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No True Scotsman Would Make These Videos

The thoroughly unhinged Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Discrimination Committee has begun to release a series of videos that they say will contain ten “irrefutable proofs that Barack Obama is NOT a Christian!” They had previously put out a shorter video that included, ironically, the fact that he attended Rev. Wright’s church. Not too bright, these folks. The first of the new videos claims that Obama isn’t a Christian because the health care reform bill includes taxpayer funding for abortion (it doesn’t) and has “death panels” in it (wrong again).

Reason Number One Why Barack Obama is Not a Christian; Anti-Sanctity of Life from DefendChristians.org on Vimeo.

Comments

  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    That’s funny. I hear the exact same thing from Left-Wing Christians whenever the likes of Cass makes their shared faith look bigoted, violent, or downright silly.

  2. John Hinkle says

    Um, and if he isn’t really a Christian? Then what?

    Oh wait, that little statement at the end:

    “DefendChristians.org does not endorse or oppose candidates for political office. This video is for educational purposes only.”

    kind of explains it wink wink.

    Basically what this video is saying is that Obama kills unborn babies and old people. And people fall for this?

  3. says

    John Hinkle:
    “Basically what this video is saying is that Obama kills unborn babies and old people. And people fall for this?”

    Listen, despite evangelists being publicly exposed as greedy lying frauds, people still send them money. And despite Newt’s serial adultery and dishonesty, people still vote for him. That baffles me.

    I want a mailing list of those fools. I have bridges to sell, and levitating machines, and magic potions.

  4. garnetstar says

    Show me the verse in the bible that says that life begins at conception.

    After all, god considers being ripped out of the womb by Isrelite soldiers to be “natural death”.

  5. laurentweppe says

    Well, since “Christian” is used as a coded word for “Right-Wing white douche”, I suppose that Gary Cass as a point about Obama not being a right-wing white douche

    ***

    And despite Newt’s serial adultery and dishonesty, people still vote for him

    Come one: it’s not like voters from any political stripe ever sincerely gave a shit about the marital status of people they voted for.

  6. raven says

    And despite Newt’s serial adultery and dishonesty, people still vote for him. That baffles me.

    It shouldn’t. Hypocrisy is their third major sacrament.

  7. Michael Heath says

    heddle writes:

    They are merely channeling their inner Jerry Coyne.

    Not even close. There’s an enormous difference between a relative handful of atheists who idiotically speculate the president is a posing as a Christian, without any systemically prescribed actions by them regarding their false assertion, and millions of conservative Christians who assert he’s not. Where the latter group’s assertion he’s not is a major reason they argue for his assassination, impeachment, or policies opposite of that which he proposes merely because of this claim – even if the policies they obstruct are in the country’s interests.

    Jerry Coyne’s blog post is idiotic but it pretty much stands on its own. Millions of conservative Christians systemically defame the president in order promote their hatred, bigotry, and endorsement of bringing down his Administration in undemocratic ways. Christianists behavior on this matter is orders of magnitude beyond what Coyne does, one is stupid, the other is evil.

  8. Michael Heath says

    TCC:

    I don’t think heddle was implying an equivalence between these loony Christians and Coyne, Michael, only that their claims about Obama are of the same kind of idiocy, which you don’t seem to dispute.

    But they are not the same kind of idiocy, not even close. See my above post on why they are not. In addition bringing up Coyne’s idiocy redirects our attention from the systemic reasons we observe the behavior Ed reports here and how we can observe how this thinking affects voting patterns and policy results which has and will continue to harm all of us, i.e., heddle’s post is a classic red herring.

  9. says

    You can say that the intent is different (people like Cass want to vilify and exclude Obama by saying he is a Muslim; Coyne wants to include Obama by saying he is an atheist), but the basic problem is the same: ignoring Obama’s professed beliefs in order to further a certain agenda. I’m not sure how this qualifies as a red herring, since heddle is merely bringing up another example from the “other side of the aisle,” so to speak. You don’t like Cass and his ilk – neither do I, frankly – and so want to distinguish them from people like Coyne who you do like (or at least don’t dislike), which is fine except that you should recognize when they demonstrate the same type of error.

  10. says

    Show me the verse in the bible that says that life begins at conception.

    Leviticus 17:14. “For the life of the creature is the blood of it.” The fetus is infused with blood after 18 days or so.
    Oh wait–I guess the Bible actually says life doesn’t begin at conception. Oops.

  11. KG says

    I’m not sure how this qualifies as a red herring, since heddle is merely bringing up another example from the “other side of the aisle,” so to speak. You don’t like Cass and his ilk – neither do I, frankly – and so want to distinguish them from people like Coyne who you do like (or at least don’t dislike) – TCC

    I don’t know whether Michael Heath does, but I certainly dislike Coyne*, and I can still see that heddle is indeed trailing a red herring. Coyne is not part of an organised and well-funded campaign of politically-motivated lying about Obama. Cass is. Heddle, in a bizarre piece of stupidity even by his very high standards, is trying to shift the blame for this campaign of lies onto an atheist.

    *Why is not particularly relevant here, but it’s for his pusillanimous refusal to take a stand against the vilest kind of misogyny among atheists, and his presentation of Christopher Hitchens’ support of the invasion of Iraq are an unimportant foible.

  12. Sadie Morrison says

    I don’t know why I’m bothering to respond to #1, but here goes anyway:

    I hear the exact same thing from Left-Wing Christians whenever the likes of Cass makes their shared faith look bigoted, violent, or downright silly.

    It should be obvious that their faith is not “shared,” even if the religion itself is technically the same. And heddle, I know you don’t need to be reminded about false equivalencies and such.

  13. says

    KG:

    Coyne is not part of an organised and well-funded campaign of politically-motivated lying about Obama. Cass is. Heddle, in a bizarre piece of stupidity even by his very high standards, is trying to shift the blame for this campaign of lies onto an atheist.

    I’m afraid you’re going to have to support that with some evidence. If you’re going with the “channeling” part of heddle’s short comment, then I think you’ve misread it. I read that comment to mean that Coyne is as guilty of ignoring Obama’s professed beliefs to serve an ideological purpose (although certainly a much different one with a significantly different effect) as these people are. Any statements insisting that heddle is strictly equating the two are, in my opinion, entirely unfounded, and certainly there is absolutely no evidence that heddle claimed that Coyne was in fact part of “an organised and well-funded campaign of politically-motivated lying about Obama” (or even that such a claim is relevant).

    At worst, heddle can be rightly accused of taking a cheap shot at someone he clearly disliked (a cursory glance at his blog will confirm that). But I don’t think accusations of a red herring are accurate, merely thread derailing. Clearly that should be nothing new.

  14. heddle says

    Michael Heath,

    Where the latter group’s [conservative Christians, numbering in the millions] assertion he’s not is a major reason they argue for his assassination, impeachment, or policies opposite of that which he proposes merely because of this claim – even if the policies they obstruct are in the country’s interests.

    That is just incoherent–and a little bit unnerving. On the topic of Christianity you are sounding more like raven everyday. Now in my conservative church we never say anything bad about Obama and pray for him every week, as we are commanded. Remind me, because it gets confusing… am I (and my church–lucky I keep picking 3-sigma congregations) an outlier (kind of like a anti-Christian bigot’s version of the racist’s magic-negro who is a “credit to his race”) or am I unspeakably evil because my condemnation of stupid Christians is not loud enough? Or is it both? It really is hard to keep straight.

    Of those millions who call for his assassination, impeachment, or (oh, *the horror*) “policies opposite of that which he proposes” (sidestepping the question of how you know millions do this because of this claim) could you give me a numerical breakdown? Because when you make a list like that you imply, I think, the numbers are comparable–not orders of magnitude different. So the three categories (assassination, impeachment, and calling for opposing policies) are they numericaly comparable? If not could you give their relative size? It would seem odd if there was only a handful of people calling for assassination and you included it in a three subgroup breakdown of millions.

    Sadie Morrison,

    It sure is easy to just shout “false equivalence” when someone points out that people on both sides are guilt of the same crime. (As is, in this case, Bill Maher as well.) The bottom line is both sides (the chowderhead Cass and Coyne) claim that Obama is lying about his profession, and they are more or less in agreement that the purpose of his “lying” is crass political advantage.

    TCC,

    Don’t fret to much about KG. He has what he needs, which is ammo to go to Pharyngula and boast that he has teamed up with Heath to make me run away.

  15. ambulocetacean says

    I don’t see how anyone can claim to know with any degree of probability, much less certainty, what Obama does or doesn’t believe.

    There are atheist priests and pastors preaching the Gospel to their congregations every Sunday. Given that politicians are, to a greater or lesser degree, professional liars, who knows what any of them really believes?

    It might be interesting to speculate about Obama, but it seems futile to me.

  16. says

    dan4, it’s fairly well-documented that there are a number of pastors and priests who lose their faith but hide it and continue to lead their congregations (because they are afraid of losing their livelihoods, marriages, etc.). They aren’t priests or pastors of atheism, if that’s how you read it.

    Now in my conservative church we never say anything bad about Obama and pray for him every week, as we are commanded.

    To add some more anecdotal evidence to this (on the off chance I haven’t mentioned it before), every church I can remember attending, almost all of them pretty conservative Baptist churches, did this as well. A few churches even printed the names of various officials (POTUS and VPOTUS, cabinet members, senators & representatives, etc.) in bulletins/newsletters for members to pray for, and this happened during both Republican and Democratic administrations. It’s one of the reasons why imprecatory prayer has flummoxed me even beyond what it is: the idea of praying for God to strike down a leader is utterly foreign to me. Maybe it happens in other circles (like charismatic denoms), but it didn’t happen in the variety of fairly typical churches that I was in. So I would agree with heddle in this case that such practices truly are fringe.

    duck1887: Thanks for that additional info, which is a much more measured stance from Coyne.

  17. Sadie Morrison says

    Yes, Jerry Coyne has said some stupid things, and I’m not in any way, shape, or form a defender of him (the idea that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is incompatible with faith–religious faith or otherwise–needs to die). But there is no question that the right-wing Christian discourse that Obama’s Christianity is lacking and/or not even real has far outweighed secular/atheist discourses on Obama’s beliefs.

  18. dingojack says

    Now in my conservative church we never say anything bad about Obama and pray for him every week, as we are commanded.
    All together now to the tune of ‘Auld Lang Syne’
    ‘No Snow, no snow, no snow, no snow, no snow, no snow, no snoooow!…’

    The bottom line is both sides… claim that Obama is lying about his profession…
    I’m pretty sure neither deny that Obama is the President of the United States.
    ;)
    Dingo
    —–
    PS: Out of curiousity, who (or what) ‘commands’ you?

  19. ambulocetacean says

    Dan4,

    There are plenty of clergy who don’t believe. They don’t necessarily quit preaching the very day they wake up and say to themselves “Shit. I’m really pretty sure there is no God.”

    I suspect loss of god belief might be a bit of an occupational hazard. The more familiar one becomes with the bible the more questions that has to raise…

    TCC,

    I’m sure that fear of losing employment/housing/income, family and friends is part of it.

    But I also suspect (based on no actual evidence) that many non-believing clergy — being, generally, good people who really do want to help others — might think (erroneously, perhaps) that the best thing they can do to help others is to carry on doing what they’ve always done. What do you think?

    BTW, are you guys aware of The Clergy Project? http://clergyproject.org/

  20. Aquaria says

    The only thing we can say for sure about these nitwits is that they’re prejudiced.

    Every notice how prejudice and stupid go hand and hand so often? Well, lo and behold, here’s a study from Psychological Science that confirms “lower cognitive ability” (I suppose this is the scientific term for “stupidity”) is more likely to prejudicial thinking:

    http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/01/04/0956797611421206.abstract

    And before Heath gets pissy, Psychological Science is one of the leading journals in psychology.

    the idea that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is incompatible with faith

    How are they compatible then? You’re implicitly asserting that they are, so back it up.

    AFAICT, Coyne is right that the two are inherently incompatible. They have different goals, and they have different methodologies, different approaches. Radically different.

    Nothing demonstrates that more than what happened with Galileo vs. the RCC. Galileo had done observation and experimentation and reached a conclusion, despite what a genocidal fairy tale book said. It’s where the evidence led. The RCC had read the genocidal fairy tale and didn’t care what the evidence was–the fairy tale had to be right. Why? Because! That’s why!

    And millions of them haven’t changed one iota from that in the centuries since.

    That’s about as different an approach to reality as there can be.

  21. dingojack says

    Aquaria – Photography and sculpture are completely incompatible. They have different goals, and they have different methodologies, different approaches. Radically different. Therefore we can only have one or the other, but never, ever both. @@
    Nothing demonstrates that more than what happened with Galileo vs. the RCC. Galileo had done observation and experimentation and reached a conclusion, despite what a genocidal fairy tale book said. It’s where the evidence led. The RCC had read the genocidal fairy tale and didn’t care what the evidence was–the fairy tale had to be right. Why? Because! That’s why!

    Talk about the big book of fairy-tales! Perhaps you shouldn’t just believe the myth, instead find the facts. The story is far more complex than the popular legend and, as it turns out, religious belief was a mere stalking-horse.

    Oh, and while we’re playing ‘anecdote as evidence’ how about Gregor Mendel and Nicolaus Copernicus?
    Dingo
    —–
    PS: As usual, your incendiary nature takes you too far.

  22. says

    But there is no question that the right-wing Christian discourse that Obama’s Christianity is lacking and/or not even real has far outweighed secular/atheist discourses on Obama’s beliefs.

    I’d be surprised if heddle disagreed with this. Coyne is the only example I’ve heard of on the atheist side (and I suspect heddle would have mentioned others if he knew any), so there is definitely a disparity in quantity. As I’ve been saying, I doubt that heddle’s point was anything more than “See, Jerry Coyne said something equally stupid.”

    ambulocetacean: I think inertia is probably the biggest factor; even though it is an obvious conflict, ministry is what these clergy know to do. Helping others is probably also a factor, I can agree (as long as we’re admitting that we’re speculating). Having served in a non-leadership/-preaching capacity not that long ago (a little over a year ago), I can attest to continuing to do the job half-heartedly because of a desire to work and a feeling of obligation (and, to be perfectly honest, a feeling of being needed). I can absolutely see the struggle. (Also, thanks for the Clergy Project link. It sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place the name.)

  23. laurentweppe says

    Nothing demonstrates that more than what happened with Galileo vs. the RCC. Galileo had done observation and experimentation and reached a conclusion, despite what a genocidal fairy tale book said. It’s where the evidence led. The RCC had read the genocidal fairy tale and didn’t care what the evidence was–the fairy tale had to be right. Why? Because! That’s why!

    Using Galileo as an exemple of virtuous pursuit of knowledge against evil biblical literalism on the Catholic Chruch part is another fairy tale that needs to die. The Geocenric argument was based on the Aristotelian model, not on feverish reading of the Bible, and Galileo ended up having problems not merely for his copernician views, but for his academic bully habit of proclaiming about anything “I’m right and anyone who doesn’t agree with me is a fucking retard” (this coming from the guy who thought that comets were optical illusions)

  24. KG says

    As I’ve been saying, I doubt that heddle’s point was anything more than “See, Jerry Coyne said something equally stupid.” – TCC

    Then he could have said that – and it would have been merely an irrelevant cheap shot, best ignored. But that wasn’t enough for him: he had to somehow – if only in a way easily disavowed if challenged – deflect blame from his fellow conservative Christians onto atheism, by implying that those Christians telling this absurd lie about Obama have an inner atheist. What, otherwise, was the point of the particular language used?

    Don’t fret to much about KG. He has what he needs, which is ammo to go to Pharyngula and boast that he has teamed up with Heath to make me run away. – heddle

    Which you did. You came back after I taunted you, and gave a typically evasive answer to Michael Heath’s question, and none to mine.

    Just to refresh your memory, Michael Heath’s question was:

    How is it moral for a human to celebrate the existence and nature of a god who promises to punishes some humans for infinity?

    Mine were:

    How you justify clinging to a belief system that leads you to absurd results (viz: that a Holy God commands and intends actions you perceive to be evil);
    How you justify worshipping a god you believe commands and intends evil acts;
    How it is possible to take the Bible “at face value”.

  25. Michael Heath says

    Aquaria writes:

    Every notice how prejudice and stupid go hand and hand so often? Well, lo and behold, here’s a study from Psychological Science that confirms “lower cognitive ability” (I suppose this is the scientific term for “stupidity”) is more likely to prejudicial thinking:

    http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/01/04/0956797611421206.abstract

    And before Heath gets pissy, Psychological Science is one of the leading journals in psychology.

    I think you meant to refer to heddle, not me. Right?

  26. laurentweppe says

    “Jerry Coyne said something equally stupid” […] Then he could have said that

    Huh: That’s what he said.

    But that wasn’t enough for him: he had to somehow […] deflect blame from his fellow conservative Christians onto atheism, by implying that those Christians telling this absurd lie about Obama have an inner atheist

    You read that in an sentence eight words long?
    Doing some mind-reading, aren’t ya?

  27. Michael Heath says

    Me earlier:

    Where the latter group’s [conservative Christians, numbering in the millions] assertion he’s not is a major reason they argue for his assassination, impeachment, or policies opposite of that which he proposes merely because of this claim – even if the policies they obstruct are in the country’s interests.

    heddle responds:

    That is just incoherent–and a little bit unnerving. On the topic of Christianity you are sounding more like raven everyday. Now in my conservative church we never say anything bad about Obama and pray for him every week, as we are commanded. Remind me, because it gets confusing… am I (and my church–lucky I keep picking 3-sigma congregations) an outlier (kind of like a anti-Christian bigot’s version of the racist’s magic-negro who is a “credit to his race”) or am I unspeakably evil because my condemnation of stupid Christians is not loud enough? Or is it both? It really is hard to keep straight.

    Of those millions who call for his assassination, impeachment, or (oh, *the horror*) “policies opposite of that which he proposes” (sidestepping the question of how you know millions do this because of this claim) could you give me a numerical breakdown? Because when you make a list like that you imply, I think, the numbers are comparable–not orders of magnitude different. So the three categories (assassination, impeachment, and calling for opposing policies) are they numericaly comparable? If not could you give their relative size? It would seem odd if there was only a handful of people calling for assassination and you included it in a three subgroup breakdown of millions.

    Me and others in this forum have repeatedly provided the empirical evidence to you heddle that conservative Christians exist, what they believe, and what they advocate in the public square. The fact you continue to deny this, in spite of Ed also repeatedly providing illustrative examples of this behavior on an almost daily basis, provides with me little incentive to do the work re-validating that which is repeatedly validated yet you can’t perceive.

    We know there are millions of conservative Christians who deny Barack Obama is a Christian, that he is instead a Muslim. We know there are millions of conservative Christians who argue he wasn’t even born in the U.S. We know what the Tea Party movement was both comprised of, and what they wanted – which was Obama removed from office as soon as possible.

    Here’s an illustrative video incorporated into a viral email making the rounds in 2009 amongst the conservative Christian community; it’s had a little over 6 million views. Note how Fox News was a primary deliverer of premises which lead to the conclusions presented here. I received this video in emails from a handful of conservative Christians living in different parts of the country, all of them were accompanied with an advocacy we must either impeach or kill the president. That’s a reasonable argument if the video were true, which of course it is not, they deny reality as well. This is not a video to merely get people to believe in the lie that President Obama is a Muslim, but instead he’s in league with al Qaeda, a Manchurian candidate whose out to destroy America and therefore we’re justified in taking radical action to stop him.

    Now I’m not claiming this is representative of the conservative Christian movement in its entirety, I’m sure many back in 2009 and certainly now after bin Laden was killled don’t believe the president is in league with al Qaeda merely because they watched this video. I think it is representative of what kind of garbage is being promoted within conservative Christianity that causes more than half of the Republican party to believe the president is a Muslim in order to justify their beliefs the president must go and has no legitimacy while in office (the birther claim).

    We also know why some U.S. and state legislators use language which dehumanizes the president, call for imprecatory prayers that he die, or call for his impeachment; because millions of conservative Christians take this position and want representation for their beliefs.

    And the fact we don’t have studies that parse out how many want him dead vs. impeached vs. he’s to be obstructed without going to these ends does not mean these people don’t exist. We can observe they all belong to the same conservative Christian groups, they use the same sort of thinking, and they reach the same conclusions. Conclusions which denies reality and results in them denying this president is legitimate. By claiming he’s ‘no true Scotsman (American, duly elected president), they justify wanting him killed, impeached, or Republicans obstructing him to a degree we’ve never encountered in the history of the U.S. If these people didn’t exist i the millions we wouldn’t see the type of rhetoric, campaign ads, and legislative behavior we see in the U.S. Congress, including advocacy in 2009 of a premature end to his presidency, nor would we see Fox News continually pumping the assertions that the president is not legitimate while a radical who seeks the destruction of our country.

  28. Michael Heath says

    Me earlier:

    Where the latter group’s [conservative Christians, numbering in the millions] assertion he’s not is a major reason they argue for his assassination, impeachment, or policies opposite of that which he proposes merely because of this claim – even if the policies they obstruct are in the country’s interests.

    heddle responds:

    Of those millions who call for his assassination, impeachment, or (oh, *the horror*) “policies opposite of that which he proposes” […]

    You turned my obstructionism point into a strawman by cherry-picking it. I wasn’t condemning these people for mere disagreement, but instead for an unprecedented level of obstructionism for particular policies because of the black Muslim in the White House. However I do think most people would see the first two as far more nefarious then obstructionism so from that perspective it’s a fair challenge to ask why I conflate assassination and impeachment with obstructionism.

    I’ve concluded, as have many others, that infantile nihilism is part of the suite of observed behaviors of congressional Republicans and their supporters when it comes to their obstructionism of this president. We can easily conclude that the policies George W. Bush pushed during his presidency, along with those of Republican congressmen since 1994, are extremely damaging to the country’s interests. That is a matter of fact where their behavior isn’t our only data point, economists have been observing this for years in other countries as well.

    We also encounter the 2012 GOP presidential aspirants as promoting those very same defective policies while acting as if George W. Bush and 2001-2008 never happened. In addition we encounter congressional Republicans obstructing this president even when the president proposes policies conservatives and their think tanks originally came-up with and primarily promoted prior to 2009 (when the president was inaugurated).

    If a wingnut offed the president conservative Christians would in any event deny him as one of their own, and they’d most likely have some plausible deniability. I doubt much would fundamentally change when it came to our politics – especially since conservative Christians have demonstrated how fiercely resistant they are to adapting. If the House impeached the president the Senate still wouldn’t be able to remove him from office. From my perspective, the millions of conservative Christians who take some combination of these positions are at their worst in terms of the country’s interests with the third, obstructing our government from competently governing. That is causing us great harm now, and even graver harm in the future, e.g., denialism of climate change.

    I also see the type of thinking which would lead to the support of obstructionism as far more insidious and harmful than offing the prez or impeaching him. That’s because the first two is an irrational delusion argument for their brand of justice. But the latter, the latter requires us to not care that their obstructionism and policy proposals harm humanity, only that they’re allowed to stop a black Muslim usurper and take the country down in flames. What matters is that they’re in power, where if we did continue to deterioriate or go down in flames, these conservative Christians would blame gays, liberalism, and the ‘other’ flavor of the month, but certainly not the fact they support people and positions we empirically know will cause great harm rather than any net benefit. We know this because this is who they blame now, where the president is merely one of the set of ‘others’. The fact the president is a Christian which results in their mispresenting him as a Muslim shows the level of delusion and hatred we’re dealing with here.

    I never previously imagined conservative Christians to be nihilistic, and perhaps they weren’t until 2008/2009 when having to deal with overwhelming evidence their policies were catastrophic as we parsed out the root causes for a weak labor market, structural deficit, lack of economic growth, and the 2008 financial crisis. Perhaps nihilism was a result of having to confront or attempt to avoid confronting their failures in the 2000s only to be supplanted by a black articulate well-educated Democrat. But the fact is, millions of conservative Christians don’t care their positions are wrong, only that they get back in power on their terms; where it’s particularly aggravating to them their failures resulted in a black man whose not an Uncle Tom taking office.

  29. laurentweppe says

    Me and others in this forum have repeatedly provided the empirical evidence to you heddle that conservative Christians exist, what they believe, and what they advocate in the public square

    And you and others in this “forum” have repeatedly willingly cultivated the confusion between conservative and dominionist christians, pretending that you did not see the difference between someone favoring conservative policies and people fantasizing about turning their country into a priestdom dictatorship, which eventually prompted Ed to call your lot out on your bullshit not so long ago.

    ***

    We know there are millions of conservative Christians who deny Barack Obama is a Christian, that he is instead a Muslim

    We also know that millions of american liberals (20% of a fourth of American adults) pretended to believe that 9/11 was an inside job, because they thought that claiming that they wanted to skin Cheney alive for blowing up th Twin Towers would somehow make them appear more principled than telling the truth (they wanted to skin Cheney alive for being Cheney).
    *
    People love to tell stupid and unbelievable lies when they think that it will make them appear more idealistic than telling the truth: in the end, the thought process of Christians pretending to believe that Obama is a Muslim is exactly identical to the thought process making you pretend that there is no difference between conservative and fascist Christians.

  30. duck1887 says

    I clicked over to the YouTube video Michael links to in #34 (entitled “Obama admits he is a Muslim”), and right at the beginning (not sure I need to watch the whole thing) there is a “Legal Disclaimer” in which they deny that they are “stating, claiming, or implying that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim, or that Obama himself claimed or admitted that he is a Muslim” [emphasis added]. Riiight – thus the title.

    I wonder about the legal force of this. Could they be sued for defamation if they didn’t put it on (being a Muslim is not a crime, after all, or even unethical)? And if so, would it really be effective, given its transparent falsity? Not like I really care, just wondering, as IANAL or anything even close.

  31. Freeman says

    Aquaria #27:
    Every notice how prejudice and stupid go hand and hand so often?

    Neil Peart insightfully ties this in with the fear motivator in 1981’s “Witch Hunt“.
    Quick to judge
    Quick to anger
    Slow to understand
    Ignorance and prejudice
    And fear walk hand in hand

  32. KG says

    You read that in an sentence eight words long?
    Doing some mind-reading, aren’t ya? – laurentweppe

    I’m making that judgment based on considerable acquaintance with the rather unpleasant products of heddle’s mind over the past few years. How does it make any sort of sense to suggest, even sarcastically, that a bunch of far-right Christians, who are plainly either lying or delusional, have an “inner Jerry Coyne” – an inner liberal atheist? Coyne’s post to which heddle links is dated 31 March 2010. Are you pretending, or is heddle, that the “Obama is a Muslim” claim only started after that date? Would you like to propose an alternative explanation of why heddle used those particular words, rather than simply “Jerry Coyne said something equally stupid”? Or maybe heddle would care to do so himself.

  33. heddle says

    KG,

    Are you pretending, or is heddle, that the “Obama is a Muslim” claim only started after that date?

    Yes. I am suggesting that Jerry Coyne, as powerful and influential as he is, started the “Obama is a Muslim” meme. It was then picked up by the teapartiers who frequent his blog, and they ran with it. You got me pegged. I’m actually suggesting that.

    Which you did. You came back after I taunted you

    Ah.. so as long as you run quickly to the slime pit called Pharyngula you can imply that you (and Heath) forced me into a corner where I had to respond. Convenient, that.

    And by the way, I gave answers to those questions, the basis of which was that my explanation was either “1) I was nuts or 2) My Calvinistic theology had some validity.” Not liking my answer is not the same as my not giving an answer. Heath, in particular, had some nonsensical response that both these claims had been refuted in theology 101. As for “taking the bible at face value,” if you really cannot grasp a “for the sake of argument” approach–then you are hopelessly dense.

    Michael Heath,

    The Pew report states

    31% Protestants support the tea party, as do
    44% of white evangelicals
    7% of black Protestants
    12% of atheists/agnostics

    So by your sophisticated model that correlates tea party support to absolute evil, are atheists/agnostics more evil than black Protestants?

  34. laurentweppe says

    How does it make any sort of sense to suggest, even sarcastically, that a bunch of far-right Christians, who are plainly either lying or delusional, have an “inner Jerry Coyne” – an inner liberal atheist?

    Liberal atheists can be lying douchebags too.

  35. says

    I’m making that judgment based on considerable acquaintance with the rather unpleasant products of heddle’s mind over the past few years.

    Translation: “heddle and I have had bad blood, so I assume the most uncharitable interpretation of anything he says.”

    I don’t have anything else to add to this discussion except to offer up my general agreement with laurentweppe’s latest comments to KG and Michael Heath.

  36. dingojack says

    Heddle (#40) – … and 56.1% of Heddle’s brain was engaged whilst googling for a suitable supportive survey.

    The Pew report* actually said:
    [first col = agree; second col = disagree; third col = no opinin/haven’t heard/refuse; fourth col = N fifth col = stand. dev. assuming refused etc. split as those that answered.]
    Protestant 31 21 48 2523 24.646
    White Evangelicals 44 8 48 994 11.375
    Black Protestant 7 37 56 371 7.045
    Atheist/agonostic 12 67 20 206 5.13

    The devil is in the detail.

    Dingo

  37. says

    @TTC:

    heddle and I have had bad blood, so I assume the most uncharitable interpretation of anything he says.”

    I don’t know anything about a history or bad blood in this case, but it does seem that the most uncharitable explanations are involved. I found Heddle’s comment to be relatively benign and, besides, intellectually, at least, I try to welcome flies in the ointment when they’re noted by intelligent people. They have a way of putting the brakes on biases that affect all of us. I certainly have no objection to specific, well-articulated challenges to Heddle, but more than a few challenges strike as lazy boilerplate.

    For the record, I’m one of those people who doubt whether Obama really is a believing Christian, despite the fact that he has made clear, affirmative statements that he is. I certainly don’t believe he’s a Muslim, and if he isn’t a Christian, I couldn’t care less. I just look at his background and look at what he faced as a pol trying to work in the black community on Chicago’s south side, knowing that it almost required that he join a church to be a political force and, thus, my doubts. Again, I don’t care. I view Obama as a very pragmatic guy who has basic values that I agree with for the most part, and see him as someone who might have decided to pretend that he’s a Christian. If there is anything that separates him from lots of people calling themselves Christian it might be that he is more explicitly aware of his pretense than many others who call themselves Christians primarily to fit in and be accepted.

  38. KG says

    heddle,

    I gave answers [in this thread] to those questions, the basis of which was that my explanation was either “1) I was nuts or 2) My Calvinistic theology had some validity.”

    [Parenthesis added]

    1) That does not answer any of the questions posed by Michael Heath and me toward the end of the thread referred to, as anyone is at liberty to check.
    2) It’s nonsense. Sudden conversion experiences are not particularly rare, and may involve conversion to any religion or for that matter, to a nonreligious viewpoint – are all those to a different religion to yours or a non-religious viewpoint the result of madness? There are multiple other possible explanations. I gave two: that you had a strong motive to undergo a conversion experience, that of pleasing your wife (or wife-to-be) and had put yourself in a position, by regular church attendance, where it was maximally likely; and that some other superhuman agency than the god you believe in was responsible – once you start bringing in such agencies affecting the workings of human minds as explanations, there is no end of possibilities, and no way of deciding between them.

    As for “taking the bible at face value,” if you really cannot grasp a “for the sake of argument” approach–then you are hopelessly dense.

    I asked how it was possible to take the Bible at face value – specifically, with regard to the events recounted therein, one must decide which are to be taken as historical. It is not even logically possible that they are all historically accurate since, for example, the nativity narratives in Matthew and Luke contradict each other when taken at face value, as do the genealogies of Joseph in the same gospels. If it is not logically possible, then a “for the sake of argument” approach makes no sense.

    TCC,

    Mis-Translation: “heddle and I have had bad blood, so I assume the most uncharitable interpretation of anything he says.”

    FIFY. It is quite legitimate to take previous context into account when interpreting what someone says.

    No-one, including heddle, has offered any alternative explanation for his bizarre choice of words; I submit that that’s because there isn’t one.

    laurentweppe@42,

    How does it make any sort of sense to suggest, even sarcastically, that a bunch of far-right Christians, who are plainly either lying or delusional, have an “inner Jerry Coyne” – an inner liberal atheist? – Me

    Liberal atheists can be lying douchebags too. – laurentweppe@42

    Of course they can, and so what? That does not make any sense of saying that far-right Christians have an inner Jerry Coyne. Moreover, I note that you have made no attempt to support your claim that either those who say they believe Obama is a Muslim, those (including Coyne) who say he’s an atheist, or 9/11 truthers, are lying rather than deluded: “doing some mind-reading, aren’t ya?”.

  39. heddle says

    KG,

    No-one, including heddle, has offered any alternative explanation for his bizarre choice of words; I submit that that’s because there isn’t one.

    Now that really is a puzzle. Let me offer some multiple choices.

    a) Heddle intended to send a message that Jerry Coyne is the source of all speculation about Obama being a fake Christian.

    b) Heddle actually meant that stupid Christians really do, in fact, have an inner Jerry Coyne.

    c) Heddle gave a slightly thread-derailing sarcastic comment, an unprecedented tactic in the arena of blog comments–revolutionary actually.

    d) Heddle gave a slightly thread-derailing sarcastic comment, of a type that is ubiquitous in the arena of blog comments.

    e) There being no such thing as free-will, the time-stepping of universe’s differential equation made heddle’s comment inevitable. There was no malice aforethought, only the illusion thereof.

    I offer d, though if I were an atheist I would have to consider e as well.

    I gave two: that you had a strong motive to undergo a conversion experience, that of pleasing your wife (or wife-to-be) and had put yourself in a position, by regular church attendance, where it was maximally likely; and that some other superhuman agency than the god you believe in was responsible –

    I also addressed that. I pointed out that I truly believe. I cannot believe what I don’t believe just to make my wife happy. (Who was, by the way, being a Calvinist before I was, not pressuring me to accept Christ.) For your alternative to be viable you have to prove that I could actually will myself to believe something I didn’t previously believe, with no new input. Your second alternative is not at odds with my alternative. If any superhuman agency can change me internally so that my desires change, then that is indeed very similar to my Calvinism.

    No you can declare victory, or once again say “I didn’t answer” when you really mean “I don’t like your answers.”

    As for how to take the bible “at face value,” for the sake of discussion, I refer you to some of your atheist colleagues (owlmirror always comes to mind) who do it well. I give up trying to explain that to
    you.

  40. dingojack says

    Heddle – ” I cannot believe what I don’t believe just to make my wife happy. (Who was, by the way, being a Calvinist before I was, not pressuring me to accept Christ.) For your alternative to be viable you have to prove that I could actually will myself to believe something I didn’t previously believe, with no new input“.

    This is a very strange thing to argue. Here is why I think this:

    It is quite possible to believe something that is untrue to please someone else.
    Consider a person who was at the scene of an accident. They turned away just before the accident happened and so never saw exactly what occurred.
    A policeman really wants a break in the case. The he is very nice, helpful and supportive. He urges the witness to try and remember what really happened.
    Suddenly the witness remembers the colour of the vehicle and its model. But of course he doesn’t. It is simply his mind subconsciously wanting to help. The policeman assures him sincerely that he only wants the truth, but the witness claims to be sure.

    Couldn’t possibly happen? Happens all the time.

    Your wife’s beliefs and when she held them isn’t relevant. She may not have pressured you into anything, that doesn’t stop you from wanting to please her. Nor does it exclude the possibility that she subconsciously did put pressure on you either.
    Without actually witnessing the events as a (reasonably) impartial witness we can’t exclude these possibilities. Memory is seldom reliable.

    And, of course, there was some new outside agent – the woman who would become your wife.

    The argument doesn’t hold water.

    Sorry
    Dingo

  41. duck1887 says

    For the record, while I get Dr X’s point about having to be seen as Christian if you are, as X puts it, “a pol trying to work in the black community on Chicago’s south side”, I think the Coyne post I linked to above makes it clear (that is, the material Coyne cites there does this, not the post itself) that if Obama is not a Christian, he is a shameless, no wiggle room, pants-on-fire liar. Which I don’t think he is. That is, while like all politicians he spins and stretches and obfuscates and fantasizes out loud, he doesn’t make up huge whoppers out of whole cloth like he would have to be doing here.

  42. says

    No-one, including heddle, has offered any alternative explanation for his bizarre choice of words; I submit that that’s because there isn’t one.

    That’s a rather bizarre statement, honestly. No, of course no one (certainly not laurentweppe, myself, or even heddle) has possibly offered up a different explanation of what those eight words could mean, and your interpretation is not only a natural reading but indeed infallible.

    It is quite legitimate to take previous context into account when interpreting what someone says.

    Not when you ignore the content of the comment in order to insert your perception of previous context.

    Listen, I get that you’ve had disputes with heddle that you felt were less than honest or forthcoming. Okay, fine. But a relatively objective person can see heddle’s comment for what is, not what you made it out to be.

  43. duck1887 says

    Re: heddle’s

    e) There being no such thing as free-will, the time-stepping of universe’s differential equation made heddle’s comment inevitable. There was no malice aforethought, only the illusion thereof.

    about which he says “if I were an atheist I would have to consider e as well”:

    Please. Just because some people actually do do this (i.e. take e seriously) doesn’t mean anyone “has” to, let alone atheists in particular.

  44. heddle says

    duck1887,

    True, we have, for example, the “hard science” of Daniel Dennett:

    The model of decision making [free will] I am proposing has the following feature: when we are faced with an important decision, a consideration-generator whose output is to some degree undetermined produces a series of considerations, some of which may of course be immediately rejected as irrelevant by the agent (consciously or unconsciously). Those considerations that are selected by the agent as having a more than negligible bearing on the decision then figure in a reasoning process, and if the agent is in the main reasonable, those considerations ultimately serve as predictors and explicators of the agent’s final decision.

    Clearly that is science of the caliber of General Relativity. It is only a matter of time before he wins a Nobel for his brilliant, scientific, “consideration generator”.

  45. dingojack says

    Heddle – I’m sure he’d let you collect the Nobel Prize – for a small consideration*.

    :/ Dingo
    ——–
    * say the prize money

  46. duck1887 says

    Heddle, it’s true that Dennett is an atheist who considers your (e), and I suppose he would agree with you that he “had” to. OTOH his whole point is that (e) is false, and your quoted paragraph is not particularly illuminating as to how his views on the matter are supposed to work.

    Generally – now that he has come up – I see Dennett as a tarnished hero: a tireless and inventive fighter in the virtuous fight against the insidious Cartesian picture of the mind (so yay); but also blinkered by his naturalism from seeing the implications (as I see them) of his own anti-Cartesianism (so boo). Not to mention that stupid Bright thing.

    In any case I think on philosophical matters Dennett is (still) worth respectful consideration (unlike your (e)). But no worries, as I take your (e) as itself another instance of (d).

  47. KG says

    heddle,

    I pointed out that I truly believe. I cannot believe what I don’t believe just to make my wife happy. (Who was, by the way, being a Calvinist before I was, not pressuring me to accept Christ.) For your alternative to be viable you have to prove that I could actually will myself to believe something I didn’t previously believe, with no new input.

    If you really believe that all your mental processes are transparent to you, as you appear to do from this, I can only marvel at your psychological naivity. Your awareness of your wife’s wish for you to convert (and she could surely not fail to wish for this, believing as she did, even though believing it was predetermined whether you would), and the church services you were attending regularly, could hardly fail to affect you emotionally, even if you were not consciously aware of the effects. If your wife was actually indifferent to whether you converted, and you had absolutely no thought of doing so, it is remarkable that you felt either obliged or inclined to accompany her to church.

    Your second alternative is not at odds with my alternative. If any superhuman agency can change me internally so that my desires change, then that is indeed very similar to my Calvinism.

    It most certainly does not mean that your Calvinism “has some validity”, or as you put it before “is more or less correct”. Perhaps you have been deceived by Satan, and Catholicism or Islam is the true faith. Or perhaps you are the subject of an experiment being carried out by alien but natural students of the human mind. There is, ex hypothesi, no way in which you could possibly distinguish these cases from the truth of Calvinism by introspection; and since Calvinism leads you to absurd conclusions – that a “Holy God” orders genocide and intends to torture people forever (people whom, indeed, he has created predestined to that fate), it would be rational to reject the hypothesis that Calvinism is true when there are alternatives. Your hypothesis also fails to deal with the fact that sudden conversion experiences do not appear to be confined to any particular religious destination.

  48. heddle says

    KG,

    it is remarkable that you felt either obliged or inclined to accompany her to church.

    On the contrary, it was fascinating. Like attending a grad level course in theology. If you have ever been to a hardcore Presbyterian PCA church you will find that they are also outliers, not at all preaching a la the Michael Heath conservative Christian stereotype. It was like being back in college. If anything I wanted to go even more than my wife, even though she believed and I didn’t. Plus this was a church with a large theonomy contingent, which made it even more fascinating.

    You really have trouble envisioning alternatives, don’t you?

    could hardly fail to affect you emotionally, even if you were not consciously aware of the effects.

    And you know this, how? Because it smells right? And you know how the effect would be that I believe, or at least believe that I believe? Again, you know this how?

  49. Michael Heath says

    I wrote earlier in response to a heddle quote:

    Me and others in this forum have repeatedly provided the empirical evidence to you heddle that conservative Christians exist, what they believe, and what they advocate in the public square

    laurentweppe responds to me:

    And you and others in this “forum” have repeatedly willingly cultivated the confusion between conservative and dominionist christians, pretending that you did not see the difference between someone favoring conservative policies and people fantasizing about turning their country into a priestdom dictatorship, which eventually prompted Ed to call your lot out on your bullshit not so long ago. [His post @ 36 has an embedded link to a recent blog post by Ed.]

    My bullshit? Where exactly did Ed quote something I wrote on this matter that he refuted? Please provide a quote of that. Also, I’d appreciate understanding why you don’t think this venue is a forum (re your scare-quotes)?

    Me earlier:

    We know there are millions of conservative Christians who deny Barack Obama is a Christian, that he is instead a Muslim . . .

    laurentweppe writes:

    We also know that millions of american liberals (20% of a fourth of American adults) pretended to believe that 9/11 was an inside job, because they thought that claiming that they wanted to skin Cheney alive for blowing up th Twin Towers would somehow make them appear more principled than telling the truth (they wanted to skin Cheney alive for being Cheney).

    Citation requested which has also been independently and empirically validated; especially considering the fact we have many polls that have repeatedly found the, “Obama is a Muslim”, assertion was well-established in at least 2009 and 2010. I hope you realize the most popular cite regarding truthers in no way empirically validates this claim. Instead this false claim claim comes from one poll, never validated by any other polls I’ve ever encountered, which had one very poorly worded poll question that demands well-informed people answer in a manner that would lump their answer them in with truthers. I also don’t recall that defective poll parsing out political ideologies distinguishing this as a liberal phenomena though I could be wrong on that since I gave it short shrift precisely because it was a defective poll.

    laurentweppe writes:

    the thought process of Christians pretending to believe that Obama is a Muslim is exactly identical to the thought process making you pretend that there is no difference between conservative and fascist Christians.

    I think the ‘good faith’ rebuttal would first require you to convincingly validate I’ve failed to make an honest argument. I don’t see you even making such an attempt. Your pointing to what Ed wrote which you link to @ 36 certainly doesn’t since Ed doesn’t even quote anything I’ve written.

  50. Michael Heath says

    a la the Michael Heath conservative Christian stereotype.

    Which is what shows up in statistically significant surveys, the voting booth, exit polls, and the rhetoric of those marketing themselves or their causes to the conservative voting base. Which Ed illustrates in his blog on a daily basis.

  51. Michael Heath says

    heddle wrote:

    And by the way, I gave answers to those questions, the basis of which was that my explanation was either “1) I was nuts or 2) My Calvinistic theology had some validity.” Not liking my answer is not the same as my not giving an answer. Heath, in particular, had some nonsensical response that both these claims had been refuted in theology 101.

    Actually you didn’t answer the question since it had nothing to do with why you were a Christian but instead how you could celebrate the existence of a God who promises to punish humans for infinity. I pointed out how your answer avoided the question where you never directly responded, including in your subsequent post. If you think you did and I’m incorrect, please either blockquote what you previously wrote or if you didn’t, provide an answer here on how you can celebrate the existence of a god who supposedly promises to punish some humans for infinity.

    In addition my answer did not rely totally on referring to any Comparative Religion 101 class, I also pointed out far more parsimonious and empirically popular reasons on why adults are religious than your false restriction that only two alternatives exist – one of which is a strawman which I surmise hardly ever occurs, and the other which has never ever been validated as true. Why adults are religious is a subject which is a primary part of the curriculum of a typical Introduction to Comparative Religion. But again, this is off-topic from the more interesting question; how can a person who considers themself to be objectively moral and certainly not evil celebrate the existence of a god who promises to punish humans for infinity? I’ve yet to encounter even one coherent, let alone compelling response.

  52. KG says

    On the contrary, it was fascinating. Like attending a grad level course in theology. If you have ever been to a hardcore Presbyterian PCA church you will find that they are also outliers, not at all preaching a la the Michael Heath conservative Christian stereotype. It was like being back in college. – heddle

    Ah. I wouldn’t be the slightest interested in a graduate course in theology, despite having unusually broad intellectual interests, ranging from mathematics and logic through physics, biology, psychology, sociology and politics, to literature and history; so I’d say that’s more evidence that you were, to borrow a term from evolutionary theory, “preadapted” to Calvinism.

    could hardly fail to affect you emotionally, even if you were not consciously aware of the effects.

    And you know this, how?

    Acquaintance with many human beings over more than half a century, plus a degree in psychology and a doctorate in cognitive sciences, make me fairly sure of it. In any case, I don’t need to know it; it just needs to be reasonably plausible to provide a viable alternative to your dichotomy.

  53. KG says

    You really have trouble envisioning alternatives, don’t you? – heddle

    Says the man who claims that the only possibilities are that he is “nuts”, or Calvinism is more or less true.

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