Chapel Hill

Many posts have been made already on the Chapel Hill shootings, some defending atheists against the charge of being a hateful ideology and some attacking– The one thing I have noticed lacking is the observation that both sides are actually correct.

In reality the term Atheist is now seen as an ideology by many atheists but, is still seen as a simple statement of non-belief in the supernatural by many other atheists. Is it any wonder theists (and some atheists!) pounce upon the atheist as a worldview position? It did not help us make the case that atheist was only one position about gods and the supernatural when some atheists pushed the term Atheism+ either.

The analogy of language with biological systems for such terms as ‘mind virus’ and evolution of language is as true with atheism as it is with feminism. No matter what we do, language change is inevitable– I would argue the new fangled term egalitarianism will also evolve and become a term proponents argue over as well in just a few years, as Identity politics hits that movement(?). I don’t even need to mention the argument over the term Agnostic do I?

This is precisely why I judge people on their behaviours and positions rather than any labels we use. It is why those of us who begrudgingly label ourselves atheist (After all, why is the sane position the one needing a label) are careful to make clear our position. There is no charge of ‘No true Scotsman’ for the usage of ‘atheist’ possible if we have a well defined definition that does not change in response to an attack. Incidentally it is precisely for this reason many organisations write open letters reiterating their positions after any event such as this.

The Chapel Hill shooting is also a real life example of the topics of many of my prior blog posts. e.g. ‘On heroes’,  ‘Propaganda’, ‘In Living Colour’, ‘Us vs. them’, ‘I’m not a true Scotsman’, ‘Why I am still a feminist, ‘I’m not a foot soldier in your war’ and ‘How to argue on the Internet’.

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How to argue on the Internet – A guide for the Internet Newbie

I’ve been on the Internet quite a while now, from USENET and IRC to twitter and google+. The one thing that I find striking is there is no guide for the Internet newbie on how to effectively argue.

First you start out with disagreeing with someone and be sure to be sarcastic. “How could you be so stupid to think that?” is a good line to use. If you get a polite response then be sure to come back with your rejoiner in all CAPS LIKE THIS. This demonstrates your opponent is stupid as obviously they can’t read.

If they persist in disagreeing with you, your next step is to wait for all your friends to call them stupid too. Extra points to each team if you can call them one of ‘Homophobe, Transphobe, Racist, Islamaphobe, or just plain MRA or SJW.’ Double your points if they have not demonstrated any of the above but they said something that could be construed that way. (You can do this easily by sticking to twitter to argue.) Remember, these are not people you would want to be friends with anyway so the more you can depersonalise these evil people the better.

If you are arguing on twitter, at this point you should be using a Hashtag e.g. #yourideaisstupid. Be sure to assume everyone using that hashtag is either completely for or completely against.

If they are still wrong at this point, now it is time to call into question their rationality or competence. Use google at this point and find out everything you can about at least one of your opponents then attack their competence in their profession. After all obviously they must be incompetent in something or they would not be wrong. Here’s some examples to use. If they are a female programmer, they are obviously incompetent as women can’t code. If they are a male school teacher, they are obviously homosexual.
Remember, old stereotypes about what men and women can do are useful weapons in your effort to destroy your opponent.

Don’t forget that phrases such as the one I just made above ‘women can’t code’ can be effectively turned into a verbal weapon so don’t forget to take phrases out of context.

Next step is to contact their employers. Someone so incompetent, is a nasty person and should be on the streets where they will be kept away from the Internet and you will win.

Sometimes this fails and this is time to find some hacker friends who agree with you so you can get them to DDoS the person that is wrong. Extra points here if they can claim they are with Anonymous. Double your points if each side DDoS’s and claims they are with Anonymous.

Your last resort is to get one of your hacker friends to SWAT your opponent. After all, they are evil and deserve to be accidentally killed.

Ignore the other side when they complain that your side is using this guide, after all you are the one that is completely 100% right about everything and the other side is absolutely wrong about everything.

I hope you find this guide useful!

In Living Colour

Our first television set was a RCA black and white with a tiny screen– modern colour TV was still years away from the 1950’s. We watched much early Disney and Ed Sullivan and Saturday morning there were the westerns my dad liked. The bad guys always wore black stetsons and the good guys always wore white.

One thing I have learned growing up is never to assume that there are only two sides to an argument. We are not watching old black and white cowboy westerns and people are not always 100% right or wrong. The best policy for me has been to take individual components of a side and examine each issue taken by one side or another as dispassionately as I can– I ask questions, I examine the evidence, I argue it out with others. Sometimes one or two points from one side seems right to me. with many other points seeming right to me from another side.

I can’t do group think for this reason. I reserve the right to express support for some grievance by any group without necessarily agreeing with everything this group says. Remember, any social group will use propaganda tactics whether it is consciously or unconsciously and critical thinking is the prime defense here. I also reserve the right to not be confined by association fallacies, in other words, I try hard to examine points of view without regards to who is saying it. “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day” goes the old adage. This does leave me in the position of sometimes being equally hated by those who do take sides. I am often asked to “Take a side!” or “ Make up your mind!”. Sorry. I just don’t do that.

I have said it before, sometimes I wish people would talk to each other, try to walk in other’s shoes instead of boiling everything down to black and white. People are not ‘isms. People hurt and they lash out. “I guess I’m just a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” (Lennon of course) All I ask of you is to argue in a civil manner without repeating the same boring argument to me and without bullying. I have a large tolerance for diverse points of view provided you aren’t a bigot or bully. There are also appropriate times to argue and, appropriate venues– I don’t really think twitter is one.  Don’t be guilty of “Argumentum ad Twitterum”.