Author Topic: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies  (Read 6761 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #30 on: October 19, 2018, 08:10:49 PM »
"These beliefs I hold are the ones compatible with skepticism" is what everyone thinks.

That's part of the point of being part of a community. Individually we are prone to biases and quirks. In groups, we have a much better chance of detecting errors in our thinking. This is partially why science is a collaborative effort.
But that assumes the community is actually formed around and populated by people interested in first examining their own beliefs and then also the ideas of the world around them. If that's not the case and instead the community is attracting people who are attracted by the idea of being smart and special and telling people they're wrong, then you don't get that.

Ideally, exaiming beliefs is part of the point of the skeptical community.

It's decidedly not the point of various ideological or religious communities. If there are facts inconvenient to their preferred beliefs, more often than not, the facts are what get thrown under the bus.

As an aside, it is quite remarkable how hostile to skepticism this forum sometimes seems to be. I can sorta see why the SGU doesn't really care about it anymore.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #31 on: October 19, 2018, 08:13:19 PM »
With the caveat that I've mostly avoided the politics forum since the election (I mostly avoid political news now) I will say that I'm aware, because of reporting on the SGU and this forum, that there's a lot of horrible treatment of women in the skeptics community (e.g. the elevator incident and the backlash from some men against Rebecca) I have not noticed alt-right or misogynist views expressed here on the SGU forums except by one or maybe two posters who get severely criticized by everyone else.

Am I included in there? It was implied a few months back that I was being bigotted to Muslims for disputing the claim that Morocco is super-tolerant of atheists, with human rights sources verifying my view. This is why I am somewhat dubious of the claim of the OP. Even criticizing an authoritarian regime gets you branded as a bigot on this forum. Talk about inflation of the meaning of words.

What claims are you dubious about? It took 6 post in this thread for alt-righter to start making fun of her. You don't have to look hard or far here to find exactly what she is talking about.

Sorry, I have no idea who stands2reason is. Can you please tell me more?
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Offline stands2reason

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2018, 10:28:53 PM »
Sorry, I have no idea who stands2reason is. Can you please tell me more?

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Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #33 on: October 19, 2018, 11:39:07 PM »
"These beliefs I hold are the ones compatible with skepticism" is what everyone thinks.

That's part of the point of being part of a community. Individually we are prone to biases and quirks. In groups, we have a much better chance of detecting errors in our thinking. This is partially why science is a collaborative effort.
But that assumes the community is actually formed around and populated by people interested in first examining their own beliefs and then also the ideas of the world around them. If that's not the case and instead the community is attracting people who are attracted by the idea of being smart and special and telling people they're wrong, then you don't get that.

Ideally, exaiming beliefs is part of the point of the skeptical community.

It's decidedly not the point of various ideological or religious communities. If there are facts inconvenient to their preferred beliefs, more often than not, the facts are what get thrown under the bus.

As an aside, it is quite remarkable how hostile to skepticism this forum sometimes seems to be. I can sorta see why the SGU doesn't really care about it anymore.

I know what the ideal situation is. I'm telling you that we do not live in the ideal situation. We cannot make assumptions based on the ideal situation because we do not exist in the ideal situation. At no time in the past dozen times we've had this exact conversation has there been any question as to what is ideal. Please for the love of SAAB stop telling people what the ideal scenario is when we're in the midst of a discussion about the not-ideal situation we all inhabit.

In reality, in the not-ideal reality we all share, the skeptical and atheist movements and communities are not actually aligned around seeking the truth skeptically.

I'm curious to hear what you think are good examples of this forum being hostile to skepticism, but I'm willing to bet it will be examples of people disagreeing with your opinions.
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Offline mindme

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #34 on: October 22, 2018, 08:20:09 AM »
Skepticism and atheism are certainly fellow travelers but they're not, obviously, the same group of people. You can be a skeptic and still believe in a god, in my opinion[1]. You can be an atheist and still believe in all manner of woo claims that are clearly testable and have been tested and shown to be without merit.

[1] I can accept a person can be a skeptic, that is not labeling testable claims true or false until they have been properly tested (esp, bigfoot, conspiracy theories) yet still accept some claims are beyond testing and you just have to "go with it". Does my wife love me? Is there life after death?

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Offline stands2reason

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2018, 08:43:50 AM »
Skepticism and atheism are certainly fellow travelers but they're not, obviously, the same group of people. You can be a skeptic and still believe in a god, in my opinion[1]. You can be an atheist and still believe in all manner of woo claims that are clearly testable and have been tested and shown to be without merit.

[1] I can accept a person can be a skeptic, that is not labeling testable claims true or false until they have been properly tested (esp, bigfoot, conspiracy theories) yet still accept some claims are beyond testing and you just have to "go with it". Does my wife love me? Is there life after death?

I believe the relative size of sub-groups has people confused. I believe the majority of atheists are skeptics—let's say only a simple majority. The percentage of the overall population that is skeptical is much smaller. But because that population is also much larger, that accounts for more skeptics.

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2018, 09:33:07 AM »
Skepticism and atheism are certainly fellow travelers but they're not, obviously, the same group of people. You can be a skeptic and still believe in a god, in my opinion[1]. You can be an atheist and still believe in all manner of woo claims that are clearly testable and have been tested and shown to be without merit.

[1] I can accept a person can be a skeptic, that is not labeling testable claims true or false until they have been properly tested (esp, bigfoot, conspiracy theories) yet still accept some claims are beyond testing and you just have to "go with it". Does my wife love me? Is there life after death?

I believe the relative size of sub-groups has people confused. I believe the majority of atheists are skeptics—let's say only a simple majority. The percentage of the overall population that is skeptical is much smaller. But because that population is also much larger, that accounts for more skeptics.

I doubt even a tenth of atheists worldwide think they're skeptic's, and having been on YouTube I would wager than of those who think they are, at least half wouldn't be able to critically examine a claim without just repeating someone else's ideas.
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Offline stands2reason

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2018, 10:05:29 AM »
... having been on YouTube I would wager than of those who think they are [atheists(?)], at least half wouldn't be able to critically examine a claim without just repeating someone else's ideas.

You got me there. I can't say that I have ever spent quality time watching "atheist" videos on Youtube (or reading comments). Sure, it is some kind of evidence (not definitive) of a different kind of sub-culture. But really, you are as confident as a wager on the majority of atheists and/or people who call themselves atheists using people who upload (or comment) on Youtube as a sample?

So, you say half of self-identified atheists are parrots, not skeptics. But also, why the weird phrasing? What does,  "who think the are [atheists]"

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #38 on: October 22, 2018, 10:14:35 AM »
... having been on YouTube I would wager than of those who think they are [atheists(?)], at least half wouldn't be able to critically examine a claim without just repeating someone else's ideas.

You got me there. I can't say that I have ever spent quality time watching "atheist" videos on Youtube (or reading comments). Sure, it is some kind of evidence (not definitive) of a different kind of sub-culture. But really, you are as confident as a wager on the majority of atheists and/or people who call themselves atheists using people who upload (or comment) on Youtube as a sample?

So, you say half of self-identified atheists are parrots, not skeptics. But also, why the weird phrasing? What does,  "who think the are [atheists]"

Half of the atheists who think they are skeptics are merely parroting someone else or are on board for the skeptic identity. You inserted [atheist] where the correct understood noun was [skeptics].

Buddhism is atheistic, so that's more than the entire US population, and I doubt most Buddhists consider themselves skeptics. You've also got apathetic atheists, people who grew up not believing and continue not believing, but otherwise don't engage with skepticism as an idea. Those are your "nones" that include the "spiritual" people who don't have a religion or believe in a god or anything.
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Offline stands2reason

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2018, 10:30:28 AM »
Half of the atheists who think they are skeptics are merely parroting someone else or are on board for the skeptic identity. You inserted [atheist] where the correct understood noun was [skeptics].

Quoted for reference:

I doubt even a tenth of atheists worldwide think they're skeptic's, and having been on YouTube I would wager than of those who think they are, at least half wouldn't be able to critically examine a claim without just repeating someone else's ideas.

Quote
Buddhism is atheistic, so that's more than the entire US population, and I doubt most Buddhists consider themselves skeptics.

Right, only English-speakers that know what the word skeptic means would describe Buddhism as skeptical.

But, other than that, I guess I understand more clearly what you believe about the atheist movement as a whole. BTW, was this only English-language videos? Since you just invoked global demographics I can't tell if you are trying to make a more general statement about atheism vs skepticism.

On a side note: I remember listening to some APM journalists in the Middle East interviewing their fixer. And he explains, in English, that he is an atheist because he grew up immersed in religious violence & hate. Just an anecdote to let you know where I'm an. The funny thing is that in most cultures where atheism is ubiquitous, barely anyone talks about it.

Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2018, 10:36:22 AM »
Half of the atheists who think they are skeptics are merely parroting someone else or are on board for the skeptic identity. You inserted [atheist] where the correct understood noun was [skeptics].

Quoted for reference:

I doubt even a tenth of atheists worldwide think they're skeptic's, and having been on YouTube I would wager than of those who think they are, at least half wouldn't be able to critically examine a claim without just repeating someone else's ideas.

Quote
Buddhism is atheistic, so that's more than the entire US population, and I doubt most Buddhists consider themselves skeptics.

Right, only English-speakers that know what the word skeptic means would describe Buddhism as skeptical.

But, other than that, I guess I understand more clearly what you believe about the atheist movement as a whole. BTW, was this only English-language videos? Since you just invoked global demographics I can't tell if you are trying to make a more general statement about atheism vs skepticism.

On a side note: I remember listening to some APM journalists in the Middle East interviewing their fixer. And he explains, in English, that he is an atheist because he grew up immersed in religious violence & hate. Just an anecdote to let you know where I'm an. The funny thing is that in most cultures where atheism is ubiquitous, barely anyone talks about it.

I can't follow you and therefore can't tell if you're understanding me, but it doesn't look like it. This conversation will not be productive if neither of us is understanding the other.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2018, 12:45:46 PM »
Skepticism and atheism are certainly fellow travelers but they're not, obviously, the same group of people. You can be a skeptic and still believe in a god, in my opinion[1]. You can be an atheist and still believe in all manner of woo claims that are clearly testable and have been tested and shown to be without merit.

[1] I can accept a person can be a skeptic, that is not labeling testable claims true or false until they have been properly tested (esp, bigfoot, conspiracy theories) yet still accept some claims are beyond testing and you just have to "go with it". Does my wife love me? Is there life after death?

That's my understanding too. Atheism and skepticism are fellow travellers, but they are not the same. There are atheists who are not skeptics, and skeptics who are not atheists. Martin Gardner, one of the founders of the modern skeptical movement, was a deist. Bill Maher is an atheist, but also a pseudoscientific crank.
"I appear as a skeptic, who believes that doubt is the great engine, the great fuel, of all inquiry, all discovery, and all innovation" - Christopher Hitchens

Online John Albert

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2018, 02:27:40 PM »
I don't see atheism and skepticism as a gateway to alt-right ideology, any more than marijuana is really a gateway to heroin. But that doesn't mean that the alt-righters won't still sully the movement if we welcome them to participate in it.

Sure, it's true that some alt-right YouTube personalities self-identify as "atheist" and/or "skeptic" as a marketing angle. But I see it as no different than the NSDAP appropriating the word "sozialistische" to leverage the popularity of socialism to attract politically unsophisticated working class people. Dorks like are really no more skeptical than any other hardcore ideologues. They exhibit excessive dogmatism, confirmation bias, denialism, FUD, and loaded language, and much of the false information they tout is actually rooted in some of the world's oldest conspiracy theories. They're just piggy-backing on the existing skeptical movement and convincing their followers that their bigoted views are part and parcel.

I believe this kind of outcome is why early skeptical leaders (like CSICOP founders Paul Kurtz and Carl Sagan) argued that the movement should only be promoted within the realm of academia.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2018, 02:30:03 PM by John Albert »

Offline stands2reason

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2018, 02:38:36 PM »
But I see it as no different than the NSDAP appropriating the word "sozialistische" to leverage the popularity of socialism to attract politically unsophisticated working class people.

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Online John Albert

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Re: Atheism and skepticism as gateways to alt-right ideologies
« Reply #44 on: October 22, 2018, 02:41:25 PM »
But I see it as no different than the NSDAP appropriating the word "sozialistische" to leverage the popularity of socialism to attract politically unsophisticated working class people.

GODWIN'D

But Godwin himself has said that it's okay to invoke the Nazis when referring to the alt-right!

 

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