I have taken a few months break from writing and discussing on the internet. This is mostly due to a very abrupt and severe experience on a discussion group that taught me, VERY CLEARLY, that a person may call himself a free thinker, but be nowhere near the reality of free-thinking.
The discussion was on race and whether or not a person can be "proud" of their heritage and/or race without being racist. I take the opinion that one can, of course, be proud of anything they wish, without demeaning or looking badly on others that differ. This is not to say that some people can't, as evidenced by those that I once respected.
As a person that has never seen the slightest shred of evidence for gods and a person that has come to loathe the effect that religion has on people, I had thought that most people who think like i do can make arguments apart from fallacy. WOW, was I wrong!
In fact, the atheists and "free-thinkers" I once thought pretty well of, could only fall into the same bullshit, fallacy-filled arguments that theists resort to.
1) Special pleading fallacy: Where theists say in response to any argument about reality or physical law " god doesn't need to follow that cause he's different" or in response to creation when they say "The universe can't start itself, someone(god) must have caused it" and you respond "what then, caused god?" special pleading rears it's ugly head, "well, god's different and he doesn't need to follow those rules."
The same argument was raised by the atheists I once respected. I gave, literally, dozens of examples of preferences for taste, attraction, thought, and ice cream. Each time I showed that no matter how much a person was proud of, enjoyed, or preferred any certain thing, it did not follow that the person looked down on others of the type or category. Special pleading then took over with the argument "Well it's ok in all of those other aspects of life, just not race or country!"
2) Straw man fallacy: Where theists say in response to ANY argument from an atheist or free-thinker, " oh ya... well Hitler and Stalin said that and then killed millions of Jews, You must be a Jew-hater and mass murderer!"
Sadly, the people that I once held in esteem couldn't even get this much correct. They claimed I was racist and equated me with Hitler, yes, all based on their own opinion of what a dictionary REALLY meant(their definition and the dictionary definition didn't even agree). This somewhat follows with straw man fallacies, but they went too far and actually attributed their own words for mine. As far as I know, a straw man can not be created when your own words are used as the ammunition used against others. I.E.: Hitler could not say "well you want to kill millions of Jews!" as a trump argument. Being that he DID it and SAID it, it would be invalid in that sense or use. Since the only people stupid enough to equate a person's paint job with their race was on the other side of the argument, I felt -and feel- no need to argue against anything further along that line. Very simply: excess melanin is an indicator of race ONLY when joined with numerous other genetic markers. As i stated then, an Ethiopian has nothing genetically in common with a New Guinea pygmy other than melanin, and therefore are not racially similar. Sadly none of the morons I used to associate with can figure out so simple a concept.
3) Fallacy of Accident: "Because the only other white person I ever heard of being proud of their race was a racist, you are a racist." Yes, this was said. I have a child of mixed race. I have a family of mixed race. I ,quite literally, have 3 nationalities and 7 races represented in my family. I love and esteem them all and I refuse to argue this point any further than that. It does tend to paint a picture of the accusers however. How sad one must feel to be a member of their families if one isn't a carbon copy of them...
4) My absolute favourite fallacy during the moronic readings I endured during this time, some months ago, was Special Pleading to Authority.
One of the most frustrating arguments that an atheist or free-thinker must endure is: "Uh-hunh, the bible says so." or "My pastor said..." or "But according to the pope..." this is Special Pleading(Authority). Not only could the so-called free-thinker not get this right, it is after all the absolute bottom of the barrel in arguing, he used a non-authority. My argument: "I'm descended from Scots and have a pride in my forebears and the accomplishments of Scots." His argument... and no, I'm not kidding... "Oh ya? well i know a Scottish guy and he said you aren't one!!" really now? c'mon...that's an argument? Some guy who doesn't know me, my heritage, my family, my travels, my education, my research, etc., said I'm not? Oh, how can I ever reconcile my terrible misconceptions with this person's reality? Especially since such an awesome and erstwhile judge of all things Scot has decided that people he has never met, never will meet, and has no information on, are or are not whatever he decides...
Well, This should make clear my point. I will endeavor to post more often and i apologise for being absent to those of you who mailed me.