Don't Pretend
To Be 'Good' People
Tom Malinich, M.D.

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Judy & Tom"
Subject: Re: via What is Positive Atheism?
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2000 1:43 PM

1. Atheism is atheism. The philosophy of Positive Atheism is a proactive ethic. I'm sorry this was not made clear to you.

2. As an MD, I would hope you are aware of the scientific method, which actively seeks to discover errors in any current body of knowledge.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Judy & Tom"
Subject: Re: via What is Positive Atheism?
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2000 7:52 PM

Atheism is a large category, within which are many variations and approaches to atheism -- ranging from those who are busy thinking they should "deprogram" all theists and free them from their delusions, to those who seldom if ever think about it but would be offended if you told them that they are atheists. To call someone an atheist is to say nothing more about that person than that he or she lacks a god belief.

The philosophy of Positive Atheism, however, is a subset of atheism, in that we urge atheists to adopt the ethics of honesty and self-consistency. Humanism is also a subset of atheism in that they advocate seeing the human as the most intelligent entity with which we can communicate. I am not a humanist: I admit that I learn more about affection from my pets than I ever have from a human.
 

Okay. It's a deal, as long as you never ask me questions about small machine repair typesetting or English style and grammar or recovery from drug addiction or the philosophy of religion or the wiles of charlatans or what it's like to try to get an education or compete in a capitalistic society while suffering from a severe case of attention deficit disorder. Since you have an MD and I don't, you obviously know more about these matters than I -- even though I have excelled in all of these topics, have mastered some of them, and have been deemed "the best in the country" in one of these topics. The well-respected expert who called me "the best in the country" -- the man who developed the method I practiced -- is certainly wrong, because you, being an MD (or so you claim -- although I can find no web presence for "Tom Malinich, MD"), have more formal education than I do. Also I can assume that you know more than I about the likelihood that one who specializes in one area may be functionally illiterate in an adjacent field.

(I can tell that you know more about spelling, grammar and punctuation than I do, for you are a highly educated man and most certainly learned how to punctuate a sentence in college. Me? I am but a lowly self-educated man, having learned how to write by studying books that I got out of the public library [while I was living on the streets -- during those years when medical conditions rendered me unable to hold a job]; therefore, one can expect the kinds of errors in my writings that no college-educated person would commit.)
 

Since you know more than I, then I don't need to remind you that were there a better method for gaining knowledge than scientific method, we would be depending upon it, rather than on the scientific method. I also need not remind you (but will remind the readers) that the whole point of scientific method -- and human reason, for that matter -- is to address the problems resulting specifically from human fallibility.

I will, for the sake of new readers, reiterate the fact that I removed the word "perfect" from my vocabulary many years ago. Its only function, for me, is when I am telling my girlfriend that she has a perfect figure (she realizes that I am saying "perfect for my tastes" but that is the only time I have deliberately used the term in longer than a decade).
 

So, then, are you admitting that Christianity is not the final word on morality?
 

Knowledge itself is "cafeteria style" -- including theism, where one chooses between various religions and denominations. The only exceptions are dogmatic fundamentalism and scientific method. In the former, the "cafeteria" dish is to accept a particular creed dogmatically. After this, there is no more choice except either to remain loyal to the creed or to abandon it. In the latter, one chooses to yield to scientific method. After this, one accepts that his or her most cherished ideas are up for grabs, in that a simple patent clerk could conceivably overturn an entire body of science (but not without first demonstrating his case).

Also, study English usage. "Your" beginning to sound like so many Middle School kids who flame each other in the America Online chat rooms.
 

People who think they "actively hate God" would, to me, be theists. I hate the fact that people in America and Iran and elsewhere tend not to keep their beliefs to themselves, but to foist those beliefs upon us all through legislation (since reasoned argument doesn't work very well in the cases of Christianity and Islam). However, I do not and cannot hate something that does not exist.
 

So then, my use of words like "moral," "good," "evil," and "positive" therefore indicates that I secretly believe that a god or gods exist? Is this what you're saying?

Or is morality your god?
 

There is no such thing as "pro-abortion" except in the mind: it is an abstract idea, and is not tangible (although we all suffer -- and our species might even become extinct -- because of the policies set down by those who would use the phrase "pro-abortion" to vilify their ideological opponents).

Besides, I have never met a "pro-abortion" atheist -- or a "pro-abortion" anyone, for that matter. Nobody I've ever heard of favors abortion; it is a great evil that ought never happen. The only question is whether it should be legal, under certain conditions, to perform abortions, or whether it should be illegal. This is a question of which is the greater evil, to legalize abortion or to criminalize it. Like drugs and alcohol, I think fewer people suffer and fewer people gain an unfair advantage over the rest of us when abortion is legal. Much as I wish this question never had to be answered, abortion exists -- and has for thousands of years in the form of infanticide -- and thus we are faced with this decision.

The only hypocrites I see are those who want to outlaw it but are unwilling to send the mother up on murder charges (since she is ultimately responsible for what happens to her body) and those who would distract from the real question of legality with emotionally charged buzzwords like "pro-abortion." Another form of "abortion hypocrite" is the person who wishes to ban abortion but who has yet to adopt any children.

Meanwhile, a Christian who fails to see abortion as murder is not a hypocrite because the Bible itself, in Exodus 21:22-23, clearly differentiates between the parting of a fetus and the loss of life of the mother. If anything, Christians who equate abortion with murder, in light of this passage, is not basing their opinion on sound biblical exegesis. They are worse than hypocrites because while claiming to represent the Bible, they seek to impose their own values upon the more well-read Christians -- and upon those of us who aren't even Christians! It is Christians like these (and these Christians alone) who will face fierce opposition from me.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Judy & Tom"
Subject: Re: via What is Positive Atheism?
Date: Friday, May 26, 2000 2:27 PM

Your rhetoric betrays the lack of thought you have put into these issues. Again: You are an M.D.? Shame on you! We admonish you to go back to High School and study remedial logic and thinking skills. I have written a wonderful study on how to think. It is in our FAQ section, under "Discussing Atheism With Others" (the entire Section 3).

[Readers are encouraged to study this section of our FAQ. The readers' assignment is to identify, by name (non sequitur, ad hominem etc.), at least five (5) logical fallacies in Dr. Malinich's writings to PAM and to explain precisely how these statements of Dr. Malinich constitute a particular fallacy. Be sure to show your work!]

Nobody is "refus[ing] to allow people to choose their own kids" -- all you have to do is enroll your kids in a private school and pay the tuition, like the rest of us. You are not special, and neither are we. It is illegal for the government to pay for the religious instruction of some kids (although many have skirted these laws and have accomplished this evil deed). It is also wrong for several reasons. First, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, in that if I were to establish a Satanist school to teach children the skills of rebellion and self-indulgence, the government could not refuse vouchers for it if it allowed vouchers for a Roman Catholic school. Secondly, this puts the government in the position of telling religions what to do, to a certain extent, as any schooling paid for by the government must meet certain minimum standards. Thirdly, it is wrong to expect the people to pay for religious instruction in a religion that some might think is a false religion.
 

Like so many Bible passages.
 

How different from what I do is your refusal to take into consideration that Exodus does not grant the same rights to a fetus that it does to a human?

All I am saying is that one cannot use the Bible to make the case that abortion is murder. One must rely upon human reasoning, because the Bible actually disputes the notion that a fetus has the same rights as a human. The proof is in the Exodus passage I quoted you.

Meanwhile, show me a passage in the Bible that grants the same legal right to life unto a fetus that it does to a human. You must show me a passage that grants the same legal rights, since the abortion question is whether abortion should be criminalized, whether mothers should be sent to the chair for murder.

(Watch out, you might have to read the Bible cover to cover several times -- like I have, and you might even have to get out your lexicons to see what the original languages say -- like I have, and you may even have to consult some ancient sources such as the Mishnah and the Christian Fathers and see what they thought -- like I have. Who knows? You might even have to admit that you don't know everything, and that it's possible for you to make a mistake.)
 

How can I be a hypocrite, lest I tell others how to run their lives?

I can laugh at Christians and my fellow atheists all I want: I have told nobody what to do. I merely present the philosophy of Positive Atheism for others to consider. Besides, I don't care if anybody laughs at me or misrepresents my position; I only care if somebody uses a figment of their imagination and try to control my life according to that figment.

For example, when the only stated argument against abortion is alleged to be Biblical (and especially when my reading of the Bible shows no such opposition to abortion), that's when I come up fighting. Watch me stand up and defend the pro-choice position when I ordinarily would ignore the debate. This is because someone is enforcing their specific religious (superstitious) values upon us all. Superstition is the wrong way to make policy, and I will oppose it even when I agree with the position that the superstitious ones take.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: "Positive Atheism" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Judy & Tom"
Subject: Re: via What is Positive Atheism?
Date: Saturday, May 27, 2000 10:23 AM

For my definition of "atheism," I rely upon Antony Flew, George H. Smith, and a long line of atheistic philosophers. Actually, I merely choose to emulate them, because "atheism" is an ambiguous word; therefore, I can choose whichever definition I prefer, as long as I make it clear which definition I am using.

The reason I prefer the "weak" definition for "atheism" is that I abhor bigotry (this is also why I am not a Christian of any stripe). I cannot see myself lapsing into a blind rage such as you have demonstrated here.
 

Interesting that you would call it garbage and stupid and baloney since I plagiarized many of the ideas from the likes of Carl Sagan, Michael Shermer, Theodore Schick, Jr., Lewis Vaughn, Antony Flew, Bertrand Russell, A. J. Ayers, Robert Green Ingersoll, Robert Anton Wilson, and many others who have written about logic and thinking (as is documented in the footnotes). In fact, between the eight or nine books I consulted for this piece, none of them ever disagree with another on any single matter concerning logic. It is interesting that you would take my synopsis of these arguments, presented by some of the top popular writers in this field, and call it "complete baloney." If it actually were "complete baloney" then I suspect that you would be offering up examples of refutation rather than resorting to puffing up, pounding your chest, and bellowing out exclamation points.

Bottom line: you are a bigot, lapsed into blind rage.
 

"Exhibit A" in my case that you are a bigot.
 

Then why do you keep bringing up Christianity?

"Exhibit B."

Besides, organized atheism exists only to counter the claims of theists (such as Christians) and would not exist were it not for such claims.
 

"Please recast this sentence." -- Signed: your middle school English teacher.
 

This is not a complete sentence. Your rage is showing.
 

Oh. Make up your own interpretations of the Bible and read into it whatever is not directly stated.

How convenient!
 

But it's okay to kill someone else's baby (Psalm 137:9).

Meanwhile, I've had it with your rudeness. Please don't write here again.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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