Saturday, May 16, 2015

On Ridicule, Bullying, and Whining Hypocrisy


Reppert says:
You can debate and discuss, or you can use other means. But debate and discussion involve following certain rules, in particular, the principle of charity. So some people can debate and discuss, and some people can ridicule, but they don't mix, if not in theory at least in practice, because argument requires the principle of charity and ridicule precludes it.
Pardon me, but since when has charity been practiced on his blog?  He moans and groans incessantly about Dawkins for saying atheists should "sharpen our barbs", yet he and his cultists are blind to the fact that their fellow theists have had their fangs bared for centuries.  Since the days of Constantine, they have wasted no opportunity to bully and ridicule non-believers, not to mention imprison, torture, murder, and any other kind of punishment they can come up with.

As soon as Christians gained political dominance in the Roman Empire, they began persecuting and mistreating non-believers with a vengeance.  This far exceeded any kind of persecution they were subjected to in earlier times.   And they never looked back.

In more recent times, the more violent tactics of Christians have been curtailed by secular law, but their attitudes have not changed.  There is no shortage of Christians who are arrogant, rude, foul-mouthed, and hateful.  Some of them are Victor's cultists.  People like crude are far more caustic than any atheist Victor has banned from his blog.  Even many of those who have more of a veneer of civility wouldn't give an atheist the courtesy of listening to his argument, no matter how well-reasoned it might be.

This gem from Augustine appeared on Victor's blog some time ago.
Even after the plain truth has been thoroughly demonstrated, so far as a person is capable of doing, the confirmed skeptic will insist on maintaining belief in his own irrational notions. This is due to either a great blindness, which renders him incapable of seeing what is plainly set before him, or on account of an opinionative obstinacy, which prevents him from acknowledging the truth of what he does see. Thence arises the woeful necessity of going to ridiculous lengths to expound yet more fully on what we have already made perfectly clear, in hopes that we might get through to those who close their minds to reason.

And yet how shall we ever profit from our discussions, or what bounds can be set to our discourse, if we forever fall to the temptation of replying to those who reply to us? We must acknowledge that those who are so hardened by the habit of contradiction will never yield, but would rather reply out of stubbornness, even when they recognize their own error.
Victor thought this arrogant, obstinate refusal to listen to non-believers' arguments was sage advice for theists, and his cultists are in unanimous in agreement.  Where's the debate?  Where's the discussion?  Where's the charity?  Victor has never been willing to apply the "principle of charity" to anything Dawkins has said, and the same thing goes for many other atheists.

They fuss and whine about atheists who advocate ridicule, but they do plenty of it themselves, and Victor never has a problem with that.  Victor cries about comments made to him on John Loftus' blog.  But  those comments are quite tame in comparison to some the things his own cultists say to atheists.  What a bunch of sniveling, whining hypocrites.  They love to dish out their own brand of vitriol, but they can't take their beliefs being the butt of ridicule without whining and crying about how nasty those atheists are.

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. What a bunch of sniveling, whining hypocrites.

    LOLOLOL!!!! The irony of whining about whining... hilarious!

    I guess that's what happens when you can't premise your way out of a paper bag.

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    1. The real irony is that you seem to think you're smarter than John Loftus. I have yet to hear you make any kind of cogent argument at all - ever. Your commentary is entirely ad hominem vitriol.

      Here's a challenge for you: say something - anything - that shows there's some intelligent thought rattling around inside your head among all that hostility. Try making an actual argument yourself, including premises clearly identified and conclusions that actually follow from them.

      I bet you can't do it.

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  3. You need to take a look at cl's blog. It's chock full of actual arguments, including premises clearly identified and conclusions that actually follow from them, and on an amazing variety of subjects. Lots of intelligent thoughts rattling around in his head.

    And no, I don't agree with everything cl says - but he never fails to be thought provoking!

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    1. If he can do it on his blog, he can do it here as well. I think that he's one of those people who feels that he's in a perpetual battle, and would rather fight than argue his point. He can save that for Victor's blog.

      He actually invited me to his blog, quite some time ago. He had made a post describing what he supposed was some kind of supernatural event that he had experienced, and wanted me to comment on it. I postulated a mundane explanation for it, and was startled to see his reaction, which struck me as quite irrational. I think he has hated me ever since then.

      I still say he is welcome here, but I would like to hear him argue against what I say, not just attack me the way he does. That's pretty useless.

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  4. Victor says:

    "For a long time when I was teaching introductory philosophy classes I found relatively few out and out atheists, but a lot more people whose main complaint about religion wasn't that there was a lack of evidence for God or anything like that, but rather that religious believers were hypocrites."

    I reply:

    Hypocrisy is not inherent to religious belief. People who don't practice what they preach are hypocrites. If you cherish the principle of charity in debates and discussions, then why do you refuse to interpret the words of someone like Dawkins the way they were intended? Do you call that charity? I call it hypocrisy.

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  5. why do you refuse to interpret the words of someone like Dawkins the way they were intended? Do you call that charity? I call it hypocrisy.

    Alternative explanation: The people whom you are labeling "hypocrites" sincerely believe they are interpreting the words of Dawkins correctly, and you simply disagree with their interpretation. Hypocrisy implies intentionally misreading them or twisting their meaning on purpose. I can't see Victor as doing either of those things, but as rather accurately conveying their meaning as he sees it.

    I've seen you (over on Victor's website) calling people hypocrites or even liars for using direct, word-for-word quotations from Dawkins. How can you make such accusations in those cases? I strongly suspect that your habitual name-calling was the primary reason for your being banned.

    And you seem to have not learned any lesson from the experience, since you're engaging in identical behavior here. "Liar" or "hypocrite" are a strong insults, and should only be used when you're certain the person is saying something he does not believe. Do you honestly think Victor does not believe what he is writing?

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    1. You raise good points, and they deserve to be answered.

      "The people whom you are labeling "hypocrites" sincerely believe they are interpreting the words of Dawkins correctly, and you simply disagree with their interpretation."
      - I would never call someone a hypocrite or a liar just because I don't agree with the way he interprets something. I hope you can see that when I say those things, I show what their hypocrisy is or what their lie is. In this case, I have explained why I think Victor doesn't practice what he preaches.

      "I've seen you (over on Victor's website) calling people hypocrites or even liars for using direct, word-for-word quotations from Dawkins."
      - That's right. Out-of-context quotations, presented as misrepresentations of what he is actually saying. I listened to Dawkins in an interview recently, and he was struggling to come up with the right words. He said "I have to be careful what I say, because I'm afraid it will be taken out of context." He's right to be afraid. Because that's what people do.

      I've had discussions with Victor about this. I've pointed out where Dawkins presents a more nuanced expression of some of these things (such as the idea that all religious teaching is child abuse). It doesn't matter to Victor. He chooses to interpret certain words in the most uncharitable way he can. This is a violation of his own professed principle of charity.

      Why does crude insist that Harris favors torturing people? I showed one of Harris' articles that clearly states that he does not favor any such thing, but can envision a hypothetical situation where it might be a reasonable choice. This is not a case of misinterpretation. It is a deliberate, willful lie, and I don't have a problem saying so.

      "And you seem to have not learned any lesson from the experience, since you're engaging in identical behavior here. "Liar" or "hypocrite" are a strong insults, and should only be used when you're certain the person is saying something he does not believe. Do you honestly think Victor does not believe what he is writing?"
      - Strong insult? OK. I don't make such insults lightly. Look at the comments of cl on this blog. He doesn't back up anything he says - he just slings the insults. I'm not like that - at least, I try not to be. If I am hypocritical, show me. Maybe it's true. Maybe you can succeed in demonstrating that I don't practice what I preach. But to do that, you have to start with what I preach. And I never said that insulting someone is out of bounds. If you do it, you should have good reason, and it should be tempered with a measure of civility.

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