What happened to the Reason Whisperer?

From January 9, 2014:

It’s possible to talk people out of faith and into reason. The proposed program will show viewers how to do just that.

Dr. Peter Boghossian, author of the best selling book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, will go into the community and engage a wide variety of people in conversations designed to disabuse them of faith, superstition, and irrationality, and help them embrace reason.

These are conversations with real people. There are no stooges and no actors.

Interventions will be recorded and analyzed. Then, post-production, Dr. Boghossian will guide viewers through a step-by-step breakdown of the techniques he employs.

That’s about two and a half years ago.  Is Project Reason producing it?

On Dec 19, 2013 Boghossian wrote:

Coming soon to a screen near you. Buckle in.

Some Gnu took him seriously:

32f3ca2800000578-3529274-image-m-36_1460078357575

Below the fold is the current photo:

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Posted in atheism, New Atheism, Peter Boghossian, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Atheists Claim to Have Suffered Great Harm From….Seeing An Image

According to the lawsuit filed by the FFRF, four atheists in Lehigh County (all members of the FFRF),  are suffering “irreparable harm” because of a 70+ year old government seal. I kid you not:

As a result of the actions and inactions of Lehigh County, each of the plaintiffs are suffering and will suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law.

Again:

As a result of the actions and inactions of Lehigh County, each of the plaintiffs are suffering and will suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law.

We have already seen there is no evidence the seal is “advancing religion”:  The FFRF’s Vacuous Case Against Lehigh County’s Seal

To date, no atheist on the internet has been able to dispute my arguments.  This underscores my point about the insincerity of Gnu atheist demands for evidence (more on that later). If they are willing to file lawsuits without any supporting evidence, why think evidence is important to them when it comes to other issues?

So next we should ask if there is any evidence these four atheists are indeed “suffering” and have suffered “irreparable harm.”  Given the track record thus far, I didn’t expect to find any.  And I was right:

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Posted in atheism, atheist activism, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 39 Comments

More Evidence the New Atheist Movement is Collapsing

Sarah Paquette, a former student of Peter Boghossian, and someone involved in promoting the app that tells atheists what to say when they are debating, makes an interesting admission half-way through an otherwise boring interview: At 10:30, she says the following about Boghossian:

He had a seminar New Atheism but unfortunately I don’t think it’s coming back next year simply because the attendance was not high enough which is pretty….sad. It’s a loss.

I’m shocked. Boghossian’s New Atheism class was a flop.

Here’s how the class was sold:

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Posted in New Atheism, Peter Boghossian, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Atheos: The App That Tries to Control Atheist Incivility

As we all know, New Atheists have long had a problem with civility.  Whether it’s Richard Dawkins encouraging his followers to mock religious people, who he routinely attacks as “faith-heads,” or Sam Harris and Jerry Coyne trying to thwart Francis Collins appointment to head the NIH with a public smear campaign, or PZ Myers looking for publicity by threatening to destroy a Eucharist wafer, or it’s just the hundreds of mean-spirited anti-religious memes New Atheists soldiers post, civility is something that New Atheists have struggled with.  In fact, it’s so bad that many atheists distance themselves from the New Atheists, causing the New Atheists to lash out at them as “accomodationists” and “faiththeists.”

Perhaps because of the bad public image that follows from such incivility,  atheist activist Peter Boghossian is trying to reign it in with his new app, Atheos:

Peter Boghossian, a philosophy professor at Portland State University, and a team of PSU students have created a new app called Atheos to facilitate respectful debates between atheists and people with different religious beliefs.

The target audience is clearly the New Atheist community and Boghossian identifies the need:

“There are ways to have productive, civil conversations about contentious issues such as religion, faith, supernatural beliefs, even politics,” says Boghossian

Boghossian recognizes that the New Atheist community is in need of learning ways to have productive, civil conversations and his app is part of the solution.

As an example of how Gnu’s need to have their uncivil behavior constrained, here is what one atheist had to learn from the app:

One of the first categories is “Time to flee,” which tackles the best way to respond to extremely emotional situations by backing off. For example, if someone says, “I was just diagnosed with cancer, but I know God will heal me,” DO NOT respond with, “Didn’t God give you cancer to begin with?” Instead, you should respond with, “I’m sorry you’re sick. Is there something I can do to help?” Being diagnosed with cancer is scary enough without adding a faith crisis on top of things!

Yes, trying to score debate points with someone’s cancer is not civil.  If Atheos can teach just a few Gnu’s this basic lesson, there might be some good to it.

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Posted in atheism, Atheos, New Atheism, Peter Boghossian, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 41 Comments

The FFRF’s Vacuous Case Against Lehigh County’s Seal

The militant atheist activist group, The Freedom From Religion Foundation, has filed a federal lawsuit against Lehigh County (in Pennsylvania) because of the county’s seal.  Here is what the seal looks like:

lehigh-county-seal-116fd87113f0b0b8

The cross in the center has outraged the atheist activists.  Hemant Mehta, the atheist activist who encourages journalists to write negative stories about religious people, is of course cheerleading for his fellow activists. In doing so, he quotes an excerpt from the lawsuit:

By adopting and displaying a seal and flag with a Latin cross, the county is violating the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The purpose is religious, not secular, and “has the primary effect of both advancing religion and expressing defendant’s preference for Christianity above all other religions and nonreligion,” the plaintiffs contend.

FFRF and its co-plaintiffs are seeking a declaration that the religious symbols on the county seal and flag are unconstitutional, a permanent injunction against displaying them, nominal damages, costs and attorney fees.

“Lehigh County is not a Christian county, it should be equally welcoming to all its citizens regardless of their religion or their reject of religion. A redesign to comply with the Constitution is imperative,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

(his emphasis)

While I am not a lawyer, I have a good handle on critical thinking.  So let’s take a closer look at these allegations.

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Posted in Culture, Religion, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

The Mind of a New Atheist

In the comments section, New Atheist Stardusty Pysche taunts me into providing evidence for the existence of God:

you cannot state what your supposed evidence is, so you only dance around the subject with endless excuses as to why you don’t simply state it.

What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?

Yet when Dusty was asked what type of data he would count as evidence for God, he replied:

I think there are potential demonstrations that could be analyzed to find that they violate the fundamental behaviors of the material universe, for example creating something from nothing, traveling both back and forward in time at will, making something be both true and untrue at the same time.

In other words, a Gap – something that could not possibly be explained by natural laws. The evidence Dusty needs is a powerful, undeniable Gap. His atheism is built on god-of-the-gaps logic in that it entails the acceptance of Gaps as evidence for God.  Yet like all New Atheists, Dusty rejects the god-of-the-gaps logic as valid.

All that New Atheist talk about there being no evidence for  god is nothing more than the Gnu insisting there isn’t a gappy enough Gap for him/her. Look, if I provided Dusty with a gap, he would complain about god-of-the-gaps. If I provided him with something that is not a gap, he’d complain that it’s not a gap and thus there is no need to invoke God.  This is a classic example of the  “heads I win, tails you lose” con.

Dusty and the Gnus don’t understand the subjective dimension to evidence.

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Posted in atheism, New Atheism, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 20 Comments

How the Atheist Activist Community Works

While the Atheist Activist community sells itself as a group of people who place priority on evidence and critical thinking, the community instead thrives by peddling propaganda and negative stereotypes about religious people.  Activist Hemant Mehta effectively admitted this when offering advice on how to be an atheist activist by encouraging atheist journalists to “Write about problems within the church. Tell stories about people who deal with religious oppression.”  In other words, employ the propagandistic technique of cherry picking, which is not hard to do thanks to the internet’s ability to record every infraction or outrageous claim that occurs around the globe.

Mehta, of course, relies on this technique as fodder for his popular activist atheist blog.  For example, in a recent thread, Mehta posted a blog entry entitled: The Jehovah’s Witnesses Allowed a Sex Offender to Proselytize Door to Door… Then Someone Noticed.

To help atheists understand how this propagandistic cherry picking works, imagine of the atheist activist approach was used against another large group of people – educators. What if I were to create a blog that sought to demonize educators?  Let’s call it, “Teacher! Leave Those Kids Alone!”  Would it be hard to follow Mehta’s advice and regularly find stories that put teachers in a bad light?  Not at all.  Let’s say, for example, my anti-teacher blog was trying to sell the message that teachers can’t be trusted around children.  One way to sell that message would be to post, on a fairly regular basis, stories about teachers being arrested for sexual misconduct with their students. Thanks to the internet, let me show you how easy it would be.

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Posted in atheism, atheist activism, media, New Atheism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 46 Comments

More Changes in the Activist Atheist Community

About 5-6 few weeks ago, Richard Carrier made this public on his blog:

In terms of public facts: I am not an employee of either Camp Quest or the SSA, or any of their affiliates. Nor am I on their boards of directors or speakers’ bureaus. I have rarely even volunteered for them. And “the wife of the Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance” is a strange way to refer to Amanda Metskas, who is actually the national Executive Director of Camp Quest, which Amy seems to be concerned about. Amanda and I are indeed dating. But she and her husband, August Brunsman, are publicly polyamorous,

And now we learn:

After a decade and a half of service, August E. Brunsman IV, Executive Director of the Secular Student Alliance, has announced his decision to depart the organization in the next year as he looks toward the next phase of his life.

Connected?  Coincidence?

In the meantime, Carrier is looking for a place to crash on his road trip to some myther conference:

I’ll be driving from Columbus to Milwaukee to attend the debate. But I don’t have to go direct. I can go a circuitous route. So I’ll be giving those tickets to anyone who can arrange the following:

  • A place to crash for a night on my way to Milwaukee.
  • A gathering of fans or any other interested folk who’d love to hang out and chat with me about history or philosophy, at any pub of your choosing (or any house or place you prefer).

You’ll need to be flexible as to the exact evening for the meetup; it could be any weeknight before that Friday. But we’ll lock the exact night down well in advance. I won’t be delivering a speech or anything. I’ll just be showing up, free of charge, to hang out.

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Posted in atheist activism, social justice atheism, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Vampire as Victim

From here:

A man who lives as a vampire has said he “just wants to be treated like everyone else.”

Darkness Vlad Tepes, who said he had been living as a vampire for 13 years, sleeps in a custom made-to-measure coffin.

He said he had also drunk cow and pig’s blood, as well as a human blood substitute.

Okay, so the guy wants to pretend he is a vampire.  But here’s the problem.  Are we all supposed to agree that Darkness is a vampire?  If we don’t agree, does that make us closed-minded bigots?

What’s more, let’s say Darkness goes to college and lives in a dormitory.  Does the college have a civil rights obligation to make sure his dorm room has a coffin for him to sleep in?

Of course, it turns out that the vampire is a victim:

Darkness said until recently he had very few problems from other people.

However this changed when he went for a drink with friends at a pub in Oswaldtwistle where he said he was openly abused because of the way he dressed.

He likened the abuse to the attack on Sophie Lancaster, the teenager who was murdered in a Bacup park because of she was dressed like a Goth.

Oh my goodness!  Did someone try to put a stake through the vampire’s heart?

Er…no:

Darkness, 25, said: “I went into the pub with two mates and a lad piped up and asked if I was abused as a child when I was young because of the way I look.

“I felt so ashamed and embarrassed that I would get asked such a personal question based on my choice of lifestyle.

“Everyone has their beliefs and I don’t believe I should be persecuted for following mine.

So someone merely asking Darkness if he was abused as a child was like showing him a crucifix!  He was clearly victimized!  And persecuted.

“I might be a vampire but I just want to be treated like everyone else.

“People have got to accept the fact that what’s normal to them is not normal to us, and what’s normal to us is not normal to them.”

The vampire is trying to impose his values on everyone else.  This leads to a question.

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Posted in secular values, Social Justice, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

New Atheism’s Obituary

As a tribute to the Decline of New Atheism, let’s pause for a moment of silence and contemplate the accomplishments of the movement’s movers and shakers.

The Four Horsemen

Christopher Hitchens: Passed away in 2011 and has now become immortalized among the dwindling number of Gnus as an internet meme.

Daniel Dennett: They needed a Fourth Horseman to make the metaphor work so he was it.  Other than getting into arguments with Sam Harris about free will, Dennett has never produced much as a leader of the Gnus.

Richard Dawkins:  After the success of his God Delusion, his reputation has taken a nose dive.  He appeared in a documentary with Lawrence Krauss that was a complete flop.  His two volume autobiography was also a flop.  Dawkins retained attention through persistent tweeting which, ironically, earned him the reputation of being a racist and a sexist.  Early in 2016, Dawkins suffered a stroke which he attributed in part to all the stress from tweeting.  Currently, he no longer tweets often and when he does, he seems obsessed with the Brexit vote.

Sam Harris:  Perhaps because he was sensing the decline of the New Atheism movement, Harris attempted  to expand his market and appeal to the New Age crowd as an atheist guru, even offering instructions on how to meditate.  But his marketing plans fell apart after he couldn’t resist the urge to attack the entire religion of Islam over and over again.  These days, he is either in a meditative sleep to convince himself that Sam Harris does not exist but, when conscious, is trying to prove to the world that Sam Harris is not a racist.

The Fifth Horseman

With the death of Hitchens, several New Atheists with PhDs auditioned for the role as a replacement Horseman.  None of them caught on.

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Posted in atheism, atheist activism, New Atheism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 14 Comments