Secular Pro-Life lies »« [Lounge #456]

Cosmos upstaged!

Last night on Cosmos, Neil deGrasse Tyson explained how we know the universe is immensely old, and even took a sharp poke at that nonsensical idea that the earth is only about 6,000 years old. I figured there’d be some indignant squawking on the internet this morning, but no…the creationists are all quiet about it. Why? Well, some of them might have been tuned into the Walking Dead finale, since zombies and their theology are so copacetic. But the real reason is that they’re too busy freaking out over Noah.

The Discovery Institute is really pissed off (wait, you’re saying, why should they care about a movie that plays fast and loose with the Bible? Aren’t they a secular organization? Yeah, right). Their angle is that the movie is anti-human, because that’s all environmentalism is about, hating people.

Bottom line: Noah pushes hard on the modern environmentalist meme that — as I reported in The War on Humans — we are a terrible plague on the living Gaia. That message sells among a small group of progressive elites and misanthropic neo-earth religionists. But most of us do not consider ourselves to be cancers on the planet.

I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Discovery Institute, but yes you in particular are cancers on the culture and the planet. And have you considered the likelihood that the very worst destroyers do so confident that what they are doing is right and good, and that our personal narcissism is not exactly the most reliable measure of our worth?

They are also quite happy that humans exterminated entire species of megafauna. They deserved it, don’t you know, and had to go to allow people to live.

Whatever our role in the demise of megafauna, we should not look back in shame.

Early humans’ successful fight for survival gave us the chance to thrive. I am not upset with them: I am grateful.

For a bunch of anti-evolutionists, they sure are happy to cite ‘survival of the fittest’ as a justification for slaughter. You know, it wasn’t always a fight for survival.

Roman emperors curried favor with the public by upstaging their predecessors in killing more animals and producing more spectacular displays of slaughter (Morris 1990).  Emperor Titus inaugurated the Roman Coliseum by declaring 100 days of celebration, during which enormous numbers of animals were speared by gladiators.  On the opening day, 5,000 animals were slaughtered, and over the next two days, 3,000 more were killed (Morris 1990).  The caged animals were kept underground in dungeons where they were not fed, and on the day of the festival, they were hauled in their cages onto lifts that brought them into the center of the arena.  As the crowd roared with excitement, drums were beaten, trumpets blown, and the terrified animals were set loose (Attenborough 1987).  Sometimes the animals were goaded to attack one another, and at other times, men armed with spears and tridents pursued them around barriers made from shrubs in imitation of hunts in the wild (Attenborough 1987).  One arena hunt resulted in the killing of 300 Ostriches and 200 Alpine Chamois (Morris 1990). 

Lions, Tigers, bears, bulls, Leopards, Giraffes and deer died after being tormented, stabbed and gored (Morris 1990).  Big cats that had been starved were released into the ring where a human slave or prisoner of war was lashed to a post; the animals clawed at the person before they themselves were speared and stabbed by gladiators (Attenborough 1987).  In some of the larger slaughters, 500 Lions, more than 400 Leopards, or 100 bears would be killed in a single day (Morris 1990).  Hippos, even rhinoceroses and crocodiles, were brought into these arenas, and sometimes gladiators employed bizarre methods of killing such as decapitating fleeing ostriches with crescent-shaped arrows (Morris 1990).

Still grateful?

I grew up with farmers and ranchers, and I can tell you this, too: the slaughter continues. They tend to be ruthlessly intolerant of anything perceived as compromising their income. I’ve seen songbirds shot because “it was their farm, they can do what they want”.

And the big threat is habitat destruction — the prairies are almost all gone here in Minnesota, and the wetlands are being plowed over. It is not anti-human to want to preserve some natural beauty and protect biodiversity, because this is our planet and we should aspire to maintain it as something better than a giant sewage treatment plant for Homo sapiens. We are a lesser world for the absence of giant ground sloths and European lions and black rhinos — did we really have to kill them all so we could merely survive?

Comments

  1. Athywren says

    we are a terrible plague on the living Gaia

    They really are obsessed with their narrative of warring religions, aren’t they?
    And claiming to be secular, while pretending that wanting to maintain an environment that allows us to live in relative comfort and feed ourselves is some new age religious belief? How do people come to live in this upside down world?!

  2. tsig says

    Destruction is what humans are for. We are functioning as a genetic notch, what survives us will be really tough and go on to new evolutionary heights. Yeah, sucks to be us.

  3. says

    “personal narcissism” indeed drives it, and most religious claims. (It certainly drives clergy: no one would sit in rapt silence and listen to them otherwise. But that’s another topic.)

    Humans, just like every other species on earth, will go extinct via any number of means. These pompous nitwits really cannot abide the fact that they are not Super Special Snowflakes. The difference between our species and others is that we can know these things, and can, at least in theory, take collective action to significantly delay our eventual demise. In reality, however, it’s not bloody likely with dumb apes like these d00ds running around squawking like howler monkeys.

  4. says

    It is not more anti-human to want to preserve nature, than it is anti-your family not to defecate in the middle of your living room, or not to poison your kids by feeding them junk food and blowing cigarette smoke in their face.

    Also, in the story, the character who wants to destroy (almost) every living thing on the surface of the earth is Yahweh, not Noah.

  5. alexanderz says

    So their argument for wildlife extinction can be summed up as “they had it coming.”

    Not entirely inconsistent with other conservative ideologies.

  6. says

    spoiler alert!
    The main evil character Tubal Cain declares “God made us in His image and gave us DOMINION!!”
    Right out of the Prosperity Gospel.
    .
    I don’t know the actors name who played the character but he did a really good job. While Russell Crowe’s Noah is all weepy and indecisive the Cain guy knows what he wants and doesn’t hesitate to get it.

  7. Sastra says

    Bottom line: Noah pushes hard on the modern environmentalist meme that — as I reported in The War on Humans — we are a terrible plague on the living Gaia. That message sells among a small group of progressive elites and misanthropic neo-earth religionists. But most of us do not consider ourselves to be cancers on the planet.

    What makes this passage particularly ironic is that the view that human beings can be considered as toxic, a metaphorical “cancer” which needs to be eliminated, is exactly what the story of Noah and even the Bible itself is about. Why did God have to purge the earth of all living things except for one family and “seed species?” Because all of the men, women, and children who lived on earth had become corrupt.

    The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

    In other words, they were a cancer, an “uncontrolled division of abnormal ‘cells'” that had spread throughout the “body” of the world. The earth needed to be cleansed of this terrible plague of humanity, and the method God used was a drastic one: huge scale death and destruction. Major surgery.

    And isn’t that also the main theme of Christianity? Consider Armageddon, when once again the blight of sinners will be cut out like a disease from the healthy body of Christ. Your “sin” — your common humanity and its focus on the world — is a sickness which needs curing. If it cannot be removed, then you deserve to suffer forever in Hell.

    That message sells among a large group of regressive populists and misanthropic theistic religionists. And then they try to sell it to the rest of us.

  8. Christoph Burschka says

    They are also quite happy that humans exterminated entire species of megafauna. They deserved it, don’t you know, and had to go to allow people to live.

    Indeed – could you imagine what the world would be like if we hadn’t hunted the dinosaurs to extinction?

  9. Menyambal says

    If you follow that middle link, then go to the story that the writer is frothing about, you find the Daily Mail. The Mail article has Kardashians all over the sidebar, so it probably isn’t a science paper.

    In the article, one of the various arguments presented by scientists is that humans were responsible for the extinctions, other scientists say no, and show their reasoning. The scientist who says humans were the cause does not accuse or blame them, or imply guilt or that they had a choice. There is no judgment.

    The Disco guy takes a popular press article, picks out the part he wants, sensationalizes the crap out of that, adds paranoia, generalizes, and then bursts into tears at how everyone is being mean to him. He deserves a steel toe cap, he does.

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    They tend to be ruthlessly intolerant of anything perceived as compromising their income.

    I remember a news story years ago, about farmers in Montana protesting the reintroduction of wolves to nearby habitat. One of them had a placard reading “Wolves: The Saddam Hussein of the animal world”. Awesome.

    A quick google turned up this. Interesting piece about Shaun Ellis as well, who appeared in Martin Clunes’ show about dogs.

  11. Menyambal says

    I apologize for the call for violence in my comment # 10. That was wrong of me.

  12. alkisvonidas says

    That section about the Roman Coliseum reminded me of a comic strip I’d seen some time ago.

    An angel and a demon casually discuss the punishments in Hell:

    A: So, how do you punish those Roman Emperors, who fed Christians to the lions?

    D: In the exact same manner — we force-feed Christians to them.

  13. slatham says

    The sacrifice of humans and other animals for ego is so obviously appalling that of course death cult religions have to embrace it. The more disgusting the act the greater the reason there must have been for committing it.
    I went to youtube this morning and one of the videos recommended to me was NOAH -full movie-, except it was 30 minutes, and the author was Way of the Master and something else. Tired of false advertising from creationists, I didn’t click it.

  14. anteprepro says

    Noah pushes hard on the modern environmentalist meme that — as I reported in The War on Humans — we are a terrible plague on the living Gaia. That message sells among a small group of progressive elites and misanthropic neo-earth religionists. But most of us do not consider ourselves to be cancers on the planet.

    I’m sorry, what’s the religion that claims that the planet was perfect and everything was in perfect harmony until humans corrupted all of existence by eating an apple? Which religion was it that claims that humans are inherently worthless sinners, and that their sin is what causes the world to suck and what makes us deserve every bad thing that happens? I guess the real issue isn’t the misanthropy, or the belief that humans are a cancer or a plague: the real issue is that the environmentalists who believe that actually dare to care about the planet and strive to actually improve our planet and ourselves. Perhaps they aren’t misanthropic enough for Christianist tastes.

  15. anteprepro says

    “What, you actually want to DO SOMETHING, to make sure that future generations will have a place to LIVE? How negative of you!”

  16. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Slatham @ 14:

    Yeah, somebody asked Eric Blow-Wind the other day what he thought of Noah and he said “It was great!” linked to that. Dishonest fucknugget.

  17. says

    @slatham #14: I watched about half of that Noah movie before I gave up on seeing Noah. The only part I remember is Ray Comfort accosting random people with his tired schtick.

  18. scienceavenger says

    …we are a terrible plague on the living Gaia. That message sells among a small group of progressive elites and misanthropic neo-earth religionists. But most of us do not consider ourselves to be cancers on the planet.

    It means fuck all what you think, since in the time it takes me to write this tiny little note several species went extinct due entirely to us. You do realize we are in the middle of a mass extinction event we caused right? Now please, babble on about cycles (a catch-all phrase used by people who know squat) in retort.

  19. unclefrogy says

    I agree with the sentiment that the complaints about Noah are bullshit and are just a desperate attempt to distract the public from the horror that is at the heart of that story and lurks in the bible. god of love my ass sounds more just like a typical abuser to me!

    but on those slaughters held by the Romans the killing was clearly a show of power and strength so to was it a feast of meat that was killed in public. I have not read any detailed accounts but I am sure that the meat did not go into a sanitary landfill.
    uncle frogy

  20. twas brillig (stevem) says

    uhhh, What is wrong with simply saying, “Noah is a crappy movie.”? To me, it looks like just another round of “disaster porn” [remember “Day after Tomorrow”?]. Why are people so upset that it must be “Biblically Accurate”? Even if it followed the Bible’s Noah chapters, word for word; it would still be “disaster p*rn”.
    OHHH, I get it: To hide their attitude that the movie abuses the Bible-story, they get upset at the “environmental message” of the movie. [nevermind that the Bible-story is just as “environmental” as the movie’s]

  21. robro says

    The Sumerian flood story says the gods wanted to wipe out their servants (humans) because they were making too much noise. Perhaps the time is right for a remake.

    All this fuss over a movie!? Just another sign of the state of religion…jumping sharks every day for ages.

    AlterNet’s take on it: All the attention probably means $$$$ for the producers, investors, Crowe, et al. I’m sure as far as they’re concerned Beck, Rush, Ham, and anyone else who wants to complain can have a field day.

  22. NitricAcid says

    Can anyone explain why giraffes, tigers, ostriches and leopards are capitalized, but not deer, bulls, and bear?

  23. alexanderz says

    NitricAcid #24:

    Anything you can’t find and legally shoot in `merica is totally exotic and deserves capitalization.
    Or maybe because improper capitalization is a sure sign of a dysfunctional mind.

  24. w00dview says

    I am still amazed that these goons seem to worship God but despise his creation and despise those who seem to want to preserve his creation. The dominion over the planet aspect of fundamentalist Christianity is a scary, vile immoral attitude.

    As for accusing environmentalists of misanthropy? That’s rich. Whenever some climate change denier insists that he will not change his lifestyle one iota and will rather watch the planet burn than pay some extra taxes,he is basically erecting a giant middle finger to most of the human race. Preventing suffering is less important than them getting to keep driving their SUV.

  25. Rich Woods says

    @Kevin Alexander #7:

    I don’t know the actors name who played the character but he did a really good job.

    That would be Ray Winstone, an actor with a very distinguished career. If you want to see more, try Scum, Sexy Beast and (my favourite) Face.

  26. zibble says

    But most of us do not consider ourselves to be cancers on the planet.

    So God was wrong to flood the planet and kill us all?

    What the fuck is their point, exactly?

  27. David Marjanović says

    Now please, babble on about cycles

    …What cycles? Before I posted this comment, yours contained the only occurrence of “cycles” – or indeed “cy” – on this entire page. I honestly have no idea what you mean; please explain it.

    xkcd shows it best:

    Never link to just the picture. Link to the page it’s on, so people can read the alt-text.