Sunday, March 29, 2015

Quotation

"Creeds are not guide-boards; they are tombstones. On every creed can be read three words: 'here lies ___ and such lies!'"
Marilla M. Ricker
"Science Against Creed"
Women Without Superstition

Actually, it is eurocentric

Once again Bad Catholic is proving just how bad at logic and critical thinking he is. In a recent post, "No, Christianity’s Not Eurocentric (But You Kind Of Are)", he conflates a few things and ignores a lot more. Christianity is not eurocentric because there happen to be racist individuals among it's membership. That is not the argument. Christianity is eurocentric because it is dominated and always has been by those of european decent. Marc's own preferred faith, Catholicism, is a prime example. All you have to do to see how full of shit he is is ask two basic questions (and, of course, find the answers). Who runs the Catholic Church? How is Christ commonly portrayed?

To answer the first question an excellent resource is the Vatican itself. Using the Vatican's own information about it's hierarchy reveals that even those not currently of an european nationality a sizable percentage are of European ancestry. Just go through the List of Cardinals according to Nations and in order of Age as a jumping point to look into there background and you will confirm this fact. So lets recap. The individuals who run the church and are responsible for all it policies and doctrines are largely of European descent. This pretty well refutes Marc. If the overall membership of the church is becoming more diverse and has been for years shouldn't the leadership reflect that? It doesn't. Ooops.

Then we have the way Jesus is often portrayed by the church. Jesus supposedly was born and grew up in the Middle East yet he almost always look like a white western European gentleman. Why? The answer to this question is also pretty simple. Europeans run the church and are more comfortable with figures who look like themselves. The central figure of Christianity is presented as an European despite claims to his having been a Middle Easterner. How is that not eurocentric?

Yup, Bad Catholic is still a willfully ignorant dumb-ass.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Quotation

"Faith is powerful enough to immunize people against all appeals to pity, to forgiveness, to decent human feelings. It even immunizes them against fear, if they honestly believe that a martyr's death will send them straight to heaven. What a weapon! Religious faith deserves a chapter to itself in the annals of war technology, on an even footing with the longbow, the warhorse, the tank, and the hydrogen bomb."
Richard Dawkins
The Selfish Gene

Becoming "biblical"

It is nice to see theists occasionally do some research and a bit of basic fact checking. On those grounds I do think Ellin Jimmerson does deserve some credit for her piece "When Did Biblical Marriage Get To Be A Thing?" She even makes a point of distinguishing between what people perceive to be in the Bible versus what's actually in the Bible. However, there is a rather important point that she overlooks. It is somewhat odd since it also relates to the disparity between the perception of what is in the Bible versus what is actually written. Anything can and does become "biblical" when those using the phrase find it convenient. The Bible loans itself quite nicely to virtually any belief individuals or groups choose to hold and endorse. Scriptures as a whole, whether Judeo-Christian or not, tend to alternate among being vague, incoherent, and contradictory. They can always be interpreted in a variety of different ways. It is generally pretty safe to assume that anything that carries the label "biblical" is full of shit.

Evidence, proof, and low standards

Apparently, having large numbers of a specific type of believer in a specific geographic area really can warp people's sense of reality. The Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah wasted both ink and space on a piece that was so ridiculous I had to read it multiple times just to make sure it really was printed. Daniel Peterson manages to make one point that is technically true but so incredibly misleading and silly that it hardly matters at all. The main point of "Defending the Faith: Proof, evidence and the need to decide" rests on the fact that evidence and proof are not synonyms. That's is true in the strictest sense. However, there are two huge problems with Peterson's premise. The first is that the average person uses these two as synonyms. I'm pretty sure he is aware of how common that conflation of those two terms are. The second and larger problem is that the standards of evidence that Peterson has to rely are so pathetically low that anyone could make a case for any idiotic notion that occurs to him/her. By his use of the term "evidence" I could make a case that the events in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is based on a true story. His reasoning really is that pathetic. It also, amusingly, never occurs to him that even if you can come up with "evidence" for something it is still possible that others can come up with evidence that refutes your own. At no point does he ever note that all evidence is not equally valid. This is not necessarily a surprising approach given that he is most concerned with defending the Book of Mormon from criticism.