Monday, January 5, 2015

You're Doing It Wrong

Recently I tweeted this:

I received a reply from someone saying this:

There were several pictures attached to the tweet. I'm all for people sending me links and videos. You know what they say. A picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes that's even true.

Not this time.

CelticOwlWisdom had asked insinuated that these images were from a "group study", but none of these images had any attribution. It took a little digging to find their original sources. This first comment came from what appears to be a blog by a woman who goes by the name of Cherryheart. Her profile says her name is Christy, and she's from Atlanta.

Christy is welcome to her opinions, but they're not a group study, as was claimed by CelticOwlWisdom. So, I moved on to the next image.

This image was the only one of them that included what looks like information on suicide rates. Again there was no source supplied, so some Googling was required. CelticOwlWisdom had implied that atheists had a higher rate of suicide than people who were not atheists. At first blush, this image appeared to back that assertion up.

Before we get into the reality of this image, I want to assume that CelticOwlWisdom was right in his claim. Atheists face profound social discrimination. For many, coming out of the atheist closet can result in a loss of friends, family, job opportunities, etc. In many situations, it's not pleasant.

Because of that, I could see where it might be true that atheists could have higher suicide rates. But.......

That's not what this image is showing.

This image is actually from a paper called "A global perspective in the epidemiology of suicide". The chart is actually showing the the suicide rates according to the prevalent religious denomination of the country. It's not tracking the religion of the religion individual who is committing suicide, so it doesn't support the claim CelticOwlWisdom originally made. So, I moved on to the last image.

 The third and final image also provided no attribution. This one I was able to trace back to a site called Atheism Research. On the page it said that the purpose of the study was to "raise awareness of the diversity of the nonbelief community". This research site cataloged different "types" of atheists. The one from the graphic was the "anti-theist". But down at the bottom there was non-italic text that wasn't from the study. It turns out that portion of the text (the only part that supported the original tweet) was from a sight called Shadow to Light. The author on that page interpreted the research to support the claim that "New" atheists are are narcissistic, mean, and dogmatic. This is despite the comment in the research:
Fortunately, one of the many questions our empirical research was able to address was, “are all atheists angry, argumentative and dogmatic”? Our results lead us to answer that question with a resounding “absolutely not”!
The claims just aren't supported.

So, I returned to CelticOwlWisdom with this answer to his question:

I felt that I was being pretty neutral on this. Apparently not.

He answered with this:

Honestly, I think that is a pretty poor attempt to wiggle out of a trend shown by data for religious groups. Sure,it could be more specific and precise but then so can just about everything. So, to refute this very specific study which separates atheists according to atheist definition, your fall back is that is that not all were presented to you? It just so happens that the most hateful, angry, ridiculous views are held by NA. No one is saying that all atheists are bad, it's the Anti-Theists that are so disturbing as they scurry about in a in a desperate attempt to save a failed EVO from MODERN science which undermines it on all fields of science. Yes, it's these odd balls like Dawkin's, Hitchins, Harris that are giving Atheists in general a bad name. Most know it's AT or NA that are the culprits for giving atheism general a bad name.
I've debated numerous atheists over the years. About 1-2 in 10 are open-minded and truly willing to know the TRUTH be it their view or mine - objective, rational, not sensitive or emotional, don't take it personally - and they are very good debates. What's so sad is the other 80% that get angry, hateful, blame God they don't believe in. They are opposed to Christianity more than any religion yet it is Xtianity that purports free-will. It is the very theme of our nation under one God all men created equal that this view even permits freedom of religion and speech. Why the hatred? 

It seems that the most "hateful, angry, ridiculous views are held by "New Atheists". You know, never mind those people that are advocating murdering LGBT individuals openly. Their views aren't the slightest bit hateful compared to the views of Richard Dawkins. I especially liked the "scurry" comment, reducing atheists to insects or rodents. He then follows that up with the typical Christian persecution complex, and then asks "Why the hatred?"

I thought that my answer had been pretty neutral.

Things only got worse from there.

He presented a video advocating the "Fine Tuning" of the Universe. I watched it. If someone is going to present me with material, I'll usually put in a good faith effort.

I hadn't seen that particular video before, but the ideas that it presented were nothing new.

I replied to him with a recent response Lawrence Krauss gave to an article in the WSJ. I received an immediate response (showing that he made no effort to even look at the text.

"Pure junk"? Based on a link, I'm now "angry and deluded".

He then excused himself with this tweet:

It's fairly condescending to refer to me as "son". I have to admit that I got pretty close to profanity from this response, but I didn't go there.

About 4 hours later, I got this from him:

It included this image.

This really pissed me off.

The condescension and arrogance apparent in this response raises the bile in my throat, and it brings me to the point of this rather long winded post.

If you're attempting to "help me along a journey toward God" by "bringing to my attention" how this god reveals himself through the natural world, try not to be such an asshole.

It's not that our hearts are "hardened". It's not that we're self centered. It's not that we're ignorant or arrogant. We have no aim to "defy God". The reason isn't "intellectual pride". The reason is, "You're a dick."

If this is how you try to convince people regarding your god, you're doing it wrong.