Maybe it’s just OK to torture sinners

Hey, who thinks torture is never justified?

Catholics 26%
White Protestant 31%
White evangelical 31%
Secular 41%
Total 32%

I won’t chew out all the Christians this time (because I take it for granted that religion, especially a death cult, is not a moralizing influence). Instead, I want to know what the hell is wrong with the 59% of my fellow non-religious people who think torture is sometimes acceptable!

I was also mildly amused by this quote at the National Catholic Reporter article:

During Lent especially, he [David Robinson of Pax Christi] says, the image of Jesus, who was tortured to death, should be powerful for Catholics, reminding them that “Christ is being crucified today through the practice of torture.”

After all, if it was good enough for Jesus…

(I was pointed to a post on this survey at Andrew Sullivan, who also has some pithy comments on it.)

Wilkins on dKos

Darksyde interviews one of those people who convinced me that philosophy actually has something to contribute to our understanding of science (you know, it’s sadly true, but science education often belittles the value of trying to puzzle out how we know what we know)—that guy with extremely poor spelling skills, John Willikins Wilkins*. It’s a good read.

*Rumors that he bears a familial or temperamental affiliation with a certain mayor of Sunnydale are entirely scurrilous, and therefore well worth spreading.

I really didn’t need to see that

Childbirth is a beautiful thing, I know…but a statue of Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug is just weird, and this one combines a couple of other strange conceptions.

The monument also acknowledges the pop-diva’s pin-up past by showing Spears seductively posed on all fours atop a bearskin rug with back arched, pelvis thrust upward, as she clutches the bear’s ears with “water-retentive” hands.

Labor is not seductive. Putting a “pop-diva” in a rather sexual pose is not a celebration of birth and motherhood, I don’t think. Furthermore, it’s supposed to be a monument: a monument to the anti-choice movement. I’m sure there’s nothing Phyllis Schlafly and James Dobson would think represents their beliefs better than an anatomically explicit statue of the woman who sang “Baby one more time” naked and in a gynecologically revealing pose.

I’m thinking some New York artist is venting excess irony here.

(via Blog of the Moderaate Left)

Dembski’s cover is blown

There was a “debate” between Michael Shermer and William Dembski at the University of Kentucky. I’m not a fan of these pseudo-debates—they’re really just a pair of presentations, where the creationist can leech off the other guy’s reputation—and I don’t think Shermer is the best guy to defend biology, but this one seems to have had an interesting result.

Then came the question and answer session. The most striking thing was that every single question was for Dembski. People came prepared. They brought typed-up questions, asking him why he had been dismissed as an expert witness from Dover, why the Discovery Institute would not let Eugenie C. Scott use long excerpts of their material, why ID proponents don%u2019t publish or provide data, how the Discovery Institute can be taken seriously as an objective research organization when it had published a document in 1999 stating that it wanted to combat secularism (to which Demski pointed out the many pro-atheist comments made by people like Gould and Dawkins). Although Demski handled himself well, he seemed somewhat nonplussed. Meanwhile Shermer made a few rebuttals mixed with jokes.

Don’t knock the idea of getting the public informed. This is what we need: more intelligent, prepared citizens who are willing to confront these frauds and make them uncomfortable. Dembski is going to find himself increasingly isolated, I hope, and is going to find himself giving his lectures solely to sympathetic church-group audiences.

War on Easter!

Echidne has a great suggestion: a War on Easter! After all, our godless War on Christmas almost gave Bill O’Reilly a stroke, so maybe if we take a shot at him twice a year we’ll finally see his head explode on television. Echidne is taking a hard line against little yellow chicks, which is a fine start, but I can think of a few others.

  • The date is ridiculous, changing from year to year and calculated by some absurd algorithm based on phases of the moon or something. It’s on 16 April this year. I suggest that we fix it to 10 April every year: it’s somewhat arbitrary, but it is Max Von Sydow’s birthday, and he did play Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told. He was also a great Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon.
  • The only good thing about Easter is that it is a fertility festival. I suggest that we emphasize good, conservative, traditionalist values, and insist that it be celebrated properly: everyone gets naked and frolic in the nearest freshly plowed corn field and, ummm, “plows the field” some more.
  • The reason for the season is Eostre. While we’ve been wallowing in the commercialism of Cadbury creme eggs and chocolate bunnies, we’ve been neglecting the pagan fertility goddess behind it all. For shame! Too many people act as if the name of the holiday is “Jesuster”.
  • There is also a tradition of blood sacrifice here. I’m a little squeamish about that (“plowing fields” is more my style), but I’d encourage any Christian fundamentalists who want to celebrate that sentiment to go ahead and nail themselves up on boards or practice self-flagellation. Maybe we can even say that if you aren’t bleeding on Easter, you must not be a True Christian.

Although, come to think of it, I’ll probably be about as fervent about any War on Easter as I was in the War Against Christmas. I think we’ll have to hope that some quasi-Christian poseur takes it up as a theme, because I fear we godless are just going to say “eh” again.