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(1000 Posts)
Januarymadness Wed 24-Apr-13 21:05:41

Right I am going to bite. I shouldnt have looked at the facebook but I did.

Mr Ruggles you have made some horrible accusations. You have claimed everyone who disagreed with you was an atheist who lacked logic and reasoning. You were wrong on ALL counts. Many people told you they were Christian or Theists, they just didn't agree with you. The thread was also full of valid scientific arguments which were well worded and full of logic and reasoning.

You have also accused us all of being bullies. Something I saw no evidence of. Not agreeing with someone is not bullying.

So please do feel free to justify your off board comments here as speaking behind peoples backs is really not on.

Please could someone link to the old thread. Thanks

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 08:45:01

Sieglinde I have some spare time today - want me to start a thread about Stalin & atheism?

Emmamumsy Fri 26-Apr-13 09:03:37

Maybe bullying is in the eye of the beholder but I thought it was pretty obvious near the end. Quite frankly, the entire thread had a tone of "We're right and if you don't agree you're a stupid twat!" It's the kind of arrogance and mockery that Richard Dawkins encourages and I think it's beneath us as atheists to do that. He never gave off that impression to me. Maybe he doesn't have a clue of what he's talking about but he didn't claim to be right or have all the answers. He admitted from the start his views were based on faith in the Bible. I for one was just content to learn why he believed what he believed and keep quiet. I feel I was robbed of that opportunity.

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 09:24:19

but he didn't claim to be right or have all the answers

He most certainly did. He claimed to understand evolution better than any evolutionary biologist (based on reading a few books), continually quote mined, lied about what what he'd said when it was referred back to, accused us all of being unable to follow basic logic when it was him being illogical and generally adopted every sly, dishonest debating trick in the book. If he'd had the grace to acknowledge when he was wrong (like the light speed issue) then it would have been a very different conversation. Did he? No. He dismissed it as "irrelevant". There are multiple instances of this.

To try and paint him as Mr Innocent just trying to explain why he believed what he did is a gross misrepresentation, actually. If that was what he actually was doing, fine, but he wasn't - he was misrepresenting science and scientists in order to prove that he was right and they (and us) were wrong. This is typical of creationists & not something that any self-respecting person with a modicum of scientific knowledge should be willing to put up with.

And, by the way, on FB he claimed to be in fear of his life and was looking forward to Jesus coming back to deal with us all.

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 09:47:35

I agree with Ellie. He DID claim to have all the answers. He argued every point and when given decent facts and proper evidence he dismissed it as an irrelevant side issue. A lot of the time, when they weren't side issues but fundemental ones.

I understand people having faith. I have a faith myself. I understand that sometimes there if no reason or argument to feel the way you do. I dislike Dawkins take on things for the same reason. BUT presenting bad science and bad argument as fact (remember he is an author and goes on tv for this stuff. He also claims to be an expert in fields where he has no experience or qualification to justify this), and then belittling people who question him, is manipulative to people who DONT question the information.

ICBINEG Fri 26-Apr-13 09:49:58

okay best has gotten back to me now....just having an internet break apparently (tbh I have done that after a particularly nasty aibu).

I think what comes across as bullying is actually just what naturally happens when there are 7 or 8 people all picking up on different aspects of something they didn't agree with and commenting at a rate that makes it impossible for the individual on the other side to respond.

It is not intentional but it is very hard to be the one person (as I was on a make up thread the other day blush)....especially when people are putting words in your mouth and then someone else starts laying into something you didn't even say.

So erm where was I? Yes I think the maximum number of people who can have a discussion like this and it not collapse is probably only about 4?

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 09:50:14

Manipulation of vulnerable people is the MAIN reason I find it difficult to subscribe to any religion. I am yet to find a religion that encourages freedom of thought.

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 09:55:01

Hmm being a lone voice is quite hard. Also having your ideas on various things questioned at the same time I can see being taxing. Not Ideal to dismiss points you cant argue as irrelevancies though.....

ICBINEG Fri 26-Apr-13 09:56:49

The problem with the whole debate is I think:

There is the world/universe around us.

There are two possible explanations
1. God did it
2. God didn't do it, it just happened.

The first problem is that even if science could explain every single aspect of the known universe with a single neat concise theory it would not disprove explanation 1. God might still have done it.

The second problem is that science CANNOT currently explain / predict every aspect of the known universe with a single neat concise theory, however this does not disprove explanation 2. We get better and better at maths and science all the time...there are things we understand completely as arising spontaneously now that were considered cast iron evidence of God in the past.

So before you start the debate both 1 and 2 are possible...and nothing you can say during the debate can change that...

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 10:15:56

Yes - being a lone voice IS hard, particularly when you're carrying on 6 conversations at once.

Come back, Best. Would love to debate with you your three evidences of God.

Here if anyone wants a look see.

EllieArroway Fri 26-Apr-13 10:21:13

and then belittling people who question him, is manipulative to people who DONT question the information

This is precisely right, and one of the reasons I think creationism SHOULD be challenged. People that he's talking to generally don't have even passing scientific knowledge so it all sounds very reasonable and fair. "Teach the controversy in science classrooms" - what could be fairer? Except there is NO controversy and no doubt at all within the science community - not the tiniest shred of it. And when "evolutionists" (I prefer the term "scientists") try to point this out, people accuse them of bias, obfuscation or arrogance. And that 50% of Americans feel this way, not to mention a growing number of Brits, then we have a problem. This crap is taught in science classes in some Muslim schools, to children who want to go on to become doctors. So, if Richard Dawkins gets a bit cross about it, I can't altogether blame him.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Fri 26-Apr-13 10:26:29

Yes, he was the lone voice, and he obviously found that difficult. But I agree with Ellie that he did insist he was right, and that he knew more about evolutionary biology than everyone else, and he did make arguments against the validity of evidence-based science, peer reviewed research etc. Those sorts of arguments begin to enter the realm of conspiracy theory and seek to suggest that people who subscribe to mainstream, evidence based science are mere sheep and don't really understand it - and that is an argument I abhor.

I disagreed with his 3 starting assumptions as well. And if you can't agree on the basic premise of an argument, then you can't really enter a debate imo.

He also was rude to posters who disagreed with them. Very near the beginning of the thread, he said to Pedro "you're coming across as someone who isn't interested in learning" which I thought was extremely arrogant. I think the reason the thread went that way at the end was because of remarks like this and what he wrote on his FB page, which was a complete misrepresentation of the thread. Calling people 'inherently evil' belies his insistence that he loves us all and wishes us good luck.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Fri 26-Apr-13 10:43:24

That's a good point, Sabrina. He was rude to me on several occasions. It seemed that he attacked anyone who wouldn't change their mind about science by telling them that they are not being scientific because they are not changing their opinions. Essentially, he tried to use all the arguments scientists use against religionists back at them.... And it doesn't work.

Religionists are accused of not changing their theories of the world based on new evidence whereas science does. New evidence disproves an existing theory, theory changes or gets replaced. So what best was trying to do was suggest that he used to believe in evolution (I actually find that rather hard to believe) and that his evidence had made him change his mind about the world. Therefore, anyone who didn't do the same, must be too rigid in their 'beliefs' and blinded by science.

I suspect that he never believed in evolution and that his views on the age of the Earth have remained static throughout.

Januarymadness Fri 26-Apr-13 18:06:50

I actually don't find it that hard to believe that someone who takes evolution as reality can be convinced into creationism.

If someone with little understanding of the widely accepted stance is gived a detailed description about why its all wrong, back that up with a faith argument and papers written by "scientists" why wouldn't you believe it.

That is why ethically you need to own up to bias and State that this view is different from widely accepted stances.

Researchers accept that bias will affect the out come of any paper. Any decent paper will state bias and steps that have been taken to address it. This lets the reader decide how much weight to give an argument.

SolidGoldBrass Fri 26-Apr-13 21:54:09

I don't see why people who are wrong should be given an easy ride just because they are in the minority in a discussion. The fact that this Best person is a tinfoil-hat-wearing nutjob is not my responsibility, or anyone else's.

Emmamumsy Sat 27-Apr-13 03:41:31

The fact that this Best person is a tinfoil-hat-wearing nutjob

Solid, was that really necessary? I mean really?

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Sat 27-Apr-13 06:45:10

Do you disagree, Emma?

Januarymadness Sat 27-Apr-13 09:02:14

i have to agree that decending into name calling undermines the proper fact based argument.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 27-Apr-13 12:12:54

If someone starts insisting that frogs can fly, or that the hole in the ozone layer is caused by people not cleaning their teeth often enough, it doesn't matter how many internet sites they link to or how many long words they use, they are still both wrong and nuts. Why should they be 'treated kindly' when they are talking absolute drivel, just because they start stamping their feet and complaining they are being bullied? Some people argue, for instance, that there is REAL EVIDENCE to show that members of [one ethnic group] are genetically and biologically inferior to members of [other ethnic group]. Should they be allowed to say this without getting mocked, challenged and forcefully disagreed with?

Sunnywithshowers Sat 27-Apr-13 12:27:11

I had to walk away from the thread after a bit - I bow down to those of you engaging.

I wonder whether he realises that MNHQ holds copyright for what we post?

sieglinde Sat 27-Apr-13 12:38:46

SGB writes Should they be allowed to say this without getting mocked, challenged and forcefully disagreed with?

They should be allowed to speak without getting mocked or insulted. Challenged, yes. Disagreed with, yes. But insults or mockery do NOT help your cause, which in this case is also mine.

ICBINEG Sat 27-Apr-13 13:13:15

SGB I think this comes down to the idea that we certainly owe no respect to the ideas people bring. I don't have to respect the idea that there is a god who demands that bits of newborn babies be chopped off without their consent...but I still need to respect as people the individuals that do believe this.

I can campaign for them to be banned from carrying out their believes on their defenseless children but I shouldn't call them stupid or drum them off a forum.

ICBINEG Sat 27-Apr-13 13:18:41

best makes many mistakes in debating with is to constantly insist he is using a more accurate definition of something than you are...

for example the whole business with information content in DNA always being lost during a mutation. It is almost possible to argue from a layman definition of 'information' that this is true (I mean it isn't but there is more wiggle room), but no, he insists he is using the scientific definition of 'information' which has to do with entropy of the code etc.

Except that means I can just look up what that definition is (it's a mathematical definition) and then PROVE that mutations in DNA can conserve information content and of course either increase or decrease it.

When making your point requires fuzzy definitions of everyday concepts it is a bad idea to insist you are actually using a technical definition that any idiot with an internet connection can directly challenge you on.

IsletsOfLangerhans Sat 27-Apr-13 21:02:12

Agree with the general opinion - arguing back is fine, mocking/insulting never. I feel okay pointing out someone is coming across as arrogant/rude but that's as far as I'll go. I'd never mock/insult anyone face to face so don't see why some seem to think its acceptable on forums.

Emmamumsy Sat 27-Apr-13 21:44:52

Yes PYLC, I disagree. I agree with the others that, while people's opinions are fair game and open to being challenges, it is never okay to personally attack them, ridicule them or call them names.

Come on back, best. I'm genuinely interested in what you have to say. :^)

EllieArroway Sun 28-Apr-13 10:11:32

Oh, for goodness sake - this holier than thou stuff is stomach churning. Best was not mocked, called names or personally attacked, and to try and pretend he was is a massive misrepresentation of the conversation.

When I joined the conversation, he was being very rude to quite a few posters (most notably Pedro), patronising them by saying stuff like "Wow - a valid point at last" and so on. He was dismissive of virtually every valid point that was made, he adopted DISHONEST practices like quote-mining, and when it was pointed out refused to acknowledge it or apologise.

I, personally, went out of my way to tell him that in every other area of his life, I'm sure he's a perfectly stand up fellow - but I couldn't respect the way he was going about things here. And when I bowed out it was because, yet again, he was deliberately lying about what he'd said just a page ago.

It was a robust conversation between adults......and I, personally, have been congratulated for my role in it by quite a few people, one of whom says they learnt more science from me (a non scientist) than they have ever learned before - which just shows how little the general population actually knows about science.

Creationism gets away with it's rubbish because most of the people they are preaching to are completely ignorant about the issues. Unfortunately for Best, he came up against a bunch of people who weren't and who treated his attitude of "I know more about evolution than the best scientists in the world" with the contempt it deserved.

And, by the way, Emmasmumsy, you do realise that there are children in our country being taught these LIES in science classes - by science teachers? They are getting away with it because of this tip-toeing, "Oh, let's respect their beliefs" attitude? I don't respect lies or liars. So shoot me.

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