Siegel is getting smacked so hard…

The best response so far (much better than mine) is Possum Momma’s. She points out that all the sins Siegel sees expressed in the godless seem to be just as prominent in contemporary Christians.

I really didn’t need to know about “Christian Domestic Discipline” or Christian porn.


  1. says

    This Siegel character really does seem like an idiot … or shall we say “a very confused person”?

    There’s a short answer to his main complaint, which I just posted on Possum Momma’s blog in similar terms to the following:

    No one is attacking anyone’s rights. To criticise something you do is not to say that you have no right to do it (or that it is therefore legitimate, or advisable, or morally obligatory, for the government to ban it).

    Siegel has every Poseidon-damned right to believe any irrationalist nonsense he wants, or to value whatever weird stuff he likes … and others, such as Sam Harris, have the right to criticise his choices. The latter is known as free speech.

    Having the right to do something, or to believe something, does not entail having the right to do so without anyone ever criticising you for it. No one has a right to go through life without ever being criticised or disagreed with or offended.

  2. says

    Thanks for the link, PZ. :) I had to laugh when I saw that you’d posted about the article, too. Great minds…

    And, the Christian Domestic Discipline shit is crazy! It’s biblically sanctioned S&M.

  3. Carlie says

    Fernando, it’s even worse. This has been bopping around in the blogosphere for a few months, and when it first “came to light” they had a few statements on how it should be the default situation even if the wife doesn’t want to, and that the beatings are the man’s right regardless of abuse laws. All said in a roundabout “wink wink nudge nudge” kind of way, of course. After they got their first set of condemnations those statements mysteriously disappeared from the main sites, but you know that’s still an underlying assumption.

  4. says

    I can’t get past this sentence in the second paragraph of Siegel’s piece: “You’d never know that we live in the age of Paris Hilton, HBO, Internet porn and flip-flops.”

    What is he playing at? What is wrong with HBO? Did he write an anti-Sopranos screed somewhere that we missed ? Is he disturbed by Ari Gold, Johnny Drama, and the rest of the Entourage crew? Did Al Swearengen’s foul mouth, greasy mustache and whiskey-drinkin’ put him in a tizzy? Does the uber-realistic portrayal of death and dying in Six Feet Under remind him of his own pitiful mortality?

    For the life of me, I cannot figure out what he means by this sentence. Much less, of course, the rest of the article.

  5. John Morales says

    Will E., I think he’s trying to express his sentiment that Paris Hilton, HBO, Internet porn and flip-flops are immoral, which of course shows how secular licentiousness is the societal norm.

    Or something.

    (By the way, flip-flops are known as “thongs” here in Australia. What Americans call thongs we call G-strings)

  6. Sastra says

    Will E: Siegel is making the argument that the “religious society” we live in is so open and free that atheists have no right to complain about living in a religious society. We reap the benefits and then act like they’re not there. We only play victim: now, let’s get into why we can all readily see how atheists are completely irrational and nasty.

    PZ and Possummomma are right to point out that criticizing a viewpoint is not the same as wanting to forbid that viewpoint: trying to persuade is not a use of force.

    Why is religion seen as so different than politics? If someone says “The Democrats (or Republicans) are wrong, we should fight their attempt to implement this policy, and you should not vote for this candidate” you don’t see a bunch of people immediately jumping up in shock and crying “So you want to outlaw being a Democrat? You want to turn the country into a one-party dictatorship? Oh, how intolerant. Every time you tell someone their politics are wrong and try to change their mind, that’s bigotry and lack of respect for other political views.”

    However, Siegel’s main philosophical argument against atheism is probably the most common argument coming from moderates and liberals, Christian and non-Christian. They classify God and other spiritual beings and forces into the category which includes abstractions, concepts, ideas, values, morals, aesthetics, numbers, and emotions. God is like love, only it’s also a person who lives and does things. If you think all people are made out of matter and energy, then you’re being literal. They see us as being inconsistent.

    It’s not that they think atheists can’t appreciate love or beauty; they think we have no right to agree that humans feel and think, and then deny something that exists just the way feelings and thoughts exist.

    Category errors turned into an art form.

  7. Dahan says

    Siegel states:

    “If anything, you could imagine these assaults on religion becoming infamous in the Muslim world, confirming for fundamentalists that the West is every bit as godless — and hostile to Islam — as they thought.”

    Hmmm, think so? Now just who was it that led the crusades? Who invaded Iraq without just cause? Who was it that said “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”? Not us militant atheists I’m afraid. We’re not the ones Bin Laden points out to get people to wear C-4 vests and blow themselves up while standing in a market. Nope, that would people like Siegel himself.

    What a complete idiot.

  8. sprezzatura says

    “What a complete idiot.”

    Not at all! I think Mr Siegel, whoever he is, makes many excellent points.

  9. John Morales says

    sprezzatura, your post apparently got cut off after you wrote “many excellent points.”.

    Could you please repost what these points were?

  10. says

    If by “flip-flops” he really means the sandals, then just what is so immoral or permissive about that? I was wearing those as a kid back in the 60’s. Or did he mean “thong” (ie. ultra-skimpy bikini), but somehow took a wrong turn while traversing the homonyms and synonyms?

  11. minimalist says

    For those who don’t know, Siegel was infamous for sockpuppetry under the name “sprezzatura”.

    This “sprezzatura” is doubtless someone else entirely, making a joke. It brought a smile to my face, at least.

  12. David Marjanović says

    Haven’t you read the other thread? sprezzatura is Siegel’s sockpuppet, created right after Siegel (“whoever he is”) complained about the ethics of the blogosphere. I see no reason to feed that particular troll.

  13. David Marjanović says

    Haven’t you read the other thread? sprezzatura is Siegel’s sockpuppet, created right after Siegel (“whoever he is”) complained about the ethics of the blogosphere. I see no reason to feed that particular troll.

  14. Rieux says

    Is it ethical to feed a troll when the troll is an obvious attempt to mock the perspective he superficially supports?

    There’s a hint of FSM (or perhaps Gen. JC Christian, Patriot) in the whole endeavor, no?

    (I mean, “whoever he is”? That was funny!)

  15. Brain Hertz says

    @ Fernando #5:

    I looked in vain for clues that that site is a parody, but couldn’t find anything. It is a parody, surely…? Please tell me it’s a parody :-o

  16. True Bob says

    I thought Siegel meant “changing sides” when he wrote “flip-flops”

    FWIW, it may be a dialect, but I learned them as “slaps”, for the sound they make.

  17. noncarborundum says

    Or did he mean “thong” (ie. ultra-skimpy bikini), but somehow took a wrong turn while traversing the homonyms and synonyms?

    It’s hard to imagine how any native speaker of American English (which I assume Siegel is) could ever make that mistake. If he wrote “flip-flops”, he meant “sandals”. (Or, conceivably, the alleged wanton changes of position that John Kerry was constantly accused of in the last Presidential election.)

    BTW “thong” in U.S. English can, or at least could when I was a child, also be applied to sandals. What I referred to as “flip-flops” my parents called “thong sandals” (but never simply “thongs”).

  18. Gary says

    I didn’t realize flip-flops were immoral. I have a pair of clogs I wear when I garden. Are those immoral too? Just wondering.

  19. Kagehi says

    Yeah. Don’t get what beef he has with HBO, its **showtime** that has Penn and Teller, The L-Word and what ever the other one with the gay guys is… lol Damn, I miss being able to watch that channel. Stupid cable people yanked the analog signal for it, then didn’t have a PVR I would use to record anything for the digital system. Sigh… Then again, HBO I think usually has the soft porn BS all the time, where you hardly see anything, and the main character pretends at being some sort of sex therapist or something. Real annoying junk, even if it was bloody funny that at least on series had the guy that played Fox Mulder as a sort of narrator, who collected the “stories” of various couples. lol

  20. Sastra says

    I think Siegel’s use of “flip-flops” was an implicit reference to the mini-scandal a while ago when a champion high school girls team (soccer?) was invited to the White House, and some of them wore flip-flops, and that made the Associated Press. It caused a lot of grown-ups to piss and moan about the lack of decorum and formality in young kids today. Teenagers argued back that NICE flip-flops are no worse than sandals, and nobody would have been upset over sandals. What’s the big deal?

    Flip-flops thus became a temporary symbol of disrespect and general laxness for the Conservatives.

  21. says

    Just to clarify something: In some parts of the U.S. a “g-string” is a panty that a stripper would wear to work. A “thong” is a g-string that your daughter wears to the beach.

    Big difference!

  22. says

    Maybe he meant real estate flip-flops: you know, buy low from impoverished elderly couple heading for the retirement home; repaint front porch and sell for twice as much. No, wait, that’s just Good Business Practice.

    I think his point is that it’s mean of us not to believe in his fairy godmother, the Rainbow Bridge where his pets wait for him on the Other Side, and that some day all those bullies will be sorry. Somehow that means we can’t have our own conceptions of truth, beauty, justice, and compassion.

    It’s a farrago of special pleading.