Breaking Love and Reproductive Rights Out of the Christian Frame

I have been pleasantly surprised that the youtube comments on my speech on The Heart of Humanism at The Southern California Secular Humanism Conference are mainly addressing the topic.

We joked that now James Croft could add it to his CV that he spoke at an event with me.

We joked that now James Croft could add it to his CV that he spoke at an event with me.

Especially because I addressed how secularists need to examine where their beliefs about love in particular may be influenced by Christian culture such as ideas about purity. I used a rather pointed example by looking at the Secular Pro-Life Movement. Their stance is not categorically different from Cathy Ruse of The Family Research Council’s advice on making secular anti-choice arguments. Ruse’s Christian influence is clearly seen in her advocacy for state’s rights on marriage equality as discussed in my speech and her advocacy against buying Girl Scout cookies on the basis of their support of Planned Parenthood. Cuz unplanned parenthood is so much better, right?

One commenter though accepted the challenge to produce a secular anti-choice argument.

My concern isn’t from a Christian purity standpoint, it’s an issue of the meaning of human rights. We used to believe that people of different skin colors didn’t deserve legal protection because the ‘rights’ of rich white people were more important. I worry that abortion is not dissimilar.
It is a bit incoherent.  I also asked the humanists there what they thought of the anti-feminist canard
“I am not a feminist; I am a humanist.” We were short on time, but a few people afterwards said that the word feminist is like identifying as an atheist; it has taken on very negative associations over time.  I wish I had thought to record some responses afterwards.
Anyways, I hoped in this speech to help people see that sometimes the culture we are raised in can still affect how we see the world and prevent us from being better humanists. Just like I would like to help re-appropriate the word atheist from atheist bashers; I would like to help re-appropriate the word feminism from feminist bashers.
More important than the words themselves are the ideas that left unquestioned get in the way of progressing to a better society than the overtly Christian one we now live in today.

 

 

 

 

Say it ain’t so Bill Nye! Bill Nye debates Ken Ham.

So Ken Ham won’t debate Aron Ra and PZ Myers because… reasons!

He complained that the debate invitation was rude, but look how rude he was to Bill Nye…

“Bill Nye still doesn’t understand the difference between historical science and observational science — so he may be known as ‘Bill Nye the science guy’ — but he doesn’t understand science correctly,” Ken Ham wrote on Facebook. “[Bill Maher and Nye] don’t want the truth — they continue to ‘suppress the truth’ as the Bible states in Romans 1 about such people in rebellion against God.”

And incidentally he was rude to me too. But he will debate Bill Nye on his own turf the Creation Museum. What is Bill Nye thinking? Ham will have his own built in cheering section gasping at totally plausible stuff that Nye says about evolution and applauding dubious crap like this…

Ham added, “I hope to show Mr. Nye and our debate audience that observational science confirms the scientific accuracy of the Genesis account of origins, not evolution.”

How does he still say this stuff with a straight face given the amount of evidence for evolution people keep showing him? For the people, who already want to believe in the Genesis account, his pseudoscience will sound totally plausible given that they can’t discern pseudoscience from real science.

So that is Ham’s game plan.

Give Nye some credit though, at least he agreed to a debate topic that is narrow and focused enough, so that Ham doesn’t spend the whole time riffing on how nasty atheists like Hitler are, or other emotional appeals that aren’t evidenced. That is a common creationist debate diversionary tactic if you watched the Dembski/Hitchens debate, Dembski dropped the whole Intelligent Design facade and basically talked about evangelizing Jesus and how good it made him feel. The debate question is focused on science so it should be child’s play for Nye…

“Is creation a viable model of origins?”

I know a lot of people are thinking that why should Nye give Ham this honor? Especially because of galling stuff that Ham will do with the publicity like this

… Dr. [Georgia] Purdom stated to the Christian Post, [an evolution-creation debate] “could be held at a public university, using an impartial moderator. I would think that someone as polished and charismatic as Mr. Nye would relish the opportunity to debate a creationist. In addition, since Nye will soon be hosting a new science program, I would think he would like to see the publicity generated by his participation in a major public debate.”

So he projects his reasoning for seeking publicity for his new “science” program. Reprehensible! You know already he will be lying to children and adults, and undermining science education based on what he does at the Creation Museum.

creation-museum

You know little Johnny those razor sharp teeth were just used for cracking open coconuts! If man hadn’t sinned God wouldn’t have punished the dinosaurs and all the other animals with suffering and death too.

[notice]And Ham is already dragging on Nye’s lab coat-tails. This is a quote from a site aimed at young Christians called “Relevant”(I know) titled “Bill Nye VS. Ken Ham: Welcome to the Thunderdome”…

“It’ll be a battle for the ages, as the two noted brainiacs take on the question: “Is Creation a viable model of origins?”.

Do they have a snort out loud emoticon? [/notice]

Personally, I gotta see if me and Aron can make this debate out of mostly morbid curiosity. Also, someone has to cheer for Nye, right?

Tips on Evangelizing Evolution from Aron Ra

Ray Comfort noticed that a lot of atheists visited his Facebook page, and it occurred to him that he could train other Christians to witness to the “unsaved”.

“The average Christian can’t stand on a soapbox at a university and preach, but he or she can now engage the unsaved and have their comment read by multiple people, all from the comfort of their own home. It means that a stay-at-home mom can reach out to the lost during a break from the kids. It means that those who are busy at work can reach the unsaved during their lunch breaks.”

Here are a few nuggets from his page to tempt atheists to believe…

That which is considered by those who are anti-God to be hateful threats of torture, are loving warnings of justice.

He isn’t so much threatening you with eternal torture; he is simply lovingly warning you about justice. And just for fun another nugget…

Your casket isn’t the end. Think outside the box

So far, I am not convinced.  May be other atheists just groan when they hear about Ray Comfort’s antics because they are passe. Have you ever groaned when he gets a nonbeliever on the street, and they can’t answer him especially when it is well known science?

Like Ryan the agnostic in this video…

Comfort starts off with the question, “Why do you believe in evolution.”  Ryan flounders a bit about logic and finally adds that there is a similarity between chimp and human DNA.  Comfort comes back with no that is actually evidence for a common designer, who used DNA to create life. Let’s be fair to Ryan, he is on the spot and Comfort is interrupting and shouting at him.  Ryan still fumbles the ball though.

Let’s ask Aron…

This unsupported hypothetical magical designer put into our DNA genetic markers, dysfunctional genes, ERVs, sequential mutations indicating our ancestry with other apes and confirming our classification as primates?!

 May be you are at a level where that is low hanging fruit for you too. Perhaps, you’ve run across a person who has been taken in by more advanced pseudoscience.

For a lot of evolution supporters there can be different reasons why you can’t answer pseudoscience swiftly and adeptly.  You may know it sounds wrong but you can’t articulate why. Sort of like how I grew up around the Vietnamese language, but I speak barely any of it.  So if someone jokingly makes fun of an Asian accent; they have a chance of getting a laugh.  I can’t joke like that because it sounds wrong to me, because I’ve heard a genuine Asian accent. It just doesn’t sound right, but I can’t articulate why it is incorrect. Similarly, evolution supporters often want to defend evolution against annoying pseudoscience especially from family members and authorities, but can’t articulate why the pseudoscience isn’t correct science.

When it comes to evolution, we all have different starting points.  Growing up in the South, I was almost completely ignorant of my own biological origins, when I met Aron in the Crevo forum of Christian Forums. I still have complete noob posts that embarrass me to this day.  The point is everybody is at different levels, which is something you have to bear in mind when you try to convince people about evolution.

Anyways, Aron often gets emails from people, who are really interested in how to answer a question about evolution that is stumping them from a believer.  Obviously, he can’t come in and debate everyone, and in a lot of cases the person is better off doing their own research because they will learn better what to say to people.

However this weekend, he has graciously in his own surly way agreed to give tips to people to help them be better defenders of anti-faith. You can post questions here on his blog or join us in a Google Hangout this Sunday at 12:00 PM. Event location: https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/cmgcc50rv9t5ae884sv3eh6286k

It will be my second podcast of the n0nes.

Send us your google hangout information to thenonesoftheabove@gmail.com if you would like to join in the discussion.

 

 

Why did I think I could watch this video about Fish Tongue Eating Isopods?

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character.  In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned.   My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. Read the comment policy before posting.

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character. In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned. My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. Read the comment policy before posting.

Warning! Do not be fooled by the cartoon fish.It is not for the squeamish.

Thanks to Meg of The Thinking Atheist for the scare…

This is Meg with a video for you to share the next time one of your friends starts in about how a god must have made the world because look at the pretty trees and blue sky and rainbows and baby animals and whatnot.

This is the Cymothoa exigua, otherwise known as the tongue-eating louse.

If you’re squeamish, you might want to skip this. When they call it “Gross Science”, they’re not kidding.

– Meg

She warned me.  I thought I could take it because it is a cartoon, but then they showed an actual picture of the louse in a fish. I actually jumped in my chair.

So Aron and young MiniRa came home, and I showed it to them expecting a reaction. I covered my eyes when it got to the picture. They didn’t bat an eye.  Aron was like…

“What? Isopods are cute.  Roly Polies are the only land-based crustaceans. “

I replied that that is what made it so gross because it was cute.  In the picture it looks as if to say, “Oh, hi there! Welcome to my home.”

Then MiniRa added…

“I have mucus. Would you like some mucus?”

This delightfully cute, little creature lives on mucus and fish blood. Yuck!

No saved recording of the Bob Dutko debate

In my debate with Bob Dutko, he criticized me for not debating the existence of God -which was my choice of topics from the selection he gave.  I wish we had been able to talk about that, but instead he wasted most of that hour burning and re-building his strawman of my position while ignoring every correction.   There is a heckuva lot that should have been said, and I guess I was naive in imagining that there could have been any serious discussion of that topic on the level I wanted.

It has been my experience that whenever creationists claim to have evidence supporting their position, they invariably don’t, and the absolute best they can do is to complain about imagined inconsistencies in REAL science.  Apart from citations of misquoted abstracts, misunderstood and misrepresented, all they can do is jump to fallacious assertions or fraudulent forgeries.  Beyond that, they’ve got nothing, and I’m sure that will be the case with Dutko too.

For example, I challenged him to produce evidence indicating his otherwise unwarranted assumptions.  He said he had that, but what he failed to produce it.  Instead he gave a number of citations which he said would reveal unfossilized hadrosaur bones in one case, and another was a cache of swords allegedly bearing a precisely detailed perfectly flawless rendering of a sauropod dinosaur.   I don’t remember the other claims he made at that time.  Nor did I copy them down then.  My intention was to pull the recording and review the articles he cited.  But I just got confirmation that there will be no link to any archived recording of my debate with Bob Dutko.  So how do we hold these people accountable?

I already know for certain there were never any unfossilized hadrosaur bones, and I said so at that time, but I don’t remember the paper he named that he said would support him.  I never heard the bit about the flawless sauropod renderings on swords either.  What oriface did he extract that from?

One that I was already immediately familiar with was the pigosaurus in the Cambodian temple at Angkor Wat Cambodia.

You will notice that this highly ornate column has decorative petal patterns adorning practically everything, including the animal in the central circle.  As you look more closely, you will have to notice that the animal in question is definitely a mammal.  Some think it might be a cow or a rhino, but personally I think it’s supposed to be a pig.  Whatever it is, it apparently has either horns like a cow or the ears of a pig, and the sort of diminished dangling tail one would expect to find on any modern animal with hooves.

However Bob Dutko insists that this is stegosaurus.  Dispite the fact that a stegosaur would have a tiny head and a long tail with a double row of spikes on it, and disproportionately long back legs with long clawed toes, and this doesn’t match any part of that body plan    This is obviously a modern ungulate mammal super-imposed onto the same petal pattern as everything else in this temple.  Apparently Dutko can’t tell dinosaurs apart from barnyard animals, yet he accused me of ‘fooling myself’ when I can’t fool myself into believe this is something it doesn’t resemble and isn’t what it obviously is.

If all his arguments and all his evidence is really this weak, then it’s no wonder he won’t keep an archive of his shows and has no way to accept correction on any point.  His need to believe far outweighs any desire to understand.

Aron Ra vs Bob Dutko – ADDENDUM

While I was on the Bob Dutko show, he made several claims purportedly supported by peer-reviewed science.  It’s a great tactic in any format where such claims cannot be evaluated on-the-fly.  This allows superstitious showmen to misrepresent some comment in the abstract of a peer-reviewed paper such that will make creationists feel as though they have the support of some faction of actual science.  We see this type of assertion quite often -especially in live media, but it only sounds good until you look into it and invariably find a mirage instead.  Knowing this, I directed Dutko’s listeners here -to my blog- where I promised to post links exploring each of his assertions on the air.  To that end, I have also posted a thread on the League of Reason forums, which (I think) still works even in protracted, data-intensive, or highly illustrative analyses.

Discuss.