Atheists are a small minority in the U.S.  Advocates of gun control might be a minority in America as well. In light of the recent shootings in Aurora I am curious as to how atheists in this network view the lack of gun restrictions.  There are probably divergent views.

I have trouble believing that both presidential candidates are steering away from any call for reform after the horrific mass shooting. In my opinion it is insane to allow citizens access to assault weapons that can kill scores of people in a few minutes.  It was even more shocking to hear on a news show that a family had to raise money to pay for the immense hospital bills for one of the victims while they were already crippled with medical bills from the mothers fight with breast cancer.

As a Canadian I came to stand with my U.S brothers for the reason rally and freedom from religion.  I would be willing to come down to the capitol and march for two other important causes.  Gun control and universal health care.

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Yes I know, you think other methods of murder are totally cool.

You claim to be arguing rationally on the basis of facts and you make a remark like that?

you have to compare the trend before the measure and the trend after the measure and calculate IF the before and after TRENDS are SIGNIFICANTLY different.

You would have to compare the trends in gun-related crimes to see what the effect is, but that may not be sufficient since results would depend on how well the laws are being enforced. Law alone is not enough, enforcement is required and where enforcement is not sufficiently funded you may not see results.

The mere fact that countries have different murder rates infers nothing at all about the passing of laws, and everything to do with their cultural makeup.

That implies the United States is a country with a culture more prone to violence than other developed nations. If that is the case, then we need to do something about the means of violence—stricter gun control.

Relying on one faulty statistic is not sufficient to prove your point.

It looks like Dr. Clark is debating rationally and TNT666 is letting emotion overtake the arguments. 

That reminds me of a recent discussion I had with a religious person over the holidays about atheists and Christmas. It was going okay until I came up with some good arguments.  Then I got the equivalent of  "Yes I know, you think other methods of murder are totally cool." 

When you attack like that it shows you are losing the debate or are unwilling to at least ponder seriously the other point of view.

Russell, you and Dr. Clark both missed the paradoxical intention in TNT's post.

My reply to Dr. Clark has my explanation.

A good mind can put up formidable barriers to attempts to get past the mind...to the emotions.

Now, what do you know about people who are without emotion?

Oh FFS! I never attack anyone here. He's the one who keeps repeating that only gun deaths are of interest, I'm pointing out his irrationality, not the opposite. Anyone who repeatedly dismisses other methods or homicide just to make a point is clearly not using their entire brain potential. I expect that fault from faithers, but am not so comfortable with this coming from an atheist. Have a look at every single stat that's been posted here and reassess who'd being emotional.

TNT, I agree.

This ex-faither was once a faither, a result of the faither-producing schools my dad sent his kids to. Freeing myself from a dependence on the mental contortions that faithing requires wasn't easy; there were no support groups although in a Catholic high school I heard harsh verbal attacks on a man named Glen (maybe Glenn) Archer, a founder of a group with the very long name "Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State", now Americans United, a political action group more than a support group.

The mental contortions that faithing required included adopting an ideology. Several years in hardball politics persuaded me that ideologies are ways (often self-deprecating ways, such as self-fulfilling prophecies like "You can't fight city hall" which translates to "I can't fight city hall") to protect a belief when the belief itself lacks logical strength.

As to repeating an argument, such as here repeating that only gun deaths are of interest, the repetition might indicate that the person doing the repeating feels s/he has not been heard, is trying again, and (as you say) is not using their entire brain potential.

I stumbled on the paradoxical intention  thing. While in a blocked negotiation, I proposed an alternative that in moments crumbled the block. Later, I learned what I had done; named an alternative that was unpalatable to those who were blocking. (Not the cliched "made an offer they couldn't refuse")

Dr. Clark,

You missed the paradoxical intention in TNT's "Yes I know, you think other methods of murder are totally cool."

You hold your view so tightly that TNT's attempt to increase your stress (to a level at which you become aware of it) went right past you. Thus your reply "You claim to be arguing rationally on the basis of facts and you make a remark like that?"

What are your feelings about other methods of murder and their consequences?

You know there are other methods. You know that murder harms people other than the deceased.

Yet in everything you've posted, you have acknowledged nothing.

Rene Descartes said, "I think, therefore I am."

I reply, "He didn't feel; he only half-was."

You missed the paradoxical intention in TNT's "Yes I know, you think other methods of murder are totally cool."

Yes, I took it for irony, not paradox.

What are your feelings about other methods of murder and their consequences?

You know there are other methods. You know that murder harms people other than the deceased.

Yet in everything you've posted, you have acknowledged nothing.

It's true that I've omitted a lot of cabbages and kings, but the thread is about guns and gun control so I felt there was justification.

But the OP itself is "un-atheist" in that it's an unreasonable question, setting up a straw man debate. The trick to critical thinking is to not let yourself be limited by a absurdly limiting question, and address the real facts and evidence, instead of dogma.  Evidence that anti-gun laws significantly reduce rates of murders is sorely lacking, even in this discussion.

The people here who think restrictions on assault rifles may be helpful are hearing from TNT that we can't supply hard data that proves gun controls make a difference.  TNT rejects the comparisons to other countries because they are different cultures.  I don't think you should be able to do that. But lets look at a culture in the U.S. that changed with a different law enforcement approach.

Why don't we go with a New York cultural example.  I remember a time when it was considered very unsafe to visit the city.  That got dramatically turned around by policing methods that were cutting edge.  I don't think the top cops looked for an experimental model to justify their actions - they reasoned and acted and got results. 

TNT - are you advocating that until hard data comes in that satisfies your atheist critical thinking skills nothing should be done to improve on a country with one of the worst records for developed nations?

Maybe we should try a controlled experiment where one State has all guns banned, another State gets some guns and one State has open season on all types of weapons.  Wait ten years and see what happens.

I think the current Mayor of New York has a good read on the access to weapons problem in the U.S.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-18/concrete-ways-to-turn-back...

Russell, the NY reduction in overall crime rates has been sociologically studied (I'm not going to cite all the articles on the topic, but they're researchable and there's plenty of them). And the general conclusion is that the drop in general crimes rates in that city are multi-factorial and ANOVA statistical analysis fails to point to a specific policy change that is the preponderant causal agent.

The proof we have that anti-gun laws are not singly effective is all the graphs that have been presented here and the www generally, show there is no significantly positive outcome after such laws. The experiment has been done, and it's inconclusive.

I'm watching Piers McDonald at the instant and I'm reaching the point at which I'm going to have to never watch that show again because his speaking tactics are equal to FOX Tv.

As atheists, we need to focus on hard facts... up to this day in time, there is no CAUSAL LINK established by any of our stats.

INCONCLUSIVE: an important word in the assessment of causal agents.

TNT - Did you read that article.  It ends with the following:

"Like race relations or gay rights, gun regulation will be a product of cultural change along with legal reform. The entire nation has a role to play. The first move, however, belongs to Washington. Mr. President?"

Let's hope the U.S. is up for a cultural change and their homicide rates drop to be more in line with other developed nations.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-18/concrete-ways-to-turn-back...

I hope nobody will argue that if the culture does change to be more like Canada or England (less than half the U.S murder rate) and Norway (about 1/7 the U.S murder rate) that they would not want to be part of that culture because it happened to include a ban on assault rifles.

But I've been surprised before.

Not paradox, but paradoxical intention - intensifying an emotional state in order to make more clear the irrationality of the emotional reaction.

A person's, especially an intelligent person's, focusing exclusively on one explanation reveals an emotional state whose existence s/he will probably deny. TNT deconstructed your argument, or read it closely, for its implication that "other methods of murder are totally cool."

Other methods of murder are relevant; cabbages and kings are not.

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