Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quotation

"...the more we pursue the implications of mathematical rules, the more flexible a rule-based universe begins to seem. Conversely, the more we understand biology, the more important its physical aspects become - because life isn't a special kind of matter, so it too must obey the rules of physics."
Terry Pratchett et.al.
The Science of Discworld

Another piece of assumptions and biases

From start to finish the Atlantic's "Is Evangelical Morality Still Acceptable in America?" comes across as being rather superficial and idiotic. After reading through it a couple times I still fail see much of a point. Alan Noble does a pathetic job of defining or explaining what he really means by either "Evangelical Morality" or "Acceptable." Theists of all stripes whether Christian or specifically "evangelical" are free to worship any way they choose.

He never gets beyond any of the rather large assumptions he makes right from the start. Why he assumes that there can even be said to be an "evangelical morality" is beyond me. I am in no way implying that Christians of any type are automatically immoral. In fact, that is part of the problem with the whole piece. He writes as if there is something innately moral in theism and that each variation of theism somehow has produced its own unique moral structures. I don't buy it. Human beings are capable of being moral or immoral. Groups, though they can be influential, are not innately moral or immoral.

I also seem to have missed the part where being "acceptable" really matters to theistic claims and beliefs. Even if he ever got around to what defines being acceptable, which he doesn't do a very good job, what impact would it really have on evangelicals or any other group. Why the special treatment? Haven't there always been minority beliefs/groups? I'm unaware of there being an active campaign to marginalize or strip the rights of evangelicals. Assuming such a campaign could actually get anywhere given the power and influence evangelicals still wield.

The piece is just silly and ultimately pointless.

"Abortion: Whose Religious Beliefs Should Prevail?"

The answer to the question posed in Georgette Bennett's HuffPo piece, "Abortion: Whose Religious Beliefs Should Prevail?", seems both very clear and obvious to me; no one's. When it comes to medical questions, and she is talking about abortion in both a medical and religious context, no one's religion should be allowed to interfere in other people's care. If, as an adult, an individual wants to either confer or defer to religious doctrines when making medical decisions for themselves they have that right. However, they should never been allowed to enforce their highly subjective religious views on other people in any context and escpecially not in a medical one. It should also not be allowed to be the sole basis of any laws or public policies.

Most of what Bennnett writes about is completely irrelevant and relies almost entirely on the assumption that religious beliefs should automatically come into play when making medical decisions. In other words, it's laced with bullshit.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Quotation

“Man is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion—several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven.”
Mark Twain

And, the answer is...Superficial

That's right the answer to the (sort of ) question "What the Pope’s popularity says about American culture" is the superficial nature of many Americans' understanding of theology. As I have commented before, the only real difference between the current Pope and the past few is a matter of style not of substance. Fawning over the current Pope doesn't really seem to be the main point of this recent post by Jonathan Merritt.

Like many of Merritt's post the piece is really just another opportunity to spread all sorts of deceitful and malicious bullshit. He repeats and promotes a variety of myths, stereotypes, and smears about nonbelievers.
Merritt's disingenuous post includes some of the most common misconceptions and misrepresentations. He provides a platform for such whoppers as the "anti-Christian bias in American news media" and that "Hollywood is rabidly anti-Christian." Conveniently he uses what others have said on such things as a cover for his own endorsement for these two idiotic tropes. Since it is still safe to outright attack atheists he doesn't bother to veil his hostility when directly commenting on us.

An excellent example comes towards the end of the post.
"Some secularists and atheists, of course, despise Christians just for being Christians. But the Richard Dawkins brand of adversary is the outlier and the exception."
Umm, no. Dawkins has family and friends who happen to be Christian. Dawkins, like many of us, has repeatedly pointed out that it is Christianity not Christians that is the topic of debate and criticism. Respecting individuals does not mean the ideas those individuals hold deserve to be respected. Ideas are not people. It is sad that intellectually dishonest twerps like Merritt so often get away with this type of sleight-of-hand trickery.