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Saturday, May 4, 2013

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” – Henry Louis Gates

On a post about morality on atheist apologist David McAfee’s group page, I was in a discussion with David’s girlfriend and another gentleman and was pointing out the difference between ontology and epistemology (that iron rods remain solid because of what iron IS and not due to what we believe/know about it or how we come to that belief/knowlege).

This was his GF response:

“"Why will the iron stay solid?" Of course it will, know why? Because we've tested it.”

Initially I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she merely phrased it wrong and that she was still simply confusing ontology with epistemology – that she was just trying to say how we know that an iron bar would remain solid. After I tried to get her to see that the iron remains solid because of what iron IS and not BECAUSE we’ve tested it (that is that the tests are how we may know or confirm that iron will remain solid but do not cause it), she swung into a rage, refused to answer any questions and started calling me:

1. a dishonest f*ck.
2. a lonely old man
3. unmarried, because I am so pathetic no one would ever marry me.
4. unhappy at a dead end job
5. anti-science
6. uneducated and ignorant of anything
7. unable to use “big boy” evidence

I responded by apologizing if I had said something to offend her, and continued to try and keep the conversation civil and honest and simply asked for more clarifications about her answer and if she really did think that it was the testing that caused the metal’s solidity. Her hostility simply escalated.

After this, NJ Bruzzese (naturalist, agnostic/functional-atheist host of The Skeptics Testament) then joined in and also tried to help her see that this distinction between ontology and epistemology and that this is not a point of contention for any philosophers and is not something that really is distinctively Christian or theistic. We both tried to point out to her that this is really basic philosophical categories and nothing to get bent out of shape about. Another atheist, Brandon Christen, also read the thread and noticed the nature of David’s girlfriends comments – he would later respond to the controversy.

The thread was suddenly, and without warning, deleted. NJ accidentally posted his comment on the main page not knowing the thread was deleted and then at that point, NJ, myself and the other atheistic member of that group continued the conversation very openly and honestly and with great civility. David McAfee suddenly posted that he would like this new thread to end and promptly deleted the post and then BANNED NJ and myself from the group.

Following this Brandon then commented on the group’s page that he was surprised, and somewhat disappointed, that a group that was supposedly dedicated to free thought and reasonable dialogue, would not only delete multiple threads challenging the views of the group’s administrator and his GF – and not even religious one’s but basic philosophical understanding of what ontology and epistemology are…) would be censored and banned, whereas  the commenters who routinely mock and ridicule and launch personal attacks against people do not even get so much as a slap on the wrist. Brandon was told by David McAfee that he could go elsewhere and was banned from the group as well.

For those who where in any doubt that there are anti-theistic fundamentalists, this is evidence for you. He censored a theist, an agnostic and an atheist, deleted multiple threads and banned us from his group after allowing his followers to resort to nothing but ad hominems, personal attacks, and derogatory rhetoric. Why? Because we pointed out that there is a difference between ontology and epistemology that might (MIGHT) challenge one of his views.

Nothing like censorship to show one is a “free thinker”. 

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