly, or something similar. Not that you’re ugly. When I say Camping is batshit crazy, in context, what I’m saying is his ideas that the rapture are coming on a specific date (oh, hell he doesn’t even need a date) are batshit crazy. I’m not accusing him of general mental illness. For all I know he can drive a car, balance a checkbook and hold down a day job. But his ideas are nuts. So, he’s batshit crazy.

      Even a blind man doesn’t take one sentence out of context and parse the language like that. This is a blog, not an academic journal. As far as I know I’ve never attacked anyone on this blog personally. I may say that their comment is stupid, but I don’t claim their comment is stupid because they are stupid, which is a true ad hominem, as far as rhetorical fallacies are concerned. Name calling may be directed AT people, because it’s people we are having a discussion with. That doesn’t make it an ad hominem. And frankly, it ‘s a deflective argument. IS Camping batshit crazy when he makes those rapturous predictions? That’s the issue. Not whether I called him batshit crazy.

      ThaIf you *really* believe that the namecalls are limited to ideas and not people, that is definitely delusional thinking. Just sayin’.

      Ok. As you can see above, I disagree. Just sayin’.

      I think civility is overrated. If your feelings are hurt because I mock your beliefs, then there’s something wrong with those beliefs. My mockery is irrelevant. If you don’t like your beliefs being mocked (not you specifically, the generic you) then don’t hold mockable beliefs. I’m 56. If I told you I still believed in Santa Claus, and I saw him come down my chimney, I don’t think I could justifiably condemn you because you chose to mock me (true mental illness excepted). I’ve got bigger problems.

      • “When I say Camping is batshit crazy, in context, what I’m saying is his ideas that the rapture are coming on a specific date (oh, hell he doesn’t even need a date) are batshit crazy. I’m not accusing him of general mental illness. For all I know he can drive a csar, balance a checkbook and hold down a day job. But his ideas are nuts. So, he’s batshit crazy.”

        Eh, a bit misleading, but at least now I see where you’re coming from. I guess I didn’t realize “Camping is batshit crazy” *really* means “Camping’s ideas are batshit crazy.” Although, I don’t think this can exonerate *all* of the insults here, hardly any of which were yours in the first place.

        “As far as I know I’ve never attacked anyone on this blog personally.”

        You have, but a personal attack is *not* the same thing as the ad hominem fallacy. They’re two different things. But you seem to understand this, so I’m not really sure what you’re getting at.

        “Ok. As you can see above, I disagree. Just sayin’.”

        Well, given your explanation that instances of “X is Y” *actually* mean “X’s ideas are Y,” then, no, the belief that namecalls are limited to ideas would not be “delusional thinking” by the definitions offered. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the business about “no significant consensus” regarding the general existence of a supreme deity. That seems to fly right in the face of the available evidence, which is one of the definitions of “delusional thinking” that have been flying around.

        Did you get my question about Stefanelli’s book?

        • Did you get my question about Stefanelli’s book?

          Yes. Sorry. I haven’t finished it. The consequences of trying to read too many books at once.

        • Did you get my question about Stefanelli’s book?

          Jon, you’re not going to like this book. While referring to terrorists, he says “They are, for lack of a better term, batshit crazy” (p 72) and then about Christian fundamentalists, “…in just a few short years the fundamentalists have graduated from being regular crazy to batshit crazy.” (p 87)

          • Ah, so *that’s* who you’ve been copying ;)

            Just because someone stoops to that level doesn’t mean they can’t also have valid arguments. I liked what I read in the bookstore, but that was just a quick glance.

      • “If you’re feelings are hurt because I mock your beliefs, then there’s something wrong with those beliefs…”

        funny, if you are a person that likes to mock others, i would think most people would say there’s something wrong with YOU. and don’t flatter yourself too much si, i think i can safely speak for all, when i say that no one’s feelings are hurt by anything you or Philly or evo has to say here or anywhere – i’m just a strong proponent of civil discourse in disagreements. to engage anyone in a contemptuous and aggressive manner serves no purpose other than to stroke egos, display and preen like peacocks, and discourage thought, especially thought that disagrees with yours.

        • funny, if you are a person that likes to mock others,…

          Strawman

          i think i can safely speak for all, when i say that no one’s feelings are hurt by anything you or Philly or evo has to say here or anywhere – i’m just a strong proponent of civil discourse in disagreements.

          Well, if it doesn’t bother you, why don’t you quit complaining about it, ignore it, and address the substantive issues that are raised, instead of constantly trying to sidetrack the discussion with your semantic little games.

          to engage anyone in a contemptuous

          Then stop saying things that invite contempt.

        • “to engage anyone in a contemptuous and aggressive manner serves no purpose other than to stroke egos, display and preen like peacocks, and discourage thought, especially thought that disagrees with yours.”

          Sounds about right to me. At least, that’s how I usually see mockery play out.

  38. “I feel that offering too much criticism might just get in the way of where we agree.”

    Oh Lordy… this tired shit again? Is Jon a secret theist or just an accommodationist? Yeah, I wouldn’t want to say anything that might hurt their sensitive feelings in the middle of demonstrating a number of areas where they should (and DON’T) at least question themselves.

    On another of SI’s posts you mentioned “ad hominem (I can’t believe you haven’t been told this before) but an “ad hominem argument” is one based solely on attacking the person rather than the idea. That NEVER – GOT IT? – NEVER happens in any post SI has written.

    You don’t think ever calling someone a name is a useful. Got it. So don’t do it. Simple. On the other hand, I really don’t care what you think of atheists who do so.

    Elsewhere you said, “Because the fact that something isn’t obvious isn’t a valid argument against it existing.” News for you Bucko, Philosophy is NOT the only way to deal with the god issue. When people have a notion of a god which has real-world consequences – we can (and do) test them scientifically. Scientifically we can never prove NON-existence. We CAN show that a claim has not been fulfilled. This is a FUCKING GOOD argument against believing in specific gods which we have the disproved attributes.

    Mockery is a valid tool. If it makes YOU uncomfortable – tough cookies. Go write your own blog where YOU don’t use mockery.

  39. Relax. Mockery doesn’t make me uncomfortable, and I’ll use it myself at times. I just don’t think it’s the best tool for persuading people of opposing views.

    “On another of SI’s posts you mentioned “ad hominem (I can’t believe you haven’t been told this before) but an “ad hominem argument” is one based solely on attacking the person rather than the idea.”

    That’s actually not it. IEP: “You commit this fallacy if you make an irrelevant attack on the arguer and suggest that this attack undermines the argument itself.”

    “Scientifically we can never prove NON-existence. We CAN show that a claim has not been fulfilled. This is a FUCKING GOOD argument against believing in specific gods which we have the disproved attributes.”

    Suit yourself. I disagree. Showing a claim as “unfulfilled” is not the same as showing a claim as “disproved.”

    • Relax. Mockery doesn’t make me uncomfortable, and I’ll use it myself at times. I just don’t think it’s the best tool for persuading people of opposing views.

      I can’t disagree with that. The BEST tool is the use of logic and critical thinking. A persuasive writing ability helps. But I’m sure you’d agree that there are some people who are wholly impervious to logic. I said it elsewhere that sometimes you have no choice but to resort to mockery. With trolls, it’s the only tool you have.

      If you think we haven’t tried reason with cl/jason in the past, you need to go back a couple of years and look at some of the exchanges. Reasonable, civil discourse has been tried, and tried and tried…[insert infinity]….

      You might notice that I’m far more restrained with you, and everyone else that pops in here.

  40. I think atheists should can all this “delusional” garbage, as it cuts so easily both ways. We should rise above calling names.

    I and others have made arguments to warrant the use of the label “delusional”, including citing the dictionary. Furthermore, if you hadn’t noticed, there exists a history here with certain commentors, regardless of the name(s) they may use. As for confusions on ad hominems, try this.

    The accommodationalist belief labors under two major false premises, that there is only one way to achieve our ends and what specifically those ends are. Both accomodationalist and confrontationalist approaches have their pros and cons. What works for some does not work for all. Either side is arguably delusional if they feel their way is the ONLY way, but it appears only the accomodationalists exhibit such belief. As far as ends, I don’t see any confrontationalists claiming their approach is designed for convincing the one they’re immediately engaged with, so saying confrontationalism isn’t effective because it doesn’t appear to sway the other person is a false criticism. It may be effective, but the confrontationalist’s targets are the onlookers. So what we should “rise above” is the false belief that there’s only one way to skin a cat.

    We all hold beliefs without evidence.

    Possibly, however not all beliefs are the same, wouldn’t you agree? The belief that not shaving will bring your team luck in the playoffs is not comparable to the belief that gays are a divinely mandated abomination and that they should be denied equal rights (and in some countries, killed). The belief that there was a second gunman on the grassy knoll is not comparable to believing you can just pray to your god to heal your child rather than seek a doctor.

  41. “As for confusions on ad hominems, try this.”

    There’s no confusion, but thanks.

    “As far as ends, I don’t see any confrontationalists claiming their approach is designed for convincing the one they’re immediately engaged with, so saying confrontationalism isn’t effective because it doesn’t appear to sway the other person is a false criticism.”

    Who made that criticism? I said I didn’t think mockery was the best tool for persuading people of opposing views. I didn’t say anything above or beyond that.

    “So what we should “rise above” is the false belief that there’s only one way to skin a cat.”

    Who’s advancing that belief? I know of atheists who have been persuaded by mockery. They’re in the minority, and I think they gave up their prior beliefs for the wrong reason, but is that consistent with the belief that there’s only one way to skin a cat?

    “Possibly, however not all beliefs are the same, wouldn’t you agree?”

    Of course I agree. Does that mean atheists aren’t delusional? Or that there’s no delusion in this thread? Or that we should only call “delusional” on theists? I say “no” to all three. How about yourself?

    • Of course I agree. Does that mean atheists aren’t delusional? Or that there’s no delusion in this thread? Or that we should only call “delusional” on theists? I say “no” to all three. How about yourself?

      Not addressed to me, but I agree.

      But, I haven’t been shown, much less convinced of, my own delusions. I will agree with you that my use of the term batshit crazy appears to be personal to Camping, but really was intended for his ideas about the rapture. I don’t know him, other than through his professed beliefs, so that’s all I’m qualified to judge or comment on. I’ll be more careful in how I phrase my “batshit crazy” accusations in the future. ;)

      • I TOTALLY disagree with you, SI. You’d have to be batshit crazy not to call people like Harold Camping bashit crazy! (oooh…. Evo called out SI)!

        Who’s “like” Harold? Anyone who thinks there is EVER going to be a Rapture. Oh, sure, “The End IS Near”…. we’re all gonna be dead soon. What’s the average world-wide lifespan right now? 85 years?

        It’s not even beyond possibility that the “end” will be in the form of some world-crushing apocalyptic extinction event. But there ain’t no happy fairies on their way to punish the Mean-Baddies and reward the Nice-Goodies.

        And if you think there IS…. well you’re fuckin’ batshit crazy and fuck you. I laugh in your face. :D

  42. jon,

    you’re barking up the wrong tree, man – these guys will justify themselves all the live long day. they really, truly believe they are exempt from conventional common, decent discourse (as evidenced in evo’s and philly’s post) and their use of personal attacks on the poor dumb theists is beyond reproach because its only meant for their good if they just but had the acumen to understand it. this is why dawkins coined the term brights for himself and others of his worldview. it suggests that any other thoughts but the ones they hold are not bright, dull-witted in fact. and whether they admit or not, its evident from their posts that that’s exactly how most of the atheists that comment here see it.

  43. Hey, don’t pull me into your guys personal shit, I’ve been having what seems to be a cordial discussion, even if JohnEvo flew a little off the handle. If you have something intelligent to add or criticize then I’m all for it but if not don’t poison the well.

    • i can respect that and trust me there’s been plenty of criticism on both sides – the well here was poisoned long before i arrived, though. and i wasn’t trying to put you in the middle, just trying to give you fair warning if you’re going to post here what you’re in for if you have the audacity to disagree with the status quo.

      • “and i wasn’t trying to put you in the middle, just trying to give you fair warning if you’re going to post here what you’re in for if you have the audacity to disagree with the status quo.”

        Believe me, I can see some of what you’re getting at, for example you were right about “not universally equating mockery with vileness.” But that’s just how it is anywhere people have strong beliefs. We don’t suddenly become “more rational” because we’re not religious. Just let people come to their own conclusions about stuff, that’s all I’m sayin’. When you jump in to seemingly sway me one direction or another, I’m going to naturally be suspicious.

  44. Someone said: “this is why dawkins coined the term brights…”

    Except he wasn’t the one who coined it.

    Someone said: “Does that mean atheists aren’t delusional? Or that there’s no delusion in this thread? Or that we should only call “delusional” on theists? I say “no” to all three.”

    Really? Because I’m FINE with that. You need to carefully read see that, as Philly pointed out, the word “delusional” was backed up. It wasn’t just tossed out there, detached from context. So, if Jason, cl, Jon or anyone else wants to turn the tables and call me “delusional” – go for it! By all means. Watcha got? ;)

    Am I just “flying off the handle again”, or do you have an actual – y’know – ARGUMENT against anything I’ve said? :)

  45. “You need to carefully read see that, as Philly pointed out, the word “delusional” was backed up.”

    If you’re talking about the definitions, did I say it wasn’t backed up? Or, might you need to read, carefully?

    “It wasn’t just tossed out there, detached from context.”

    Did I say it was?

    “Am I just “flying off the handle again”, or do you have an actual – y’know – ARGUMENT against anything I’ve said?”

    Though others have, you’ve not said anything in this thread that would classify as “delusional thinking,” at least not that I’ve seen at first glance. So yeah, you’re just flying off the handle again.

  46. If the accomodationalist comments don’t apply to you Jon, then no worries, but you must see how reducing the entirety of the comments here to mere “name calling” and suggesting we “can” that sounds eerily like Mooney.

    I said I didn’t think mockery was the best tool for persuading people of opposing views.

    In the case of those we directly engage with, I would agree, but I will remind you that one of the false premises of accomodationalists is that the goal of engagement is conversion. I don’t think it is, and frankly I think that is a near impossibility, whether you confront or accommodate them. No, they are a target, a prop if you will, for a much larger audience and for goals where conversion isn’t necessarily primary.

    Does that mean atheists aren’t delusional? Or that there’s no delusion in this thread? Or that we should only call “delusional” on theists? I say “no” to all three. How about yourself?

    I think it’s my term to ask “who’s advancing that belief?” I’m not sure where this us vs them idea is coming from specifically. The commentor(s) of various names who suggest we atheists twist logic to suit our desires and are biased say so because they have no other means to advance their ends (aside from of course trying to woo newcomers to like them and not us). The atheists here have been at odds with one another before and will be again tomorrow or eventually, and even the most modest of internet strolls will show you that atheists are not a like-minded collective.

    Atheism isn’t, and shouldn’t be the be all end all. Critical, rational thinking is. Buddhists are technically atheists. So are Raellians. I suppose Scientologists are as well (Xenu is just a big bad alien). Am I an atheist for the same reasons they are? No. Are they delusional? On some counts, sure. (Thetans? Really?) And what of those who are atheists for the same reasons I am yet also think one of their ties is lucky, or that the Jews are behind EVERYTHING? Are we alike? Not entirely.

    I would like to hear what has been indicative of delusion by any atheists here though, Jon.

  47. “In the case of those we directly engage with, I would agree, but I will remind you that one of the false premises of accomodationalists is that the goal of engagement is conversion.”

    Why remind me if I’m not advancing that position? That seems weird, but, no harm no foul.

    “No, they are a target, a prop if you will, for a much larger audience and for goals where conversion isn’t necessarily primary.”

    Trust me, I get it. You’re saying it’s largely intended for the audience. Though, I’m sure it’s occurred to you that mockery can negatively influence the audience just as much, perhaps even more, than it persuades them. I’ve been to debates where the audience was turned off by somebody because of their insults. It just comes across as childish to a decent amount of people. Yeah, some people like it, but arguably just as many don’t. How many people don’t even give Dawkins or Hitchens a fair shake because of how outspoken they are? Do we want people changing beliefs because somebody hurt their feelings with an insult? Or because somebody demonstrated that their beliefs were better and more supported by the evidence? Given a choice, I want the latter.

    “The atheists here have been at odds with one another before and will be again tomorrow or eventually, and even the most modest of internet strolls will show you that atheists are not a like-minded collective.”

    In the 10 or so posts I’ve read since this blog came through my StumbleUpon feed as a “recommended” atheist blog, it does seem to look a little bit insulated. I’m sure you guys disagree at times, but there is definitely a status quo here, that, when challenged, seems to rally together. It probably doesn’t seem that way to you because you’ve been her ea while. At least, I assume you have. If not that’s my bad.

    “I would like to hear what has been indicative of delusion by any atheists here though, Jon.”

    I’ve already offered two examples. Spanish Inquisitor already explained one of them. The “no significant consensus” business seems pretty delusional to me, and still needs to be explained. You’ve made a comment or two yourself that also seem suspect, the whole Planck time thing as one example. Although, we seem to agree on most else.

    • “but there is definitely a status quo here, that, when challenged, seems to rally together.”

      I’ll confess to that. The “status quo” would be, among a few related items, “there is no rational reason to believe there is a Creator of the Universe deity, let alone a specific one which some people can make positive, assertive, fact claims about”. There are some “regulars” here who share this opinion. We really DO agree on this point, so when someone comes here to “challenge” us, we say what we believe and it will have the appearance of “rallying”.

      Frankly though (speaking just for me) I don’t care what it “looks like”, how it “feels”, if it “hurts feelings” or even if it has the effect of actually making people more entrenched in their supernatural beliefs. I’m just saying what I think and I enjoy it. ;)

      • Yea. I have to concur here. I’m sure that because I have a few people that comment regularly, they probably do so because they tend to agree with me. So when we all chime in on the same topic, it does look like we talk with one voice. But it’s more of a chorus. Or maybe a Barber shop quartet. ;)

        Surely you could say the same thing about PZ’s cadre of sycophants, only to a much larger degree. When someone comes in and says something remotely off-script, they swarm like a pack of antibodies on a virus. This place is small time in comparison.

        • “Surely you could say the same thing about PZ’s cadre of sycophants”

          Huh? Wha wha? Sounds like you are saying we’re you’re sycophants. Well FUCK YOU, SI.

          Yeah, I’ve had problems with the comment box for the past couple of days. You talking about when you use up the whole box and keep typing, you can’t read what you’re writing? Like now. I hope I’m typing correctly. ;)

          • You talking about when you use up the whole box and keep typing,…

            Yea. I think this new theme has some bugs in it.

    • (Anyone else having problems with the comment box? It’s beginning to piss me off.)

      The “no significant consensus” business seems pretty delusional to me, and still needs to be explained

      I’m a little unclear as to your concern here. What’s delusional about it? Maybe I need to clarify what I said.

  48. Why remind me if I’m not advancing that position?

    But you’re aping that argument. Why, I don’t know.

    I’ve been to debates where the audience was turned off by somebody because of their insults.

    First, I doubt if we have the same concept of insults. If one is demonstrably X and I call them X, that’s not an insult, that’s calling a spade a spade. Second, do you know where this audience’s opinions lied prior to the debate? I think that’s important. Third, what if I say I’ve been to debates where the audience was turned on by it? Where are we now in this battle of anecdotal evidence?

    It just comes across as childish to a decent amount of people.

    Says you and the accommodationalists, and where is this “decent amount of people” thing coming from? Do you have a number? Has there been a study you’re citing? Are you offering up anecdotal evidence or just expressing personal opinion?

    Yeah, some people like it, but arguably just as many don’t.

    So it’s 50/50? What’s the success rate for the accommodationalists?

    I think I do have to remind you that conversion or even winning popularity points is not necessarily the be all end all so you can stop fixating on that. You claim you don’t, yet that’s been the meat of your comments for some reason. Why, I don’t know.

    I’m sure you guys disagree at times, but there is definitely a status quo here, that, when challenged, seems to rally together.

    Unless you have an example where people here were deliberately hypocritical, biased, or exhibited any kind of questionable behavior in order to create a unified front, then I don’t see your point. If a theist comes to an atheist blog making claims about a god, spouting Pascal’s Wager or just generally engaging in shenanigans, I don’t find it unusual that the atheists’ responses would be similar, do you?

    You’ve made a comment or two yourself that also seem suspect, the whole Planck time thing as one example.

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. If it was one of those ‘how the universe could have come to be’ things, like in that trick argument from jason not too long ago, I never claimed belief in any one of those possibilities. The point was to show that there are possible answers, so where’s the delusion? I probably got some of the science wrong because, well, I’m not a scientist, but that’s not being delusional. Delusional would be thinking I am a scientist.

  49. “But you’re aping that argument.”

    Bullshit. You’re hearing something I’m not saying.

    “If one is demonstrably X and I call them X, that’s not an insult, that’s calling a spade a spade.”

    Yeah, sure… in *your* mind.

    “Second, do you know where this audience’s opinions lied prior to the debate? I think that’s important.”

    In some isolated instances, I have. Example: “I really lost a lot of respect for Harris after watching this debate.” The person who said that indicates that they had respect for Harris prior to the debate. On the other hand, I’ve also heard people [usually snot-nosed teenagers] giggle with warm adoration for the maker of insults.

    “Third, what if I say I’ve been to debates where the audience was turned on by it?”

    Then I’d wonder why you even wasted the time to tell me that, because I’ve already stated that mockery *does* turn some people on.

    “Do you have a number?”

    Do you have a number or study for any of the claims you’ve been making? Of course not. We’re both talking about our own experiences, so don’t pull that card.

    “Unless you have an example where people here were deliberately hypocritical, biased, or exhibited any kind of questionable behavior in order to create a unified front, then I don’t see your point.”

    I can see bias and “questionable behavior” right here in this thread: from you, from jason, from JohnEvo… is it in a deliberate attempt to create a unified front? No, I don’t think so, and it doesn’t have to be for what I’m saying to be true. I think it’s more of a subconscious thing. I don’t think you guys actually *try* to gang up on theists, but I’d sure hope you can see how it can *come across* that way. If you can’t, well… no big deal, I don’t want to force the issue.

    “I probably got some of the science wrong because, well, I’m not a scientist, but that’s not being delusional.”

    Are you implying that there’s a difference between a mistaken opinion and being delusional? Feel free to clarify.

    • I don’t think you guys actually *try* to gang up on theists, but I’d sure hope you can see how it can *come across* that way. If you can’t, well… no big deal, I don’t want to force the issue.

      I can’t do a hell of a lot about someone else’s perceptions. The written word isn’t really a perfect way of communicating, but it’s the medium we got, so we’re stuck with it here.

      If someone comes here to a clearly atheistic blog, and makes statements that he knows will provoke an atheistic response, why should anyone care if he gets the response he probably expected? And if the response bothers him in some small way, whose problem is that? Certainly not mine. I make no bones about what I say. I think that’s why (at least) one of my regular theists shows up here in various sock puppet incarnations, because he feels somewhat outnumbered.

      • “I can’t do a hell of a lot about someone else’s perceptions. The written word isn’t really a perfect way of communicating, but it’s the medium we got, so we’re stuck with it here.”

        Of course. But you can explain yourself to clarify, as you’ve been doing. So, if you don’t give a fuck about people’s outside impressions or whatever, then no need to worry. But if you do, then, I’ve said what I said, and you can take it or leave it.

        • I get it about clarity.

          I won’t beat a dead horse other than to say, I’m not responsible for other people’s feelings. If you read my About page, you know that I write for ME, not anyone else.

          So correct me if I’m wrong, not if you think others might find me rude.

          • “So correct me if I’m wrong, not if you think others might find me rude.”

            I did. I thought the “significant consensus” thing was wrong, and you saw at least some degree of validity in that. I wasn’t correcting you on the mockery / personal attacks thing. I was stating my opinion about those things. I trust you see the difference, and if you don’t care what others think of you, cool. No need to go on about that anymore.

  50. “I can see bias and “questionable behavior” right here in this thread: from you, from jason, from JohnEvo…”

    I do too. Even Evo. I DO notice you don’t question “Jon” though – The only one YOU can really make a fuck of difference with. ;)

    But that’s OK because that’s NOT what the OP was about. It really comes down to who has the best arguments. Regardless of what YOU think of the tone, there really is a group who has made better arguments and a group who has failed to show anything – yet again. That’s the only thing I find interesting.

    • I really don’t care too much and I think you guys are making a pretty big deal out of a passing comment. So what? I don’t think insulting people is the best way to go about things. Others do. We disagree. I’ve stated my opinion, others have stated theirs, why not move on from that issue? It’s boring already.

      “It really comes down to who has the best arguments. Regardless of what YOU think of the tone, there really is a group who has made better arguments and a group who has failed to show anything – yet again.”

      That’s just it: I don’t see that in this thread. Really, Spanish Inquisitor is the only one even considering arguments. He had the humility to accept my criticism of the “significant consensus” argument, and I think we both learned a little something from each other in the process. I don’t know about you, but that fits my definition of a successful blog interaction. Most everything else in this thread pretty much reduces to namecalls. But, show me wrong: point me to some solid arguments or sensible explanations made by somebody besides Spanish Inquisitor.

  51. Bullshit. You’re hearing something I’m not saying.

    “Yeah, sure… in *your* mind.”
    You’re fixated on this “persuading people of opposing views”, which is the standard by which accommodationalists judge confrontationalism. I know you said, “Mockery doesn’t make me uncomfortable, and I’ll use it myself at times” but you continually harp on persuading people, despite my repeated statements that that is not necessarily the end goal. You even go so far as to make claims of relative success rates, attempt to downgrade the confrontationalist success rate by claiming those persuaded, “gave up their prior beliefs for the wrong reason”, and cast those who like confrontationalism as “snot-nosed teenagers”, so no, I’m not hearing something you’re not saying. I’m hearing loud and clear what you’re saying, but maybe your one-sided commenting is just giving us the wrong idea. Perhaps you could share some of those good reasons for using mockery, since you claim you’ve used it at times.

    “If one is demonstrably X and I call them X, that’s not an insult, that’s calling a spade a spade.”
    Yeah, sure… in *your* mind.

    If one’s ignorance of a subject isdemonstrable, then it’s fair to say it. Facts don’t care about delicate sensibilities. If one is going to claim offense at having their shortcomings stated openly, then they should address those shortcomings, starting with their self-victimization disorder.

    Do you have a number or study for any of the claims you’ve been making? Of course not. We’re both talking about our own experiences, so don’t pull that card.

    I haven’t made any fucking number claims! That’s all you, pal. A “decent amount of people”? Besides, didn’t you also say, “[a]mbiguous terminology rarely helps arguments”? How much is a “decent amount”? Is that more or less than a gaggle? You got a set on you calling someone out for something and then doing it yourself.

    I can see bias and “questionable behavior” right here in this thread: from you, from jason, from JohnEvo…

    No way, pal. You can’t just assert something like that. Once again, back up your claims.

  52. “I know you said, “Mockery doesn’t make me uncomfortable, and I’ll use it myself at times” but you continually harp on persuading people, despite my repeated statements that that is not necessarily the end goal.”

    I mentioned it twice. You’re the one that keeps harping on it. Why not drop it? It’s old already.

    “You even go so far as to make claims of relative success rates, attempt to downgrade the confrontationalist success rate by claiming those persuaded, “gave up their prior beliefs for the wrong reason”, and cast those who like confrontationalism as “snot-nosed teenagers”, so no, I’m not hearing something you’re not saying.”

    Yeah, you are. I didn’t say anything about “success rates” so I don’t know where you got that from. I mentioned isolated instances of my own experience. And if somebody gives up their beliefs because someone called them an “idiot” or “delusional” or what have you, then, yeah, that person *IS* changing their beliefs for the wrong reason. At least, that’s my opinion, and you’re certainly entitled to yours.

    “I’m hearing loud and clear what you’re saying, but maybe your one-sided commenting is just giving us the wrong idea.”

    Oh give me a break. My comments have been anything but one-sided. We’ve talked about a handful of different things.

    “If one’s ignorance of a subject isdemonstrable, then it’s fair to say it.”

    I know what “demonstrable” means, but since you bring it up… What’s so demonstrable that would warrant all the namecalls towards jason? Why is he an “idiot” or “delusional?” He did seem to poison the well a bit with me, but that doesn’t make him an idiot or delusional, just human. Honestly, I’ve seen a lot worse from theists and atheists on the ‘net, so what did he do that was so bad? Enlighten me. Maybe you’re right. You’ve got more experience here than I.

    “I haven’t made any fucking number claims! That’s all you, pal. A “decent amount of people”? Besides, didn’t you also say, “[a]mbiguous terminology rarely helps arguments”?”

    I’ve not made number claims at all. I’ve been speaking of my experience. I’m not making any *arguments* about the efficacy of mockery. I’ve been careful to say *in my experience this is the case* so don’t compare apples to oranges. In the “significant consensus” argument, the use of “significant” was not apportioned to Spanish Inquisitor’s own experience but offered as an actual metric for evaluating a claim.

    “You can’t just assert something like that. Once again, back up your claims.”

    I did. You said you “probably got the science wrong,” did you not? Then I asked whether or not you felt a difference between a mistaken idea and being delusional. You didn’t say shit in response, so don’t tell me to “back up my claims” when you need explain yourself. Are mistaken ideas delusional or not?

    • Jon, do you believe there is a creator of the universe?

      You would admit that you are BRAND new around here and we’ve spent quite a bit of time with you, discussing the issue of mockery, and I’d like to know a little about you. You articulate in a way that sounds quite certain of your positions and I just like to know about the structure on which they’re built.

      Thanks.

  53. “Jon, do you believe there is a creator of the universe?”

    If I had to say yes or no, I’d say yes. But that doesn’t make me a theist, in the usual sense of that word. At best I’d be a deist.

    • Fair enough. You are not a theist. With this disclosure you DO have a stake in any discussion about the propriety of supposedly hurtful language when it concerns supernatural credulity, no? Not saying this invalidates your opinion on the matter, just that you would de facto have an interest in whether or not believers are laughed at.

      Further, in terms of full disclosure, I think it would have been highly sporting of you to stop any talk about you being an accommodationalist. At least three times in this thread it was implied that you seemed to represent that position when, in fact, you would be one of the ones the accommodionalist would be supporting.

      • Sorry. I wanted to finish up our discussion sooner but I took a trip for Dad’s day. I don’t have an interest in whether or not *believers* are mocked and insulted. I apply the standard across the board. Are you thinking I only speak up if “believers” are the objects of scorn? If so, not so. If I were to sum it up, I’d say that people deserve respect until they demonstrate otherwise.

        “At least three times in this thread it was implied that you seemed to represent that position when, in fact, you would be one of the ones the accommodionalist would be supporting.”

        No, at least three times in this thread *somebody else* tried to paint me as an accommodationist. Big difference. Also, that an accommodationist might support me or my approach doesn’t mean anything relevant for our talk.

  54. Finally we know you’re not an accommodationalist, “Jon”; you’re someone who expects to be accommodated. That explains quite a lot, and it was disingenuous of you not to disclose that from the outset.

    I mentioned isolated instances of my own experience.

    No, you were deliberately misleading. You started off with personal experience then clearly shifted from that to “people”. Btw, the other slight of hand, switching from “mockery” to “insults” didn’t go unnoticed, either.

    I’ve not made number claims at all.

    Once again, what is a “decent amount of people”? “Ambiguous terminology rarely helps arguments” except when you want to be douchey and later claim you didn’t give numbers. ;)

    What’s so demonstrable that would warrant all the namecalls towards jason?

    The habitual use of trick arguments for one, then disappearing from the thread once exposed. That’s not indicative of being an idiot or delusional, just douchey, like slight of hand, being duplicitous, making naked assertions, etc. It really doesn’t matter what name one uses when doing that, they’re still a douchey jackass. More.

    Honestly, I’ve seen a lot worse from theists and atheists on the ‘net, so what did he do that was so bad?

    Are you not aware that’s a fallacious argument, or did you think I wouldn’t notice that it was?

    Are you implying that there’s a difference between a mistaken opinion and being delusional? Feel free to clarify.

    There’s no need for implication. The difference is evident when comparing the definitions of the words.

    • Btw, the other slight of hand, switching from “mockery” to “insults” didn’t go unnoticed, either.

      This seems so…familiar. Can’t put my finger on it …

    • “There’s no need for implication. The difference is evident when comparing the definitions of the words.”

      Absolutely. I would think that a mistaken opinion could proceed in several directions, including the two most extreme – completely admitting one was wrong and accepting newly acquired evidence to the contrary, or blindly sticking to the mistaken opinion, despite evidence to the contrary – which could at some point be justly labeled “delusional”.

      Example: in 1400, one is mistaken in seeing the Earth as the center of the solar system – despite all appearances and consensus. In 1700, one sticking to that view would be obstinate in the extreme. In 2000, one who sees the Earth as the center of the Universe is delusional.

      We could run a similar timeline for those who reject the fact that all life on Earth has a common ancestor.

      • That was to “Phillychief” in case anybody was wondering. I asked him a question and he cheesed out.

    • One of your definitions for “delusional” was “a mistaken or misleading opinion, idea, belief, etc,” yet here you are claiming that there’s a difference. In other words, you just contradicted the armpits out of yourself. Maybe now you can stop trying to find fault in everyone else and just relax a little. Because I’m sure you know, those high-strung abrasive types who believe their type A behavior won’t impact their health aren’t idiots, they just need help ;)

  55. How small and pathetic you are, “Jon”. Failure on every front and exposed as a douche, yet you can’t stop yourself like I explained awhile back so you come back with this. Wow. How galling to be perpetually bested by an apparently “high-strung abrasive type”. Was daddy a type A person, too? Were you always a failure in his eyes?

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