On the Atheist Post

I took down the Atheist post I made last night.

I did so for several reasons:

1. It was a poorly written and unedited thing I threw up late at night after getting annoyed at something I saw that I felt was particularly assinine. Given the amount of attention it attracted, I would prefer not have it up. I am putting this up so that people who were replying know where it went and why.

2. Out of the many people that responded, several made excellent points about my post, and convinced me that honestly however I feel about the methods of argument, the points that New Atheists argue in favor of, and the discrimination they already face in society, outweigh any negatives from the tone of their arguments.

3. Several other people responded with nothing but ad-hominem attacks rather than any of the points I made. Yes I get it you don’t believe in Sorcery or magic. A lot of people do. This blog is not about convincing people otherwise. Again, a fine argument to have, just not the point of my blog.

4. People started arguing within the post about theism vs atheism, which was not at all the point of the post. Its a fine argument to have, just not here.

So in short, mea culpa. I should not have posted something so ill-conceived (not to mention edited) on a topic that clearly hit a lot of nerves. Several people accused me to trying to “silence” atheists, which was not at all the point. It was simply aimed at cutting through vitriolic hyperbole. Instead of doing that, it simply produced more of it, which I should have anticipated.

 

TL;DR Shouldn’t have made a late night half cocked post about something that I was not really invested in enough to spend the time on. Should not tell groups that I am not a part of how to argue their case. My apologies.

About Inominandum

Author. Sorcerer. Consultant. I have 30 plus years of experience making magic a reality for myself, my clients, and my students. For a complete background go to www.strategicsorcery.net
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42 Responses to On the Atheist Post

  1. J Pinksen says:

    I’m glad that you reconsidered your thoughts about that post.

    • shane says:

      I am not. Atheists are assholes. They did nothing in the other post but prove it tenfold.

      • Zorku says:

        I didn’t get a chance to go very deep into the comments but right this moment you’re sort of making…. sorcerers* look like assholes.
        *Not sure if you just want to be called a believer or what.

        Unlike you I’m willing to look past some bad apples or just rotten moods and evaluate people on an individual basis. Maybe I am a good representative of the new atheists, maybe not. Maybe you did a good job of representing the people here just now, maybe (hopefully,) not.

      • Chris P says:

        And people who believe in skygods are nice people who want to control other people’s lives with their crazy made up garbage.

        Ye s I will be an asshole to try and stop some religious nuts controlling my access to health insurance and proper hospital care.

      • J Pinksen says:

        Objecting to a blog post that is (admittedly) off handed and poorly thought out, makes one an “asshole”?

        I’m not surprised that someone willing to make the statement, “Atheists are assholes”, would struggle with concepts like generalization and nuance.

  2. Michael Davis says:

    Jason,

    Bullshit. It was a good post. It was also funny. It’s your blog–take posts down, leave them up, whatever you want. But you don’t have to apologize.

    MD

    • shane says:

      Word.

    • Inominandum says:

      I don’t ever have to apologize. If I do it is because I want to, which in this case I did. It’s poor form to throw something potentially inflammatory out there, then decide that you just don’t have the time or inclination to follow it up – which is exactly what I did.

  3. Cory Albrecht (@Bytor) says:

    “Ad hominem”. A “homonym” is one word that sounds the same as a different word.

    • Inominandum says:

      Right. Changed. Watching my twins as I threw that up. I wanted to get it up before too many people were invested in arguing over the last post.

  4. Anon says:

    I’m for one that thinks that you shouldn’t take down any posts. Close the threads, make updates and follow up posts, but don’t take down the original post itself.

  5. Kagehi says:

    Glad you are more rational than, say.. MD above. And thank you for realizing that there is a real problem being dealt with, not the least being that we can simply say, “We don’t think that is true.”, and get ripped to shreds for it, while a great many theists can say things so vile that it peels paint, and its considered to be simply, “An appropriate reaction to someone that is ‘attacking’ their faith.” Wait, what?

    A note on your beliefs though. This isn’t to convince, its just commentary on why I gave up on the idea of magic, despite the fact that I love the concept. I simply learned too much about two things – 1. How easy it is for someone to convince an audience that they are doing the real thing, when its a trick. 2. That the reason for this is that the mind can play serious tricks on itself, and its bloody easy to do so. Most “magic” involves ritual and meditation, and other things, which are ‘supposed to’ reach higher states, or make it easier. The problem of course is that those techniques can trigger body disassociation, and it turns out, if you mind doesn’t know where you body is, it will **invent** explanations for it, ranging from false bodies, to perceptions that external events may be connected to what the mind is doing. One reason this is possible is because mind doesn’t appear to be a coherent thing, in itself, but is increasingly looking like a result of the process of doing a thing, **then** justifying why it was done. When you disconnect yourself from your own physical sensations, what you “think” is happening is that you did X, and Y happened. What can happen, instead, is that Y happens, and then you conclude that it did so because you did X.

    This is a well documented phenomena, and while it doesn’t disprove magic, it throws a huge wrench into the idea that you can even tell when it works, versus merely when you *think* it does. If the mind acted, then the body followed, as is common perception, it would be more plausible, but since we have found that the “mind” is a result of post-hock attempts to figure out why the body did something… causality becomes fuzzy, since the mind can’t tell, especially when its missing some/all of its normal inputs, like touch, hearing, taste, smell, etc., even where it is, never mind what you yourself did to effect the world around you. For me, this is a *major* problem, and it led me, personally, to concluding that magic was, at best, impossible to distinguish from mistaken conclusions, and at worst, nothing but those.

    But, that is just my take on it. Compared to the vast number of people who believe in it, but think its evil, and want to string all of us, atheist and ‘sorcerer’ alike up on bonfires, if it wasn’t non-PC to do that in this age, your position is merely odd.

    • Zorku says:

      Just a little expansion on that- I wouldn’t even say that the mind plays tricks, it’s more like it takes shortcuts. Instead of “I can tell that my body is at X” it’s more like the assumption that you’ve got a body you can feel and such but without a good way of detecting that you can’t tell where it is- there’s no null state so if you can’t tell it’s here it must be SOMEWHERE and your mind just guesses if it can’t tell. Depending on which parts of your mind are working like normal (if you’re having an out of body experience at least one part isn’t working like normal and there’s a good chance that a lot of parts aren’t,) you can make some really unusual guesses.

      All the little sections of the brain do just kind of do their own little thing and when you try to put it all together it usually makes sense to us as the full suite of consciousness, usually. Psychology has done a rally amazing job of pinpointing these areas and you can even selectively shut them down with strong magnetic fields. I’d encourage anybody to look into those experiments if they want to know how their mind works.

    • Inominandum says:

      Regarding the use of altered states and mystical experience: there is plenty of peer reviewed study on the various benefits of meditation.

      Yes things happen in the brain when you meditate that explain the mechanism of the experience. Things happen in the brain when you look at porn too, it doesn’t mean that the porn doesn’t exist.

      As to practical effects, yes most magic manifests through coincidence and any single occurrence would not be proof of magic. Large numbers of coincidences however when taken together form a better picture that there is something to it. In parapsychology this is called meta-analysis. I am not a para-psychologist, so I am not getting into the debate, but I am told it shows interesting results by a professor at Duke.

  6. Ambidexter says:

    Congratulations, you finally learned how to spell atheist.

    The next time you feel like ranting about atheism, you should consider learning something about it. Maybe you could talk to an atheist or two before you start your complaints. It might stop you from whining about the straw atheist who only exists between your ears.

    • Inominandum says:

      Thanks. I know plenty of atheists, two of whom recently shared with me how tired they are of having to qualify their atheist stance by saying “but we are not those rabid obnoxious pricks.”

      I wonder why they feel the need to do that?

  7. shane says:

    balls.

  8. shane says:

    The Atheists won. Sheer bullying. Like usual. See reddit for more details.

    • MoeLarryAndJesus says:

      Go fuck yourself, shane.

    • Chris P says:

      Anybody who believes in magic is losing to start with. If you know enough about science and engineering you can actually design things that appear magical.

    • Zorku says:

      What part of standing up for yourself is bullying? Maybe what you really dislike is that there are a lot of us?

    • Inominandum says:

      Not bullying Shane. It was a poorly constructed post that made more of a hubbub that I am willing to devote time to.

      The post however was never meant to be anti-atheist thought, but simply complaining about their methods of discourse.

      Your own posts had just as much to do with me shutting it down as any of theirs did.

  9. Ichthyic says:

    Shane, is there ANYTHING in the reasons listed as to why the post was taken down to suggest the reason was bullying?

    No.

    Thus, one can quite reasonably conclude you are full of shit.

  10. M.G. says:

    Well, I thought it was a good post, even where I disagreed with you on a few points, but so it goes.

    I have to say that while I defended the new atheists in my now-deleted comments, and would certainly still do so, looking over some of the comments I have a slightly better idea now why some might find a percentage of them annoying.

    • Chris P says:

      But not so annoying as people who want to restrict your life based on their version of batshit crazy. Telling you that it’s better for your wife to die than have an abortion. Or lie to you about the facts of abortions. Or lie about evolution to children.

      Yes – that “annoying stuff” from atheists – is mostly called facts that dispute your unprovable myths. An uncomfortable truth.

      • Kenaz Filan says:

        Yes – that “annoying stuff” from atheists – is mostly called facts that dispute your unprovable myths. An uncomfortable truth.

        ITYM “that ‘annoying stuff’ from atheists – is mostly an obnoxious lack of social skills combined with a self-righteous certainty in their cause which would make many Jehovah’s Witnesses blanch.” True believers who greet any kind of questioning with hostility and abusive language are irritating, even if they’re true non-believers.

        • Chris P says:

          Sorry but being “nice” didn’t work. My mother said to live by example – that doesn’t work. If I religiously use my turn signals – other people don’t bother.

          If you want to talk social skills – I suggest you talk to the evangelical Christian on the other side of the cubicle wall. He farts, he belches, he eats while he is on the phone to customers and suppliers, he swears like a trooper, he loses his temper, …..

          Not standing for BS is a GOOD social skill. How muc more certainty do we have to have? You’ve had 2000 plus years and still cannot agree on which religion is right – I think you’ve fouled out and don’t deserve a seat at the table anymore.

    • Zorku says:

      Is there any large group of people that doesn’t have some annoying percentage in their midst?

      • Inominandum says:

        True enough Zorku, but when it gets to the point that some atheists feel the need to specifically state that they are not going to go gonzo on anyone when they reveal themselves to be atheists in polite company says something. As do the numerous articles about the tone and obnoxiousness of the discourse. Most of these articles are in left leaning publications, and no I do not have links because I don’t have the time which is why I tried to shut this all down this morning.

  11. Inominandum says:

    And now I have to shut this one down because it is devolving into #4 above.

    • Kenaz Filan says:

      I’ve covered my thoughts on this subject at my blog. For what it’s worth, I think Jason raised some excellent points about the good things the New Atheists are doing (i.e. fighting for the separation of Church and State), as well as some valid criticism about the problematic aspects of their behavior.

      My post is probably less charitable than his. Tomorrow I hope to follow up with some of my philosophical objections to “strong atheism” and “strong theism” — hopefully my atheist readers will be familiar with Karl Popper and the Vienna School.

  12. M.G. says:

    Chris P. – For the record, one of the reasons why I said I defended the new atheists, and basically continue to do so, is because I AGREE with you on the absolute need to teach science in schools and keep religion out of politics.

    What I do find annoying about a small minority of new atheists – that is to say, people
    like you – is that when they come across people they consider “believers” they toss away immediately assume they know what their politics and beliefs will be, tossing away all intelligence and discernment in the process – in short doing what fundamentalists do when they propagate stereotypes about “secular humanists.”

    But please, go on telling yourself that you’re very different from the narrow-minded religious believers you despise. It will give you a certain smug sense of superiority which may serve you well.

    In shoe

    • Zorku says:

      Truth be told I think anyone that’s been around the block more than once knows that belief is a really broad topic without a whole lot of unifying traits. The things we tend to say you all share are somewhat exaggerated because it’s really easy to miss the point if we stay subtle.

      We tend to have a lot of real world experience with people that just leave before they gain any understanding so it makes sense that some of us would be a bit too enthusiastic about beating the concepts into your head. We simply don’t have enough time to ask you about all the details of what you think; you have to convince us that you’ve got a long attention span before we can possibly try to address your unique beliefs.

      But hey, if you are dead certain that you don’t do the things we describe then we probably aren’t talking about you. If there’s a conflict where we’ve said that we definitely ARE talking about you but then we describe a lot of ridiculous things that don’t actually fit you tell us we’re using a strawman argument or that we’re talking about a more specific group than the one we said. Some atheists won’t really listen but some believers won’t either- however on the upside you don’t have to keep talking to us if we ignore a valid point like that. I don’t think ANYONE deserves much respect if they ignore your points (it doesn’t take that long to agree on a thing and move on, and the back and forth sets up an actual sort of debate instead of just shutting the other person out while you yell.)

    • Chris P says:

      Statistics is a useful tool. You might try using it.

      It is not the “believers” I despise it is there influence on my life and the planet.

  13. Kenaz Filan says:

    If there’s a conflict where we’ve said that we definitely ARE talking about you but then we describe a lot of ridiculous things that don’t actually fit you tell us we’re using a strawman argument or that we’re talking about a more specific group than the one we said.

    Not aimed at you specifically, but here are a couple of strawmen in the comments to date:

    But not so annoying as people who want to restrict your life based on their version of batshit crazy. Telling you that it’s better for your wife to die than have an abortion. Or lie to you about the facts of abortions. Or lie about evolution to children.

    ***
    And people who believe in skygods are nice people who want to control other people’s lives with their crazy made up garbage.

    Ye s I will be an asshole to try and stop some religious nuts controlling my access to health insurance and proper hospital care.

    Not every theist is anti-abortion, nor does every theist support the teaching of “creation science” or have strong anti-Obamacare feelings. And most of the theists reading this blog are as pro-choice, pro-health care and pro-evolution as any “freethinker” out there. Claiming otherwise is as silly as claiming that every atheist is a communist who wants to make religion illegal.

    While we’re on that subject:

    We tend to have a lot of real world experience with people that just leave before they gain any understanding so it makes sense that some of us would be a bit too enthusiastic about beating the concepts into your head. We simply don’t have enough time to ask you about all the details of what you think; you have to convince us that you’ve got a long attention span before we can possibly try to address your unique beliefs.

    How does your “enthusiastic[ally]… beating the concepts into your head” differ from the Chick tracters who shove “YOU ARE GOING TO HELL WHEN YOU DIE!!” pamphlets in people’s faces. At least the Chickleteers have the excuse of concern for your spiritual welfare. If you genuinely believe in hell, it only stands to reason you’d want to save people from it. What advantage accrues to your targets from being “enthusiastically beaten” about the heads with the truth of Atheism? I understand why Christians want salvation: what’s your motivation for preaching your version of the One Truth?

  14. M.G. says:

    Zorku – I think you make a lot of valid points. You’re absolutely right that a certain percentage of every group will be jerks. The danger fundamentalists pose to all of our liberties is clear and imminent. The biggest danger posed by new atheists is that a tiny few act like hot-headed morons on the internet. I certainly know which is the more serious problem.

    I actually admire quite a lot about the new atheists and have read both Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris with great pleasure. In fact, I’m probably closer to them (and to you) then I am to Inominandum in many ways, since I believe that religion, and not just fundamentalism, is a major cause of various social and international problems that I’m sure we’re all against. (A post I made to this effect earlier today was deleted when the initial blog entry on atheism was removed.)

    That said, while I don’t expect perfect delicacy and subtlety in all things internet-related, ignorantly jumping into an discussion and attacking an individual for supposedly believing exactly the opposite of his actual values is pretty clearly foolish behavior by any standard.

  15. Drew Jacob says:

    I think taking it down was a poor choice, regardless of the four reasons you gave. Here’s why.

    Blogs are a publishing medium; deleting a blog post is a poor way to deal with regrettable content, because it has already been sent out to the universe. It’s already archived online, and those who subscribe via RSS (like me) already have a permanent copy in our readers or inboxes. Deleting a blog post is about as effective as taking a book from a library, sticking a “Do Not Read” post-it on the cover and then placing it back on the shelf.

    This is especially true since the bulk of traffic to a blog post arrives in the first 24 hours. The people you wish hadn’t seen it have already seen it.

    Secondly, it’s a poor choice because a blog is a social medium. If you regret something you said because it was poorly written, edit it. It you regret something you said because you changed your mind, add an “edited to add” note at the end or make a follow-up post. If you regret it because people in the comments are assholes, learn how to moderate or just ignore the assholes.

    Deleting it is the blogger equivalent of standing up and yelling, “STOP PICKING ON ME!”: it doesn’t stop the conversation that’s already been started, it just makes it more awkward.

    I like your blog and much of what you write. I agreed with a good chunk of the atheist post. But whether it was good or bad is a little irrelevant now: it was published so it’s best to just live with it.

  16. Abobymous says:

    Hi Jason,

    I don’t doubt there’s going to be tons of fallout from this — many people are waiting for a new forum on which to make the points that they think are vitally important.

    I just want to say that I love your work, and I hope you won’t let this stuff distract you from what you do so well, which is magic.

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