Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Homophobes Have Nothing But Fallacies


If you’ll indulge me a moment let me insert a shocking disclaimer. I am not perfect. Although I try to formulate rational and consistent arguments there are bound to be holes in them. I may even, unwittingly, commit a logical fallacy on from time to time. However, I at least try not to do so (unless in jest). I don’t shoot off everything that runs through my head until it is somewhat vetted. This is for good reason. No human on the planet is infallible and always logically consistent. It is probably improbable.

Conversely, we have the following conversation between Joseph Backholm, Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington as well as the the Protect Marriage Washington campaign and Janet Mefford, a radio host. Both are Christian, anti-gay activists. Otherwise known as bigots and homophobes. The following conversation struck me as so astoundingly devoid of any meaningful thesis, but full of logical fallacies. In short, they have nothing to say except to make these empty, hateful statements.

So many fallacies. I don’t think I could get them all.

Backholm: Redefining marriage in this way, saying that there is no difference between men and women1, that it’s not important for children to have both a mother and a father2, that’s not just bad policy, it’s wrong in the eternal sense3. So because it’s untrue3, it will ultimately be proven as untrue4 and we will come around to recognize the error of our ways. We used to believe in bloodletting as good medical practice, culture has embraced a lot of things temporarily until they realized it’s based on things that are not true. This is one of those, it has to be temporary, not just because I want it to be temporary, but because it’s untrue in the eternal sense5.

1.  No one is saying there is no difference between men and women. The assertion by gay rights advocates is that it doesn’t matter if if the marriage consists of X+Y, X+X, or Y+Y. Backholm’s statement is, at best, a straw man.
2.  Not a fallacy so much as a lie. Some studies saying otherwise:  1, 2, 3, 4
3.  Nice ‘ipse dixit’ (bare assertion fallacy) statements. Basically is it a type of argument from authority statement. It’s untrue because they say it is untrue. This is also a mind projection fallacy in that they are making the assumption that it is true because they think it is untrue.
4.  Circular Reasoning based on an ispe dixit premise! It will be proven untrue because it is untrue.
5.  Actually just another ipse dixit.

Mefferd: That’s a good way of saying it. They have through their propaganda and the means by which they talk about this issue in the media all the time, won a lot of people over to the cause who aren’t thinking very deeply about it, part of the way they’ve done this is talking about equality and civil rights, trying to equate it with the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. The problem is back in the 1960s when we’re talking about the mistreatment of African Americans, that was something that was wrong to do, in this case we’re talking about legitimizing immoral behavior6 and calling it marriage. I don’t know how you get around the immorality6 angle of it unless you just say it straight out, this is immoral behavior, we are not going to legitimize this as a nation.

6.  ipse dixit. Why is it immoral? Exactly...why? I have yet to hear a single argument detailing how homosexuality is immoral that does not include or allude to a religious reference. None.

Backholm: Sure, it’s a very fair argument and there are a lot of people within the church who are moved by that. But when we talk about the civil rights issue, the reason these are different, today’s argument about the redefinition of marriage would be like the civil rights movement if the civil rights movement was an attempt to have black people be referred to as white people.7

7.  This one is a doozy.
a) There is the assumption that marriage must be defined as only between one man and one woman. In western civilization that is based on a Christian convention. There are plenty of other cultures that do not adhere to this. That is not to say anything is acceptable, but they never provide a legal basis for this assertion. It just ends up a “that’s how it’s always been!” argument and it is, of course, a logical fallacy. I guess it would be the psychologist’s or historian’s fallacy. Also an appeal to tradition.
b) Appeal to emotion. They don’t want to discredit the African-American Civil Rights Movement by equating it with “teh gays.”
c)  Hell, I know there are more, but this is getting old.

Now, I should point out that one cannot claim they are wrong simply due to their fallacious arguments. That itself would be an argument from fallacy. Their inability to form coherent arguments (did I just commit a subtle ad hominem?) does not prove them wrong. It simply means they haven’t presented anything to prove their argument.

And they won’t. Because they are hateful, bigoted, irrational idiots.

Now THAT’S an ad hominem!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Richard Dawkins & Rowan Williams: The Origins of Man (UPDATED)

If the embedded video goes dead try the link below it.








The Nature of Human Beings, The Origins of the Human Species, Origin of Life on Earth, and the Origin of the Universe

Random Quotes: No More Talking Snake



anyone know who said this?

Friday Link Dump ~ 2/24/12


Santorum, Dominionist Code Words & The Green Dragon

Thanks, Rick Santorum! No, really This man really is an atheist blogger gold mine.  He has just the right combination of myopia and arrogance to say what many conservatives think, but do not express in public.  He is truly the great white christian hope of the GOP.

Rick Santorum or Satanic Heavy Metal: The Quiz Can you tell the Santorum quotes from the satanic heavy-metal lyrics? Take this quiz and find out. ~~Steve, I’ll be looking for  your score in the comments.

Shit Santorum Says The Video!

Santorum’s ‘Satan’ Comments & More of His Outlandish Statements Read it here!  It comes with one of my favorite Santorum pics.  I call it “The Squeeze”

History Says Rick Santorum Is Wrong on Women in Combat I have little doubt that any of our women in uniform could kick Rick’s candy ass.  Or mine, for that matter.

Steve found the greatest thing ever.  I mean it!!  What could be better than a picture of Rick Santorum compiled entirely of images of gay porn.  Internet, I am so hot for you right now.

OK, I’m done abusing Frothy for this week.

How to Remove Your Google Search History Before Google's New Privacy Policy Takes Effect /feverishly takes notes.  If I wanted strangers to know what I was reading, I’d post it on the Internet.

Hitchens Destroys the Catholic Church

10 Catholic Teachings Conservatives Reject While Obsessing About Birth Control   
hy·poc·ri·sy  [hi-pok-ruh-see]  noun, plural -sies.
a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.


“Religious Freedom” and the Conservative Quest for Absolute Truth Those who feel plagued by the fear of uncertainty will grasp at any issue that comes along if it offers another opportunity to draw firm boundaries. If that issue concerns institutional religion, so much the better, because the language of limits and hierarchies is already prominent in that sphere.”

Liberal Catholics challenge bishops on Obama's contraception rule

What War on Religion? Truth is, Obama has done more for the “Faith Based” industry than the last president.  And that guy ate the Holy O’s for breakfast every morning.

Is Dark Energy Really "Repulsive Gravity"?

The Complete Idiots Guide to Atheism

The inventor of the cure for cancer might be someone’s fourth child that they decided not to have A reversal of the old anti-choice argument.

Maryland Senate approves same-sex marriage bill 43 States to go.  C’mon Pennsylvania!

Deuteronomy 20:16-17 We’re just keeping it real.

Shocking Newsflash: Infamous Atheist Wears Mismatched Socks! The very fact that they're grasping at these fragments of straw shows how little purchase they've really gotten. What they're really upset about, obviously, is that the atheist message Dawkins and others so ably advocate is finding so many receptive listeners.”

Richard Dawkins in ‘single-celled ancestor’ shock The NewsThump people putting things in perspective.



Afghan Quran burning protestsThe Qurans were among religious materials removed from a detainee facility at Bagram Airfield. The materials were gathered for disposal and were inadvertently given to troops for burning, Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, said Tuesday.”   ~Yeah, I don’t know if I believe a word of that.  I really can’t think of a single viable reason to burn someone’s holy book.  Then again, I can’t make sense of the violence and murder in response to the burning either.  


Jonathan Haidt on the Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives

Pure Nuttery from a Creationist We laugh, but these people vote.

Secularism vs. Religion in National Affairs #BBC

Fox News accuses The Lorax and Arrietty of brainwashing your children Yes “Insidious nonsense from Hollywood” is indoctrinating children to not be wasteful and to (gasp) not destroy the environment.  Are really they implying that rapid, unchecked industrialization does anything but rain gold from the skies.  Next, the Libs are going to start telling children that It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” or some other kind of hippy bullshit...

All Dead Mormons Are Gay  Oh man is this going to piss some people off.
Better and Better An Interview with Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler Lets end this on a positive note.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Santorum, Dominionist Code Words & The Green Dragon

In the latest ridiculous hubbub involving Rick Santorum he calls into question Obama’s worldview:
“This is what the president’s agenda,” before cutting himself off. He continued,”It’s not about you. It’s not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your job. It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology.”
Whether you believe that he stuttered and was calling into question President Obama’s faith or that he was simply criticizing Obama’s—and by extension the Left’s—worldview and ideals, let me tell you: it isn’t that simple.
The simple criticism and the one that national, mainstream (see: corporate) media pick up on because they are lazy and don’t do their job, is to bang on the “religion” drum. They will focus on the questioning of Obama’s religion that has been going on for the past several years. This isn’t wrong so much as it is too easy and incomplete. Again...it’s lazy. Yes, Santorum is scoring cheap points with Republicans, Tea Partiers, Fundamentalist Christians and others on the right with this line of attack. That is clear. All he would have to do is hint at that, like so many others have done, and get the cheap popularity points. However, looking deeper into Santorum’s comment and his worldview you see something else.

In early February Santorum told a crowd in Colorado that...

“We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit not for the Earth’s benefit,...”
This is unmistakable Dominionist talk. Even though Santorum is Catholic, and the vast majority of Dominion Theology is fundamentalist Protestant, these lines have begun to blur within the Religious Right. Just a few years ago, and still prevalent, most Fundamentalist Christians would refer to the Catholic Church as “The Whore of Babylon” and Catholics as evil. Conversely, far-right (and moderate?) Catholics still view Protestantism as heresy. Recently, however, with the grip of conservative religion slipping in the Western world these two disparate and normally unfriendly sects of Christians are beginning to warm to each other. It is a continued advancement by the religious Right to be seen and heard as one group and go by one name: Christianity. Not Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Evangelical, Baptist, etc. This is not a theological reunification. It is a political unification. Behind closed doors they may disagree on a lot. In the public eye they embrace and hold hands (not in a gay way though). A few weeks ago someone (I wish I could remember who it was to link it) on Twitter posted the following:
GOP ominously warned in 1960 that as president, Catholic JFK would take orders from the Vatican.

Now GOP is doing exactly that.
This is accurate. Politics are not as usual anymore for the American Religious Right. For political expediency they have jumped into bed with the Vatican. May Zod help them.
Back to Frothy!
Santorum continued his dominion/anti-environmentalism tirade by criticizing the science (/eyeroll) behind Global Climate Change as...
“An absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life,...”
This feeds into the right-wing, fundie, Dominionist meme that the secularist government is out to get the Good Christian folk and take away their religion! Satan is in control and attacking America! It’s the same silly argument that is happening with the contraceptives debate. If you can even stomach calling it a “debate.”
More recently Santorum made the odd statement that “Unlike the Earth, we’re intelligent, and we can actually manage things.”

These statements allude to a belief that people on the political left of the spectrum—and this can include anyone who is pro-environment such as scientists, environmental specialists, conservationists, and even Progressive Christians—actually worship nature instead of being “good Christians.” That is one reason why you hear the word “pagan” thrown around so often whether correctly or not. They think we worship the Earth. They really do.

Back in June of 2011 I found a weird video clip from a group called The Cornwall Alliance. This video is a highlight reel of right-wing religious leaders, pseudo-scientists, pseudo-historians, loud-mouthed radio bigots, etc. talking about the dangers of environmentalism. I thought it was ridiculous and made fun of it in a post entitled Religious Right fears "The Green Dragon". Ever the smartass and before I went into my “holy shit Dominionsim is crazy!" phase, I simply mocked it and moved on. I didn’t quite get the significance of it. Luckily Martin Pribble actually looked into the background of this thing and is it pretty scary. Martin wrote “Resisting the Green Dragon”  a post explaining the background of the video (he also posted the entire video for full-on crazy!) and his own analysis.

Martin wrote:

“Using the dual threats of ‘global control over everything we do’ and the “destruction of the Christian way in America,’ this video shows how radical religious movements are using misinformation to try and scare the American and world populi into believing that environmental concerns are not only anti Christian, but ultimately harmful to everyone worldwide.”
Dead on.

Even IF these people “believed” in Global Climate Change, environmentalism, etc. they would likely never admit it. Why? They do not care! A few years ago a Republican (of course) Congressman by the name of John Shimkus made the statement that “The earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.”  He said this while speaking before the House Energy Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. Fellow Americans…our leadership at work!   /weeps

The Congressman is only an example of the religious wackos. Think Progress and Right Wing Watch have lots of information on the myriad funding connections that these anti-environmentalist religious groups have with Big Oil, the Koch Brothers, and more that I won’t get into here. Before I researched and wrote about Dominionism so much, I thought the religionists were influenced and being used by the corporate elite. Now...I’m not so sure. At best it’s a two way street. To really understand my take on that read my Seven Mountains Dominionism post.

To close, I am going to quote Martin Pribble again (“moar hitz!”):

"It is a three pronged attack on reason, using fear of losing freedom, fear of losing the Christian way of life, and fear of conspiracy, and it aims to bring about a notion that environmental concerns are nothing but Big-Brother hiding facts in order to procure world domination. These people are devoted to the idea that Creationism, above all else, is the only truth, and this is very dangerous..."
While I agree with most of Martin’s statement, this isn't simply about Creationism. Maybe I'm cynical about these people but I think their motives are cynical. This doesn’t boil down to Creationism. It is about power. They have a most decidedly irrational fear of ceding anything to science, the Left, progressive believers and non-believers. “We”, or more accurately “the others”, cannot be right about anything or they would be wrong about everything. For them to admit Creationism is wrong, Global Climate Change is real, and contraceptives and women’s health is none of their damn business is to erode their reality. To give into anything that their “enemies” work for is to let Satan in. It's part of their dualist worldview. God vs. Satan. Us vs. them. Good vs. evil. Black vs. white. Christianity is always persecuted. Fundamentalist religious believers, in a weird way, have a lack of imagination.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hitchens Destroys the Catholic Church

I'm posting this because I am appalled that we have not posted it before. Also check out Stephen Fry at the same debate.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Shit Santorum Says

This man is dangerous, hateful, and delusional. Shame on you if he represents your views or you agree with him. I mean that. Screw you.

 

Deuteronomy 20:16-17


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jonathan Haidt on the Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives

We posted an interview with Jonathan Haidt a few weeks ago.  Here is the TED Talk that sparked that interview.  It has some fantastic insights into Liberal and Conservative worldviews.  Check it out; even if it's just to know your enemy.



Friday, February 17, 2012

Secularism vs. Religion in National Affairs #BBC




via Atheist Media Blog via ModestMojoVanishes

Friday Link Dump 2/17/12

Saudi Journalist Facing Blasphemy Charges I know it’s a simple online petition, but it’s better than nothing. Please consider signing this: King Abdullah: Immediately release journalist Hamza Kashgari.

 Responses from Two PA Lawmakers Regarding the "Year of the Bible"

Hypocrisy and Ignorance: Birth Control Outrage The hypocrisy displayed is worse, ... considering that 

contraception has helped the United States, prevented abortion, and saved lives while other government monstrosities supported by right-wing Christian leaders have overwhelmingly led to harm and unnecessary death of human life.”

Congressional Birth Control Hearing Involves Exactly Zero People Who Have a Uterus

Attacking Religious Liberty? Churches Aren’t People."While any house of worship or religion has the right in the United States as guaranteed by the Constitution and the First Amendment to tell its members that contraceptives are unacceptable for followers, it is not acceptable to enlist the government’s help in enforcing such religious doctrine."

The Vagina Ideologues - Sean Hannity's Holy Sausage Fest

Bishop Nickless: Contraception Mandate a Plot by the Devil that Must be Violently Opposed Yes, I can see how secularism and atheism are dangerous considering a Catholic bishop is saying shit like this.

GAH! Words can no longer adequately describe how much I loathe the political and religious right. This idiotic controversy of theirs perfectly illustrates their backwards beliefs and their silly, small universe.

Poll on the bigotry of revealing Mormon theology More of the typical “How dare you acknowledge the crazy shit people believe!” accusation of bigotry. Frankly I am sick of that accusation and it only emboldens me.

Google's Valentine's Day Doodle Includes Same-Sex Couples

‘Spreading Romney’ satire leaks into candidate’s top Google results OK. Open up another tab. Go to Google. Search for “Spreading Romney.” Click on the “spreadingromney.com” link and boost it. Then come back here. Democracy!

Lest we forget the original...Random Frothy gif!

Adam is right; that never gets old.

Barton: Obama is a "Christian Atheist" David Barton *shakes fist* is a first class fool.

Hey Girl, Neil deGrasse Tyson Would Like To Show You The Scale of the Universe I would like to think we had a hand in spreading the word on that since we posted it *cough* two weeks ago *cough*.

Something From Nothing: Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins

Keep the Children Out of Here… The Creation Museum in KY is leading the poll. May Zeus have mercy upon all of us! Let's all vote for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama, yes? THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Science: It's Really, Really Hard, And That's Something To Celebrate

5 Brave Religious Leaders Who Fought Christian Theocracy in America: We shouldn’t overlook members of the Christian clergy who have buttressed the church-state wall.

Akintoba - An Atheist in Nigeria

Clint Eastwood Hits Back Against Super Bowl Ad Critics Conservatives really are simply pathetic.

The Trouble With Theistic Evolution

Darwin and Lincoln Day

Mammals Made By Viruses

DNA-tangling molecule could revolutionize treatments for cancer and HIV

Random Quotes From a Charlatan: Pat Robertson

A Texas Judge Reams Newt Gingrich's Vicious Ass Fantastic.

Eliminating liberal bias in the Bible Like the author of the article, I cannot wait to see what kind of trainwreck this is!

Metallica - Leper Messiah Just a random post because I can.

Brains Are Automatic, But People Are Free


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Random Quotes From a Charlatan: Pat Robertson

In a perfect example that Pat Robertson is a lying charlatan; he admonishes a caller who wondered why they weren’t healed after praying with Pat.

“You don’t believe that it’s real and you say ‘Well it’s a wonderful dream’, but you didn’t receive it. You got to receive it and stand on it, take it and praise God for it. This is mine! And you can ask it back. I mean, this may be Satanic and the things come back on you. They come back. You need to rebuke it and command it to leave you. Permanently!”
First, this statement barely makes any sense. I had to listen to it multiple times to transcribe just this little bit. Second, it is the perfect example of “you just don’t believe hard enough” to deflect the false claims of a cheat. It is an insult after the scam.






Responses from Two PA Lawmakers Regarding the "Year of the Bible"




Two of our readers have shared responses they received from their Pennsylvania Legislators after signing petitions and sending in letters in the wake of  Pennsylvania Resolution No. 535 "Year of the Bible".

Reader Bill sent us an email he received from Babette Josephs, District 182 (Philadelphia, PA):

I write to apologize for supporting House Resolution 535, the Year of the Bible.

What follows is an explanation – not an excuse, but I want you to know how I happened to make that mistake. First, the Republican majority placed the resolution was placed on an “non-controversial” calendar. Heretofore, none of the resolutions so labeled by the Republican majority have caused this kind of concern: they included subject matters like honoring fallen soldiers and police officers, pointing out the importance of various trades, occupations, and professions (Nurses Week) or the promotion of agricultural products, Pickle Day for example. Now I will be on the alert, since this experience has shown me that the majority cannot be trusted.

Second, the Resolution came up too fast for any kind of discussion. I looked at the measure, which was presented as one of several non-controversial resolutions to be voted on as a whole. I had questions, but then minutes later it was before us. None of the traditional church-state separation advocates had made any statement in opposition to it – not an excuse, just an explanation -- so I just voted for it.

What I ask you to do is to understand that this vote was only a small blip on my twenty-seven plus years as a fearless defender of every citizen’s right to be free of undue religious influence. I thoroughly understand and honor the concept of church separation, and am proud that my voting record demonstrates the constancy of my beliefs.

I am a First Amendment freak, and I am proud of it.

I support without reservation a woman’s right to choose medically, safe legal abortion, and I am not concerned that there are some sectarian groups that oppose legal abortion based on their religious beliefs. Years ago, I was the only person on the House floor who opposed a bill by a fellow Democrat that called for Bible reading and flag pledging in all our schools – private, public, and religious. In the same vein, I advocated and voted for the universal dissemination of emergency contraception for rape survivors and for free birth control coverage for all patients who want it, regardless of age. This position is based on my unshakable belief that keeping the church out of the state’s (and private citizens’) business is my job. I have introduced legislation allowing same sex couples to marry - I insist on this right and I do not bow to parochial voices that oppose it.

I also would like you to know that I have publically stated that I am in favor of a measure that would allow the House to reconsider H.R. 535.

Thank you for your comments on HR 535 and for giving me the opportunity to set the record straight.

Yours,

Babette Josephs
District 182

It’s great that she apologized and seems remorseful, but it is patently ridiculous that her excuse is “she didn’t read it before voting on it.” I get that it was a “noncontroversial” resolution and these are usually fluff resolutions, but I still expect the people that represent us, all of us, to at least know what they are voting for.

Conversely, we have David Reed, District 62 (Indiana County, PA).