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Old 14th March 2013, 11:18 AM   #1
Humes fork
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Why does the JREF sponsor this conference?

The JREF's official position is that it's not an atheist organization, and some leading members of it have made pronouncements distancing themselves from atheism.

Given this, I'm a bit surprised the JREF sponsors this conference, which is clearly an atheist and antitheist conference and doesn't sugar-coat it in any way. How come?

Don't get me wrong, I don't at all oppose the JREF sponsoring it, being an atheist and antitheist myself (I'm not a funder in anyway for the JREF, so my opinion probably doesn't really matter in any way). I just wonder about the reasoning behind it.
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Old 18th March 2013, 09:44 AM   #2
xterra
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Theism requires belief in an unsupported assertion: that there is a Supreme Being.

Each religion then requires belief that their version of the Supreme Being is the only one and all the others are fake, or don't exist.

Would that be enough reason for a skeptical organization to sponsor such a conference?


Disclaimer: I do not speak for the JREF; I have never met Randi; I am not a magician; and I don't own a TV, let alone play any role on any television program.
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Last edited by xterra; 18th March 2013 at 09:47 AM. Reason: to correct typos
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Old 18th March 2013, 12:18 PM   #3
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I think there are two major areas of cross-over where the JREF and an atheist group can and should work together.

First, if a religion makes testable claims. Second, the creep of religion into government, like into science textbooks.

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Old 20th March 2013, 10:59 PM   #4
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The purpose of the JREF is not to explicitly promote atheism, it is to promote skepticism. As such, it is entirely consistent for the JREF to support/sponsor events which, in their opinion, likewise promote skepticism. This conference arguably promotes skepticism specifically in the area of religious belief (or lack thereof), a more targeted focus than the broader focus taken by the JREf in general.

If the JREF were to support a conference debunking 9/11 conspiracists, it wouldn't mean that the JREF's mission was to debunk conspiracy theories; it would mean that they were likewise helping another group that was promoting skepticism in a more targeted manner.

I guess you could look at it like this. The JREF seeks to promote skepticism across a wide variety of fields -- religion, science, paranormal, conspiracy theories, etc. It is not focused on or created to address any particular one of those issues. But that doesn't mean that it won't support or endorse other organizations that do have a more specific focus.

Of course, I do not represent the JREF, but that's the way I'd see it.
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Old 21st March 2013, 12:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Humes fork View Post
The JREF's official position is that it's not an atheist organization, and some leading members of it have made pronouncements distancing themselves from atheism.

Given this, I'm a bit surprised the JREF sponsors this conference, which is clearly an atheist and antitheist conference and doesn't sugar-coat it in any way. How come?

Don't get me wrong, I don't at all oppose the JREF sponsoring it, being an atheist and antitheist myself (I'm not a funder in anyway for the JREF, so my opinion probably doesn't really matter in any way). I just wonder about the reasoning behind it.
And your reason for, why not, is what exactly?
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Old 21st March 2013, 12:57 AM   #6
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Or DJ and Randi have worked out a plan to announce at the next TAM that the JREF is going to become the Bright Panthers.
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Old 23rd March 2013, 12:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
The purpose of the JREF is not to explicitly promote atheism, it is to promote skepticism. As such, it is entirely consistent for the JREF to support/sponsor events which, in their opinion, likewise promote skepticism. This conference arguably promotes skepticism specifically in the area of religious belief (or lack thereof), a more targeted focus than the broader focus taken by the JREf in general.

If the JREF were to support a conference debunking 9/11 conspiracists, it wouldn't mean that the JREF's mission was to debunk conspiracy theories; it would mean that they were likewise helping another group that was promoting skepticism in a more targeted manner.

I guess you could look at it like this. The JREF seeks to promote skepticism across a wide variety of fields -- religion, science, paranormal, conspiracy theories, etc. It is not focused on or created to address any particular one of those issues. But that doesn't mean that it won't support or endorse other organizations that do have a more specific focus.

Of course, I do not represent the JREF, but that's the way I'd see it.
Thanks for the thoughtful response. I got the impression that the "classical skeptics" like Randi considered atheism/religion to be as much relevant to skepticism as the tastiest pizza (which seems to be Daniel Loxton's position). Maybe not so.
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Old 23rd March 2013, 12:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
And your reason for, why not, is what exactly?
Did you actually read what you just quoted?
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Old 10th April 2013, 12:04 PM   #9
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hmmm...

I would attend but I would be intensely bored -_-
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