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A tiresome trend on this board

#1OzymandiasIVPosted 4/15/2013 9:42:38 PM
I've noticed a somewhat tiresome trend on this board. I've been posting less and less because of it, and I'm wondering if I'm the only one. I'm also hoping to effect a change for the better.

One problem that I think this trend might stem from is the influx of "new atheist" posters on this board. I hate using that term, as I think it's become too easy to lump any atheist argument we don't like under the negatively-connoted "new-atheism" label, but it's a term most here will recognize and will know who I'm talking about when I use it.

Anyway, this trend, I believe, started in response to these "new-atheist" arguments, and has extended beyond that and gotten a bit out of control. There seems to be this almost tangible vibe coming from the other atheists, the "non-new-atheists," that really seems to be closing down any chance for discussion of anything. It seems to be that any attempt to discuss religion from a viewpoint different from these "non-new-atheists" is immediately shut down. It's like watching a pack of alert and ravenous wolves waiting for some kind of atheist-driven viewpoint or topic of discussion that is different from their own to come along and devour it on sight. There rarely seems to be an attempt to divine some good discussion out of it, in favor of just stamping it out and only allowing the commonly-accepted viewpoint or discussion topic to exist.

And then we get into the oft-complained about issue of their being no new discussion material, because so many of the atheists have spent so many years on this board fine-tuning their beliefs, arguments, etc., that anyone new to the discussion is attacked and criticized for being unoriginal. So now we have the old atheists controlling much of the conversation, stamping all over anything they've already talked about (which is pretty much everything), and deriding especially those things that are outside of their own viewpoint.

And now we've gotten to the point where any topic just seems to start this machine where all the arguments are pre-sorted into condensed sound bites and thrown into the argument at automated checkpoints, resulting in all attempt at discussion being thrown into a very rigid formula that allows for no other discussion or talking point.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it, but this is a trend I've been noticing a lot. I'm an atheist as well, and I don't like all of these arguments I'm seeing from the new atheists (unhyphenated this time, because I don't mean "new-atheist" as the term has come to mean here, but simply as a recent de-convert or an atheist that is new to the board). However, I would take them any day over what the veteran atheists have turned this board into.

*flame shield*
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#2sumostickfigurePosted 4/15/2013 10:13:43 PM
And then we get into the oft-complained about issue of their being no new discussion material, because so many of the atheists have spent so many years on this board fine-tuning their beliefs, arguments, etc., that anyone new to the discussion is attacked and criticized for being unoriginal. So now we have the old atheists controlling much of the conversation, stamping all over anything they've already talked about (which is pretty much everything), and deriding especially those things that are outside of their own viewpoint.

I think this is more of a general trend found on any board on GameFAQs. Long-time posters come to know so much about what is posted on a particular board and tend to shut down discussion initiated by newcomers who don't know what has and hasn't been talked about to death.
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#3FlashOfLightPosted 4/15/2013 10:18:43 PM
Sounds like they have unwillingly become a part of the controlling and dictating hierarchy that suppresses knowledge and restrains freedom of thought they so despise.
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#4Magyar15Posted 4/15/2013 10:42:26 PM
I for one welcome our new, non-new atheist overlords
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A good man would prefer to be defeated than to defeat injustice by evil means - Sallust
#5JonWood007Posted 4/15/2013 10:47:58 PM(edited)
Eh, I noticed this a little bit, but it's far from the worst trends on this board. What I hate the most atm as someone who would probably fit the "new atheist" stereotype are the "fad" arguments. First it was "you can't criticize God because I defined him as perfect" thing, and now it's the "atheists are biased" thing and general shifting of the burden of proof ("you can't prove me wrong therefore my opinion is just as valid as yours...despite having no evidence"). One person comes up with this argument and it's repeated in like 10 topics after that by half the board. That and freaking semantic debates, although these have died down.
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#6FingerpuppetPosted 4/15/2013 10:47:35 PM
It's the difference between /r/atheism and /r/TrueAtheism

One is easy to understand but thoughtless, the other is difficult to understand but rewarding. I think that I'd contribute much more to this board if I'd get online at a decent hour, so I think that I should shoulder some blame (I'm much less patient at 1:45 AM than at 11 AM).

...

I'm not sure where I was going with this post. I think I'll just go to bed.
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The problem starts when we are having a discussion just fine and you come along and derail the topic because you can't stand us all having the same definition.
#7JonWood007Posted 4/15/2013 10:49:25 PM
^^lol yeah, that's how I end up acting. Right now I'm lucid, but if you look at my posts generally my morning/afternoon posts are a lot more insightful than my posts at this time of night where im more likely just to type anything up and go the frick to bed.
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#8Moorish_IdolPosted 4/15/2013 11:06:38 PM
I posted about this a few days ago, I think in the Rabbi topic. I'm getting tired of it too. There's been some topics here lately that I've legitamately been interested in, but when I get around to reading them they have already been derailed by off-topic talking-points that have been discussed in a bajillion other topics.

I'm fine with people bringing up "old topics," because that's expected and it's always nice to get new perspectives, but don't derail existing topics in the process. IMO, the only way to learn about religion is to talk about them as if they are true, whether you actually believe it or not. Off-topic criticisms can come after the discussion has been exhausted.
#9kozlo100Posted 4/15/2013 11:25:55 PM
I don't know if I'm one of the veteran atheists you're referring to or not. I could be, as I've certainly seen quite a few topics around here.

For my two cents, I will often try to push past oft-discussed points, but it's only because I want to push through and get to the material at the edge of my own understanding. Quickly get past the things I have answers to so I can have somebody to talk to about the things I don't have answer to. I suppose it could feel formulaic, given that it does seem difficult to get past that point sometimes.

Though I will say that I've noticed a trend myself that I think contributes to the issue you're seeing, and that's the proclivity to harp on what a person has literally said, rather than trying to parse out what they mean. I don't necessarily want to say it's arguing semantics, because semantics are often important, but it is in that vein. I suppose to use your metaphors, it's picking the interpretation of a person's words that most easily feeds into the machine, rather than the one that leads to further discussion and is probably what they meant anyway. I do try to avoid doing that as much as possible.

My general approach to learning is to put as many viewpoints as possible to the test, and see how they hold up. I've been considering reversing that lately, putting out a view and asking others to challenge it, and see if I can defend it. Perhaps that would break me out of giving pat answers in order to get to the stuff I really want to talk about.
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#10KNessJMPosted 4/16/2013 2:43:54 AM
I see that trend-within-a-trend that you're talking about with the same arguments being hashed out over and over again (especially when someone new shows up and starts posting a lot), and my response to that is just to ignore it. I don't go into those topics and try to shut the people down, because if I'm just making the same old arguments over and over again I'm wasting my own time.

These days I do feel like I've come across almost all of the discussions about God and Christianity, so I just skip the vast majority of those topics (God and/or Christianity being around 90% of the topics here anyway). I mostly hone in on, and post in, topics relating to Buddhism or Taoism, and unconventional topics like this one. On rare occasion, I'll find a topic regarding a new angle on old subjects, but those tend to be few and far between.

My philosophy is to let the new theists argue with the new atheists, and I'll be over in the corner talking about meditation with Hustle and str8.
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