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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:12 PM
Original message
Silver Bells and Atheist Billboards
Notes from a holiday commute

December 8, 2011
By Steve A. Wiggins

7 a.m., sitting in a bus just outside the Lincoln Tunnel. Jersey side. Far above my head shouts one of those electric billboards with ads that change every few seconds. An image of Poseidon flashes by, then Jesus, Santa Claus, and the Devil. The caption: 37 Million Americans know MYTHS when they see them.

Its Christmas time in the City. American Atheists has been sponsoring such billboards around the holidays for a couple of years now. And having only recently finished reading Richard Dawkinss The God Delusion, I suddenly feel as though I might have tiptoed down the wrong garden path of a career. The writings on the wall for professional religionists. Or at least on the billboard. What do these signs tell us about ourselves?

Once the bus reaches the Port Authority terminal and I join the braided streams of Manhattan commuters, I hear piped-in Christmas carols. And not just secular ones like Winter Wonderland. Pushing through the doors into the chilly New York air with Johnny Mathis singing Silver Bells overhead, it strikes me that I have just experienced a tiny cross-section of Americas ongoing cultural crisis. We want it both waysI realize as I pass the Wired store in Times Squarewe want to reap all the benefits of secular science while keeping the comforts of a medieval spirituality.

I had returned from the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature annual meetingthe Woodstock of religion scholarswhere I had been awash in a sea of religious erudition. It helped that it was in sunny California. When the train conductor on the BART system at SFO announced, The train is about ready to close the doors. Those of you on the platform might want to start thinking about getting on board and taking a seat, it was amply clear I was no longer in New York. As I watched a literal myriad of scholars of all stripes (and spots) mingle with only the occasional sour-tempered glare, it seemed that religion might just be all right after all. Is it really the evil that Dawkins seems to indicate? Can 10,000 scholars of religion really be wrong?

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/5...
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dtexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. I just don't believe in atheist billboards.
;-)
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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:42 PM
Response to Original message
2. This is Sooo Kicked and Recommended!
:kick:
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DontTreadOnMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
3. There is a guy in New Jersey...
who has been placing red noses on dead deer found on the roadsides... oh Rudolph!
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. LMAO!!!
:spray:
How did I miss this?

How many kids will now require a lifetime of therapy after seeing Rudolph run over on the interstate?

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Yavapai Donating Member (554 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:28 PM
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4. Answer
"Is it really the evil that Dawkins seems to indicate?"

Yes it is, read his book!


"Can 10,000 scholars of religion really be wrong?"

Just because there are 10,000 of them, it doesn't make them correct, it only makes them numerous. How many German Nazis were there? Were they right?
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Did you read the article? Do you really think he's saying that 10,000 religious scholars are ...
... necessarily correct?
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rrneck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
5. Well actually,
The church wants us to keep the comforts of midieval spirituality
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Comforts like being burned at the stake, having red hot pincers twist my nipples off, hot oil
poured down my throat, and so many other warm and fuzzy traditions.

Chestnuts aren't the only things christians roasted in the good ole days.

Back then those goddamn uppity atheists would get what was coming to them when they laughed at religion.




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rrneck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Yep.
It's wasn't a particularly altruistic or compassionate sort of comfort. Marketing was much more, well, aggressive. They're into the soft sell now.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. They have better pr peeps now, even the unbelievers believe the new and improved talking points.
Unfortunately this stuff isn't taught in school and who wants to read about history when reality teevee is broadcasted 24/7?

:banghead:
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. When is the last time you had red hot pincers twist your nipples off?
You should report it.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. That's kind of a personal question, rug.
I don't ask you about your hobbies, do I?
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
8. Anyone who can sincerely ask this question has lost touch with reality.
"Can 10,000 scholars of religion really be wrong?"

Without a doubt.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
9. "Can 10,000 scholars of religion really be wrong?"
Yes.

Argumentum ad Populim


7,001,084 people voted Yes on California's Proposition 8. Can 7,001,084 voters be wrong?

Sales of homeopathic remedies in the US reached $870 million in 2009. People wouldn't spend all that money if it wasn't effective!



People can be wrong no matter how many jump on the bandwagon.




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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:10 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. When all you've got in your argument chest is logical fallacies,
ya gotta play 'em with intensity and a total disregard for intellectual honesty. If anyone points it out to you, just say they're an arrogant intellectual.
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humblebum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Yes, using the 37 million as an argument is a logical fallacy, but
it is about all they have to use as a pretense of a valid argument.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:23 AM
Response to Reply #9
17. No, it's not "Argumentum ad Populim (sic)." It's a question.
In the context of the article, it's meant to be ironic.
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humblebum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. The very premise that 37 million people KNOW a myth is itself an
Argumentum ad Populim. First off, it is an argument based on an equivocal number, and secondly, one must question how they KNOW.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-11-11 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #18
26. My response was to post #9.
Post #9 was with respect to the question in the article: Can 10,000 scholars of religion really be wrong?
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humblebum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
15. Can "37 Million Americans" be wrong? And how do they "know?"
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 12:14 AM by humblebum
Must be one of those atheist "ways of knowing."
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MarkCharles Donating Member (932 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. They only admit to knowing what every religious believer could also admit to ..
knowing, WITHOUT any "other ways of knowing" that religious believers continuously claim exist, but cannot come up with one single "known" fact for.

37 Million Americans probably believe in the Easter Bunny, but 99% of them are under 10 years of age.
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humblebum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Though it is hardly just religious believers who claim "other ways of knowing"
So do many atheists and agnostics.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. So now you're contradicting yourself?
How many times have you attempted to tell the board that atheists accept only what they can process through their five senses, and that they reject "other ways of knowing"? I can think of ten off the top of my head.

Now you say atheists claim "other ways of knowing"?

You'll say anything to get someone to argue stupidity with you, won't you?
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humblebum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Just because they admit that other ways of knowing exist does not mean that
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 05:47 PM by humblebum
they also utilize those other ways. I see no contradiction there at all, only reality, e.g. Stephen Jay Gould. No different that a pacifist who deplores violence and hates firearms, but nonetheless, realizes that firearms exist and that others champion their usefulness.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Thank you for once again confirming my suspicions.
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humblebum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. As usual, when you cannot effectively argue, you throw out the totally pointless
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 05:53 PM by humblebum
straw man, or red herring, or vacuous response - whatever is handy at the time.
Must be one of them Serbian things again.
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