Researchers study how humor matters in social movements

Aug 18, 2014 by Bettye Miller
Researchers study how humor matters in social movements
The New Atheist Movement has found humor to be a useful tool in building identity.

For social movements whose members believe they are maligned and misunderstood in the broader culture, marginalization is no laughing matter. But as the New Atheist Movement demonstrates, humor can be an effective tool to build a movement's identity and develop strategies that empower members to operate in the realms of culture and politics, according to University of California, Riverside sociologist Katja Guenther.

In a paper presented today at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco, Guenther and graduate students Kerry Mulligan and Natasha Radojcic analyzed the use of humor by the New Atheist Movement, which since the early 2000s has come to dominate atheist organizing in the United States. The movement is open to atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists who want to promote the separation of church and state and reduce the stigma of being irreligious in America.

In "How Humor Matters in Social Movements: Insights from the New Atheist Movement," the researchers noted that the movement "represents a break from secular politics with its emphasis on coming out as atheist, generating atheist pride, and promoting activism by atheists to achieve diverse goals. Although the movement disavows proselytizing, it seeks to promote critical thinking and scientific reasoning, and routinely challenges the tenets of religious faith."

Guenther, the lead author of the paper, and her co-authors found that humor is important to the New Atheist Movement in several ways:

  • It creates an opportunity to build a sense of collective identity among diverse participants.
  • It breaks the ice and relaxes people, which can be especially beneficial for newcomers.
  • It is a central part of the movement's identify, and to atheistic identity more generally.

"To be an atheist is to be funny," Guenther wrote, and is used frequently to highlight atheistic beliefs and establish boundaries between insiders and outsiders.

For example, many New Atheist Movement events include presentations from former religious leaders. One Pentecostal minister-turned-atheist exhorts audiences to yell "Darwin!" at moments when a minister might ask the congregation to yell "Amen!" in a sermon. Some atheists reference the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (which says its members believe that life was created by an intelligent creature made of spaghetti noodles) to ridicule all religious belief.

"Framing atheists as pro-science and religious believers as anti-science further highlights differences between atheists and religious people, and also connects the New Atheist Movement to a host of policy issues, like teaching evolution in schools, reproductive rights, and the role of faith in medicine," Guenther wrote.

Humor has been a useful tool in framing this position, for example, bumper stickers of a dinosaur eating the fish used to symbolize Jesus and slogans such as "My dinosaur ate your Jesus fish."

"The movement seeks to make a mockery of religious believers and religious institutions by highlighting the absurdity of and the outrageousness of the actions of some religious believers," Guenther said. "Humor for this particular social movement may be especially advantageous because … it offers a relatively non-threatening challenge to religion, while simultaneously causing people some discomfort and forcing them to rethink their religious views."

While Catholics and Mormons, who have long been derided by other Christians, are fair game, Guenther noted, "Jews, who have a history of violent persecution, are not a group that atheists can ridicule. Islam tends to be treated primarily as a threat and less as a subject of jokes, likely reflecting dominant cultural beliefs about Islam as frightening and problematic. Buddhism, which is a major world religion, receives almost no attention of any kind, apparently because it is viewed as both irrelevant in the American context and as non-threatening."

"How Humor Matters in Social Movements" builds on Guenther's previous research on the New Atheist Movement. A paper published earlier this year in the Journal of Contemporary Religion responded to research showing that atheists are the most disliked and distrusted social group in the U.S. by looking at how atheists see religious believers.

In that paper, "Bounded by Disbelief: How Atheists in the United States Differentiate Themselves from Religious Believers," the sociologist found that atheists view religious believers as misguided, foolish, and even dangerous, in contrast to their understanding of religious non-believers as intelligent, thoughtful, and beneficial to society.

"In this way, atheists challenge dominant conceptualizations of atheists as immoral heathens and assert that atheists have value as people and as citizens," she explained.

Guenther, Mulligan and UCR undergraduate Cameron Papp examined how atheist activist organizations rely on the inclusion of apostates to grow the movement and solidify collective identity in a paper published in Social Problems in 2013.

"From the Outside In: Crossing Boundaries to Build Collective Identity in the New Atheist Movement" uses the 950-member Inland Empire Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics in Southern California as a case study to examine the importance of apostates in establishing a common enemy and delineating who and what their members are not.

"Conversion stories reaffirm the idea that atheists are right and religion is wrong," Guenther explained. "The more people who convert to atheism the more this claim is supported." They also help to reinforce the boundary between atheists and religious people in terms of goodness, fairness and rationality. "When members need evidence to differentiate atheists from religious believers, apostates' stories are readily available."

More study of American is needed, with particular attention to why they are "taking an open and visible stand against stigmatization and exclusion in the contemporary U.S. and other nations after a long history of invisibility," Guenther said. Their new level of activism has the potential "to shape American attitudes about morality, religion, and the relationship between church and state," she said.

Explore further: Unconscious conjunction fallacy makes atheists seem untrustworthy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The psychology of gift-giving and receiving

2 hours ago

Gift exchanges can reveal how people think about others, what they value and enjoy, and how they build and maintain relationships. Researchers are exploring various aspects of gift-giving and receiving, such as how givers ...

Strong neighborhood ties can help reduce gun violence

4 hours ago

The bonds that tie a neighborhood together can help shield community members from gun violence, according to new findings by Yale School of Medicine researchers in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical ...

User comments : 59

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

julianpenrod
1 / 5 (14) Aug 18, 2014
Given their lead to act like the malingerers they are, the atheists show their true colors. The depiction at the top of the article is only one example, turning the fish symbol of Christianity into a symbol for atheism. It's disrespectful. A quality of the honorable is to be respectful even as you disagree. Those who accept the presence of God oppose atheistic claims, but do not mock them. Whereas, atheists, who cannot prove God does not exist, instead turn, as the article admits, to ridicule. And note the "explanations" for attacking only Christian branches. No true movement would limit their actions. Only maggot hearted power mongers. Compare to the depicted courage of those seeing themselves as accepting God's presence standing up to Rome! But among the most demonstrative characteristic is their claim not to proselytize. Any genuine movement that understands the world wants to proselytize others to that understanding.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (13) Aug 18, 2014
Atheism declares itself "scientific", yet, rather than admit "science's" inability to disprove God's presence, they simply resort to ridicule. Atheism claims to find fault with all religion, yet reserve their attacks for Christianity. They talk about Jews being persecuted. So do they deny the mass killings of Christians by Rome and others? And they cower before Islam. Those who accepted the presence of God are not depicted as cowering before Rome! And, unlike all movements that promote at least what they see as truth, they do not proselytize. In the end, "atheism" is less a matter of its beliefs than its target audience. A tool for swindlers to harness the numerical and purchasing power of a particular group. Those drawn as followers to atheism are all malcontents, rotten hearted, hate filled misfits who despise God because He won't act as their slave.
Scottingham
4.7 / 5 (14) Aug 18, 2014
The burden of the proof of God isn't on the Athiests, by the way. If you're saying this 'God' thing is so magical and powerful, you need to put up or shut up.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (11) Aug 18, 2014
More demonstration of the fact that atheists are liars. They claim to be "scientific", but, in fact, if you take the opposite tack to a claim, you have the obligation to show your statements are true. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You can't take someone else's inability to prove their point as proof of your point. If someone says there are purple giraffes in Australia, you cannot say that, because their search didn't find any that they aren't there! And "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" is just more doggerel by the liars. Any proof could demonstrate something extraordinary. They pull a fast one on that. If they don't want to believe something, any proof of it they declare "not extraordinary", and,m if they want to believe something, whatever is put up as proof, no matter how minor, they automatically declare "extraordinary". Atheists are against the rules of logic.
LastQuestion
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2014
Logic. So logic dictates that all one can believe to be real is based upon what one perceives and so all that is believed to be real is based upon perception. Imperfect perception is an origin for erroneous reason. All perception is imperfect. Our ability to distinguish real from not real is imperfect. Any claim to absolute knowledge of real from not real is illogical. One can only believe that what one perceives is representative of a thing which exists in some part as what was perceived. Perception is observation is measuring an external objects properties. How can one measure the unmeasurable? Logically impossible. It is logically impossible to logically believe one can use imperfect perception to accurately measure the reality of that which cannot be measured.

Atheism is not a group or movement or a set of principles to follow. It is a philosophy of science: one can only know what one can measure. Measure now your beliefs to mine.
NOM
5 / 5 (12) Aug 18, 2014
Penrod, arguing with idiots like you never works. I quote your entire post history as proof.
Actually, your post history also proves that ridicule doesn't work either.
So I'll go straight to abuse. Piss off.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (10) Aug 18, 2014
turning the fish symbol of Christianity into a symbol for atheism.
LOL Penrod the fish symbol was stolen by xtians from ASTROLOGY. You have a new messiah every 2000 years. The next dude will be a water bearer. Of course you'll murder another billion people while updating your scripts

BTW I just watched the movie Noah and it documents how your gawd is a cosmological asshole. Anyone worshiping that deity needs a padded cell
malapropism
5 / 5 (10) Aug 18, 2014
It's disrespectful. A quality of the honorable is to be respectful even as you disagree.

The thing is, respect should be earned. The only way of knowing anything about your god is to read the book about him (all else must be in the nature of hearsay or 3rd-party interpretation in the absence of the god himself being present to give factual evidence for and of himself). Nothing I've seen in that book encourages me to give any respect at all to that being, let alone to worship him. The logical corollary is that his followers likewise do not deserve respect by default.

I notice that you claim,
Those who accept the presence of God oppose atheistic claims, but do not mock them.

So presumably you also claim that saying things like:
...like the malingerers they are, ...maggot hearted power mongers

is Christian, honourable, respectful and not mocking?

You hypocrite.
malapropism
5 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2014
Those drawn as followers to atheism are all malcontents, rotten hearted, hate filled misfits who despise God because He won't act as their slave.

I'd suggest that it's more likely the other way around. In what way would I consider a god that i don't believe in to possibly be my slave? Whereas you, believing in this being, worship him and live by his rules in order to bring about his promises to you of an everlasting, wonderful afterlife.

This looks far more like slavery-style actions of the god-being in return for sycophancy.

And by the way, excellent show of respect for your supposed-opponents there in that piece of writing, Penrod.
strangedays
5 / 5 (10) Aug 18, 2014
While I disagree with julian about the need to always be respectful - a couple of quotes from two different posts probably say all that is needed.

"A quality of the honorable is to be respectful even as you disagree"

"Those drawn as followers to atheism are all malcontents, rotten hearted, hate filled misfits"

Smile......

malapropism
5 / 5 (7) Aug 18, 2014
You can't take someone else's inability to prove their point as proof of your point.

An interesting point and clearly quite correct. But surely you've now admitted by this that Christians, or at least you (presumably being one), are unable to prove the existence of their god? You are thereby stating that, in the absence of any such proof, you have only a dogmatic belief to fall back upon. So if this is the case, in what way do you propose that your book is anything other than
just more doggerel by the liars

in which
if they want to believe something, whatever is put up as proof, no matter how minor, they automatically declare "extraordinary"

That you claim for others involved in science?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2014
I've never met a religionist with a sense of humor.
More demonstration of the fact that atheists are liars. They claim to be "scientific", but, in fact, if you take the opposite tack to a claim, you have the obligation to show your statements are true
-Case in point.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. You can't take someone else's inability to prove their point as proof of your point
JULIEN. The evidence is overwhelming. The bible stories didn't HAPPEN. Which means that the god who told them 1) is a liar or 2) is an incompetent or 3) is the fabrication of liars and incompetents.

Which makes more sense to you (giggle)?
All perception is imperfect.
Well we know that rabbits don't have cuds because we LOOKED. Did your god make them disappear as well (snicker)?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 18, 2014
And we can also see quite clearly that your Jesus could not be the Caucasian whose picture hangs over your bed. We can understand that the Jesus/Virgin Mary personas were configured specifically to attract gays into the clergy (guffaw).

No it's true - the berobed, soft-spoken, long-haired, sandal-wearing love guru who traveled around with his all-male entourage, except for the token woman who was a slut - what else?

And of course his mum, the only woman until quite recently who was able to conceive without being sullied by the touch of a man.

Come on - you've got to think that's funny.

The disciple who Jesus loved.
http://en.wikiped...tle..jpg

-No I don't think its funny. I think its a monstrous tragedy.
yep
5 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2014
If you really want to know about the true historical Jesus...
http://www.themys...les.html
Santos Bonacci makes it fun!
http://www.in5d.c...you.html
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2014
"Josephus lived from 37-100 C.E. In his Antiquities of the Jews written in 93 C.E. a famous reference is made to, "About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man."

-Another problem with Josephus the Jewish historian, in addition to the obvious adulterations, is that he cites the OT bible fables as if they were historical events as well, which we now know is not true. And so we should consider him a propagandist and not a historian.

Here is interesting evidence of sun worship:
http://www.dudzia...lisk4803

-The authentic obelisk in St. Peter's square with the orb and cross on top. Many churches feature obelisks including St. John lateran, the popes personal basilica.
COCO
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2014
great idea - love the myths behind each of these movements - does separate the sheeple from the enlightened - like to attend multi-religious meetings where everyone hugs and kisses - listens to their tales of their gods - at the end of the day they can't all be right (multi-verse aside) leaving the humble humanists - likely agnostic as the debate winner. Disappointed the ostensibly educated still defend this collective silliness with their beliefs. Even Gaia would laugh. Probably more an indictment of slack schooling and a void of critical thought.
LastQuestion
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 19, 2014
"Well we know that rabbits don't have cuds because we LOOKED. Did your god make them disappear as well (snicker)?"

My post is antithetical to claims of 'God is/is not'. That may be clearer by investigating Cognitive Science, particularly the enactive and emobodied theories of cognition. In direct response I point to cognitive dysfunctions such as Derealization: reality is no longer sensed as being real. I believe this demonstrates that 'realness' is a subjective distinction relative to perception. One enacts their own reality based upon their perception of it. Consider:
I perceive reality. My reality is relative to how I perceive. Perception is subjective => Objective reality is perceived to exist conceptually. Concepts are abstract. Reality is an abstraction. => One perceives external objects as abstractions; as ideas; as potentials; as hypothetical.

Reality is relative to ones frame of reference. One references reality through perception. Ones perception is ones reality.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2014
Reality is relative to ones frame of reference
Enough bullshit. Rabbits dont have cuds. There were never 2M jews in egypt. Moses never received commandments from god on a mountain that doesnt exist. Solomon and david never ruled great kingdoms.

These things are all true and have nothing whatsoever to do with your FRAME of REFERENCE. And the god who wrote a book describing them cannot therefore exist.
One enacts their own reality based upon their perception of it
-which means you probably think you can levitate and walk on hot coals I suppose. That is, if you pray with all your might to the god who didnt know that jericho had been abandoned for some 200 years by the time joshua would have gotten there?

Better wear a parachute and asbestos shoes just in case.

"They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mark 16:18

-A sucker born every minute.
LastQuestion
4 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2014
@Otto
And yet, the frame of reference you perceive as true is, to a great host of humanity, in discord with their own perception of truth. They believe differently.

Atheists who are outwardly aggressive during discussions of theology often fail to convince Theists that their perceived reality is not true.

Perhaps if you were more judicious in considering the perceived reality of others you would understand that, to me, God, a supreme being, does not exist.

So many Theists have not even fully read the Bible let alone engage in the minute of historical events. Yet, we all enact our own realities and a Theist who is convinced that their perception is their reality must afford that external objects (which includes their God) exist, in their mind, as a hypothetical. If all Theists and Atheists possessed this affordance I believe society would be more stable.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2014
@penrod It's disrespectful. A quality of the honorable is to be respectful even as you disagree.
Respect is earned, not obtained by force. People who demand unconditional respect are called mobsters. Not all ideas are equal. In fact they paint a spectrum from supremely sublime to fascistically stupid

Your earlier claim that an intruder should be free to rape my family in my home without being shot falls in the latter category
no fate
3.3 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2014
Watching people who believe that Black Holes and dark matter exist discount the religious beliefs of others always makes my day. But then how can you not when chemtrail Penrod gets up on his soap box.

If we don't destroy ourselves first, science will prove without a doubt that God does or doesn't exist. Until then those with personal experiences which they attribute to the presence of God are just as entitled to their perspective as the scientist who is sure there isn't one because of what he has learned.

COCO has the best post on here. Most only believe what they believe because they chose a path that was being presented to them by the people who's opinions they respect. Not because they learned or experienced something that swayed them one way or the other.

Both math and the church make claims they can't back with anything tangible.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2014
And yet, the frame of reference you perceive as true is, to a great host of humanity, in discord with their own perception of truth. They believe differently
And yet without food they will all starve. That's reality.

Religionists the world over believe in a wide variety of discordant things. At most only one of them can be right. This means the vast majority of them are wasting their time and endangering their place in nirvana. And killing and being killed in the name of gods which don't exist.This is also reality.
Perhaps if you were more judicious in considering the perceived reality of others you would understand that, to me, God, a supreme being, does not exist.
Well we've already decided that your perception of reality is hopelessly mangled. How can you be sure what you believe?

I hear fasting clears the mind. Give it a try. Maybe reality is different for you.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2014
the presence of God are just as entitled to their perspective as the scientist
Would you insist then that ISIS is entitled to the belief that their god wants all yazidis either dead or sex slaves? You really think religions should be allowed to decide morality and the rule of law?

The book ISIS reads says the same things as all the other books say. It says that unbelievers cannot be good and must be killed. Xians don't do this any more (most of them) because they have been FORCED to give up the practice.

But their book hasn't changed. It still contains the same vile bigotry which compelled Germans to kill each other and reduce the population by 1/3 in the thirty years war. And the people in Northern Ireland and Bosnia to kill each other's children only a generation ago.

No, religionists don't have the right to believe what they do. Because they believe that their books are the word of god and sooner or later they will do what he has told them to do.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 19, 2014
science will prove without a doubt that God does or doesn't exist
Science has already proven that the book gods don't exist because they either don't know the past or have chosen to lie about it. And these gods are the only ones that matter.

Deist gods are fabrications of hungry philos and have nothing to do with gods who care about what you eat or who you have sex with or whether you choose to mutilate your children's sex organs. Or whether you think they prefer long coiled sideburns and little beanies and wives with wigs.

Or whether you think that using a toilet is verboten and prefer shitting in the urinal at mcdonalds which I saw only 2 days ago. Or keeping your women in bags while in public. Etcetcetc.
Whydening Gyre
3 / 5 (2) Aug 19, 2014
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Well, that statement is not evidence of rational thought....
It's a fairly clear indicator, tho...
LastQuestion
3 / 5 (4) Aug 19, 2014
@Otto
When a Theist is presented with an argument which threatens their system of belief they usually become defensive.

I readily agree with, what were to me, years ago, obvious conclusions regarding how Theists view the world. I also take into account that when one is defensive one is less receptive to any opposition.

Evidence based arguments rely upon layers of abstractions which require a Theist to accept discord - they were wrong. Human Cognition revolves around attaining favorable outcomes. To a Theist belief in "God" has led to favorable outcomes. An argument which does not offer any affordance for their delusion of "God is real" is in opposition to what is perceived as favorable.

Consider the goal of presenting evidence: it is to alter how an external agent perceives and thereby enacts their reality. Enable them to perceive in accord with reality and they can accept reality. I believe understanding perception leads to that outcome.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (6) Aug 20, 2014
Cognition revolves around attaining favorable outcomes. To a Theist belief in "God" has led to favorable outcomes. An argument which does not offer any affordance for their delusion of "God is real" is in opposition to what is perceived as favorable
Belief that Abu Bakr Al baghdadi is the new messiah has led a few hundred thousand men to think they should kill all in the Middle East who don't believe the same things they do. They just cut off the head of an American journalist and posted the vid on YouTube.

Obviously their cognition is different from ours. But both include the possibility that they will establish a nuclear-armed caliphate. Their god says they should ruin this world in order to hasten its transition to the next. Do you think they should be allowed to do this just because
the presence of God are just as entitled to their perspective as the scientist
YES or NO?

And how do you think 'understanding their perception' is going to prevent them from doing this?
LastQuestion
3 / 5 (2) Aug 20, 2014
@Otto

YES or NO?


Tertium Quid

And how do you think 'understanding their perception' is going to prevent them from doing this?


By understanding how they perceive one is better able to predict their behaviors. I believe the word Ambush illustrates how effective behavioral prediction can be within any conflict, whether armed, political, or social. Chess anyone? Pente?

TheGhostofOtto1923
3.5 / 5 (8) Aug 20, 2014
Tertium Quid
What, is that your way of saying 'maybe'?

"When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun." -goebbels

Lets go back to this derailleurs initial comment.
Perception is observation is measuring an external objects properties. How can one measure the unmeasurable? Logically impossible. It is logically impossible to logically believe one can use imperfect perception to accurately measure the reality of that which cannot be measured
The thread started out with a religionist whining about oppression. Otto offered some of his typical wisdom in response. And then a philo shows up to spread some perfumy nonsense about how our imperfect perception makes believing in jihad ok.

You philos should understand that youre never any help whatsoever. With anything. Youre all like george carlin in a tweedy suit with no punchlines.
malapropism
5 / 5 (2) Aug 20, 2014
@Otto
I just tried to give you a 5 on that post and I think it might have registered as a 1. If so, sorry; FWIW, I totally agree with your comment
malapropism
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 20, 2014
And how do you think 'understanding their perception' is going to prevent them from doing this?


By understanding how they perceive one is better able to predict their behaviors. I believe the word Ambush illustrates how effective behavioral prediction can be within any conflict, whether armed, political, or social. Chess anyone? Pente?

Fine words and sentiments. However I think you've lost sight of the core problem - taking Otto's example, if ISIS were to obtain a nuclear arsenal, would being better at predicting their behaviour actually be of any real-world benefit? I suggest that the answer is "no" - because they appear, from what I see in the media, to be irrational due to being fundamental religious literalists.

Being able to predict their behaviour will not prevent them from using a nuke against a population and understanding their perception is unlikely to change their world-view that would result in the nuke being used or even to enable a discourse to commence.
yep
2 / 5 (4) Aug 20, 2014
"Toast them all and let God butter them."
mooster75
5 / 5 (3) Aug 21, 2014
Call me crazy, but I think attempting to understand the motivation of our enemies rather than spouting off "they hate us because or our freedoms" BS is a step in the right direction. Pretending that anyone who opposes us is obviously insane may be great for whipping up support for action, but it really doesn't help us understand what's going on, or help us plan what to do.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (3) Aug 21, 2014
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Well, that statement is not evidence of rational thought....
It's a fairly clear indicator, tho...

Dang... I don't think that came out the same way I had it in my head...

Anyway, it used to be atheists that had to be defensive of their beliefs (or actually, lack of), wasn't it?
LastQuestion
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 21, 2014
about how our imperfect perception makes believing in jihad ok.


I stated nothing of the sort. Belief that Jihad is or is not okay depends on whether one perceives the outcomes of Jihad to be favorable or unfavorable - as is the case with every subjective value judgement. By understanding why someone likes or dislikes something one is able to better understand what actions someone will undertake as one is able to understand what outcomes someone will pursue. If one intends to counter an action, in any conflict requiring strategy, then predicting the future actions of an opponent will strongly influence the outcome of that interaction.

You philos should understand that youre never any help whatsoever.


An interesting thing occurs to many Theists who pursue a degree in philosophy: they become Atheists. It is not evidence contrary to the Bible which sways them, but understanding the nature of self, of perception, of how one relates to their environment.
LastQuestion
3 / 5 (6) Aug 21, 2014
...I think you've lost sight of the core problem ...if ISIS were to obtain a nuclear arsenal, would being better at predicting their behavior actually be of any real-world benefit?


We can perceive what ISIS intends based upon our understanding of their motivations. Motivations are influenced by how one perceives whether an outcome is favorable or unfavorable. By understanding how they perceive the world, their philosophy, one can better understand their motivations.

Whatever their intentions, how do we stop them? Predicting the actions ISIS would use to attain their desired outcomes is an effective method by which to counter those actions. An incorrect assessment (perception) of information can lead to unfavorable outcomes, such as collateral damage (Drone attacks killing civilians) or compromising operations (Edward Snowden). Or, we can just go invade more territories - that approach has gone brilliantly so far, right?
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 21, 2014
I stated nothing of the sort. Belief that Jihad is or is not okay depends on whether one perceives the outcomes of Jihad to be favorable or unfavorable - as is the case with every subjective value judgement
Of course. Your word spaghetti can mean anything you want it to.
An interesting thing occurs to many Theists who pursue a degree in philosophy: they become Atheists. It is not evidence contrary to the Bible which sways them, but understanding the nature of self, of perception, of how one relates to their environment
-But you still remain full of crap. You merely exchange one nonsense spiel for another.

And you can be just as dangerous. Nietzsche superman propaganda could be considered the main reason why germans felt obligated to try to rule the world. Ditto with marx.
malapropism
5 / 5 (2) Aug 21, 2014
@LastQuestion
It's an interesting discussion point and one that I tend to agree with in principle (hence I upvoted your last comment). Better understanding their motivations may indeed help in avoiding unfavourable outcomes from action against them (the collateral damage you note) but my point (perhaps not well made) was that a philosophical argument likely will not change their world-view a jot and similarly I suspect that no amount of understanding their motivations or anything else will achieve a discourse (or your game of chess) with them.

Although understanding their motivations may assist other aspects of this fraught situation, I doubt it'd stop them using a nuke (just an example, could be any attack mode, weapon, WMD or other) if they had access to one.

While an extreme, to me the jihadists of ISIS exemplify the dogmatic and pathological approach of many who believe in fundamentalist religion. The religious far-right protesters of the USA typify another example.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2014
ISIS exemplify the dogmatic and pathological approach... The religious far-right protesters of the USA
The books require it. The books demand it. ALL of them do. Believers who don't follow the letter of gods word are only deciding to be less devout than these gods require.

And because the books create the conditions of desperation and misery which result in fanaticism, by requiring women to do nothing but bear children until it kills them, then we know what to expect. It doesn't take a nonsense philo to illuminate this. Historians, demographers and news reporters are more than adequate.

The ONLY REASON xians aren't blowing themselves up in each other's churches is because western culture exists in regions only recently filled, as with the colonies, or recently depopulated, as with Europe.

But in regions where pops have swelled past carrying capacity, as in Bosnia, the Congo, Rwanda, or parts of India, xians have again turned to Joshua and Isaiah for enlightenment.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2014
The pope recently praised those who would indulge in one of the most foul forms of violence - self-sacrifice:

"SEOUL, South Korea — Pope Francis on Saturday beatified Korean martyrs Paul Yun Ji-chung and 123 companions, praising their "great sacrifices" and their call "to put Christ first."
"All of them lived and died for Christ, and now they reign with him in joy and in glory," the Pope said during Mass at Seoul's Gwanghwamun Gate."

-while condemning Jihadis for blowing themselves up in mosques.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (6) Aug 22, 2014
I didn't realize an article about humour could be so - serious...
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2014
I didn't realize an article about humour could be so - serious...
It wasnt about humour - it was about humor.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2014
I didn't realize an article about humour could be so - serious...
It wasnt about humour - it was about humor.

Dang... my Canadian was showing...:-)
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2014
I didn't realize an article about humour could be so - serious...
It wasnt about humour - it was about humor.
@Otto
same word, just the Queens English spelling. There is no difference.
it is acceptable in both formats.

Dang... my Canadian was showing...:-)
@Whyde
didn't realize you were from out of town.
I constantly fight with the word processors here in the US. :-)

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2014
@Otto
same word, just the Queens English spelling. There is no difference.
it is acceptable in both formats.


Dang... my Canadian was showing...:-)
@Whyde
didn't realize you were from out of town

I'm sure he knew that Cap'n, but he was just being true to his obsequious nature...:-)
Not from Canada, but have flirted with her from time to time. family moved there after I joined the service.
I just like the way "humour" looks...:-) (bigger, more robust, jovial)
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2014
@Otto
same word, just the Queens English spelling. There is no difference.
it is acceptable in both formats
Ahaahaaaa thanks dumpy I didnt know heeheehee
ekim
5 / 5 (3) Aug 23, 2014
Does your God have a God?
If not why?
MandoZink
5 / 5 (5) Aug 24, 2014
Given their lead to act like the malingerers they are, the atheists show their true colors. The depiction at the top of the article is only one example, turning the fish symbol of Christianity into a symbol for atheism. It's disrespectful. A quality of the honorable is to be respectful even as you disagree.


I respectfully disagree. We see people constantly mollycoddling piles of inherited notions blindly adopted from previous eras of ignorance and superstition. Continuous rationalization to protect convictions at the expense of evidence (hardly an admirable pursuit) is a spectacle only observable in the human species. It becomes an amusing folly from any perspective of clarity.

And thus inevitable rivers of satire flow from those with acumen. Listening to the believer grapple with poorly conceived, illogical arguments is It is not unlike watching the unfortunate monkey struggling with the Chinese Finger Trap. A unique fodder for both humor and sarcastic wit.

Whoops.. my bad.
MandoZink
5 / 5 (5) Aug 24, 2014
On another note, I enjoyed this comment I read in an recent interview by Carlo Rovelli, a physicist from Aix-Marseille University and the Intitut Universitaire de France.

-- "The problem with Islam and Christianity is that many centuries ago somebody had the idea of writing down beliefs. So now some religious people are stuck with the culture and knowledge of centuries ago. They are fish trapped in a pond of old water." --
animah
5 / 5 (3) Aug 24, 2014
Religion: Attributing infinite sigma to zero evidence.

:-)
Eddy Courant
5 / 5 (2) Aug 24, 2014
The Bible is the worst human invention ever. The go-to book for idiots.
flashgordon
not rated yet Aug 24, 2014
I've joked recently about making car stickers of Euclid 1-47 like the way they quote biblical passages on their bumper stickers.

I've also tried atheist movements in southern California; they seem more into going to gamerooms than doing science or talking about science vs religion. I've e-mailed them my Jacob Bronowski blog, but . . . zero response!

http://wwwscienti...uth.html

I also have a logical disproof of the existence of god, http://wwwscienti...-of.html
antonima
1 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2014
Whats the difference between an active atheist and an active Christian? One tries to create while the other tries to destroy......
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (2) Aug 24, 2014
For some reason I'm beginning to understand some interesting things about the bible.
something about the numbering system of passages... As well as the passages, themselves...

I'm beginning to think it's an operator's manual - copied/translated from a previous civilization's writings...
that has been misinterpreted by a large number of people that have not grasped it's true intent...
and abused by a small number of individuals that did...
FMM
5 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2014
Humor, or at least being good humored, is good. Just avoid it becoming or even appearing to verge on ridicule. That promptly shuts the mind and sours the milk and does all those cliches.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2014
Humor, or at least being good humored, is good.


BTW... I found out where Jesus saves...
At a Krist gas station in northern Minnesota... 3.29 a gallon !!!
MandoZink
5 / 5 (4) Aug 25, 2014
Sometimes it's just so cute you can't help but laugh:

http://www.latino...atxoMHgO
MandoZink
5 / 5 (3) Aug 25, 2014
Will Christians remain forever blind to how THEY have actually been the annoying and insulting presence that we deal with?

Making valid points with accurate turn-the-tables humor is both entertaining, AND is worthwhile if it prods someone to honestly think:

http://bornagainp...ason.jpg
mooster75
5 / 5 (2) Aug 25, 2014
The ONLY REASON xians aren't blowing themselves up in each other's churches is because western culture exists in regions only recently filled, as with the colonies, or recently depopulated, as with Europe.

Actually, the only reason xians aren't blowing themselves up in each other's churches is because it's not the early sixties any more. I'm amazed that so many people think terrorism is a new thing in the country. (Not a rebuttal to you, Ghost; just a comment!)

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.