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Jan 30 2012

Barber Spews More Stupid

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel is like a one-stop shop of crazy and stupid. Continuing the idiotic idea among the religious that conflates respect for someone and acceptance of ideas that they invented with simpleminded worship, he says that Freud, Marx and Darwin have become the heathen’s holy trinity.

I’ll tell you something that’s really interesting, Ron. There was a poet by the name of William Butler Yeats wrote a poem called “The Second Coming” around the early 1900s and his idea was that every two thousand years, a new God arises. And it was kind of striking that, after two thousand years after Christ, about the time that Yeats wrote this poem, no new God was to be found, or at least we didn’t think so.

But it was about that time Darwin came on the scene and told us that you really created yourself by dragging yourself out of the primordial ooze and evolving faster then all the other species. And Marx came along and told us really that religion is the opiate of the masses, that if you’re going to be fed, you’re going to feed yourself. And then Freud came along and said if you don’t feel good about yourself, don’t look to a god to heal you, you got to dig down deep in yourself through psychoanalysis and you’re your own counselor.

What I find interesting about that, Ron, is that we took the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – the father that told us where we came from, that I created you in the beginning, we took the Son that said I’ll tell you that I’m going to feed you and heal you and tell you how to find your substance, and we took the counselor, the Holy Spirit, and we put Freud in his place and said you counsel yourself.

In other words, the new god that arose under Yeats’ scheme was secular humanism. It was making man god.

That’s some serious crazy.

49 comments

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  1. 1
    Bronze Dog

    I’ve been familiar with the Marx lie for a long time, but where’d Freud come from?

  2. 2
    otrame

    Well that is pretty silly. Why do they insist that we are worshiping anybody? Do they really think that or is it a rhetorical ploy?

    And did Yeats really say that?

  3. 3
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    I’m starting to feel that stupid is an irresistible force. Like a glacier, it moves slowly but implacably over everything. Unlike a glacier, it leaves nothing interesting in its wake.

    How do we fight full-out stupid?

  4. 4
    MikeMa

    What Matt said might be a tower of burning stupid on its own, but in the midst of his regular stupid, it barely registers.

    Basically an atoll of crazy in a vast sea of insanity. You only notice if you get close but you steer clear because of the unseen danger just below the surface.

  5. 5
    David C Brayton

    So, how would one write a parody of that?

  6. 6
    cadrpear

    What’s interesting is that all three forms of our alleged Godhead were inaccurate to varying degrees. Darwin didn’t know that genes were the mechanism for evolution, Marx’s predictions of how a communist society never came to pass, and Freud was just plain pseudoscientific.

    If a secular humanist like myself can badmouth our entire “trinity” in single sentence without being given a decaying porcupine or something, then I’m pretty sure they aren’t actually gods.

    But I guess Barber just can’t wrap his head around the concept of atheism. “No gods…hm, I guess that means their gods are people. They are HUMANists, after all.”

  7. 7
    sawells

    Yeats was all sorts of crazy about occult stuff. The Second Coming is the one which begins “Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer…” It’s about the birth of a terrible new god as Christianity dies. “A shape with lion’s body and the head of man is moving its slow thighs…” – Yeats is using the image of the Sphinx to represent the new deity.That’s the “… rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born”.

    Hell of a poem, but only a total loon would take it as a prophecy.

  8. 8
    tynk

    @otrame The religious see the majority their lives focused upon the worship of something, this makes it hard for them to understand someone who does not worship something. They assume everyone must worship, they are just worshiping the wrong thing, so they try to identify this thing that is worshiped to place their world back in order, an order where everyone worships even if they are worshiping the wrong thing.

    I hope that was rambley enough.

  9. 9
    eric

    otrame – yes, sort of. Here’s the poem. Worth reading in its entirety since bits and pieces of it are regularly quoted.

    The Darwin, Marx, Freud thing? Utterly insane. AFAIK secural humanism is not exactly brimming over with communists, and (again AFAIK) Freud’s ideas are largely rejected by pretty much everyone, left and right.

  10. 10
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    James C.:

    But I guess Barber just can’t wrap his head around the concept of atheism. “No gods…hm, I guess that means their gods are people. They are HUMANists, after all.”

    That, plus the odd idea that we want to be gods ourselves. so we elevate humanity to the level of godhood. The very last quoted sentence:

    It was making man god.

    The insinuation that atheists (and secular humanists specifically) want to be gods is part-and-parcel of the essential libel. “They dispose of God because they want to be God,” explains why we claim a disbelief in gods, but also casts atheism as selfish and desirous of power. That makes atheism parallel their story of Satan, and the Great Angel Revolt of 6,000 BC. They simultaneously deny our simple disbelief in a god, and cast us as evil, the enemy.

    It’s really an effective strategy.

  11. 11
    eric

    sawells: Yeats is using the image of the Sphinx to represent the new deity.That’s the “… rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born”.

    Hmmm, I read it as representing the pre-Christian deities. Something like: “when I think of Jesus, I think of the Egyptian sphynx and how christianity supplanted those earlier faiths (represented by the Sphynx). And I wonder what rough beast will supplant Jesus the way he supplanted the Sphynx.”

    But agree, hell of a poem either way.

  12. 12
    Michael Heath

    otrame writes:

    Why do they insist that we are worshiping anybody? Do they really think that or is it a rhetorical ploy?

    Equivalent rhetorical ploys promoted by conservative Christians are predominately presented where they are oblivious such fallacies exist and they’re utterly dependent on such fallacies. Mr. Barber’s fallacies here are just another illustration of garden-variety psychological projection by Barber (unknowingly projecting his own thinking failures on to others who do not demonstrate such defective attributes). This is why I continually refer to people demonstrating this behavior as delusional.

  13. 13
    Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

    That reminds me, I haven’t sacrificed to Darwin this morning. I have a headache too, does that mean I have angered Marx? I saw Freud in a slice of toast the other morning too, so it has to be a sign!

  14. 14
    Gwynnyd

    you really created yourself by dragging yourself out of the primordial ooze and evolving faster then all the other species.

    They cannot shake the design and intention paradigms, either. The only way humans can “evolve faster” is if we have some sort of goal in mind to evolve towards. That’s not the way it works.

  15. 15
    markholcombe

    I once participated in a panel discussion at my university on the topic “Secular Humanism or Religion: Which Provides a Better Moral Foundation?” The religion side included a divinity school professor from a nearby Southern Baptist affiliated university. The divinity school professor claimed that the “Marque de Sade is the poster boy of secular humanism.” The religion side explicitly rejected humanism in any form including theistic humanism.

  16. 16
    raven

    I don’t believe in Freud or Marx. Darwin is OK.

    Does that make me a monotheist? A secular human Jew?

    When are we going to have our first heretic trials, sectarian splits, and Reformation wars?

    On to the important stuff. When and how are we going to get our federal “Faith Based social services initiative” funding. Then the religious but not-religious Charter school. The tax breaks, got to have the tax breaks.

    Are we going to have to put Christian in their someplace?
    The First Christian Secular Humanism Church should work.

  17. 17
    DaveL

    The tendency to imagine the religious views of others as some kind of perversion of Christianity is a common trait of fundamentalists. It doesn’t stop with “secularists-must-have-a-trinity-too”. It’s also the reason why they tend to view AGW as a kind of secular eschatology, a sort of scientific doomsday cult. It’s a factor behind the presuppositionalism movement – the idea that scientists must have given their hearts to Popper and Kant and have faith in their words just like they’ve given their hearts to Jesus. You can also see this when they talk about Judaism – to hear them talk about it you’d think Jewish spiritual life was founded upon, and mostly spent, obsessively denying the divinity of Jesus.

  18. 18
    Larry

    Sometimes, Matt, atheism is just a lack of belief in gods and the supernatural.

    Now, as for Marx, I certainly could be accused of worshiping him. I loved Duck Soup!

  19. 19
    Bronze Dog

    …and (again AFAIK) Freud’s ideas are largely rejected by pretty much everyone, left and right.

    The general feel I get is that most people who praise Freud don’t praise him for finding good answers, but for asking interesting questions and inspiring early psychologists to look for those answers. Freud was wrong about a lot of things, but by looking at the problems from unorthodox angles, he helped break up the stagnant status quo.

    I guess you could say it’s kind of analogous to alchemy developing into chemistry. The alchemists got a lot wrong, but they were out there doing the messy business of mixing stuff, trying to figure what was going on.

  20. 20
    timdiaz

    For me what’s funny is that he seems to think that ‘they make man god’ is some kind of terrible condemnation.

    For people who don’t believe in gods, or any of the pronouncements their followers claim as true, that idea doesn’t scare me at all.

    That whole god gig seems pretty good. Unlimited power, immortality, a swank celestial pad. My only concern really is that I might have to become an inconsistent jerk. If that’s the case I’ll pass, otherwise, lemme know who’s passing out the godhoods! :D

    Another case of the religious coming up with what they think is some terrible zinger for atheists and us going, “Um, sure, okay. Yeah, I guess we do that thing but we don’t think it’s bad.”

  21. 21
    raven

    It’s been a long time since I paid attention to Freud.

    Psychiatry has moved on to other things, notably a brain chemistry model of psychosis and a drug treatment model for many other conditions. It hasn’t worked perfectly but considering where it started from, it’s worked OK.

    IIRC, Freud theorized the unconscious mind and that seems to have held up. Not sure which of his other ideas have held up.

    Marx was just wrong about a lot of things. He did get big thing right. Economics underlies a huge amount of human personal and cultural behavior. Maslow just restated it in nonMarxian terminology. He overstated his case though. While economics is important, other factors such as religion and culture are important as well.

    The wingnut Barber missed a lot of important people. Where is Einstein? Quantum mechanics, Richard Feynman, Galileo, Copernicus, Keynes, Richard Dawkins, and dozens of other important thinkers. If secular humanism was a religion, it would be highly polytheistic and that is OK. We would vacuum up all the very best that humanity has produced in the last few thousand years and Deify them.

  22. 22
    eric

    Bronze Dog – I’d agree he was historially important, even if largely wrong. But this is clearly not what Barber is meaning.

    IIRC, Freud also originated the idea of the unconscious, or at least brought it into psychology. The idea that your brain was doing analytical stuff (i.e. not just regulating heartbeat and other bodily functions) while you weren’t looking was pretty radical at the time.

  23. 23
    Bronze Dog

    Slight tweak to my previous Freud post:

    The scientifically-minded people who praise Freud do it for the questions he asked.

    There are probably a lot of woos out there who worship him as the One True Psychoanalyst, or alongside a pantheon of outdated but popular psychologists from the earlier days, (sarcasm) because we all know that science is based on Absolute Authorities, not on the accumulated evidence. (/sarcasm)

  24. 24
    Bronze Dog

    @eric

    Yeah, I know. It was mostly to compare the impressions I got from the community, which is also in contrast to what Barber stupidly thinks we believe.

    The Freud worship he describes is more of a newage (rhymes with sewage) thing. Of course, I feel obligated to compare newageism with fundamentalism, which is something that should make Barber uncomfortable, but I doubt he’d acknowledge the similarities.

  25. 25
    Reginald Selkirk

    I’ve been familiar with the Marx lie for a long time, but where’d Freud come from?

    I’ve actually seen this before in Creationist circles. Marx, Darwin, Freud – all 19th century, all introduced ideas that went against theism. (Freud was fairly outspoken about his atheism.) But now Marx is considered largely discredited (or at least Soviet-style communism is), and Freud has suffered some severe pushback on the legitimacy of his psychotherapy. Holding these three up as a triumvarate is a Creationist attempt to diminish Darwinian evolution by association.

  26. 26
    raven

    It’s just too silly to take seriously.

    The real Trinity of secular humanism would be:

    Galileo, Thomas Jefferson, Copernicus, Einstein, and Darwin.

    That’s five but so what? It’s all make believe and Let’s pretend anyway. Two of those are Catholic, one is sort of Deist, one a Pantheist, and one an agnostic. Oh well, so what again?

    And it’s time for Deep Rifts. Make up your own pantheon so we can move on the sectarian battles and excommunicate each other.

    And where are those tax breaks anyway? No point in being a religion without tax breaks. I’m tired of paying property taxes.

  27. 27
    dontpanic

    nigelTheBold@3

    Unlike a glacier, it leaves nothing interesting in its wake.

    That’s untrue. The “stupid” leaves the same thing behind that glaciers do: erratics.

    Apology for a geology joke from an non-geologist…

  28. 28
    Ben P

    But now Marx is considered largely discredited (or at least Soviet-style communism is)

    If you spend enough time around a university english, sociology, political science or ___________ studies department you will hear plenty of discussion about Marxism or “Marxist approaches” to things.

    Of course most of the people using these aren’t really “communists” in the soviet sense of the word. They’re applying the theoretical frameworks that Marx developed.

    Of course, you try seperating someone who studies “marxist approaches” to things and a communist to someone who has absolutely no inclination to study political science or philosophy.

  29. 29
    Ben P

    Galileo, Thomas Jefferson, Copernicus, Einstein, and Darwin.

    That’s five but so what? It’s all make believe and Let’s pretend anyway. Two of those are Catholic, one is sort of Deist, one a Pantheist, and one an agnostic. Oh well, so what again?

    Just follow the Douglas Adams precedent* and call it the “increasingly inaccurately named Trinity” as you add additional members.

    * – for those who don’t get the reference, the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe started out as a single book, then became a trilogy, then became an “increasingly inaccurately named five book trilogy”

  30. 30
    matty1

    But it was about that time Darwin came on the scene and told us that you really created yourself by dragging yourself out of the primordial ooze and evolving faster then all the other species. And Marx came along and told us really that religion is the opiate of the masses, that if you’re going to be fed, you’re going to feed yourself. And then Freud came along and said if you don’t feel good about yourself, don’t look to a god to heal you, you got to dig down deep in yourself through psychoanalysis and you’re your own counselor.

    The Second Coming, published 1919
    Charles Darwin 1809-1882
    Karl Marx 1818-1883
    Sigmund Freud 1856-1939

    The only one who was alive at the time was Freud so how can Darwin and Marx have come along at or after the time of the poem?

  31. 31
    Modusoperandi

    Reginald Selkirk “I’ve actually seen this before in Creationist circles. Marx, Darwin, Freud – all 19th century, all introduced ideas that went against theism”
    It’s straight from the Wedge Strategy (“Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment.” That’s bad, apparently.)

  32. 32
    cptdoom

    As has been pointed out on other blogs, it is interesting that Yeats was “prophesying” a “new God” that was based on works that were decades old when he wrote his poem – hell, Freud was the only one still alive in 1900.

    Meanwhile the theoretical concepts that all three men created have had huge impacts on our world, their actual work has been proved either wrong or woefully inadequate to explain the full range of phenomena that each was trying to explain. Psychoanalysis has fallen almost completely off the radar as the solution to most mental health issues, but the important insights Freud had about past emotional trauma creating present-day behavioral and coping issues are still very relevant (see PTSD for one primary example). Darwin’s relatively simplistic approach to evolution has been fully supplanted by advances in genetics and genetic analysis, and we all now know that Marxist economies are non-functional (although many people pointed out the similarities of the Solidarity movement in 1980s Poland to Marx’s class struggle, with the noted irony that the Church was firmly behind and supportive of Solidarity). More importantly, each of these men was part of a long line of thinkers, beginning a century or more before their births, who began questioning blind obedience to the Church and its teachings. That’s why Barber and his cronies really hate them, because studying these men today helps students actually think for themselves.

  33. 33
    Hitchhiking in Svalbard

    Matty1 – prophesy, of course.

  34. 34
    slc1

    Re BenP @ #28 & cptdoom @ #32

    Actually, the economic system in the former Soviet Union was not Communism at all but State Capitalism. Karl Morx would have been appalled at having his name associated with it.

  35. 35
    carolw

    Silly fundies, we don’t worship a three-part god. We worship Athe.
    http://smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=798#comic

  36. 36
    Area Man

    He’s just borrowing a page from the Discovery Institute. Their propaganda in the late 90′s and early 00′s held that Freud, Marx, and Darwin were the harbingers of 19th century “materialism”, and that just as Marx and Freud were discredited, so too would be Darwin. It never quite occurred to them that these were completely independent people with unrelated ideas, and that no one but crazy fundamentalists think they’re part of some vast conspiracy. It also didn’t occur to them that psychology and sociology didn’t turn to religion for guidance once Freud and Marx lost favor.

  37. 37
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Freud, Marx and Darwin

    Lolwut?

  38. 38
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    That reminds me, I haven’t sacrificed to Darwin this morning.

    That’s OK, because Marx came unto us and replaced the old laws with the New Manifesto.

    Freud’s ideas are largely rejected by pretty much everyone

    Including Freud.

  39. 39
    sunsangnim

    But it was about that time Darwin came on the scene and told us that you really created yourself by dragging yourself out of the primordial ooze and evolving faster then all the other species. And Marx came along and told us really that religion is the opiate of the masses, that if you’re going to be fed, you’re going to feed yourself. And then Freud came along and said if you don’t feel good about yourself, don’t look to a god to heal you, you got to dig down deep in yourself through psychoanalysis and you’re your own counselor.

    Sounds a lot like the rugged individualism that conservatives always preach about. Who would have thought Marx told you to pick yourself up by your bootstraps? I thought the evil Marxists who wanted everyone to become a lazy welfare queen.

    Conservatives should like these guys.

  40. 40
    exdrone

    James C. @6 says:

    What’s interesting is that all three forms of our alleged Godhead were inaccurate to varying degrees. Darwin didn’t know that genes were the mechanism for evolution, Marx’s predictions of how a communist society never came to pass, and Freud was just plain pseudoscientific.

    Whereas Yahweh didn’t foresee how crazy, bitter and hateful 21st century xtian fundies would become.

  41. 41
    Artor

    It’s not terribly surprising that Barber fails miserably at understanding evolution too.

    “But it was about that time Darwin came on the scene and told us that you really created yourself by dragging yourself out of the primordial ooze and evolving faster then all the other species.”

    How could humans evolve faster than other species? A single generation is 15-20 yrs at least! E.coli can do a generation what, every hour? There are so many things in this world that evolve fast enough to make your head spin, but we aren’t one of them. After all, it took us about 2 billion yrs to get here, since first we crawled out of the mud.

  42. 42
    dingojack

    ‘evolved faster’?
    So does Barber imagine that an E. coli, finding itself in a rapidly deoxygenating, increasingly acid pool, would say to itself (somehow) ‘oh wait I’ll have to supress these mutant daughter cells (even if at the cost of my own genetic line) because the human geneome hasn’t had a significant mutation yet’?
    Does he imagine that all species on the Earth mutate all at the same time and same rate?
    WTF?
    Dingo

  43. 43
    Michael Heath

    slc1:

    Actually, the economic system in the former Soviet Union was not Communism at all but State Capitalism. Karl Morx would have been appalled at having his name associated with it.

    I know almost nothing of Karl Marx. Did any country implement his ideas?

  44. 44
    Freeman

    #16 Raven:
    Frank Zappa already tried it. He tried to register the Church of American Secular Humanism (C.A.S.H.) for the tax breaks, but couldn’t get officials to take him seriously.

  45. 45
    slc1

    Re Michael Heath @ #43

    I don’t know of any countries that are or were run on Marxist principals but the closest things to a classical Marxist organization are ESOP firms, which theoretically are owned by the employees. I believe that, at one time, United Airlines was such a firm. Another example in the aerospace industry is SAIC. The problem is that regardless of who owns the company, the employees or the stockholders, there has to be a board of directors and an upper management to actually run the company and those folks pretty much do whatever they want. Apparently, Marx never considered the issues involved in actually running a company.

  46. 46
    dingojack

    SLC – other examles are: co-operatives and mutual societies.
    Dingo

  47. 47
    slc1

    Re dingojack @ #46

    Mr. dingojack’s comment has brought to mind an even better example, namely the Kibbutzim in Israel. However, because they are miniscule compared to enterprises like SAIC and United Airlines, they don’t need the cumbersome management overhead and hence the owners actually have a big say as to what happens; in this regard, they conform more closely to what Marx had in mind. However, it appears that size is the governing factor; large enterprises just can’t operate as Marx envisioned.

  48. 48
    dingojack

    OMG!
    A gay-infested military and socialistic farming collectivives!!eleventy-one!!
    Israel’s doomed I tells ya, DOOOMED!*
    :) Dingo
    —–
    * so we can expect a drought in Thailand, an earthquake in Japan or NZ, flooding in coastal NSW or the like. Bearing in mind how much of a lousy shot god seems to be.

  49. 49
    Ben P

    I know almost nothing of Karl Marx. Did any country implement his ideas?

    I’d disagree with sl1c’s characterization of the Soviet Union as State Capitalism, but that’s a subject that political philosophy people debate about until they’re blue in the face.

    It’s difficult to describe the twisted history of Marxist thought in any concise way, but I’ll give it a go.

    Marx himself didn’t really see himself as designing a political system. Rather, as an economist and a historian and a philosopher, he saw himself as describing the arc of history. He wasn’t describing the way things “should be” he was describing the way things were. Now, that’s not to say he didn’t see his idea of societal progress as a good thing, and the Communist Manifesto is at least as much advocacy as it is explanation.

    But the manifesto didn’t really give any specific direction on how this particular utopian future was to evolve. Because Marx thought of this as the arc of history moving inexorably toward this future, he just expected it to happen.

    The Communist manifesto was written in 1848. Fast forward about 30 years to 1878.

    In the intervening 30 years Marx’s ideas caught fire and communist parties sprung up all over europe.

    They generally divided into two groups. Both had a goal of affirmatively creating Marx’s utopian future. Some, which we might call social democrats, sought to implement policies through current governments. Others sought to overthrow existing governments entirely and replace them with the “dictatorship of the proletariat” that would implement those policies. Lenin was of the latter faction.

    Marx lived long enough to critique the ideas of the Social Democrats because he felt they compromised too much, but he also spoke out against some aspects of the Bolsheviks.

  1. 50
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