Resentful Alcoholics
Anonymous Member On
Religion vs. Spirituality
Doug Bramley

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From: Recovery Watch
To: Recovery Watch List
CC: DOUGLAS BRAMLEY
Subject: Re: AA
Date: Thursday, July 22, 1999 5:09 AM

These are poetic but very flawed definitions for religion and spirituality. They might make people feel good at AA meetings, but they cannot be used in a public discussion on the nature of AA or whether charges that AA is a cult, a fraud, dangerous, etc., are true.
 

You have heard wrong. The people who say that atheists have proof that there is no god are ignorant of the philosophy of atheism and of philosophy in general. (Some atheists are ignorant of this; we try to enlighten those atheists of this error.) Philosophy says that nobody can prove the nonexistence of anything.

Atheists simply lack a god belief. Some think they know, but most don't. The deal is that nobody (especially you) has ever made a case for theism that warrants my belief.

If I told you that some obscure AA "Conference-Approved" literature describes how Bill and Lois channeled major sections of the AA "Big Book" with a Ouija board, you might say, "That's preposterous!" You would have every right to disbelieve me: it sounds absurd. You would be right in insisting that I come up with some cold-hard proof of the "Conference-Approved" variety.

You see, I made the claim, and it is my responsibility to back it up. Otherwise, you have no business believing my claim. It is not your job to disprove my claim. I would have to cough up the passage before you had any right to believe my claim.

The same goes with claims about the existence of gods. You claim that at least one god exists. You have gone no further than that. This is not reason enough to warrant me believing you, because I have seen no evidence that any gods exist and have heard no arguments that hold water. Thus, it is most reasonable of me to doubt your claim.

That is all that atheism says.
 

You appear still to be obsessed about something. Have you simply shifted your obsession from alcohol to AA?

Meanwhile, I get the urge to drink every day, after almost eleven years without a drink. AA and NA did not lift my obsession for me. I must deal with it under my own power. I must dismiss every temptation to drink if I wish to remain alive for very long. I do this on my own, without any help from anybody or any gods.
 

Why does AA have a 95 percent new-member dropout rate after the first year? (These are AA's own statistics, available from the memo, Comments on the Triennial Surveys.) If AA's dropout rate is this high (and it is), then why do people at AA meetings always shout, "It works"? What do you suggest for the other 95 percent who found that AA doesn't really work very well. And why is AA touted as the mainstream of recovery programs seeing that AA itself admits to its very poor outcome rates?
 

Recovery Watch is a political page. Deal with it.

AA refuses to halt (or even oppose) the practice of court-enforced AA attendance: that AA is America's de facto State Religion (in that a judge can force you to practice that AA brand of theism) is a very political matter.

Meanwhile, you contacted us, we did not first write to you. The Recovery Watch page is just there; we focus very little attention on it these days.

We told you no lies, although you have made several misrepresentations of the facts in your letter.

You chill!

Cliff Walker
Recovery Watch
http://www.PositiveAtheism.org/tocrw.htm
 

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From: Recvoery Watch
To: DOUGLAS BRAMLEY
Subject: Re: Philosopher quote
Date: Thursday, September 02, 1999 12:31 AM

I got to hand it to you: You are a master at the "Straw-Man" ploy. Almost everything you've written, both in this letter and in the previous, are of that nature. This form of deception is the most common form of falsehood we receive in our e-mail.

[Also, you did not address my claim that AA admits to having an 95 percent dropout rate for the first year.]
 

From the fact that the nonexistence of something cannot be proved, it does not follow that the thing exists.

Do you believe Santa Claus exists? If not, can you prove the nonexistence of Santa Claus? Is your disbelief in Santa mere "speculation" on your part? or is it incumbent on the Santanist to make a better case for Santa's existence?
 

So? What does that show? The followers of David Koresh did none of these things, but they were more than willing to lie if that's what it took to protect the reputation of their organization -- these members were even willing to die to preserve the integrity of the group, if need be.

Meanwhile, you don't need to hustle at airports to stump for AA. You don't need to even lift a finger: our courts do all your promotional work for you. Any more, the AA members need merely sit in a meeting and shout that old canard, "It works! It works!" (even though AA admits its outcome statistics are dismal).
 

How do you know? What is love? Can you describe it? Can you distinguish between love and other emotions? Can drugs alter your chemical balance to the point where your ability to experience "love" is impaired? Can a person become impaired to the point where she or he hallucinates that this is real love, but it turns out they're only fooling themselves? Again: How do you know what love even is?
 

If "God" equals "love" equals "God" then no.

If love is a human emotion, then all healthy humans feel it with or without the belief that gods and the supernatural exist.
 

Is this what you think the only alternative to theism is?

True, all processes within the human (as far as we can tell) are biological. This necessarily includes what you call "love." I can't think of what else it could be (no one has ever identified or detected the mythical "spirit" or "soul"), but I sure like how it feels.

(I'm still not sure what you mean when you use this grossly abused and greatly misunderstood word love.)
 

Is this how you think? Get a job! People have the ability to make their own decisions, therefore they are robots? Atheists detect no evidence that someone "programmed" people down to the last nose-pick "before the foundation of the World" (as the Bible puts it), therefore atheists think people are robots?

Does this even follow from the fact that humans are biological organisms?

The Bible talks about how God predestined certain people to be "saved" and others to be "lost": Do Bible believers think we a race of robots?

Theists think we were created the way we are by a superior intelligence. Do theists think we are robots? Atheists think we grew naturally, entirely by natural means: can this in any way be construed as a statement suggesting that we might be robots?
 

Like I said, detect and identify the soul and I will consider it. Until you do this, you're just speculating about mythology and superstitious attempts to explain what we did not understand. Some of those ancient scrolls you've been reading are mistaken, you know. Many of them tell us that the earth is flat, that the heart thinks and feels, that the "seed" contains the entire person and need merely be deposited into the woman, who is little more than an incubator to allow the man's "seed" to grow. Even gods make mistakes.
 

So, then, since we cannot detect a soul, therefore it is a mystery? Does it then follow that we should believe that what you say about it is true, simply because we don't know? becuase it's a mystery, that is, because an unsupported claim?

Go away!

Why don't you go take a few college courses on biology. After you've done that, if you still have any questions on whether there is (or needs to be) a soul, I'll be glad to talk with you about it.

Meanwhile, we have a wonderful section of articles on logical fallacies and on how to think clearly at:
      http://www.positiveatheism.org/tocawclu.htm
Clear thinking is very useful -- especially if you want to avoid sounding like you have your head up your ass!

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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From: Recvoery Watch
To: DOUGLAS BRAMLEY
Subject: Re: Philosopher quote
Date: Thu, 02 Sep 1999

You got lost in my "Drafts" folder. Sorry. I also have to publish the magazine today, so this will be brief.

For never having met an atheist, you sure seem to know a lot about what we think and believe. It's all wrong, but that doesn't seem to bother you.
 

Is this the ol' ad hominem again?

(This one is worse than if I were to judge your intelligence based upon your inability to spell.)
 

Read what I said. Read it very carefully. Do not read into it anything that it does not specifically state.
 

By one standard, I will be eleven this month. We're throwing a big party at a karaoke bar called The Galaxy on the 26th. I'm buying drinks for those who meet my pre-stated qualifications.

Actually, it's none of your business how old I am. It certainly has no bearing on this dialogue.
 

How can one not sound arrogant when confronted with such lying illogic by one who puts on a show of being serious?

It does not follow, by your logic, that the earth was created. It could have coalesced. The system could have evolved. All this could have been accomplished by matter and energy acting according to its various characteristics. This is the naturalistic explanation.

The supernaturalistic position calls for even a higher degree of unlikelihood than does the naturalistic explanation. The naturalistic explanation accepts that the universe, however vast and complex and unlikely, exists. The supernaturalistic position posits an even more complex (and even more unlikely) creator.

The supernaturalistic position also posits the existence of a creator based upon the complexity of "creation." However, it is wrong to speak of "creation" until one has discovered a creator. Until you cough up a creator, I will not accept your premise that this reality is rightly called "creation."

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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Here comes a strange combination of the ad hominem attack and the straw man ploy: The writer falsely presumes that his opponent is a certain age, and then proceeds to use (what he thinks is) his opponent's age to invalidate said opponent's position. He does not respond to the complaint that his use of the word creation begs the question. Neither does he bother to address the alternate explanations for the earth's existence or the claim that the supernaturalistic position is more unlikely than the naturalistic position. He simply leaves us with, "Ta ta, pal!" and that's that! -- cw

 

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From: Recvoery Watch
To: DOUGLAS BRAMLEY
Subject: Re: Philosopher quote
Date: Saturday, September 04, 1999

Pal!?

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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