Re: Why atheism beats agnosticism (Was: Re: Contacting God)

Max More (
Fri, 24 Apr 1998 13:30:16 -0700

At 12:09 AM 4/24/98 +0200, you wrote:
>Pick a fight, yeah. Maybe with people who don't even want to fight. And
>still battle them, until their beliefs are shaken in their fundamentals.
>Maybe drive them into suicide.
>I work with fundamental Christians. Although I have all the knowledge to
>refute their beliefs completely, I don't. Why should I interfere with other
>people's lives? But a militant atheist could destroy these lives, even with
>words only. That's specific for religion, because it is irrational, it is
>always attackable. But the emotions connected with the religous beliefs are
>not. And that's why you cannot predict how someone whose worldview has just
>been destroyed will react.
>I wouldn't call that mindfucking. I would call it mind rape. And it's a type
>of coercion, too.

So, are you a mind rapist, too, Erik? You like to attack free markets which
form a tremendously important part of some people's worldview. They might
be very distressed if they lost their belief system under your barrage.
Apparently you find it important enough to change their minds, since you
keep working at it.

Maybe Lee Daniel Crocker feels it is at least as important to change the
minds of religious believers. After all, these are the people who attempt
to kill us by forcing autopsies or burials on cryonics patients (that has
happened), who try to and sometimes succeed in banning or slowing
biomedical research, these are the people who made women suffer pain in
childbearing because anaesthesia was against God's will, these are the
people who try to control us according to their irrational beliefs and values.

Personally, I don't feel the need to go around beating down people's
beliefs. However, if someone shows interest, I do explore their views
critically. I do this all the time in my Philosophy of Religion class.
Could this lead to a breakdown in their worldview and considerable
distress? Yes, it could. I went through that myself. It is difficult but
that's how you grow. I don't think this is coercion. I would agree with you
that it could reasonably be considered a form of coercion to push someone
hard who really doesn't want to discuss their beliefs. But, after all, they
only have to say "I don't wish to discuss this anymore" and walk away.
Somehow, I don't see Lee Daniel Crocker tying up Christians and forcing
them to listen to his atheistic views. (Or do you have a secret life like
this Lee? :-) )

>Well, just like I think I understand Catholicism better than the Pope.
>Religous cults can usually not be correctly interpreted by their leaders,
>unless those are perfectly aware of the fact that they are just brainwashing
>a horde of money-bearing idiots. The intellectual level of Extropy is
>higher, but nevertheless it is a cult and you are its leader.

Those are fighting words. Put up or shut up. I'm tired of people like you
casually throwing off statements like this without substantiation. That's a
very serious charge, and I say you are lying. Unless you are using the term
"cult" in such a loose sense that, say, Carl Sagan would be a cult leader
for science or rationalism, you are wrong.

Retract what you say, or else prove it. Otherwise I *will* have you removed
from this list.

>OK, I summarize: Extropian thinking must not be criticized on this mailing
>list. Your fundamentals are built on sand, and that's why you cannot take

Criticism is fine, but this is not the place for it. The Transhuman list
and many other places are available for that. I think the reason you cannot
seem to grasp this simple point is that you don't want to. You would rather
attack than understand. If you set up a list for the specific purpose of,
say, discussing evolutionary theory in order to refine it and explore
mechanisms by which it works, you would not be too pleased to have it
invaded by creationists. It would waste your time and weaken the focus.
That does not mean you would want to prevent creationists both having their
own discussion lists, or joining in on lists intended to be open to that
kind of debate.

By violating the charter of this list, by your own standards, YOU ARE


Max More, Ph.D.
Updated website (Jan 98):
President, Extropy Institute:,