I was reading Pharyngula this weekend, when I read a post regarding the distortion of atheists’ goals by an English newspaper. While I agree with Mr. Meyers argument that the goals of the atheist community are being skewed by the Telegraph, since atheists’ views are misrepresented all the time I can’t say I was surprised by it. But something did stand out to me.
A church lobbyist in the Telegraph’s story used the term “militant atheist”,
and said that “militant atheist were attacking the children”. I’ve heard the term used before, but didn’t really think about it in depth until now. What exactly is a militant atheist? The word militant has a very strong and very negative connotation in today’s post 9/11, 3/11, 7/7, and Mumbai world. When someone says militant, what is the next thought in your head? I know for me it conjures up terrorist, extremist, guerrilla, and other less than desirable labels. The word is very much associated with violence and unrest. Naturally this is done on purpose by the religious right to discredit and demonize atheists. Trying to define their opponents with a negative label, easily repeatable slogan or caricature has been their strategy for a long time. Anyone reading a “tax and spend liberal”, or a “flip flopper”? The fact is atheists aren’t militant in the sense we think about today, if anything they could stand to be more forceful in their rejection of faith (new atheism). What purpose do these negative labels serve? Well, from an academic stand point, it’s much easier to dismiss the militant atheist, or Darwinist Dawkins, than it is to the Oxford Professor of Evolutionary Biology Dawkins.
Atheist and theists alike can agree the above mentioned terrorist attacks were all done by religious militants. Ever heard of an atheist terrorist attack? No. Large religious gatherings in the Muslim world often include burning effigies, anti-American chants, threats and calls to violence against non-Muslims and the staple riotous mob. In using the term militant atheist, apologists want to stir up images of Dawkins igniting a crowd with fiery, Palin-esque speeches. Christians pal-around with Satan maybe? How about Christopher Hitches leading a mass protest/riot with an alleged "militant atheist" fringe, burning churches and attacking believers? During the annual American Atheist Convention, did the atheist take to the streets? Did they Burn effigies of the Pope? Were there calls to harm and indeed murder theist? The fact is, you will never see anything like that. Atheist do not display the raw hostility and hatred that is found in many theist groups. Hopefully by now you can see the point I am driving at here. Just because a theist group can have moderates, and militants, doesn’t mean this structure applies to all ideological organizations. There are no militant, terrorist, or extremist atheists in the modern world. There are forceful opponents of theism, not violent movements. Theists cannot make the same claim, though I'm sure they do as they live their whole lives making ridiculous statements, see Crocoduck. Going door to door, attacking someones faith at their home, and trying to convert them, now that would be militant. Has an atheist ever came knocking on a Saturday morning? Maybe we should, but the sad truth is, we would be likely to be violently assaulted one time or another.
Moving along, another question comes up, what is wrong with being a forceful opponent of faith? If I were to tell any given believer that I belong to the Church of the Tooth Fairy, I’m sure they would have numerous questions. No doubt they would at least snicker at my belief system once we've parted ways. And they well should, the idea of the tooth fairy as a deity is absurd. However the tooth fairy is just as a legitimate deity as any other. Is pointing that out militant? Or is it simply stating what in the atheists’ view, ought to be obvious? Why is it that a theist’s questioning of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster somehow less militant than the followers of His Noodlyness questioning the existence of Yahweh, Allah, Baal, Apollo, or any other of the thousands of gods that have come and go?
Brilliant - from comments at Pharyngula
Posted by: Randomfactor | April 28, 2009 11:36 AM
So evolution says "in the beginning there was nothing," and creationism says "in the beginning there was god."
See? There's complete agreement! Once you realize that "god" = "nothing."
Posted on: April 28, 2009 9:16 AM, by Ed Brayton
Here's another one of those classic Worldnutdaily headlines:
Yes, it's an "exclusive," which as always means it's something so breathtakingly idiotic that no other "news outlet" would even consider publishing it.
The book of Deuteronomy will save America? Which parts, one wonders, should we put into practice in order to save America. Perhaps Chapter 13, which commands the murder of anyone who dares to suggest that your religion is false and theirs is true:
13:6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; 13:7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; 13:8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: 13:9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 13:10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Or perhaps chapter 22, which commands the murder of any woman who is not a virgin on her wedding day:
22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 22:14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 22:15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 22:16 And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 22:17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 22:18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 22:19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days. 22:20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 22:21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.
Or perhaps a new rule for the military that says if they see a beautiful woman in Iraq or Afghanistan and want to have sex with her, they can bring her home, shave her head and make her their wife, as decreed in chapter 21:
21:10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 21:11 And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; 21:12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house, and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 21:13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.
But hey, the next verse does say that if you don't like her, you can make kick her out but you can't sell her. By all means, let's "save America" by implementing the barbaric rules found in the book of Deuteronomy.
Posted on: April 28, 2009 9:30 AM, by Ed Brayton
Andrew Sullivan finds a Youtube video of George W. Bush on an Arab television station after the Abu Ghraib situation went public, explaining the difference between a free nation with the rule of law and a dictatorship. He says:
It's important for people to understand that in a democracy, there will be a full investigation. In other words, we want to know the truth. In our country, when there's an allegation of abuse ... there will be a full investigation, and justice will be delivered. ... It's very important for people and your listeners to understand that in our country, when an issue is brought to our attention on this magnitude, we act. And we act in a way in which leaders are willing to discuss it with the media. ... In other words, people want to know the truth. That stands in contrast to dictatorships. A dictator wouldn't be answering questions about this. A dictator wouldn't be saying that the system will be investigated and the world will see the results of the investigation.
Isn't it ironic? Don't you think? Video below the fold.
...with apologies to those few GOPer's left who are desperately clinging to the few, and increasingly rare, rational GOP thoughts (I can't think of any).
The Post poll numbers show the challenge for Republicans in stark terms.
The number of people who see themselves as GOPers is on the decline even as those who remain within the party grow more and more conservative.
That means that the loyal base of the party has an even larger voice in terms of the direction it heads even as more and more empirical evidence piles up that the elevation of voices like former vice president Dick Cheney does little to win over wavering Republicans or recruit Independents back to the GOP cause.
All adding their "celebrity" status to the campaign to murder children. These people are sick, arrogant, ignorant, just plain stupid fucks who are actively campaigning to murder young children and put many others at risk of death from preventable disease.
Now the willful ignorance and stupidity is spreading to Australia.
In America, people who claim vaccines cause autism are a major health threat. Some of these folks are just parents, people concerned about their kids, people desperately looking for a cause for a devastating illness. Others are vocal advocates of nonsense, saying things that are proven beyond reasonable doubt to be untrue.
The end result? Kids, including infants, are getting sick, and some of them are dying. Never, ever forget that, no matter how loudly these people yell, and no matter what garbage they spout (including, inevitably, in the comments that will follow this very post). Babies are dying.
In Australia, this movement is taking root as well. Calling the alarm to this, a TV program in Oz called "Sunday Night" aired an excellent exposé of what happens when parents don’t vaccinate their kids: they risk their children’s lives, and those of others. In the case shown on the TV show, a four-week-old baby, Dana McCaffery, died of whooping cough. This innocent infant wasn’t eligible for vaccination yet, but the lack of herd immunity — that region has lower-than-average vaccination rates — sealed her fate. The fact that other parents didn’t vaccinate their kids gave that little girl a death sentence.
Here’s the segment from that program. Warning (and I’m serious): if you are a parent, or any kind of feeling human being, this segment is seriously disturbing. I could barely watch it.
Maggie at Sceptic’s Book has written quite a moving article about this report and the result. The reporter in this TV program, Rebecca Maddern, did a pretty good job, though giving way too much time and credence to antivax mouthpiece Meryl Dorey, who spouts the usual antivax mendacities about vaccination, including bragging — bragging — that she was exposed to diseases when she was a kid, and didn’t get sick. At the six minute mark of that clip, she chillingly says that no one dies from measles or whooping cough.
Ms. Dorey, please tell that to the parents of Dana McCaffery, the baby who was just one month old when she died from whooping cough.
The Australian skeptics are trying to get the word out about this, including giving praise to the reporter (who, it should be noted, cut to a picture of Dana McCaffery right after Dorey spouted her awful, horrifying garbage). I encourage you to watch that clip (if you can stomach it), read what Maggie wrote, and then email the station about this very, very serious problem.
The antivaxxers claim to be concerned about children… but their total lack of critical thinking, their denial of the research, and their wholesale belief in conspiracy theories and antiscience rhetoric is making children sick. And some of these children are dying.
It’s that simple. Vaccinate your kids. The life you save may be your own child’s, and it may very well be the life of a child of some other parent who doesn’t have the choice you have.
A delegate to the Republican party in Utah had a marvelous resolution for his party.
Don Larsen, a Springville delegate, offered the resolution, titled "Resolution opposing the Hate America anti-Christian Open Borders cabal," warning delegates that an "invisible government" comprised of left-wing foundations was pumping money into the Democratic Party to push for looser immigration laws and anti-family legislation.
Larsen said Democrats get most of the votes cast by illegal immigrants and people in dysfunctional families.
But it's not the Democrats who are behind this strategy, Larsen said. It's the devil.
"Satan's ultimate goal is to destroy the family," Larsen said, "and these people are playing a leading part in it."
Larsen's resolution contained quotes from the New Testament on the battle between good and evil. The copy of the resolution handed to delegates stated it "fulfills scriptural prophecies about our times."
I am not at all surprised — it's not just Utah, but these kinds of loons are everywhere in this country, and they do not get laughed off the podium when they bring up these claims. I am impressed that they Utah GOP actually managed to reject the resolution … but it was for entirely pragmatic reasons. They said it would cost them Latino votes if they openly professed that Satan was shipping immigrants to America. They didn't say that that was crazy or wrong, just that it might hurt their image with Latinos. That also didn't surprise me.
First teabagging, then M4M now ...
Yes, this is the actual and official logo for the next anti-tax event the mouth-breathers are planning.
Rachel Maddow's comments on their last "new" slogans were great. I don't think she'd be able to handle adding this one and even be able to talk :-)