On Being a Victim of the God Mob

Acknowledgement

My thanks go to Stephanie Fairchild (Twitter: @TheMrsDarcy) for prompting this post. She invited me to share what drives my anger at the God mob, and this post is by way of response.

My use of emotive language in this post is intentional.

Background and Explanation

I make a distinction between those who believe in one or more gods, and those who try to ram their beliefs down the throats of other people. I refer to the latter group as “the God mob”.

As a child, I encountered a number of teachers who proclaimed the Christian god. Equally, as a child, and thus being extremely impressionable, I took their word for it. At the age of 11, we were told by a Bible literalist and headmaster of my primary school that God exists, that He saw into our minds, that Hell exists, and that anybody who even questions His existence would be sent to Hell for eternity. As a child, I found this extremely upsetting. It was 50 years later that I learned that my mother was scandalised at me being treated like this.

The headmaster’s empty threat almost worked. It was not until my late 20’s that I saw all sorts of reason to doubt his claims. The list of logical fallacies that he committed is far too long for me to put here.

As I have matured as an adult, I have pondered what that headmaster and his like are doing to society. As a consequence, my anger has grown. If I was to meet him now, I would have no hesitation in reducing him to a sniveling quivering wreck on the floor.

My central issue is that the claim of God has zero supporting falsifiable evidence, and when it comes from the God mob must thus be rejected as a lie. I know what that lie did to me, and I can see what such lies are doing to today’s children. As such, I regard it as my duty to expose and oppose such lies at every opportunity.

In Conclusion

I hope that this post goes at least some way to answering Stephanie’s question.

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My Anger and the God Mob

Acknowledgement

My thanks go to The Gaming Skeptic (@GamingSkeptic) for prompting this post. It gave me this opportunity to explore some of the themes that underlie my presence on Twitter.

Of Myself

Those tweeples who see me as a very angry man may be surprised to learn that I am totally at peace with myself, and that I am generally content with the people that I find around me. This includes not only people with whom I share physical space, but also others with whom I have contact in virtual spaces such as Twitter. It may come as an even bigger surprise that I have provided personal support to one tweeple who went from atheism to theism. (And no, I am not going to reveal his identity here.)

It was a number of childhood experiences, and subsequent encounters with thinkers whose intellects far exceed mine, that lead me to the point where

  1. I see straight through the lies of the god mob; and
  2. I do what little I can to stop them doing to today’s children what was done to me.

This has left me with a very well defined and very well contained zone of anger that appears in my consciousness and I express in public at the appropriate times. In a similar way, a high performance athlete has a zone of capability and physical fitness that s/he harnesses at the appropriate times. In behavioural terms, that anger is nothing more than a motivator for what I do in exactly the same way that hunger acts as a motivator for my eating food.

The Reactions of Others

When I see members of the god mob making ridiculous tweets, my first inclination is to ask them to justify their claims, and to make that request in an emotionally neutral fashion. Some respond in an equally neutral way, while at the other extreme they block me immediately. The most common response is driven by a combination of outrage and fear. The ensuing dialogues generally escalate while I work very hard at matching my responses to their level of provocation and willful ignorance. (I am famous in face-to-face encounters for not suffering fools gladly.) More often than not, the exchange terminates with the theist “bravely running away and blocking me”.

Conclusion

I hope this post helps anybody who cares to read it.

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For Those Who Have Recently Become Atheist

Introduction

If you have recently abandoned your faith in whatever god or gods your were taught to believe in, and you want to highlight the errors of thought in your former tormentors, then I dedicate this post to you. I have been making explicit the errors in theists’ tweets for some years, and I offer below those that I use most often. Please feel free to use those which appeal to you.

The Ripostes

  • And your evidence for your #god is?
  • And your line of reasoning is?
  • #Atheism is a mere fact. No evidence required.
  • btw, your #72virgins are all male.
  • Do you accept the claims of …
    • #AdamsRib
    • #FlyingDonkey
    • #Resurrection
    • #TalkingAnts
    • #TalkingSerpent
    • #TreeOfKnowledge
    • #VirginBirth
  • Hell is a fiction. Get used to it.
  • How do you know this?
  • I dare you to demonstrate the existence of your #god.
  • I gave up the foolishness of belief decades ago.
  • I note your:
    • failure to answer a simple and direct question
    • failure to demonstrate the existence of your #god
    • evasion
  • Only weak and puny #god/s need blasphemy laws to protect them.
  • Please demonstrate the existence of an afterlife. tyvm.
  • Please justify your assumptions about … [e.g. the nature of time and the nature of causality]
  • Proof exists only in maths and liquor.
  • The #bible [#quran] is merely a collection of fairy tales.
  • That link is nothing but word salad.
  • The word “soul” is a word used by bullies to frighten the gullible.
  • Theologians have been bickering for 5,000 years about #god. Still no agreement.
  • There is more evidence for Thor than your #god.
  • There is no such thing as proof in science. You have committed a category error.
  • What a wonderfully absurd tweet! Thanks for the laughter.
  • Which #god?
  • Why do you misrepresent unsupported claims as evidence?
  • Why do you reject the #Pastafarium?
  • You are by definition an ape, and a Great Ape to boot!
  • You claim #god exists? YOU provide the evidence, sunshine!
  • You seem unaware of … [e.g. Biston betularia].
  • Your #god is a fiction. get used to it.
  • Your ignorance of [science / #atheism] is solely *your* problem.
  • Your logical fallacies are … (See https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ for some examples)
  • Your morality comes from your #god? How sad is that?
  • Your reasoning is flawed.
  • Your refusal to demonstrate the existence of your #god is not my problem.
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A Flock of Sheep, An Irrationality of Theists

A Time for Review

I have been engaging with theists on Twitter for a number of years in an attempt to find out why they all proclaim that God exists. While they come up with a range of explanations, and more of this in a moment, there is a common theme: it is failure to properly think through those explanations.

Theme and Variations

Every explanation that I have seen contains at least one logical fallacy, sometimes two or three. Some theists fail to answer my questions, while other simply block me: they find my pertinent questions intolerably offensive. All theists seem to be unable or refuse to think cogently, analytically and critically, and almost seem unable or unwilling to learn. I list below some examples of fallacious thinking by theists.

“You Know God Exists”

The statement “You know God exists” is a pathetic attempt to impose the speaker’s worldview on others. It is a denial of other people’s individuality. It is a form of bullying.

“Prove That God Does Not Exist”

The statement “Prove that God does not exist” commits the following logical fallacies:

  • It makes the false assumption that there is such as thing as proof in the natural sciences.
  • It makes the logical fallacy of special pleading, in that it assumes that there is only one god.
  • It makes the logical fallacy of shifting the burden of proof.
  • It makes the logical fallacy of false dichotomy, that something either does or does not exist.

“The Evidence for the Resurrection is in the Bible”

Here we have more logical fallacies.

  • The logical fallacy of circular reasoning: using the claims of the Bible to support the claims of the Bible
  • The logical fallacy of misrepresentation: using the word “evidence” when they mean “unsupported claim”. (Either that or the speaker is being culpably ignorant.)

“Of Course the Universe was Created”

Here we have yet more logical fallacies.

  • The logical fallacy of personal incredulity: the speaker cannot comprehend or refuses to learn about current thinking in cosmology.
  • The logical fallacy of infinite regress: if the universe was created by a Creator, what created said Creator?

“Evidence for the Existence of a Creator”

Such speakers confuse or mis-represent mere facts as evidence. Examples include:

  • The existence of DNA.
  • The habitability of our planet.
  • “Everything has a cause.” This makes unwarranted assumptions about the nature of time and the nature of causality.
  • The existence of morality.

“The Laws of Nature Were Given by a Lawgiver”

Here we have an abuse of the English language. The speaker conflates parliamentarians with equations that describe natural phenomena. They then commit the false analogy of equating humans with their favourite deity.

“I Feel God’s Presence”

The speaker certainly feels something, but to ascribe that feeling to their favourite (and fictional) deity is illogical.

“It’s Only a Theory”

This is another abuse of the English language: the speaker misrepresents scientific theories as being nothing more than guesses.

“Soul”

“Soul” is a noise word used by nincompoops and charlatans to bully gullible people. Whenever I ask such people to define “soul” and then demonstrate the existence thereof, I am always met with a thunderous silence.

“Judgment Day”

“Judgment Day” is another noise word used by nincompoops and charlatans for the same purpose.

A Final Word

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of theists that I have encountered on Twitter who value their humanity over their theism. I value them as people. I find all the rest to form a sorry parade of incogents.

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Thinking About Theist Thinking

Purpose

The aim of this post to describe three different modes of thinking (analytically, cogently, and critically), and to provide examples of theists who fail in one or more such modes.

Analytical Thinking

This refers to the process of looking at a situation, and analysing it into its component parts. The choice for the word “analysis” comes from such activities as forensic chemists analysing the constituents of a powder that they have been given, and systems analysts breaking down the activities of a business into its component parts.

One result of a failure to think analytically is to conflate things that are quite different from each other.

A favourite is to conflate facts with evidence. Just by way of a re-cap, a fact is a confirmed observation, and evidence is a collection of arguments based on facts (and usually in support of a hypothesis). Here we have a wonderful example of facts being conflated with evidence:conflate_1

Another is to conflate legal evidence with scientific evidence, as illustrated in this exchange:conflate_2

Cogent Thinking

Cogent thinking refers to the process of being able to draw inferences without making an error of logic.

The paradigm that best illustrates this in theists is the “No watch without a watchmaker, therefor God” example:incogency_1 This the logical fallacy of false analogy.

Another example is “Mine is the one true god”:incogency_2which is a wonderful example of the logical fallacy of special pleading.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is about identifying and challenging assumptions and hidden agendas.

This is a classic example of somebody who assumes that he is correct about atheism:naive_2

Many Muslims also assume that there is such as thing as a “soul” to which this seems to be an appropriate response:naive_1

Conclusion

It comes as no surprise to me that people who lack these thinking skills are easy prey for religious charlatans wanting to relieve them of their money!

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An Atheist’s Lexicon



Adam
(n): A person in the Bible.


atheism
(n, abs): An evidence-based position arising from the observation that there is no evidence for any deity (or god).


atheist
(n): A person who subscribes to atheism.


belief
(n): A claim made that has little or no supporting evidence. Those who believe are behaving irrationally. It is a form of madness, as in “I believe in God“.


Bible
(n): A book of fairy tales.


bully
: 1. (v) An attempt to coerce somebody into acting against their will. 2. (n) A person who bullies another person.


claim
(n): A statement that makes an assertion.


deity
(n): An entity with supernatural powers. There is no evidence for the existence of any such entity.


devil
(n): See satan.


epistomology
(n): An activity carried out by people who have not bothered to properly challenge their own assumptions, or if they have then not bothered to properly think through what they found.


Eve
(n): A person in the Bible.


evidence
(n): 1. (Scientific) A hypothesis that is supported by experiments which are themselves repeatable with predictable and measurable outcomes that can be used to support a claim. 2. (Religious) A word misused by theists to mislead other people into thinking that their claims carry the same authority as scientific evidence.


fact
(n): A confirmed observation.


falsifiable
(adj): Applied to evidence that has the properties of being measurable, predictable and repeatable.


faith
(n): An affirmation of a set of claims, usually the basis of a religion, for which there is no supporting evidence. An absurdity.


god
(n): See deity.


heaven
(n): An extremely desirable place that is alleged to exist. There is no evidence that such a place exists. Often used as a promise to bully other people.


hell
(n): An extremely unpleasant place that is alleged to exist. There is no evidence that such a place exists. Often used as a threat to bully other people.


hypothesis
(n): A testable statement.


logical fallacy
(n,abs): See https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/


miracle
(n): An unexplained event. Miracles are often and fallaciously claimed by
religious people as evidence of god.


moral law
(n): A nonsense phrase sometimes used by theists when supporting a specious argument for the existence of god.


polyatheist
(n): A person who denies the existence of many gods.

proof (n): 1. (Mathematics) A sequence of one or more logical steps demonstrating the validity of a theorem in any given set of axioms. 2. (Religious) A word often used inappropriately by religious people in a scientific context. Such people imagine, incorrectly, that science “proves” things.


religion
(n,abs): A social structure organised around one or more deities.


religious
(adj): A person who is a member of a religion.


resurrection
(n): Becoming alive again after being clinically dead. There is no evidence that this has ever happened.


satan
(n): A malevolent deity.


theist
(n): A person who claims the existence of one or more deities.


theory
(n): 1. (Scientific) An explanation of observable phenomena. “Theories are the most important things in science.” (Eugenie Scott). 2. (Religious) A guess. Theists often think that scientific theories are just guesses.


Y.E.C.
(n): See young earth creationist.


YEC
(n): See young earth creationist.


young earth creationist
(n): Somebody who believes that the Bible is a literal statement of everything that happened. Such people have an amazing ability to tolerate cognitive dissonance.


virgin birth
(n): A claim made in the Bible that a woman gave birth to a child without first having been impregnated by a man. There is no evidence that a virgin birth is possible in humans.

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Genesis, corrected

In The Beginning

1.1 In the beginning, God created the Universe
1.2 And in the Universe He created the Earth
1.3 And upon the Earth He created the Garden of Dene
1.4 And in the Garden of Dene He created Eve
1.5 And in the Garden He also the created the Vine of Stupidity, of which Eve ate of the Fruit of Stupidity before God could stop Her
1.6 And Eve demanded of God “Why have you given me this cunt in my belly which I can only fill with the Fruits of the Vine of Stupidity, which shall later become known as cucumbers and bananas?”
1.7 And she demanded of God “Surely you can do better than that!”
1.8 And God grovelled before His creation, and begged forgiveness of her saying “I can only create a Man, and he shall be a brought forth from one on thine ribs, and he shall be simple thing, needing only to be fed and to fill your cunt, whereof which you spoke.”
1.9 And God made it so.

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