The Carnival of Evolution #65: Horror Host Edition »« Wondering how to get an academic job?

Who needs reason & evidence when you’ve got hurt feelings?

Francis Spufford has written a book called Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Still Makes Surprising Emotional Sense. I don’t think I’ll be reading it, if this excerpt is at all representative, because what it represents is all that I despise about Christianity and Christians. Number one: their persecution complex. That aura of sanctity they all get by piously reciting all the horrible things done to them because of their deep, profound, all-important faith. So Spufford babbles, at excruciating length, about all the misconceptions atheists have about Christians.

It means that we’re dogmatic. That we’re self-righteous. That we fetishize pain and suffering. That we advocate wishy-washy niceness. That we promise the oppressed pie in the sky when they die. That we’re bleeding hearts who don’t understand the wealth-creating powers of the market. That we’re too stupid to understand the irrationality of our creeds. That we build absurdly complex intellectual structures, full of meaningless distinctions, on the marshmallow foundations of a fantasy. That we uphold the nuclear family, with all its micro-tyrannies and imprisoning stereotypes. That we’re the hairshirted enemies of the ordinary family pleasures of parenthood, shopping, sex and car ownership. That we’re savagely judgmental. That we’d free murderers to kill again. That we think everyone who disagrees with us is going to roast for all eternity. That we’re as bad as Muslims. That we’re worse than Muslims, because Muslims are primitives who can’t be expected to know any better. That we’re better than Muslims, but only because we’ve lost the courage of our convictions. That we’re infantile and can’t do without an illusory daddy in the sky. That we destroy the spontaneity and hopefulness of children by implanting a sick mythology in your minds. That we oppose freedom, human rights, gay rights, individual moral autonomy, a woman’s right to choose, stem cell research, the use of condoms in fighting AIDS, the teaching of evolutionary biology. Modernity. Progress. That we think everyone should be cowering before authority. That we sanctify the idea of hierarchy. That we get all snooty and yuck-no-thanks about transsexuals, but think it’s perfectly normal for middle-aged men to wear purple dresses. That we cover up child abuse, because we care more about power than justice. That we’re the villains in history, on the wrong side of every struggle for human liberty. That if we sometimes seem to have been on the right side of one of said struggles, we weren’t really; or the struggle wasn’t about what it appeared to be about; or we didn’t really do the right thing for the reasons we said we did. That we’ve provided pious cover stories for racism, imperialism, wars of conquest, slavery, exploitation. That we’ve manufactured imaginary causes for real people to kill each other. That we’re stuck in the past. That we destroy tribal cultures. That we think the world’s going to end. That we want to help the world to end. That we teach people to hate their own natural selves. That we want people to be afraid. That we want people to be ashamed. That we have an imaginary friend; that we believe in a sky pixie; that we prostrate ourselves before a god who has the reality status of Santa Claus. That we prefer scripture to novels, preaching to storytelling, certainty to doubt, faith to reason, law to mercy, primary colors to shades, censorship to debate, silence to eloquence, death to life.

Jesus fucking Christ, man, get down off that giant cross you’ve erected! You’re going to hurt yourself!

And that’s only a small piece of the long tirade. He has more than a few misconceptions about atheists, himself. He goes off about how Christians are supposed to be embarrassed because they’re not Harry Potter or Star Wars, how atheism is all about hedonism rather than the richly human complexity of Deep Theology, and how he’s so bitter about suggestions that we enjoy our lives, and “Imagine”, and pop culture, and how much he thinks Mozart is wonderful, and there’s not one word that explains why religion adds anything to our lives.

Fuck it, never mind, Spufford, go ahead and climb back up on that rickety cross with your mouthful of nails — it’ll shut you up and keep you happy for a while.

Especially when this is the one strong assertion you make in the midst of all your whiny caterwauling about how awfully terrible it is that some of us look at your tearful tantrum with contempt.

I think that the reason reality is that way, is in some ultimate sense merciful as well as being a set of physical processes all running along on their own without hope of appeal, all the way up from quantum mechanics to the relative velocity of galaxies by way of “blundering, low and horridly cruel” biology (Darwin), is that the universe is sustained by a continual and infinitely patient act of love. I think that love keeps it in being. I think that Dante’s cosmology was crap, but that he was right to say that it’s “love that moves the sun and all the other stars.”

And you’re unapologetic about dishing up that load of bullshit? Shameless, more like.

In case you were wondering, gravity and momentum keep the stars and planets moving, and not one bit of love or absence thereof will nudge stone or plasma a nanometer.

Comments

  1. Bicarbonate says

    DW @497

    I agree with the Redhead: evidence please.

    An example of a radical that has shifted the Overton window (in the wrong direction as far as I’m concerned): Rush Limbaugh. O.k., I’m not giving proof. But I have seen this process of stridently speaking out producing a shift in the window twice in my life where feminism is concerned.

  2. David Wilford says

    Nerd @ 499:

    The example of how the movement to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota with the help of liberal Christians (including a lot of Catholics Voting No) is one that’s a successful social change.

  3. David Wilford says

    Bicarbonate @ 502:

    Limbaugh didn’t shift the window, he built a listener base that became large enough to be a factor in the Republican Party coalition. Amy Goodman is perhaps a left counterpart to Limbaugh, but she doesn’t have nearly as many listeners as Limbaugh does and as a result hasn’t been a similar factor with Democrats.

  4. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The example of how the movement to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota with the help of liberal Christians (including a lot of Catholics Voting No) is one that’s a successful social change.

    Gee, ACT-UP, various other gay groups were loud and vocal about equality for LGBT. When people asked about the noise, Cousin Fred came out of the closet. Suddenly they know quiet members of the community that were being discriminated against, and it was something to think about. Beside, that was Democrats pushing gay marriage, not because, they were religious, but because it was the right thing to do, stop treating some folks as second class citizens. That is why gay marriage passed here in Illinois. Atheists and liberal religionists worked with the democrats.
    It doesn’t prove your point. In fact, as usual, it supports ours. You have no comprehension of what evidence is and what the context of it is.

  5. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Wilford

    Meh, the concept of the Overton Window is vastly overrated. It’s Green Lanternism to believe that a few radicals can shift the opinions of the masses merely by being waay out there on one end of the political spectrum.

    The concept of the Overton window is common sense. If you have a spectrum with “super authoritarianism” on one end and “super social libertariansim” on the other, it is profoundly obvious that mainstream opinion cannot encompass both sides of that spectrum. It can only encompass one piece of it at any one time, and left and right values are given subjectively within that window. The Overton window in the US is shifted to the right of the window in Europe, which is why the Democrats are considered “liberal” in the US, but are centre-right by European standards.

    As for the concept of “radicals” shifting the window, this is also common sense. What is considered radical today is merely strange a decade from now, and then mainstream 20 years after that. This is kind of proven by the fact that it’s happened fuck knows how many times. Look at the gay rights movement. Look at the race rights movement, in SA or the US. Look at increased acceptance of transexuals today as compared to a decade ago. Look at opposition to the death penalty. When it’s happened that many times how can you possibly sit there saying it’s impossible?

    Side note: I’m unfamiliar with “green lanternism”, so I looked it up. It appears to be the concept that anything is achievable provided you have a charismatic enough leader. Have I got that right?

  6. Bicarbonate says

    Everybody wants to tell their neighbors how to live. But nobody wants to listen to how they feel. And so it goes on and on and on.

    –Michael Franti

  7. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Limbaugh didn’t shift the window,

    CITATION NEEDED. Your opinion isn’t and never will be evidence. Boy, are you playing ignorant.

  8. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    Limbaugh didn’t shift the window, he built a listener base that became large enough to be a factor in the Republican Party coalition.

    That is shifting the window, you idiot. He convinced enough people of his opinions that those opinions are, while possibly not being commonplace, certainly aren’t considered the domain of a few far-right whackjobs. That’s shifting the window.

  9. Bicarbonate says

    DW you say Limbaugh

    built a listener base that became large enough to be a factor in the Republican Party coalition.

    He made a certain kind of discourse acceptable that wasn’t before. It’s called shifting the Overton window.

  10. David Wilford says

    Bicarbonate @ 508:

    As someone who has seen Michael Franti twice in concert with his kickass band, I think he’d be shocked to hear he couldn’t voice his own take on politics because it would be telling his audience how to live.

  11. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 510:

    Then obviously we should be living in a socialist paradise because Amy Goodman has reverse shifted the Overton Window. The reason I called it Green Lanternism is that people think that all that has to be done to get politicians to move their way is to say “SINGLE PAYER! SINGLE PAYER!” and presto, President Obama will be all set to socialize medicine. It doesn’t work that way, which is why the Overton Window is a vastly overrated meme in politics.

  12. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As someone who has seen Michael Franti twice in concert with his kickass band, I think he’d be shocked to hear he couldn’t voice his own take on politics because it would be telling his audience how to live.

    And this isn’t trying to change peoples mind how? You really don’t have a grasp on how unintelligent you sound with such non-sequiturs.

    Why don’t you just show third party evidence, presented as a copy/paste link? Those with evidence link and point. Those without, the liars and bullshitters, keep opining.

  13. Bicarbonate says

    I think this DW just wants to see if he can be the last person to make a statement on the thread.

  14. David Wilford says

    Bicarbonate @ 514:

    Your Franti quote doesn’t apply because Franti wouldn’t tell anyone they couldn’t express their views, anymore than he’d accept someone telling him to not express his.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The reason I called it Green Lanternism

    OPINION, not evidence. Gee, don’t you ever get tired of being the self-confessed liar and bullshitter? Those with the evidence, show it. Those without, shut up. Those without who don’t shut up….lie and bullshit.

  16. David Wilford says

    Nerd, the Green Lantern reference is to point out that some think that all it takes in politics is to have enough WILL to shift opinion. Or that more SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS will get people to agree with you. Not so much, actually.

  17. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @DW

    The window is moved by the force of majority opinion. I don’t know who Amy Goodman is, but she may be the most socialisty socialist to have ever lived and if she didn’t gain enough of a following for her ideas to become mainstream than she still hasn’t moved the window. She may have inched it to the left if her ideas were taken up by a large enough minority that they are no longer seen as out and out wierd. There’s also the fact that the Overton window is about public opinion, not actual policy. The latter does not necessarily reflect the former.

  18. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    David Wilford,
    Your claimed benefit for religion was precisely the danger identified by Marx–it is the opiate of the people. It soothes, mollifies and comforts. That comfort, however, comes at a price. It keeps people from addressing the real problems causing them pain. It cements into place the status quo by providing it divine sanction. It stifles curiosity and inquiry. It slows progress. It elevates bigotry to divine law. It provides rationalization for atrocities.

    It does all these things because it is not constrained by empirical evidence or inquiry. Now I am sure you can recite “No true Christian/Muslim/Jew/Buddhist/Hindu…” with the best of them, but the fact is that they do–all of them. Jews kill Muslims in Palestine. Muslims kill…well, just about anyone they’re pissed off at. Xtians kill gynecologists with guns or tribesmen with drones. Buddhists kill Muslims and Hindus in Sri Lanka and Burma… What they all have in common is that they believe in some doctrine that is not subject to empirical validation. Belief in God is a cosmic divide-by-zero error: you can use it to rationalize whatever belief you want.

  19. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Bicarbonate

    Jinks, Rabbit.

    Damn. I used to know how to cancel a jinx, but I’ve forgotten. It doesn’t apply to typing, right?

  20. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 522:

    I agree that merely having someone take a farther-left or farther-right position by itself isn’t going to shift public opinion. The claim many make regarding the Overton Window is that because an Amy Goodman is out there pushing for single-payer that it makes it possible for someone like President Obama to talk about socialized medicine. (Some even think it’s required.) Now unless there is a substantial portion of the U.S. voting population that’s actually in favor of single payer, and during the 2008 Democratic primaries when Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel supported it but they got only miniscule support from voters. So it would be rash for Obama to assume he can go there himself.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The claim many make regarding the Overton Window is that because an Amy Goodman is out there pushing for single-payer that it makes it possible for someone like President Obama to talk about socialized medicine.

    Sorry idjit, that isn’t the claim. The claim is one needs to be outside of the Overton Window, and talk from the outside, in order get the window to move. Social movements take years. You pretend it happens with one speech or speaker. Context is not your friend.

  22. says

    David Wilford:

    You have opinions, but they’re based on…what exactly?
    *WHY* do you think watering down our tone will allow us to acquire allies?
    Why do you think that is important?
    Why do you think the rest of us should care?
    Why do you feel this is the way to achieve social justice?
    Do you have any proof that this unsubstantiated opinion of yours is effective at making strides in social justice?

  23. David Wilford says

    Dalillama, they don’t vote that was at the polls, even when there are candidates who support single-payer to vote for.

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dalillama, they don’t vote that was at the polls, even when there are candidates who support single-payer to vote for.

    More evidenceless non-sequiturs dismissed as fuckwittery.
    Leading with a link to real evidence is your friend, and the best way to get this crowd to accept an argument. But, your opinion isn’t and never will be evidence.

  25. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @DW

    I agree that merely having someone take a farther-left or farther-right position by itself isn’t going to shift public opinion. The claim many make regarding the Overton Window is that because an Amy Goodman is out there pushing for single-payer that it makes it possible for someone like President Obama to talk about socialized medicine.

    Who is making that claim? Citation please. Because that’s not how it works.

    Let’s stick with your example, and generalise it a bit. Originally, there would be one Amy Goodman. She would be considered a radical. AG persuades people to her side. It becomes a movement, if still a radical one. The movement grows, it becomes more popular. AG may not still be alive any more, but the idea is and it’s still growing, still gaining popularity. And it keeps doing that until, one day, it’s not radical. It’s not even minority any more. It’s mainstream and normal, and you wouldn’t be at all suprised to meet someone who holds that idea. It may have taken years, or decades, or centuries, but that idea went from radical to mainstream. That’s moving the Overton window.And at that point it becomes possible for Obama to suggest socialised medicine, because at that point he has a reasonable chance of success.

    As I said, it’s happened many, many times. See my #507 if you wish to re-read the list.

  26. brianpansky says

    In both cases, there’s an underlying meaning to things that their mythos supports for them. If the overton window resonates with you, it’s done *something* at least.

    But, obviously, the story matters and the reasons why it does are, I submit, worth taking seriously.

    I’ve always considered the polls the vote of losers, as in not wanting to justify life’s winners and losers according to some moral balance sheet. There’s something to that, whether lanternists wish to admit it or not.

    they don’t vote that was at the polls.

    David Wilford was here.

  27. David Wilford says

    Tony @ 527:

    You have opinions, but they’re based on…what exactly?

    What a vague question.

    *WHY* do you think watering down our tone will allow us to acquire allies?

    You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    Why do you think that is important?

    Because politics isn’t a purity contest, it’s an exercise in coalition building that involves people with many differing points of view.

    Why do you think the rest of us should care?

    Presumably you want to succeed sooner rather than later, or never.

    Why do you feel this is the way to achieve social justice?

    Because atheists are a minority who need allies in a system where the majority rules.

    Do you have any proof that this unsubstantiated opinion of yours is effective at making strides in social justice?

    Again, look at the successful campaign to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota and how that worked.

  28. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    That word, “vague”… It does not mean what you think it means.

    What evidence are your various opinions based on, David? Most people would presume we are talking about the opinions you have put forward in this thread, and an intelligent person may even hypothesise that the question relates to the opinion that is currently under discussion.

    Hint: the rest of Tony’s post seems to be discussing your opinion that Atheists are too strident.

  29. Bicarbonate says

    DW

    Honey is one way, not the only way.

    I think everyone here recognizes that coalitions can be useful and appropriate.

    So, you do it your way and let other people do it theirs.

    Stop trying to stuff your opinions down other people’s throats.

    Or is this just a matter of

    David Wilford was here.

  30. omnicrom says

    You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    Citation needed. People have argued this point with you up and down and you still refuse to support your position David Wilford, or budge in any way. In fact people have explained how being nice and polite isn’t the guaranteed best way to attract followers. Also people aren’t flies, and there people like me are attracted to reality and passion.

    Because politics isn’t a purity contest, it’s an exercise in coalition building that involves people with many differing points of view.

    And those people who are attracted only by niceties, are they really on board with this alliance? Do they really believe in the substance? Or are they just fair weather friends who care more for being polite than being right? Frankly David Wilford if the only people we attract by being nice are people like you than fuck that shit, time to swear up a fucking storm.

    Presumably you want to succeed sooner rather than later, or never.

    And the only POSSIBLE way to succeed in getting the Atheist movement to be a part of the mainstream, to encourage a secular state, and reduce the grip of religion on society is to be polite and agreeable? You don’t see ANY other way? You can’t see any other path besides not rumpling feathers and being an apologist?

    Again, look at the successful campaign to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota and how that worked.

    Yes let’s because it disproves you. The first and perhaps most important step was people getting out there shouting to the hills that the gays deserve equal rights and equal marriage. They were out there out and proud as step number 1. If they had followed your advice and played nice and not stepped on anyone’s toes gay marriage would not be legal in Minnesota. Once again your example disproves your argument.

  31. omnicrom says

    I see David Wilford has been reduced to saying “NO YOU!”. “Don’t tell me what to do! NO YOU!”, “I don’t need to support my opinions with evidence! NO YOU!”.

    You’ve got it in one Bicarbonate: David Wilford was here.

  32. says

    Thumper:
    thanks. I guess I was giving David Wilford too much credit.

    ****

    David:

    You’ve answered my questions, technically, if not satisfactorily. Why?
    Let’s take a look:

    Tony @ 527:

    You have opinions, but they’re based on…what exactly?

    What a vague question.

    I’m trying to figure out how and why you arrived at your opinion that social justice is best achieved by politeness rather than stridency, accommodation rather than loud opposition. I’d like to see if you’ve used logic and reason, along with some *evidence*, to arrive at your opinion. If you haven’t, I’m wasting my time talking to you, and you do not belong at a blog that values logic, science, evidence and reason.

    *WHY* do you think watering down our tone will allow us to acquire allies?

    You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    So religious allies are like flies that we want? I’m being silly. I know what you mean. You however, act as if atheists are ignorant of this or haven’t been doing so. You also are keen on silencing us:

    This phrase has always bothered me. My annoyance mostly comes from semantics. Why would you want to catch flies?

    None the less, I know what this proverb means and I’m sure you do too. It doesn’t need an explanation. What it does need, is to find it’s way out of arguments.

    When talking about your dreams and your goals, this could be a lovely sentiment. Go forth and be kind. That is darling. However, when in a discussion, heated or otherwise, this phrase makes me angry. It has no place.

    There are two reasons I feel this way. First, I believe anger to be useful if it causes you to act. Throughout history, it’s anger that has caused people to change the world for the better, not joyful glee. No one marched for Civil Rights because they were happy with the way things were. The anger needs to be there if change can ever take place.

    On a smaller scale, in an average every day disagreement, I still strongly believe that anger is necessary. Which brings me to my second issue with this phrase. Silencing your enemy. Okay “Enemy” might not be the right word but the person you are arguing with.

    The overall problem I have with this and pretty much any phrase or person that tries to “Kind you down,” is that they are A) Making your anger/pain a bad thing that should be quelled and B) It is made to SEEM as if “Speaking nicely” will put you both on equal footing when in fact, the FORCING of the “Nice” places one above the other because they have now controlled your tone.

    This is unacceptable in discussion.

    http://racismschool.tumblr.com/post/20425580420/you-catch-more-flies-with-honey-than-vinegar

    YOU do not get to dictate the manner in which oppressed people seek equality.
    Again for the billionth time, since you don’t like it, go away. You aren’t changing anyone’s mind with your “speak softly” schtick.

    Why do you think that is important?

    Because politics isn’t a purity contest, it’s an exercise in coalition building that involves people with many differing points of view.

    DUH.
    Do you think we’re as ignorant as you are?
    Personally, I recognize the need to work with people with differing points of view. And I will, up to a point (people who violate human rights are not people I want to work with). That does not mean I’m going to be less strident in my criticism of things they do as they become relevant.

    Why do you think the rest of us should care?

    Presumably you want to succeed sooner rather than later, or never.

    Clearly you think we aren’t going to succeed by being loud and proud. WHY? Where is your evidence that your way works?

    Why do you feel this is the way to achieve social justice?

    Because atheists are a minority who need allies in a system where the majority rules.

    No one’s denying that you dolt.

    Do you have any proof that this unsubstantiated opinion of yours is effective at making strides in social justice?

    Again, look at the successful campaign to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota and how that worked.

    First off, I seriously doubt that gay marriage in Minnesota happened with no one being ferocious.
    Secondly, the Civil Rights Movement did not make advances because blacks sat around politely asking for permission to ride in the front of the bus.

    WHERE IS YOUR GODDAMNED PROOF?

  33. says

    David:

    Thumper @ 536:

    O.K. then, you have opinions. What are they based on? Exactly?

    No.
    You don’t get to do this.
    You’ve made this entire thread all about you and now that you’re called on the carpet to explain why you have your beliefs, you deflect.
    If Thumper wants to share his opinions, so be it.

    The onus is still on you to show proof that your way
    A: works
    B: is the only way

  34. brianpansky says

    @538
    David Wilford

    I think the irony of your telling me what to do is rather funny.

    how is a “strident person” telling a “bridge-building person” what to do ironic?

  35. David Wilford says

    The gay marriage campaign in Minnesota was certainly boosted by a surprising punter, Chris Kluwe, who was more than a little outspoken on the subject and caught a lot of attention as I recall. There were also hundreds of people calling voters to turn out, lobbyists talking to legislators at the state capitol, and cooperation across a broad spectrum of progressive and liberal groups who shared the goal of ending discrimination against homosexuals that played a part. Kluwe heaped scorn on those who had it coming, but others worked with allies in quieter ways too. So I’m not telling anyone they must shut up (good luck with that given this bunch) and play nice. I am saying that it takes more than just being outspoken hammer pounders. If what I’m saying isn’t your cuppa tea, you’re very free not to drink it.

  36. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @David W & omnicrom

    DW (not the one from the Arthur books) @ 535

    You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    omnicrom @540

    Citation needed.

    This experiment has been done quite a number of times. I’m sure I can cite not only a reasonable test of the hypothesis, but someone reasonably entertaining to present it.

    Ah!

    Here’s the experiment, with an experimenter and presenter who is so like my longest-known friend Matt that it’s hard to believe they aren’t the same person.

    David Wilford, it’s not looking good for you. You might, at this point, wish to give up.

    Or, perhaps, you could present a reasoned argument for why certain tactics function better – and continue to function better in the absence of the tactics against which you protest (because political sweetness is never judged in a relative sense and thus it’s impossible that the bridge builders need the radicals or they’d just be building a bridge to nowhere) since relying on conventional wisdom that’s, y’know, false may not win converts here.

  37. brianpansky says

    the real irony here is that DW said:

    some think that all it takes in politics is to have enough WILL to shift opinion. Or that more SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS will get people to agree with you. Not so much, actually.

    but apparently DW thinks that backing up an assertion with an assertion will get people to agree with you. like the following:

    *WHY* do you think watering down our tone will allow us to acquire allies?

    You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    that second answer might as well have been a word for word repeat, something like:

    “watering down your tone will allow you to acquire allies because: watering down tone allows one to acquire allies”

    but at least all caps weren’t used. that’s what counts.

  38. Bicarbonate says

    DW @ 545

    I am saying that it takes more than just being outspoken hammer pounders.

    And so we are all agreed.

    Y colorin colorado este cuento se ha acabado.

  39. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Fragment 1:

    DW’s interrogator, Tony!: Do you have any proof that this unsubstantiated opinion of yours is effective at making strides in social justice?

    DW: Again, look at the successful campaign to make gay marriage legal in Minnesota and how that worked.

    Fragment 2:

    DW: The gay marriage campaign in Minnesota was certainly boosted by a surprising punter, Chris Kluwe, who was more than a little outspoken on the subject and caught a lot of attention as I recall.

    So does the gay marriage campaign in Minnesota support your two-part thesis that a) one approach is more effective than the other, and that b) you know which one it is? Because based on this little bit of cognitive dissonance, I’m thinking part B is in serious jeopardy.

    Moreover, instead of asserting “one is more effective, but if that one isn’t for you, go ahead and do the lesser thing”, perhaps you might actually notice that bridge builders build bridges between two separated sides. Unless you have someone who isn’t a bridge builder toward whom you can direct traffic, bridge building doesn’t do a damn thing.

    In other words This comment.

    If it’s too tough for you to wrap your mind around the ideas of interactivity and interdependence and judgement by comparison, then you might also not be the best one to be analyzing effective rhetorical and political strategies.

  40. vaiyt says

    You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    The vinegar is to keep the flies away, because they’re gross and get germs on our stuff.

    Some flies, though, keep coming back to drink vinegar and complain that it should be honey. And complain. And complain. And complain.

  41. David Wilford says

    So does the gay marriage campaign in Minnesota support your two-part thesis that a) one approach is more effective than the other, and that b) you know which one it is? Because based on this little bit of cognitive dissonance, I’m thinking part B is in serious jeopardy.

    Nah. Kluwe’s blasts were helpful, but the heavy lifting to bring out voters to defeat the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage had being going on for months prior to that. Remember all those signs? The bumper stickers? Those weren’t the work of magic sparkle ponies.

  42. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The ones where I admit that I’m subject to fallacious heuristics that flatter my narcissism are always the best.

  43. mesh says

    So exactly how would any social club that meets David Wilford’s parameters make any traction in any political climate ever? The very nature of the power dynamic is to subordinate the status and interests of others. Pandering to the status quo only reinforces this and does nothing to ameliorate the prevailing attitudes.

    If the social success of atheism lies entirely in the surrender of principle then we’ve already lost; our cause must be sorry indeed if we are so desperate for “success” as to recruit “allies” who ostensibly champion the banner for 5 minutes before throwing a few atheists under the bus to ingratiate themselves to the powerful in order to try to win a numbers game. Truly us atheists are so undeserving of respect that the only way we could ever achieve acceptance is by volunteering our service as the dominant group’s door mats. But hey, it’s the only way because hammers and the Spanish Inquisition.

  44. says

    I think David has won.
    It’s clear from the mountain of evidence he has presented that equality for atheists can only be achieved by working with believers, and ditching most of our stridency. It’s clear from his comments about Minnesota that it was the accomodationists that got the heavy lifting done. The hammer wielders just provided a little extra help. No need to ask for any proof of that. Its right there in the assertion.
    Yup, time to pack it in.

  45. vaiyt says

    David Wilford, read the @500.

    In my country, the biggest opponent to social justice for POCs is exactly a myth that we got over racism because we didn’t have a KKK or lynchings. Which only means that the public protests every time someone points out instances of racism. What are POCs to do? Compromise with people who don’t seem to care about violations of their human rights? Say “yes, sir, okay, maybe you aren’t ready to treat me like a human being, so I will settle for being half human for now”?

    No social movement EVER got anything done by not upsetting anyone, being unfailingly polite and not rocking the boat. It didn’t happen. Don’t even invoke Gandhi – his acts of civil disobedience were deliberately planned to upset the British as much as possible. We have to choose our allies, and if we keep making concessions we’ll only reassure the apathetics that nothing is wrong, and let the conservatives push the fence over to our side.

    At some point, you have to draw a line in the sand.

  46. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @DW, 555:

    Nah. Kluwe’s blasts were helpful, but the heavy lifting…

    Again, please provide citations for your insistence that you know which rhetorical strategy is more responsible?

    Are we quite sure that the money raised for those signs (which I don’t remember BTW, not being in the USA doesn’t make info about what’s going on any harder to come by, but it does rather limit direct experience with lawn signs) didn’t come from canvassers telling people we need a lot of money b/c douchegabbers were going to be spouting bigoted as F language for months and we needed to counter the worthless asshats and their theocratic thuggery?

    B/c **i’m** more willing to give money to someone who makes it plain that they’re going to actually fight for a cause than someone who says, “My, there’s an election coming up and we need to be building bridges b/c even if we lose the election, won’t it be nice if there’s a lot of elevated pavement around?”

    You think the volunteers who drag those signs around door-to-door in the muggy midwest heat of late Aug/ early Sep are the ones who just can’t get very pissed off about gender-discriminatory marriage laws and want Westboro and the MCC to just come together b/c after all, don’t we all just want our GoodlyGod SkyDaddy to love us?

    [sarcasm tag for those who have recently recalibrated their meters on Swift]
    Come to think of it, I just want to really verify your general perspective, though. I think if nothing else, the military proves that you can’t bring large numbers of people together under a single banner, willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the whole, by demonizing some other, outside group. [/stftwhrrtmoS]

    Yeah. I’m thinking magic sparkle ponies didn’t have a lot to do with winning this fight.

  47. David Wilford says

    Crip Dyke @ 560:

    I’m pretty sure all those “Another Catholic Voting No” folks proclaiming opposition to the state constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage weren’t hit up for support by someone knocking at their door asking them for their support while telling them that the Pope could go to hell.

  48. vaiyt says

    It’s clear from his comments about Minnesota that it was the accomodationists that got the heavy lifting done.

    If you stop to think about it, it’s hilarious, because the people and attitudes he cites? Not accomodationist at all. People putting up those bumper stickers were sending a clear message to the other side, and weren’t willing to settle for less.

  49. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @mesh, 557

    Pandering to the status quo only reinforces this and does nothing to ameliorate the prevailing attitudes.

    But isn’t pandering to the status quo exactly how Wollstonecraft, Truth, Tubman, Goldman, deBeauvoir, Abzug, Smith, Jordan, Yamada, Lee, Anzaldua, Kim, and Koyama made all their contributions?

  50. vaiyt says

    I’m pretty sure all those “Another Catholic Voting No” folks proclaiming opposition to the state constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage weren’t hit up for support by someone knocking at their door asking them for their support while telling them that the Pope could go to hell.

    Of course not, because those two things aren’t even remotely connected.

    They also weren’t convinced by people coming to them and saying that it’s okay to think gays are an abomination unto God, we are all full of respect and awe for that, but maybe you could let gays marry? Just a bit? No?

  51. David Wilford says

    vaiyt @ 562:

    Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about Amendment 1, which would have banned gay marriage in Minnesota:

    The centerpiece of the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign became its huge grassroots effort to have conversations with the voters about marriage. Rather than focus on equal rights and fairness, as was done in previous campaigns, Minnesotans United and its thousands of volunteers, had personal conversations over the phones and face to face about how marriage had the same importance and meaning for both straight and same-sex couples.[12] This messaging strategy, which was also used in the campaign’s ad campaign, helped move conflicted voters and resulted in Minnesota being the first state, after 30 attempts, to defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.[9] Minnesotans United is likely the biggest grassroots campaign in the state’s history, having had 27,000 volunteers knock on over 400,000 doors and make over 900,000 phone calls in the final eight days of the campaign[13]

    Determined? You betcha. But they weren’t trying to convince people just that they were right and the ones opposing gay marriage were wrong, but talking about how important marriage was, period. It was a soft, not a hard sell. And it worked.

  52. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @DW, 561:

    Are you sure that the, however that portion of the campaign functioned, that that portion of the campaign, or indeed the campaign at all, would have existed in the absence of persons willing to call out injustice without mincing words?

    Exactly how can you be sure that the campaign would have existed and would have been funded without strident advocates for justice who hold oppressive actions in contempt?

    Furthermore, I’ve done that canvassing, and the persons who gave most generously were the persons who were more vociferous and uncompromising and unrelenting in their criticisms than I. I never said the Pope could go to hell, but I can tell you right here right now that when someone else shoved 50 bucks at me and said the Pope can go to hell if he’s going to advocate policies that kill queers in the States and pretty much anyone in sub-saharan Africa, that gave me a lot of the energy I needed to go next door and have someone say, “I believe in true equality for everyone, but I don’t have any money to give. Jesus bless you” 10 times in a row to find the next person who says, “Oh, sure. It’s so nice what you’re doing. I think I have a five around here somewhere.”

    Even if the 5s were more numerous (and, frankly, they weren’t numerous enough to out raise the 50s), I wouldn’t have gotten the fivers without the emotional boost I got from the people who used language that clearly was contemptuous of bigoted denials of humanity.

    So, again, where is your evidence that this campaign would exist at all without ActUp, Queer Nation!, Lesbian Avengers, STAR, and the GLF? You think the Daughters of Bilitis were polite? I knew one of the DoB, 25 years after the fact, and she was totes awesome, and dressed in a business suit, and didn’t slam people during work hours, but don’t think for a second that the stories she told were all, “And then, we had tea and came to consensus around a strategy for organizing more teas.”

  53. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What exactly is a hammer pounder? Some who joins coalitions and works with religious people, but doesn’t allow proselytizing? Or one that questions the need for unnecessary public prayer? Or someone who expects religion to be only the home and church and nowhere else?
    Your vague term are for polite concern trolls who are afraid to make real and substantial points, and lack the honesty and integrity to admit they are wrong.

  54. brianpansky says

    @561
    David Wilford

    knocking at their door asking them for their support while telling them that the Pope could go to hell.

    is that an actual strategy strident people are doing or proposing? or are you just making up straw arguments?

  55. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    is that an actual strategy strident people are doing or proposing? or are you just making up straw arguments?

    ROFL.

    it’s not even coherent. It’s just…well…it strikes me as saying to a lion, “Have you considered the ecological effects of meat production? or do you just like eating other animals?”

  56. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    it’s not even coherent.

    The laughter wasn’t coherent. And there wasn’t a coherent reason for the laughter – at least at first. It’s not you that’s being incoherent brianpansky. I just thought I’d clarify.

  57. David Wilford says

    Are you sure that the, however that portion of the campaign functioned, that that portion of the campaign, or indeed the campaign at all, would have existed in the absence of persons willing to call out injustice without mincing words?

    Yes, absolutely. Because it wasn’t just a campaign against the amendment, against bigotry, it was a campaign for love. That song “Love Is The Law” was picked as a theme because that’s what was at the heart of the campaign.

  58. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still lacking EVIDENCE that your Minnesota Gay Marriage law was not helped by vocal and strident groups. It certainly was here in Illinois. Vocal and strident, and then uncle Bob and his longtime partner Joe were the clinchers.

  59. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Bicarbonate – video removed.

    @DW, #571:

    So then, the marriage equality campaign didn’t depend on the work of the DoM, Mattachine Society, GLF, STAR, NGLTF, ACTUp!, Queer Nation, Lesbian Avengers, or pissed off activists anywhere, anywhen?

    Good to know.

    BTW: a small citation for that assertion might be a wee bit helpful.

  60. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Awwww, fuckit.

    DoM should be DoB – I hope that was obvious. Damn Mattachine Society – I alway forget how to spell it and thinking about that distracted me from the acronym I had to type first.

    I swear I’m just going to call the Mattachine Society the Faeries of Tpyos from now on. Saves a step.

  61. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That song “Love Is The Law” was picked as a theme because that’s what was at the heart of the campaign.

    More non-sequiturs, non-evidence. You have no idea what evidence means. Hint: It isn’t and never will be your word.

  62. David Wilford says

    Whatever, Nerd. I’m sure I’m wrong about more than a few things. It’s still a great song.

  63. Bicarbonate says

    And we fairies, that do run
    By the triple Hecate’s team,
    From the presence of the sun,
    Following darkness like a dream,
    Now are frolic: not a mouse
    Shall disturb this hallow’d house:
    I am sent with broom before,
    To sweep the dust behind the door.

  64. David Wilford says

    Driving the Garden State Parkway to New York, I pointed out two crows
    to a woman who believed crows always travel in threes. And later just
    one crow eating the carcass of a squirrel. “The others are nearby,” she
    said, “hidden in trees.” She was sure. Now and then she’d say “See!” and
    a clear dark trinity of crows would be standing on the grass. I told her
    she was wrong to under- or overestimate crows, and wondered out loud
    if three crows together made any evolutionary sense. I was almost get-
    ting serious now. Near Forked River, we saw five. “There’s three,” she
    said, “and two others with a friend in a tree.” I looked to see if she was
    smiling. She wasn’t. Or she was. “Men like you,” she said, “need it writ-
    ten down, notarized, and signed.

  65. omnicrom says

    I see that David Wilford has completely stopped trying to argue his point and seems to have gone into non-sequitors. This is a noted improvement.

  66. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think poor DW is finding that at Pharyngula, being polite, vague, kind, and evidentially illiterate is not a winning combination. Being right with solid and conclusive evidence, no matter how unkind and unpolite you are, is the winning ticket. Like the ‘pitters, all he had in his argument bag was making us respect his word. But, like the ‘pitters, evidence was lacking, and we dismissed his word like we dismiss the ‘pitters words. Very Simple DW. Those with the evidence show it. Those without the evidence, but have honesty and integrity, shut the fuck up. Those, like you, who can’t show the evidence, and can’t shut the fuck up about your assertions, show us your true colors. Which aren’t nice at the end of the day…

  67. says

    Oh my goddess. Wilford is actively rewriting every civil rights movement in the past to support his claims regarding the present.

    Yes, absolutely. Because it wasn’t just a campaign against the amendment, against bigotry, it was a campaign for love. That song “Love Is The Law” was picked as a theme because that’s what was at the heart of the campaign.

    Therefore, it motivated the entire campaign with no question whatsoever, no secondary motives whatsoever, and with absolutely no interference from anything else.

    \Fuck OFF, you incomparable mealymouthed lackwit. Go help the conservatives. I explicitly do not WANT you on my side. You are actively detrimental to whatever cause you choose to support.

  68. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No, but thanks anyway.

    You might as well leave. You have been exposed as a presuppositional liar and bullshitter. Nothing you say without evidence as we define it will be believed.
    But, we will enjoy chewing on your idiocy if you do stay.

  69. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    No, but thanks anyway.

    What do you hope to accomplish by being an asshole, DW? You won’t change anybody’s mind with such immature tactics as you are displaying at the moment.

  70. ChasCPeterson says

    I told her she was wrong to under- or overestimate crows, and wondered out loud
    if three crows together made any evolutionary sense.

    In fact, yes. American Crows are not sexually mature until their 2nd year, and so offspring always hang around with their parents for at least a year. Often, but not always, they will continue hanging around with their nuclear family and help their parents raise subsequent broods, which explains groups of 4-7 birds.

  71. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David WIlford #539

    Thumper @ 536:

    O.K. then, you have opinions. What are they based on? Exactly?

    What opinions? I haven’t actually offered one on the subject that was under discussion at that time. If I had, I’d assume you meant that opinion, but since I haven’t, I have no idea what you are talking about. You really didn’t get my #536 at all, did you?

    Tony, thanks for your #542.

  72. says

    No, but thanks anyway.

    Oh you are just the emperor of allies, aren’t you? Gay people don’t want you. We want people who will fucking help, not try to waste the time of gay people.

  73. David Wilford says

    Oh you are just the emperor of allies, aren’t you?

    Nope, I’m not. I’m just me. BTW, since you’re using the royal “we”, are you the Gay Queen? If you are, it must be fun for you at parades.

  74. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    BTW, since you’re using the royal “we”, are you the Gay Queen? If you are, it must be fun for you at parades.

    This from the hypocritical fuckwit who believes in “nice”. That is over the line.

  75. says

    DW:

    BTW, since you’re using the royal “we”, are you the Gay Queen?

    You knock this shit off, right now. You are seriously out of line. For the record, Mr. Wilford, I’m one of the we Rutee references. There are a whole hell of a lot of GLBT peoples here, including myself. I’ll stand with Rutee any day. You? Not at all.

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    DW, we always expect those who are concern/tone trolls to show us how to go about being influential, etc, while being “polite”. You failed big time. Either show us how to do it, or shut the fuck up about it. Otherwise, you have no honesty and integrity. Although your lack thereof is monumental to date….

  77. omnicrom says

    Nope, I’m not. I’m just me. BTW, since you’re using the royal “we”, are you the Gay Queen? If you are, it must be fun for you at parades.

    Protip David Wilford. Just because you aren’t swearing doesn’t mean you’re being nice. Case in point, this post right here? It’s basically a direct insult aimed squarely at Rutee. You talk a lot of talk about how we’d be better served with being nice and polite, while you yourself are repeatedly impolite and downright nasty. Just because you don’t use naughty words doesn’t mean you aren’t using MEAN words, and you’ve been pretty sickeningly vile for a while now. In fact that veneer of politeness and respectability you’re straining for actually makes you even more unpleasant. There’s nothing quite as nasty and unpleasant as a cheery insult given by someone wearing a hearty smile. That extra layer of bad faith makes it far far worse and more demeaning than an insult snarled through gritted teeth.

  78. says

    Oh, the accomodationist vs. confrontational fight again?

    Look, here’s the deal: if you think you know how to do activism better than those who are already doing it, then go be an activist.

    Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

  79. David Wilford says

    Nick, the fact that Alimi sought refuge in the U.K., where the Church of England is the official state religion, does seem to point out something, I can’t quite tell what, about what’s spurring the current reaction in much of Africa against gays. Let me think… oh, wasn’t it back in 2004 that a openly gay man was made an Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire? And wasn’t there a reaction against that from African bishops while the Archbishop of Canterbury urged tolerance with respect to homosexuals?

    I think that cart filled with homophobia you’re claiming is being pulled by an Anglican horse is actually pushing said horse, at least in Nigeria, where 97% of the people think homosexuality is wrong:

    According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 97 percent[3] of Nigerian residents believe that homosexuality is a way of life that society should not accept, which was the second-highest rate of non-acceptance in the 45 countries surveyed.[4]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Nigeria

  80. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    DW:

    It’s entirely possible for New Hampshire Anglicans (AKA Episcopalians) and even Archbishop Atkinson to be articulating a pro-gay (I won’t say “pro-queer”) vision while African Anglicans are articulating an anti-gay (*and* anti-queer) vision.

    The devil can quote scripture to his purpose, which says something about the divinely inspired nature of the book, but just what I won’t excavate just now. Which precise people are quoting scripture to which precise purposes I won’t attempt to specify as I am not Anglican and don’t keep up on how scripture is cited during Nigerian sunday homilies – much less how those homilies vary from church to church (parish to parish? help me out here).

    But the point is that the fact that NH is different from Nigeria, and that NH and Nigeria both have Anglicans, is not then proof for, well, anything except a qualitative study on the distribution of Anglicans across political jurisdictions.

    Bisi Alimi might have come to conclusions you dislike, and I have not worked my way through any systematic observations of his, but like it or not, he has some evidence.

    All you’ve got is a few folks in NH liked one gay man and are involved in their local Anglican church.

    That says absolutely nothing on whether Anglicanism is a force for good or ill for QTs on the ground in Nigeria.

    Just like a Wilford comment to bring non-sequitur to an evidence fight.

  81. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just like a Wilford comment to bring non-sequitur to an evidence fight.

    Yeah, I have to agree with that. His response was another WTF moment.

  82. David Wilford says

    Crip Dyke, that the Archbishop of Canterbury came out back in 2004 urging tolerance towards homosexuals does indicate that the Anglican Church’s reaction to the issue isn’t just a matter of a few political jurisdictions choosing to accept homosexuality. It’s a genuine schism in said church at this point.

  83. omnicrom says

    Crip Dyke, that the Archbishop of Canterbury came out back in 2004 urging tolerance towards homosexuals does indicate that the Anglican Church’s reaction to the issue isn’t just a matter of a few political jurisdictions choosing to accept homosexuality. It’s a genuine schism in said church at this point.

    Nifty. So you admit that there is a faction within the church that is being intolerant and causing harm to gays on religious ground? I mean I know you’re trying to misdirect to a No True Scotsman fallacy here, but the fact you brought up is that gays are being hurt by religion.

  84. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    A genuine schism?

    And on which side of that schism is Nigeria’s church?

    And what implications does that hold for your thesis?

    We’ve already shown above, though, that you think that “Another Catholic Voting No” sprung up completely free of historical context and that without decades of angry activism, you still would have had exactly the same people doing exactly the same thing with exactly the same amount of funding available.

    So why, then, should the position of any UK Archbishop – Atkinson, the more beloved, or Canterbury, the more official – in 2004 be of any relevance to your argument about today in Nigeria.

    Historical cause and effect? What’s that?
    -David Wilford

    The election of some NH bloke to some post or other in 2004 is totally changing Nigeria for the better.
    -David Wilford

  85. David Wilford says

    omincrom, yes, there is such a faction. But it is also important to note that said faction was motivated by a schism within the church itself.

  86. omnicrom says

    omincrom, yes, there is such a faction. But it is also important to note that said faction was motivated by a schism within the church itself.

    So again David Wilford, you are trying to remove religion as a possible motivating force behind any sort of human rights abuse. It isn’t that the people of the church who hate the gays are genuinely motivated by their hatred and spurred on by the bad book, it’s that they hate the gays because then they can play get-backsys against other parts of the church they don’t like. But if there is a schism in the church it seems more likely that hating the gays for religious reasons is a cause of the schism and not the symptom.

    Of course I’m positing all this as though what you’ve said is true and roughly accurate. I doubt that very much, you’re batting a straight zero here David Wilford. If you want me to believe that the gaybashing in the episcopalian church is merely a symptom of internal politics, a suggestion that goes against every other instance of a religious organization attacking the gays, then prove it. You have devalued your word over the 6 weeks you’ve been arguing here, I’m going to need more than just your saying something to make me think you’re for real.

  87. David Wilford says

    omnicrom, the motivation of the Nigerian bishops is religious, but what about the motivation of those Anglicans who want to accept gays in the church? Is that also religious, or not? If it is, then what is actually dividing the two? I submit it’s the cultural context. Nigeria, as I pointed out earlier, has a population that overwhelmingly rejects homosexuality. The U.K. doesn’t. That is something to be taking into consideration when judging the matter.

  88. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Wilford

    There’s a schism in the C of E? Speaking as an Englishman, this is news to me. I don’t think “schism” means what you think it means. Hint: it’s rather more serious than “internal disagreement”, which is what’s actually going on.

    I note you didn’t answer my #590.

  89. David Wilford says

    It’s a schism in the Anglican Church over the subject of homosexuality, actually, Thumper.

  90. omnicrom says

    the motivation of the Nigerian bishops is religious, but what about the motivation of those Anglicans who want to accept gays in the church? Is that also religious, or not?

    Could be religious. Could be not. Could be they’re preaching a message of inclusivity. Could be they know that homophobia is a dying rallying cry and they want to keep their pews as full as possible. I’d be unsurprised if there are UK bishops who genuinely hate the gays for religious reasons, but don’t say that because they’re the face of the church and people will judge them as homophobes for being homophobic.

    If it is, then what is actually dividing the two? I submit it’s the cultural context. Nigeria, as I pointed out earlier, has a population that overwhelmingly rejects homosexuality. The U.K. doesn’t. That is something to be taking into consideration when judging the matter.

    And as we all know from your posts culture is magical and springs up with absolutely no outside forces. Surely there couldn’t be a powerful organization in Nigeria that helps fan the flames of hatred by claiming that all gays upon their death will go to a magical land of hellfire and brimstone to suffer everlasting torment. Oh wait, there’s the Episcopalian church of Nigeria which by your own admission hates the gays.

    This last run of posts by you seems to be under the assumption that religion has absolutely no power in society. The way you talk about religion makes it seem that religion is powerless to resist the forces of culture that batter it this way and that on positions of morality and human rights. Religion is nothing but a weather-vane pointing whichever way the magical winds of culture push it. Those winds must be magical, because from the perspective you’ve put forth no sort of deliberate effort can effect culture, if you just quietly acquiesce long enough they just change on their own.

    This is Bullshit in two orders. Religion is a powerful force in society. People actually do believe in religion David Wilford, when their priest tells them to think a certain way there are people who will studiously follow the priest’s orders. You keep talking as though the Nigerian culture just woke up one morning hating the gays, and therefore the church followed along. You take great pains to avoid suggesting, or perhaps even thinking, that maybe, just maybe, part of the reason that Nigeria hates the gays is that someone in a church told them that god commands them to be homophobes. One very important thing that could reduce Nigerian homophobia, or the homophobia of any place with religiously sanctioned bigotry, is to corrode the power of the church. If the church’s hatred is no longer accepted as right and true I bet you that you’d see a lot less fear of the gays in Nigeria.

  91. Nick Gotts says

    Nick, the fact that Alimi sought refuge in the U.K., where the Church of England is the official state religion, does seem to point out something, I can’t quite tell what

    Actually, it’s not – it’s the “established church” in England only. The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian, there’s no established church in Wales or Northern Ireland. But then, accuracy was never your strong point, was it? And it’s more relevant that he’s fled to a country where the churches (and mosques, synagogues, temples… – it’s been a throughly ecumenical and interfaith campaign) have just failed in their latest battle for bigotry: the attempt to stop marriage equality laws being passed for England, Wales and Scotland. Thus demonstrating how far their influence has waned.

    omnicrom, the motivation of the Nigerian bishops is religious, but what about the motivation of those Anglicans who want to accept gays in the church? Is that also religious, or not? – David Wilford

    No, it isn’t. There was no such faction in the Anglican church until well after “gay liberation”/”gay pride” movements established themselves in the 1970s. At best, churches have played catch-up as the tide of secular opinion has shifted against misogyny and homophobia. Every move toward equality for LGBT people has been fought tooth and nail by the overwhelming bulk of the religious establishment – see the opposition to marriage equality for the latest installment in the UK. As for that spineless little squit Rowan Williams, first, LGBT people aren’t asking for “tolerance”, but demanding equality (oh how rude of them!), and second, he chickened out of taking any real stand against the most blatant, hate-filled homophobia.

  92. David Wilford says

    You keep talking as though the Nigerian culture just woke up one morning hating the gays, and therefore the church followed along.

    It’s more like there being a hatred of gays that goes back for far longer a period of time. Corroding the power of the church alone won’t necessarily reduce that. Consider the case of Russia, where the power of the Orthodox Church was greatly diminished in the U.S.S.R., but homophobia nevertheless remained. God certainly wasn’t commanding the commies to be homophobic.

  93. omnicrom says

    It’s more like there being a hatred of gays that goes back for far longer a period of time. Corroding the power of the church alone won’t necessarily reduce that.

    Can’t hurt! If you cut one of the pillars of bigotry the rest of it is going to be more unstable and more amenable to tipping over.

    Consider the case of Russia, where the power of the Orthodox Church was greatly diminished in the U.S.S.R., but homophobia nevertheless remained. God certainly wasn’t commanding the commies to be homophobic.

    David Wilford this claim has been thoroughly debunked. Here. Right here. By people right here. With links and logic and everything. WE KNOW you’re a religious apologist who spins everything like a top to avoid blaming religion for anything ever, but please don’t be a boring religious apologist who has to reuse defeated arguments.

  94. David Wilford says

    No, it isn’t. There was no such faction in the Anglican church until well after “gay liberation”/”gay pride” movements established themselves in the 1970s. At best, churches have played catch-up as the tide of secular opinion has shifted against misogyny and homophobia.

    I agree. Thankfully there are plenty of religious people who after doing some soul searching and listening to gays no longer accepted their church’s doctrine on homosexuality and many of them have been active in promoting equal rights for LGBTs. I think that has affected the Anglican church in the U.S. as well as Canada, for the better. But absolutely, it was gays themselves who did the hardest work and took the lead.

  95. omnicrom says

    In every current or recent campaign of homophobic bigotry, Wilford, you will find the representatives of organized religion to the fore. If you dispute this, point us to the exceptions.

    But but but Some religious people aren’t bigots and therefore it’s unfair and mean to claim religion is bigoted!

  96. David Wilford says

    But but but Some religious people aren’t bigots and therefore it’s unfair and mean to claim religion is bigoted!

    Depends on the religion. Unitarian-Universalism isn’t bigoted against gays, certainly.

  97. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I just hate seeing people assuming it’s impossible and basing their conclusions on that false premise.

    Gee, you have to dilute a religion to the point where it ignores the babble, welcomes atheists, and is just a social club to make your point? Not much of a point, or very prevalent, is it? Still failing evidence 101.

  98. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts, in 2012 there was indeed a campaign to pass a constitutional amendment in Minnesota that would have made gay marriage illegal that the Catholic Church and many fundamentalist Christian churches supported. There were however other churches, such as the Unitarian-Universalists and the United Church of Christ that opposed said amendment. And as I’ve previously mentioned, there were plenty of Catholic voters who also opposed the amendment. So you can find representatives of organized religion on both sides of the issue.

  99. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David WIlford #613

    [citation needed]

    I repeat, I don’t think schism means what you think it means. Are you aware that in a religious context it has a quite specific meaning?

  100. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Wilford

    And as I’ve previously mentioned, there were plenty of Catholic voters who also opposed the amendment. So you can find representatives of organized religion on both sides of the issue.

    How is a run-of-the-mill Catholic a “representative of organised Religion”? Are you also of the opinion that an iPod owner is a representative of Apple inc.?

    Having re-read your #613, you seem to have a shaky understanding of what exactly the Anglican church is and it’s relationship to the C of E.

  101. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And as I’ve previously mentioned, there were plenty of Catholic voters who also opposed the amendment.

    Non-sequitur, as usual. Members of an authoritarian church have nothing to do with official church policy. Doesn’t prove anything.

    So you can find representatives of organized religion on both sides of the issue.

    Most lined up for banning gay marriage….Not making your pointless point with wishy-washy evidence. Typical of vague accommodationist….

  102. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Nick Gotts

    You may be waiting a while. He clearly read my #612, since he gave a reply, but he still hasn’t answered my #590 despite being reminded of it’s existence in my #612. I am beginning to suspect that DW is being deliberately evasive. Hmm…

  103. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 626:

    How is a run-of-the-mill Catholic a “representative of organised Religion”?

    If they’re professing to be a Catholic, they’re a representative of the faith, if not the Church leadership, and even run-of the-mill ones do count, especially as they add up.

  104. Nick Gotts says

    David Wilford@624,

    You’re evading the point I made, which is that in every current or recent campaign of homophobic bigotry, you will find the representatives of organized religion to the fore. Obviously I didn’t mean that this is true of all such representatives – that would be as absurd as your claim that Russia is atheist. But in every campaign I can find – in the USA, in the UK, in France, in Russia, in India, in Nigeria, in Uganda – a central expressed motivation of the bigots is religious, and religious leaders are prominent in the campaign of hate. Clearly, you have no counter-examples, or you’d have produced them rather than changing the subject.

  105. David Wilford says

    Nerd @ 627:

    Members of an authoritarian church have nothing to do with official church policy.

    Maybe, maybe not:

    ROME — Often, when the Vatican speaks, it can be a fairly one-sided conversation, issuing encyclicals and other formal documents stating the Roman Catholic Church’s official position on doctrine or other matters.

    But Pope Francis, who has already shaken up the Vatican, is asking the world’s one billion Catholics for their opinions on a questionnaire covering social issues like same-sex marriage, cohabitation by unwed couples, contraception, and the place of divorced and remarried people in the church.

    “It’s something that is totally new,” said Msgr. Alberto Pala, a parish priest at the Cathedral of Cagliari in Sardinia, Italy. “And we are very pleased.”

    The questionnaire is being distributed to bishops worldwide in advance of their synod next fall. Family is the theme of that meeting, with bishops expected to grapple with how the church should address issues like divorce and same-sex marriage. In the past, the Vatican has determined the agenda for synods and sought opinions from bishops’ conferences around the world.

    This time, however, some analysts say, the style and content of the questionnaire represent a deliberate effort by Francis to engage ordinary Catholics, unlike in the past when synods have attracted little attention. Francis has also raised expectations by changing the format, with next year’s meeting framed as a prelude to a second synod in 2015 that could bring proposed changes, even if few expect him to pursue major doctrinal shifts.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/09/world/europe/with-survey-vatican-seeks-laity-comment-on-family-issues.html

  106. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If they’re professing to be a Catholic, they’re a representative of the faith, if not the Church leadership,

    Nope, liar and bullshitter. In the Catholic church, you either follow church dogma or you are bad member in need of redirection. Your own beliefs are not in any way making the church change its mind, nor do they necessarily represent the church. Why you would say something so stupid in an intellectual argument is beyond reason.

  107. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts, your point about organized religions being involved in anti-gay political movements is duly noted, but your implication that organized religion is therefore inherently bigoted isn’t supported. I think a more useful frame to apply is a conservative vs. liberal one, or authoritarian vs. democratic. That way you can better see how the Putin’s of this world actually operate.

  108. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @DW #629

    Thank you! Sweet Jeebus, evidence!

    Excellent. Well done David. That does indeed look like a schism in the making, though technically not a schism yet.

    There was some disagreement about whether it was a template for a schism, which could lead to a new “orthodox” wing of the church, or merely a realignment of Anglicanism’s power base away from Canterbury.

    Unsuprisingly, the Bishops of Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria are supporting the motion. Hmm.

    I particularly enjoyed this bit:

    Next week about 1,000 senior conservative figures, including Archbishop Akinola and other African and South American leaders, will meet in Jerusalem to discuss the way forward at Gafcon.

    The city’s annual gay parade is due to take place at the same time.

    :) *chuckle*.

    To your #630, I repeat: Are you also of the opinion that an iPod owner is a representative of Apple inc.? There is a difference between the people selling the bullshit and the people buying it, David.

    I suppose this kind of hinges on what you mean by “representative”. The individual beliefs of a follower of the RCC, or even the individual beliefs of an RC priest, do not necessarily reflect or have any effect on the official dogma of the RCC.

  109. David Wilford says

    Thumper:

    Are you also of the opinion that an iPod owner is a representative of Apple inc.?

    There’s a difference between professing a faith and buying a product.

  110. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but your implication that organized religion is therefore inherently bigoted isn’t supported.

    Actually, it is. Your evidenceless OPINION of the evidence can be dismissed in an evidential argument….

  111. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There’s a difference between professing a faith and buying a product.

    There’s a difference between providing solid and conclusive evidence to back up your points, and making vague handwaving statements to hide your lack of evidence.

  112. David Wilford says

    Nerd:

    A counter-example I’ve already given is Unitarian-Universalism, which isn’t bigoted towards gays, or anyone else for that matter. Do keep up.

  113. omnicrom says

    There’s a difference between professing a faith and buying a product.

    Partially true but wholly irrelevant. You are shifting the goalposts David Wilford. By spinning the meaning of “representative” you avoid answering a question that you don’t want to answer. If every single person in a religious faith can be seen as a “representative” of their faith then you’re off the hook, as after all there are religious people who do good things. And that’s good for you, it feeds into your argument that if any person is motivated by faith to do good we’re evil nasty atheists with hammers.

    But it doesn’t work that way. The representative of a product is not the End User but the company spokesperson. The representative of a political party is not the voters on the ground but the leadership of the party in office. The representative of a country is not a random person but the country’s leadership and its ambassadors. And the representative of a faith is not the people doing good but the people at the top who are shouting out against equality.

    You are intellectually dishonest. You have to be because there’s otherwise no reason to go into full-blown spin mode other than to avoid answering a question you don’t wish to answer. But you’re transparent. You move the goalposts because you know otherwise you’d have to admit that religion is horrible for civil rights. Just a reminder David Wilford: We’ve seen all the little debating tricks before. If you aren’t going to argue in good faith don’t expect to get away with it.

  114. David Marjanović says

    Unsuprisingly, the Bishops of Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria are supporting the motion. Hmm.

    Why the present tense? The article dates from June 2008. It’s over five years old.

    There’s a difference between professing a faith and buying a product.

    Heh. Not so much in the case of Apple. :-þ

  115. Nick Gotts says

    Nick Gotts, your point about organized religions being involved in anti-gay political movements is duly noted, but your implication that organized religion is therefore inherently bigoted isn’t supported. – David Wilford@634

    Whether it’s “inherently” bigoted (whatever that means) isn’t the point, and was not my implication. The point is that in the real world, as opposed to your fantasy world, organized religion is overwhelmingly on the side of homophobic (and misogynistic and transphobic) bigotry.

  116. omnicrom says

    A counter-example I’ve already given is Unitarian-Universalism, which isn’t bigoted towards gays, or anyone else for that matter. Do keep up.

    True but irrelevant. Because you are very intentionally not arguing on the same stream as the rest of us, and you aren’t arguing straight because you very evidently can’t win without going into non-sequitors. A quick reminder: This current stream of the “David Wilford dances around reality” show began back in 619 with Nick Gott’s question to you. Here it is again in case it slipped from your mind:

    In every current or recent campaign of homophobic bigotry, Wilford, you will find the representatives of organized religion to the fore. If you dispute this, point us to the exceptions.

    It’s nice that the Unitarian-Universalists are supposedly not bigoted. However that doesn’t let you off the hook. If they actually aren’t bigoted that still doesn’t excuse EVERY SINGLE OTHER RELIGION ON EARTH THAT IS BIGOTED. And there’s a lot of them. You may have heard of the Abrahamic Religions? They’re pretty big in America and they’re quite bigoted. In fact every current or recent campaign of homophobic bigotry, Wilford, you will find the representatives of organized religion to the fore. If you dispute this point us to the exceptions. And again we’re not asking for you to go hunting for one faith out a hundred thousand that aren’t bigoted, we’re asking you to find a gay civil rights issue where the homophobic position doesn’t have a church at the forefront.

  117. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A counter-example I’ve already given is Unitarian-Universalism, which isn’t bigoted towards gays, or anyone else for that matter. Do keep up.

    And it was dismissed as an extreme example not representative of organized religion. You need to keep up and acknowledge the truth, not your version of fantasy.

  118. Nick Gotts says

    Further to my #643:
    And that organized religion is central to the power of homophobic (and misogynistic and transphobic) bigotry, although of course there are non-religious bigots.

  119. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are you an Apple worshiper Nerd? If so, perhaps that’s what’s confusing you.

    I worship nothing, being an atheist. Do quit with these non-sequiturs. They are telling us you know you have lost the intellectual argument, but can’t stop arguing. We’ve seen it before with other accommodationists.

  120. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 641:

    If every single person in a religious faith can be seen as a “representative” of their faith then you’re off the hook, as after all there are religious people who do good things. And that’s good for you, it feeds into your argument that if any person is motivated by faith to do good we’re evil nasty atheists with hammers.

    I’m not a Christian myself, but I do believe that part of being a Christian is to represent Jesus in all you do, and obviously that does play a part in their doing good things. Being an Apple product user doesn’t obligate you to live up to the Apple Creed, if such as thing even exists. Individual Christians are indeed representing their faith to others, just as atheists can represent their lack of same. If you want to get into organizational politics, sure, organized religions do have offical stances on issues and a hierarchy of leadership. So does organized skepticism and even organized atheism. But I’m sure you wouldn’t agree that the voice of an individual atheist doesn’t matter, even if they may be a member of an formal organization like Minnesota Atheists or Freedom From Religion Foundation. So why shouldn’t a theist’s voice similarly matter?

  121. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Marjanovic

    Why the present tense? The article dates from June 2008. It’s over five years old.

    Why did I expect DW to provide an up to date source? I should know better, really.

    So this “schism” never happened then?

    @David Wilford #636

    Firstly, please note the exchange above. Then perhaps you can explain why you are posting out of date sources which give the impression that you were correct, when if such a schism had officially occurred there would surely be more recent documentation of it.

    After that, you can explain what the difference is between buying a product and professing a faith, and explain how that difference is at all relevant to the conversation we were having. It was an analogy, David. My central point, as I said in #635, is:

    There is a difference between the people selling the bullshit and the people buying it, David… The individual beliefs of a follower of the RCC, or even the individual beliefs of an RC priest, do not necessarily reflect or have any effect on the official dogma of the RCC.

  122. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So why shouldn’t a theist’s voice similarly matter?

    The topic under discussion is ORGANIZED RELIGION, not individual people of faith. Boy, are you one confused individual. We condemn organized religion as bad for society. We think people of faith are delusional fools, but if they don’t proselytize, they are tolerated. So stop conflating the organization and their policies with individuals.

  123. David Wilford says

    Nick Gotts @ 646:

    And that organized religion is central to the power of homophobic (and misogynistic and transphobic) bigotry, although of course there are non-religious bigots.

    As well as non-bigoted organized religions. I suppose one can discount Unitarians for being few in number, but Buddhists? Not so much. The Abrahamic faiths have indeed perpetuated bigotry against gays, but even they aren’t totally representative of organized religion.

  124. David Wilford says

    Nerd:

    We condemn organized religion as bad for society. We think people of faith are delusional fools, but if they don’t proselytize, they are tolerated.

    When the JW’s come to my door, I say thanks but no thanks. It seems to work pretty well for all concerned, that thing called tolerance, no?

  125. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 649:

    If it’s more up to date information you want, here it is:

    Subsequent division

    Bishops from two Anglican provinces, Province of Rwanda and the Province of South East Asia, consecrated missionary bishops for the United States in January 2000 and formally established the Anglican Mission in America (now called the Anglican Mission in the Americas) later that year. In 2010, a similar jurisdiction created by the Reformed Episcopal Church and former members and congregations of the Episcopal Church in the USA was officially launched. Four dioceses which withdrew from the Episcopal Church account for the majority of the nearly 700 congregations affiliated with this church, the Anglican Church in North America. These two bodies—AMiA and ACNA—reject the creation of rites for same-sex unions as well as the ordination of openly homosexual persons. Neither is a member of the Anglican Communion at present (see Anglican realignment).

    Bishops in Uganda cut relations with the Diocese of New Hampshire following Robinson’s consecration on 2 November 2003. The Church of Nigeria declared itself in “impaired communion” with the Episcopal Church on 2 November 2003,[10] and nine days later announced it was planning to establish a United States branch of its province to support Nigerian Anglicans living in the U.S., the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. The Province of South East Asia broke communion with the Episcopal Church on 20 November 2003, citing Robinson’s consecration as the reason for its action.[11]

    Windsor Report and 2005 Primates Meeting

    In 2004, the Lambeth Commission on Communion issued a report on the issue of homosexuality in the Anglican Communion, which became known as the Windsor Report. This report took a strong stand against homosexual practice, recommended a moratorium on further consecrations of actively homosexual bishops and blessings of same-sex unions,[12] and called for all involved in Robinson’s consecration “to consider in all conscience whether they should withdraw themselves from representative functions in the Anglican Communion”.[13] However, it stopped short of recommending discipline against the Episcopal Church or Anglican Church of Canada.

    In February 2005, the Primates of the Anglican Communion held a regular meeting at Dromantine in Northern Ireland at which the issue of homosexuality was heavily discussed. Of the 38 Primates, 35 attended. The Primates issued a communiqué that reiterated most of the Windsor Report’s statements, but added a new twist. The Episcopal Church and Anglican Church of Canada were asked to voluntarily withdraw from the Anglican Consultative Council, the main formal international entity within the Anglican Communion until the next Lambeth Conference in 2008.
    Consecration of Mary Douglas Glasspool

    In December 2009 an open lesbian, Mary Douglas Glasspool, was elected as a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Los Angeles. Her consecration took place on 15 May 2010.[14] Leaders from 20 Anglican provinces, meeting in Singapore in April 2010 declared the election and intended consecration of Canon Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian in the Episcopal Church in the United States (TEC), “demonstrated, yet again, a total disregard for the mind of the Communion”.[15]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_Anglicanism

  126. omnicrom says

    I’m not a Christian myself

    You just play one on Pharyngula.

    but I do believe that part of being a Christian is to represent Jesus in all you do, and obviously that does play a part in their doing good things.

    Well as I’ve said several times before that’s nice but that’s irrelevant. We’re very much aware you give and unlimited benefit of the doubt to religion and do mental jumping jacks to keep from seeing it in anything but the absolute most positive light. However indulging in the “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship” style warm fuzzy apologia doesn’t change the fact that Christianity is a powerful force for bigotry, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. And this hatred is often justified by invoking Jesus himself.

    If you want to get into organizational politics, sure, organized religions do have offical stances on issues and a hierarchy of leadership. So does organized skepticism and even organized atheism.

    Nice of you to try and slip this by to prevent it from being noticed. Try harder. That “official” stance on issues provided by church leadership is almost always going to be regressive and hateful. As much as you might try to downplay the importance of church leadership by talking about the wonderfulness of individual belief you’re talking bullshit. The church has lots of money and therefore power and lots of people who are indeed loyal to it and willing to call upon it’s official hatred and bigotry to reinforce their own hatred and bigotry. Also, unlike atheism, religion encourages dogma, tries to quash dissent, and claims to have a hotline to a allpowerful invisible overbeing who will torture you forever for not hating the right people, so stop trying to hit us over the head with the hammer of false equivalency.

    But I’m sure you wouldn’t agree that the voice of an individual atheist doesn’t matter, even if they may be a member of an formal organization like Minnesota Atheists or Freedom From Religion Foundation. So why shouldn’t a theist’s voice similarly matter?

    The voice of an individual atheist who is not a representative of Minnesota Atheists or the FRF Foundation does not matter if we are asking about the representative views and actions of the Minnesota Atheists or the FRF Foundation. If we are asking about atheistic responses to those organization it matters. If we’re asking about the beliefs of atheists than they matter. But they are not representatives of an organization so their view isn’t important asked looking for a representative view of an organization. By the same token the views of a theist are no representative of a religious organization unless they are a representative of that religious organization.

    So no, just because there are good Catholics doesn’t stop the Catholic church from being a sexist and homophobic organization actively trying to encourage regressive hateful policies and politics.

  127. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Wilford #653

    Excellent, thank you :) I would preferr something that isn’t Wiki, but it would appear there really has been a schism; at least in North America, though I’m not entirely clear from your quoted excerpt about what is going on in Africa.

    Do you have a reply to the latter half of my #649?

  128. omnicrom says

    As well as non-bigoted organized religions. I suppose one can discount Unitarians for being few in number, but Buddhists? Not so much. The Abrahamic faiths have indeed perpetuated bigotry against gays, but even they aren’t totally representative of organized religion.

    I’m so glad you brought up Buddhism because that shows you haven’t got a clue. The Tibetan Buddhist church had immense power when the Dalai Lama was in power and created a tremendously unequal society with a very unjust class system.

    Also the Abrahamic Religions collectively actually do have a majority of the believers in the world. Those religions are homophobic, bigoted, and sexist. You’ll also find similar problems in Hinduism which is the third most believed religion after Christianity and Islam according to the world factbook. So if 65% of religions in the world are right off the bat generally homophobic, bigoted, and sexist I’m going to conclude that maybe religion has more bad in it than good.

    And again you haven’t yet found an instance where religion is NOT on the forefront of oppression and the regressive status quo when it comes to Gay Rights. Your current course of trying to change the meaning of the word “representative” and try to find “the good religion” is pretty transparently trying to change the subject.

  129. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 654:

    You just play one on Pharyngula.

    Nah, I just have more than a hammer in my toolbox.

    So no, just because there are good Catholics doesn’t stop the Catholic church from being a sexist and homophobic organization actively trying to encourage regressive hateful policies and politics.

    It doesn’t stop it, but it can influence it, and as the article from the New York Times I mentioned shows, it even includes the Roman Catholic Church.

  130. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 656:

    I’m so glad you brought up Buddhism because that shows you haven’t got a clue. The Tibetan Buddhist church had immense power when the Dalai Lama was in power and created a tremendously unequal society with a very unjust class system.

    Is that anything like the capitalist system in the U.S. that has immense power and has created a tremendously unequal society, etc.? I had no idea I lived in a theocracy, but then people do worship the Almighty Dollar.

    Tibet into the 20th century was indeed still essentially a feudal society. The Buddhism of that time and place definitely reflected that. That is no longer the case, and the claim that the Chinese take-over of Tibet is justified because Buddhism imposes an unjust class system is bogus.

  131. omnicrom says

    Nah, I just have more than a hammer in my toolbox.

    No good ones though considering how vapid and fact-free you’ve been throughout the 6 weeks you’ve been here.

    It doesn’t stop it, but it can influence it, and as the article from the New York Times I mentioned shows, it even includes the Roman Catholic Church.

    But that’s not what we’ve been talking about. You argue that religion is not a harmful regressive force in society. However because religion is very self-evidently harmful you shift around and argue that representative means something extra special only for religions and followed that by aruing that there’s one good religion out of a million so it’s alright when redefining words didn’t help you win. Now the argument is that the RCC can change so holding it accountable for what it is now is mean? Well sure when you judge the Catholic Church only by what it could be generations down that line I guess it is mean to judge how it is now, I mean it’s not like there are people right here right now being harmed by official church dogma right? Oh right, the gays who are out there making noise and fighting to get equal rights. Surprise surprise, organized religion has been on the forefront of regressive policies and fighting against equality. Like it always does.

  132. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nah, I just have more than a hammer in my toolbox.

    You have no toolbox. Just tap dancing.

  133. omnicrom says

    Is that anything like the capitalist system in the U.S. that has immense power and has created a tremendously unequal society, etc.? I had no idea I lived in a theocracy, but then people do worship the Almighty Dollar.

    And are you arguing that our capitalist society harms no one and is good and positive? Because that’s what you’re comparing Buddhism to, and if you compare Tibetan Buddhism to Capitalism you’re being even nastier than I would be. And it seems as though comparing Buddhism to something that causes a lot of harm goes against your original thesis that Buddhism is one of the Good religions that we should judge all religions by. Also that second sentence? That’s why I can tell you’re being disingenuous. The smugness positively lept off the page at me.

    That is no longer the case, and the claim that the Chinese take-over of Tibet is justified because Buddhism imposes an unjust class system is bogus.

    Please point out where I made that claim. And also take note that this is yet another instance of you refusing to argue honestly. Much easier to strike strawmen than real people.

  134. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    DW, the overwhelming EVIDENCE is that organized religion is regressive, misogynist, homophobic, etc, etc. You haven’t shown otherwise, nor can you. If you could, you would have done so by now.

    Those of us here can see the difference between the people of a religion, where some may be only social X, and the religious hierarchy/organization/leadership.

    We work all the time with those who are social X without problems, using the equivalent of “dinner table diplomacy (DTD)”. Our objections are to the religious and religious organizations comes when they don’t play by DTD, and try to tell us what we must believe, that we must pray with them, we must be as bigoted as they are (or least not criticize their bigotry), and other such bullshit. That’s when the hammers come out, as they should in such situations.

  135. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 659:

    You argue that religion is not a harmful regressive force in society.

    It certainly doesn’t have to be. It’s not a black vs. white choice, with no shades of grey allowed.

    With respect to slavery, there were organized religions on both sides of the issue. Not surprisingly, the ones in the Confederacy were all for Biblical authority condoning it, while in the Union they found Biblical justifications to condemn it. Clearly, the cultural context mattered in the U.S. In England the abolishionist movement was entwined with the Christian religion and slavery was abolished there in 1833. So it’s not true that religion is always a regressive force in society.

  136. says

    David Wilford #658

    That is no longer the case, and the claim that the Chinese take-over of Tibet is justified because Buddhism imposes an unjust class system is bogus.

    No-one here made that claim. The discussion is about religion fueling bigotry, notably homophobia. Tibetan Buddhism (per the current Dalai Llama) says that homosexuality is wrong. Theraveda Buddhism agrees.

  137. omnicrom says

    It certainly doesn’t have to be. It’s not a black vs. white choice, with no shades of grey allowed.

    GOOD NEWS! You don’t have to wrangle with that strawman anymore because we don’t actually see religion entirely in black and white! We strident atheists with our hammers can appreciate that there are good religious people, good people motivated by religion, and that religion can cause minor positive effects. Now most atheists, myself included, would argue that religion being untrue means that the ultimate goal is to wean society from it entirely, but atheists, myself included, will say that’s a very long-term goal and that for now advancing humanism, equality, and secular governance can be done with religious allies.

    So it’s not true that religion is always a regressive force in society.

    This not so much. You have been trying trying TRYING so hard to find an out from Nick Gotts question back at 619. Once again you fail. There may have been pro-abolition religiously motivated northerners, but there were anti-abolition religiously motivated southerners by your own admission. You can’t just ignore the bad parts, they happened and they’re important. You can’t just wave off the bad of religion by pointing to the good people involved in religion.

    Remember David Wilford, It’s not a black vs. white choice, with no shades of grey allowed. There can be good people in a bad organization, people who believe in progressive ideals while being involved in a regressive force.

  138. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 661:

    My mention of the inequality of capitalism was to succinctly point out that getting rid of religion doesn’t get rid of inequality. In fact, lately it’s been folks like Pope Francis making a point about the excesses of capitalism.

    The Buddhism of Tibet for thousands of years existed in a feudal context, so surprise, it was part of a feudal class system. Buddhism in its modern context does not impose the sort of class system where there are priests and serfs. So your claim of Buddhism being inherently unjust is bogus.

    It like you all are blind to anything other than religion being a factor in society, certainly if there’s something bad that can be used to slag religion. It’s more complicated than that, hence the need for something other than hammers in ye olde toolbox.

  139. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 665:

    Now most atheists, myself included, would argue that religion being untrue means that the ultimate goal is to wean society from it entirely, but atheists, myself included, will say that’s a very long-term goal and that for now advancing humanism, equality, and secular governance can be done with religious allies.

    That’s pretty much my own personal view. I think religion won’t ever disappear, but it will change and adapt to a world where we finally stop looking for teleological explanations for natural phenomena. One of the things Spufford’s book made clear to me is that it was possible, for him at least, to drop all the bullshit about Creation, homosexuality, etc. and have faith. There are worse outcomes than a world that still has Spufford’s kind of Christianity in it.

  140. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s more complicated than that, hence the need for something other than hammers in ye olde toolbox.

    Only in your apologetic delusional mind. Nowhere else.

    , but it will change and adapt to a world where we finally stop looking for teleological explanations for natural phenomena.

    It can’t change and adapt, without admiting the twin lies of their imaginary deity and pretending a book of mythology/fiction is inerrant. Rose colored delusional glasses.

  141. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @DW #666 (how ironic that the only apologist here gets that number).

    You will please note no one suggested that religion was the only negative influence on society. Also, see my #655.

  142. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    …but it will change and adapt to a world where we finally stop looking for teleological explanations for natural phenomena.

    How? Religion is a teleological explanation for natural phenomena. The second people stop looking for and accepting teleological explanations, religion dies.

  143. David Wilford says

    Dalillama @ 664:

    Here’s what Wiki has to say about the Dalai Lama’s views on homosexuality:

    Sexuality

    A monk since childhood, the Dalai Lama has said that sex offers fleeting satisfaction and leads to trouble later, while chastity offers a better life and “more independence, more freedom”.[72] He has observed that problems arising from conjugal life sometimes even lead to suicide or murder.[73] He has asserted that all religions have the same view about adultery.[74]

    In his discussions of the traditional Buddhist view on appropriate sexual behavior, he explains the concept of “right organ in the right object at the right time,” which historically has been interpreted as indicating that oral, manual and anal sex (both homosexual and heterosexual) are not appropriate in Buddhism or for Buddhists, yet he also says that in modern times all common, consensual sexual practices that do not cause harm to others are ethically acceptable and that society should not discriminate against gays and lesbians and should accept and respect them from a secular point of view.[75] In a 1994 interview with OUT Magazine, the Dalai Lama clarified his personal opinion on the matter by saying, “If someone comes to me and asks whether homosexuality is okay or not, I will ask ‘What is your companion’s opinion?’. If you both agree, then I think I would say, ‘If two males or two females voluntarily agree to have mutual satisfaction without further implication of harming others, then it is okay.’”[76] However, when interviewed by Canadian TV news anchor Evan Solomon on CBC News: Sunday about whether or not homosexuality is acceptable in Buddhism, the Dalai Lama responded that “it is sexual misconduct”.[77] This was an echo of an earlier response in a 2004 Vancouver Sun interview when asked about homosexulity in Buddhism, where the Dalai Lama replied “for a Buddhist, the same sex, that is sexual misconduct”[78]

    In his 1996 book Beyond Dogma, he described a traditional Buddhist definition of an appropriate sexual act as follows: “A sexual act is deemed proper when the couples use the organs intended for sexual intercourse and nothing else… Homosexuality, whether it is between men or between women, is not improper in itself. What is improper is the use of organs already defined as inappropriate for sexual contact.”[79] He elaborated in 1997, explaining that the basis of that teaching was unknown to him. He also conveyed his own “willingness to consider the possibility that some of the teachings may be specific to a particular cultural and historic context”.[80]

    The Dalai Lama has expressed concern at “reports of violence and discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people” and “urges respect, tolerance and the full recognition of human rights for all.”[81]

    Seems to me that the Dalai Lama would not be a prominent figure in enacting laws that discriminated against homosexuals, and that he is open to changing his views.

  144. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Seems to me that the Dalai Lama would not be a prominent figure in enacting laws that discriminated against homosexuals, and that he is open to changing his views.

    More non-sequiturs. Stop with that bullshitty tap dancing.

  145. David Wilford says

    @DW #666 (how ironic that the only apologist here gets that number).

    Heh, my number as a jock in high school was #13, because while I wasn’t that good an athlete, I wanted to be noticed in an ironic way… ;^)

  146. omnicrom says

    Well David Wilford you’re very very tiring to deal with because myself and others have already answered every one of your points several times by now.

    My mention of the inequality of capitalism was to succinctly point out that getting rid of religion doesn’t get rid of inequality.

    I’ve already addressed this. The end of religion is not the end of equality, but it’s certainly the first few steps.

    In fact, lately it’s been folks like Pope Francis making a point about the excesses of capitalism.

    The RCC has better PR but it’s no better as an institution. As Pope Francis has very tenuous connections to the people that actually control financial policy and effect the economy he doesn’t have to lift a finger to look good here. If the pope were to talk about equality for the gays or women people would ask why he doesn’t do anything, but if he talks about economic equality he’s sitting pretty.

    It like you all are blind to anything other than religion being a factor in society, certainly if there’s something bad that can be used to slag religion. It’s more complicated than that, hence the need for something other than hammers in ye olde toolbox.

    You seem to be blind to religion being a factor in society, certainly if there’s something good you can ascribe to religion by ignoring it. It’s more complicated than that, hence the need for something more than tired stupid apologia in ye olde toolbox.

    The Buddhism of Tibet for thousands of years existed in a feudal context, so surprise, it was part of a feudal class system. Buddhism in its modern context does not impose the sort of class system where there are priests and serfs. So your claim of Buddhism being inherently unjust is bogus.

    Just like the discussion of Russia you’re letting a religion off the hook entirely and pinning the blame 100% on something besides religion. Also “inherently unjust” is shifting the goalposts. No religion is “inherently unjust”, the majority of them are merely unjust.

    One of the things Spufford’s book made clear to me is that it was possible, for him at least, to drop all the bullshit about Creation, homosexuality, etc. and have faith. There are worse outcomes than a world that still has Spufford’s kind of Christianity in it.

    But Spufford’s faith is not representative. A long time ago you acted as though everyone was like Spufford and there were no true dogmatic believers. But religion is a force for ill in society. There are millions who hang onto the words of religious believers and dutifully believe as they’re told. The majority religions aren’t Unitarian Universalism, they’re powerful regressive entities.

    What tires me about these last posts is that they’re your everything. You’re wowwed and awed by religion, you ignore religion as a social force, you mock atheists for not getting sophisticated theology, you make excuses for bad behavior, you give smarmy self-congratulatory cheery little insults, and you dream of a world with nothing but good religion and confuse it with the present. I’m tired of this David Wilford because you’re a tiring person to interact with.

  147. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 670:

    How? Religion is a teleological explanation for natural phenomena. The second people stop looking for and accepting teleological explanations, religion dies.

    Not if they’re looking for explanations of why there’s love in the universe, and remain wholly in the metaphysical realm. It’s teleological explanations like Michael Behe’s so-called “intelligent design” that I’m thinking will be dropped.

  148. omnicrom says

    Not if they’re looking for explanations of why there’s love in the universe, and remain wholly in the metaphysical realm. It’s teleological explanations like Michael Behe’s so-called “intelligent design” that I’m thinking will be dropped.

    Except we can find secular scientific explanations for Love in the universe. Religion is unnecessary.

  149. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 674:

    But Spufford’s faith is not representative. A long time ago you acted as though everyone was like Spufford and there were no true dogmatic believers.

    No, Spufford isn’t representative of most theists and is practically a deist except for his belief in Jesus. What I see him exemplifying is how religion has been ceding ground to naturalism as the sciences have had their enormous success in explaining natural phenomena. Sure, there are YEC’s still out there peddling their bullshit but they’re losing influence by doing so, not gaining it.

  150. David Wilford says

    Except we can find secular scientific explanations for Love in the universe. Religion is unnecessary.

    We can find natural explanations for human emotional attachments to other beings, but to Love in the universe, no, because that’s a metaphor.

  151. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Nerd, you’re just jealous you didn’t get post #666. Better luck next time.

    I seriously doubt he’s jealous. He’s gotten it before, he will again.

    On the other hand, I am devastated at the lack of appreciation for my ingenious comedic reference to Archbishop Atkinson.

    All these people talking about the Anglicans, and no one knows who Archbishop Atkinson might be?

  152. David Wilford says

    Omnicrom:

    you give smarmy self-congratulatory cheery little insults

    So what? It’s not as if the culture here doesn’t get it’s rocks off by being insulting in general. PZ pretty much sets the tone for the site in that regard, so if you can’t stand the heat you can always get out of the kitchen.

  153. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd, you’re just jealous you didn’t get post #666. Better luck next time.

    More evasive non-sequiturs. You couldn’t address a point with a compass, GPS, and a book of clues.

  154. omnicrom says

    We can find natural explanations for human emotional attachments to other beings, but to Love in the universe, no, because that’s a metaphor.

    We need religion to interpret metaphors about love in the universe? Wow I’ve seen way more religious anime than I thought, and there really aren’t any religious anime.

  155. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So what? It’s not as if the culture here doesn’t get it’s rocks off by being insulting in general. PZ pretty much sets the tone for the site in that regard, so if you can’t stand the heat you can always get out of the kitchen.

    Gee, what a idjit you are. You supply no heat. Just decaying odoriferous swamp water.

  156. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David Wilford #677

    But we know why love exists. And religion has nothing to do with it.

  157. David Wilford says

    All these people talking about the Anglicans, and no one knows who Archbishop Atkinson might be?

    So much for your cunning plan, Baldric…

  158. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What I see him exemplifying is how religion has been ceding ground to naturalism as the sciences have had their enormous success in explaining natural phenomena.

    What I see in him is a delusional fool trying to explain why he is delusional, and not rational. Bullshit from one end to the other. Nothing cogent.

  159. omnicrom says

    So what? It’s not as if the culture here doesn’t get it’s rocks off by being insulting in general. PZ pretty much sets the tone for the site in that regard, so if you can’t stand the heat you can always get out of the kitchen.

    You’re an asshole with no evidence, no good arguments, and nothing to show for 6 weeks. There’s a difference between considering facts more relevant than tone and not having facts so compensating with an obnoxious tone. A big difference indeed.

    Also it’s very hypocritical of you to repeatedly talk about those nasty, stupid, brutish atheists with their hammers and talk about how important tone is to gaining agreement and allies and then act the smarmy self-congratulatory asshole. The difference between us and you, besides having evidence and good arguments, is that you say that tone is important, and then use a nasty obnoxious tone.

  160. David Wilford says

    But we know why love exists. And religion has nothing to do with it.

    I’d say we’re still in the very early stages of understanding the nature of emotional attachment, but yeah, I do think it’s entirely natural.

  161. omnicrom says

    I’d say we’re still in the very early stages of understanding the nature of emotional attachment, but yeah, I do think it’s entirely natural.

    So why do we need religion to talk about love?

  162. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    DW:

    I’d say we’re still in the very early stages of understanding the nature of emotional attachment, but yeah, I do think it’s entirely natural.

    Omnicrom: So why do we need religion to talk about love?

    We don’t, unless one is a religious apologist who must insert religion where it doesn’t belong.

  163. David Wilford says

    omnicrom, the difference is that I couldn’t care less about insults. I find it funny that you all seem to care about it while being insulting yourselves. It’s not hard at all to see who the hypocrites are here.

    I mentioned being polite to others in the context of politics, where being politic is, unsurprisingly, the norm. Feel free not to be politic yourself. At this point mild snark on my part seems quite appropriate for this bunch.

  164. omnicrom says

    omnicrom, the difference is that I couldn’t care less about insults. I find it funny that you all seem to care about it while being insulting yourselves. It’s not hard at all to see who the hypocrites are here.

    I am frustrated by your being insulting because that’s all you have. You’ve got nothing. You’ve got your smarm and a pile of apologia. You are wasting my time by sitting there smugly lobbing your cheery little insults. If you had something worth saying I’d have far fewer problems, but you’ve got nothing worth saying.

    I mentioned being polite to others in the context of politics, where being politic is, unsurprisingly, the norm. Feel free not to be politic yourself. At this point mild snark on my part seems quite appropriate for this bunch.

    I don’t quite understand this paragraph. Except that last bit where you denigrate us. That’s a microcosm of everything you have ever said. And that’s what annoys me.

  165. David Wilford says

    So why do we need religion to talk about love?

    I prefer poetry myself:

    SONNET 18

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
    Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
    And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
    And every fair from fair sometime declines,
    By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
    But thy eternal summer shall not fade
    Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
    Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
    When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
    So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
    So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

  166. omnicrom says

    I prefer poetry myself:

    So we don’t need religion. It’s okay David Wilford, you can come out and admit it. You can stop defending religion, it isn’t important and it isn’t good and it’s okay for you to say that.

  167. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @David WIlford #690

    I’d say we’re still in the very early stages of understanding the nature of emotional attachment, but yeah, I do think it’s entirely natural.

    Excellent, I’m glad we agree. So remind me again why we need religion to explain love? And therefore how religion will survive after people have stopped searching for teleological arguments about the beginning of the universe but are, for some reason, still seeking them regarding the origins of love? (See: yourself at #677).

  168. says

    I wonder how long before PZ tires of David Wilfords apologetics…

    Oh, and David, if you haven’t figured it out yet (I know it might be hard; what with omnicrom’s prior explanations somehow being incomprehensible to you)-it isn’t the insults that are aggravating.
    It’s the fact that you’ve presented no evidence for your beliefs about religion. And you shift the goal posts. And you’re a religious apologist masquerading as an atheist.

  169. David Wilford says

    Thumper @ 698:

    So remind me again why we need religion to explain love?

    Because sometimes what we want isn’t an explanation but a feeling. Explanations sometimes are like trying to make out every word when what we want is to simply hum along:

  170. says

    David Wilford:

    Because sometimes what we want isn’t an explanation but a feeling. Explanations sometimes are like trying to make out every word when what we want is to simply hum along:

    So, we need religion precisely for its vague platitudes and muddled thinking?

  171. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Seriously, should anyone honestly expect David Wilford to be consistent in his arguments?

    Because, at the end of the day, he doesn’t want to admit he spent six weeks mentally masturbating here without any results. Everybody still thinks religion should shut the fuck up, and Spufford spewed a mess of fuckwittery.

    TrueBelievers™ can’t admit they failed.

  172. David Wilford says

    Avo @ 703:

    So, we need religion precisely for its vague platitudes and muddled thinking?

    Well, Spufford’s book is about how Christianity makes emotional sense to him. Spufford’s not a Christian because he’s a YECer, it’s because the story of Jesus is one that deeply matters to him.

  173. David Wilford says

    Bicarbonate @ 707:

    can leave you pretty sore.

    I’d be more concerned about the consequences of taking that much Viagra.

  174. omnicrom says

    Because sometimes what we want isn’t an explanation but a feeling. Explanations sometimes are like trying to make out every word when what we want is to simply hum along:

    Why does that feeling need to be religious faith?

    Seriously, should anyone honestly expect David Wilford to be consistent in his arguments?

    What annoys me about David Wilford is that he IS internally consistent. And his internal constants are crap. After playing ring around the rosie with him for so long he’s become very consistent. David Wilford is in awe of religion and thinks we should be too. Any bad thing done by religion is actually the fault of some outside force be it bigoted Africans, the wicked chessmaster Putin, or Feudalism in Tibet. Religion should be judged on the nicest possible scales: by the nicest religious people and its most ideal form regardless of whether those nice religious people truly represent their religion and whether that ideal religion exists today (naturally ignore any bad trait if possible). Contrariwise Atheism is to be judged by the nastiest possible people (those Atheists who assault people with hammers) and any positives it can have or create should be minimized or ignored.

    Choose one or more of those constants, garnish with self-congratulatory smarm, frenetic evasion, goalpost shifting, and non-sequitors and Voila: A post by David Wilford.

  175. omnicrom says

    Well, Spufford’s book is about how Christianity makes emotional sense to him. Spufford’s not a Christian because he’s a YECer, it’s because the story of Jesus is one that deeply matters to him.

    Spufford is on the same mental level as the YECers though. He’s invested a great deal of emotional weight into nonsense. What makes sense to him is a fact-free mix of mythologies. The story of Jesus is not unique and does not deserve the reverence you and Spufford give to it.

    Spufford doesn’t need religion. He believes he does but he doesn’t. And not to hit people over the head with my atheist hammer or anything, but the fact otherwise smart people think they need god when they don’t and do bad things and think poorly because of that belief is why Atheists are going to be out there raising a fuss. Because we don’t need god or religion. Religion is a waste of time, a dearth of compassion, and a failure of morality. Spufford may have contrived a way that Religion makes emotional sense to him, but it doesn’t make emotional sense and he shouldn’t have bothered.

  176. says

    Well, Spufford’s book is about how Christianity makes emotional sense to him. Spufford’s not a Christian because he’s a YECer, it’s because the story of Jesus is one that deeply matters to him.

    I wasn’t questioning Spufford. I was questioning the line of defense in which you promoted feeling over understanding. While I do not disagree with this, I do question whether religion is either necessary, or even relevant.

    So again, do we need religion precisely for its vague platitudes and muddled thinking?

  177. David Wilford says

    omnicrom,

    Acknowledging there are multiple factors at work that explain something rather than blithely accepting a single cause is what skeptics do. It’s what scientists do. Heck, it’s what historians do. Think about Richard Dawkins and his theory of the Selfish Gene. Dawkins back in the 1970s made a very convincing argument in support of it, but there are other factors at work that show such genetic reductionism is not supportable:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/12/07/the-reification-of-the-gene/

    You’ll get no argument from me that the Buddhism in Tibet for thousands of years was supportive of a feudal system. But it should also be acknowledged that the Buddhism of today is one that broadly supports human rights, and that should also inform any judgment about it as a religious belief system.

  178. David Wilford says

    Avo @ 712:

    I can only say that I don’t need religion for its vague platitudes and muddled thinking. Others’ mileage may vary. I do appreciate what Dan Dennett calls “deepities” from time to time, however:

    Directive

    Back out of all this now too much for us,
    Back in a time made simple by the loss
    Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
    Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
    There is a house that is no more a house
    Upon a farm that is no more a farm
    And in a town that is no more a town.
    The road there, if you’ll let a guide direct you
    Who only has at heart your getting lost,
    May seem as if it should have been a quarry—
    Great monolithic knees the former town
    Long since gave up pretense of keeping covered.
    And there’s a story in a book about it:
    Besides the wear of iron wagon wheels
    The ledges show lines ruled southeast-northwest,
    The chisel work of an enormous Glacier
    That braced his feet against the Arctic Pole.
    You must not mind a certain coolness fromhim
    Still said to haunt this side of Panther Mountain.
    Nor need you mind the serial ordeal
    Of being watched from forty cellar holes
    As if by eye pairs out of forty firkins.
    As for the woods’ excitement over you
    That sends light rustle rushes to their leaves,
    Charge that to upstart inexperience.
    Where were they all not twenty years ago?
    They think too much of having shaded out
    A few old pecker-fretted apple trees.
    Make yourself up a cheering song of how
    Someone’s road home from work this once was,
    Who may be just ahead of you on foot
    Or creaking with a buggy load of grain.
    The height of the adventure is the height
    Of country where two village cultures faded
    Into each other. Both of them are lost.
    And if you’re lost enough to find yourself
    By now, pull in your ladder road behind you
    And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
    Then make yourself at home. The only field
    Now left’s no bigger than a harness gall.
    First there’s the children’s house of make-believe,
    Some shattered dishes underneath a pine,
    The playthings in the playhouse of the children.
    Weep for what little things could make them glad.
    Then for the house that is no more a house,
    But only a belilaced cellar hole,
    Now slowly closing like a dent in dough.
    This was no playhouse but a house in earnest.
    Your destination and your destiny’s
    A brook that was the water of the house,
    Cold as a spring as yet so near its source,
    Too lofty and original to rage.
    (We know the valley streams that when aroused
    Will leave their tatters hung on barb and thorn.)
    I have kept hidden in the instep arch
    Of an old cedar at the waterside
    A broken drinking goblet like the Grail
    Under a spell so the wrong ones can’t find it,
    So can’t get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn’t.
    (I stole the goblet from the children’s playhouse.)
    Here are your waters and your watering place.
    Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.

    – Robert Frost

  179. omnicrom says

    Acknowledging there are multiple factors at work that explain something rather than blithely accepting a single cause is what skeptics do.

    Indeed. And to what do you refer with this particular quote, and if it’s something I disagree with can you provide a good alternate explanation? Chances are I’ve heard, considered, and dismissed it already but I’m happy to hear something new.

  180. says

    I can only say that I don’t need religion for its vague platitudes and muddled thinking. Others’ mileage may vary.

    Fair enough.

    I’d suggest there’s a difference between a poem and a religion: you don’t often find folks committing violence over the relative worth of Shakespeare vs. Langston Hughes, however strong their passions might be.

  181. omnicrom says

    I’d suggest there’s a difference between a poem and a religion: you don’t often find folks committing violence over the relative worth of Shakespeare vs. Langston Hughes, however strong their passions might be.

    I dunno, I’ve been to some literature professor get togethers. Those can be nasty.

  182. says

    David Wilford:

    Well, it’s not like arguing over who’s favorite rock band sucks anyway

    True. That can come to blows.

    I still fail to see what religion can provide that other things do not — friendship, scholarship, expressive creativity, music, poetry, fiction, even movies. Meanwhile, the negative aspects of religion (the often violent tribalism, the undermining of rationality in favor of faith, etc) seem to often render moot any claims of benefit.

    But there is an even deeper issue. This implied demand for respect of religion is a fetishization of the ludicrous. What benefit is there in believing an obvious fiction? Why should I be expected to respect that?

  183. says

    Wilford, 706

    Spufford’s not a Christian because he’s a YECer, it’s because the story of Jesus is one that deeply matters to him.

    Who gives a shit? The story of Samuel Vimes is one that deeply matters to me. But the thing is that the story of Samuel Vimes, unlike that of Jesus, doesn’t claim at any time to be other than fiction, nor is anyone trying to make laws based on it. However nice someone may find the story of Jesus, it’s not just a nice story, it’s a story that claims to be true, on the basis of which claims people have been practicing violence and bigotry for close to two millenia.

  184. David Wilford says

    Avo @ 720:

    I still fail to see what religion can provide that other things do not — friendship, scholarship, expressive creativity, music, poetry, fiction, even movies. Meanwhile, the negative aspects of religion (the often violent tribalism, the undermining of rationality in favor of faith, etc) seem to often render moot any claims of benefit.

    I’m a science fiction fan, whose fandom goes back for over 80 years. We fans enjoy science fiction and fantasy as a genre and there are many clubs that have incorporated as non-profits which meet on a regular basis and also hold yearly conventions where fans from both the local area and beyond can come and enjoy talking with each other. We also usually have guests who are prominent in the field, usually writers, artists, editors, well-known fans, etc.

    Of course, there are negative aspects of fandom, which is why there’s an acronym like Gafiate (Getting away from it all) and anger between fans of SF literature and those cheesy sci-fi movies, and the lovers of fun movies and TV shows and those snooty snobs who look down on them atop their piles of dusty old books. Well, I exaggerate. But not much. But overall, judged on how participating in fandom is more rewarding than not, it’s worth the effort for me at least.

    So in judging religion, you need to consider what religion does for the average religious person, as well as religion’s failings. For example, one aspect of religion is the community it provide for members of a congregation. There are other kinds of community of course, including the science fiction fannish community. Even a good bar can be a community, and you can tell your troubles to the bartender or your friends there. Religions do formally have clergy that do provide communal services, which is something I think church-goers do value. Some atheists have proposed the equivalent of a church, but from what I can tell the reaction to this has been negative because atheists see the church model as suspect. I can understand that given the view most atheists have of religion.

    It may turn out that today’s social networks will be a new paradigm for community, as we can find people to socialize with that we like (and hopefully like us in return) and can share our troubles and joys with online. Facebook hasn’t got over 500 million members because it’s doing something wrong, after all. Of course, one can look at the cesspit of YouTube comments and think online communities are on the whole a bad thing. I don’t myself, but then I take YouTube comments and the like with plenty of grains of salt. So people can be assholes. Who knew? I still think the internet is a Good Thing.

  185. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For example, one aspect of religion is the community it provide for members of a congregation.

    More non-sequiturs. Community can be had without religion, which you admit with fandom. Makes this grade A bullshit, unworthy of any interest by any intelligent person.

  186. David Wilford says

    On a more humorous note, consider the Babel Fish. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? On one hand you can understand everyone in the Universe and they in turn can understand you. On the other hand, this includes understanding Vogon poetry, WHICH I WILL NOT RECITE HERE. I think that just about wraps it up for the poor Babel Fish now, doesn’t it?

  187. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The problem with community DW, is WHICH COMMUNITY. A community of KKK is not healthy, nice nor wanted why any intelligent and moral person. Why is religion, with genocide, slavery, sexual slavery, homophobia, etc, writ large the “holy book”, exempt from looking at the community to deem if the belief in the community is neutral or good? That is the problem with your argument, and why Spufford is still a delusional fool, without any redeeming cogency.

  188. David Wilford says

    Nerd, leave it to you to claim that there’s no difference between the KKK and the Unitarian-Universalists. But, wait, what’s the symbol of the UUs? Why, it’s… a… FLAMING CHALICE! THE KKK’s SYMBOL IS A FLAMING CROSS!! HOLY FUCK!!! IT’S TRUE!!!! THE KKK IS UNITARIANS!!!!!

  189. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why, it’s… a… FLAMING CHALICE! THE KKK’s SYMBOL IS A FLAMING CROSS!! HOLY FUCK!!! IT’S TRUE!!!! THE KKK IS UNITARIANS!!!!!

    More fucking non-sequiturs. Gee, don’t like being absolutely refuted? Then stop posting. That is the only way you won’t be shown to be a fuckwitted idjit without cogency…

  190. omnicrom says

    If Unitarian-Universalists become representative of religion then, and only then David Wilford, will I agree that atheists are too hard on religion. But they aren’t so we aren’t. Once again you’d have us judge religion by a hypothetical future world as opposed to the here and now.

  191. David Wilford says

    Hey Nerd, be careful around those Unitarian “Fellowships” now. They don’t call them “churches” but you can be sure they’re really recruiting centers for the KKK.

  192. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hey Nerd, be careful around those Unitarian “Fellowships” now. They don’t call them “churches” but you can be sure they’re really recruiting centers for the KKK.

    Funny how you are fuckwitted enough to make that inane claim. Typical of the bigots who claim we said something, which we never did, to support their world view. You have been shown to be an ignorant fool at this stage. The first rule of holes, is when in over your head stop digging. In your case, that was six weeks ago, but until you stop digging, you will never get out of the hole of stupidity.

  193. David Wilford says

    omnicrom,

    Don’t worry. Right now I’m keeping up with this story locally:

    No grand jury for archdiocese … yet
    by Brian Lambert

    Not yet, anyway. MPR says: “Ramsey County Attorney John Choi reaffirmed his determination Wednesday not to convene a grand jury while police are still investigating allegations of child abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. ‘I have to make some tough calls, and I believe in a certain way to get to a conclusion,’ he said on The Daily Circuit. ‘An investigative grand jury at this moment, when there’s an active police investigation going on, would be really inappropriate and an abuse of my power. Let’s let the police investigation come to some completion, and then they can present information to us, and we can make appropriate decisions based upon that.’ ”

    An editorial in the Marshall Independent goes fairly easy on the archbishop: “We credit Archbishop John Nienstedt for his frankness when commenting publically Sunday on the allegations of sexual abuse by priests in Minnesota, but we’re not surprised if what he said fell on a lot of deaf ears across the state. … Nienstedt didn’t make excuses, apologized for overlooking the issue and admitted he should have investigated it ‘a lot more than I did.’ We respect his candor and willingness to take responsibility, but that won’t wipe his slate clean. And saying he was ‘surprised as anyone else,’ surely didn’t help his cause, or the church’s. In a position of such great leadership, Nienstedt should’ve done his due diligence, regardless of what he was told. Had he, perhaps those blinders wouldn’t have been put on and he wouldn’t have been so ‘surprised.’ This issue is just too damaging, too sensitive and personal, for him to have assumed anything.”

    More here: http://www.minnpost.com/glean/2013/12/no-grand-jury-archdiocese-yet

    If the phrase “grand jury” doesn’t inspire some coming clean now, they can’t say they weren’t warned.

  194. omnicrom says

    And so David Wilford, no longer even attempting to continue the thread of the argument has gone back to the old idiot “All you Atheists just smash people with your atheist hammers” line of reasoning.

    If you didn’t catch that Nerd don’t worry it’s very stupid. Basically David Wilford is being disingenuous and after reading our views on faith and how we don’t need it has decided to go back to tarring us by suggesting we see no difference between Unitarians and the KKK. I mean we’re stupid, nasty, brutish atheists who hit people with hammers, nevermind all the thoughtful discussions of religion we’ve had in this thread. We aren’t jumping on board with Accomodationist Apologia so David Wilford has gone back to insulting us as stupid neanderthals before his sophisticated theology.

  195. omnicrom says

    David Wilford you’ve become more and more incoherent all of today. What was that last post at 731 supposed to mean? I mean I’m merely a stupid atheist with a hammer, but I really don’t get what you’re saying or how that news story relates to anything.

  196. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    David Wilford,
    When you claim religion provides benefits (community, social cohesion…), you must also consider the costs that come with those benefits and whether the same or superior benefits could be achieved at lower cost via other institutions/practices. Community and social cohesion can arise from a group’s shared interest in knitting, model trains or stamp collecting. And I have never heard any of these interests used to justify slavery, racism, denial of bodily autonomy to adult women or the attribution of personhood to a zygote or homophobia. In fact, other than “might makes right” I cannot think of any possible justification that could be advanced for the above than “God said it!”

    Because religions tend to be organizations rooted in tradition, they always wind up being reactionary and counter-progressive. Moreover, because the wealthy and powerful eventually discover that it is easier to buy off the priest and have him pray for your forgiveness than to act decently, religions almost always wind up favoring the powerful over the oppressed.

    Now you will no doubt claim that religion is not alone in its status as counter-progressive institutions and will no doubt cite the Communist party in the USSR or China. But again, the issue there is an institution that claims truth above and beyond that which can be checked or verified empirically. The difference is that religion is inherently unverifiable, Communism and libertarianism eventually become laughing stocks. Communism and libertarianism are wrong; religion is “not even wrong”.

  197. David Wilford says

    Gee willikers Wally, you mean I can’t imply that every religious community is the equivalent of the KKK without being laughed at?

  198. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Gee willikers Wally, you mean I can’t imply that every religious community is the equivalent of the KKK without being laughed at?

    Everything you say is laughable. You are that out-of-sync with reality. Just stopping your posts is your least embarrassing option.

  199. David Wilford says

    a_ray @ 734:

    I agree that community is something that can be rooted in a hobby or shared interest. I’m seeing it happen on the internet daily as a matter of fact. I don’t think religion has a monopoly on it either. What religions have done is institutionalize things like celebrating births, mourning the death of loved ones, marriages, being there to give comfort when life is tough, etc. I’m not familiar with humanist organizations, so I don’t know if there’s one out there that has done this, but I know the Unitarians have, and they’re very much in sympathy with humanists.

  200. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What religions have done is institutionalize things like celebrating births, mourning the death of loved ones, marriages, being there to give comfort when life is tough, etc

    Irrelevant, unless you are a fuckwitted idjit atheist who think atheists need individuals like preists, even though many states allow humanistic individuals to carry out all those tasks.
    There is no need for religion in the modern era. You are a fuckwitted idjit to think otherwise.

  201. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 733:

    It just means that I do keep pace with news about religion that isn’t so flattering.

  202. omnicrom says

    Gee willikers Wally, you mean I can’t imply that every religious community is the equivalent of the KKK without being laughed at?

    No you can’t draw that comparison because it’s laughably false. And despite how clearly you’re trying to fish for cleverness and make a point no one else in this thread has made that claim either.

    It just means that I do keep pace with news about religion that isn’t so flattering.

    Okay. How is this relevant? I’m guessing you’re trying to dispute the fact that you bend over backwards to ignore religious wrongdoings and try and explain them away, but the fact you know about religious badness just makes your tendency to do that even more galling.

  203. consciousness razor says

    It just means that I do keep pace with news about religion that isn’t so flattering.

    Child abuse => “isn’t so flattering”!!

    If you were trying improve your anti-religion cred or to at least minimize how much you seem to be a bullshitting apologist, you should seriously take others’ advice and just shut the fuck up.

  204. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    David,
    I have many UU friends. None of them can tell me what they mean by God in anything but the most vague generalities. It raises the question: How would you know if there were a god? If you think there is a God, how would the Universe be different if there weren’t one? If you can’t answer these questions, then isn’t it absurd to predicate your morality, your philosophy and your life on concept so vague you can’t even define it? And that brings us back to Voltaire: “If they can make you believe absurdities, they can make you commit atrocities.” They can make you believe that a zygote is a human. They can make you believe that you don’t need to strive to right things in the world because your vague wisp of a god will not allow the world to fail. They can make you believe that said mythical god actually cares deeply where you put your junk.

    As an atheist, I own my opinions. I own my prejudices. I cannot pin the blame on a sky daddy. I am responsible. Ultimately what is true is more important than what is comforting.

  205. David Wilford says

    No you can’t draw that comparison because it’s laughably false. And despite how clearly you’re trying to fish for cleverness and make a point no one else in this thread has made that claim either.

    It’s laughably false to equate all religions with the KKK, which is what Nerd did.

    Oh, and just because I don’t agree with totally hammering religion doesn’t mean I give it a pass. Shades of grey, dude, shades of grey, they’re the new black.

  206. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s laughably false to equate all religions with the KKK, which is what Nerd did.

    Nope, not what I did. Why do you keep lying to yourself, then lying to us? Why can’t you see silence is your friend. No abject lying, no sticking your foot in your mouth, no false dichotomies. Gee, one would think you can’t stop because of your overwhelming ego….

  207. omnicrom says

    It’s laughably false to equate all religions with the KKK, which is what Nerd did.

    No Nerd did not. I assume you’re lying about Nerd’s post at 725 where Nerd correctly pointed out that a community is not inherently good and that the values in a community must be good for a community to be good. Nerd was pointing out that the KKK are a religious community and bad, and therefore all religious communities are not inherently good like you said they were. IOW Nerd gave a counterargument you either didn’t understand (that’s bad) or you INTENTIONALLY misrepresented (that’s even worse).

    Oh, and just because I don’t agree with totally hammering religion doesn’t mean I give it a pass. Shades of grey, dude, shades of grey, they’re the new black.

    Yes Shades of Grey. As though any person here doesn’t appreciate that religions are of varying degrees of badness. Stop hitting those strawmen already David Wilford and you might have more luck arguing.

    Oh and who here is the person who has done absolutely nothing but tout the goodness of religion and the badness of atheism? Who here is the person who has lionized whatever good traits emerge from religion and repeatedly dismissed atheists as nasty brutish people who beat people up with hammers? Who here is the person who has a manichean worldview who can’t seem to accept the shades of gray?

  208. David Wilford says

    Child abuse => “isn’t so flattering”!!

    No shit, Sherlock.

    If you were trying improve your anti-religion cred or to at least minimize how much you seem to be a bullshitting apologist, you should seriously take others’ advice and just shut the fuck up.

    I couldn’t care less about my “anti-religion cred”. Unlike most here, I add.

  209. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I couldn’t care less about my “anti-religion cred”. Unlike most here, I add.

    I don’t give a shit about it either. But I do give a shit about deliberately lying and bullshitting, which you have done repeatedly.
    For example, I showed you the term “community” can be very tenuous, meaning a community of bigots, who everybody should be opposed to, or just a community of religious folks who may be nothing more harmful than delusional fools not to be trusted. You misrepresented that. And showed you are nothing but a liar and bullshitter in the process.
    Now, given that, silence for the next couple of years is your best course not to appear to be that stupid.

  210. David Wilford says

    omnicrom,

    You need to pay more attention to what I’ve previously said here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/11/02/who-needs-reason-evidence-when-youve-got-hurt-feelings/comment-page-2/#comment-727541

    For the record, I am not religious myself and do not give religion a pass when one is involved in perpetuating injustice, covering up past crimes, or just being simply annoying when it comes to fostering things like Young Earth Creationism.

    I also think that atheists who are unable to view religion with anything other than unrelenting hostility for no good reason (see Nerd as an example) are not really helping their cause any.

  211. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I also think that atheists who are unable to view religion with anything other than unrelenting hostility for no good reason (see Nerd as an example) are not really helping their cause any.

    And pray tell where do I not help the overall cause of atheism as, only at an atheist site, being a vocal advocate against the irrationality/delusions of religion?
    You are one demented fuckwit to pretend everybody is taking their opinions to masses without using DTD (explained above).

  212. consciousness razor says

    Child abuse => “isn’t so flattering”!!

    No shit, Sherlock.

    I don’t think I’ve made some remarkable observation. In fact, I’m still pretty much speechless about this. You aren’t even going to pretend that you see the problem with that?

    I couldn’t care less about my “anti-religion cred”

    You’ve got nothing to say about the alternative I offered? Can it really be that you do want to be a bullshitter? However you might describe your motivation, isn’t there some kind of credibility you think you might have been trying to establish?

  213. David Wilford says

    Nerd @ 747: (Hey, you’re a Boeing Jumbo Jet! Way to go, dude.)

    For example, I showed you the term “community” can be very tenuous, meaning a community of bigots, who everybody should be opposed to, or just a community of religious folks who may be nothing more harmful than delusional fools not to be trusted. You misrepresented that.

    Your level of self-unawareness is, well, amazing Nerd. Saying “nothing more harmful than delusional fools not to be trusted” is exactly the sort of hostility towards religion I’m talking about. What the fuck is “not to be trusted” other than a vicious stereotype of religious believers? I’m sure you trust them every day to get up and do their jobs, some of which I’m sure you depend on them to do. Now maybe you’re not really saying they can’t actually not be trusted, but that’s sure how you come across.

  214. consciousness razor says

    I also think that atheists who are unable to view religion with anything other than unrelenting hostility for no good reason (see Nerd as an example) are not really helping their cause any.

    If it isn’t your cause, what do you think you know about what does and doesn’t help it?

  215. omnicrom says

    For the record, I am not religious myself and do not give religion a pass when one is involved in perpetuating injustice, covering up past crimes, or just being simply annoying when it comes to fostering things like Young Earth Creationism.

    I also think that atheists who are unable to view religion with anything other than unrelenting hostility for no good reason (see Nerd as an example) are not really helping their cause any.

    David Wilford how many times have we done this dance? Let’s go back and reuse some bullet points because god knows you do the same.

    -You may say you are not religious but you are a pitch-perfect religious apologist in every way. I don’t know if you really are “The Good Atheist” who is so in awe of religion and wishes they could believe or if that is just yet another of your lies. Doesn’t matter.

    -You do to give religion a pass. The Russian church you excused for being Vladimir Putin’s pawn. The Nigerian Episcopals are just from a homophobic culture. Tibetan Buddhism was just from a Feudal society. In all three cases you try and find ways to let religion off the hook.

    -We have given you reasons to be hostile to religion. Over and over again. Over and over and over gain. That you have refused to listen or consider them is a well worn pattern of obnoxious behavior.

    -You have no evidence to suggest that being outspoken is bad for Atheism. In fact people have provided reasons and examples for why being one of those Strident atheists is GOOD for the movement. Do not presume that you can tell an entire wing of a movement what they should or shouldn’t be just because you’re worried peoples feelings will be hurt.

    This is what? The fourth or fifth post of me repeating what I’ve already said to previous regurgitations of your non-argument? Go away David Wilford. I can only hope you get shown the door soon because you’re tired and useless.

  216. says

    David Wilford 748

    and do not give religion a pass when one is involved in perpetuating injustice, covering up past crimes, or just being simply annoying when it comes to fostering things like Young Earth Creationism.

    Except the Russian Orthodox Church, Anglican Church, Pāla Buddhism and Theraveda Buddhism, just in this thread.

  217. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Now maybe you’re not really saying they can’t actually not be trusted, but that’s sure how you come across.

    Of course delusional fools can’t be trusted. Now show, with conclusive physical evidence, that believers in imaginary objects aren’t delusional fools, which includes the religious and their imaginary deity….OR SHUT THE FUCK UP.

  218. David Wilford says

    razor @ 750:

    I don’t think I’ve made some remarkable observation. In fact, I’m still pretty much speechless about this. You aren’t even going to pretend that you see the problem with that?

    Nope. I just think you’re playing games actually. That’s not remarkable, but it is pretty lame. There’s lots about the RCC that’s not flattering, some that’s outrageous, some that’s criminal even. Whatever, dude.

  219. omnicrom says

    What the fuck is “not to be trusted” other than a vicious stereotype of religious believers?

    The armor of god. I went over this a long-ass time ago. Go look up Greta Christina’s post on it. It’s a classic for a reason. Not that I expect you to consider it honestly.

  220. omnicrom says

    Nope. I just think you’re playing games actually. That’s not remarkable, but it is pretty lame. There’s lots about the RCC that’s not flattering, some that’s outrageous, some that’s criminal even. Whatever, dude.

    Wow. You religious apology goes deeper than even I believed.

  221. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, in case you are totally oblivious DW, this is what I mean by conclusive physical evidence (presented to every godbot who won’t shut the fuck up):

    You have presented no physical evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin.

    I sit back and await with sharpening my titanium fang your lying and bullshitting reply….

  222. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 753:

    -You do to give religion a pass. The Russian church you excused for being Vladimir Putin’s pawn. The Nigerian Episcopals are just from a homophobic culture. Tibetan Buddhism was just from a Feudal society. In all three cases you try and find ways to let religion off the hook.

    It’s more like most here wanting to slag religion period, whether or not there are other factors involved. In the case of Putin, again, let’s be clear that he is calling the shots with regard to the oppression of gays in Russia. The Nigerian Episcopals are reacting against what they see as a failing of other Episcopals ordaining a gay minister. Both are Episcopalian groups, so it’s the cultural context that obviously matters. The Dalai Lama of today is not even the Dalai Lama of his childhood, let alone like the Dalai Lama of the 15th century. I’m not letting religion off the hook as much as pointing out that you’re judgement of religion isn’t taking everything into account that should be taking into account.

  223. consciousness razor says

    The claim is that they can’t be trusted — about what? About their religious claims, perhaps, or to do their jobs? Whatever game you might be playing, Wilford, it’s getting really fucking absurd.

  224. omnicrom says

    It’s more like most here wanting to slag religion period, whether or not there are other factors involved. In the case of Putin, again, let’s be clear that he is calling the shots with regard to the oppression of gays in Russia. The Nigerian Episcopals are reacting against what they see as a failing of other Episcopals ordaining a gay minister. Both are Episcopalian groups, so it’s the cultural context that obviously matters. The Dalai Lama of today is not even the Dalai Lama of his childhood, let alone like the Dalai Lama of the 15th century. I’m not letting religion off the hook as much as pointing out that you’re judgement of religion isn’t taking everything into account that should be taking into account.

    So in response to my point that you repeatedly do everything you can to let religion off the hook you go ahead and try and let religion off the hook. It’s almost comical. Every single one of your points has already been debated into the ground David Wilford. You are boring. Get new material or go away.

  225. David Wilford says

    omnicrom @ 757:

    Oh, bullshit. People can believe in imaginary things but can be trusted as people. They can even listen to evidence presented to them about evolution and agree that the diversity of life is explained by evolutionary theory. Greta Christian’s right to point out the wrong things that are perpetuated by religious ignorance, but she’s wrong to think it makes all believers inherently untrustworthy. It’s not as if those Catholics Voting No to oppose making gay marriage illegal in Minnesota were mindlessly taking orders from the archbishop, after all.

  226. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    As is typical by abject religious apologists, not any attempt to provide the physical evidence to show that Yahweh isn’t imaginary….almost like they know there isn’t any, and it is all a delusion…..

  227. says

    David Wilford:

    So in judging religion, you need to consider what religion does for the average religious person, as well as religion’s failings.

    Absolutely. Many people have done so, and offered rousing defenses of religion based on that alone.

    I reckon I judge the harm to be far worse than any good done. As rancorous as the Nebula awards may be, they have never used the winners to justify oppression. As sexist as the grand master might have been, they never attempted to cover up systematic child rape that was exacerbated by their own policies and doctrine.

    I’m sure the members of the Westboro Baptist Church must all enjoy wonderful feelings in their fellowship. Their own selfish feeling of happiness does not offset they harm they are doing to others. The same is true of the Catholic church, and be extension, all Catholics who do not protest the harm the church is doing.

    If all believers were like Jimmy Carter or John Shelby Spong, I’d have no complaints. But unfortunately, the majority of believers cause actual, measurable harm to society. Whether it’s denying members of society equal rights, or attempting to sabotage education by infusing their own beliefs into science and history, religion does demonstrative harm.

    So why should I be concerned about the peace, or their feeling of community, when that very community is causing harm to the greater community?

    Even the UU causes harm. It does so by insisting religion is treated specially, that belief and faith are someone inviolate. They provide cover for those whose beliefs do great harm. It’s rare to hear one religious group call out another for bigotry, or misogyny, or for attempting to undermine education. Right now, every Republican candidate for the state of Texas have expressed support for teaching young-earth creationism alongside evolution in the science room. And instead of being laughed out of any hope for office, their proclamations are treated with respect, even deference. Why? Because other moderate and liberal believers are afraid to call them out on their faith-based idiocy.

    And they should be afraid. After all, they have no epistemic leg to stand on, either. Attacking any religious belief, especially belief that doesn’t lead directly to oppression, is an attack on belief as a whole. Once you believe in the silly, it becomes a bit more difficult to critique the ludicrous.

  228. David Wilford says

    Avo @ 765:

    If all believers were like Jimmy Carter or John Shelby Spong, I’d have no complaints. But unfortunately, the majority of believers cause actual, measurable harm to society. Whether it’s denying members of society equal rights, or attempting to sabotage education by infusing their own beliefs into science and history, religion does demonstrative harm.

    There’s a contradiction in your thinking here. You have no problem with Carter or Spong ,who are indeed decent, caring people. Unfortunately it’s also the case that there are religious believers that do harm, sometimes great harm, to others. Yet they’re all religious believers, so what may it be about those believers who do harm that differentiate them from the likes of Carter and Spong? I submit it’s authoritarianism.

    Condemning the UU’s as being partially responsible for giving cover to fundies in Texas is a bit odd, given that UUs officially support evolution (as does Catholicism) and are prominent supporters of gay rights. They were helpful allies in making gay marriage legal in Minnesota earlier this year, and I’m grateful for that. I may not share a UU’s belief in God, but I certainly do share many social justice goals with them and I fail to see how their religious beliefs get in the way of them being helpful.

  229. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I submit it’s authoritarianism.

    Who gives a shit what you think. Until you can evidence Yahweh exists, all believers are delusional fools despite their politics. What a fuckwitted uncogen idjit you are…

    I may not share a UU’s belief in God,

    Not all do liar and bullshitter. Stop lying and bullshitting. If you can’t link to back you claims, shut the fuck up like a loser should do.

  230. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I may not share a UU’s belief in God,

    Nope non-sequitur specialist.

    Either god exists or it is a delusion. If it is a delusion, all religious folks are delusional fools. Either put up that their deity exists, or admit they are delusional fools. That is what is called reality, not your delusion of reality. What is your choice fuckwitted idjit?

  231. says

    David Wilford:

    Yet they’re all religious believers, so what may it be about those believers who do harm that differentiate them from the likes of Carter and Spong? I submit it’s authoritarianism.

    Authoritarianism certainly plays a role. But it’s not just authoritarianism. Religion is a form of authoritarianism coupled with revelation. God is pretty much unknowable without revelation, so pretty much all religions are based on revealed knowledge to one extent or another. Independent thought outside proscribed areas is discouraged. So, to accept religion, you essentially have to accept the words of others. Of those who claim authority.

    Because of this, religion by its very nature promotes and exploits authoritarianism.

    Condemning the UU’s as being partially responsible for giving cover to fundies in Texas is a bit odd, given that UUs officially support evolution (as does Catholicism) and are prominent supporters of gay rights.

    The UU officially supports evolution, and are excellent proponents of gay rights. Absolutely.

    Please note, I never called the UU out for not supporting the right things. I called them out because their belief in the supernatural (as undefined as they try to leave it, to be as inclusive as possible) leaves them little room to critique others who believe in the supernatural. Because of the unverifiable nature of God, and the reliance on revelation in any kind of belief in God, they are epistemically compromised. They have no standing when calling out other people’s belief in God.

    They also pretty much insist on the same kind of special reverence for religious belief you are asking for. This provides cover not just for them, but for gubernatorial candidates in Texas who claim special revelation proves the world is only 10,000 years old.

    Do I hold the UU personally responsible? Hell, no. They’re a much better church than pretty much any of them out there. (My wife and I considered going to a UU church for the same fellowship you defend so finely. Then we remembered we really don’t like people.) But I also recognize their insistence on respect for faith provides cover for other, more harmful religious beliefs.

  232. David Wilford says

    Bicarbonate, as I said already, insults don’t bother me. Why should passive-aggressive ones be any different? It’s like you guys really don’t know what to do when confronted with someone who won’t fall for the usual rhetorical bullshit.

  233. David Wilford says

    Avo, the alternative to authoritarianism isn’t atheism (we all know how well that worked out in the U.S.S.R.), but democracy. Quakers don’t vote, but they are known for wanting decisions to be made by consensus, not by authority. There’s a long history of struggle against religious authority in Europe, with the most famous example being Martin Luther and his rejection of what he saw as abuses by the Church. So groups like the Quakers didn’t just spring out of nowhere, they happened because believers did question the authority of their clergy.

  234. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It’s like you guys really don’t know what to do when confronted with someone who won’t fall for the usual rhetorical bullshit.

    Oh, you mean your usual rhetorical bullshit, where your can’t prove that the deity the religionists believe in is real, but can’t shut the fuck up about it like a person with honesty and integrity would do? Your lack of honesty and integrity has been exposed to the world. Shut the fuck up to save further embarrassment.

  235. omnicrom says

    It’s like you guys really don’t know what to do when confronted with someone who won’t fall for the usual rhetorical bullshit.

    My irony meter just exploded. Worry not though David Wilford, I’m far to disgusted by you to ever feel sorry for you.

  236. Al Dente says

    I see David Wilford is still trying to teach us strident, militant atheists to become soft, milquetoasts residing in the closet. Imagine, we have the temerity to ask people like David Wilford’s bestest buddy, Spufford, rude questions like “what’s your evidence that gods exist” and “just because you’re not a YEC, why does David Wilford worship the ground you vomit on”.

    David Wilford, we understand you think religion is the greatest invention since mitosis and everyone should kiss religious ass because that would make you ever so happy. Why can’t you accept some of us don’t consider religious ass to be kissing sweet?

  237. David Wilford says

    Why can’t you accept some of us don’t consider religious ass to be kissing sweet?

    Um, I kind of enjoyed kissing ass back in the day. Still do, actually. Depends on the ass, of course. Though I’ve definitely enjoyed kissing some religious ones. It’s like having a deeply religious experience:

    a certain fraternity house featuring animals

    Otter: Let me give you a hint. She’s got a couple of major-league yabbos.

    Boon: Beverly!

    Otter: No. But you’re getting warmer. Here’s another: “Oh God, Oh God, OH GOD!”

    Boon: Marlene! Don’t tell me you’re gonna pork Marlene Desmond!

    Otter: Pork?

    Boon: You’re gonna hump her brains out, aren’t you?

    Otter: Boon, I anticipate a deeply religious experience.

  238. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still no evidence to show your religious friend aren’t delusional fools DW. Long past time to put up or shut the fuck up. I recommend the latter. Nobody has shown the former.

  239. says

    David, you clearly need your own place to express your thought. Perhaps you could see if John Loftus’ blog collective wants a new blogger. Then maybe we would be free of your insufferable apologetics.

  240. omnicrom says

    anyone figure out the point to the ridiculous non-sequitors (c.f. #777) DW is fond of?

    I think it’s a stab at being clever. It’s not a very clever stab naturally, but that’s the feel I get. Now it fails of course on several levels as it typical.

    For starters when making an allusion to something else you need to have the same reference pool as your target audience and we don’t seem to exist in the same world as David Wilford. Secondly you need proper comic timing and pacing. David Wilford loves him some non-sequitors, so whatever possible humor that could be dredged up from the confusing mire that separates our realities is nipped in the bud by horrible pacing and utter lack of flow. I’ve heard it called “Random Access Humor” which is when someone mistakes confusion and randomness for a good joke, and I David Wilford seems to have that same misapprehension. And lastly there’s the overwhelming feeling that any jokes made would be at our expense for not getting them. We brutish hammer wielding plebs simply can’t comprehend the sophisticated humor of David Wilford anymore than we can understand his sophisticated theology.

  241. vaiyt says

    I’ve heard it called “Random Access Humor”

    Ah, the Chris-Chan school of comedy. I knew it was familiar. Even the smarmy arrogant tone fits. Say, Wilford, have you accepted GodJesus as your personal lord and savior yet?

  242. vaiyt says

    There’s a long history of struggle against religious authority in Europe, with the most famous example being Martin Luther and his rejection of what he saw as abuses by the Church.

    In part because he wanted to institute his OWN forms of abuse on issues where he felt the church was going soft.

    Try researching some goddamn history before trying to dredge dead people out of the grave to make your point.

  243. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @DW #700

    So remind me again why we need religion to explain love?

    Because sometimes what we want isn’t an explanation but a feeling. Explanations sometimes are like trying to make out every word when what we want is to simply hum along:

    Now just what kind of meaningless, pseudo-spiritual, poorly analogised bollocks is this? “Sometimes we don’t want an explanation, therefore people will still seek teleological explanations for love, therefore religion will survive”? For fuck sake man, you could at least keep track of your own ridiculously incoherent arguments!

    @Tony! #701

    See now you’re just being a big ole meany head.
    Seriously, should anyone honestly expect David Wilford to be consistent in his arguments?

    I am beginning to wonder whether expecting DW to come up with consistent, coherent arguments may be just as unreasonable as expecting a fish to climb a tree. In which case, I suppose I am being mean.

  244. says

    David Wilford:

    Avo, the alternative to authoritarianism isn’t atheism (we all know how well that worked out in the U.S.S.R.), but democracy.

    It wasn’t atheism that was authoritarian in the USSR. It was a fascist breed of communism. Atheism was used by that state to short-circuit the established authoritarian power of the church so there’d be no competition for power.

    Yes, some groups have managed to avoid authoritarianism. Quakers are one very important example. But you are avoiding the larger point: religion is by its very nature authoritarian! It has to be, as the very core of it is based on revelation, an inherently authoritarian epistemology. You can dilute that authority as the Quakers do (in which everyone is a receptacle for revelation), but that doesn’t change the inherent nature of revelation, nor of religion.

    Your examples represent a very small minority of believers. It’s like I claim, “The vast majority of swans are white,” and you jump in with, “Huh-uh! There are black swans too.”

    Yes, religion can overcome its shortcomings. It can be a great source of fellowship, with very few bad side-effects (other than sloppy thinking). But it isn’t. Not as practiced by the vast majority of people who take religion seriously. Ignore that all you want, but please don’t be upset at us because we don’t.

  245. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    It was a fascist breed of communism.

    No, it was an authoritarian breed of communism. Fascist =/= Authoritarian. Sorry, the conflation of the two is a pet hate of mine; it’s no better than the Right conflating communism and authoritarian, or communism and Atheism. Just because the two normally go hand in hand doesn’t mean they are the same thing.

    Otherwise, Avo, I agree with you completely; particularly regarding Stalin’s cynical use of Atheism in order to remove rival power bases. Carry on!

  246. David Wilford says

    vaiyt @ 783:

    In part because he [Martin Luther] wanted to institute his OWN forms of abuse on issues where he felt the church was going soft.

    And the Puritans wanted to impose their own rules and broke with the English church, and Roger Williams wanted to break with the Puritans and founded the colony of Rhode Island because he disagreed with the Puritans about matters of doctrine, etc. In all these cases, they were bucking the authority of the current religion to follow their own tenents. These rebellions against the orthodoxy of the time were a part of the age of Enlightenment when people began to question the legitimacy of not only the Roman church but of the concept of divine rule. Martin Luther wasn’t a freethinker to be sure, but his nailing of those theses to the cathedral door was definitely a step down that road.

  247. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, still no evidence believers aren’t delusional fools, and that DW isn’t one either.