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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Atheist Starter Kit

I don't know if any of you have seen the "Atheist Starter Kit" that Ray has posted on the margin of his blog. It's an attempt to be both funny and clever, and I'm sure that all the true-believers are getting some good yuks out of it. It starts off with:

If you are a beginner atheist, there's a belief system you should embrace and a language you should learn, or you will find yourself in trouble. Here are ten suggestions for the novice.

Then there's a list that I really don't want to take the time to point out how stupid it is. (Perhaps each Raytractor can choose one and write what's wrong with it.) I will, however, start with the first one:

Whenever you are presented with credible evidence for God's existence, call it a "straw man argument," or "circular reasoning." If something is quoted from
somewhere, label it "quote mining."

I honestly don't like simply labeling a person as being stupid when they disagree with me, but I really can't think of any other way to describe this. Unless, of course, he's being deliberately obtuse, he really just does not seem to even understand the concept of a strawman argument, nor does he get what the accusations of quote mining are all about. (Even though they have both been explained quite clearly on a number of occasions.)

Maybe some people are just stupid. Seriously. There might not be anything that we can do about it.


  1. Apparently during Ray's radio interview today, he claimed that his detractors had taken his banana argument "out of context".

    Apparently it isn't okay for people to call Ray out on quote-mining when there's a legitimate instance of it, but it is okay for Ray to try it when it suits his purposes. Even if nothing was taken out of context in the first place. We've seen the entire video, Ray. You were presenting the argumentum ad bananum in all seriousness. Trying to pass it off as a parody and accusing people of taking it out of context after it made you the laughingstock of the internet is lame.

    I keep waffling on whether or not he actually understands the logical fallacies he's committing. If he truly doesn't understand, he should by now as many times as they've been explained to him. If he's getting tired of us accusing him of using strawman arguments and circular reasoning, he should quit using them. He doesn't like to be called out on quotemining? Stop doing it. Same goes for the false convert/No True Scotsman argument they are all so fond of.

    P.S. Ray, I don't think "credible" means what you think it does. "Paintings have painters therefore Yahweh" isn't evidence in the first place. Credibility doesn't even factor into it.

  2. I've seen the "atheist starter kit" elsewhere. I'm avoiding Comfort's crap all together for awhile. As for taking the banana argument out of context, Pharyngula has posted the entire 9 minute video. One of his gems from this morning was "chicken eggs don't hatch puppies". Ray Comfort is either retarded or he's simply dishonest. But lying for Jesus is A-Okay!

  3. I think Ray is baiting, trying to get more atheists to his site and trying to get back the ones he lost.

    This is one of those things that he says and will try to use it both ways. For example, if someone gets pissed off about it, he'll say he was joking and if they think he's joking he'll act like he is serious. Classic Comfort style.

    He did this with the banana video. He was serious when he made it then when he was being ridiculed all over the net he tried to say he wasn't serious, that it was a joke that people took out of context and he's got a persecution complex over it.

    Here's the worst part. There are some people who don't know what a circular argument is or what quote mining is, nor would they have any clue what a straw man is. Ray knows, he just pretends he doesn't. In putting that on his sidebar he insidiously puts the idea into the heads of his Christian readers that all of those things are atheist tactics and atheist tactics are evil so just dismiss those things instead of educating yourself about them and trying to form arguments that don't rely on those things.

    Instead of seeing those things for what they are, which is logical fallacies, he uses them like pawns to further his agenda.

    If Ray had any integrity himself he wouldn't be using logical fallacies, he'd present a case that was able to stand on it's own without the use of them AND he would teach Christians that read him what the logical fallacies are so that they could present arguments that people might actually listen to instead of being inclined to immediately pick apart because of the logical errors.

  4. I think that Ray has become so confused about reality that some hapless person would stop by his blog and wonder just what the fuck is this guy promoting?

    His beliefs become more hazy by the post. He is definitely desperate. Remember, he is pleading for money from his minions and I don't think Terry Burton is going to keep him afloat any more than he could that ill fated houseboat in the Keyes.

    We are watching a draconion, ill-fated and irrational Priest of the fundamentalists in his death throes.

  5. Aaaaand once again he's attempted to insult us all to get us back to his site.

    I know some people have, but those who never left - do you really want to stay there if he's going to try to punch you in the face like that?

    He's such a flippin' dickwad regardless of his religion..

  6. Ray's stuck in a spherical world of finite arguments. As rando says, he claims the banana argument was a parody all along - but he never said anything about a parody until after he'd been presented with proof that it was a result of artificial selection.
    In the radio show, he even did a double blunder. He rattled on about how everything we see is evidence of creation. One of the things he mentioned was - you guessed it - the banana. Minutes later, the banana is a parody again. I think Ray needs help. He's out-poeing even himself.

  7. Nevermind the fact that his Way of the Master Child Brainwashing Kit still uses the banana as an argument.

    The thing is, his dishonesty wouldn't be so galling if it weren't for the fact that he claims to be speaking from a moral high ground.

  8. I particularly like #8:

    "Deal with the threat of eternal punishment......"

    I was surprised that he put it in those terms. He doesn't realize the can of worms that he has opened with that kind of language.

  9. Oh the Stupid, it BURNS.

  10. The Atheist Starter Kit

    If you are a beginner atheist, there's a belief system you should embrace and a language you should learn, or you will find yourself in trouble. Here are ten suggestions for the novice:

    1. Whenever you are presented with credible evidence for God's existence, call it a "straw man argument," or "circular reasoning." If something is quoted from somewhere, label it "quote mining."

    - Ray, when you stop with the fallacies, the complaints most likely will stop.

    2. When a Christian says that creation proves that there is a Creator, dismiss such common sense by saying "That's just the old watchmaker argument."

    - Not even close. Your label of creation already implies an unwarranted assumption. Why not start with Universe, cosmos, etc.. Then we can argue from that point on.

    3. When you hear that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose (the pleasures of Heaven, and the endurance of Hell) by obeying the Gospel, say "That's just the old 'Pascal wager.'"

    - And what about Zeus? Apollo? Mithras? Thor? Odin? What if YOU, Ray, are wrong about those beliefs?

    4. You can also deal with the "whoever looks on a woman to lust for her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart," by saying that there is no evidence that Jesus existed. None.

    - Non Sequitur. What does that conclusion have to do with the premise? None.

    5. Believe that the Bible is full of mistakes, and actually says things like the world is flat. Do not read it for yourself. That is a big mistake. Instead, read, believe, and imitate Richard Dawkins. Learn and practice the use of big words. "Megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully" is a good phrase to learn.

    - Most atheists have read the Bible. It does imply the world is flat, that the universe is geocentric, and that Pi=3.0. Maybe Christians should read beyond apologetics and the Bible. It's wrong to own beliefs anyway, but I'll deal with that some other time.

    6. Say that you were once a genuine Christian, and that you found it to be false. (The cool thing about being an atheist is that you can lie through your teeth, because you believe that are no moral absolutes.) Additionally, if a Christian points out that this is impossible (simply due to the very definition of Christianity as one who knows the Lord), just reply "That's the 'no true Scotsman fallacy.'" PLEASE NOTE: It cannot be overly emphasized how learning and using these little phrases can help you feel secure in dismissing common sense.

    - There are moral absolutes. Social mores, laws and ethics provide testimony to that. It's a false statement about atheists to claim we believe there are no moral absolutes. That's a strawman. Before complaining about dismissing common sense, it would help if you, Ray, had any to begin with. A cop out argument, like me dismissing you or Lee Strobel once being atheist. It's irrelevant in most discussions anyway.

    7. Believe that nothing is 100% certain, except the theory of Darwinian evolution. Do not question it. Believe with all of your heart that there is credible scientific evidence for species-to-species transitional forms. When you make any argument, pat yourself on the back by concluding with "Man, are you busted!" That will make you feel good about yourself.

    - No beliefs. Not even of evolution by natural selection. Rather, acceptance of the evidence shows that evolution by natural selection has occured. Continually subject all theories to new evidence and data. If those theories fail to match the data, then modify them or tossed them out. Evolution by Natural Selection has withstood the battery of 150 years of new and radically differing ideas and data, and it has not only survived, but has thrived. It would help, if you, Ray, understood what science is (a methodology) and what comprises acceptable physical evidence.

    8. Deal with the threat of eternal punishment by saying that you don't believe in the existence of Hell. Then convince yourself that because you don't believe in something, it therefore doesn't exist. Don't follow that logic onto a railway line and an oncoming train.

    - You're making an unwarranted assumption about the threat of eternal punishment. No evidence to back up the assertion of the existence of Hell, let alone the possibility of eternal punishment or the existence of an eternal soul. A railway line at least presents physical evidence for existence, which is more than can be said of your claims.

    9. Blame Christianity for the atrocities of the Roman Catholic church--when it tortured Christians through the Spanish Inquisition, imprisoned Galileo for his beliefs, or when it murdered Moslems in the Crusades.

    - Roman Catholics are Christians. This is a "No True Scotsman" fallacy. Catholics and Christians have committed atrocities in the name of God and Jesus. Post Hoc claims against their Chrisitanity places you in the position of claiming to know what and how they believed. I thought that was a property of your God, not of humans, Ray.

    10. Finally, keep in fellowship with other like-minded atheists who believe as you believe, and encourage each other in your beliefs. Build up your faith. Never doubt for a moment. Remember, the key to atheism is to be unreasonable. Fall back on that when you feel threatened. Think shallow, and keep telling yourself that you are intelligent. Remember, an atheist is someone who pretends there is no God.

    - Strawman argument. Lack of belief is not a belief. Doubt and skepticism is always there. But without evidence to the contrary, there is no reason to accept the existence of a God. That is not pretending, that is just accepting the null hypothesis until statistically significant data says otherwise. Besides, Christians and religionists can't claim exclusivity for the need of socialization with like minded individuals. Atheists are humans also, and humans, being social animals, have a need for socialization.


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