Yes, I repeat, we should ignore Ray


Recent comments in my previous post about Ray Comfort, the World’s Stupidest Christian™, keep explaining that’s he’s sufficiently funny in his stupidity that, well, taking him down is great sport. And then I’m pointed to his post today, in which he makes what I suspect he considers a brilliant “Gotcha!” point, the burden of which is that if atheists really don’t believe in God, then we have no business criticizing all the killing that occupies God’s time throughout so much of the Bible. After all, if we don’t believe God exists, then we also don’t believe he did any of that killing, so why get our panties in a twist about killings that never really occurred, eh?

See, gang, this is why Ray is the World’s Stupidest Christian™. He’s too limited between the ears to comprehend even the elementary distinction between believing or not believing in the existence of something, yet still condemning ideas on moral grounds, especially when those ideas are held to be true by roughly one-third of the Earth’s population. Christians plug their religion, among other ways, on the selling point that God is supposedly this being of transcendent love. John 3:16 and all that. Therefore, it is entirely justified for atheist critics of Christianity to point out instances of divine atrocities in the Bible (let alone the whole “and if you don’t love me back yer goin ta hell” thing), and note how these actions are not exactly consistent with statements you often hear from Christians like “God is love.” You’d think a 9-year-old could get that distinction, and you’d be right. Ray isn’t even that intelligent. Many atheists in Ray’s comments have already given the example of fiction: you can watch a movie and read a book, and understand that it’s all made up, and still hiss the villain.

So I repeat: we just should ignore this mentally constipated lackwit. I mean, come on, gang, how much more obvious does it need to be that he’s descended to sub-troll levels, and his whole shtick at this point is his getting the attention (which equates, in all three of his brain cells, to validation) of atheists. Hell, it’s why he renamed his blog “Atheist Central” from “Ray Comfort Food.” Have we all forgotten the meaning of the word flamebait?

Seriously, he’s useless, people. Find a better hobby.

Comments

  1. says

    Martin, I'm in full agreement with you on this one. Ray's book " You Can Lead an Atheist to Water..yada, yada…" (could only make it to pg 36) made me realize that this guy is an irretrievably stupid attention whore whose narcissism is exceeded only by his ignorance. And he is just giving his wholehearted ALL to antagonize atheists. Why? For more attention, of course. I say we ignore this bratty kid.

  2. says

    Christians plug their religion, among other ways, on the selling point that God is supposedly this being of transcendent love. John 3:16 and all that. Therefore, it is entirely justified for atheist critics of Christianity to point out instances of divine atrocities in the Bible (let alone the whole "and if you don't love me back yer goin ta hell" thing), and note how these actions are not exactly consistent with statements you often hear from Christians like "God is love."And that was a big factor in leading me to throw off Christianity. After reading the Bible numerous times, it occurred to me that the god represented in there didn't comport with the very values that its worshippers claimed it represented.

  3. says

    I admit it. I post on Ray's blog. Sorry, guys.Ray is stupid, but in a very clever way (lol). See, the arguments he makes seem to consistently get picked up by laymen-theists. For example, I've heard/read his "Have you ever told a lie?" argument numerous times, and more recently people are picking up his argument that evolution couldn't have happened because males would have to wait for females to evolve (wtf?).So, there is obviously some attractive force to his arguments. Hopefully, his arguments can spread far and wide, so that everyone can see how lame and pathetic they are.There are many Christians out there that never look into apologetics for their religion, but believe the arguments are really powerful anyway. I say, the more Ray Comfort is promoted, the more he will be promoted as the World's Stupidest Christian™ at the same time, and the more wishy-washy Christians can start to wonder how strong the arguments for a god really are.Am I wrong here? I'd rather some theist goes to Ray's blog and reads the atheist counter-arguments along with the retarded post, rather than go there and read only a chorus of "Amen!" from the Raybot commenters.I'm not saying it'd change the world view of some die hard Christian, but it all builds a little weight at a time, so that once the theist allows a chink in the armor to develop, the rest can come crashing down.

  4. says

    I'm curious Martin, are you directing this comment at TFoot, like he shouldn't be engaging Comfort? I certainly see your point, Comfort is a lightweight. But could YOU resist, if Ray was willing to come on your show would you turn him down?Personally I couldn't resist if Comfort wanted a public debate with me. I'll watch whatever comes out of it, more because I enjoy TFoot than because I expect anything good outta Comfort.

  5. says

    After "discussing" religion with a few fundamentalist acquaintances and a number of other online, I have come to the painful conclusion that some people are in too deep to find their way out again.As soon as you hear a phrase like "Whatever God does is moral", or "He created us, so he can do what he likes", or "The very existence of the word God means there is one" you know it's a lost cause. No amount of reason, evidence, or logic can make them see the flaws in their own beliefs.For your own sanity, walk away.

  6. says

    If Ray's banana needed a creator, why doesn't Ray's god need a creator?Some people don't understand the difference between and idea and evidence. I heard someone say, maybe in chat on Ustream, that Matt should take on Ray. What a waste of time. I could debunk Ray. My wife and I were laughing at his videos.You can lead Ray to a science book, but you couldn't make him read it.

  7. says

    Matt has already challenged Ray, so has AronRa and a multitude of others. Thunderf00t just seemed to be high profile enough that he was able to embarrass Ray sufficiently, aided by Ray's insane way of declining in the first place, into actually accepting. There is quite a line of people ready and willing to debate Ray. Ray ignores them and then whines about how no one will debate him. Yeah I was quite amazed at the theist response to his latest dribble, I couldn't believe how many people were praising Ray for saying there is a case to be made that he's a mass murderer.

  8. says

    I think that there is one thing we SHOUL NEVER DO is ignore Ray. Yes he is very stupid, and my face gets very red every time I hear him talk because I slap myself in the face at a rate of 9-13 slaps per minute but Ray is helping us out more than we think. Hell, we could even use him as evidence that evolution is definitely right. Look at ray, smarter than a chimp, he can talk, have conversations with people etc. But he is certainly dumber than the average human being. I say that next time a creationists asks for a transitional specie we simply point him to his "atheist nightmare" video. Ray is REALLY helpful guys, keep him close, he is one of the best cards we have under our nonbeliever sleeves.

  9. says

    In this 'global conversation', the 'size of the fish' as sparrowhawk puts it above is not determined by the strength of one's arguments, but mostly by the number of people reached.Sure, we could all concentrate on challenging the Pope to a debate all day long – but he's not open to such discussions.We can take it on with the myriad of 'sophisticated' armchair theologians who may seem to hold the strongest arguments and be competent at defending them rhetorically for a while – but they're not the people who are pushing this antisocial agenda of replacing science and history education with mythology.Ray and his ministry buddies lure people in every day and point them to their websites. On Ray's page, we can (mostly) speak freely. If there are 'bigger fish' who do not censor posts and throw around bannings en masse for criticising their bullshit, where are they? Several people have commented that reading the critical posts and the stupid posts at places like Ray's had cleared their thinking and pushed them off the fence into rationality. Ray is doing a lot of work for 'us'. But that wont happen if we ignore him. He will not stop verbally trapping overwhelmed people on the street, and he will not stop selling the dumbth to the gullible. Commenting at Ray's serves the purpose of helping some of these people understand that they are not as gullible as Ray thinks. When I comment there, I try to spark some introspection. Not in Ray, who certainly is not as stupid as some would like to believe. Ray is a salesman, he knows his customer base and caters to their level of uncritical unthinking. This is what we try to break up, and I do think we are being successful here and there. I recall a number of regulars who started out posting 'Amen Ray's, then wrote more and more thoughtful responses to challenges, and finally appeares to have a spark of insight and stopped posting there. Maybe they closed themselves off from exposure to criticism, but the fact that they left some telling comments at various atheists's blogs before 'disappearing' does encourage my hope that they are rethinking and reevaluating their faith.

  10. says

    I am completely torn on this issue! haha (Although it doesn't actually affect me b/c I have yet to get involved in Ray's blog…I'm a little worried I'll spend the next month doing nothing but reading it and banging my head against a wall…)Anyway, askegg! You have ACTUALLY heard someone say this: "The very existence of the word God means there is one" ?!?!?!?!?1I CANNOT believe it! That's INSANE!!!!

  11. says

    You'd think a 9-year-old could get that distinction, and you'd be right. Ray isn't even that intelligent. Sad but true, and it apples to many of them – which is why I keep saying they shouldn't be voting.If Ray's banana needed a creator, why doesn't Ray's god need a creator?This is actually the Buddhist take on infinite regression. It's why they don't believe in a creator.Look at ray, smarter than a chimpOh, I don't know…

  12. says

    Anyway, askegg! You have ACTUALLY heard someone say this: "The very existence of the word God means there is one"?!Jennifer,It's a dumbed-down version of an argument that goes something like this – God is the greatest thing that can be conceived. Because you can conceive of something than which nothing greater can be conceived, and because that thing is, by definition, God, he necessarily exists.You now know all you need to know about medieval Christian theology.

  13. says

    I have this hopeful, hilarious suspicion that Ray is actually a deep cover liberal, lampooning the fundiest of fundies. It's tremendously unlikely, but it's an amusing thought.

  14. Martin says

    Well, folks are leaving the usual good reasons why we can't let Ray's asinine arguments go unanswered and all that, and I don't disagree. But surely there's a way to keep the asinine arguments the focus, blowing them away effectively enough without giving Ray himself undeserved attention or importance. Isn't there? Come on, we're pretty smart, we can think of something!

  15. says

    Martin,a few others and I were active on the now defunct Raytractors blog. We moved to thw weareSMRT forum to discuss Ray-ology without pesky moderation intervals and all the other stuff that makes Ray's blog so annoying (apart from his posts themselves).The problem is, the fundies and the lurkers we bother making sensible comments for don't go there. Very few have admitted having lurked once in a while. I view Ray's blog as a sort of net – he set it up to bait and ridicule atheism, and we use his ugly and barbed net to catch more fish than he does. The little evidence there is goes in our favor so far.I can't think of a better way, unless a score of people or more would volunteer to follow Ray and each of his street preaching and tract peddling buddies around IRL.Sometimes the bear eats you, and sometimes you eat the bear.

  16. says

    Here's the thing, I'd agree if I thought for a moment Ray Comfort was actually an evangelist, or actually as stupid as his persona would suggest.However, I've come to the conclusion that he's actually a self-interested charlatan who does what he does purely for the money, which is considerable.As far as I can tell, Ray does precisely two things. One, he takes the piss out of atheists. No one in their right mind would think this is a good way to evangelise to anyone. I don't for a moment believe that anyone with intelligence enough to dress and feed themselves could be corrected so many times on elementary science, and still continue making the same mistakes. I can only conclude that they aren't in fact mistakes, but deliberate lies told to endear him to his real audience, Christians.The other thing he does is market to Christians. Nothing Ray does is actually directly evangelising to people, anything that appears that way is in fact advertising for the Ray Comfort brand of evangelism, The Way Of The Master(TM), on which Ray makes literally millions of dollars in sales of related evangelism gear.I can't say for sure if Ray is actually a Christian at all or not, but whatever his faith his actions belie his stated purpose.

  17. says

    I don't for a moment believe that anyone with intelligence enough to dress and feed themselves could be corrected so many times on elementary science, and still continue making the same mistakes.Chris, this is the nature of denial. Human beings have an apparently inexhaustible capacity for holding opposing ideas simultaneously.Your assertion is like that of the Christians, when they tell us that Jesus' early followers must have been telling the truth, because no one would be willing to be martyred for a lie. This just isn't the way the mind works.

  18. says

    "Come on, we're pretty smart, we can think of something!"Well, Ray has two things going for him:1. He makes ridiculous arguments.2. Christians agree with his arguments, and support him.It may be difficult to get everyone to ignore Ray, as you say, but instead of only destroying Ray's arguments, it may be possible to destroy Christians' support of him.For example, instead of going around addressing Ray's tired apologetics, have him inadvertently alienate chunks of his demographic by admitting things that many Christians disagree with – for example, his views on the age of the Earth, who exactly is going to Hell, and how moral God is (he has admitted before that he agrees that God's acts can be seen as immoral).Once his support base has been dwindled down to a bunch of raving lunatics, then other Christians will ignore him the same way they ignore Fred Phelps.There are many people on his blog who already do this, but it has been only marginally effective so far, so I don't have that many ideas.I think having many different angles to attack from is important too… so the people demolishing his posts are an important part of the equation.

  19. Martin says

    Chris, I have to concur with Cipher. I've often heard people try to claim that Ray (and other extremist nutcases like Ann Coulter) simply must be faking it, and laughing all the way to the bank that they've pulled the wool over the eyes of so many rubes, because, well, no one could be that stupid as to believe the things Ray says he believes, or ignore facts so brazenly. I'd humbly submit you're being willfully naive about the intensity that religious and ideological fanaticism can take. Yes, there are people like Ray who are exactly that dishonest and dumb at the same time. It isn't that Ray simply ignores the facts being presented to him by those more knowledgeable. It's that he simply hears those remarks, decides, "Well, I'm a Christian and they're atheists, which means I'm right and they're wrong no matter what," and dismisses the answer that way. So, yes, firing away a guy like this is just pointless unless, as others have stated, one of your stray bullets of reason and truth happens to hit an innocent, undecided bystander.

  20. says

    askegg said:As soon as you hear a phrase like "Whatever God does is moral", or "He created us, so he can do what he likes", or "The very existence of the word God means there is one" you know it's a lost cause. No amount of reason, evidence, or logic can make them see the flaws in their own beliefs.For your own sanity, walk away. I posted about one such character at a forum I frequent.When you follow the second link on that post, you'll see the post on his blog where he says in response to me: (my comments bolded)——–If the applications are so different, then what right does he have to judge us, other than "might makes right"? With God, might makes right is right. So what? Yeah, so "depraved" that the idea of billions of people dying for the sake of the "glory" of some "sky-daddy" sickens me. Yeah, I'm "depraved" alright… Correct. What you've described is an amoral being, not a moral one. If you assert, with no proof, that "god" has the "right" to impose his rules on us without himself having to obey any rules himself then he's not moral, he just does whatever he wants. Yes, God doing whatever he wants is moral.This is the link, in non-clickable form since this guy does keep track of who goes to his website, and while he's too cowardly to come over here, he will post about you on his own site.aversebaptist.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/pot-head-potty-mouths/#comment-90—–As the man said, with some levels of insanity, you just have to walk away.

  21. says

    The guy Reynold posts about is a hard-core Calvinist:Ultimately God will be glorifed in the damnation of those whom he has chosen to damn because his attributes of wrath and justice will be demonstrated to those whom He has chosen to save. This is God’s glorification in justice and wrath. These people are the very worst sort of garbage.I think I've come across this character, Javier, on one of the other atheist blogs. A real piece of work. The fellow he cites, Vincent Cheung, is head patient in the ayslum, the most batshit insane Calvinist I've come across.I'll say it again (because I haven't said it in the past five minutes) – they are the worst people in the world. They are the worst people in the history of the world. There can be no dialogue, no compromise. People like this cannot be reasoned with; they can only be subjugated. Their own theology, which dictates complete submission to authority, attests to this. They should be treated as wards of the state, too incapacitated to make their own decisions. They shouldn't be allowed to vote, reproduce or be anywhere near children.

  22. says

    Ray is too influential, unfortunately, to be ignored, but one thing atheists should refrain from is commenting on his asinine blog. No matter what is said it only encourages him.

  23. says

    JD,whatever should be done, abandoning Ray's blog will not happen. There's a constant flow in and out of the blog from places like Pharyngula, rdnet and other forums. Most people go there just to see what stupiditiy Ray is up to today and have a laugh. Of course once in a while people will feel they have to leave a comment.Anyway, the damage is done I think. Even if nobody would comment critically for weeks, Ray would just make quotes up, or copy them from years old posts. He even plagiarises his own posts from just weeks ago, word for word. The difference is, do we want to make our own comments, or do we accept that Ray will compose 'our' comments for us?I have no answer how to effectively deal with Ray's or similar ministries in real life, other than finding a way to crumble their raison d'être – income. Unless tax exemption rules get seriously revised and/or their customer base falls away, they will continue to thrive. At this time, talking to at least a fraction of these customers is the best we can do. I do agree that Ray's own statements can be ignored – it's just returning the favor.

  24. says

    FelixI'm reminded of an episode of Babylon 5. Basically the "president" of Earth who has basically become a fascist douchetator in a coupe sends a propaganda team onto the station to report what's going on. The reporters are honest that they are paid by the fascist government and yes, it is intended to be used to demonize the station. The crew is talked into going along with the interviews so "at least they can get their side out". The problem is those same reporters then turn around and edit the interviews with out of context cuts and lies given via narration to frame a complete fiction. This is effective in damning the station and the good guys loose the day. The moral of the story is, "Playing along to get SOME truth out of a known liar (rather than him just making up lies) is just giving him enough rope to hang you"

  25. says

    It's a dumbed-down version of an argument that goes something like this – God is the greatest thing that can be conceived.I've heard that before, but I disagree with it. I think that, as a candidate for the creator of the universe, I think the greatest thing that can be conceived is a god that doesn't exist.After all, creating something when you don't exist is a far greater achievement than creating something when you do.

  26. says

    "It's a dumbed-down version of an argument that goes something like this – God is the greatest thing that can be conceived. Because you can conceive of something than which nothing greater can be conceived, and because that thing is, by definition, God, he necessarily exists."That always strikes me as a Monty Python sketch. I have never heard anybody seriously fall for it, and am hoping that any claims of such are exaggerated. Of course, you could also use the same logic to imply that the mere mention of a perfect piece of cake will make it magically appear. After all, if it were truly perfect, it would be real, tasty, sugar free, fat free, and we would all have pieces nearby.

  27. says

    Well, as I said, it wowed 'em in the Middle Ages!I think Aquinas was one of the first to come up with it, but I'm too lazy to look it up. Also, I don't care.

  28. says

    The ontological arguments are more or less there just to strengthen the faith of anyone who already believes and is grasping for anything. It's laughable to imagine that it'd work on anyone over the age of 13 who doesn't already believe.

  29. says

    Cipher,Anselm of Canterbury (AD 1033-1109) proposed the Ontological Argument.Anselm's argument was disputed from the moment it appeared; opposition came from his fellow clerics and indeed from Thomas Aquinas (AD 1225-1274) as well. Anselm is, though, credited as the founder of Scholasticism, which sought to reconcile classical philosophy with Christian faith and Church doctrine.His attitude towards rationalism and logic themselves can be found in his famous quote: "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam, sed credo ut intelligam. Nam et hoc credo, quia, nisi credidero, non intelligam."[I don't use reason to enable belief; I believe in order to enable reason. Part of my belief is that without belief, I cannot reason.]So… thought can assist faith, but not equal it – and certainly not replace it.

  30. says

    BrainfromArous,Yes, it was Anselm. I happened upon it myself just a little while ago, and was going to post a correction. (Synchronicity? The hand of God?) I should have remembered it was Anselm. He was always coming up with things just to piss people off. Biggest asshole since Augustine. As I recall, although he didn't invent the idea of substitutionary atonement, he formalized it and promoted it vigorously, in opposition to his rival Abelard, who favored an understanding of Jesus' life and death that focused on God's love for humanity, rather than his demand for justice. (And poor Abelard had other things to worry about!)Christian theology has been shaped by some of the most profoundly self-loathing characters in all of history. Isn't that special?

  31. says

    But, Martin, on Sunday's show you told Sean that morality is a "social construct." How is it possible for one man to make a moral pronouncement about the insanity of Comfort if that pronouncement is void of other opinions? Are you parroting, or is this your own discovery about nutty Comfort?Sorry, Martin, but you must be the stupidest atheist in the world. (Maybe I should copyright that…)Either morality is a social construct requiring the minds of many to discover and acquire values, or it's a code of values discovered by the work of one mind, of a single individual who's survival depends on what is discovered. One is an intrinsic J/C/tribal artifact. The other is not. When so called atheists base their ethical views on dusty Christian/tribal dogma, I'm naturally skeptical of anything they label as "good or evil," "right, or wrong." My life isn't dependent on what you discover about the world, Martin. Nor is your life dependent on mind. Our lives are not "social constructs" as your claim to Sean implies. Morality isn't something that resides outside of human nature. It's the definition of it on an individual basis. Don't be so lazy and pick a harder target next time. Crazy Comfort is just too easy. No hiding here:Teresa Isanhart – EditorRebirthOfReason.com

  32. Martin says

    Teresa: But, Martin, on Sunday's show you told Sean that morality is a "social construct." How is it possible for one man to make a moral pronouncement about the insanity of Comfort if that pronouncement is void of other opinions? Are you parroting, or is this your own discovery about nutty Comfort?I haven't made any pronouncement about Ray's sanity, but about his intelligence, and it was not a moral pronouncement.Either morality is a social construct requiring the minds of many to discover and acquire values, or it's a code of values discovered by the work of one mind, of a single individual who's [sic] survival depends on what is discovered.I think the evidence for the former is excellent. The latter implies that all moral precepts were discovered by one individual independent of any referent in social interaction, and passed down to humanity subsequently. If this were the case, you would expect these precepts to be universal and unchanging, because for even one value among this "code of values discovered by the work of one mind" to change would mean that the work of this "one mind" was not conclusive in determining sound moral precepts, and it took more minds within a social construct to modify and improve this "code of values." Since many moral precepts that used to get a big thumbs up Biblically (like slavery, mass rape, the treatment of women as property) now get, by current standards, a big thumbs down, that would pretty well indicate that moral precepts do indeed change, and no one mind, even one sanctified and called "God" by an ancient holy book, has managed to established a "code of values" that has proven immutable and inviolable for all time.When so called atheists base their ethical views on dusty Christian/tribal dogma, I'm naturally skeptical of anything they label as "good or evil," "right, or wrong."Well, what is this dusty Christian/tribal dogma you seem to think we base our ethical views on? Because frankly, the practical moral precepts that Christianity claims it invented (don't steal, don't kill, etc.) are in fact universal precepts that existed well before Christian tribal dogma did. And the ones that are exclusive to Christianity, such as worship God or go to hell, aren't ones we take very seriously at all.I would suggest, as friendly advice, that attitude is no substitute for knowing what you're talking about. You'd get a lot more mileage around here if you found valid criticisms of the real views of atheists, instead of invalid criticisms of straw men.My life isn't dependent on what you discover about the world, Martin. Nor is your life dependent on mind.Since I never claimed the former, you're wasting your breath there. As for your next sentence, I'm not exactly sure what you're on about, as the statement doesn't seem to have any link to what's come before. What mind do you mean? I do happen to think my life is dependent on my own mind, yes, as it would be rather hard to get on without one. As for other minds, well, if what you say is right, why then should this proposed "code of values discovered by the work of one mind" have any influence upon me or anyone at all? Wouldn't it still be the case that I and everyone would have to learn, and help one another learn, what works and what doesn't in life, and grow accordingly?In fact, other minds do influence my life, in that the acceptance of one's social peers is a key factor in one's overall success — personally, professionally — in life. The ultimate responsibility lies with me, but no one lives in a vacuum.(Cont'd)

  33. Martin says

    Teresa cont'd: Our lives are not "social constructs" as your claim to Sean implies. Morality isn't something that resides outside of human nature. It's the definition of it on an individual basis.I see you've mastered the Christian art of misquoting and misrepresentation on a massive scale, Teresa. First off, I said morality (not "our lives" in a general sense) was a social construct. But I will modify that: as human beings are a social species, why would our lives — which is to say, our experiences and the shaping of our personalities — not be influenced in the strongest possible way by social interaction? Even within a tight family unit, social interaction with parents and siblings contribute to a person's formative development. Find a person of limited social skills and experience, and you'll find someone not as fully developed as others with good skills (nor liked by them). Social interaction is a key to individual growth. You seem to be arguing the opposite: that people simply decide "on an individual basis" what their own moral precepts and behavioral norms are, and that no social interaction plays a part in this. If that is what you're arguing, I'd say it's arrant bullshit. But then, you aren't especially good at making your arguments clear here. You seem to be attacking me for claiming that morality is a social construct, and then you turn right around and say "Morality isn't something that resides outside of human nature," which I would say is precisely my point. Except you seem to think "human nature" develops in a vacuum.Ah well. If you can't be clear on what your own position is, I shouldn't be surprised you've so thoroughly misunderstood mine.Don't be so lazy and pick a harder target next time. Crazy Comfort is just too easy.See? You can't even understand me on the simplest level. My whole thesis in this post is exactly what you say right there: that Ray is lame and a waste of time, and there are better targets to take on. Allow me to quote back my closing sentences to you as a way to conclude today's adult literacy lesson: "Seriously, he's useless, people. Find a better hobby."No hiding here…Nor much comprehension.

  34. Martin says

    cipher: People like this cannot be reasoned with; they can only be subjugated. Their own theology, which dictates complete submission to authority, attests to this. They should be treated as wards of the state, too incapacitated to make their own decisions. They shouldn't be allowed to vote, reproduce or be anywhere near children.Well, fuck, cipher. Why don't we just break out the Zyklon B and warm up the ovens while we're at it? Dude, this is major shark jumping here, and every time you talk like this it worries me. Sure, the world is full of religious zealots who believe crazy, reprehensible shit that is morally and intellectually indefensible. Fine. But the minute you say that, as a group, said people should be denied basic civil rights simply for having a particular set of beliefs, then you're talking just like you-know-who. And there should be no place for that amongst freethinkers. Shame on you.

  35. says

    "Don't be so lazy and pick a harder target next time. Crazy Comfort is just too easy."With the attitude Teresa showed out of the blue I just have to give my standard reply to anyone who shows up ranting and being nasty to someone elses's playground/forum. "Hey do we go to your tea parties and knock your balls out of your mother's mouth?"

  36. says

    For some context Teresa is the "editor" of a site where Objectivists gather to "wage war" on those of us with "bad" ideas. That would explain the attitude. Read around her/his/it's site. This is a philosophy/cult that says Corporations using their money as leverage to influence the government is just capitalist democracy but people like Nader or other poorer folk trying to use their cloat to protect their interests from said corporate influence…why that's evil socialist commie speak. Teresa when you're ready to get off the "training philosophy" and use big kid thought and reason come back and let us know.

  37. says

    Martin, we're embroiled in our current state of affairs largely because of the behavior of people these people have spent the past thirty years voting into office. America is finished; we aren't coming back from this, and, due to the interconnected nature of the global economy, when we go down, we'll be taking everyone else with us. I think we're witnessing the destruction of our global civilization, and very possibly our species. Obviously, it's a complex phenomenon, but I place most of the blame at the collective doorstep of the Christian fundies and the neo-conservatives.I have a contingent view of "basic civil rights". In Western Europe, people seem to be able to manifest a level of self-discipline, combined with a communal attitude, that allows for the functioning of a democracy. Here – not so much. I'd be in favor of running this country as a republic, in the historical sense – power concentrated in the hands of an elite, although it would be an intellectual elite, rather than landed aristocracy. I'd like to see the development of a series of tests that can accurately measure intelligence (not a bullshit, racially-biased test like the IQ, but something that really works) and sanity, then establishing minimal standards. People who don't meet those standards, don't get to vote. So, a pompous conservative whose opinions may make us cringe, someone like William F. Buckley, who is obviously intelligent and has a grasp of reality, gets to vote. However, Rush Limbaugh, or the guy from the Ozarks who knows evolution can't be true because he never saw a monkey give birth to a human being – they don't. I have absolutely no problem with this. Assuming that these people have an inherent right to vote, to influence public policy, has gotten us where we are now, and it isn't a good place.And yes, I know whom you mean when you say I sound like "you-know-who". I see the analogy, but, honestly – and I say this as a Jew – it doesn't really trouble me. I meant what I said when I called them "the worst sort of garbage". These people (and their Islamic fundie counterparts) are the worst people in the world. A willingness, even an eagerness, to see billions of one's fellow human beings tortured for all of eternity – this isn't merely a psychological aberration. It's a form of criminal psychosis. You'll pardon me if I'm not overly concerned with their "rights". We take the vote away from convicted criminals; here are people who are more reprehensible, morally, than the most hardened killer. I don't see this as a case of, "If we take away the rights of one group, where does it stop?" It is they who have separated themselves from the rest of the human family.

  38. says

    I should probably also have mentioned (although I think it goes without saying) that I don't think we have a snowball's chance of implementing this.

  39. Martin says

    I'd like to see the development of a series of tests that can accurately measure intelligence (not a bullshit, racially-biased test like the IQ, but something that really works) and sanity, then establishing minimal standards. People who don't meet those standards, don't get to vote.And how do you propose such a test be conducted fairly, and not morph into, say, a bullshit, religiously-biased test? Is the idea something like this? "Believe in God? If yes, unintelligent, not allowed to breed. If no, intelligent, allowed to breed." How is that in any way just? And doesn't this kind of intellectual elitism run the risk of turning very quickly into pure fascism, in which scientific facts turn into exactly the thing that the fearmongering of Ben Stein and the ID crowd are saying they are: merely another dogmatic ideology that demands your utter enslavement?We take the vote away from convicted criminals; here are people who are more reprehensible, morally, than the most hardened killer.Congratulations, dude, you've discovered all new transcendent realms of bullshit heretofore unexplored by man. If you're honestly saying that people whose only "crimes" are an ignorance of science and a devotion to idiotic superstitions are "more reprehensible, morally, than the most hardened killer," then I'd say you've allowed hate and emotionalism to make you lose your mind completely.Despite what you might think, bad beliefs can be cured with education. Matt Dillahunty alone, with his former fundamentalist beliefs and lifestyle, is proof of that. And let's say a person isn't willing to surrender their beliefs that I'm going to tortured in hell forever. Well then, how exactly does that harm me? Frankly, an idiot can believe whatever stupid shit about me they want, and unless they choose to act upon that in criminal ways (in which case they'd be breaking laws already on the books), frankly, the only person who's unduly troubled by those beliefs is him. Go ahead, tell me I'm going to burn in hell for eternity, and have snickering imps jabbing my scrotum with hot pincers, and you know, I'm just going to giggle at you. Do you threaten me so much that I feel a need to sock you away into a walled ghetto, or deny you civil rights? Well, no, not really. At worst, you're simply pitiful.Oh, but Martin! you're protesting. These people vote, and, well, when they do that, they fuck stuff up because they vote for the people who don't belong to my intellectual elite. Yes, that can happen. That's the sticky thing about freedom: it's for everyone, not just those of whom you approve. But the freedom that allows the best and the brightest to thrive cannot exist without the same freedom allowing the worst among us a voice as well. And if recent experience is any indication, this is a good thing. The idiocy of Don McLeroy and the shenanigans of the creationist members of the Texas State Board of Education has made them all a nationwide laughingstock, and enabled the pro-science forces to rally and get their message to the public far more effectively than they might have had the whole faux "controversy" not erupted. All that McLeroy accomplished was to rally teachers, scientists, educators, and moderate/progressive politicians against their ideological bullying. The only people supporting Mac and his ilk are those who were already in that choir. What you would support is the secular/atheist/scientific version of the kind of ideological bullying that Mac and his fellow Christians were attempting, and that I cannot get behind. I'll take a free society in which the exchange of ideas, even bad ones, is allowed and encouraged, over a fascist state (even one run by people I agree with) any day.(Cont'd)

  40. Martin says

    (Cont'd)You'll pardon me if I'm not overly concerned with their "rights".No, sorry, I won't pardon you for that, nor your statement that "it doesn't really trouble" you to be warned your views are simpatico with those of the most evil, oppressive and murderous culture in human history. I see both views as a sign you really need to pull your head out, quickly, and take note of that slippery slope that you're already more than halfway down.

  41. says

    Well, we disagree. You've taken some liberties with what I said – and, frankly, I think you're the one reacting emotionally – but, in any case, I think we'd both be happier if I stopped coming here.

  42. Martin says

    Hey, if I've misunderstood you, feel free to clarify where and how. Whether I'm the one acting emotionally, I'll leave up to readers to decide. Still, don't take my critiques as if you're being shown the door — far from. I'd be happy if you stayed. Except for this one position of yours, I've found your comments welcome and enjoyable. I don't expect even our most devoted readers to agree with me at all times. I do expect them to call me out when I screw up, too. The "take my ball and go home" response to criticisms isn't one that leads to a long and productive blogging career…and it makes me worry that the appeal of concepts like an "intellectual elite" is that, like religious enclaves, such an elite provides a safe echo chamber in which one doesn't have to hear critiques if one doesn't want to.

  43. Martin says

    PS: Again, nothing personal, cipher, but having read your "About Me" in your Blogger profile, well, I do think you've got a very strong emotional investment in your views about religious believers. Remarks like "It is the conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, far more than the terrorists, serial killers and pedophiles, who have convinced me that humanity is a terminal species, that we cannot solve our problems and that we probably haven't got much time left – which, frankly, suits me fine at this point; I don't want to go on living in the same world with them any longer. They have literally ruined reality for me," really have me concerned for your emotional welfare, dude.

  44. says

    This just goes to show that the religious have such a hard time understanding that atheists are not necessary making a claim. To be an atheist means to only chose not to believe (accept as true) theistic claims. Just because we do not believe in the actual existence of the Biblical god does not mean that we cannot argue ethically and morally with the various actions he is attributed to have taken.

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