Tag Archives: skeptic

Weirdo Infiltration

8 Aug
Melissa Lee (a.k.a. LilaMae)

by Melissa Lee (a.k.a. LilaMae)

I decided I’m not beating around the bush when it comes to this topic. But then, when do I ever?

So I and I’m sure many others in the skeptical/humanist/atheist/freethinkers community have noticed an interesting phenomenon that occurs from time to time during event meetups. Sometimes certain, shall we say, “eccentric” types misconstrue the term “Skeptics” or “Freethinkers” to mean something different entirely. Oh what the hell – we sometimes get conspiracy theorist whack jobs who fervently believe the opposite of everything we stand for. It’s ironic but it happens all the frakking time.

I was just at one such event in which a real “live one” was present. Within just a few minutes of introducing himself it was clear this person was not a “freethinker” in the way we would use the term. No. He was a full blown nut job who espoused some truly wild conspiracy theories, pseudo-scientific beliefs, and even paranoid delusions. We know this because – as is usually the case – he wasn’t shy about sharing his information with total strangers. He was also rabidly xenophobic, sexist, and fervently racist. Yes, he had the cuddly approachability of a wolverine. Lucky us.

It’s fascinating that in the mind of a paranoid delusional psychotic person (sorry, I’m not a doctor but I’m willing to bet) they are the only ones who are “enlightened” or who “get it”  or can see “the truth”, so they think they are the real skeptics or freethinkers. Weird.

So anyway, now this person has signed up for one of my group’s upcoming events. And I’m sure, just like the other group’s event, he will end up making everyone feel uncomfortable and nervous and may even make new people consider not returning. So, as the group’s leader I feel like I should do something. But what? I’m seriously afraid of aggravating anyone mentally unstable. Just a polite “We’d rather you didn’t return.” might be enough to incite this madman to do who knows what.

Any advice?

Skeptics Guide to Surviving Religious Education

14 Jul

by Benjamen Johnson

I remember suffering through many years of religious education while I was a child. My mother was Catholic and that’s how she was going to raise me and my sister despite the fact I hadn’t believed in God since first grade. So I was sent to religious education every Wednesday night. I used to dread it; I hated learning about things that I knew were fairy tales.  I also felt really uncomfortable in class because I knew I was an outsider.

Of course I had to go and marry a Catholic. So my children starting religious education is non-negotiable. But I can give them some of the benefit of my 3+ decades of living as an atheist and skeptic. So if you’re skeptical of what you are being taught in religious education or religious private school, or even an non-believer who loves a believer and has to go through marriage classes, maybe these tips will help you get through the experience.

Learn, Learn, Learn…

Instead of feeling frustrated, look at the experience as an opportunity to learn, much of our culture and history is based on religion. For example many common phrases like, “a land flowing with milk and honey” and “an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth” are taken from the bible [1].

Furthermore, it always helps to know your opponent. Being a non-believer in a world of believers isn’t easy. Someday you’ll have to defend yourself. If you already know your opponent’s side of the argument, you’ll be able to stand your ground. I’d lay odds they won’t understand a skeptic or an atheist.

Ask Questions

If you don’t understand something, chances are the other students  or even the teacher don’t either.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, just don’t be a jerk about it. Your goal isn’t to badger the teacher about some point of inconsistency, but to actually make the teacher think about what they are teaching instead of blindly following a syllabus. It’s doubtful that you’ll sway the teacher much, but you might wake up some of your bored classmates and get them thinking.

Talk to Your Fellow Students

Don’t just sit through class and leave, get to know your fellow students. Many of them are probably having the same doubts you are. Even if they are dyed-in-the-wool believers that doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends. Regardless of their beliefs, a class taken with friends is a lot more fun then one taken alone.

Reference:

1.) Dawkins, Richard. (2006). Childhood Abuse and Religion. The GOD Delusion. (pp. 340-344). New York: Houghton Mifflin Company

We Got A Live One

10 Jun
Melissa Lee (a.k.a. LilaMae)

by Melissa Lee (a.k.a. LilaMae)

Wowzers. This video made me laugh out loud. This gentleman believes he has spotted (probably exclusively amongst the human race) some type of manufactured structure on Mars. As a skeptic I’m still amazed when I see credulity at this level. This dude is sure he has discovered a secret no one else knows about. On Google Mars. By – get this – zooming in. Ooooooo. And he’s taken the liberty of naming it as well: Bio Station Alpha. *snicker*

I’m not trying to be mean but come-the-frick-on.

You may have already guessed what this guy is really seeing…and it’s not a Costco on Mars.

I’m not the type of person who enjoys laughing at true believers just for fun. This just had that titillating combination of amusing and pull-your-hair-out annoying that sold me.

So anyhoo please enjoy the man without whose strip-mall-sized-Mars-structure-spotting vision could one day save us from the Williams Sonoma-shopping aliens. Let’s count the logical fallacies, kids.

A succinct explanation can be found in the comments here. As well as a very lolzworthy zing. 😀