It may be time for someone to get his own blog. January 27, 2006 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Not necessarily a callout, because I always find myself reading the religion posts even when I don't agree with them, but as doctor_negative points out in brownpau's latest thread it may be time for someone to get his own blog.
posted by BackwardsCity to Etiquette/Policy at 11:20 AM (223 comments total)

Ozomatli raises the same basic question in the thread another way: Are you witnessing for metafilter?
posted by BackwardsCity at 11:21 AM on January 27, 2006


I don't think there's a problem. As he noted in the most recent thread, he's just posting links he find interesting. Each of his religion posts has been well constructed, and he doesn't excessively moderate any of the discussions.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:23 AM on January 27, 2006


I agree with the sentiment that it is good that he posts FPPs on a subject that he's interested in and which generate discussion. IMHO, this is a non-issue.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:23 AM on January 27, 2006


And the answer is likely "Yes." And, as one of those who doesn't generally believe in proslytizing, I'm annoyed by it. I'd also imagine that those who are vocally areligious here would be even more annoyed by it.
posted by klangklangston at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2006


So what if he is? He's posting on stuff that he's interested in; that's what all members do.

Now, I think that this FPP is a low-quality essay. If all of his links are of similar quality, then we may have a problem.

But as to his returning to the same topic repeatedly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2006


Although I did find this comment a little curious.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:24 AM on January 27, 2006


Monju: This latest one is "well-constructed"? My bar is set for leaping over, yours so low that only professional limbo competitions can use it.
posted by klangklangston at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2006


Again, I agree with ibmcginty.
posted by Plutor at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2006


people are easily annoyed
posted by pyramid termite at 11:25 AM on January 27, 2006


ok, keep me out of the quasi-callout. He answered my question and I have no reason to not believe him. As I said I was merelt curious. If he was witnessing I think he should have the right to do so, but perhaps not in the blue. Again I reapeat: I have no problem with brownpau's fpp's.
posted by ozomatli at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2006


I am quite areligious but think that his posts are harmless as monju_bosatsu points out. Don't read them if you don't like them.

Its good to know what folks are saying as a way to defend against it.
posted by Red58 at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2006


WARNING: In case of Rapture, new threads will be unmanned.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:27 AM on January 27, 2006


klang, I didn't say it was on my Top 10 list, but it's not worthy of deletion, either. That's all I mean.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:29 AM on January 27, 2006


If you're not going to do anything about Bevets's comment spam, why would you do something about a guy making quality FPP's on a particular subject that he likes?
posted by rxrfrx at 11:33 AM on January 27, 2006


A single link to an opinion piece is not "well constructed." If mefites want to read about the power of Jebus and salvation, more power to them, but this looks silly to me.
posted by skallas at 11:34 AM on January 27, 2006


brownpau, if I remember correctly, has his own blog and is religious to some degree. The things he's been pointing out for the most part are politically neutral, interesting things that have to do with religion.

I get the feeling that brownpau and I could share a beer together at a meetup and even talk about religion, me being atheist and him being not, and have a lovely chat. I don't get the feeling he follows any sort of conservative religion or is on a quest to convert anyone, he seems like a smart guy that happens to make religion a part of his life where I don't.

So I don't know, he's been on a religious kick lately, but it doesn't feel like we're being lectured to, they're all stories at the fringes of where religion and society meet.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2006


This FPP should go down on the same grounds the Baz Mitzvah one has gone down yesterday: one link to a vanity personal blog. Yesterdays the girl had the site to explain how hard she worked to become a good jewish girl and how amazing her party would be. Today the girl has the site to explain how hard she worked to become a good Christian and how amazing her hatred for homos, abortion and sex is. Both are noise, today's is just a more "politically" informed noise.
posted by nkyad at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2006


Non-issue. His posts seem to stand well enough on their own merits. Like everyone else who posts a lot of links on subjects of particular interest to them, some are hits and some are misses (this one would seem to be a "miss"); none appear to be truly problematic, at least to me.
posted by Gator at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2006


I wonder how he would feel if I started posting tales of conversion from Christianity to Atheism and Agnosticism every other day.

Personally, I'd hate those posts too.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:35 AM on January 27, 2006


quality FPP's

I'm not arguing for its deletion, but an opinion piece from a rather dimwitted ex-ex-Christian is hardly a quality FPP. I'd love to read a thoughtful essay on the subject, but this is hardly it.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2006


I think you raise an excellent point, maybe it is time for for him to start a blog, especially if it is filled with intelligent and entertaining religious discussion.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:36 AM on January 27, 2006


he does have his own blog by the way.

and i'm for more posts like this. again, he's posting religious articles that he finds interesting. it's no different than seeing a bazillion anti-bush posts, posts about the war in Iraq, etc. from the same user. Is it the subject matter that bothers you?
posted by Stynxno at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2006


"interesting things that have to do with religion."

Maybe. But in my world the word religion means more than antheist vs. Christian wankfests. I dont see Brownpau discussing Hinduism or Jainism. Or the role of Sharia in the Middle East, its history, and elements of dissent. Or the transcedental experience through various methods. Or a good piece on Buddism's controversial figure Maitreya. Or religious persecution through the ages. Or a discussion on the Christian Apocrypha. etc.

Just opinion pieces to bug atheists. That ain't religion, that's agenda and trolling/witnessing.
posted by skallas at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2006


More posts like this? Jesus Christ, this is a CRAP POST! I have less problem than many with past posts (like the "Breaking the Science/Athiesm Bond" one) but can we all stop dancing around and admit that this FPP sucks ass?
posted by klangklangston at 11:45 AM on January 27, 2006


"it's no different than seeing a bazillion anti-bush posts"

Right, because two wrongs make a right.
posted by skallas at 11:47 AM on January 27, 2006


I think you raise an excellent point, maybe it is time for for him to start a blog, especially if it is filled with intelligent and entertaining religious discussion.

You call that fpp intelligent and entertaining? Jesus Christ on a chocolate cross.
posted by puke & cry at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2006


This particular FPP was crap, but some of his other FPP's (whether about religion or not) have been quite good.

Everybody has hobbies, there's no reason to call out Christians for posting Christian-related links, as long as they're good.
posted by empath at 11:52 AM on January 27, 2006


AS LONG AS THEY ARE GOOD! WHEN THEY FAIL TO BE GOOD, THEN A CALL-OUT IS IN ORDER!
posted by klangklangston at 11:54 AM on January 27, 2006


I'd rather have an FPP like this than a freakin AskMe thread about why Captain Beefheart is so awesome. Talk about needing your own blog.
posted by spicynuts at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2006


I expect to see a thread calling out this thread, too
posted by empath at 11:56 AM on January 27, 2006


Right, because two wrongs make a right.

Actually, if he was moderating his posts or posted his own opinion in the FPP, I'd think he'd be acting wrongly. But he's not. If you look at his blog, he does talk about his own faith. He's not promoting his faith, he is not moderating, he is not editorializing these articles. He is merely posting them.

Just opinion pieces to bug atheists. That ain't religion, that's agenda and trolling/witnessing.

And yet when someone posts a link to Dawkins or to some "OMG CRAZY CHRISTIANS", they are not promoting their agenda or trolling or anything either.

Two wrongs don't make a right, I'll agree to that. But I doubt he'd be getting this kind of response if he was posting anti-religious threads.
posted by Stynxno at 11:57 AM on January 27, 2006


Christian FPP: fine
Atheist FPP: please bury it deep as a comment

bullshit.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:02 PM on January 27, 2006


But I doubt he'd be getting this kind of response if he was posting anti-religious threads.

Clearly you didn't see the response to my FPP, which included several very good links. I really enjoy the last two, and thought others might enjoy the first one.

Unfortunately, it will now be buried as a comment in the religious thread, because Matt is far more willing to censor uncontroversial posts.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:03 PM on January 27, 2006


[T]hey're all stories at the fringes of where religion and society meet.

I find the whole topic annoying. At the most, they're stories at the fringes of where American religion and American society meet. Most of the world manages to get through the day without feeling the need to get all in your face about how they were saved.
posted by 327.ca at 12:04 PM on January 27, 2006


Hey I Love Tacos, don't mix the call-outs or we'd be confused. Be a good boy and wait in line for your own Meta thread. We're easily confused, you know?
posted by nkyad at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2006


bullshit.

Whatever. You posted a passive-aggressive swipe at brownpau on the front page, and expect it to stay?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:05 PM on January 27, 2006


Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist/zoologist. He write pop-science books and is a well-known atheist. Most of his claims can be tested (game theory w/ animals, natural selection, etc) and his conclusions can be questioned. On the other hand brownpau links to two figures, one with no notable creditials at all, who make no concrete claims but just tow the anti-atheist line brownpau has been enjoying lately.

So me linking Dawkins is not the same. I would have to link to "angry teenage atheist who hates faggy preists . com" to reach this low level of understanding and discourse.

>>he is not editorializing these articles. He is merely posting them.

Chronic posting is editorializing. I think Dawkins is a good read and more people should read him. I used to post about him. I'm not saying I'm stoicaly detached and just randomly ran into a Dawkins book on the way to the ol' metafilter.

>>But I doubt he'd be getting this kind of response if he was posting anti-religious threads.

You'd probably get the same wankfest of crap, but just a different flavor. And of course, mefi has its biases, but it also has its bad trolling posters.
posted by skallas at 12:09 PM on January 27, 2006


....because Brownpau is the only MeFite pushing an agenda.

(I thought about making each word of the above sentence a link to the posting histories of certain members, but that seemed both petty and a lot of work...)
posted by LarryC at 12:13 PM on January 27, 2006


How is posting over and over again about how great christianity is not promoting your religion?
posted by puke & cry at 12:14 PM on January 27, 2006


There seem to be 4 or 5 "boy, aren't those religious folks craaazy?!" posts a week to mefi, and amid the atheist majority here, that seems to be ok. brownpau posts a few religious themed posts that aren't cramming god down anyone's throats and gets called out. I think people here are overly sensitive to religious posts, while at the same time ignoring the huge number of posts on the subject of how religion sucks.

skallas, your posting history tells the tale of someone that really, really doesn't like religion and has a low opinion of those that do. That's fine but it colors my opinion of your protests here and they're falling on deaf ears. You've posted more than your fair share of "christians sure are wacky" posts so I expect you to suck it up and let a few religious posts through that don't share that viewpoint.

And brownpau isn't trolling. Someone that doesn't share your viewpoint != troll.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:17 PM on January 27, 2006


Hey I Love Tacos, don't mix the call-outs or we'd be confused. Be a good boy and wait in line for your own Meta thread. We're easily confused, you know?

There you go, I started one for myself. Hope that helps.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:17 PM on January 27, 2006


Unfortunately, it will now be buried as a comment in the religious thread, because Matt is far more willing to censor uncontroversial posts.

Oh, come on. You posted just to prove a point. Even if I disagree with his judgement, I can at least believe brownpau sincerely thought the page was "the best of the web," whereas you made it clear before you posted that you were going to use the front page for a grudge match.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:18 PM on January 27, 2006


I wouldn't be surprised if brownpau's (rather poor, IMO) FPP was a swipe at troutfishing's FPP, but I'm capable of reading the contents of both without my head exploding.
posted by Pseudonumb at 12:19 PM on January 27, 2006


Oh, come on - it does not really matter if he is promoting and agenda, a concert or an orgy. This last post, the one in question here, is a crap post to a badly written essay on a badly designed personal site. That is the whole point and that is why it should go down - posts of every nature, political affiliation and subject have been deleted for less - why should a bad Christian testimonial post stand?

Please notice I haven't asked for any of the other many brownpau's Christian proselytizing post to go, I have even enjoyed some of then and the resulting debate. But this last one is quite bad.
posted by nkyad at 12:21 PM on January 27, 2006


As long-time member with strong history of interesting contributions, brownpau has earned the right to post a little agendafilter (but I'm still a little pissed that I'm not comfortable posting links about election fraud since Matt basically told that one guy to shut up about it).
posted by If I Had An Anus at 12:23 PM on January 27, 2006


Just opinion pieces to bug atheists. That ain't religion, that's agenda and trolling/witnessing.

I'm about as committed and strident an atheist as one can be -- I think religion is stupid and Abrahamic religions moreso than most -- and I don't feel bugged or trolled by any of brownpau's FPPs.

And to ping off what Matt said, I think it's good to have FPPs that run contrary to the groupmind, whether they're pro-Christian, pro-Bush, anti-environmentalist or whathaveyou, and that the standard for whether or not it gets deleted should be a little different than the typical FPP in order to promote this kind of diversity.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:24 PM on January 27, 2006


I second mathowie.
posted by Stynxno at 12:25 PM on January 27, 2006


I second Stynxno: I doubt he'd be getting this kind of response if he was posting anti-religious threads.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:33 PM on January 27, 2006


I second Stynxno: I doubt he'd be getting this kind of response if he was posting anti-religious threads.

Didn't you guys see? Mathowie deleted a near mirror thread that was atheistic.
posted by I Love Tacos at 12:37 PM on January 27, 2006


That thread was a hastily compiled in-your-face to brownpau.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:38 PM on January 27, 2006


"...and amid the atheist majority here, that seems to be ok."

Not including this atheist.

Also, this and the deleted atheism post are about the poster and themselves, not a good link. They suck.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:44 PM on January 27, 2006


"so I expect you to suck it up and let a few religious posts through that don't share that viewpoint. "

That's fine and good. But this isn't a even good religious post! And after another spectacularly bad post of the same topic no less. Its another atheist vs. christian "debate." Like I wrote earlier I'd love to see something that isn't the same old same old like the examples I listed here.

Instead, its a predictable 'someone has found Jebus or something' and someone is now obligated to make a lot of noise about it. Fancy that. On the internet no less. If his last three posts or so were put together as one post I think they'd be better received. This kind of serial "look what i found against atheists today" posting looks bad and stinks of proselytizing.

Also, I have the bias of a non-religious person and also have the bias that large established religious organizations don't need metafilter to help them out when they've got billions of people on the street and in positions of power and authority and in the media to do this for them.

Arguably, the best of the web should be non-obvious/subculture/non-mainstream things unlike the "Hey did you know some people believe in salvation and theyre not nutty fundies!!!" crapfest brownpau has been dropping. We have traditional media for just about everything else.

Yes, I have opinions and bias but that fact alone does not make those last 3 or 4 crappy one link serial posts suddenly anything remotely close to the best of the web. Again, there are good religious posts and bad ones. Even ones with agendas. Pique my intellectual curiousity. Show me a religion that I may never have heard of. Teach me about the finer points of orthodoxy. Something! Something other than this obsession with the popular monotheist god and American religious culture. Or if you have to, then make it interesting! Show me the rise of the megachurch. Show me Moonies in America. Tell me about snake handlers.

Nor am I asking you to delete it, but I do think there's a developing double-standard for religious posters because they are the minority here. They can get away with some real crap, but if I was to link to "angry teenage atheist hates your beliefs and laughs at your deepest convictions . com" I'd get it much, much worse than brownpau. I believe brownpau's last two op-ed type posts are on the same level of that hypothetical site and certainly no where near a good interview with Dawkins. Of course, I'm sure there are millions of people who would think opposite, but hey that's life.

Also, writing for your audience is important. If I was going to discuss agnosticism with a group of baptists I would not pull out ol 'angry teenage atheist sacrifices goats to get your goat . com' link and show it to them. I would make sure my shit was tight and smart and could address issues better than an op-ed piece or a one man's low-detail testimony.
posted by skallas at 12:45 PM on January 27, 2006


skallas: Nor am I asking you to delete it

What are you up to, then? Urging the MeFi community to post more about minority/foreign religious practices?

I'll agree with you that all this rending of garments and gnashing of teeth might have been avoided had today's brownpau post been of higher quality. It's still not delete-worthy, though, and evangelical Christians are a small minority at MeFi. As solid-one-love wrote, it's great to have posts here coming from another POV.
posted by ibmcginty at 12:59 PM on January 27, 2006


It amuses me when the strongly religious and conservative complain about their treatment on MetaFilter.

The fact remains that mathowie grants both of these groups far more leeway than he gives the general populous.
posted by I Love Tacos at 1:02 PM on January 27, 2006


>>What are you up to, then?

The purpose of metatalk is not to demand deletions only. From the top of your browser
MetaTalk is a discussion area for topics specific to MetaFilter itself, ranging from bug reports to feature requests to questions of content. The posts are sorted by date, and tagged by category.
"Urging the MeFi community to post more about minority/foreign religious practices?" Oh quite being purposely obtuse. Its not cute.
posted by skallas at 1:05 PM on January 27, 2006


Also, if you would check brownpau's posting history through the nifty new tag feature Matt created, you'll notice that what we should really be concerned about here is stopping brownpau from posting about space and fun.

Top ten tags used on MetaFilter posts: space (22) fun (17) nasa (12) science (11) omg (8) religion (8) blogs (7) games (7) jpl (7) startrek (6)

Who's with me on this?

*simultaneously raises fist against fun, waves at brownpau, and wishes Matt would come to DC for a meetup*
posted by onlyconnect at 1:07 PM on January 27, 2006


Really, what would the argument be in favor of these posts? The're not "best of the web" in any meaningful sense. (In fact, this last one is a piece of crap.) And they don't promote discussions that are of any constructive use to anyone. In fact, they promote unhelpful, strife-engendering discussions that consist primarily of predictable actors emerging from the woodwork to posture and posture some more and then retire, pumped up from the fight.

If brownpau doesn't know this is going to happen, he's got to be kind of dim. He deserves any crap he gets for it.

Also, I'm just not buying the "I'm not witnessing" thing. I've seen witness; brownpau can call it what he likes, but it looks, walks, and quacks like witness to me.
posted by lodurr at 1:12 PM on January 27, 2006


So, my main contention with this post and the previous six, is that they are all one link FPPs (more or less) linking to opinion pieces. It's not that I think they should be outlawed, just avoided as a rule. Seven in a row to my mind shows some kind of intent.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:16 PM on January 27, 2006


onlyconnect : "we should really be concerned about here is stopping brownpau from posting about space and fun."

Oh, I think no one is complaining he only posts about religion (I am not). The main complain is that his seven last posts, all published in the last 20 days or so, were all linked Christian proselytism. And some (me included) think this last one was one too many and quite weak (one link to a bad essay, one link to the terrible containing site).
posted by nkyad at 1:16 PM on January 27, 2006


Although I did find this comment a little curious.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:24 AM PST on January 27 [!]


The Rapture IS coming. Soon.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:17 PM on January 27, 2006


BTW: Anyone seriously suggesting an atheist majority most places outside of a Mensa meeting -- MeFi included -- has got some prima facie credibility issues. So I hope that anyone suggesting that in this thread either has something to base that on, or isn't serious.
posted by lodurr at 1:18 PM on January 27, 2006


skallas-- maybe it's just my ADD, but I genuinely managed to miss your main point in your previous post.

Tacos-- mathowie is like the government. Commentors are like the public at large. Mathowie, like the govt under the 14th amendment, heightens scrutiny for some societally disfavored groups. Your complaint that mathowie is nicer to the disfavored groups than to the majority here on MeFi misses the point, I think. This MeTa thread wouldn't exist if brownpau were posting about something more common around here, like why Bush is bad.

On preview, nkyad and doctor_negative are getting to the heart of the issue. Maybe I've been wrong to defend brownpau, if all his posts are as low-quality as this one.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:18 PM on January 27, 2006


You're all funny and cool.
posted by brownpau at 1:21 PM on January 27, 2006


His posts are fine. Carry on, brownpau.
posted by homunculus at 1:22 PM on January 27, 2006


Troutfishing too, for that matter.
posted by homunculus at 1:23 PM on January 27, 2006


"There seem to be 4 or 5 "boy, aren't those religious folks craaazy?!" posts a week to mefi, and amid the atheist majority here, that seems to be ok."

Well, to this non-atheist, I tend to find the more strident ones of them obnoxious too. And have said so, often.

"Nor am I asking you to delete it."

I am. It's a shit link. You were right to delete I Love Tacos' bullshit, and you'd be right to delete this too. It's crap, it hasn't led to a decent discussion and it's not going to.
posted by klangklangston at 1:24 PM on January 27, 2006


brownpau is god.
posted by 31d1 at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2006


I mean good.
posted by 31d1 at 1:25 PM on January 27, 2006


I get the feeling that brownpau and I could share a beer together at a meetup and even talk about religion, me being atheist and him being not, and have a lovely chat. I don't get the feeling he follows any sort of conservative religion or is on a quest to convert anyone, he seems like a smart guy that happens to make religion a part of his life where I don't.

I met him at the NYC #mefi/#tapes meetup - and you're dead right. Except the beer. I don't drink beer (and am therefore not to be trusted).
posted by Ryvar at 1:28 PM on January 27, 2006


mathowie: You are spot on in your assessment of brownpau. He is a great guy to have drinks with, and talk with about many subjects. He is also very funny. His spirituality is very important to him, but in all of my face-to-face encounters with him he has never once even brought up the topic of religion.

Before I met brownpau I must admit I had my prejudices, and was worried that he would be the Holy Roller type. But I ended up finding out that he is a kind person with a big heart and good head on his shoulders. I am glad I got to meet him before I moved away from DC, and I miss hanging out with him. While we do not agree on religion, I deeply respect him, and he has always respected my privacy when it comes to faith (or lack thereof).

As others have said, brownpau (like others) posts what is of interest to him. But unlike many, he doesn't moderate his threads or try to convince others of his position.
posted by terrapin at 1:34 PM on January 27, 2006


And yet when someone posts a link to Dawkins or to some "OMG CRAZY CHRISTIANS", they are not promoting their agenda or trolling or anything either.

Stynxno is right. MeFites can't get enough of the OMG CRAZY CHRISTIANS and ATHEIZM ROOLZ! posts—there are several per week—but they get all bent out of shape if anybody dares post from another point of view. Fortunately, Matt is a tolerant man. (The deletion of the Beefheart post still sucks, though.)
posted by languagehat at 1:43 PM on January 27, 2006


What does personality have to do with online actions? Wow, the "I'd have a beer with Bush" talking point now has trickled down to Metafilter? "I don't know much about that war, but a man in Cowboy boots can never do wrong by me."

You guys crack me up.

Parisparamus may be the coolest motherfucker on the planet, but that doesn't suddenly make his questionable comments spectacular and enlightening.

I'm kinda of stunned at the otherwise level-headed mathowie's comments thus far. To sum up: My past experiences here have not led to a better understanding of this site and what may or may not be inappropriate posting. Quite the opposite is true, my own controversial posts have rendered my opinions, no matter how well reasoned, wortheless to Matt. Matt also claims a double-standard for posts with certain topics like some Mefi affirmative action. And lastly, posts will be judge by the "beerability" of the poster.
posted by skallas at 1:48 PM on January 27, 2006


Skallas, you are just going to have to be tolerant of others who do not view the world as you do.

Let him who is without agendas cast the first stone, hon.
posted by konolia at 2:00 PM on January 27, 2006


languagehat : "Stynxno is right. MeFites can't get enough of the OMG CRAZY CHRISTIANS and ATHEIZM ROOLZ! posts—there are several per week—but they get all bent out of shape if anybody dares post from another point of view."

Would you care to back this up? I checked the last few days and the majority of posts dealing with religion in any way were either neutral or favourable. But then again maybe it is a statistical anomaly.
posted by nkyad at 2:03 PM on January 27, 2006


nkyad, up until the last week or so the usual has been antiChristian posts and threads. But this week has been different for some reason.

And I haven't even been posting sites, so it ain't me doing it.
posted by konolia at 2:09 PM on January 27, 2006


skallas, before you lump my response into the same pile as republican talking points, let me make a couple things clear for you:

1. your opinion on the validity of religious posts is moot in my eyes because your posting history shows an abundance of posts on how bad religion is. It used to be your ax to grind on a regular basis. This has nothing to do with your personality offline. I have no idea who you are apart from a guy that hates religion with a passion so much so that I got tired of hearing about it.

The same could be said for several other posters on this site about their pet topic. They've rammed their points down everyone's throats so many times that despite my sharing of their point of view, I don't read anything they post anymore.

2. the "could drink a beer with him" is a way of saying that brownpau isn't standoff-ish about religion. I use it as a compliment -- just like I'd be happy to share a beer with conservatives here that aren't ax-grinders. He seems to have mutual respect for other members here, he's not bevets and he's not skallas.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:12 PM on January 27, 2006


>>Let him who is without agendas cast the first stone, hon.

Righto. Back at the secret Atheist Worldwide meetings we often talk about our big agenda. Point 5493 specifically mentions stealth evangelizers and strange policy decisions on webboards, and to my surprise it came true. Right now we're assembling an emergency AW meeting with various heads of state to make sure our heathen ways are maintained worldwide and supported by the world's governments in light of Brownpau's exhibitionism.

Our agenda is doing fairly well, but not as good as other agenda's like the big gay agenda you always hear about. 2005 was a good year: The AW secret lair has been moved from my treehouse to an abandoned coachhouse. One of our pledges hurt an old ladys feelings when he turned down her copy of the Watchtower. Somewhere at the democraticunderground.com site someone posted something mildy favorable to agnosticism! The worldwide secular movement is advancing at breakneck speeds after they cancelled The Book of Daniel. At our last vegas retreat someone left a copy of the selfish gene in the hotel room!

Good times ahead. The atheist agenda keeps rolling along.
posted by skallas at 2:15 PM on January 27, 2006


What does personality have to do with online actions? Wow, the "I'd have a beer with Bush" talking point now has trickled down to Metafilter? "I don't know much about that war, but a man in Cowboy boots can never do wrong by me."

skallas: Moderation here has always been less than perfectly consistent. Perceived intent plays a major factor in determining how Matt and Jessamyn react to any given situation requiring their intervention. I think the reason people are citing "I'd have a beer with him" is to suggest that brownpau's intent is benign.
posted by Ryvar at 2:21 PM on January 27, 2006


"your opinion on the validity of religious posts is moot in my eyes "

Even if I'm right, I'm wrong. Got it boss.

"is a way of saying that brownpau isn't standoff-ish about religion."

Makes no sense, boss. If you think Brownpau's posts are excellent examples of what mefi posts should be then just say it. Are they bad one-link opinion posts with a serial history of attacking a specific POV here at mefi or not? Cause man, I got a lot of "teenage atheist eats human flesh to scare middle america types . com" crap to post if we're lowering the standards.

Dancing around unrelated issues with beer and other offsite crap is just silly and someone as intelligent as you should know that.

To me, it looks like you're really trying to defend crap because you're so sick of all the pro-secular and anti-religious stuff here. Which is understandable, but why dont you just delete the lousy posts to begin with* instead of allowing a back and forth lousiness to continue. I love Tacos did it and I'm sure that wont be the last of it. At least we could tell Tacos "Hey, what youre doing is petty and selfish." But when Brownpau is petty and selfish its suddenly "Diversity." I understand you try very hard to keep balance here and I'm sure stuff like this drives you crazy, but the complaints against Brownpau are actually fairly valid. Please don't become CNN's crossfire by pitting the worst against the worst and then claiming some kind of sanity or balance.

*dont like my posting history? Then why not delete a few or send me a few emails saying 'notso much with the dawkins please'
posted by skallas at 2:28 PM on January 27, 2006


Brownpau:

You wrote "lodurr - it's almost over."

Are you posting these links as part of an organized campaign? Are these from some list of proselytizing links?

Are you fulfilling a promise or commitment to post some number of "witnessing" links?

How many more do you have to post before it's "over"?
posted by orthogonality at 2:29 PM on January 27, 2006


"So what if he is? He's posting on stuff that he's interested in; that's what all members do."

So it would be okay for me to make regular posts about World Of Warcraft?

This reminds me of the Miguel problem (it was a problem for me anyway) where he'd made non-stop posts about wine and booze. Sure, many liked them, but they had nothing to do with "best of the web", and they were basically just his blog.

My point is that one person posting about one thing, over and over, is a bad idea. I think it should be discouraged. Yes, I know it's something lots of members do. But not most. MetaFilter is best when we look for the best of the web rather than just discussion starters for our pet topic.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:32 PM on January 27, 2006


Brownpau:

You wrote "lodurr - it's almost over."

Are you posting these links as part of an organized campaign? Are these from some list of proselytizing links?

Are you fulfilling a promise or commitment to post some number of "witnessing" links?

How many more do you have to post before it's "over"?


I too would like some clarification on why it will soon be over. Either your an endtimes nut or you are indeed witnessing.
posted by puke & cry at 2:46 PM on January 27, 2006


I don't see the difference between this post and my religious sister handing me a book about Carl Sagan, "A brilliant scientist, who was once an atheist but then came to god. I really wish you would read it."

It's straight up witnessing -- the only question is whether or not the powers that be are cool with that.
posted by LordSludge at 2:53 PM on January 27, 2006


Sounds like a St. Jude promise. You know, the kind you see in the paper all the time. Example here.
posted by skallas at 2:55 PM on January 27, 2006


Ten tons of talk on a two ounce subject.

I propose a bitch-free day for mefi. How about February 15?

Of course by the sixteenth the papers would be filled with stories of dozens of folk spontaneously combusting, with the only common denominator their posting privileges here. So on second thought, never mind.
posted by konolia at 2:55 PM on January 27, 2006


LordSludge's sister claims "Carl Sagan, 'A brilliant scientist, who was once an atheist but then came to god."


WTF?

When did Sagan "come to God"? WTF?
posted by orthogonality at 2:57 PM on January 27, 2006


Well, he "went to God" by dying but as far as I know he never believed in God, right up to the last. Perhaps it was just a rhetorical example?
posted by konolia at 2:58 PM on January 27, 2006


He didn't. He lived and died an agnostic.
posted by skallas at 3:00 PM on January 27, 2006


Come on. The title is "An ex-atheist's testimony". How is presenting "testimony" not "testifying"?

re: Carl Sagan, maybe I remembered the wrong dude's name, but I don't think so. At any rate it was a scientist who found religion later in life. Or maybe somebody put a nifty spin on Carl, I dunno. I would ask my sister, but I'd hate to get her hopes up...
posted by LordSludge at 3:04 PM on January 27, 2006


Regarding Carl Sagan:
In his final book Billions and Billions, his wife Ann Druyan writes, "Contrary to the fantasies of fundamentalists, there was no deathbed conversion.... Even at this moment when anyone would be forgiven for turning away from the reality of our situation, Carl was unflinching."
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:09 PM on January 27, 2006


That celebatheists site is fascinating, skallas. I especially loved the Keanu Reeves section:
[about Constantine] "I used to have doubts (about heaven and hell) and now I doubt less," though the article says it did not change his stance as an atheist.
Whoa.
posted by boaz at 3:11 PM on January 27, 2006


In the course of a thread, Skallas has compared me to Paris Paramus, accused mathowie of being pro-religious and anti-secular, and surmised that I am a dying Roman Catholic doing a St. Jude novena. It really doesn't get much better than that.


O'Toole worked in the lumber yard for twenty years and all that time he'd been stealing the wood and selling it. At last his conscience began to bother him and he went to confession to repent. "Father, it's 15 years since my last confession, and I've been stealing wood from the lumber yard all those years," he told the priest.

"I understand my son," says the priest. "Can you make a Novena?"

O'Toole said, "Father, if you have the plans, I've got the lumber."


Ba-dum-tish. Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week. Unless the Rapture happens.

posted by brownpau at 3:12 PM on January 27, 2006


brownpau writes "In the course of a thread, "

You still haven't told us how many more Christian apologetics you plan on posting before "it's over".
posted by orthogonality at 3:16 PM on January 27, 2006


Yeah, it'll be so anticlimactic.
posted by brownpau at 3:18 PM on January 27, 2006


I'm sorry, Brownpau, but that joke was hilarious. I still think that it was an absolutely crappy post, but the joke made the MeTa worth it.
posted by klangklangston at 3:28 PM on January 27, 2006


Why is it such a big deal when intelligent people call something at its face value? If an adult tells me that they truly believe in Santa Claus, I'm prone to laugh in their face, or recommend that they seek the help of a trained psychologist.

Yet, when someone makes the argument for the existence of G/god(s), there tends to be the whole "well if that's their personal belief" line of thought. So what if they believe it? They're wrong. If you believe the Sun revolves around the Earth - you're wrong. If you believe the moon is made of cheese - you're wrong. If you believe that the holocaust didn't happen - you're wrong.

See how easy that is?
posted by matkline at 3:35 PM on January 27, 2006


This is the way the thread ends
This is the way the thread ends
This is the way the thread ends
Not with a ! but a...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:38 PM on January 27, 2006


matkline, just a couple months ago I had a discussion with a coworker who was absolutely convinced that the sun revolved around the earth. He's a normal, nice guy otherwise. Telling him to see a psychologist would have been an asshole tack to take. His conception of the solar system isn't exactly ruining my quality of life, you know? Shall we not let people voice anything counter to scientific dogma? It's hard to ridicule someone when they're no longer a caricature in your mind.
posted by Firas at 3:40 PM on January 27, 2006


His conception of the solar system isn't exactly ruining my quality of life, you know?

Isn't it though? Perhaps his particular irrational belief isn't affecting your quality of life, but what happens when such beliefs become acceptable on a large scale? I think we only need to look at recent events to see tragic examples of such beliefs gone wrong.

But, I guess, if "that's his personal belief", then you're best off just leaving it alone.
posted by matkline at 3:46 PM on January 27, 2006


Yet, when someone makes the argument for the existence of G/god(s), there tends to be the whole "well if that's their personal belief" line of thought. So what if they believe it? They're wrong.

Please prove they are "wrong."
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:07 PM on January 27, 2006


I'm sorry firas, but that guy you work with is a retard.
posted by puke & cry at 4:11 PM on January 27, 2006


Please prove they are "wrong."

Please prove they are "right".
posted by puke & cry at 4:11 PM on January 27, 2006


Steve_at_Linnwood writes "posted by Steve_at_Linnwood"

Huh? I thought Steve had joined the Army.
posted by orthogonality at 4:12 PM on January 27, 2006


"It's hard to ridicule someone when they're no longer a caricature in your mind."

No, it's not.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:12 PM on January 27, 2006


puke & cry, I didn't assert believers in God(s) are correct or not. Matkline did. The burden is his.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:15 PM on January 27, 2006


The burden is Christ's. Or so I've been told.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:18 PM on January 27, 2006


*rimshot*
posted by puke & cry at 4:19 PM on January 27, 2006


You guys miss my point: it's not about whether he's a retard or not, it is: have you known people personally who had wacky beliefs? How did you deal with that? Crying 'retard! wrong! moron!' rather than just letting it go smacks of intolerance and smugness to me.
posted by Firas at 4:20 PM on January 27, 2006


In other words, saying 'he believes in god, hah, ignore him, no writing of his can be of any merit' is the sort of response I'd expect from one stuck in a bubble of people who agree with the person on mostly everything.
posted by Firas at 4:22 PM on January 27, 2006



>In the course of a thread, Skallas has compared me to Paris Paramus, accused mathowie of being pro-religious and anti-secular, and surmised that I am a dying Roman Catholic doing a St. Jude novena.

Your posting skills are almost as good as your reading comprehesion skills. The paris comment is called an analogy. I'm accusing matt of having a double standard, to which he admits to. And you're little "it will end soon" comment could be anything. May I suggest this for your next bad-ass one-link opinionated religious FFP?
posted by skallas at 4:23 PM on January 27, 2006


puke & cry: "*rimshot*"

That was here.

*I tried to give up the Internet, puke & cry, I really did; but I have a nasty cold, and I'm too tired to do anything else. I promise I'll fade into the sunset next week.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:23 PM on January 27, 2006


Btw, youre friend was most likely talking about Anthony Flew not Carl Sagan. Later in life, Flew took on the "there is complexity, thus there must be a watchmaker" point of view. He had to reach his 80s to come to this decision. Staring death in the face can't be easy.
posted by skallas at 4:35 PM on January 27, 2006


I'm accusing matt of having a double standard, to which he admits to.

I did no such thing. What is going on in your head? What I've said today is this, boiled down into two points:

Someone posts 50 lame atheism/iraq/bush 50 threads = ignored in my mind.

Someone posts a handful of semi-interesting threads on a single subject but also posts tons of other interesting things = gets one lame-ish post free pass.

No double standard.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:46 PM on January 27, 2006


Right. You're saying some people are completely ignored and others' opinions are more valid regardless of the reasoning. On top of it you write "gets one lame-ish post free pass." Call it what you will, boss. Its your site. You've been doing a bang-up job so far.
posted by skallas at 4:53 PM on January 27, 2006


Also, the issue isn't this post per se, its a series of posts. 7 with almost the same axe to grind in less than a month. That even makes me look like an amateur axe-grinder.
posted by skallas at 4:55 PM on January 27, 2006


OMG skallas yes that was the next FPP right along with the link to LeftBehind.com and ProLifer pictures of dead aborted babies because that's all Christians believe u r ryt bye bye metafilter!!!11
posted by brownpau at 5:03 PM on January 27, 2006


give god a hug for me
posted by puke & cry at 5:06 PM on January 27, 2006


Touched a nerve there I think.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:06 PM on January 27, 2006


>>>>>>HUG<<<<<<
posted by brownpau at 5:08 PM on January 27, 2006


Well, brownpau, you've obviously not shooting for quality. That link on Flew I dug up took all of 10 seconds on google and is much more interesting than some random conversation from the guy who runs ex-atheist.com. Come on man, put some effort into these. I'll give you some pointers:

Frey. Ayers. (atheists turned something) Jung v Frued (classic argument). Jimmy Carter (born again). Brian "Head" Welch (born again rocker).
posted by skallas at 5:09 PM on January 27, 2006


The atheists that show up in religion threads so have an agenda. Mainly, it's to try and prove (usually unsuccessfully) that they're smarter and more intelligent and more rational than people who believe in some kind of deity. Subsets of this include trying to convince everyone who's not them that atheism is not a belief system.
Even here, they're trying. Like:

If an adult tells me that they truly believe in Santa Claus, I'm prone to laugh in their face, or recommend that they seek the help of a trained psychologist.

And of course, the obvious response to this is that this tactic doesn't work because it begs the question. Yet they continue, doggedly, or, perhaps, dogmatically.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:10 PM on January 27, 2006


Don't forget stephen baldwin. He's another one of gods children fighing the good fight.
posted by puke & cry at 5:17 PM on January 27, 2006


"The atheists that show up in religion threads so have an agenda."

:spit take:
posted by fleetmouse at 5:32 PM on January 27, 2006


I'm tempted to spot him five bucks and invite him to join the fun here. Steven versus Skallas-I'd pay to see that.
posted by konolia at 5:34 PM on January 27, 2006


that's actually not a bad idea.
posted by puke & cry at 5:39 PM on January 27, 2006


Of course by the sixteenth the papers would be filled with stories of dozens of folk spontaneously combusting, with the only common denominator their posting privileges here. So on second thought, never mind.

You say that as if it would be a bad thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:46 PM on January 27, 2006


Crying 'retard! wrong! moron!' rather than just letting it go smacks of intolerance and smugness to me.

Welcome to MetaFilter!

skallas, just cut off your right hand already. Why waste all that indignation?
posted by languagehat at 5:58 PM on January 27, 2006


I don't really understand why anyone—also known as "mathowie"—is defending brownpau's post. It's not a good post. I do understand seeing it with slightly more favor in the context of the neverending God sucks posts.

You know what one simple thing matt could do that would dramatically improve MeFi overnight? Create and enforce a policy banning any sort of proselytizing post on any topic. You may say that it would be difficult to identify such posts because there's so much ambiguity. I say that the overwhelming majority of such posts are easily identifiable.

One thing that most of the bad posts on MeFi have in common is that they exist to serve the authors more than they serve the audience.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:01 PM on January 27, 2006


Hallelujiah.
posted by LarryC at 6:29 PM on January 27, 2006


EB, what is so scary about proselytizing? One could argue that political discourse is a type of it-or for that matter advertizing. People are always trying to persuade people to think differently.

Words on a screen is all they are. You wanna work Matt and Jessamyn into an early grave moderating all this crap meanwhile making this place into sanitized shrinkwrapped shell of its former self?

Where no oxen are, the manger is empty but much strength comes from the ox. (in other words, messiness is inevitable with the vitality that comes with freedom of speech.)
posted by konolia at 6:41 PM on January 27, 2006


“When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.”
-David Hume

And I ain't looking at brownpau. Sheesh.
posted by 31d1 at 7:01 PM on January 27, 2006


eustacescrubb : "And of course, the obvious response to this is that this tactic doesn't work because it begs the question. Yet they continue, doggedly, or, perhaps, dogmatically."

Inverting the burden of proof does work for you? Because last time I checked anyone making a positive existence assertion should show their claim is valid, not the other way around. If you want to claim that an unobserved entity is performing un-natural acts all over the place, everybody can and should just sit down and watch you provide the said entity proof of existence. Otherwise you're cheating the method and can't complain when you're ignored or mocked at.
posted by nkyad at 7:22 PM on January 27, 2006


nkyad,

I do not, as a rule, try to prove the existence of God to anyone, so I am not "making a positive existence assertion." And anyone making any claim ought to be able to show their claim is vaild if they want to be persuasive, that is. The Santa Claus analogy and all like it (Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc) beg the question because they assume the non-existence of God when it hasn't been proven, and the intelocuter already has what they believe is a personal expperience of God. Anecdotal proof doesn't wash in logcal debate, but if person A believes they've encountered God, then person B making comparions to Santa Claus will accomplish nothing.
I don't think God can be proven to exist, and I think the Flying Spaghetti Monster is funny as hell, but I also know that people who think all they have to do to debate successfully is to prove something to themselves are bound to be unsucessful at persuasion. If such people continue to attempt persuasion in spite of this blatant and obvious inability, then I can only conclude dogmatism or fanaticism or both is clouding their judgement.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:51 PM on January 27, 2006


And how, pray tell, can the non-existence of something be proven? If it can't, should we correctly be leprechaun agnostic, santa agnostic, odin agnostic, victorian teakettle orbiting pluto agnostic, and so on?
posted by fleetmouse at 8:11 PM on January 27, 2006


EB, what is so scary about proselytizing?

You mistake "scary" with "obnoxious".
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:23 PM on January 27, 2006


And how, pray tell, can the non-existence of something be proven

I really am too tired to get into the deep philosophical issues about the nature of language and of truth, but it all boils down to the fact that the line between knowing and believing is very, very thing, and possibly nonexistent. Most of the stuff we know is experiential and difficult to prove. I cannot, for example, prove with argument that my wife loves me, but I know (believe) that she does.
So, while I don't believe in leprechauns, and I find that my belief is fairly strong so that I'd be incredibly surprised to happen upon one, I am also smart enough not to state as fact what I only believe to be the case -- that there are no leprechauns.
Since most people who admit to believing in something unprovable are usually just a little more aware of how belief works and how little seperates it from knowing (is there really any verificationthat doesn't just turn out to be agreement?) and so it's easy for them to see that atheists like to state as fact what they believe -- that there is no God. This ruiffles some atheists' feathers because part of their belief system is tied up on valorizing rationalism, and so they want (or need) to be seen as more rational than people who believe in God. There is a lot of rhetoric spent in these threads that attempts to cast people of faith as crazy or stupid or gullible or all of the above, which is odd because one doesn't often find people who don't care about something devoting so much energy to distancing themselves from it.
To take one of your examples, no one posts threads about how leprechauns don't exist, and that's because no one cares about the matter. The very presence of atheists who comment like this in religion threads is often a dead givaeway that the atheist in question really does care whether God exists, and there we have our agenda -- It would not do to be seen to have a strong belief about God's existence, because then the atheist in question risks disruption of thier identity as a rational person. It's sort of like those closeted gay guys who are the loudest mouths about bad gay people are -- they protest too much.
posted by eustacescrubb at 8:44 PM on January 27, 2006


You guys are great.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:56 PM on January 27, 2006


Aren't we just? It's so awesome.
posted by brownpau at 8:58 PM on January 27, 2006


I'd never really noticed brownpau before this callout, but I've gotta say his performance in this thread has been pretty dumb. And his refusal to explain the bizarre "almost over" comment has been particularly interesting.
posted by mediareport at 9:05 PM on January 27, 2006


Wouldn't it be a more compelling argument to present, oh I don't know, positive evidence for the existence of God rather than questioning the motives of those who doubt your beliefs and comparing them to closeted homosexuals?

It reminds me very much of a Scientology tactic - always attack, never defend. There must be something wrong with your opponent - find out what it is. Hire a detective if necessary.

If there were leprechaunists evangelizing the Great Leprechaun and lobbying government to teach leprechaunism in the schools I guarantee there'd be aleprechaunists starting threads about it.

Does it bother you that your position is so intellectually bankrupt that you must defend the possibility of leprechauns in order to preserve a faint hope that your faith is justified?
posted by fleetmouse at 9:12 PM on January 27, 2006


or, perhaps, dogmatically.

ZING!!!

they protest too much.

POW!!!
posted by quonsar at 9:39 PM on January 27, 2006


i think what metafilter really needs is an invasion of intelligent evangelical republicans who support bush ... not because i'm one of those ... no, sir ... but because i think it would be interesting to see if people here could debate logically and rationally with well-spoken viewpoints they disagree with

my impression from this thread and the thread that's being complained about, which i admit was so-so, is that many wouldn't come off that well

it seems to me that the question isn't exactly that there's an agenda here ... but what kind of agenda it is

we could stand a little more diversity around here ... and people in this country need to start talking to each other instead of yelling ...
posted by pyramid termite at 9:41 PM on January 27, 2006


pyramid termite : "intelligent evangelical republicans who support bush"

The only problem here is that the existence of these creatures is just slightly less improbable than the existence of the Christian God. Apart from that, new conservatives would be nice to have. One eventually tires from the same ones.
posted by nkyad at 10:20 PM on January 27, 2006


now, I haven't read the links provided, but from reading the posts, I'd have thought they were posted by a devout atheist. Finding out that they're posted by a christian and are actually links to stories of conversion to catholicism... that feels like missionary work to me.

But that doesn't mean that it IS missionary work, and it's certainly far from callout worthy. I really don't see these posts or this user as any kind of a problem.

my $.02. (sorry if anything I've said has been addressed. I read about a third of the thread before my brain hurt.)
posted by shmegegge at 10:31 PM on January 27, 2006


As others have pointed out, there are many more interesting tales of conversion: give us Saul of Taurus or Augustine of Hippo or Harald Bluetooth. But some fallen-away Catholic chick who claims that "[t]o justify my desire to destroy Christianity, I had to find reasons to discredit it... I began seeing it as the supreme evil" isn't a representative atheist or even interesting; it's a trite caricature of atheism.

There does seem to be a significant segment of Christians who aren't happy unless they feel persecuted ("The war on Christmas", "Republican fund-raising ;letters about Democrats who want to "outlaw the Bible"). Most mature atheists aren't spending a lot of time figuring out howe to "destroy" Christianity.

Sorry Brownpau, the FPP sucked ass. That it sucked Jesus's ass is immaterial: it was a single link to an editorial, and not a particularly well-written or interesting or informative or insightful editorial.
posted by orthogonality at 10:32 PM on January 27, 2006


I wonder if the "But it's NOT the best of the web!" shriekers will ever realize that if that criteria was truly enforced, MetaFilter would be nothing but free porn and Hurra Torpedo.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:38 PM on January 27, 2006


I am an atheist, but I do not object to brownpau's posts on the basis of (non)religion. I just think this last one particularly was crap. There's a razor-thin line between a FPP with only one link and a link-dump site. I would like to know what the MeFi consensus on this is (and opinions by Matt in particular).


On Preview: Yes, Alvy &, there is more to the Internet than porn. Correct me if I'm wrong, as I am a semi-new member (longtime lurker); I gather that the purpose of MeFi is to stimulate discussion with a multitude of links to cogent or eloquent sites on the web. A best of the web, with a director's commentary, if you will.

That, and Friday Flash fun.
posted by Monochrome at 11:21 PM on January 27, 2006


" I think we only need to look at recent events to see tragic examples of such beliefs gone wrong."

Hi, I'm the slippery slope fallacy. Have we met?

Fleetmouse: Can you prove that your past exists, or that there will be a future? You're arguing that because things are improbable, believing they don't exist is rational. It is not. The lack of magical leprachauns does not eliminate Irish midgets in fancy dress. (Hint: the argument of necessary proof for ontological discussions, including much of theology, is a false dichotomy. Further problems arise with the definition of God. It's very easy for Russell to define a God that doesn't exist, but it's fairly easy to define a God that can't be verified.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:37 PM on January 27, 2006


Argue against the quality of the post, fine. But who cares if he posts 20 straight links on the topic of religion.

There are people here who have been doing this for years. I use to complain quite a bit. Surely matt didn't created metafilter to push certain agendas, especially political ones, I thought. But I was in the minority and told to simply skip the political rants, and I accepted that. So as long as the link is a quality one, just SKIP the religious links. Hell, skip all links by browpau. But he's not doing anything that others aren't allowed to do.

And skallas, you never fail to make even the worst religious nut look completely normal and sane. I don't know if there's a god but I do know if you represent the attitude of most atheist I'd rather be preached to by brownpau anytime.

There does seem to be a significant segment of Christians who aren't happy unless they feel persecuted.
posted by orthogonality


Oh please. There's a significant segment of every group that feels persecuted. Conservatives and Liberals complain every day on mefi about matt's decision making, and both think the media is on the other's side. Ask I LOVE TACOS if he feels persecuted today. Pot, kettle, black.
posted by justgary at 12:02 AM on January 28, 2006


OHES NOES R U WITNESSING ME?

STOPS WITNESSING ME!

YOU MIGHT RATTLE MY WEAK ATHEIST BELIEFS!!!~

#^#**^#*^@^*@^#
posted by Dreamghost at 4:15 AM on January 28, 2006


Hi, I'm the slippery slope fallacy. Have we met?

Hi, I'm that stupid "Hi, have we met?" meme again. Have we met?

Fleetmouse: Can you prove that your past exists, or that there will be a future?

That level of skepticism is tonic for a burly atheist such as myself, one who washes it down with lashings of cognitive dissonance at every meal; it's rather more caustic to theists, whose cherished beliefs are like sickly tree-frogs prone to expire at the first toxic whiff of doubt.

You're arguing that because things are improbable, believing they don't exist is rational. It is not.

Not at all - the world is full of improbable things that actually exist. I'm arguing that because there is no credible evidence for the existence of the Abrahamic God, and because it appears that he was confabulated in the same manner that other magical or supernatural beings were, nonbelief is a perfectly reasonable provisional position.

The lack of magical leprachauns does not eliminate Irish midgets in fancy dress.

And the lack of supernatural gods does not eliminate a 2000 year old dead Jew on a stick.

(Hint: the argument of necessary proof for ontological discussions, including much of theology, is a false dichotomy. Further problems arise with the definition of God. It's very easy for Russell to define a God that doesn't exist, but it's fairly easy to define a God that can't be verified.)

Yep. It's fairly easy to define all sorts of gibberish for the sake of argument, but a formal argument is compelling only if it's valid AND sound. In order to be sound, its premises must be true. The only way premises about an unobserved God can be true is to define them as axiomatic, which is pure question-begging. That works both ways, I realize, so Russell and Hartshorne can both blow me.
posted by fleetmouse at 4:34 AM on January 28, 2006


Wouldn't it be a more compelling argument to present, oh I don't know, positive evidence for the existence of God rather than questioning the motives of those who doubt your beliefs and comparing them to closeted homosexuals?

Sigh. If I were trying to convince someone that God existed, then, yes. But while you continue to miss my point and argue against a particular belief and to convert me to yours (without knowing what mine is, btw) I'm making a completely different argument about that nature of belief and the inability og certain kinds of believers to see thier beliefs as such.
Interstingly, your innability to engage me on the topic I've been discussing stands as an example to my point. I say everyone, atheists and theists are all believers in something, but that since some atheists want to be percieved as more intelligent than theists, they insist their position is not based on beleif. Your response is to accuse me of employing an ad hominem, but only someone who thinks being called a believer is an attack would think that.

It reminds me very much of a Scientology tactic - always attack, never defend. There must be something wrong with your opponent - find out what it is. Hire a detective if necessary.

And so, you follow protests against an ad hominem with... and ad hominem. Tell me, does it bother you that your position is so intellectually bankrupt that you must make false analogies between me and Scientologists in order to preserve a faint hope that your belief in your status as a nonbeliever is justified?

you must defend the possibility of leprechauns

I didn't "defend" anything. I said that believe strongly that leprechauns don't exist and said that it's very difficult to distinguish between belief and knowing. That is, I find, the attidue most sane people take with any matter. I have never seen evidence that leprecahuns exist, hence my strong belief that they don't. This is the same as your strong belief that God does not exist.
I have found that the people who belive the most in that they know the nature of things are the ones to be most concerned about.

I am not interested in debating the existence of God, and I'm not doing that here. I haven't brought my own views on Gods's existence or nonexistence into play here. I am pointing out that militant atheists that often post in religion threads are, because of their world view, inable to see that their atheism is a kind of belief and is based not on science or reason but on belief, just like everyboy's world view All world views have internal inconsistencies, and usually the only people who can't see them are the holders of that world view, because ignorane of the inconsistences is requisite for maintaining the world view.

I expect more non sequiters and ad hominems, so I'm probably not going to respond to you any more on this topic. Discussion with dogmatists is rarely rewarding, I find.
posted by eustacescrubb at 5:23 AM on January 28, 2006


But who cares if he posts 20 straight links on the topic of religion.

I think justgary is the only one who has deciphered brownpau's "it's almost over" comment. IMO, and I don't know this for sure, I think brownpau has simply decided to post a series of religious-themed posts for a period of time. I think his comment about it almost being over was about his series and not some sort of end of time message.

He may or may not have been successful in each one (because as much as he is my friend, I do not often read religious threads, so I can't judge the quality of each one), but I do stand for his "right" to do so.

Besides, let he or she who is without sin cast the first stone. heh
posted by terrapin at 5:33 AM on January 28, 2006


Actually, eustacescrubb, I think you're making a very good point about the nature of belief and the nature of knowledge. Sam Harris makes that one of the central points of The End of Faith. What one believes is what one knows about the world, and one acts accordingly.

However, does that mean that all beliefs are equally congruent with reality? Of course not. Some knowledge / beliefs / worldviews are more justifiable and self-evidently congruent with reality(*) than others. Otherwise, why choose one over another at all? Black is white, up is down, meat is pudding, squares are circles. Or not...?

(* I fully expect someone to question the word reality next, a la Homer Simpson: "Who's to say what's right or wrong these days what with all our modern ideas... and products!")
posted by fleetmouse at 5:45 AM on January 28, 2006


Admittedly this latest post was definitely not the best link in the series, but despite the explicit rah-rah evangelistic overtones, I felt there was at least some forgivable good to be drawn out of ASA Jones's story. Hopefully the few remaining links will be somewhat more palatable to this lofty and discriminating community of insatiable website gourmets.
posted by brownpau at 5:53 AM on January 28, 2006


Hopefully the few remaining links will be somewhat more palatable

"Get your own fucking blog" it is, then. Are there any other topics on which you plan on enlightening us poor saps with, O Brown One?
posted by mediareport at 6:16 AM on January 28, 2006


Not you, specifically. You and a few others will have to open your hearts to Jesus before He can touch you with His Power to heal souls. Are you ready to pray with me now?
posted by brownpau at 6:30 AM on January 28, 2006


Ha. That stopped being funny around the time it became clear you're on a multi-post mission. The point, since you seem to not be getting it, is that approaching MeFi posts like a missionary almost always leads to precisely the kind of thing we've seen here: devotion to the cause leads you to become blind to the crappiness of your own posts.

You should stop, brownpau. Let go of your crusade for a while. At least until you get back in the basic groove of knowing what a good MeFi post is.
posted by mediareport at 6:35 AM on January 28, 2006


Wow, they're not only atheists, they're ahumorists.
posted by brownpau at 7:02 AM on January 28, 2006


However, does that mean that all beliefs are equally congruent with reality? Of course not. Some knowledge / beliefs / worldviews are more justifiable and self-evidently congruent with reality

I'm not going to pull a Homer, but I am going to point out that since the only way we can discuss what reality is and isn't is through language, if we were to agree on which world view does best at holding up a mirror to nature, all we could be certain of is that we agreed. Since in order for us to agree, we'd have to have some of our world views in common, it follows that the ability to evaluate a world view's "accuracy" is a function of world view itself, and so there's no way out of the conundrum.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:03 AM on January 28, 2006


brownpau writes "Not you, specifically. You and a few others will have to open your hearts to Jesus before He can touch you with His Power to heal souls. Are you ready to pray with me now?"

I suppose we're to meant to take that ironically, as an exasperated response to those damned hard-core atheists who are questioning your motives.

But it's not ironic. You are a true believer, and your posts are an earnest attempt to get people to open their hearts to Jesus (one hopes so, given that the alternative is that your motivation is just to repetitiously annoy anyone not sharing your beliefs).

And that's the problem, Brownpau: it's condescending and patronizing.

Most of us here have our own beliefs, and -- perhaps more so than the general population -- have questioned those beliefs, anguished over them, worked them out, compared our beliefs to other alternatives, etc. We don't particularly need Brownpau to come long and show us the way the truth and the light.

It's one thing to make one or two posts -- and again, the posts have been rather poor quality single-link trite editorials -- but a string of seven in a row is obsessive and insulting. Those of us who are interested have read the links. Those of us who don't embrace your beliefs still aren't planning to embrace your beliefs. Nothing in the links has been anything we haven't all seen before -- many times before.

You've gone beyond trying to enlighten us, beyond being our friend with a (to us) quirky belief system. You've "graduated" to repeatedly pummeling us with your beliefs, repeatedly pounding your drum, repeatedly hammering your 95 Theses into us with nine inch nails.

Enough. We get it. We got it six or five or four posts ago. We get what you believe and we respect your right to believe it, and we've been more or less patient and we've looked at your links, and they're all pretty much the same now and you're like an acquaintance or co-worker who has joined Amway and can't stop shilling "wonderful life-changing Amway products" every time we see him.

Please stop condescending to us. we've given thought to our beliefs, we've tried the alternatives, we're adults. We've heard of Jesus, we went to college and stayed up late into the night and discussed in all youthful seriousness whether God could create a rock He couldn't lift. Been there, done that, came to our conclusions. In some cases, many years ago. This is not new to us, or fascinating, and we are not hollow empty people with a hole that only Jesus's love can fill.

Please stop treating us like children who have to be led to the (your) light. We see your light, we see your path, we've heard your Gospel. We've got our own lights, we've got out own paths, we don't need or want to be Saved by you. Please stop patronizing us. We've all got fathers, we don't need you to be our father. Those of us who are Christians already know your Father; those of us who are not Christians don't want your Father.

Enough. We don't want to exchange our beliefs for yours. No matter howe many FPPs you post of "atheists" who've found Jesus, we aren't going to get washed in the blood of your lamb. We don't need your moral instruction. We're comfortable and secure in our own beliefs. We will not take this from your hand.
posted by orthogonality at 7:29 AM on January 28, 2006


Wow, you sure spent a lot of time and energy typing up something dead wrong. Get outside. That's what I'm going to do. It's a lovely day.
posted by brownpau at 7:32 AM on January 28, 2006


I move to close the thread.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:34 AM on January 28, 2006


"If anyone thinks that nothing can be known, he does not know whether even this can be known, since he admits that he knows nothing. Against such an adversary, therefore, who deliberately stands on his head, I will not trouble to argue my case."

- Lucretius
posted by fleetmouse at 7:35 AM on January 28, 2006


How is brownpau's postings on what he believes in any different than those who post almost exclusively about lost civil liberties?

I also second the motion to close this thread.
posted by terrapin at 7:48 AM on January 28, 2006


fleetmouse:

I'm not contending nothing can be known; I'm contending that there's a limit to certainty, and that limit is that because language is the medium of truth-verification to others, we can only be sure that we agree or disagree.
For more on this, I reccomend some Wittgenstein.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:53 AM on January 28, 2006


How now, brownpau? I say it is not a lovely day, and seven or twenty or seven-twenty lame one link editorial posts from chirpy over-sexed weather girls will not make it a lovely day. The weather sux ass, and you'd know that if you'd only open your heart to the Weather Channel.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:06 AM on January 28, 2006


Please stop condescending to us.

God, there are so many posters who need to hear that advice, folks who think they are saving the world by posting their very important agenda to Metafilter. But Brownpau is not even close to being the worst offender.
posted by LarryC at 8:13 AM on January 28, 2006


I'm contending that there's a limit to certainty

I agree that there's a limit to certainty. I don't see how that helps your position or hurts mine, though. If we consider certainty as a bell curve, theology is waaaaay out on the left alond with "I am a brain in a jar" and "the universe was created last thursday with the appearance of age".

What I know of Wittgenstein intrigues me; I'll have to tackle him after I have a more solid foundation in formal logic - otherwise I get the feeling I'd be floundering.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:18 AM on January 28, 2006


terrapin writes "How is brownpau's postings on what he believes in any different than those who post almost exclusively about lost civil liberties?


Thanks for bringing this up, terrapin. After I made my comment above, I thought to myself, "couldn't somebody fairly make the same complaint about y2karl's posts?"

And I realized there's a key difference. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to articulate that difference.

y2karl's posts (in particular, and most posts about lost civil liberties in general) add new information. y2karl's are particularly well-researched, linking to several scholarly articles that either uncover new facts or that provide a different that the usual explication and analysis. Brownpau's links don't provide any new information; they've been mostly first-person biographical accounts, or rather tired revisiting of "paradoxes" ("can God make a rock so heavy He can't lift it?") we all discussed and exhausted in our first college (or high school) philosophy class.

y2karl's posts are information-dense, usually with several links to several long articles in generally reputable publications. Five of Brownpau's seven apologetics have been single-link posts, several unpublished anywhere except the web. Only one (TenNapel's) is to a long, well-footnoted article. ("Is the New Testament Text Reliable?" has twenty footnotes, but only four sources, it's on the brief side, and -- in my opinion -- it breezes over real controversies in a disingenuous way.)

The posts on civil liberties, in general, provide new information about on-going current events that are rapidly evolving; brownpau's post are (by there very nature) about eternal truths. The civil liberties posts are novel and information-dense; brownpau's proselytizing is neither novel nor particularly information-dense. (In other word's, the civil liberties posts reduce Shannon uncertainty more than the brownpau posts.)

If brownpau wanted to post about new architectural discovers in "the Holy Land", or new translations of the Dead Sea scrolls, or new information about the historical Jesus, I'd be very interested in reading that. But conversion tales and Philosophy 101 are neither new nor noteworthy, much less "the best of the web".




"I also second the motion to close this thread."

Why? I think the pattern of brownpau's responses is illuminating.
posted by orthogonality at 8:23 AM on January 28, 2006


You know what tastes good together? Apples and oranges. You don't have to pick only one. Or - if you prefer one to the other, you can just taste that fruit and ignore the other entirely.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:30 AM on January 28, 2006


And that's the problem, Brownpau: it's condescending and patronizing.

Ooh, condescending and patronizing. High praise from the master of the art!
posted by If I Had An Anus at 8:40 AM on January 28, 2006


"it's rather more caustic to theists, whose cherished beliefs are like sickly tree-frogs prone to expire at the first toxic whiff of doubt."

You really should meet more theists. Doubt is something anyone who examines their faith wrestles with.

(As far as the rest, I think that the discussion between you and eustace really went pretty well, and I won't muck it up except to say that he's put my position fairly well, and that I don't disagree with you about the improbability of God.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:23 AM on January 28, 2006


And that's the problem, Brownpau: it's condescending and patronizing.

rrrriiiiiiggghhhhhttttt...

where is pot & kettle when you need them?
posted by Dreamghost at 9:48 AM on January 28, 2006


brownpau: Wow, they're not only atheists, they're ahumorists.

Nope, no agenda here. Humiliate people who think they're better than me? No, that would be un-christian.

You want to witness on MeFi? Fine. Just be honest about it.

Eustacescrubb: I move to close the thread.
terrapin: I also second the motion to close this thread.

Don't you guys think that's a little inconsistent? I mean, what would your grounds be -- that this is a crap thread? On that reasoning, shouldn't the original thread also be closed?

And really, doesn't "moving" to "close this thread" smack a little bit of fear? Does to me....
posted by lodurr at 9:54 AM on January 28, 2006


"where is pot & kettle when you need them?"

Making breakfast. We wouldn't condescend to patronize this joint before breakfast.
posted by Pot at 9:58 AM on January 28, 2006


Please stop speaking for me, Pot! It's sickening the way you can't refrain from commenting every time someone mentions your name. Just because you happen to be your own pet subject doesn't mean you can't just skip a thread if it doesn't live up to your self-image. The Internet is not about you! It's about me.
posted by Kettle at 10:09 AM on January 28, 2006


Dreamghost writes "where is pot & kettle when you need them?"


"Where are."
posted by orthogonality at 10:28 AM on January 28, 2006


Don't you guys think that's a little inconsistent?

No.

I mean, what would your grounds be -- that this is a crap thread?

That the discussion about brownpau's post and its merits has run its course and we're repeating ourselves.

On that reasoning

But that wasn't my reasoning, so, yeah, um.

On the other hand, Pot and Kettle made me laugh, so the end of the thread has redeemed itself in my eyes.
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:37 AM on January 28, 2006


well, then, eustacescrubb, on your reasoning, then most posts should be closed when we start 'repeating ourselves.' Now if only we had someone to arbitrate and identify when that had happened. Someone that everyone could agree with.

In any case, it still smacks of fear, or at least, intolerance: You can't bear to hear the other side repeat itself again, maybe?

As I said before, if brownpau wants to witness with crap posts, fine. But he should be honest about it. (And he should be willing to take the heat for using a crap post to witness to MeFi.)
posted by lodurr at 10:45 AM on January 28, 2006


"Where are."

Fixing my grammar mistakes does not erase the fact your a hypocrite. But since it would look silly of you to say otherwise you took the cheap way out.
posted by Dreamghost at 10:48 AM on January 28, 2006


"In any case, it still smacks of fear, or at least, intolerance: You can't bear to hear the other side repeat itself again, maybe?"

Every time I change the radio station it's due to fear and intolerance. I can't bear to hear Jon Mayer repeat himself.
posted by klangklangston at 11:01 AM on January 28, 2006


Dreamghost writes "But since it would look silly of you to say otherwise you took the cheap way out."


Eh, you missed my point: you called me condescending, and I provided a (tongue-in-cheek) example of condescension. Just having a spot of fun.
posted by orthogonality at 11:06 AM on January 28, 2006


Jon Mayer

::shudders::

posted by Dreamghost at 11:07 AM on January 28, 2006


Why? I think the pattern of brownpau's responses is illuminating.

even though at least one of them flew completely over your head?
posted by shmegegge at 11:19 AM on January 28, 2006


well, then, eustacescrubb, on your reasoning, then most posts should be closed when we start 'repeating ourselves.' Now if only we had someone to arbitrate and identify when that had happened. Someone that everyone could agree with

You are obviously not familiar with Robert's Rules Of Order -- introducing a motion is tantamount to putting something to a vote -- one person moves, another seconds, and then the matter is voted on.

In any case, it still smacks of fear, or at least, intolerance: You can't bear to hear the other side repeat itself again, maybe?

The other side of what? What "side" am I representing? Has it occured to you that thining about discssions in terms of "sides" limits the discussion and makes it necessarily antagonistic? And really, klangklangston is right; I was just finding the thread was getting boring.


though I do have a small place in my heart for John Mayer. He's so earnest.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:33 PM on January 28, 2006


I thought brownpau's "it's almost over" comment was a Rapture joke. I laughed. Too bad I was wrong.
posted by Ryvar at 12:42 PM on January 28, 2006


It was meant to be a cryptically open-ended reply into which readers could project their own motivations. That skallas endowed it with the meaning of a St. Jude novena is telling, for example.
posted by brownpau at 3:32 PM on January 28, 2006


Duuuude, stop messing with our minds. You're like, a total rebel intellectual agent provocateur showing us the error of our ways. Totally.
posted by skallas at 4:00 PM on January 28, 2006


brownpau writes "It was meant to be a cryptically open-ended reply into which readers could project their own motivations."


Like one of Jesus's parables? Dude, get back to me when you've made wine into water and a lame man blind.
posted by orthogonality at 4:12 PM on January 28, 2006



posted by brownpau at 6:29 PM on January 28, 2006


Oooh, such a rebel satirist.
posted by mediareport at 9:34 PM on January 28, 2006


You know, all those other times people accuse MeFi of religious intolerance its almost universally bullshit. But this thread...
posted by shmegegge at 1:26 AM on January 29, 2006


eustacescrubb: You are obviously not familiar with Robert's Rules Of Order....

Because, of course, Roberts Rules of Order are the final determinant of an argument's validity.
posted by lodurr at 5:32 AM on January 29, 2006


lodurr,

I mean this in the nicest way, but I have no idea what you're going on about.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:05 AM on January 29, 2006


How convenient. And symmetrical. Since, unless you've got a huge stick up your ass, I haven't got the foggiest idea how Roberts Rules on the introduction of resolutions are relevant to the validity of any idea that's being discussed. To assume that they are is a bit like conflating precision with accuracy. Or confusing maps with the territory that they represent.

But that probably doesn't make it any clearer for you, sorry. I'm disinclined to go further, since what I've said is sufficiently accurate and precise for my purposes.
posted by lodurr at 6:18 AM on January 29, 2006


Check out the omg tag.
posted by Firas at 8:58 PM on January 29, 2006


Yeah, the funniest part was the retaliatory "omg" tag in the nontheist worshippers thread.
posted by brownpau at 9:01 PM on January 29, 2006


Why link all your religion posts with it, brownpau?
posted by Firas at 9:04 PM on January 29, 2006


Because "omg" is internet shorthand for "oh my god."
posted by brownpau at 9:05 PM on January 29, 2006


I just realized I should totally download orthogonality's Metafilthy plugin so I can ignore him.
posted by brownpau at 9:13 PM on January 29, 2006


What's internet short-hand for "get your own blog and stop using metafilter for your axe-grinding"?
posted by orthogonality at 9:13 PM on January 29, 2006


(Credit where credit is due: the kill-file script isn't mine.)
posted by orthogonality at 9:15 PM on January 29, 2006


And the internet contraction 'oh my god' is part of your taxonomy to categorize religious topics?

It's just part of a larger pattern of non-sequiturs in the issue being discussed here, ones you've danced around while letting others do your talking for you. Your given explanation ("cryptically open-ended reply into which readers could project their own motivations"), given your knowledge of your audience here, is also known as trolling.
posted by Firas at 9:17 PM on January 29, 2006


And the internet contraction 'oh my god' is part of your taxonomy to categorize religious topics?

Yes. Some levity is permitted when tagging one's posts.

It's just part of a larger pattern of non-sequiturs in the issue being discussed here, ones you've danced around while letting others do your talking for you.

Your given explanation ("cryptically open-ended reply into which readers could project their own motivations"), given your knowledge of your audience here, is also known as trolling.

Of course not. My audience here on Metafilter is far more intelligent than that.
posted by brownpau at 9:27 PM on January 29, 2006


brownpau writes "My audience here on Metafilter is far more intelligent than that."


We want the best of the web.

We don't want to be "witnessed" to.

We don't want to be your "audience".
posted by orthogonality at 9:36 PM on January 29, 2006


You can leave the theater, then. Exit's in the back.
posted by brownpau at 9:54 PM on January 29, 2006


We want the best of the web.

We don't want to be "witnessed" to.

We don't want to be your "audience".


What do you mean "we," white man?
posted by Snyder at 9:57 PM on January 29, 2006


Of course not. My audience here on Metafilter is far more intelligent than that.

Skirting the issue again, aren't we? "No they can't be trolled" is quite a cheeky answer to "are you trolling?"

You have yet to tell us why the title on your latest post is 'Alpha', another non-sequitur. Either:

1. You can walk us through your reasoning in assigning it, or
2. It means nothing really, given which:
 2(a) you're given to general frivolity, or
 2(b) you're taunting people, which is what I suspect.

Which is it?
posted by Firas at 10:06 PM on January 29, 2006


This is where I leave you to research the meaning of "Alpha" in the biblical context. It's common knowledge for a lot of people.
posted by brownpau at 10:26 PM on January 29, 2006


Alpha and Omega. In this context, it's a reference to God as creator--the beginning, or "Alpha." It's got little to do with evolution or cosmology, but I guess brownpau thought it was cute.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:34 PM on January 29, 2006


I haven't got the foggiest idea how Roberts Rules on the introduction of resolutions are relevant to the validity of any idea that's being discussed.

I don't understand you. Why should my use of lingo from Robert's Rules need to be anything other than a lighthearted way of saying "does anyone else think this thread has run its course"? Do you always assume other MeFites post with bad/nefarious motives?
posted by eustacescrubb at 3:51 AM on January 30, 2006


eustacescrubb, why would you suppose that I post with bad/nefarious motives?

Seriously, though: "I was only joking" is, of course, one of the oldest rhetorical tactics in the book -- hell, it predates the book. "I was just joking when I said you were a filthy scumbag!" So maybe you were joking, maybe you weren't; either way, you were trying to dismiss the argument with a specious answer. (And if you were trying to make a joke, you might have tried harder. "You are obviously not familiar with Robert's Rules Of Order -- introducing a motion is tantamount to putting something to a vote -- one person moves, another seconds, and then the matter is voted on." Hmm... where's teh punch line? Not getting teh funny.)
posted by lodurr at 4:45 AM on January 30, 2006


Also, as the link says, it's aleph not alpha. While the NT was written in Greek, the OT was not (though there are important and famous translations).
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:56 AM on January 30, 2006


And now about prayer. When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get.
posted by I Love Tacos at 10:35 AM on January 30, 2006


eustacescrubb, why would you suppose that I post with bad/nefarious motives?

I'm... not?

Seriously, though: "I was only joking" is, of course, one of the oldest rhetorical tactics in the book -- hell, it predates the book. "I was just joking when I said you were a filthy scumbag!" So maybe you were joking, maybe you weren't; either way, you were trying to dismiss the argument with a specious answer.

lodurr, I still am really lost. I'm not sure what argument I'm supposed to have been trying to dismiss (one of the ones pertaining to brownpau? Or another one between you and I?). Either you can take my word for that I meant merely to say "does anyone else think this thread has run its course" in a clever way, or you can not take my word for it. I don't play mind games, and I try to be honest, both on and off the web.
posted by eustacescrubb at 10:55 AM on January 30, 2006


Wow, I was gonna suggest that if people wanted to thrash about in an Existence-of-God thread, I'd post an AskMe thread, but that was 100 posts ago...

BTW, it was C.S. Lewis, not Carl Sagan that my sister wanted me to read. I know this because at my nephew's funeral this weekend, the preacher talked about how C.S. Lewis's wife's death brought him to God, just as my nephew's death would bring people to God.

Fucking awesome way to do some recruiting.

Anyhow, sorry for the confusion.
posted by LordSludge at 4:01 PM on January 31, 2006


Consummatum est. Thank you, thank you, you've been a great crowd.
posted by brownpau at 5:04 PM on February 1, 2006


So, you're confirming that you've been using Metafilter as a larger-stage blog?
posted by lodurr at 6:02 AM on February 2, 2006


As I was walking home this evening, a little girl was riding her bike in the middle of the street. She still had the training wheels on as she wobbled and struggled to peddle. It reminded me of when I was little and how badly I wanted a bicycle but couldn't get one. My parents wouldn't let me have a bike until I was 12; my mom was too afraid I'd hurt myself. I'd pass the bike section in the store and just look, having given up asking my parents about it long ago. I eventually did get one after much pleading and begging. Amazingly, getting my driver's license at 16 and the subsequent borrowing of the family car passed without incident.
posted by brownpau at 7:18 AM on February 2, 2006


So, we're all children who will eventually cast off our training wheels and learn to drive cars?

I sure hope that's not what your little parable is meant to express. Because that would be kind of, you know, arrogant.
posted by lodurr at 7:23 AM on February 2, 2006


Except that it's a quote from someplace else...
posted by klangklangston at 8:08 AM on February 2, 2006


Interesting; brownpau seems to be pushing teh limits.clever. But I'm not sur it demonstrates anything of [much] value [self /].
posted by lodurr at 8:31 AM on February 2, 2006


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