Tuesday, June 27, 2006

For Shame, Gil Student

Over at Hirhurim, Gil Student halted an interesting discussion with the following explanation, after which he apparently began deleting all comments:

Sorry guys, but it is becoming too much of a skeptics gathering here. Time to end the discussion.

I am giving you the benefit of the last word not because I have nothing more to respond but simply so you don't start kvetching.


Well, I'm kvetching anyway, especially since I put some real time into researching a few comments that he later deleted.

This sort of thing is commonplace among the more religious blogs. Have you ever seen an atheistic or skeptical blogger halt discussion because too many religious people were responding?

I think it's instructive that religious ideas flourish primarily in forums where dissent is limited, while in more open forums, the trend is towards skepticism.

In response to one of my other posts, a religious commenter is spreading lies and actually advocating the execution of homosexuals, and I haven't even deleted his comments. Instead of censoring him, I'm calmly pointing out exactly why he is wrong.

Here's a hint: if your belief system can't stand up to criticism, it's probably not worth holding.

40 comments:

David said...

Try disemvoweling instead of deleting. All the cool kids are doing it. Part of me wants to get an inappropriate comment just so I can try it. :-)

On a more serious note, I don't think Gil is opposed to real debate and his blog testifies to his willingness to deal with tough issues. It gets annoying, though, when the debate starts going around in circles. The "skeptics" give their line, the apologists give theirs, the skeptics repeat themselves in different words, and the apologists do the same. After the first handful of comments, nothing new was being said. It really was just whining.

CyberKitten said...

I've had that happen to me too... things get too 'interesting' and the discussion is closed pronto....

Those who can't stand the heat shouldn't throw fire & brimstone around...

Godol Hador said...

> This sort of thing is commonplace among the more religious blogs. Have you ever seen an atheistic or skeptical blogger halt discussion because too many religious people were responding?

Not mine! But maybe I'm not religios. Anyway, this is standard fare at Hirhurim. He's not interested in honest open discussion, only discussion within the boundaries of his belief system. Its his blog so I guess he can make the rules. Just don't expect open and honest debate there.

Mis-nagid said...

Oh please. Has he deleted your comments AND banned you yet? Amateur. ;-)

Random said...

"This sort of thing is commonplace among the more religious blogs. Have you ever seen an atheistic or skeptical blogger halt discussion because too many religious people were responding?"

No, but I don't spend that much time hanging around atheist blogs (or religious ones for that matter) - I come here because the comment and debate is usually interesting, civil and intelligent even when I don't agree with much of it. On which point, if your view of the narrowmindedness of religious types is accurate, then what's your explanation for the amount of time the likes of Q, Sadie Lou and myself spend hanging around here?

Jewish Atheist said...

david:

Anything where it was at least obvious that comments are deleted is better than simply deleting them, which is downright dishonest. For example, I know from experience, that Lazer Brody simply deletes all comments he disagrees with, leaving the false impression that all the commenters agree with him. Gil's explaining that he was stopping the discussion is at least superior to Lazer's technique.

As for the discussion, I don't think it was going around in circles. We were closing in on one of the chief arguments for ID and, except for one commenter, the whole thing was very civil.


Godol:

Your blog is definitely in the skeptics' camp. :-) Sorry to be the one to have to tell you this.


CK:

Agreed.


random:

You quoted the part where I said it's "commonplace among the more religious blogs." How do you get from there to "ALL religious people are so narrowminded that they wouldn't even spend time hanging around my blog?"

Jewish Atheist said...

Oh, and mis-nagid:

We know I'll never measure up to you. :-)

Shlomo said...

Every single orthodox TUCHIS LECHER with keyboard repeats the same exact dhrek over and over, thinking that somehow someday even he (or she) will be convinced that it's true. These are the same stupid teshuvos and rationalizations I heard in 2nd grade and even then it didn't make sense. They trot out the same tired bullshit year after year, consult a thesaurus, alter a few phrases, and think they are clever enough to fool anyone who doesn't already stride obediantly into the knee-deep bullshit they spew.

Original thought and innovation cannot exist in Yiddishkeit; a world of perfectionism, hero worship, and victimhood. I'm not surprised one bit at Gil's deletion of 'skeptical' material. Why would a ba'al ga'avah like Gil want argument outside the box?

I have nothing but contempt for them, and as time goes on I dislike them more and more.

The Jewish Freak said...

Have you ever seen an atheistic or skeptical blogger halt discussion because too many religious people were responding?

Excellent point.

JDHURF said...

They trot out the same tired bullshit year after year, consult a thesaurus, alter a few phrases, and think they are clever enough to fool anyone who doesn't already stride obediantly into the knee-deep bullshit they spew. - sl aronovitz

That was excellent, I would have laughed out loud had it not been such an unfortunate representation of reality.

Random said...

Sorry JA - although I quoted that paragraph, I at least as much had in mind the following one (the "religious ideas flourish primarily in forums where dissent is limited" one). I didn't mean to make the leap you deduced, but I can understand how the original text supports it. I still maintain the situation is not as simplistic as you described it, but I fell into the trap of excessive simplicity myself, which I should have avoided.

Anonymous said...

I am confused. How can one be Jewish and an aethiest? Does being Jewish refer to race or religion?

Being a Christian or a Hindu or a Muslim implies religious denomination only. For example, the Popular musician Cat Stevens and the boxer formerly known as Cassius Clay are both muslims yet they are both of different ethnicity.

Aren't you supposed to say that you are an American who was formerly a Jew? Is a Jew a racial denomination? I thought the denomination was 'Semite', which is racially inclusive of Arabs.

If you can be a Jew and not be religious then I can understand the logic behind the arguments that Henry Ford put forward in the 1920s.

If being Jewish is synonymous with following a religious faith then Ford's propositions were misplaced.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Anon, a Jew is a Jew by birth (ethnicity) and/or religion. When Hitler murdered Jews, he didn't ask if they believed in God or not, or how religious they were.

Back to your post. I've stopped commenting on religious blogs, because they just can't handle it.

I only delete spams, and there two posters in particular I delete. One copies and pastes the same Yahoo posts over and over just to harass me, and of course there is Bernarda, an Atheist from France I believe to be a former Muslim who in the past has made off topic comments calling me and Israel Zionazis, etc.

Shlomo said...

You are NOT a Jew by birth, but by the mere circumstance of your parents national or religious allegiance. By birth you are a human being with a unique genetic make-up. The rest is thrust upon you along the way.

(previouis post should have read: 'obediently')

jewish philosopher said...

On my ultra-religious blog, I love all comments.

SOCK IT TO ME!

Some Guy said...

I stopped reading R'Gil's blog when I noticed that he does this. In that case, he actually deleted a short list of references that someone had posted to support their argument. Sheesh. It's like he's running his own little Inquisition there. Anyway, now I read R'Harry instead.

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

Sorry JA - although I quoted that paragraph, I at least as much had in mind the following one (the "religious ideas flourish primarily in forums where dissent is limited" one).

Then I will admit I overstepped with "primarily." :-)

Half Sigma said...

I only delete comments if one commenter has personally insulted another or myself.

And of course spams.

Half Sigma said...

And I also once had to delete a bunch of comments from a muscle-bound dominatrix from Las Vegas who claimed (probably falsely) that former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett was one of her "subs."

Shlomo said...

As far as religious retards go, the Jewish 'Philosopher' is king amongst them. It's almost like the city of Chelm started their own Kiruv movement and Smicha program.

jewish philosopher said...

Very interesting, aronovitz. Obviously can't answer my arguments and you feel very threatened by them. Good.

Jack's Shack said...

I agree. When you reach a point at which you cannot support your beliefs you have a few options. You can opt for saying that your belief stems from faith, you can limit the discussion to those who agree with you or you can change your mind.

It is healthy to challenge yourself.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

I went to JP's blog again. Shoot me.

I refuse to dumb myself down anymore.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou "bacon-eating athiest jew"
I asked:
"I am confused. How can one be Jewish and an aethiest? Does being Jewish refer to race or religion?"
you answered:
"Anon, a Jew is a Jew by birth (ethnicity) and/or religion. When Hitler murdered Jews, he didn't ask if they believed in God or not, or how religious they were."

I did not ask you how Adolph Hitler interpreted the facticity of Jewishness. I want to know in the factual sense. If I ask what an apple is and you tell me that Newton thought they don't defy gravity, it doesn't help me much.

Also regarding the "Jewish question" why does the name Hitler always have to be introduced as a way of concluding inquiry or debate?
I simply want you to explain what a Jew is! Religious or Racial. If as you say it can be either, then is not the correct classifier "Semite" which includes Arabs?
You also wrote:"Back to your post. I've stopped commenting on religious blogs, because they just can't handle it."
Huh?? Don't understand. What religious blogs? Who can't handle it? I just want to understand what a Jew is. Surely one is afraid of and hates what one doesn't know or is able to identify. If every time one tries to focus upon the entity known as "Jew" to look upon its form and examine it, we are hit with "Hitler...Hitler...boo!..people like YOU...blah blah blah" how are we able to know the fact?

Shlomo said...

Anon,

A Jew is someone whose parents tell him that he is Jewish. If he wasn't told, he'd never know.

Jewish Atheist said...

Anonymous:

I'll answer you. All definitions depend on the definers. I define myself as Jewish because I had two Jewish parents and I see it as being something other than just a religious affiliation. It's not a race in the standard sense, in part because there are several genetically distinct groups of Jews as well as because of the issue you mention. (Although this is probably true of most "races" as well. "Race" isn't a well-defined term, either. Are Filipinos the same race as Chinese? How about Ethiopians and African-Americans of West-African descent?)

There's no single Jewish culture, either, but for whatever reason, I continue to feel Jewish. Orthodox Jews tend to define a Jew as a person who had a Jewish mother, while Reform Jews allow those who had just a Jewish father as well.

As I said, it depends who you ask. Since I'm asking myself, I say I'm Jewish. And I'm an atheist simply because I don't believe in God.

Serendipity said...

SL Aronovitz said...

I don't think that's all there is to it. Apparently, you have to look either European or Middle Eastern or you have to have papers in triplecate to be believed as Jew. After you've shown papers, you've probably have to endure several enterrogation on how you exactly became a Jew since OMG, you're from Asia!

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Anon, it is accepted that most of the world considers me to be a Jew, much like I would consider a person who was brought up by two Catholic parents an ethnic Catholic, even though that is not exactly right.
The reason I bring up Hitler is that if it wasn't for anti-semitism I probably wouldn't acknowledge myself as being a Jew so much.
The reason to me Israel exists is as a final refuge for Jews like me in case anti-semitism gets really ugly anywhere in the world at anytime.
Last year, Israel's existence was justified when a couple of thousand Jews from France said "I don't need this anti-semitism crap, I'm going to Israel"
Nobody questioned how many of the French Jews believed in God, or to what degree. All that matters is that their mothers were Jews.
A few months back I remember seeing a story about a soccer player who got anti-semitic taunts because he has a Jewish sounding last name.....he was not even an ethnic Jew. Anti-semites don't care if a Jew believes or not.

Ben Avuyah said...

I also find it cowardly that the Good Rabbi stops his comments section as soon as the skeptics agruments build momentum and reach a pitch that threatens his ideals.

But one word in his defense...he is not an anonymous blogger, that's his real name, he doesn't have the luxury other skeptics living in the orthodox community have, of making their arguments with the certainty of lack of any real life reprecussions. I don't know if he is a pulpit Rabbi or not, but I imagine he would have what to lose if his blog became a succesful forum for skeptical viewpoints.

Shlomo said...

Serendipity,

Judaism wasn't always so particular. Before the Rabbis showed up circa 400 BC, Jewish men married whom they pleased and almost anyone was welcome to join the club. Now, even lifetime members have to 'prove' themselves.

Growing up in Brooklyn amongst Chasidim really shows you how bad it has become. The Lubavitchers, for example, would say that the Satmar weren't even Jews at all. I would ask them how they knew that to be true and the answer would never come. It makes me sick.

To illustrate the previous point is easy enough. Consider the rate of assimiliation and intermarriage, even back in Europe, and how many people who thought themselves gentiles discover a Jewish grandmother or great-grandmother among their maternal ancestors. Suddenly, they enter a yahoo chatroom, share that meaningless information, and someone says "Hey. That means you're Jewish!"

What is really implied is that WE think you are Jewish, not that you have even had such a thought yourself beforehand.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ben Avuyah:

But one word in his defense...he is not an anonymous blogger, that's his real name, he doesn't have the luxury other skeptics living in the orthodox community have, of making their arguments with the certainty of lack of any real life reprecussions. I don't know if he is a pulpit Rabbi or not, but I imagine he would have what to lose if his blog became a succesful forum for skeptical viewpoints.

That's a good point.

jewish philosopher said...

I’m also not anonymous. Can it so few bacon eaters and other infidels post on my blog because they know I’ll make them look like fools? Just wondering. ;-)

Juggling Mother said...

I'll jump in here to muddy the waters a bit more for Anon, if thats ok.

The definition of a "jew" is a personal one. Often it is based around a belief system, but there are many many people who call themselves Jewish atheists. I personally feel that a Christian in a similar position would proably call themselves a "fallen" christian.

I wrote a piece about my lack of jewishness a couple of weeks ago. However I don't get the readers that JA does, so nobody cared:-)

BTW, in the beginning Hitler was quite happy to allow jews to covert to Christianity, get themselves baptised & join a church. I know a number of people who did so, then promptly scarpered out of Germany.

JP - the reason so few skeptics post on your blog is probably they don't come looking. personally rarely visit religious blogs because what's the point? If they are discussing the various points of their religion or the bible what right or interest have I got in commentating?

I do visit a number of blogs written by religious people. They don't exclusively write about religion though:-) I shall be sure to check out your blog 7 leave some skeptical coments asap tho;-)

Shlomo said...

juggling,

No one will care what you have to say unless you have a provactive moniker/title or you live in NYC. I have gotten used to that. You will, too.

If you change the name of your blog to anything that offends people, you will be guaranteed a huge following. That was my mistake when I began blogging.

Kol Tuv

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

JP, you are a farce. I've never seen a blogger who constantly gets trounced so much in the blogosphere as you do.

I'm not sure if you are bright enough to know how badly your thoughts and musings have been slaughtered.

Anonymous said...

B.E.A.J. - thankyou for your personal explanation on how you interpret the meaning of the word jew.

I am looking forward to a time when the science of genetics will reach the level where human genes can be studied outside of the context of cultural or religious identity.

I am well aware that the contemplation of eugenics brings with it particular risks but none greater than the risks human groups have been exposed to so far historically.

The "Jewish" gene pool, without a doubt will supply the future humanity with a wealth of beneficial genetic material.

The harvest though will only be realised when humankind break free of the bondage of economics. That is, when people cease to be attracted to each other and consequently procreate due to the influence of economic factors. With economics driving the primary motive, biological aethsetics take a secondary consideration.

jewish philosopher said...

My arguments are unassailable.

Juggling Mother said...

I came, I argued, I left. Nothing to see there JP.

Anonymous said...

It is hunorous to see all of the skeptics that claim the believers run from debate slinging ad hominym attacks and name calling.

Kettle? Por? Looks like the same thing to me.

Shmarya said...

Gil banned me years ago. Why? Because I quoted Talmud Yerushalmi Shabbat 1:4 verbatim.

In brief, it says beit shammai took over the academy by force, killed members of beit hillel and held the rest of beit hillel hostage. Then it forced the academy to vote in 18 gezerot (mostly against interactions with non-Jews). The Yerushalmi calls this the darkest day in the history of the Jewish people since the making of the golden calf.

Anyway, Gil deleted the comment and banned me for leaving it.

Gil is an apologist. He can't win if he allows free and open debate. So he censors, often without telling his readers.

Nothing new there. Too bad he deleted your comments, though.