Quantcast

«

»

Jan 25 2013

Rios: How Dare Obama Mention Non-Christians!

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association is quite upset that President Obama actually mentioned the existence of people other than Christians in his inaugural address and in previous speeches, as though non-Christians were equal citizens with Christians.

He has mentioned atheists several times in several public addresses. He’s given them equal standing with other religions. He’s made a point of saying people who don’t have any faith at all, he said we are a nation of atheists. Remember he said that, and I don’t know if he said that in the inaugural, we are a nation of atheists and Christians and Hindus and you know, it’s like the list makes it equal even though we are still overwhelmingly a nation that identifies as Christian, and I’m talking about that term in terms really strictly of identity, not in terms of really having a life-changing and powerful experience with the living God through Jesus Christ. The broader definition of Christian, that goes to a Christian church. But now he’s putting, when he lists all these denominations and atheists and Buddhists and Muslims, it’s like we’re all equal, of equal proportion, and we are not.

Yeah, how dare Obama actually acknowledge the existence of non-Christians? Doesn’t he know that only Christians matter? By the way, less than a fourth of Americans regularly attend church, though many more people claim that they do. People like to claim that they go to church because they conceive of that question as really meaning “I’m a good person.” But when you track actual behavior through time diaries, studies show that few people actually do go to church on a regular basis.

55 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    howardhershey

    Imagine! Treating non-Christians as if they were equal under our government’s laws. Doesn’t he know that some animals are more equal than others? I remember reading that once.

  2. 2
    Alverant

    When did President Obama say we were a nation of Atheists? I’m sure every news sourse and Fox would have mentioned it.

  3. 3
    Abby Normal

    Alverant, in Obama’s first inauguration he said:

    We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers.

    And he’s reused the line a few times in later speeches. I assume it’s this to which she’s referring.

  4. 4
    rthur2013

    It’ll be funny, the day when active Christians are no longer a majority in the US (as they have already ceased being in much of Europe). On that day, idiots like this will fume and babble about how atheists must be stopped…and no one will care.

  5. 5
    dragon

    Obama did in 2006. His prepared remarks included:
    “Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

    So, if you completely ignore the context, and remove all the other religions he mentions, you can twist the quote beyond all recognition and claim he said we are a nation of nonbelievers. Of course such quote mining is dishonest.

    Note that he misspoke the actual remarks a touch. What was recorded was actually:
    “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation — at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”
    That means the same thing as he intended. And quote mining it is just as dishonest.

    I am not surprised the American Family Association demonstrates its dishonesty again.

  6. 6
    peterh

    We never were a Christian nation; anyone with feelings who reads the hateful and bigoted remarks of some Christian Colonists should heave a sigh of relief that we never went down that path.

  7. 7
    Michael Heath

    Alverant writes:

    When did President Obama say we were a nation of Atheists? I’m sure every news sourse and Fox would have mentioned it.

    Sandy Rios stated:

    [Barack Obama] said we are a nation of atheists. Remember he said that, and I don’t know if he said that in the inaugural, we are a nation of atheists and Christians and Hindus and you know . . .

    She could weasel her way out of claiming she didn’t lie given the more expansive (clarifying?) comment that follows. I think this is a lie; she misinformed her audience where a casual listener isn’t going to catch the nuanced recovery which follows her lie. To tribalists, the lie holds and resonates.

    We should note ideologues on the left also succumb to such rhetoric; both lying like this and believing such lies. Read the blog post thread on the Benson-Shermer food fight Ed blogged about earlier for a perfect illustration.

  8. 8
    cptdoom

    You know what Sandy – I bet Obama also has Jews on his staff – Jews I tells ya’.

  9. 9
    anubisprime

    @ OP

    it’s like we’re all equal, of equal proportion, and we are not.

    Pouty, pout, pout, stompy foot, stomp…thumb sucky…thumb sucky…stomp stomp stomp!

  10. 10
    DaveL

    It says something particular about your character when someone implies you are the equal of all these other people and it upsets you.

  11. 11
    Stacy

    We should note ideologues on the left also succumb to such rhetoric; both lying like this and believing such lies. Read the blog post thread on the Benson-Shermer food fight Ed blogged about earlier for a perfect illustration

    Self-important sorts with an exaggerated sense of their own freedom from bias also lie. Especially to themselves.

    That sort just can’t admit when they’re wrong.

  12. 12
    John Hinkle

    …it’s like we’re all equal, of equal proportion, and we are not.

    In other words, majority rules. Or it should anyway. Well, I’m sure she could find a country where that’s the case, most of which are probably Muslim.

  13. 13
    fifthdentist

    DaveL, of course it puts a burr in their panties when they are listed as equal to all those false religions, especially those practiced by brown- and black-skinned people.
    They are each and every one of them a unique, individual and special snow flake. And they’re also the overwhelming majority due to their identical religious beliefs.*

    * Christian denominations vary greatly on minor details — to the point they have at times been worth killing over, at least to them — but agree on the big stupid things. I think that’s a paraphrase from a line from the Simpsons.

  14. 14
    Alverant

    This is why that petition discussed earlier today is important. Removing the religious requirement from state constitutions would mean a step forward in reducing this kind of attitude.

  15. 15
    Jeremy

    Yeah he says that and then shreds the Constitution by invoking god in the oath of office and nonsensically swearing on the Bible that he will uphold the Constitution. He could swear on an L. Ron Hubbard book, and it would be just as meaningless to me.

  16. 16
    Michael Heath

    Stacy to me:

    Self-important sorts with an exaggerated sense of their own freedom from bias also lie. Especially to themselves.

    That sort just can’t admit when they’re wrong.

    I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong. And good luck validating I’m the one lying in that thread. Reality demonstrates otherwise.

    I’m surprised you’d even comment outside that thread given how true to form you behave there to what I describe in this thread above. E.g., like denying the fact that Ophelia Benson excoriated Michael Shermer: http://goo.gl/W01Of . That excoriation and the fact Benson lied about what he said was the very motivating factor which caused Shermer to respond with his own Godwin-rich pathetic defense – as validated in Shermer’s response.

    I’d be embarrassed if I wrote what you did; and then to double down . . . delusion runs deep for some in the tribe.

  17. 17
    Michael Heath

    Alverant writes:

    This is why that petition discussed earlier today is important. Removing the religious requirement from state constitutions would mean a step forward in reducing this kind of attitude.

    But as Ed noted, that petition is effectively useless in terms of removing such requirements at the state level. I defended that petition’s general sentiment in terms of it creating an educative opportunity, but the actual work needed must take place within each of the respective states.

  18. 18
    Ophelia Benson

    Michael Heath. I did not lie. Stop saying that I lied.

  19. 19
    Michael Heath

    Ophelia Benson,

    Your lies are both demonstrated and irrefutable. I suggest showing some character and do what I suggested in the relevant thread.

    All you do by denying the lies you told about Shermer, along with your repeated lie that you quoted Shermer exactly when we know you did not quote him exactly but instead quote-mined him by leaving out a key assertion, is reveal that your character is even worse than what one would suspect based solely on the lies and misrepresentation you originally told.

    Continuing to lie only has one descending into an ever deeper hole. I think of only three ways out:
    1) Own up, make sufficient amends, and not repeat such repugnant behavior
    2) Associate with tribalists that reward liars for the cause
    3) Generate enough tribalistic zeal to ostracize the person criticizing the one demonstrating such repugnant behavior.

  20. 20
    laurentweppe

    It’ll be funny, the day when active Christians are no longer a majority in the US (as they have already ceased being in much of Europe). On that day, idiots like this will fume and babble about how atheists must be stopped…and no one will care.

    Sorry to break your bubble, but when it happened here in Europe, the far-right religious biggots and far-right atheist biggots simply joined hands, with christian fundies claiming that atheists are not so bad so long as they hate brown skinned people and atheist fascist claiming that religious nutjobs are not so bad so long as they are white -I mean “judeo-christian”-.

  21. 21
    Ophelia Benson

    Michael Heath. I told no lies about Shermer. I did quote him exactly – it’s the bit that goes

    Shermer explained, “It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it, you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

    That is an exact quote. Stop saying I lied. I’m getting very fucking tempted to spend what it would take to get a lawyer to explain to you that I could sue you for libel. I don’t believe in suing people for libel, but I DID NOT LIE.

  22. 22
    TCC

    Seriously, Michael, it really is embarrassing to watch you act as if you caught anyone out on some great fault in that thread. I think it’s far from true that you established what you have argued about the original Free Inquiry column, certainly not the accusation of quote-mining. It’s exceptionally galling when you cite that as an example of left-wing bias, especially when there are unequivocal examples that you could surely find outside this blog or FTB more generally.

  23. 23
    tomh

    Michael Heath wrote:

    We should note ideologues on the left also succumb to such rhetoric; both lying like this and believing such lies. Read the blog post thread on the Benson-Shermer food fight Ed blogged about earlier for a perfect illustration.

    You forgot to note that this is your opinion. Which, of course, is completely wrong – in my opinion.

  24. 24
    TCC

    Oh, and

    Generate enough tribalistic zeal to ostracize the person criticizing the one demonstrating such repugnant behavior.

    In other words, you’re going to interpret any denial of the cogency of your criticism as “tribalistic zeal.” Talk about poisoning the well.

  25. 25
    Stacy

    You forgot to note that this is your opinion

    Haven’t you heard? Opinions are for the intellectually humble. Heath is the avatar of Objective Truth.

  26. 26
    dingojack

    Anyway – back to the actual issue.

    “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”.

    Yep, atheist, agnostic, Jew Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Baha’i, and all the rest – equal.
    That’s the way your country was designed from it’s inception. Deal with it.

    Dingo

  27. 27
    d.c.wilson

    Dignojack:

    You’re forgetting the fine print:

    Everyone is equal, so long as white male Christians are in charge.

    This is also known as the Pat Buchanan Clause.

  28. 28
    Dr X

    To mention non-Christians is to persecute Christians because the existence of anyone who isn’t a Christian is an attack on Christians.

  29. 29
    brianwood

    Given the national ‘motto’–in “god”™–and its ubiquity, no non-christian can get a fair shake before the law or in contractual legal dealings in the United States, and it’s time our lawyers made that point. Clog the biased courts!!

  30. 30
    slc1

    Re Benson vs Heath

    Yawn.

  31. 31
    jayarrrr

    Yeah, he pays lip service to us Non-Believers, then throws us back under the bus by re-authorizing the Office of Myth-Based Give-aways, going to a prayer breakfast, and casting the magic spell “Gawd Bless the YOO-Knighted States!” at the end of every speech.

    He knows which side his communion cracker is buttered on, that’s certain…

  32. 32
    abb3w

    And even if you just go by self-reporting, while “goes to church at least annually” is broader than “born-again Christian”, about one in sixteen born-again Xians say they never go to church. (One in eight Xians, overall.)

  33. 33
    Michael Heath

    tcc writes:

    Seriously, Michael, it really is embarrassing to watch you act as if you caught anyone out on some great fault in that thread. I think it’s far from true that you established what you have argued about the original Free Inquiry column, certainly not the accusation of quote-mining. It’s exceptionally galling when you cite that as an example of left-wing bias, especially when there are unequivocal examples that you could surely find outside this blog or FTB more generally.

    I’ve repeatedly demonstrated [one example of several] that Ophelia Benson in fact: lied, defamed Shermer, and continues to lie. E.g. see her above post where she continues to lie about her quoting Shermer exactly. In fact she left out a key phrase that helps her misrepresentation of what Shermer said better resonate, turning something he said which was sexist into something a raging misogynist would express – on a topic Shermer never even addressed.

    Shermer not only never raised the point that Benson attributes to him, Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky., Shermer’s “fifty-fifty” quote (female to male participation) which Benson quoted-mined out of what she quoted of him demonstrates he doesn’t even think such a thing.

    It’s not a matter of opinion she’s repeatedly lied, it’s a fact, both about what Shermer said and the dishonesty of her article here in this thread and the thread I link to in this post. I can’t control how others react to that fact. I am disgusted when we act like the conservatives we ridicule, especially when it’s us defaming another person.

    I’m also disappointed in you TCC. If a respected poster in this forum, like you, is going to chide a regular about their performance, I think they should be able to directly confront and at least compellingly reveal what the challenged is doing wrong. No one has done that yet, instead a few are attempting to close ranks against the tribal member who exploits an opportunity to demagogue a position at the expense of another. I find such behavior repugnant.

    Defending someone like Ms. Benson acting like David Barton above is not something I will do for the liberal cause, I’d hope the entire forum would be as disgusted with Ms. Benson’s dishonesty as me. TCC, your post I quote here demonstrates a desire to avoid this topic, regardless of the truth and the high horse we need to able to ride if we’re not going to be hypocrites when it comes to how you and I criticize and ridicule conservatives. Otherwise we’re merely tribalists from a tribe other than the conservative wingnuts.

  34. 34
    tomh

    Heath wrote:

    I’ve repeatedly demonstrated…

    No, you haven’t. What you’ve done is continually embarrass yourself, as was shown at length in the other thread. Now you’re going to drag the subject into every thread that comes up? There’s a record of both sides on the other thread, why not let people read that and make up their own minds about whose opinion most accurately reflects the reality.

  35. 35
    Argle Bargle

    Heath, two thing:

    1. Ophelia did not lie. She quoted Shermer exactly and then commented on what he said. That’s not lying. What is obvious is your hatred of Benson makes you bring her up in completely unrelated threads.

    2. Nobody but you is interested in your hatred of Benson. Kindly shut the fuck up.

  36. 36
    Ophelia Benson

    I did not lie. I did not quotemine.

  37. 37
    Michael Heath

    Rodney Nelson writes:

    Heath, two thing:

    1. Ophelia did not lie. She quoted Shermer exactly and then commented on what he said. That’s not lying. What is obvious is your hatred of Benson makes you bring her up in completely unrelated threads.

    2. Nobody but you is interested in your hatred of Benson. Kindly shut the fuck up.

    Demanding another person to shut-up when one can’t defend their position by citing the facts as I do but instead depending entirely on avoidance and denial, all while refusing to abandon their indefensible position, is not very admirable behavior. As an advocate of speech, I advocate more of it when a dispute arises, and argue for high standards as well.

    Contrary to your false claim of me which others also falsely made, I am in no way criticizing Ms. Benson for her opinions. I am instead disgusted with her attributing a misogynist assertion to Shermer on a topic he never even raised, and then quote-mining him in a way that made her misrepresentation, her lie, better resonate, and then repeatedly lying by falsely claiming she did no such thing.

    The fact you can’t even observe that Ms. Benson did not quote Shermer exactly, which I’ll demonstrate again below for the umpteenth time; nor can you confront the fact Mr. Shermer never asserted what Ms. Benson described and I quote her yet again:

    Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky, because “that’s a guy thing.”
    Don’t laugh: Michael Shermer said exactly that during a panel discussion on the online talk-show The Point.

    He didn’t claim women don’t do such things, he instead stated, where I’ll put the quote in bold which Ms. Benson removed in her article, which helped her better misrepresent what Shermer actually thought:

    I think it [female participation] probably really is fifty-fifty. It’s who wants to stand up and talk about it, go on shows about it, go to conferences and speak about it, who’s intellectually active about it; you know, it’s more of a guy thing.”

    And Mr. Nelson you lie here about me as well. I do not hate Ms. Benson. I don’t even know her. I hate the fact she’s lying, defamed a person, and won’t own up to either. I was instead motivated by Ed’s lede in his blog post on the subject not accurately reporting Shermer’s motivation for his ridiculous and pathetic response to Benson’s defamation of him. That and Ms. Benson defaming another person and then continuing to lie about what she demonstrably did.

  38. 38
    TCC

    Shermer not only never raised the point that Benson attributes to him, Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky., Shermer’s “fifty-fifty” quote (female to male participation) which Benson quoted-mined out of what she quoted of him demonstrates he doesn’t even think such a thing.

    I don’t think it’s true that Benson even attributes that specific point to Shermer. She mentioned a stereotype about women – that they are not as intellectually engaged as men – and then quoted a man saying that women aren’t as “intellectually active” as men when it comes to discussing atheism in the public sphere. I don’t think – and Ophelia can confirm or deny this herself – that Shermer’s statement would have even been useful for talking about how women are treated in non-theist circles if it hadn’t included the word “intellectually.” It still wouldn’t have been much of an answer, and Shermer was certainly not looking at the big picture of why no women were available for Cara Santa Maria’s show, but it wouldn’t have gone together so nicely with the “Women don’t do thinky” stereotype that Benson was talking about.

    It’s also not quote-mining to leave off the “fifty-fifty” part of the quote because Shermer is talking about the gender ratio of atheism in general; Cara Santa Maria’s question had more to do with public representation of non-theistic women, which is where Shermer’s statement attempted (but miserably failed) to address the disparity. (If you think that Shermer was actually saying that it’s 50-50 in terms of public representation, then the rest of his statement is nonsensical, since he would be contradicting himself with the “more of a guy thing” statement.)

    Listen, I’m not commenting because I have any serious interest in defending Ophelia; she’s more than capable of doing that herself. I’m commenting because I think your insistence on assuming the worst rather than reading her column more charitably is unbecoming and frankly out of character for you. If there is any error to be found in that original column, it is in using actual quotes and a more colloquial use of quotation marks (to indicate a position you don’t hold in a paraphrased sense) in the same context where the latter might be construed as the former. You might also say that her use of “exactly that” is vague enough that it welcomes misinterpretation. But you can’t say that Benson intentionally lied or tried to mislead about what Shermer was saying, and it most certainly was not defamatory, and I think you would do well to rescind that accusation for the sake of your own credibility.

  39. 39
    tomh

    Heath wrote:

    I’d welcome Ed creating a new blog post on this topic again.

    I can’t imagine what else you could possibly have to say. It’s all there in dozens of your comments for anyone to peruse who is interested. Maybe it will convince someone besides Steersman.

  40. 40
    Michael Heath

    I’ve said my piece more than what should be warranted in Ed’s blog about Benson’s defamation of Michael Shermer and her continually lying about what she actually wrote. I therefore won’t be responding anymore in this thread about Ophelia Benson’s treatment of Shermer; unless Ed shows up and starts commenting and isn’t opposed to my posting more. Right now I don’t want to wear out his hospitality.

    I would welcome Ed creating a new blog post on this topic again and get a take on his position on the fairness and honesty of Ms. Benson’s article in regards to her treatment of Michael Shermer. And I continue to hope Ed will issue a correction of his Shermer blog post’s lede, which simply isn’t true. Shermer’s motivation was not mere criticism but instead where I quote Shermer:

    I don’t believe that [Benson's distortion and then smear of Shermer] for a moment, and in any case the evidence (as I outlined at the beginning of this essay) overwhelmingly demonstrates that women are more than capable of thinking, writing, speaking, and debating about God and theism. Unquestionably. Unequivocally.
  41. 41
    Michael Heath

    TCC,

    I didn’t see your post when I posted my comment above that I won’t be posting anymore on the topic.

    I considered and easily disqualified what you think before I ever posted anything about Benson in any comment post on this subject. That’s also not how Shermer took it nor should he have taken it as I noted in my comment post above with my Shermer quote. Benson’s words are unambiguous although sloppily conveyed.

    Now I need to stop, I really don’t want to wear out my welcome here.

  42. 42
    Ophelia Benson

    I didn’t lie. I didn’t defame. I didn’t quotemine. I didn’t quote everything Shermer said in that clip, I quoted one sentence, but I quoted that one sentence in its entirety. It is brazenly dishonest – and, indeed, defamatory – to keep calling that lying and defamation.

  43. 43
    Ophelia Benson

    Oops. Didn’t close.

    I didn’t lie. I didn’t defame. I didn’t quotemine. I didn’t quote everything Shermer said in that clip, I quoted one sentence, but I quoted that one sentence in its entirety. It is brazenly dishonest – and, indeed, defamatory – to keep calling that lying and defamation.

  44. 44
    Ophelia Benson

    Yes, you certainly do need to stop. It’s extremely disreputable to say repeatedly that someone is lying just because you dislike what she wrote. I am not lying; I did not lie.

  45. 45
    Michael Heath

    Ophelia Benson lies again @ 44 (in bold):

    It’s extremely disreputable to say repeatedly that someone is lying just because you dislike what she wrote

    My condemnation of you has nothing to do with what I like or don’t about the conclusions of your argument, which I didn’t even consider. Instead it’s about you defaming Michael Shermer. I’ve made that abundantly clear in past comments. I’m not surprised that you would misrepresent what I’ve previously written given your defamation of Michael Shermer.

    I’m unfortunately not surprised that you failed to provide a quote(s) from me backing up your untrue assertion as well, both because you’ve demonstrated this sort of dishonest behavior before combined with the fact I never even raised this as a motivating topic – which is deja vu all over again . . .

    I changed my mind on commenting again only because Ms. Benson is now lying about me.

  46. 46
    Ophelia Benson

    Bullshit. You changed your mind because you want to have the last word.

    You are the one who is lying, dude. You are lying about me – over and over again, at much much greater length than I am saying anything about you.

    I did not lie. I did not quotemine. I did not defame Michael Shermer.

    And no I am not going to let you have the last word, not when you’re calling me a liar.

  47. 47
    tomh

    Instead it’s about you defaming Michael Shermer

    No, it’s not. It’s about your tortured interpretation of what Benson wrote, which you’ve convinced yourself defames Shermer. You continue to present your opinion as if it were a fact.

  48. 48
    abear

    Ophelia; Own up to what you said you hypocrite! You wanted Shermer to admit he made a mistake, that strikes me as the ultimate in passive aggressive projection.Admit to your own mistakes, you make lots of them.
    Too bad you just censor and ignore people that just disagree with you, a true skeptic needs to use a little introspection.

  49. 49
    Hugo

    But now he’s putting, when he lists all these denominations and atheists and Buddhists and Muslims, it’s like we’re all equal, of equal proportion, and we are not.

    It’s not about equal proportion, it’s about equal protection.

  50. 50
    rocko2466

    @45. I agree. OB was lying. She quoted the “full sentence” but out of crucial context. It has become her method.

    @35:

    It’s also not quote-mining to leave off the “fifty-fifty” part of the quote because Shermer is talking about the gender ratio of atheism in general

    He wasn’t talking about the gender ratio of atheism in general. And if he had been, he would have been wrong.

    There are less women who identify as atheists than men.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/11/sex-differences-in-global-atheism-part-n/#.UPZSAR2Tx8E

    (And by a HUGE margin in the United States).

    This would suggest that the relatively high participation of women in the atheist community online and otherwise is indicative of a very welcoming environment to women (that OB and her cohorts are polluting).

  51. 51
    tomh

    abear wrote:

    a true skeptic needs to use a little introspection.

    How would you know?

  52. 52
    abear

    You would know by using basic critical thinking skills and not just defending your preconceived ideas or your ideological hero(ine).
    Try using your brain you may find it a helpful tool.

  53. 53
    axelblaster

    In Defense of Micheal Heath, A person I do not know and have no allegiance to, but that disclosure is unnecesary because we are among skeptics and we only argue against the arguments, not the person. Right?

    If I said: “I killed a man. I did it in self-defense”

    and Ophelia Benson quotes me: “I killed a man.”

    Would I be overreacting if I’m upset anddecided to write a strongly worded rebuttal, months later? I think that’s what happened to Shermer. If Ophelia Benson doesn’t ommit the full sentence in my example, the reader will have a different interpretation of the events. If Ophelia Benson’s essay is about homicidal secularists, I want to be quoted in full.The beaty about quoting in full, is that if its honest the message won’t change and the person quoted has a hard time claiming that they were misrepresented. Win-Win.

    I think this is because I worry about the dangers of innuendo. A person’s reputation can be damaged irreparably by an allegation that is not properly contextualized. I worry when I think this can be done to me. I worry when I think this can be done to others, unfairly. But, perhaps, this is just a character flaw that I share with Micheal Heath.

  54. 54
    Steersman

    TCC said (#38):

    Listen, I’m not commenting because I have any serious interest in defending Ophelia; she’s more than capable of doing that herself. I’m commenting because I think your insistence on assuming the worst rather than reading her column more charitably is unbecoming and frankly out of character for you.

    Curious that you’re calling for “reading [Benson’s] column more charitably” when so many here – from Benson herself to Brayton to Christina to Myers, and on down were, and are, anything but that in characterizing Shermer’s statement as sexist. Why do you think that might be?

    In addition, while I’m apparently flogging a dead horse on this point, why is it that no one has actually managed to prove that that statement of Shermer’s was in fact sexist? Seems to me, absent that proof, that that is just an article of faith, that the definition of sexist in play is “whatever Shermer said”. And a position which is predicated almost entirely on Benson’s hatchet-job which might reasonably be construed to have been, in part at least, to cause some damage to Shermer.

    And since you brought it up, Wikipedia’s article on the topic of defamation as a point of reference:

    Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, traducement, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation a negative or inferior image.

    Seems to me that asserting that “Michael Shermer said exactly that” when “exactly that” is categorical and is apparently referring to her statement “Unbelieving in God is thinky work, and women don’t do thinky, because ‘that’s a guy thing’” when he never said anything of the sort qualifies as a “claim, expressley stated or implied to be factual” that is quite likely – if the FfTB tribe has their way – of giving Shermer a “negative or inferior image” – as it apparently already has.

  55. 55
    stevecarlos

    Are we to believe that Ophelia has never heard of lying by omission?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie#Lying_by_omission

    It would be rather embarrassing if she has not.

    If one reads Shermer’s full statement, realizes he said it off the cuff, and even then full analyzes it, then the following is very obvious: he was not stating that women are intellectually inactive in general, he was speculating that women are less intellectually active in this particular area on average, and that intellectual activity (when discussing a particular subject) only means thinking about a subject and not the ability to think in general or have an active mental state.

    It seems that OB, as a female and intellectually active atheist/skeptic, reacted as if Shermer was defaming her specifically. He was not. He was merely commenting upon what might be some demographic trend that could turn out to be correct. Remember, he was not stating this as an undeniable fact and it was apparent that he was speculating and was owning up to that as well.

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site