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Comment Own your Name (Score 2, Informative) 888

The only way to deal with something like this is to drown it out. There are tonnes of people with my name online, some of whom I disapprove of. So what did I do? Registered my name as a URL, built a decent website and made sure that anyone searching for me found what I wanted them to see.

You can't control what other people post about you, but you can control what you put out there.

Comment Re:Here goes nothing (Score 1) 169

But fundamentally his beliefs are no different! There is not a shred of evidence in favour of his beliefs over Great Uncle McCrazy (GUmC henceforth). You're correct that we should judge him purely based on his actions as a human being. However, these actions are based on his beliefs, and we can criticize these actions as being immoral (homophobia, being an example that greatly annoys me). Yet he gets accorded respect because of his position as a head believer of [the purple dinosaur] regardless of his homophobia and promotion of actions that cause harm (non-use of barrier contraception).

Summary: We can't criticise someones beliefs rationally directly, but we can certainly criticise immoral actions made because of them. And you can't give someone respect for believing strongly in something that's unprovable, because if we did then lunatics (actual lunatics, I mean crazy people here) would be in charge of society - due to their unshakeable belief in concepts not provable in reality.

And as for the whole slashdotter science fiction angle that you're worked up about, sure they can't disprove the existence of god. But remember, they can't disprove the claims of Great Auntie McCrazy that somewhere out there are invisible alien beings watching over the universe.

Comment Re:Here goes nothing (Score 1) 169

That all said however, we can rationally discuss the actions of a religion. If, for example, the big purple dinosaur instructed great uncle McCrazy to go out and start killing people who disagreed with him...
At that point we consider it immoral and illegal, and his new-found religion rapidly gains cult status (unless he has access to vast quantities of oil, but again, let's not go there). Or, even if he simply started making claims that are provably false, we can rationally demolish those.

Comment Re:Here goes nothing (Score 1) 169

Believe me, I didn't say they were real.
They're no more amenable to rational discussion than my great uncles drunken visions of a big purple dinosaur. No-one can disprove this dinosaur that appears only to him, but it doesn't mean that we show him any particular deference because of it.

Comment Re:Here goes nothing (Score 1) 169

What defines a religion then? Obviously you can't judge based on beliefs, since these can't be rationally compared or assessed in terms of truth.

You say to call you in a couple of hundred years; why do you in particular get to pick an arbitrary date? As for what is and isn't a cult, this is a word with a broad, varied definition. Generally people define cults as a small religion which violates the moral or legal strictures of the society within which it resides, but historically all it means is small religion. We generally consider scientology a cult because of its questionable practices (both legally and morally). Whereas Jediism (or whatever it's generally called) is basically an unprovable belief system which makes untestable claims about spirituality - how is that any different from any other religion?

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Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce