Originally Posted by onemic
ugh, I don't want to stay here longer than I have to, but I'll bite.
My problem is that the irrational argument is almost always used in an ad hominem context.
The "irrational" comments stem from the thousands of years of irrational religious beliefs proposed by believers of various stripes. It's not just some random thing atheists on message boards started doing to piss people off. Irrational religious beliefs existed far before the internet came around.
Of course, I don't dispute that there are some folks who just want to be snarky and a smart ass, as opposed to discussing anything. But I guess for me, it's...so? There are plenty of folks who do propose very real arguments and viewpoints, so it seems odd to be concerned about some smartasses on a message board, who are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.
It's like when people say things like "I want to support gay rights, but sometimes they're just so...flamboyant and loud and angry! It's hard for me to take them seriously."
At best, it's annoying tone trolling, and at worst, it's another example of subtly trying to shut off discussing actual issues because someone somewhere at some point in the same group made a dumb comment.
Usually to show that said poster you are replying to or religious people in general are complete dumbasses that don't know their left from their right.
and often, people take a comment like "Religious believers are incorrect and their ideas are incredibly silly" to mean "lolz religious people are 100% dumb and worthless I hate them"
And I would argue that this is faaaar more common than the "lol religious believers are dumbasses" variants of atheist, since it's pretty much the same phenomenon that has occurred with every other minority group as soon as they start to be more vocal.
Rarely do I see it used in a context that actually invokes discussion that doesn't go beyond being a thinly veiled insult(ie it is irrational for Christians to believe that being gay is a sin, it is irrational for muslims to believe in the Sharia law) I'm even okay with the usage of saying that religion itself is irrational as long as it is consist within the context of discussion and it is supported with arguments, but usually it isn't or it at least devolves into more petty usage once a thread gets a few pages in.
I wonder if that's the disconnect? Because someone may call the "nice" religious believers irrational, just like the "bad" religious believers, that's where people think the line is crossed? "It's ok to beat up on those fundamentalists, but leave the liberal religious believers alone!"
Of course, the irrationality of position isn't determined by how nice it is. Someone could believe that god loves puppies and flowers and that would still be as irrational as the gay hating fundamentalist.
Usually the usage of irrationality goes more like this "if you believe in xyz religion you are irrational/lack rationality" or "at least I'm a rational human being that doesn't believe in flying ghosts in the sky"
There's a huge difference between the two and I find the latter used much more frequently than the former, which is used to insult the poster or anyone of faith while stifling any form of honest discussion or criticism.
Well, at least in the context of a discussion about the vast majority of religious beliefs out there...that would be true. I don't really see the vast difference between the two statements, except I would maybe remove the word flying, lol. "Ghosts in the Sky" has been a super popular form of religious belief, believed by billions of people over the years. And yes, I think I'm more rational on that topic. Not sure why that should be controversial. "I'm right, and you're wrong" has pretty much the foundation of every disagreement in the history of forever. Hell, I've heard worse phrases being thrown around in discussions about sports
They may very well be the smartest person in the world when it comes to everything else, and an atheist could be the dumbest person in the world when it comes to everything else, but if the only thing I'm discussing with someone is religious beliefs, it seems obvious that that's what the "I'm more rational than you" comments come from.