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Tags atheism , Atheism Plus

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Old 21st August 2012, 11:20 AM   #1
Ocelot
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Atheism Plus/Free Thought Blogs (FTB)

Personally I've been pretty turned off of FTB of late but I'm undecided about this new thing out of the comments on Jen McCreight's blog.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/atheism/

Quote:
Atheists plus we care about social justice,
Atheists plus we support women’s rights,
Atheists plus we protest racism,
Atheists plus we fight homophobia and transphobia,
Atheists plus we use critical thinking and skepticism.
Seemed like it was a touch dogmatic up until that last point

I wonder if it will catch on. Is there anything to elevate it above the similar offerings of secular humanism in an already crowded marketplace of ideas.

But seriously according to the (official?) twitterfeed no it's not just secular humanism... because they've got a logo.

Personally I have to prefer the Humanist Manifesto III abbreviated as follows

Quote:
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of evolutionary change, an unguided process.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.
Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.
Respect for differing yet humane views in an open, secular, democratic, environmentally sustainable society.
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Last edited by Ocelot; 21st August 2012 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 21st August 2012, 11:53 AM   #2
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I rather dislike the tendency of some atheists to attribute to atheism anything more than the rejection of god claims--Alain de Botton, I'm lookin' at you. It's fantastic to be concerned with social justice and prejudice, but these are ethical/political issues, not metaphysical ones. I rarely even mention my atheism anymore, as it is such a miniscule part of who I am.
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Old 21st August 2012, 12:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
I rather dislike the tendency of some atheists to attribute to atheism anything more than the rejection of god claims--Alain de Botton, I'm lookin' at you. It's fantastic to be concerned with social justice and prejudice, but these are ethical/political issues, not metaphysical ones. I rarely even mention my atheism anymore, as it is such a miniscule part of who I am.
There seem to be two issues here. One is the right of people attending conferences to avoid being harassed and mistreated. This seems to be an entirely reasonable idea. However, this has lead to a more general list of values to which atheists are supposed to subscribe. I can imagine that being more controversial.
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Old 21st August 2012, 12:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
I rather dislike the tendency of some atheists to attribute to atheism anything more than the rejection of god claims--Alain de Botton, I'm lookin' at you. It's fantastic to be concerned with social justice and prejudice, but these are ethical/political issues, not metaphysical ones. I rarely even mention my atheism anymore, as it is such a miniscule part of who I am.
I feel the same way. While I do happen to be an atheist, this label only applies to my lack of belief in gods. I also happen to be a guitarist and a motor-sport fan. I don't refer to myself as an "atheist" when describing my positions on things like social issues, ethics or politics. My lack of belief in gods certainly influences my positions regarding a number of issues, but the term "atheist" is inadequate to define me.
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Old 21st August 2012, 12:43 PM   #5
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Atheists plus we care about Religous freedom.
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Old 21st August 2012, 12:57 PM   #6
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I was hoping it was atheism plus all these amoral orgies I keep hearing are rampant.

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Old 21st August 2012, 01:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
I rather dislike the tendency of some atheists to attribute to atheism anything more than the rejection of god claims--Alain de Botton, I'm lookin' at you. It's fantastic to be concerned with social justice and prejudice, but these are ethical/political issues, not metaphysical ones. I rarely even mention my atheism anymore, as it is such a miniscule part of who I am.

I think that I have a very strong sense of social justice. I'm an atheist. I'm also a lawyer. I would say that both have helped me refine and concentrate my political beliefs. However, my political beliefs helped interest me in atheism and the law. Which one implies which other? It all seems to be one big mess.


Much like the mess of intertwined noodles that make up the great FSM
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Old 21st August 2012, 01:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
There seem to be two issues here. One is the right of people attending conferences to avoid being harassed and mistreated.
Ah. I've heard a little about the harassment controversy in the skeptic community, but I didn't think that had anything to do with Atheism Plus. I could see how one would want to restrain atheists' behavior at certain events, but we don't need a new atheism (new New Atheism?) to accomplish that.
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Old 21st August 2012, 01:26 PM   #9
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Does the plus cost extra?
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Old 21st August 2012, 01:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ocelot View Post
Personally I've been pretty turned off of FTB of late but I'm undecided about this new thing out of the comments on Jen McCreight's blog.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/atheism/



Seemed like it was a touch dogmatic up until that last point

I wonder if it will catch on. Is there anything to elevate it above the similar offerings of secular humanism in an already crowded marketplace of ideas.

But seriously according to the (official?) twitterfeed no it's not just secular humanism... because they've got a logo.

Personally I have to prefer the Humanist Manifesto III abbreviated as follows
Syntactically incorrect.

The next level of atheism is "atheism++"

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Old 21st August 2012, 03:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I think that I have a very strong sense of social justice. I'm an atheist. I'm also a lawyer. I would say that both have helped me refine and concentrate my political beliefs. However, my political beliefs helped interest me in atheism and the law. Which one implies which other? It all seems to be one big mess.
Yes, there is a large amount of overlap and atheists tend to share a fair number of values, but those values aren't necessarily attributable to atheism. For example, someone might be an atheist because they were never exposed to religious ideas and have completely different values from atheists who have reached this conclusion through reasoned discourse. A Chinese atheist may not share many values with American atheists because of the difference in cultures. Ascribing a specific set of values to atheists just doesn't work.
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Old 21st August 2012, 03:17 PM   #12
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Atheism is a conclusion, nothing more. It's a significant conclusion, but it's not foundational to one's view of life and the universe. Your conclusion is based on SOMETHING--and that something can be incredibly diverse. I often say that atheism is as diverse as theism is, and support it by pointing out that both Marx and Ayn Rand were atheists.

All atheism means--the entirety of its meaning--is "a lack of belief in any deities". The rest is something else, which may be related to atheism but which does not necessarily stem FROM atheism. Those topics should properly be addressed as separate issues.

Let's take the first example: social justice. It's entirely plausible to conclude that gods don't exist and to develop some theory of social justice from the same dataset (specifically, atheistic biologists tend to think this way in my experience). On the other hand, it's equally plausible that one can look at a different dataset and conclude that gods don't exist, and that societies don't exist (ie, societies are nothing more than large numbers of individuals). One can also conclude that gods don't exist, and that it's your obligation to BECOME a god and society must bow to your whims as its proper master, and that you define justice as you wish. That latter is completely irrational, but nothing says that atheism necessarily makes one rational (you can become an atheist for insane reasons just as much as for sane ones).
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Old 21st August 2012, 03:26 PM   #13
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I'm a super atheist. I believe SETI is too similar to prayer. In fact, I'm still torn about using the internet to talk to people I'm not sure actually exist. Gonna need photo verification from every person in this topic.
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Old 21st August 2012, 03:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
Ascribing a specific set of values to atheists just doesn't work.
Indeed but that would be ∵Atheism rather than Atheism+

As I read it Atheism+ isn't supposed to be all the opinions an atheist is supposed to have because they're an atheist.

Instead it is a manifesto that includes atheism. I assume the notion is to suggest that these all spring from critical thinking. For which I find I have a certain empathy. It's all very well saying that there's no logical reason why a lack of theistic belief should result in any particular stance on social issues but nonetheless in practice there does appear to be a constituency of like minded godless liberals.

Yet I can't help thinking that in practice it's very much like the "The Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers". That this creed exists as a shortcut to excluding people for holding certain opinions and that sort of thing doesn't spring from critical thinking at all.
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Old 21st August 2012, 03:41 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ocelot
but nonetheless in practice there does appear to be a constituency of like minded godless liberals.
There's certainly a correlation, but equally certainly it 1) isn't as strong as many suppose (Objectivism is an atheistic philosophy, for example), and 2) doesn't imply any causal connection.

If a group of like-minded atheists wants to devise a name for themselves and have a formal organization, I say good on them. Seriously, one of the things that religions provide that atheism currently fails utterly at is providing a sence of community--my wife and I had a fair amount of trouble in Alabama because we weren't members of any church, and that's how people assumed you'd meet friends back there, to give an anecdotal example. Atheists offering a similar sense of community and companionship would be a fantastic thing to see. However, in my opinion using the term Atheism+ has a lot of implications that simply aren't right. First, it implies to outsiders that their views are representative fo atheism as a whole, which isn't true. Second, it implies to atheists that they see themselves as better than your average run-of-the-mill atheist. They've ascended to a higher plain of atheism or something. It invites a standoffishness that isn't good--it encourages isolation of the group, and us vs. them mentality. And we can do better than that.
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Old 21st August 2012, 03:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Merton View Post
I rather dislike the tendency of some atheists to attribute to atheism anything more than the rejection of god claims--Alain de Botton, I'm lookin' at you. It's fantastic to be concerned with social justice and prejudice, but these are ethical/political issues, not metaphysical ones. I rarely even mention my atheism anymore, as it is such a miniscule part of who I am.
Well, yes and no.

I get where you're coming from, and I agree: the absence of an affirmative belief in supernatural deities has nothing on the face of it to do with politics, social justice, or anything else.

However, in the US and in some other countries, political parties, ideology, laws, social mores, and political platforms are largely bound up in religious beliefs. When one lives in a nominally progressive, First World nation which has had a president in recent history who has said "atheists should not be citizens; this is one nation under God" or a political party platform that is largely rationalized on a particular interpretation of a particular holy scripture, it becomes a lot harder to say that "being an atheist" has nothing to do with politics or social ideas.

Originally Posted by FosterZygote
I feel the same way. While I do happen to be an atheist, this label only applies to my lack of belief in gods. I also happen to be a guitarist and a motor-sport fan. I don't refer to myself as an "atheist" when describing my positions on things like social issues, ethics or politics. My lack of belief in gods certainly influences my positions regarding a number of issues, but the term "atheist" is inadequate to define me.
On the other hand, it's rare that you would be in a context where people would claim that your skill as a guitarist, or your right to participate in motor sports, should depend on your theistic beliefs or lack thereof. On the other hand, when it comes to atheism and politics, that IS a claim we hear. So in that way, being an atheist is different from being a guitarist or being a motor sports fan as it relates to thinks like politics or social systems.

Originally Posted by Beerina
I was hoping it was atheism plus all these amoral orgies I keep hearing are rampant.
In my experience, moral orgies are more fun. They take more work to set up, though.

Originally Posted by Ocelot
Yet I can't help thinking that in practice it's very much like the "The Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers". That this creed exists as a shortcut to excluding people for holding certain opinions and that sort of thing doesn't spring from critical thinking at all.
On the other hand, the notion that all ideas, and all behaviors, are equally 'worthy' and that there is no value in promoting any one set of ideas or behaviors over another doesn't hold up very well, either.
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Old 21st August 2012, 04:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Does the plus cost extra?
Not if you ACT NOW!!
Call now and we will throw in an extra atheism FREE!!
(just pay the shipping and handling)
That's right! Two atheisms for one unbelievably low price!!
(plus shipping and handling)
Order within the next 10 minutes and we'll throw in a free "Shrug if you're agnostic" bumper sticker!!
(while supplies last, one per customer)
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Old 21st August 2012, 05:25 PM   #18
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That "atheism plus" manifesto was way too dogmatic for my taste. Especially the cult-leader-speak of denouncing and shunning those who have the wrong sort of ideas. I'll opt out of that nonsense without being pushed.

As for sense of community, there are thousands of meet ups in my area, and probably dozens in any medium-sized city. In my experience, attempting to establish a community based on "atheism" has been less than satisfying; I'm happier with the people I meet through shared interests. Frequently they turn out to be atheists too, but we don't have to bore each other talking about religion.
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Old 21st August 2012, 05:33 PM   #19
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Sounds Double-Plus Good!
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Old 21st August 2012, 05:41 PM   #20
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I recommend holding off until the Atheism SE comes out.
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Old 21st August 2012, 06:06 PM   #21
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Is this like Google+?

I think I'll just keep my disbelief in God in the same plain non-additive version as my disbelief in 2012's nasty Planet X.
My ethical values stand independent of theology.
Adding stuff to my lack of a belief in God turns it into some kind of religion.
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Old 21st August 2012, 08:19 PM   #22
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Isn't this just Secular Humanism?
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Old 21st August 2012, 08:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
Isn't this just Secular Humanism?
Of course it is. However, co-opting words with one meaning so that they refer to something else entirely which already has a name is common enough.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 12:26 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Tsukasa Buddha View Post
Isn't this just Secular Humanism?
Well I popped over to their twitter feed to copy and paste this

https://twitter.com/atheismplus/stat...82223501189120

Quote:
Some people say this is just humanism. They're wrong. Humanism doesn't have a logo. #atheismplus
Yet what I also found was this

https://twitter.com/jennifurret/stat...79476825350145

Quote:
Dear smug humanists: My critique of the atheist movement included you. Your groups are infamous for being mostly old, white, men
https://twitter.com/atheismplus/stat...33890705162240

Quote:
#atheismplus This is no longer about people who are white, middle-class, college-educated, cisgendered, and male. They've had their time.
So I guess that's settled it for me Atheism plus isn't for me.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 03:19 AM   #25
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I support all the points in the atheist+ list because I have reached an opinion based on observation of what has happened when those points are transgressed.

But the action of making such a list means that some will subscribe to the list just to be part of that particular group. In time, it will become unthinking dogma. Anybody who disagrees will be excluded.

I can appreciate the motives behind getting atheists organised but I feel that an act of organisation will destroy the individualism, freethinking and sheer variety of that herd of cats I admire.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 05:00 AM   #26
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"Secular humanism is all heterosexual white middle class educated men. Atheism Plus is brand new! It's about heterosexual white middle class educated women!"
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Old 22nd August 2012, 06:14 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Ocelot View Post
Well I popped over to their twitter feed to copy and paste this

https://twitter.com/atheismplus/stat...82223501189120



Yet what I also found was this

https://twitter.com/jennifurret/stat...79476825350145



https://twitter.com/atheismplus/stat...33890705162240



So I guess that's settled it for me Atheism plus isn't for me.
I am pretty sure that @atheism+ is a parody account. I have no other way to explain tweets like "When dealing with dissent, the atheist+ should examine the person making the argument, not the argument itself. #atheismplus #privilege".

Not to say the parody (if that's what it is) doesn't reveal some truth about the thinking swirling around in the group, but I think it's deliberately taking things to the extreme.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 07:10 AM   #28
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I've swung back and forth on whether @Atheism+ is parody or not. At least 90% seems pretty dead pan then they say something that seems so full of crazy you realise they can't be serious. But then you realise that the crazy thing didn't originate from @Atheism+ but was a retweet from Jen McCreight herself.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 07:17 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Ocelot View Post
Seemed like it was a touch dogmatic up until that last point
I hope that wink is there because that is the dumbest thing that someone could say.
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Personally I have to prefer the Humanist Manifesto III abbreviated as follows
Sure, it's much easier to mouth platitudes about ethics than actually consider what has to be addressed.

I have to agree that the so-called critical thinking movement is filled with people who like the idea of critical thinking who never bother to apply the critical thinking to much of their own life, opinions, and activities.

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Old 22nd August 2012, 07:34 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Kwalish Kid View Post
I hope that wink is there because that is the dumbest thing that someone could say.
What's dumb?
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Old 22nd August 2012, 07:39 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
I was hoping it was atheism plus all these amoral orgies I keep hearing are rampant.

You have to visit Europe for that.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 07:41 AM   #32
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ON the question of the @Atheist_plus twitter account it certainly looks like people are engaging with it as official.

https://twitter.com/atheism_plus/sta...80059423703040

Quote:
@LogicalNarwhal:
RT @atheism_plus: How about a topic: how can we get people just coming into unbelief to go A+ instead of vanilla atheist? << What's vanilla?

@atheism_plus:
@LogicalNarwhal Vanilla as in simple unbelief in a deity, without then applying the same reasoning that led you to that to other things.

@LogicalNarwhal:
@atheism_plus Okay, I don't follow FtB so can you help me out?

@atheism_plus:
@LogicalNarwhal Essentially its about atheists creating a community that has more in common than simply not believing in god(s)

@LogicalNarwhal:
@atheism_plus Is it opt-in? What if my value set doesn't line up with the majority on certain things?

@atheism_plus:
@LogicalNarwhal Theres consensus on some values (feminism, pro-LGBT, stuff that defines basic decency tbh), but beyond that we can disagree.

@tkmlac:
@atheism_plus @LogicalNarwhal *cough cough* ******** *cough cough*

‏@atheism_plus:
@tkmlac @LogicalNarwhal What bit is ********?

@tkmlac
@atheism_plus @LogicalNarwhal Not to mention, you CAN be the wrong type of feminist to them.

‏@atheism_plus
@tkmlac @LogicalNarwhal If you are pro-life, you aren't a type of feminist at all. I thought that was fairly well established by now.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 07:43 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
I feel the same way. While I do happen to be an atheist, this label only applies to my lack of belief in gods. I also happen to be a guitarist and a motor-sport fan.
Heathen.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 07:54 AM   #34
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Yes, let's waste all the time we've put into explaining atheism is just not believing in gods and start calling secular humanism atheism plus.

I mean, let's not.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 08:09 AM   #35
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Logos?! We don't need no steenkin' logos!

Yeah, from what Ocelot has linked so far, I am not a male, not white, not quite old, and not a fan of atheism2.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 08:48 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Logos?! We don't need no steenkin' logos!

Yeah, from what Ocelot has linked so far, I am not a male, not white, not quite old, and not a fan of atheism2.
You should bear in mind that "privilege" is a huge time-saver, argument-wise.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 08:57 AM   #37
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I'm going to hold out for the true successor to Atheism:

Btheism.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 09:03 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by dasmiller View Post
I'm going to hold out for the true successor to Atheism:

Btheism.
Atheism is, umm...
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Old 22nd August 2012, 09:04 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
You should bear in mind that "privilege" is a huge time-saver, argument-wise.

Pfft, I am old-fashioned, I don't want time-savers in my arguments. I want them to be drawn-out and involve bodily fluids and broken glassware.
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Old 22nd August 2012, 09:11 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Hokulele View Post
Pfft, I am old-fashioned, I don't want time-savers in my arguments. I want them to be drawn-out and involve bodily fluids and broken glassware.
Unfortunately, in my experience, broken glassware often correlates with the wrong bodily fluids.

ETA: but maybe I've been doing it wrong
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