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Tags alcoholics anonymous , alcoholism , treatment programs

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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:08 PM   #161
ponderingturtle
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
But you are right: If one wants absolute proof I guess that can't be provided.
That said, I know that AA has helped me recover from my addictions, and I know this in much the same way that I know I love my wife and my children. But I guess you couldn't understand that either, huh? Love presumably being woo by your definition.
Strictly speaking you believe this, and you can find many people who claimed various things helped or cured them that could not have done so. It can be shown that even treatments that are actively detrimental to someones improvement can get people to believe very strongly in them.

If you enjoy AA, fine I really don't have a problem with it. If you have evidence that shows that it is highly effective I would like to see it. This fits into the kind of mental health work that is very woo prone for a variety of reasons.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:18 PM   #162
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Tradition Two is interesting:

Quote:
For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as
He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but
trusted servants; they do not govern.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:39 PM   #163
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by Dunstan View Post
Tradition Two is interesting:
I assume you are pointing to the 'G' word.

I made it simple for myself: Everytime the 'G' word was mentioned, in my mind, I followed with "as we understood Him/It".

"As we understood Him" is clearly expressed in step three.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:43 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
I assume you are pointing to the 'G' word.

I made it simple for myself: Everytime the 'G' word was mentioned, in my mind, I followed with "as we understood Him/It".
So you're very clearly making stuff up that is not there. Why?

Quote:
"As we understood Him" is clearly expressed in step three.
But not in all other places, no matter what you may pretend.

Also, a god as we understand him is still a god. A male one, coincidentally.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:54 PM   #165
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Strictly speaking you believe this, and you can find many people who claimed various things helped or cured them that could not have done so. It can be shown that even treatments that are actively detrimental to someones improvement can get people to believe very strongly in them.
The word cured is an interesting one. Where I live (I can't speak for elsewhere), the vast majority of us do not believe we are cured. We are given a daily reprieve from the disease. Through fellowship and personal growth we remain sober.
If one has a 'bust' or relapse it is usually a very short time (if not immediately) that the alcoholic returns right back to where they previously were.
I proved this to myself some years ago: After a period of abstinence, I stopped AA meetings and at a work function I had three "social drinks". On the way home I brought a slab of beer and a bottle of scotch to celebrate my newfound success in my ability to drink responsibly. They were both gone by morning. It took me to deaths door again (literally), I found myself in hospital after my body broke down - I was 35. I went into rehab afterwards and then commiitted myself to recovery.

Does AA cure. No - I don't believe so.
Does it have the market cornered on recovery: No.
Do other things help? Pharmacotherapy, other self help groups etc. Yes.
Does AA help. Absolutely - It is constant reminder therapy and social support (among other things).

In that sense, it works and religion has nothing to do with recovery.
Can I prove it? Not really, but I don't need to: the thousands that I personally know that get assistance from one another are proof enough for me.

Last edited by Hallo Alfie; 23rd July 2010 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 05:57 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
The word cured is an interesting one. Where I live (I can't speak for elsewhere), the vast majority of us do not believe we are cured. We are given a daily reprieve from the disease. Through fellowship and personal growth we remain sober.
If one has a 'bust' or relapse it is usually a very short time (if not immediately) that the alcoholic returns right back to where they previously were.
I proved this to myself some years ago: After a period of abstinence, I stopped AA meetings and at a work function I had three "social drinks". On the way home I brought a slab of beer and a bottle of scotch to celebrate my newfound success in my ability to drink responsibly. They were both gone by morning. It took me to deaths door again (literally), I found myself in hospital after my body broke down - I was 35. I went into rehab afterwards and then commiitted myslef to AA and recovery.

Does AA cure. No!
Does it help. Absolutely - It is constant reminder therapy and social support (among other things).

In that sense, it works and religion has nothing to do with recovery.
Can I prove it? Not really, but I don't need to: the thousands that I personally know that get assistance from one another are proof enough for me.
If some sort of medication were developed that would break your addiction and allow you to drink moderately, would you take it?
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:04 PM   #167
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
So you're very clearly making stuff up that is not there. Why?
Explain please. What am I making up?
And even if I was, is there a rule in AA that says I can't?

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
But not in all other places, no matter what you may pretend.
You patently do not know what you are talking about. The term "As we understood Him" is seen time and again throughout the literature.

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Also, a god as we understand him is still a god. A male one, coincidentally.
I see, so you are offended by some perceived sexism. LOL - poor thing.
You are applying today's values against those of generations ago, when the step was written.

The other part is the God word - this has been explained over and over. Your lack of understanding or acceptance of this is not my problem.

Last edited by Hallo Alfie; 23rd July 2010 at 06:14 PM.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:08 PM   #168
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by Elizabeth I View Post
If some sort of medication were developed that would break your addiction and allow you to drink moderately, would you take it?
Great question and one I wrestled with a lot early on.
If I could drink in safety (safety being a 'relative' term), then I probably would. Until then.....

Last edited by Hallo Alfie; 23rd July 2010 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:19 PM   #169
Rasmus
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Explain please. What am I making up?
And even if I was, is there a rule in AA that says I can't?
The words "as we understand him" in places where they are not written.

Quote:
You patently do not know what you are talking about. The term "As we understood Him" is seen time and again throughout the literature.
I did not suggest anything different. Maybe you should learn how to read?


Quote:
I see, so you are offended by some perceived sexism. LOL - poor thing.
You are applying today's values against those of generations ago, when the step was written.
No, I am just seeing that "god as we understood him" is in itself restricted in more than just one way. It has nothing to do with sexism and a lot with seeing that AA is religious.

Quote:
The other part is the God word - this has been explained over and over. Your lack of understanding or acceptance of this is not my problem.
Is this about rocks and doorknobs again?
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:39 PM   #170
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
The words "as we understand him" in places where they are not written.
I see, in your world reduntant repetition is required.

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
No, I am just seeing that "god as we understood him" is in itself restricted in more than just one way. It has nothing to do with sexism and a lot with seeing that AA is religious.
Interestingly others see this 'restriction' of yours as liberating. "As we understood Him" allows one to move to wherever they want with this concept.
You really are a stckler for wanting to find rules where there are none.

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Is this about rocks and doorknobs again?
Whatever rocks your boat pal. If it works for someone, they should keep using it. I have yet to see someone use a doorknob, I know one indigenous friend of mine has a higher power connected to Uluru (which is a really really big rock).
I would suggest that most non theists among us use the fellowship itself as their higher power
(Group Of Drunks. And this "power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity"

I know you find lateral thinkng difficult, you might start to get it if you keep trying.

Last edited by Hallo Alfie; 23rd July 2010 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 06:53 PM   #171
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Why is the word "Him" specifically chosen instead of either "it" or "him or her or it"?

Also, what if a person's understanding of god doesn't include a belief that this god expresses himself in the group conscience?

It would seem so much simpler to just say that AA has the Judeo-Christian God as a default but that members are welcome even if they don't believe in that, rather than to expect each member to torture the words to stretch their meaning.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 07:42 PM   #172
Rasmus
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
I see, in your world reduntant repetition is required.
No, the thing is that in my world: Words have meanings.

there are plenty of references to an apparently male God, with the occasional admittance that there might be different ways of perceiving that deity.

Quote:
Interestingly others see this 'restriction' of yours as liberating. "As we understood Him" allows one to move to wherever they want with this concept.
That might work for analphabets anonymous, maybe. It dioesn't work for a higher power that is frequently referenced as a male god.

Quote:
You really are a stckler for wanting to find rules where there are none.
I just happen to how how to read. And I read what is written and not what I want to be there.

Quote:
Whatever rocks your boat pal. If it works for someone, they should keep using it.
as long as it is a male higher power that can reasonably called "God", yes. I don't care if you consider that a "rule" - but it is what it says. You might be happy ignoring that, but it doesn't change that those are words used.

Quote:
I have yet to see someone use a doorknob, I know one indigenous friend of mine has a higher power connected to Uluru (which is a really really big rock).
Weasel words ... what does "connected to" mean?

Quote:
I would suggest that most non theists among us use the fellowship itself as their higher power
(Group Of Drunks. And this "power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity"
That is not a reasonable interpretation of "higher power". It is not how that term is commonly used or udnerstood - outside of AA apologetics, as it seems.

Quote:
I know you find lateral thinkng difficult, you might start to get it if you keep trying.
Lateral thinking: twisting the words that are there, ignoring some and inventing others. Yes, I do find that difficult and, no, I am not going to try it. What would be the point? Why would I want to convince myself that AA is not religious despite all its references to god? I might as well try and make myself believe that what they do is actually helping anyone in any significant way. And you haven't shown any evidence for that, either.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 07:44 PM   #173
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AAAlfie

A.A.Alfie, do I have to go and repeat/expound further on the dozens and dozens of times both the big book and the 12x12 specifically refer to 'God' or 'Him' in ways that are clearly religious (and specifically xian).

Do I have to go and completely dismantle Chapter 4 'To The Agnostic', and demonstrate from A.A's core material (re: Dogma) where Bill W. purposefully claims one cannot either get - or stay - sober without faith in 'He who is our Father - we who are his Children' (direct Bill W quote of course) - where he insidiously compares atheists to sick people (and solid god-fearing folks to sober well adjusted individuals) at the same time he clearly shows he understands neither the word agnostic, nor the word atheist?

Do I have to start quoting Dr. Bob where he states his true feelings about atheists?

Do I have to repeat the fact that I am speaking about the A.A. program (taken only from it's own documents) - not some off the wall non-AA program you've invented (which - lucky you! - you've discovered/created at the same time you decided to quit) , cobbled together from parts of AA and who knows what else? You've been speaking of your own program, not the A.A. program this entire time. The OP is about AA , not your personal program.

Do I have to mention that roughly 50% of the 100 orginal members of AA died from alcholol related causes - or died drunk? (Hint - I'll speak of AA's maximum 5% success rate again a bit later). Very few AA members realize this - and none are ever told that by anyone in AA, or their sponsors.

Do I have to go into detail on George Valiant's study where he concluded AA has about a 5% success rate? (you do know who George was yes? - one of AA's non-alcholoic Trustees, one of the men at the top of AA's well organized structure)

Do I have to mention the direct relationship and similarities between the nutcases in the Oxford group and their 5C's, and AA's 12 steps - and how Bill got from one to the other?

Do I have to mention (again) how many 1000's of AA meetings I've attended (hint over 7000), the fact that I still attend AA both at the group & area level, how long I've been sober (elsewhere in my posts you find it if you're curious)? Must I mention how many Area meetings I've attended, how many Regional conferences? (hint - and at how many I've been ostracized from due to my expressing that it isn't necessary to find god or any higher power to get and stay sober)?

Let me repeat for the hard-of-comprehending: AA, as written in the core of AA's material , is clearly religious, clearly meets every single definition of a religious cult, clearly attempts to force the Judeachristian god on it's members, clearly reminds it's members they will die, or go to jail, or go to an insane house if they don't get-and maintain daily -contact with (christian) god.

Your group(s) may not be overtly christian nor overly religious (I doubt that - but it's possible) but your experience - divorced as it is from the actual as-written AA program- does not speak to the fact that AA - as written and practiced by 100's of thousands, perhaps a few millions, of people both promotes the (particularly) christian view of god and is at it's core is religious. AA's material meets the definition of a religious cult.

My next long (sorry!) post - might take me a few days to organize it - will take widely accepted definitions of what is a religious cult and compare that to AA - I'm sure you'll find it an interesting read.

Last edited by Tinyal; 23rd July 2010 at 07:47 PM. Reason: <spelling mistakes corrected>
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Old 23rd July 2010, 09:45 PM   #174
marplots
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Tinyal, you seem well informed, can you answer the OP question:

Why do people insist AA is not religious?

You've made (and propose to continue to make) a strong case that AA is religious in nature, but why then do people (as demonstrated in this thread if nowhere else) insist it is not?
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Old 23rd July 2010, 10:06 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
Your group(s) may not be overtly christian nor overly religious (I doubt that - but it's possible) but your experience - divorced as it is from the actual as-written AA program- does not speak to the fact that AA - as written and practiced by 100's of thousands, perhaps a few millions, of people both promotes the (particularly) christian view of god and is at it's core is religious. AA's material meets the definition of a religious cult.
No doubt you doubt this Christian/overly religious group attitude by virtue of your country of origin. The word God, it seems to me - polarises you USAians more than anywhere else in the world.
The easy going nature of Australians simply means we don't give a toss whether one believes or not.

Sure, there are some religious overtones in the literature and elsewhere.
I have friends in AA (many in fact) that have far more sobriety than any of the early members including Bill and Bob. They have made their way through sobriety using whatever tools they wanted - rejecting others. Some are religious, some agnostic, some atheist but all agree they are spiritual.

They have had more experience here than any - why wouldn't I seek some guidance from these guys. They are not priests, they are coaches, mentors etc. I seek guidance from them in the same way I would seek guidance from my father, my boss,

I go to AA to tap into rooms filled with life coaches today, not so much form my sobriety which (a day at a time) is being managed.

btw, I was unaware we were talking of a cult however I posted a few prerequisites of a cult earlier which are not met in my opnion. Yours differs, I respect that but I disagree.

And the fact is - as I've said repeatedly: AA is not a "cure" and it does not work for all.
Alcohol kills alcoholics. Many do die, many don't, but many get a daily reprieve through AA, religious or not - and that can't be a bad thing.

Last edited by Hallo Alfie; 23rd July 2010 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 23rd July 2010, 10:08 PM   #176
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Tinyal, you seem well informed, can you answer the OP question:

Why do people insist AA is not religious?

You've made (and propose to continue to make) a strong case that AA is religious in nature, but why then do people (as demonstrated in this thread if nowhere else) insist it is not?
Tinyal, could you also explain why you keep going to AA if you dislike the 'religious' aspect and its supposed cultish overtones?
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:28 AM   #177
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Nevermind the religion question... if it's "anonymous", why do they introduce themselves?
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:38 AM   #178
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
Nevermind the religion question... if it's "anonymous", why do they introduce themselves?

"Hi, I'm Alfie and I'm an alcoholic".
The use of only a first name is easier in many ways than say:
"Hi, I'm member number 10,427,241 and I'm an alcoholic".

By the way, we only use first names. That said, I can give my full name to anyone I like - a bit like this anonymous forum in some ways - boogedy boogedy.


Seriously though: Anonymity is maintained to protect both the individual, as well as the fellowship as a whole.

Tradition 11 says.
"Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films."

Tradition 12
"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."

Last edited by Hallo Alfie; 24th July 2010 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 24th July 2010, 07:06 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Explain please.
A fallacy is, very generally, an error in reasoning.
Which usually leads to any form of ilogical way of thinking or conducting an intelectual debate.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

You have demonstrated the use of several of them throughout this thread.
You might want to take a few moments and go over the list to not only learn to avoid them, but to spot it when others try and fool you with them.

Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Yep, there are two group in JREF generally: the narrow minded, sexually frustrated with anger issues wishing to vent their spleens. And the rest of us try who try and be adults.
Ummm... No.That's just Dishonest BS and it's the second time you are attacking the person rather than the argument (even more fallacies).

The JREF's goal is to promote critical thinking and educate people from pseuoscienses and all manners of false dogmas based on fraud or ignorance.
From false psychics to false alternative medicine.

If these things were abolished because they were not true or at least held by an extreme minority, the JREF would have no purpose. The goal would have been achieved and it would disappear.

As for your claim that we are "narrow minded"...
Psychological projection or projection bias (including Freudian Projection) is the unconscious act of denial of a person's own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to the weather, a tool, or to other people. Thus, it involves imagining or projecting that others have those feelings.

How can we be close minded when we are the ones who are reading and comprehending your poor arguments and debunk each and every one of them?
We gave you ample of chances and methods to prove your claim, you failed every single time.

Whenever you are asked a question you don't like or have to read a statement you don't like, you are the one shoving fingers in your ears and go "la la la la la la la".
Again, not an uncommon tactic, but a dishonest one.
You are the one who is close minded. Not us.

Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
But you are right: If one wants absolute proof I guess that can't be provided.
Wrong. We have offered you numerous ways of prooving it actually.
It can be done. Any form of "treatment" can be verified for it's effectiveness.
We don't ask you to prove us it works 100% of the time.
We just want proof that it works better than any other treatment including no treatment.

We asked you for the statistics, you completely ignored and dodged the issue.
We asked you to define the basics, you completely ignored and dodged the issue.

So instead you ask us to take AA by faith alone.
Yeah... That's not religious
Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
That said, I know that AA has helped me recover from my addictions, and I know this in much the same way that I know I love my wife and my children.
No you do not know that. Period.
Let me give you an example. You go to a spirit healer because you have a headache. After the visit you are cured.
Was it because:
1)The spirit is an actual healer?
2)The guy works in a building that is built the tomb of a saint and simply entering the building cured you.
3)The headache was only temporary and faded on its own.

You can think all you want, but the fact of the matter is we can do a simple test to see what is the one.

The better question is - why are you so afraid to find out?

Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
But I guess you couldn't understand that either, huh? Love presumably being woo by your definition.
More pitiful attempts at attacking people rather than arguments being said.
And you call us angry and bitter?

Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Does AA cure. No - I don't believe so.
Does it have the market cornered on recovery: No.
Do other things help? Pharmacotherapy, other self help groups etc. Yes.
Okay, finally some honesty here. So from now on, please never use the words "AA or die" as you have just stated yourself that is completely false.

Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Does AA help. Absolutely - It is constant reminder therapy and social support (among other things).
But does that mean it works?
You can remind a person with ADD to pay attention as much as you want. That's not going to help.

The fact that something is a "reminder" or "social support" does not by defnition mean it helps. Showing proof that it works would actually show it helps.

Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
And the fact is - as I've said repeatedly: AA is not a "cure" and it does not work for all.
Nobody asked you to state that it works for all.
Just how many it actually does work for. Seriously, with your job why aren't you able to at least provide some form of verifiable statistics?

Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Alcohol kills alcoholics. Many do die, many don't, but many get a daily reprieve through AA, religious or not - and that can't be a bad thing.
But it can be a terrible thing!

Imagine that we have a cure for cancer. But it only works for 5% of the population. Do we call it quit? Heck No!
We do our best to examine and modify the treatment and make it as good as we can and we do not stop until we reach that 100% even if it will take forever.

Yet for some reason you seem convinced that AA works for some people that's good enough for you.
There should be no attempt to improve it, no attempt to test it and certinly no one should even attempt to alter it's holy bible.
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Old 24th July 2010, 07:13 AM   #180
Complexity
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Alfie - You are not dealing with us or this topic honestly in your posts in this thread.

It is apparent that you value AA and what you feel it has done for you life.

I'm glad that you found something to help.

I'm angry, however, that you and many others deliberately misrepresent AA as not being religious. That dishonesty is inexcusable.
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Old 24th July 2010, 07:39 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
No doubt you doubt this Christian/overly religious group attitude by virtue of your country of origin. The word God, it seems to me - polarises you USAians more than anywhere else in the world.
The easy going nature of Australians simply means we don't give a toss whether one believes or not.

Sure, there are some religious overtones in the literature and elsewhere.
I have friends in AA (many in fact) that have far more sobriety than any of the early members including Bill and Bob. They have made their way through sobriety using whatever tools they wanted - rejecting others. Some are religious, some agnostic, some atheist but all agree they are spiritual.

They have had more experience here than any - why wouldn't I seek some guidance from these guys. They are not priests, they are coaches, mentors etc. I seek guidance from them in the same way I would seek guidance from my father, my boss,

I go to AA to tap into rooms filled with life coaches today, not so much form my sobriety which (a day at a time) is being managed.

btw, I was unaware we were talking of a cult however I posted a few prerequisites of a cult earlier which are not met in my opnion. Yours differs, I respect that but I disagree.

And the fact is - as I've said repeatedly: AA is not a "cure" and it does not work for all.
Alcohol kills alcoholics. Many do die, many don't, but many get a daily reprieve through AA, religious or not - and that can't be a bad thing.
I used to work for a substance abuse treatment center (not as a counselor or therapist, but I was interested because I grew up with an alcoholic father) and I too have heard the 5% success rate figure quoted. Would you address that?

Again, no one denies that it worked for you. Some just question the laudatory attitude for a program that, in general, seems to work no better than chance.

Quote:
1)The spirit is an actual healer?
2)The guy works in a building that is built the tomb of a saint and simply entering the building cured you.
3)The headache was only temporary and faded on its own.
You forgot (4) You hedged your bets and took an aspirin before you left to visit the faith healer.
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Old 24th July 2010, 09:31 AM   #182
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
I'm angry, however, that you and many others deliberately misrepresent AA as not being religious.
I wonder if you concur with the agreement Pup and I reached above that JREF is an atheist organization in much the same sense, and to much the same extent, that AA is a religious organization.

If so, I wonder if you experience the same sense of outrage upon reading this statement by James Randi himself:
"I want this fully understood: the James Randi Educational Foundation is not an atheist organization...""
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Old 24th July 2010, 10:16 AM   #183
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I for one certainly do not agree that JREF is an atheist organization in the same sense & in the same way that AA is a religious organization (or, as I've stated, an actual religious cult).
They are miles apart.
If one cannot clearly see the relationship of AA to a typical religion - and also then see it's similarities to a typical cult - then one very well might not see just how different JREF is from AA (comparing the atheist dogma, for instance, with the AA dogma as expounded in the big book - oh, it appears I've lost my links to the atheist dogma! doh <sarcasm off>.
It might be helpful, in my view, for those people who see the two as similar to further study AA - go indepth at the links I provided earlier.
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Old 24th July 2010, 10:16 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
I wonder if you concur with the agreement Pup and I reached above that JREF is an atheist organization in much the same sense, and to much the same extent, that AA is a religious organization.

If so, I wonder if you experience the same sense of outrage upon reading this statement by James Randi himself:
"I want this fully understood: the James Randi Educational Foundation is not an atheist organization...""
JREF is a de facto atheist organization, though not a de jure one.
AA seems to be a de jure theist/religious/spiritual organization, though not a de fact one.

That being said, I bet you'd find less religious discussion at an AA meeting, than at a JREF one.
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Old 24th July 2010, 10:40 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by a hypothetical somebody
If, upon my first arrival, the group had declared that it was a religious organization, I would've left and probably never came back. Fortunately, it didn't and I wasn't instantly turned off.

After spending some time here and listening and learning from people with different viewpoints, I found out that Christians were not the judgmental, close-minded people I had always been taught they were. I began to change the way I looked at things. I started questioning my atheism and trying to develop faith in god. It is an ongoing process, but I have taken some big steps in what I feel is the right direction. The “me” of yesterday would feel so sorry for me today because of some ideas I have given up, but I look back and feel bad for the little boy who had no idea of the peace and security that faith in god could bring. I am happier now.

Leaving the doors open to everyone is, in my opinion, the only way to go. If we turn people away at the door, even inadvertently, we're missing out on a wealth of new potential converts. I don't want to even imagine where or what shape I'd be in now, had it not been for the group. Once we've offended those that need us most, all that's left is the choir to hear the preaching.
How does that strike you? A sneaky and manipulative strategy by the group? Or is it a good strategy to be welcoming and encourage open-mindedness that leads to conversion?

Personally, I think it's a good strategy if the group thinks like me, but sneaky if the group doesn't.

That's based on the testimonial for the JREF quoted in Randi's post, except turned around the other way.

However, I think it's clear that such a group has an ulterior goal behind the open-minded welcoming, and if that goal were religion, any government-sanctioned pressure to join the group would go against the ideal of separation of church and state in the U.S.
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Old 24th July 2010, 10:55 AM   #186
Complexity
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
I wonder if you concur with the agreement Pup and I reached above that JREF is an atheist organization in much the same sense, and to much the same extent, that AA is a religious organization.

If so, I wonder if you experience the same sense of outrage upon reading this statement by James Randi himself:
"I want this fully understood: the James Randi Educational Foundation is not an atheist organization...""

I don't agree that JREF is an atheist organization in the same way that AA is a religious one.

As has been noted, the founder of AA laid down the religious aspect of AA.

Randi, in founding JREF, did not create it as an atheist organization, nor did he align it with atheist.

Randi is a skeptic. I'm not sure what his religious beliefs are - I think he's at least an agnostic, but am not sure.

I personally think that, if skepticism is applied uniformly and carried to its logical conclusion, one becomes either an agnostic or an atheist, depending on your understanding of those terms.

I am quite comfortable accepting Randi's assertion that JREF is not an atheist organization. It is his organization to do with as he chooses. I respect the goals of JREF.
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Old 24th July 2010, 10:56 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Malerin View Post
JREF is a de facto atheist organization, though not a de jure one.
AA seems to be a de jure theist/religious/spiritual organization, though not a de fact one.

Nonsense.
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Old 24th July 2010, 01:40 PM   #188
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Malerin View Post
JREF is a de facto atheist organization, though not a de jure one.
AA seems to be a de jure theist/religious/spiritual organization, though not a de facto one.
A rabbi, a voodoo priestess, and a yogi are out on a lake fishing; is that a religious organization, either de facto or de jure? In my opinion it is not, because being either would require that it be, at least to some degree, an organized religion; there would have to be at least some shared religious beliefs.

I agree that critical thinking is implicitly biased toward atheism; the lack of evidence for the existence of supernatural beings seems to me to make atheism the reasonable default (Occam's razor and all that), and therefore in a venue where the highest value is placed on evidence, it would be surprising not to see a consensus favoring atheism, whether that was embraced as official policy or not.

Quote:
I bet you'd find less religious discussion at an AA meeting, than at a JREF one.
Interesting point. I was going to say that the difference is probably more a matter of quality than quantity, but the more I think about it the more I think you may be right.

As I think I may have mentioned above, the AA group generally tends to be mostly uninterested in the details of one person's beliefs, and a member rambling on at length about that may (or may not) notice people getting fidgety, yawning, or even walking out of the room (it's not unusual for a few people to come and go during the course of a meeting anyway, but if you can't hold the room, it may be that you need to revise your material). If it starts to sound too much like proselytizing, the droner-on may even find himself cut off by the chairperson.

By contrast, the JREF forum often features lengthy and very heated discussions on the minutest details of one person's beliefs, with many of the participants apparently very motivated to dissuade that person from continuing to hold those beliefs. In more than twenty years, I have never seen anything remotely like that in an AA meeting. In AA, the highest value is placed on results. If you're clean and sober and claim that your higher power is a doorknob, then everybody's just happy that that's working for you even if they themselves think it's completely idiotic. (Note: as a critical thinker, I too would question the post hoc ergo propter hoc assumption implicit in that, and I'll state for the record that I am not here advocating AA; I went to AA, and I stayed sober, but I can't claim that as evidence for the effectiveness of AA because the experiment uses a sample size of one and includes no control group).
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Old 24th July 2010, 01:56 PM   #189
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Dynamic - You're comparing apples and oranges to no effect.
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Old 24th July 2010, 01:59 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
By contrast, the JREF forum often features lengthy and very heated discussions on the minutest details of one person's beliefs, with many of the participants apparently very motivated to dissuade that person from continuing to hold those beliefs.
Of course. People here tend to care about being right or wrong.

Quote:
In more than twenty years, I have never seen anything remotely like that in an AA meeting. In AA, the highest value is placed on results. If you're clean and sober and claim that your higher power is a doorknob, then everybody's just happy that that's working for you even if they themselves think it's completely idiotic.
Yes.

Which, I suppose, is grand if you're the type of addict who doesn't care whether he's being idiotic or not. If you do, I'd think chances are AA is not the place for you.

And, maybe, when you are an addict you shouldn't care all that much about looking like an idiot. (Maybe you already do, anyway, I don't know.) But that boils down to an "it's better than nothing" approach, and the actual numbers don't seem to be supporting that, even.


Quote:
(Note: as a critical thinker, I too would question the post hoc ergo propter hoc assumption implicit in that, and I'll state for the record that I am not here advocating AA; I went to AA, and I stayed sober, but I can't claim that as evidence for the effectiveness of AA because the experiment uses a sample size of one and includes no control group).
Well said.
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:21 PM   #191
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
A fallacy is, very generally, an error in reasoning.
Which usually leads to any form of ilogical way of thinking or conducting an intelectual debate.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/
Very droll.
Now, where is the fallacy in my argument?

Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
Wrong. We have offered you numerous ways of prooving it actually.
It can be done. Any form of "treatment" can be verified for it's effectiveness.
We don't ask you to prove us it works 100% of the time.
We just want proof that it works better than any other treatment including no treatment.
As I said earlier, this probably can't be quantified in the sense you want.
Nor have I ever said that it works better than "any other treatment instead of no treatment". Moving of goalposts noted.

Anonymity is the foundation of AA. Theye don't take roll call and it seems you don't like it

Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
We asked you for the statistics, you completely ignored and dodged the issue.
We asked you to define the basics, you completely ignored and dodged the issue.
The Australian Government in their June 2009 publication on "treatment of alcohol problems" says:

"Research suggests that patients who attend AA as part of a structured treatment program, in addition to outpatient sessions, and begin attendance early in their treatment, demonstrate better outcomes than people attending either AA or treatment alone".

"Several studies haver also suggested that AA-facilitated abstinence is partly due to an increase in self-efficacy, which arises from recovery".

Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
No you do not know that. Period.
So I don't love my family? Nice.
I feel sad for you now; it must be awful not kniowing whether one loves or is loved.

Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
Okay, finally some honesty here. So from now on, please never use the words "AA or die" as you have just stated yourself that is completely false.
For some that is true. My evidence - me! Anecdotal I know, but evidence nonetheless.
Please show me where I said "AA or die" without some qualification around it.

Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
But it can be a terrible thing!
I insist you explain this statement.

Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
Yet for some reason you seem convinced that AA works for some people that's good enough for you.
Sure, why not?

Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
There should be no attempt to improve it, no attempt to test it and certinly no one should even attempt to alter it's holy bible.
Improve it? Sure. How?

"Alter it's (sic) holy bible". Firstly, how would that help? It is a largely historical document showing where AA came from and how early success was achieved. A lot has changed since then and as I said earlier, many many local members have far longer sobriety than any of the founders. Neither Bill or Bob ever suggested they had the first or last word on recovery; they - like everyone else - simply explained what worked for them.

Originally Posted by Malerin View Post
JREF is a de facto atheist organization, though not a de jure one.
AA seems to be a de jure theist/religious/spiritual organization, though not a de fact one.

That being said, I bet you'd find less religious discussion at an AA meeting, than at a JREF one.
Tha would be my experience too.

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Which, I suppose, is grand if you're the type of addict who doesn't care whether he's being idiotic or not. If you do, I'd think chances are AA is not the place for you.
Is it more idiotic for the alcoholic to drink themselves to death rather than actually try AA?
Is it more idiotic for someone to gamble, drink or drug their income before feeding the family than trying AA?
Is it more idiotic to wet the bed each night than try AA?
Is it more idiotic to soil ones pants frequently than to try spirituality?
Is it more idiotic to lose one's job and livelihood through drink rather than try AA?
Is it more idiotic (aside - I could go on all day here - to continue to drink and drive with children in the car than give AA a go.
Is it more idiotic for the addict to steal from family, friends and strangers that to try 12 step fellowships?
Is it more idiotic to sell one's body to get drug money than try AA?

Seriously, what is the more idiotic?

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
And, maybe, when you are an addict you shouldn't care all that much about looking like an idiot. (Maybe you already do, anyway, I don't know.) But that boils down to an "it's better than nothing" approach, and the actual numbers don't seem to be supporting that, even.
So nothing is better than something? Gotcha.

Hang on, what?

Last edited by Hallo Alfie; 24th July 2010 at 05:28 PM.
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:22 PM   #192
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Complexity View Post
Dynamic - You're comparing apples and oranges to no effect.
Complexity - You're arguing from bald assertion to no effect.
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:29 PM   #193
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
Complexity - You're arguing from bald assertion to no effect.
It does that a lot I've noticed.
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:35 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by A.A.Alfie View Post
Is it more idiotic for the alcoholic to drink themselves to death rather than actually try AA?
Is it more idiotic for someone to gamble, drink or drug their income before feeding the family than trying AA?
Is it more idiotic to wet the bed each night than try AA?
Is it more idiotic to soil ones pants frequently than to try spirituality?
Is it more idiotic to lose one's job and livelihood through drink rather than try AA?
Is it more idiotic (aside - I could go on all day here - to continue to drink and drive with children in the car than give AA a go.
Is it more idiotic for the addict to steal from family, friends and strangers that to try 12 step fellowships?
Is it more idiotic to sell one's body to get drug money than try AA?

Seriously, what is the more idiotic?
Right now, only your logical fallacies that you can't seem to be doing without. might I suggest a twelve steps program against those?

Quote:
So nothing is better than something? Gotcha.
Yes. If it is true, as others have suggested here, that AA offers no benefits over simply quitting cold turkey by yourself, then AA would actually be counter productive in at least some cases.

AA could never help me, because I can't stand dishonest and anti-intellectual ******** and I can't stand religion - both of which AA seems to be supplying in generous amounts. So chances are that AA would only add to the list of my problems rather than be part of a solution.

Good thing I'm not an addict, then, Well, even if I was, it wouldn't matter since I could just do something other than AA. Or nothing at all.

Did you watch the linked Penn and Teller Videos? I like the one-step-program: Just quit drinking.
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:40 PM   #195
Dymanic
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Of course. People here tend to care about being right or wrong.
Heh. Yow. Er, uh... yeah. Sure said a mouthful there, you did.
Quote:
And, maybe, when you are an addict you shouldn't care all that much about looking like an idiot.
One way I've heard it expressed in AA is that you can't always save your ass and your face at the same time. It may also be helpful for the addict (if you insist) to have it pointed out that getting puking-on-your-shoes drunk at important social functions may not be the best way to impress others with one's intelligence and sophistication either. What is perhaps most pertinent to this discussions is that tips like those have nothing to do with religion. To the extent that AA is "religious', it sure isn't all religious. You take what you can use, you leave the rest.
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:46 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
A rabbi, a voodoo priestess, and a yogi are out on a lake fishing; is that a religious organization, either de facto or de jure? In my opinion it is not, because being either would require that it be, at least to some degree, an organized religion; there would have to be at least some shared religious beliefs.
Even in your example, there are shared religious beliefs: they all believe in the supernatural (I assume the Yogi does). Now, are they starting an organization of some sort, dedicated to a common purpose (e.g., staying sober, debunking "woo", etc)?

Quote:
I agree that critical thinking is implicitly biased toward atheism; the lack of evidence for the existence of supernatural beings seems to me to make atheism the reasonable default (Occam's razor and all that), and therefore in a venue where the highest value is placed on evidence, it would be surprising not to see a consensus favoring atheism, whether that was embraced as official policy or not.
Atheism, maybe (though there are plenty of critical thinkers who are theists) Militant atheism of the type expressed here? That's as much a religious attitude as the people who come to my door on certain Sundays handing out tracts.

Quote:
Interesting point. I was going to say that the difference is probably more a matter of quality than quantity, but the more I think about it the more I think you may be right.
If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

Quote:
As I think I may have mentioned above, the AA group generally tends to be mostly uninterested in the details of one person's beliefs, and a member rambling on at length about that may (or may not) notice people getting fidgety, yawning, or even walking out of the room (it's not unusual for a few people to come and go during the course of a meeting anyway, but if you can't hold the room, it may be that you need to revise your material). If it starts to sound too much like proselytizing, the droner-on may even find himself cut off by the chairperson.
In other words, they don't care about God, they care about staying sober. I've never been to a meeting (ironically, I type that as I drink my 3rd beer of the day), but they don't sound like a religious organization. Maybe they were at one point, like Unitarians?

Quote:
By contrast, the JREF forum often features lengthy and very heated discussions on the minutest details of one person's beliefs, with many of the participants apparently very motivated to dissuade that person from continuing to hold those beliefs. In more than twenty years, I have never seen anything remotely like that in an AA meeting. In AA, the highest value is placed on results. If you're clean and sober and claim that your higher power is a doorknob, then everybody's just happy that that's working for you even if they themselves think it's completely idiotic.
Very true, and not what you generally find in an overtly religious setting.

Quote:
(Note: as a critical thinker, I too would question the post hoc ergo propter hoc assumption implicit in that, and I'll state for the record that I am not here advocating AA; I went to AA, and I stayed sober, but I can't claim that as evidence for the effectiveness of AA because the experiment uses a sample size of one and includes no control group).
It was effective for you, right?
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Old 24th July 2010, 05:49 PM   #197
Malerin
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Right now, only your logical fallacies that you can't seem to be doing without. might I suggest a twelve steps program against those?



Yes. If it is true, as others have suggested here, that AA offers no benefits over simply quitting cold turkey by yourself, then AA would actually be counter productive in at least some cases.

AA could never help me, because I can't stand dishonest and anti-intellectual ******** and I can't stand religion - both of which AA seems to be supplying in generous amounts. So chances are that AA would only add to the list of my problems rather than be part of a solution.

Good thing I'm not an addict, then, Well, even if I was, it wouldn't matter since I could just do something other than AA. Or nothing at all.

Did you watch the linked Penn and Teller Videos? I like the one-step-program: Just quit drinking.
Just stop being an asshat? Easier said than done...
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Old 24th July 2010, 06:08 PM   #198
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Right now, only your logical fallacies that you can't seem to be doing without. might I suggest a twelve steps program against those?
Dodges noted

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Yes. If it is true, as others have suggested here, that AA offers no benefits over simply quitting cold turkey by yourself, then AA would actually be counter productive in at least some cases.
You give the "suggested" of others. Hypocrite: where are your facts, sir?

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
AA could never help me, because I can't stand dishonest and anti-intellectual ******** and I can't stand religion - both of which AA seems to be supplying in generous amounts. So chances are that AA would only add to the list of my problems rather than be part of a solution.

Good thing I'm not an addict, then, Well, even if I was, it wouldn't matter since I could just do something other than AA. Or nothing at all.
Yes is fortunate for us all that you are a perfectly balanced reasonable, clear sighted and tolrant individual, and not an addict.
In actual fact, I believe you speak from a position of hatred of religion, intolerance and ignorance.

Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
Did you watch the linked Penn and Teller Videos? I like the one-step-program: Just quit drinking.
No I didn't see it. I was also unaware they were at the cutiing edge of professionals in the field.


I also note that you fail to respond to any questions I put to you. Not that you would care, but the ignore button is looming fast.
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Old 24th July 2010, 06:35 PM   #199
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Originally Posted by Dymanic View Post
I wonder if you concur with the agreement Pup and I reached above that JREF is an atheist organization in much the same sense, and to much the same extent, that AA is a religious organization.

If so, I wonder if you experience the same sense of outrage upon reading this statement by James Randi himself:
"I want this fully understood: the James Randi Educational Foundation is not an atheist organization...""
QFT
Nail meet head. It's cool though. We all have our skeptical blind spots.
I thought of an analogy the other day. Who remembers "A Few Good Men."?
The scene that I refer to is in the military trial where the defense attorney (Kevin Bacon as ROSS)tries to sabotage the prosecutor’s (Tom Cruise as KAFEE) whole strategy by attempting to deny that a ‘code red’ even exists. Here is the relevant part out of the script:

ROSS takes three books out of his briefcase and puts them on
the table. He brings one to HOWARD.

ROSS
Corporal Howard, I hold here The Marine
Guide and General Information Handbook for
New Recruits. Are you familiar with this
book?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

ROSS
Have you read it?

HOWARD
Yes sir.

ROSS
Good.
(hands him the book)
Would you turn to the chapter that deals
with code reds, please.

HOWARD
Sir?

ROSS
Just flip to the page in that book that
discusses code reds.

HOWARD
Sir, you see, Code Red is a term we use–
it’s just used down at GITMO, sir. I
don’t know if it actually–

ROSS has produced another book.

ROSS
We’re in luck, then. The Marine Corps
Guide for Sentry Duty, NAVY BASE
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I assume we’ll find
the term code red and its definition in
this book, am I correct?

HOWARD
No sir.

ROSS
No? Corporal Howard, I’m a marine. Is
their no book, no manual or pamphlet, no
set of orders or regulations that let me
know that, as a marine, one of my duties
is to perform code reds?

HOWARD
(pause)
No sir. No books, sir.

ROSS
No further questions.

ROSS sits. KAFFEE walks over to ROSS‘s table and picks
up one of the books. He brings it to HOWARD.

KAFFEE
Corporal, would you turn to the page in
this book that says where the enlisted
men’s mess hall is?

HOWARD
Lt. Kaffee, that’s not in the book, sir.

KAFFEE
I don’t understand, how did you know where
the enlisted men’s mess hall was if it’s
not in this book?

HOWARD
I guess I just followed the crowd at chow
time, sir.

KAFFEE
No more questions.

KAFFEE chucks the book back on ROSS‘s desk.

Just because it's not in the book doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
The literature is a small part of AA. The big book and a fair amount of the literature is dogmatic, just like religion, but those of you that continue to try and pigeon hole AA Alfie because he can't provide hard evidence of his claims refuse to accept reality.
AA worked for this atheist and countless others.
AA keeps 0 records.
AA could care less weather or not courts send convicted criminals to it or not.
AA is to god
What the JREF is to atheism.
__________________
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"You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out" - Warren Buffett
"Gods don't write books, people do. Gods create Universes. When you refuse to study the Universe, but choose instead to study a book, you are studying the work of men, not God." -Brainache
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Old 24th July 2010, 06:40 PM   #200
Hallo Alfie
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 10,703
Bravo Sir
Well said.
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