Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pathology of the Internet Fundie: A layman’s observation and speculation



I’m not a psychologist; I only play one on the internet. But I do have a BA in psychology with a minor in religion, half century plus of life experience, and a decade or more of first hand observations and interactions with the profoundly religiously impaired.

In my book I discussed hyper-religiosity, a clinical term describing the overt behaviors of certain people suffering from schizophrenia. I also referenced studies that point to childhood sexual abuse by a relative as a cause of high degrees of religiosity in adulthood. Just last week a passenger on an airplane paraphrased a bible passage – “Get behind me, Satan.” and threatened to bring down the plane until he was subdued by passengers. The man suffers from bi-polar disorder. Note he didn’t make any references to Darwin or Carl Sagan.

These unfortunates should not be condemned for their actions. They are to be pitied. Perhaps one day science, the proclaimed enemy of fundamentalist religionists, will find a cure for their ailments. One can only wonder if the fear of that cure is a reason for religionists’ distrust and rejection of science. Who knows?

Beyond these sufferers is the larger body of fundamentalist / radical religionist extremists. No specific clinical condition is tied to their obsession with the supernatural. Rather it is some combination of early indoctrination / cultural imperative; fear of death; under-education; economic deprivation; the desire for social acceptance by a larger group / the fear of being ostracized by the prevailing majority; a lack of self-worth; a life of personal failure. We can exclude their fundamentalist shaman for the purpose of this discussion. They are in a separate category.

In person these fanatics are easy to spot. They preach in the street, carry signs that say “John 3:16,” knock on your door and spew their delusion all over your door step. In church they flop on the floor and speak gibberish, or feign unconsciousness overcome with religious ecstacy. But on the internet they also have special characteristics that set them apart from the “normal” theists, by which I mean, those believers for whom faith is a personal comfort -- not a weapon, political party, or all encompassing raison d'ĂȘtre.

The following are some hallmark internet behaviors of these willing whackos for Jesus that you may recognize:

  • Rambling and repetitive streams of thought; conglomerations of disconnected concepts. I.e. references to Einstein, Nostradamus, Occam, Hitler in one sentence.

  • Insisting they are being victimized by the minority / persecution complex.

  • Threats or implied threats of physical violence or god’s wrath.

  • Repetitive obsessive reference to death, dying, and everlasting torture (ours not theirs).

  • The lack of composition and sentence structure; long posts in a single paragraph; frequent use of uppercase letters; multiple exclamation marks; the omission of the letter “o” when spelling “G-d.”

  • The invention / redefinition of words.

  • Misuse / misunderstanding of scientific terminologies; interspersing pseudo-science with apologetics; inappropriate insertion of scientific references.

  • Misrepresenting or denial of genuine statistics or proven trends.

  • Quote mining of famous freethinkers to imply an endorsement of belief.

  • Grasping at mysticism and prophetic foolishness to bolster their belief.

  • Quoting of biblical verse in lieu of independent thought; use of biblical verse as “proofs” of anything.

  • Demanding that you read such and such a book, link, or view a given video.

  • Harboring the delusion that anyone cares what they say or that they have the power to influence the thinking of secularists with their ranting.

What largely motivates this erratic behavior is fear. To people who cannot establish rewarding, meaningful, or long lasting relationships with human beings their relationship with their imaginary Friend is all they have. To people who fail at life, career or success (how ever one defines it), clinging to a delusion is the last vestige of meaning to their existence. The very thought of their archaic belief system being rendered irrelevant by reason and science is the worst possible outcome to their already failed lives. Although they project bravado and confidence intended to mask it, their fear and desperation is almost palatable through their manic scribbling and prosaic shouting. It may even substitute as a sexual release, but I’m only speculating

One can only wonder what they perceive as a goal given that their method invariably yields the same non-result. While this behavior is not medically defined, isn’t doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result the very definition of insanity?

22 comments:

Rachelle said...

Take that, resident troll! LOL!

DM said...

you're a little fool...


they thought BOOBIES had no effect... WRONG!


see, I just want to make it clear to the rest of you:


jen is unable to see that there is a CONFLICT BETWEEN EROS & SCIENCE....

________________

blaghag.com/2010/04/in-name-of-science-i-offer-my-boobs.html

ETA: follow-up
blaghag.com/2010/04/quick-clarification-about-boobquake.html

see how we take a term and convert in into its AUTHENTIC POLITICAL DIMENSION - THAT
OF LIBERATION - not just merely harmless expression...

they thought BOOBIES had no effect... WRONG!
____________

FOR THE *HEADLESS IDIOT* called m.shermer

skeptic.com/Merchant2/graphics/audio_video/av558_lg.jpg

this is your *FINAL WARNING*

____________________________________
the really SHARP END OF OCCAM’S RAZOR…

they mix SKEPTICISM with ATHEISM…

KABOOM…

Now I want you to listen to this little f*cker...

ted.com/talks/james_randi.html

Randi:

When I see your UGLY FACE I understand why you are an atheist

_________________________________

Visit for the BOOBQUAKE

badscience.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=15921&p=343431#p343431

DM said...

this YOUR FINAL WARNING...

shut down your blog....

DM said...

now become a MARXIST REVOLUTIONARY...

AND FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!

zarton said...

Sometimes I wonder if DM is playing into your hands on purpose Hump. But then I realize it might take two brains cells to rub together for that to happen. For once you actually made me smile DM. :)
zar

Dromedary Hump said...

Heheheh!! I rest my case :)

DALwrites said...

Hump describes it, then DM posts it! Poor punctuation...check. Lots of caps...check. Mindless rambling...check. Vitriolic...and check.

Hump, are you sure you're not really DM? :)

Ev Out West said...

Boobies? DM thinks boobies have some kind of effect? Not that I would argue that, but I would be interested to know what effect DM thinks boobies have. A reference to "boobquake" perhaps? Hmmm.

You know, this really interests me. People in our western cultures who have a problem such as schizophrenia do often make statements like "god told me to do it" or "I am god's messenger." There's this delusion they have in which they are the anointed ones. I've always wondered about that, and about the steeping of westernized cultures in religious doctrine so much so that even in a mental split from reality, that's the default fall-back these individuals use to justify their actions. Whoa.

Do other cultures whose members develop illnesses like schizophrenia exhibit similar behavior? "Shiva has appointed me the sacred one." "Allah made me do it." "Buddha has dubbed me the righteous one." "The ancestors are telling me to kill people." Hump? Anyone? Fascinating. Thanks.

Dromedary Hump said...

Dal... LOL! I promse you, I am well versed in their idiocy, but I'm not crazy enough to actually pull that off.

Ev... The "boobies" reference relates to a recent story in the media about an Imam saying that the exposure of women's breasts have angered Allah and thus are the reason for the earthquakes. DM evidently has "boobie" issues, since I doubt he's Muslim. As I said in my article, sexual dysfunction (including obsession) may well be a driver of religious fanaticism.

While I haven't seen any studies about schizophrenia and other religions, I don't think there can be much doubt that the illness will manefest hyper-reliogisity in whatever is the culture's prevailing religion I mean, ya gotta be more than a little unbalanced to blow yourself up and think Allah is going to reward you with a bevy of virgins. Or is that Virginians :)

LaurieB said...

Hump,

As a fellow Psychology major (experimental psych) I’m constantly aggravated by the definition of ‘delusion’ that is offered by the DSM for clinical use. DSM has just been revised and I hear that there is no change to that particular definition. I tried to get in to the DSM IV online but I don’t want to pay a fee so I’ll use a different free source here, for what it’s worth.

http://www.minddisorders.com/Br-Del/Delusions.html

Here’s an excerpt:
“A delusion is a belief that is clearly false and that indicates an abnormality in the affected person's content of thought. The false belief is not accounted for by the person's cultural or religious background or his or her level of intelligence. The key feature of a delusion is the degree to which the person is convinced that the belief is true. A person with a delusion will hold firmly to the belief regardless of evidence to the contrary. Delusions can be difficult to distinguish from overvalued ideas, which are unreasonable ideas that a person holds, but the affected person has at least some level of doubt as to its truthfulness. A person with a delusion is absolutely convinced that the delusion is real.
Delusions are a symptom of either a medical, neurological, or mental disorder. “
For the non-psych majors here, basically the religiously delusional are exempt from a very serious diagnosis of psychopathology. But why? Just because a large segment of the population share some variation of their dellusion? What will happen when the percentage of non-believers increases, as I suspect will happen when the young people in our society start answering those questionaires that us middle agers are answering now. The last result that I’ve seen indicates that 16% of Americans are not affiliated with a religion. What if that number went up to 50% or 80%? Could we call religious people deluded then? Or will they still get a free pass just because they can’t be held responsible due to indoctrination?
I would be interested to see what would happen if we could obtain an American Christian fundamentalist who passes as sane here in this environment (because our culture accepts this as normal based on the fact that they are obiquitous here) and transport our experimental subject over to Denmark where the level of religiosity is much lower. Let’s see if they would be considered delusional by the Danes or if the subject would be judged as a fine upstanding model of propriety as most Americans presumably would say.
Go back to the linked article and scroll down to the section that describes types of delusions and check out these definitions:
-Delusion of Control
-nihilistic delusion
-delusion of guilt or sin
-erotomania
-religion delusion
Honestly Hump, is this not a cut and dry case of dancing around the uncomfortable truth?

Dromedary Hump said...

LaurieB, Thanks for that.
The problem is that when one person speaks to and believes in an invisible being it's called a delusion. When 5 billion do it, it's called religion.

1000 yrs ago people thought the earth flat and thought to be normal . People who still think the earth is flat are now called deluded. 500 years from now the definition of delusion that currently excludes belief in god/gods will be revised to include religionists.

Rastifan said...

Nice article Hump. Got in to a heated discussion with my uncle about fundies. The topic was reasonable Christians. As I see it, they give the wack jobs the credibility they need. With out them they would only be nuts and easily ignored. But this is not the case. This is why a lunatic like Pat Robertson can get on national TV and spew out the garbage he does. He has the weight of thousands of reasonable Christians behind him. Why else would people be interested in listening to his poison.

NewEnglandBob said...

Our resident juvenile troll from Montreal is mentally diseased because he was sexually abused as a child. He cannot relate normally to people as an adult and lives a life of emotional isolation. Notice his ramblings have recently become more incoherent.

Engineer of Knowledge said...

Hello Hump,
When you say, “sexual dysfunction (including obsession) may well be a driver of religious fanaticism,”….and I would say most of these become Southern Baptist.

This religious sect are the ones who want to enslave their women into “Brood Mares” with their, “Full Quiver” mandate.

Hello New England Bob,
I too noticed that DM ramblings have recently become more incoherent. We may very well hear in the news soon of someone in Montreal who had kidnapped some 12 year old girl and making her his sex slave for the last decade. He would be the type don’t you think?

Dromedary Hump said...

Rasti...
There are differing opinions on that issue. I for one don't place blame on "reasonable' Christians, but Dawkins and Hitchens do.

I also do not considerany follower of Pet Robertson to fall into that category.
Once one goes from apersonal belief system to which you attribute a comfort thats between you and whatever deity you embrace... and start haranguing people, wearing your religion on your sleeeve, shoving it down peoples throats, insisting everyone respect and adhere to it's demands, or making up crazy shit and attributing it to god/gods... you are no longer "reasonable", as far as I am concerned.

Rastifan said...

Hump - I probably should have written >>reasonable<< and not just reasonable:)

DM said...

let me show you the end results of this particular *ONE-DIMENSIONAL SCIENTIFIC MODE*
of thinking that is called *CRITICAL THINKING*, which is completely divorced from
any human objectives...

this style has been perfected by dawkins, pz, randi and the other *NEW ATHEISTS*


_______________

THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!

hey, atheists don't even BELIEVE IN BOOBIES!!!

they thought BOOBIES had no effect... WRONG!


see, I just want to make it clear to the rest of you:


jen is unable to see that there is a CONFLICT BETWEEN EROS & SCIENCE....

________________

http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/in-name-of-science-i-offer-my-boobs.html

ETA: follow-up

http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/quick-clarification-about-boobquake.html

see how we take a term and convert it into its AUTHENTIC POLITICAL DIMENSION - THAT
OF LIBERATION - not just merely harmless expression...

they thought BOOBIES had no effect... WRONG!
____________

Visit for the BOOBQUAKE:


http://dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/philosophy-f1/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm

DM said...

how about I believe in WHATEVER I want and you little fuckers have nothing to say!

Contents under pressue said...

Hmm, DM is starting to call us out directly, Hump.

I think he likes you XD

DM said...

how about I believe in WHATEVER I want - even in the FLYING SPAGHETTI
MONSTER! - and you have nothing to say!

let me show you the end results of this particular *ONE-DIMENSIONAL
SCIENTIFIC MODE* of thinking that is called *CRITICAL THINKING*, which is completely
divorced from any human objectives...

this style has been perfected by dawkins, pz, randi and the other *NEW
ATHEISTS*

**

THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!

***

hey, atheists don't even BELIEVE IN BOOBIES!!!

they thought BOOBIES had no effect... WRONG!

see, I just want to make it clear to the rest of you:

jen is unable to see that there is a CONFLICT BETWEEN EROS &
SCIENCE....

http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/in-name-of-science-i-offer-my-boobs.html

see how we take a term and convert it into its AUTHENTIC POLITICAL
DIMENSION - THAT OF LIBERATION - not just merely harmless expression...

Visit for the BOOBQUAKE:

http://dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/philosophy-f1/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm

NewEnglandBob said...

Markuze, you are getting more out of touch with reality every day. You are not coherent at all. We laugh at your four-year-old child tantrums.

DM said...

*************************************************
how about I believe in WHATEVER I want - even in the FLYING SPAGHETTI
MONSTER! - and you have nothing to say!
*******************************************************************

let me show you the end results of this particular *ONE-DIMENSIONAL SCIENTIFIC MODE*
of thinking that is called *CRITICAL THINKING*, which is completely divorced from
any human objectives...

this style has been perfected by dawkins, pz, randi and the other *NEW ATHEISTS*
**
THE BOOBQUAKE - 911!
***
hey, atheists don't even BELIEVE IN BOOBIES!!!
they thought BOOBIES had no effect... WRONG!

see, I just want to make it clear to the rest of you:
jen is unable to see that there is a CONFLICT BETWEEN EROS & SCIENCE....

http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/in-name-of-science-i-offer-my-boobs.html

http://www.blaghag.com/2010/04/quick-clarification-about-boobquake.html

see how we take a term and convert it into its AUTHENTIC POLITICAL DIMENSION - THAT
OF LIBERATION - not just merely harmless expression...

Visit for the BOOBQUAKE:

http://dissidentphilosophy.lifediscussion.net/philosophy-f1/the-boobquake-911-t1310.htm