Their dominion mandate

Update: Vyckie said this link is better: a little longer and more pics.

Hey lookit – The Herald Scotland talked to Vyckie Garrison and Libby Anne. The rebellion against Quiverfull is getting out there.

“There’s a lot of fear among evangelicals right now,” says Garrison. “The more fearful evangelicals become, the more they retreat and start home schooling, and that is where they’re going to encounter Quiverfull ideals.

“Families are taught that getting into powerful institutions is part of their dominion mandate. They get internships at state level, get involved in political campaigns and in the justice system. That’s the whole point of having all these sons: to have an influence on policy and reclaim the country for God.”

Patrick Henry College in Virginia, the headquarters of the conservative Christian Home School Legal Defence Association, sent more interns to the George W Bush White House than any other institution. Republican presidential front-runner Rick Perry has close ties to evangelical group Vision Forum through multi-millionaire campaign contributor Jim Leininger.

This country is just crazy. Deranged, mad, nuts, barking.

Nonconformist in a generally acceptable way

Aha – just exactly what I said yesterday. It’s as if I’d stolen it from Jenny Diski, but I didn’t. (Nor she didn’t steal it from me, neither.)

As a rule people look for positive authority or referents to back up their
essential beliefs about themselves in relation to the world: the priest, imam,
Delia Smith, the politburo, gang leader, Milton Friedman, your mother, my
favourite novelist. It works well enough, and when it does, we call ourselves
and others like us sane. When it goes awry, when people lose and/or reject all
positive referents in the real world for the self inside, we call them
delusional, psychotic, mad. In order to count as sane, you don’t necessarily
have to conform to the norms of the world, but you do have to be nonconformist in a generally acceptable way.

Emphasis added. That’s exactly what I was ruminating about. What we think of as eccentric, nerdy, weird, nonconformist is actually barely different from what we think of as normal. That’s either depressing or reassuring, or a little of both (she said in her usual normal average typical waffling cover all the bases way).

Only two options

Andrew Brown can be such a goon. (I’m not going to say he is a goon – he’s had the eminent good sense to commission a few articles from me, after all.) I know this is not a news flash, and I know other people have said things about his creationism piece, but…too much is better than enough is as good as a feast, that’s what I say.

Yes yes, we’re all agreed that evolution is true, and that the biblical (or Qur’anic) accounts of creation are literally false and should not be taught any other way in science classes. This has been the case for at least the last 50 years. Yet studies show that the number of creationists, or at least those who deny or fail to understand the fact of evolution, is very large among the adult population.

One, the impatience of the “yes yes” is irritating. Two, the “we’re all agreed” is hilarious, given the “studies show” almost immediately after it. “We’re all agreed except for a very large number” – oh that kind of “all.” And then, the “studies show” ought to be quite enough to explain why people have to keep pointing out that evolution is true, so his impatience is simply petulant.

Not very impressive for the first three sentences.

Then he asks if it’s better to have an indifferent student or a passionately wrong one. The correct answer is neither.

Tudge said the thing which is not

One more thing about Colin Tudge, because it makes me angry.

He wrote in that non-review “review” (and I quoted him yesterday):

Thus he tells us that “reality is everything that exists” – and “exists”, he makes clear, means whatever we can see or stub our toes on, albeit with the aid of telescopes and seismographs. Everything else – including things we might think exist, like jealousy and love – derive from that material base and are to a large extent illusory. This, he implies, is what emerges from science, and science is true.

Dawkins pointed out what he actually wrote in the book Tudge was “reviewing”: [Read more...]

If they retain their appearance

And another thing. This transubstantiation nonsense – another thing about it is that it’s a teaching.

Transubstantiation is the teaching that during the Mass, at the consecration in the Lord’s Supper (Communion), the elements of the Eucharist, bread and wine, are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus and that they are no longer bread and wine, but only retain their appearance of bread and wine.

What I wonder is, how do they know the teaching is right? If the bread and wine retain their appearance then who actually knows that they are in fact the actual body and blood of Jesus, and how do those people know it?

I don’t see how there can be any way to know that. Clearly “retain their appearance” means “all the way down,” so that there is no instrument or process by which anyone can demonstrate that aha at this level we can observe that the bread and wine are in fact the actual body and blood of Jesus. Is there? (Did I miss something?) So…well, how can anyone have anything but doubts on the subject? What causes Odone to hold the “belief” that transubstantiation gets something right and that her beliefs on this subject are better than those of her husband the Anglican?

Just wondering.

Many people of faith are filled with doubts

An amusing passage in the conversation between Dawkins and Odone in the Guardian:

CO: I’m a Catholic and my husband is an Anglican, and transubstantiation is an issue between us. Do I want my daughter to take up my Catholic beliefs? Yes I do. Do I believe my beliefs are superior in any way to his? Yes I do. But do I want to teach her that mine is the only way? No I don’t. What I want her to feel is that there are some beautiful principles in all religions. In your new book you say scientists cheerfully admit they don’t know, “cheerfully” because not knowing the answer is exciting. What’s so funny is that I feel about religion in the same way. You musn’t think that religion is stuck in its inquisitorial phase; religion is capable of evolution and many people of faith are filled with doubts. [Read more...]

Love is only real to them if it’s a thing

Sastra has a very illuminating comment* on PZ’s The magic of denying reality.

She quotes Colin Tudge’s bad-faith misreading of Dawkins:

Everything else – including things we might think exist, like jealousy and love – derive from that material base and are to a large extent illusory.

And comments

Supernaturalists seem to have a lot of trouble trying to make sense of abstractions and levels of experience: they want to take everything literally, as irreducible substances. Love is only real to them if it’s a thing, a sort of spiritual-substance which is made of neither matter nor energy because it is the immaterial essence of love. Ironically, that makes them super-materialists — spinning material into finer and finer substances until like only comes from like. Love is derived from love. Otherwise, it can only have the same properties that were there in its origin.

Despite their claims to be so comfortable with “higher levels” of reality, supernaturalists are concrete thinkers. They can only make sense of immaterial abstractions by turning them into spirit-things in a spirit-world.

I don’t think I’d thought of that before, and it’s very damn interesting.

*Nothing unusual there.