Some Standard Definitions From the Doublespeak Dictionary

Some Standard Definitions From the Doublespeak Dictionary

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Let’s play a game! It’s called, “Find the Bigotry and Intolerance”. Ready? Go!

We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families – some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that. We intend to stay the course. We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

Dan Cathy, COO of Chic-fil-A [source]

And:

I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage. I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”

Dan Cathy, COO of Chic-fil-A [source]

Hmmm. I couldn’t find either, unless, of course, we designate anyone who disagrees with the LGBT movement a “bigot” and anything they say “intolerant”.

This artist commends Dan Cathy for his support of traditional marriage and family and for not being ashamed to make wonderful, positive statements in their defense. Little did he know that his comments would test the limits of free speech in New Amerika! But the subsequent reaction also made it obvious who the term “intolerant bigot” may be more apt to describe, don’t you think?

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107 thoughts on “Some Standard Definitions From the Doublespeak Dictionary

  1. The reason (oh, here he goes again) why the term ‘bigot’ is applied to those who are intolerant of equal legal rights to marry based solely on spousal gender is because there are no good reasons – other than a contrary belief unsupported by reality – to exercise such legal discrimination. Dressing up this bigotry as religious does nothing to improve the quality of the reasons against it; religious folk bound and determined to enforce legal inequality are simply applying the lipstick of piety on the pig of bigotry and calling it god-sanctioned morality rather than what it actually is: religious bullying by a bunch of bigots.

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    • It’s not “dressing up bigotry as religious,” it’s how Christians have always defined marriage since the beginning–and how most other faiths and cultures do for that matter.

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    • Perhaps tildeb could do us a favour and offer his definition of marriage, so that we know the specific criteria he is using in extending the notion of marriage beyond that which I came across right at the top of my search results when I Googled “marriage definition”:

      “The formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.”

      In related news, I, quite fortuitously, came across this interesting article today, which I forward here, should anyone be interested:

      ‘Website to protect dictionary definition of marriage’ – July 30, 2012

      Excerpt:

      “A website to protect the current definition of marriage as ‘one man one woman’ has been launched today.

      It’s lobby group Family First’s response to Labour MP Louisa Wall’s private member’s Bill which seeks to redefine marriage to allow gay couples to wed.

      Director Bob McCoskrie says politicians are being hammered with reasons for taking the twink bottle to the dictionary to redefine marriage, but the state did not invent marriage and has no authority to re-invent it.

      ‘Our argument is simply that we are already recognising same sex relationships under the law so there’s equal rights, equal access.’ “

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  2. synapticcohesion & Josh:

    Tolerance does appear to be a virtue these days. And one group that seems to often advocate intolerance – while not at all being representative of the many wonderfully tolerant and respectful atheists out there – is the militant neo-atheist movement, the so-called ‘New Atheists’, led by the likes of Richard Dawkins.

    Recently, journalist/author Bryan Appleyard – himself an agnostic – wrote a brilliant, illuminating article exploring what drives Dawkins and other rational minds – the “militant neo-atheists” as he calls them – to such “cultish intolerance” towards religion. Or, as British cabinet minister Sayeeda Warsi puts it to Appleyard, “Why are the followers of reason so unreasonable?” Hope you enjoy the read as much as I did.

    ‘The God Wars’ – February 2012 (http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2012/02/neo-atheism-atheists-dawkins)

    Excerpts:

    “De Botton is the most recent and, consequently, the most shocked victim. He has just produced a book, Religion for Atheists: a Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, mildly suggesting that atheists like himself have much to learn from religion and that, in fact, religion is too important to be left to believers. He has also proposed an atheists’ temple, a place where non-believers can partake of the consolations of silence and meditation.

    This has been enough to bring the full force of a neo-atheist fatwa crashing down on his head. The temple idea in particular made them reach for their best books of curses.

    ‘I am rolling my eyes so hard that it hurts,’ wrote the American biologist and neo-atheist blogger P Z Myers. ‘You may take a moment to retch. I hope you have buckets handy.’ Myers has a vivid but limited prose palette.

    There have been threats of violence. De Botton has been told he will be beaten up and his guts taken out of him. One email simply said, ‘You have betrayed Atheism. Go over to the other side and die.’

    De Botton finds it bewildering, the unexpected appearance in the culture of a tyrannical sect, content to whip up a mob mentality. ‘To say something along the lines of ‘I’m an atheist; I think religions are not all bad’ has become a dramatically peculiar thing to say and if you do say it on the internet you will get savage messages calling you a fascist, an idiot or a fool. This is a very odd moment in our culture. Why has this happened?’… ”

    “… It was in the midst of this that Fodor and the cognitive scientist Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini published What Darwin Got Wrong, a highly sophisticated analysis of Darwinian thought which concluded that the theory of natural selection could not be stated coherently. All hell broke loose. Such was the abuse that Fodor vowed never to read a blog again. (P Z) Myers the provocateur announced that he had no intention of reading the book but spent 3,000 words trashing it anyway, a remarkably frank statement of intellectual tyranny.

    Fodor now chuckles at the memory. ‘I said we should write back saying we had no intention of reading his review but we thought it was all wrong anyway.’… ”

    “… Happily, the backlash against neo-atheism has begun, inspired by the cult’s own intolerance. In the Christmas issue of this magazine, Dawkins interviewed Hitchens. Halfway through, Dawkins asked: ‘Do you ever worry that if we win and, so to speak, destroy Christianity, that vacuum would be filled by Islam?’ At dinner at the restaurant in Bayswater we all laughed at this, but our laughter was uneasy. The history of attempts to destroy religion is littered with the corpses of believers and unbelievers alike. There are many roads to truth, but cultish intolerance is not one of them.”

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    • On the topic of Richard Dawkins, the man himself exemplifies the commitment to intolerance that does not serve the atheistic cause very much. On one of his own articles, he had this to say (http://richarddawkins.net/articles/3767#368197):

      “… I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt.

      Michael Shermer, Michael Ruse, Eugenie Scott and others are probably right that contemptuous ridicule is not an expedient way to change the minds of those who are deeply religious. But I think we should probably abandon the irremediably religious precisely because that is what they are – irremediable. I am more interested in the fence-sitters who haven’€™t really considered the question very long or very carefully. And I think that they are likely to be swayed by a display of naked contempt. Nobody likes to be laughed at. Nobody wants to be the butt of contempt.”

      And in March this year, at the Reason Rally, he urged the atheists and agnostics present to mock and ridicule Catholic beliefs and those of other religions.

      “Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all ‘too polite’ to talk about religion,” Dawkins said, before urging rally attendees to ridicule Catholics’ faith in the Eucharist.

      “Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged – and if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt,” he told the crowd.

      He instructs his followers to ask Christians if they really believe what they believe. He then says something that draws much applause from the Reason Rally crowd:

      “Mock them. Ridicule them! In public!”

      Hmm, that isn’t exactly putting the ‘reason’ in ‘Reason Rally’ now, is it? I wonder if anyone here would venture to suggest that this kind of behaviour is perfectly acceptable.

      One writer observes that if militant neo-atheists really want to change culture for the good then they should do this instead of the going to the Reason Rally:

      ‘Why The Reason Rally Isn’t Worth Coming Out For’ by Nathalie Rothschild (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathalie-rothschild/why-the-reason-rally-isnt_b_1320748.html)

      Excerpt:

      “It seems, in fact, that the very thing that irks today’s atheists about religious people is that they have a strong, unifying vision of good society and that they are willing to live by it, well, religiously. But those of us interested in advancing a human-centred vision of the future would do better focusing on important things like wealth creation, liberty, scientific advancement and creating great art. With these things comes enlightenment. With plastering religious areas with insulting billboards and attending feel-good events in D.C. come smugness and cheap thrills. The Reason Rally really isn’t worth coming out for.”

      With Dawkins and like-minded individuals, it’s worth noting that if a person or group has to resort to intolerance and ridicule to oppose a belief, they should be honest enough to admit that they are closed-minded about that belief. For once you have reached the point where you ridicule another belief, you have likely crossed the point where you can reasonably claim to be open-minded about the belief.

      Food for thought, I hope. =)

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      • I love the way you quote mine! It’s so… evangelically typical.

        Dawkins was referring specifically to catholics who should be asked if they literally believe the wine is blood and the cracker flesh; if the answer were ‘yes’, then ridicule them. The point you adroitly miss (absolutely no surprise here) was that Dawkins explicitly expressed doubt that the majority of catholics actually believed this lunacy. He was calling on other atheists – the ones you describe oh so neutrally as militant neo-atheists – to challenge these nominal catholics to confront their own beliefs and the dissonance between what that truly think and the set of beliefs they say identifies them… in public. Give catholics a chance to show why their beliefs are reasonable! Unlike other theists so busy respecting each others contrary beliefs united to vilify atheists, us Gnus feel a responsibility to debunk these absurdities in public and show why and how all the various Emperors loosely called god are, in reality, naked of any good reasons.

        Look, the New Atheists really want one thing only: take your religion out of the public domain and out of our lives. It’s causing harm. But that’s too intolerant of us, isn’t it? Daring – having the effrontery! – to criticize the insertion and imposition of your religious wackaloonery on all of us – one that harms real people in real life – is just too darned militant of us. That’s why you try to vilify those who dare disagree with your theocratic ambitions and activism to abuse public office and the public purse in pursuit of your dreams to undermine Enlightenment values and re-establish the Iron Age in your delusional religious dreams as intolerant.

        Well, guess what? You’re losing. The next generation here in North America is approaching the tipping point of non belief that will render your Discovery Institute dreams as so much ash – which is all it has ever been. And the primary reason for their dismissal of your delusions is the internet where religions come to die. They can see why your goals are immoral and unethical, anti-knowledge and anti-human, and that your religious commitment to bad ideas and long discredited beliefs about reality seems to drive you to commit repeated acts of the worst kinds of academic blunders, espouse theistic dribble long discredited, and reveal a breath-taking hypocrisy to support your ancient beliefs long since shown to be anti-intellectual, anti-scientific, and anti-human rights… which you so brilliantly show by your reliance on cherry picking, quote mining, and repeated appeals to authorities to support your goals that are not representative of the best reasons brought forth by us ‘militant neo-atheists’ that they find compelling by comparison. In any compare-and-contrast exercise, the fruits of your beliefs are slim pickings whereas firm secularism finally clears the deck of theistic detritus that has long caused mostly division and harm.

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    • You advocate for establishing a theocracy. Those of us who will not tolerate this advocacy without strong criticism are currently defined by religious bullies as militants.

      How linguistically quaint.

      Don’t be surprised when you find that your efforts produce a lot more militants. Some might even be atheists.

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      • tildeb:

        “You advocate for establishing a theocracy.”

        That, respectfully, is speculation on your part, and certainly not something I suggested myself.

        “Those of us who will not tolerate this advocacy without strong criticism are currently defined by religious bullies as militants.”

        For your information, Bryan Appleyard – the author of the article I cited, and who uses the phrase “militant neo-atheism” neutrally to refer to a select group of people – is an agnostic. I’m not sure how that makes him and people who use the term ‘militant’ in similar fashion “religious bullies”.

        Also tildeb, if I may direct your attention to these words of yours:

        “”Those of us who will not tolerate this advocacy without strong criticism…”

        Now, Appleyard, in his article, described a particular type of unsettling behaviour, which included the following:

        (1) “There have been threats of violence. De Botton has been told he will be beaten up and his guts taken out of him. One email simply said, ‘You have betrayed Atheism. Go over to the other side and die.’ ”

        (2) “All hell broke loose. Such was the abuse that Fodor vowed never to read a blog again. (P Z) Myers the provocateur announced that he had no intention of reading the book but spent 3,000 words trashing it anyway, a remarkably frank statement of intellectual tyranny.”

        What I’d like to ask you is, is this what you refer to as “strong criticism”? Would you personally advocate this kind of behaviour, tildeb, or would you not?

        Finally, I’d appreciate that definition of marriage that I’d asked earlier, it would certainly give me an insight into the specific criteria you use in your definition and allow us to further the conversation. Thanks.

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      • Regarding the topic here, marriage: Are we demanding a new definition the invokes “God”? If no, then how can it be seen to “advocate … establishing a theocracy”? We’re merely defending the definition that has been held for ages by many individuals apart from any intrusive government intervention that would force a broad, harmful view of marriage on its citizenry.

        Joshua

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  3. tildeb said:

    “Look, the New Atheists really want one thing only: take your religion out of the public domain and out of our lives. It’s causing harm.”

    You have no right to tell people what they can or can’t do in public in terms of practicing their religious freedom. If you want fundamentalism or oppression; go to China, Russia, North Korea or whichever radical fundamentalist state your heart desires.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_atheism

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    • By ‘public domain’ I mean in those areas of agencies and offices paid for by public money, such as public governance, public education, public law, public, public policy, public defense, and so on. Public offices represent the public and not some special interest group within it. By advocating for religious involvement in these areas of public domain concerns, the religious have overstepped their religious freedom and are attempting to abuse these offices and the public power they contain to privilege their freedom by suppressing the freedom of others. This is a direct assault on all of us.

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    • Oh, and I must clarify: it is an intolerable direct assault on all of us. I also think it is seditious and worthy of the charge of treason..

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      • Your first allegiance is to the rights of autonomy from which by tacit agreement you then transfer to the law of a secular nation state. It’s job, through law and military defense, is to protect your rights and freedoms which legitimize its power. If your allegiance is elsewhere, such as to god first, then yeah, your religious allegiance over the secular threatens not just my welfare but yours because it threatens the rights and freedom upon which you claim freedom of religion.

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      • Does your side really advocate “rights”? I think not. It advances the idea of state-granted privileges under the guise of “rights”. And if the state grants them, the state can take them away. Besides, the type of society in which religion is taken out of the public sphere exists already. And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are communist and totalitarian.

        For example: China, on paper and in practice, is exactly what people who would side with tildeb want. I just talked to a friend from Beijing, China about the state of religion there for four hours. The way he describes it from his experience is EXACTLY what they advocate: “take your religion out of the public domain and out of our lives.” But they won’t move there. No. They’ll comfortably make their assertions from behind a keyboard inside a western nation.

        A government can’t take away or block freedom of religion without being totalitarian and it can’t desire to do that apart from being atheist, despite any atheist dreams to the contrary.

        Buy a ticket to China. Open your mind a little.

        Joshua

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  4. “Your first allegiance is to the rights of autonomy from which by tacit agreement you then transfer to the law of a secular nation state.”

    Right. With that kind of logic, the family institution must be seditious as well.

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    • Right on, SC!

      Of course, the type of “gospel” that tildeb is quietly preaching is that the State is God, the sole authority to grant and take away privileges disguised as “rights”. Notice, too, that he seems to believe in a special definition of autonomy, one that discounts the individually arrived at conclusions and convictions of Christians. Any citizen can come to their own conclusions / convictions (dangerous ideas like “human rights” and “freedom”) and then transfer the principles and their social implications to the governing bodies — as long at they are not Christians.

      Of course, anyone who read the New Testament genuinely would have seen that the idea that merely being a Christian means someone is automatically committing “treason”* is an uninformed one at best and self-serving at worst. There are verses which indicate the Christian’s attitude toward those in power. It’s not one of feuding loyalties, but recognition that no-one comes to power apart from God’s will and that we should pray for them, even if we disagree with their policies. (Romans 13:1; 1 Timothy 2:1-2)

      Unlike atheistic, totalitarian regimes, Islam, and Mormonism, genuine Christianity is not a top-down approach to society. It’s a bottom-up approach, starting with the changed heart of the individual.

      Joshua

      *VERY dangerous language. Imagine having an atheist president like tildeb who would consider anyone with any religious convictions (except himself, of course) — especially Christians! — guilty of treason?! Maybe he, like Dawkins, is interested in “destroying Christianity”, something that can’t happen apart from killing everyone who is a Christian?

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      • “*VERY dangerous language. Imagine having an atheist president like tildeb who would consider anyone with any religious convictions, except himself, of course — but especially Christians — guilty of treason?!”

        It’s happened before and it resulted in the wholesale slaughter of tens of millions of Christians under Stalin. Just about anything can be manipulated into being about preserving one’s “autonomy.” Including the “burden” of children as was already mentioned in my previous example. But ironically, the State needs to take away a citizen’s autonomy to protect their autonomy. Orwellian doublethink.

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      • You do know that Stalin was trained to be a priest, right? Totalitarianism is to atheism what business is to religion; neither is derived from nor dependent on the other. Mustaches are a stronger causal connection to totalitarianism than is atheism but this hardly suits your agenda to support a theocracy. And unlike christianity, the history of ‘militant neo-atheism’ has no evidence for supporting state-sanctioned discrimination (against those who wish to practice their religion in the private domain). You see, it’s not the believers who are held in contempt by New Atheists; it’s the belief. But I don’t expect you to appreciate the difference in separating bad ideas from those who hold them. And obviously any explanation about why rights and freedoms are of vital important to atheists goes in one ear and out the other, so busy are you to vilify anyone who dares to impede your theocracy building. You will not defend your willingness to suppress the rights of others but repeatedly and hypocritically hide your real motives behind the notion of exercising your religious freedom. That you don’t understand why spending your support to politically neuter yourself in the name of piety is antithetical to religious freedom will remain beyond your ken. You have my sympathy.

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  5. That’s what happens when you place the dictates of the “Secular Nation State” before all else. The secular nation state then becomes the people’s “god.” If the State says that having more than one child is a problem or a burden, then you better agree and obey lest you be charged with “sedition.”

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    • Right. And that is one of the dangers with changing the commonly understood and practiced form of marriage. The government will then be entrusted with more power to define not just marriage, but eventually the merits (or lack of) every human relationship.

      Of course, to claim that this attack on the definition of traditional marriage is somehow merely altruistic (which is what tildeb would likely claim) is being self-deceptive. There’s big money and increased power and control in it. Of course, that this sort of battle is being waged at this time in history is no surprise. As people lose more and more control of themselves, they are automatically necessitating a governing body pick up the slack. As G.K. Chesterton said:

      “If man will not be governed by the 10 commandments, he will be governed by the 10,000 commandments.”

      Do you smell totalitarianism?

      Joshua

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  6. tildeb said:

    “You do know that Stalin was trained to be a priest, right? Totalitarianism is to atheism what business is to religion; neither is derived from nor dependent on the other. Mustaches are a stronger causal connection to totalitarianism than is atheism but this hardly suits your agenda to support a theocracy.”

    There is a fatal flaw in the reasoning used by the revered Mr. Dawkins. Physicality may have nothing to do with totalitarianism and mass murder, but ideology most certainly does:

    “Communism begins where atheism begins, but atheism is at the outset still far from being communism; indeed it is still for the most part an abstraction.” (Karl Marx)

    “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion” (Karl Marx)

    “I wish to avenge myself against the One who rules above.” (Karl Marx)

    “The hellish vapors rise and fill the brain, till I go mad and my heart is utterly changed. See this sword? The prince of darkness sold it to me.” (Karl Marx)

    “With disdain I will throw my gauntlet full in the fact of the world and see the collapse of this pygmy giant. Then will I wander god-like and victorious through the ruins of the world. And giving my words an active force, I will feel equal to the Creator.” (Karl Marx)

    “Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.” (V.I. Lenin)

    “We do not fight against believers and not even clergymen. WE FIGHT AGAINST GOD to snatch believers from Him.” (Vechernaia Moskva, a Soviet newspaper)

    “Let us drive out the Capitalists from the earth, and God from Heaven!” (early Soviet slogan)

    “I believe in one thing only, the power of human will.” (Joseph Stalin)

    “Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.” (Joseph Stalin)

    “When we hang the capitalists they will sell us the rope” (Joseph Stalin)

    “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” (Joseph Stalin)

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    • Apparently you need reminding that the terms ‘totalitarianism’ and ‘communism’ are not synonyms, synapticcohesion. Totalitarianism – in whatever form it takes, including communism, national socialism, fascism, AND theocracy – is the opposite of secularism. Totalitarian regimes that are not theocracies take the place of religion but use the same methods and tactics of establishing submission to authority most religions presume to use to keep service to the state – like service to the church – the primary value. Atheism does not share this value. Atheism means non belief in god, not support for a totalitarian replacement. New Atheism means actively working to maintain Enlightenment values like separation of church and state. Part of that tactic is to reveal why and how religious claims about reality are not just untrustworthy but in conflict with the method of science. Religion in the public domain is in need of sustained criticism in order to offer the next generation compelling reasons not to be duped by these religious fictions.

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      • An atheist here wisely stated that the reason why oppressive totalitarian regimes need to enforce atheism is because in order to effectively control others you can’t have the “competition” of God and religion.

        This assertion was reinforced when I was having a discussion (with a presumed atheist) on the issue of forced abortion and the one-child policy of China. She, of course, agreed with this policy buying into the “they reproduce like rabbits/overpopulation” propaganda. When I mentioned that I could never imagine that the citizens of Mexico would ever allow such a policy to be enforced, she said, “Of course! They are CATHOLICS and would strongly OPPOSE abortions!”

        Out of the mouths of atheist babes…

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      • And have you ever encountered an ardent / passionate / militant atheist from China?

        Personally speaking, I have yet to encounter a hard-core atheist from China (or even a moderately zealous atheist for that matter). As it stands, the nation is like a sinking ship. People, even a majority of government officials by the word of a friend who lives there, are ready to get out. Why?

        Now, I encounter atheists here (which has a large percentage of atheists [23% or so]), but nearly every one of them is from a Western nation.

        Why do you think it is so easy for people in Western nations to be atheists and be so obviously passionate about it?

        Joshua

        Note: I fixed the little typ-o and deleted the note about it. Hope you don’t mind.

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      • Atheism is not a necessary component of any totalitarian regime – see Hitler’s catholicism and concordant with the Vatican as evidence – but you’re right in that any other power is a threat. There is no other kind of totalitarian government that isn’t oppressive but at the core of the term in practice means there is no legal respect for individual rights (there is always the appearance of such a respect with such ludicrous assigned names such as The People’s Democratic blah blah blah, or kangaroo courts that seem to go through the motion of pretending to care about legal rights, and so on).

        But the criticism here is aimed at the New Atheist movement, which has absolutely nothing to do with such totalitarian designs. For example, no matter how often I write that today’s atheism holds your right to believe whatever you want as firmly as your claim to any other right of citizenship, I garner equally absurd accusations that I support some kind of bloody pogrom against christians in order to persecute them. In fact, I want our rights – believer and non believer alike – to be equal, and I want government to treat our rights equally regardless of other considerations believers like to introduce like gender rights, sexual orientation rights, reproductive rights, or rights to hold particular and even popular religious belief. To counter this very reasonable position of New Atheism called secularism (which is not the same thing as atheism whatsoever), many believers try to paint me as anything but reasonable, arguing that legal bias, prejudice, and privilege for particular believers (but not, of course, for those believers of some other religious preference like islam) is only right and proper.

        It isn’t.

        And New Atheists stand up against this religiously motivated forced intrusion into the public domain (and assault on and theft of the public purse) against those pious hypocrites who continue to advocate to subvert the public domain and its agents and organizations for furthering their theological goals, namely, to impose a narrow set of preferred policies of bigotry and legal inequalities to suit their religious preferences… to build, in other words, a theocracy.

        If New Atheists won’ commit to fight on behalf of all through allegiance to secularism then we know cannot count on the evangelicals and catholics and baptists and mormons and muslims and hindus and buddhists to do so. At stake are your rights and freedoms of citizenship itself, including your right to believe what you want and the established freedom from the State to do so. It is not the New Atheists advocating to reduce and impair and constrain legal equality and separation of church from state but the forces of piety with a greater allegiance to a make-believe deity and an imaginary ‘next’ life that threatens us all… with a very real kind of state-sanctioned totalitarianism.

        You have seen the enemy and it is not atheists; the enemy is anyone foreign and domestic who try to convince you that secularism is somehow morally corrupt. It’s not; it’s your armor against anyone who would – for any reason – try to establish state support for religious impositions and legal inequalities. That is the rot at the heart of religious bullying.

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  7. Joshua:

    “And have you ever encountered an ardent / passionate / militant atheist from China?”

    No. My guess would be it’s because, although religiosity has been suppressed there (and the reeducation process is evident), the Chinese people have learned to adapt but see no appeal in bashing or quashing the religiosity of others (that’s the job of government). It seems that atheist activism loses it’s appeal when it is forced upon the people by the State in the form of brutal suppression of religious expression and of oppression of it’s citizens and the denial their God-given rights and freedoms.

    “Why do you think it is so easy for people in Western nations to be atheists and be so obviously passionate about it?”

    Probably because most have never been exposed to the harsh realities of brutal, dictatorial, atheistic regimes and they have in Eastern Europe and in East Asian countries.

    “Note: I fixed the little typ-o and deleted the note about it. Hope you don’t mind.”

    Not at all, I appreciate it–thanks.

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    • “And have you ever encountered an ardent / passionate / militant atheist from China?”

      The Chinese with whom I’ve known are (mostly) bright and articulate and polite atheists who have no more ardor to express their non belief as you have to ‘militate’ against other people’s hinduism. It would be a different story, I suspect, if they had grown up inside a state that was swayed to privilege hinduism over, say, christianity, but the ingrained politeness would greatly mitigate it.

      Why do you think it is so easy for people in Western nations to be atheists and be so obviously passionate about it?

      Because non belief is the default, yet is vilified at every turn without cause or merit. Passion ensues because it’s a baseless lie that is told and retold and assured from pulpits every week. Many children from religious homes are indoctrinated into this lie in the same way people once believed blacks were inferior to whites because they were told it by all kinds of authority figures supposedly worthy of trust. And when one appreciates the depth and breadth of public privilege granted to the religious, one either cares about inequity and tries to rectify it or one just goes along with the flow and pretends they are believers, too the same way the LBST crowd once suppressed their own sexuality and any any expressions of it because they were also vilified by the same ‘loving’ religious crew.

      Synapticcohesion responds to the same question with Probably because most have never been exposed to the harsh realities of brutal, dictatorial, atheistic regimes and they have in Eastern Europe and in East Asian countries. That’s laughably absurd when one considers that the majority of ‘western’ atheists have lived in shadow and under its threat most of their lives. If atheism caused totalitarianism, then why don’t we see this claim reflected in reality? Look at Sweden, Denmark, Norway and so on. Please. Really. Look at these countires, their social policies, their work with respect to human rights. Go. Look.

      You forget the ninth commandment, synapticcohesion. The claim that atheism is a root cause of totalitarianism is a lie. It is not true. It is not supportable in fact. It is historically inaccurate. It exists only in the minds of believers who wish to continue to vilify atheists and atheism for no good reasons, which is why you must continue to just make stuff up. Remember the ninth. Exercise the ninth. I do and I’m an atheist. Surely you can do as well as I in this matter not bearing false witness. Hold yourself accountable to the ninth and stop spreading this vicious and intentionally malignant lie.

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      • Well, it’s interesting that the Chinese atheist tildeb says he knows have no passion about their atheism. I think that’s significant and points to the point I was trying to make: They’re not going on and on about the merits of atheism, trying to make converts like many atheists. Why?

        Because atheism offers no real, viable advantages to the human condition and maybe people from China know it. It’s a path of futility that enshrines men the role of “God” and places the governing body in an untouchable position so that they are above the law and can change them whenever it suits them (usually to keep themselves out of trouble).

        And he mentioned Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. I’m not sure what point he was trying to make because none of those countries is “officially atheist”. According to statistics, about 19% of Swedes don’t believe in God, with very similar percentages in both Denmark (17%) and Norway (19%). If that is what designates a country atheist, then there are other countries that would have to be added to the list. (And I’m not sure if the intent was to show them as being “secular”, mainly because they each have or had official state religions: Sweden’s was Lutheran until 1999; Denmark’s is Danish Lutheran; Norway’s is Evangelical-Lutheran.)

        But again, let me remind readers that many from the atheist side (not all!) advocate abolishing religion from public life. How in the world are they going to implement that kind of policy without being totalitarian? Would they desire to do that if they were not atheist? (tildeb himself even went further and stated earlier that he considered Christians guilty of “treason” (!) for affirming an allegiance to God rather than the State.) tildeb had ignored previous invitations to visit China or North Korea to experience what he desires to export. He has yet to do so, I think. Why? Well, I submit that it’s because it’s much easier to sit behind a keyboard in a western country and talk about the beauty of atheism than it is to visit an officially atheist country and get a whiff of reality.

        The point is: They can’t get what they want without being totalitarian and they can’t desired to do that without being an atheist.

        That’s why I see it as no surprise that countries that are officially atheist have been and are also totalitarian (that is, every aspect of life down to your thinking is governed and filtered through the State): China, North Korea, Vietnam, Russia, Cambodia, and Cuba. Let the reader decided which of those countries he or she would like to live in, not merely visit.

        But notice, too, readers, that once again tildeb is mostly using the comments section on this blog to insult and degrade religion and Christianity specifically, stating that God is merely an “make-believe deity” and continually making the claim that Christians in particular are “pious hypocrites”. And I ask you, readers, is it more hypocritical to believe that life is ultimately meaningful and then act accordingly or to maintain, as atheists do, that life is ultimately meaningless, but act as if it has meaning? To maintain that logic is a gift of God that can be used to understand reality and to do so or to maintain, as atheists do, that appearance of logic is just as arbitrary as life itself, but can trusted to investigate reality?

        It just goes to show you that the end of atheism merely expresses itself in silly labeling and futility. It forces its adherents to deny the reality they know in their heart (that God exists and life is meaningful) and replace it with multiple delusions, that God doesn’t exist and that life is ultimately meaningless. I think it’s fair to say that tildeb would hardly spend so much time and energy attempting to disprove Buddha or Muhammad, since neither threatens what creation cries out to each of us. Meanwhile, he will be content repeating the “virtues” of atheism, however contrary to reality they may be. Indeed, repetition from the mouth of an atheist shouldn’t be surprising. Francis Bacon, one of the people responsible for the standardization of the scientific method, said that atheism is only in the lip, not the heart. An atheist must repeat to themselves the tenants of their religion like a mantra so that they can actually believe them.

        Joshua

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  8. “Francis Bacon, one of the people responsible for the standardization of the scientific method, said that atheism is only in the lip, not the heart. An atheist must repeat to themselves like a mantra so that they can actually believe it.”

    That is deep. Thanks for mentioning for mentioning that Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are not atheist countries (I was going to respond to tildeb, but your response was far better than what I could have said). These are countries that allow for religious freedom (to observe or not observe what you choose–they are far from being atheistic nations). For example, as of 2010, about 70% of Swedes are members of the Church of Sweden. Maybe I’m on something, but that doesn’t sound at all like an atheist nation to me.

    tildeb, we were speaking of nations that are “officially” atheist; those that suppress religious freedom (in order to “rescue” people from the “virus of the mind”) and attempt to inculcate the populace with atheistic ideologies. These atheist regimes are, in practice, far from the Godless paradise that atheists imagine would exist in a world without religion. To many of their victims, they are hell on earth.

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  9. It is not me but you who continue to insist that I am trying to promote an imposed atheist government or suppress religious freedom. This is a lie.

    Remember the ninth.

    I promote a secular government where all our rights are equal including freedom of religion. Insisting that I do not support legal equality, including religious freedom, is a lie.

    Remember the ninth.

    Nowhere did I suggest that Sweden or Norway or Denmark and countries with high populations of atheists were officially atheist. I simply pointed out that there is no evidence for and much contrary evidence to YOUR assertion that atheism leads to totalitarianism and used these countries as an example that totalitarianism does not follow widespread disregard for religious beliefs. Atheism does not lead to totalitarianism and insisting it does is, you guessed, another lie.

    Remember the ninth.

    What motives must be in play for you to continue to lie and lie and lie is really rather interesting. To me, it shows good evidence that your argument about ‘militant neo-atheists’ is baseless or there would be no need to misrepresent us with such consistency. Your arguments to create a theocracy do not stand on their own merit so you manufacture an enemy of others who do not share your desire to create a theocracy to be militant! Does this sound familiar? It should: every totalitarian government uses the same tactic you exercise here to try to artificially solidify support by creating an imaginary foe.

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    • Nowhere did I suggest that Sweden or Norway or Denmark and countries with high populations of atheists were officially atheist. I simply pointed out that there is no evidence for and much contrary evidence to YOUR assertion that atheism leads to totalitarianism and used these countries as an example that totalitarianism does not follow widespread disregard for religious beliefs. Atheism does not lead to totalitarianism and insisting it does is, you guessed, another lie.

      So 17% – 20% of a population identify themselves as atheists now qualifies as “widespread disregard for religious beliefs”? Interesting use of language. I’m not sure which statistics tildeb is using. Regardless, I won’t press the issue because the facts (percentage of self-identified atheists, existence of religious establishments, percentage of self-identified religious people, and the constitution of each state tildeb mentioned) speak for themselves.

      So I must ask the reader to think: How can anyone argue for the “virtues” of an atheist state using the present conditions of countries that are neither now nor have ever been officially atheist and each of which has relatively low percentages of self-identified atheists (17% to 20%)?

      Let the reader think and read for themselves.

      tildeb supports religious freedom?! He accused Christians of “treason” and said “take your religion out of the public domain and out of our lives”. Is that how the Doublespeak Dictionary defines supporting religious freedom? Besides, how is someone going “to take religion out of the public domain” without being totalitarian? Why would they want to do it apart from being atheist?

      Joshua

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      • Religiosity is very low in many western European countries. A friend from Sweden tells me that anyone who publicly espouses some religious belief is often viewed as very unusual… almost weird. People simply pay some small measure of lip service to the denomination of their parents but religion and religious belief plays no part in their day. I am told It would be remarkably bad taste for a government agent or representative or official to insert some personal religious belief into the discharging of their secular duties. Because the New Atheists support secularism, I wanted to show that this lack of respect for religiosity in no way leads towards but away from any notion of totalitarianism.

        You continue to confuse support for a secular state with support for an atheist state. I know of no atheists who advocate for a mandatory atheist state; to do so goes directly against the values and principles of secularism. But this canard – that secularism is synonymous with atheism – is so entrenched in the made-up world of of religious believers that you seem incapable of appreciating this vital difference; instead you go on and on and on attacking your straw man of imposed atheism and legal sanctions against religious freedom regardless of how often I point out this astounding lie. Your tenaciousness to hold this lie in place of what’s true in reality is rather remarkable. So burn this into your brain: New Atheists are not calling for an atheist state or the the end to religious freedom. They are calling for states to stop PRIVILEGING it, for public agents and representatives and officials to stop INSERTING it into public policies as if it belonged, to stop exempting religious activity from taxation and regulation and review, to maintain a strict neutrality about religious beliefs and treat these beliefs as the private matter it is for those people who have the freedom to exercise this freedom but who have NO RIGHT to impose it on others. This is secularism, making the public domain equal for all citizens of majority age and favouring none. This is not anti-religious but neutral. Say it after me: secularism maintains religious neutrality.

        There. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

        To support the special favouring of a religious belief in the public domain, exercised by public institutions, granted privilege and public financing by those within state organizations and institutions is not secularism that is both fair and equal – a neutral agent – but an undermining of these principles and values of its neutrality and the legal equality of its citizens. Those who support religious belief imposed upon the public domain, a removal of state neutrality towards the religious beliefs of the members of the public, an official sanction for a certain religious denomination or faith directly and unarguably undermines equal rights, equal freedoms, equality under law, and alters the public domain to be a place of discrimination on the basis of religious belief. This is NOT state neutrality, NOT religious freedom for the individual, but an attack on religious freedom itself.

        That’s bad if you want to argue that you support religious freedom.

        Religious believers who actually SUPPORT freedom of religion should be secularism’s foremost defenders for state neutrality. Because you are not defending secularism but attacking it under the misnomer of ‘atheism’ and ‘totalitarianism’ you are acting against the value and principle of religious freedom. I dare to call this for what it is: sedition against the citizens of the secular state. Your support to act against the religious freedom of your neighbours really is attempting to alter the nature of western liberal democracies into theocracies where the state – with your political support – acts to promote religious privilege and favoritism in this public domain. You undermine not just my religious freedom (in my case, the freedom to not believe) but every other person of any and all religious persuasions. You don’t have the right to take away my rights.

        In addition, by acting this way and claiming allegiance to god to support legal discrimination, you undermine my rights and freedoms as well as your own. By doing so you make it clear that you renounce the political authority you have under a secular state to defend the legal basis of your rights and freedoms and submit to a different authority: the authority of your religious allegiance. This is why it is treasonous and why you seem to have such difficulty comprehending the scope and breathtaking depth of your stupidity to give away that which empowers and protects you from the state to determine on your behalf your private religious beliefs.

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      • Where is the neutrality that you’re talking about?

        All the countries you mentioned have constitutions granting religious freedom. Can you show share with us one nation that is neutral in practice, not just on paper? Two nations that would probably identify themselves as secular, China and America. How are they in practice? The People’s Republic of China Constitution also grants freedom of religion on paper. They don’t practice it. Neither does the US government practice it. Three simple examples: The Branch Davidians; Mormons (the government gave strict requirements to them that fundamentally changed their religion in order to admit Utah to the State); Warren Jeffs. (I strongly disagree with all them, by the way.)

        Besides, you’re talking about people working putting their religious beliefs into laws. Give us an example.

        Let’s not forget that laws are drafted, ratified, and enforced by people all the way through. I’ve yet to meet anyone who is entirely neutral on every issue. Have you? (The only people I meet who are neutral are neutral about things they don’t care about.) Everybody, even you, have a bias and beliefs. (You are certainly not neutral on religion.) Everybody has presuppositions. It is silly to think that there exists a completely unbiased person who can act as a disinterested “observer” and therefore make ideal, unbiased laws to govern a nation.

        Furthermore, I’m glad that no Christian I know is pushing for a theocracy, despite your repetitive insistence that we here are. To do so would be unbiblical. (I do side with you tildeb on opposing “Christians” who would push for “reclaiming” governments and enforcing partial biblical doctrines on people who don’t want them. Such people do exist and I’d stand side-by-side in opposition to them. The teachings of Jesus start change in the individual human heart, not from a top-down totalitarian method which would shame His Name.) I don’t want any one religion establishing a theocracy and forcing me to believe something against my conscience. (And that’s why I asked you to give us an example of that happening to you so I can see if that is what you’re so upset about.) That is the part of your comments that I can agree with. (In fact, it may be what is coming to America following a Romney presidency. I don’t know.) But our reasons are different, I’m sure. The Bible teaches me that everyone is equally guilty of rebellion and sin (doing wrong things); that is, no-one is qualified to be an intermediary between God and humans, hence no-one has the authority to establish a theocracy. There’s only One Mediator between people and God: Jesus.

        So, let’s stare reality in the face. Let’s acknowledge that no human alive is completely unbiased.

        Joshua

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  10. “It should: every totalitarian government uses the same tactic you exercise here to try to artificially solidify support by creating an imaginary foe.”

    The only imaginary foe I see being created is by you who asserts that having a memorial with a cross or having Ten Commandments on public property is equivalent to “sedition” and “treason.” Those are serious charges that cannot be ignored.

    “To me, it shows good evidence that your argument about ‘militant neo-atheists’ is baseless or there would be no need to misrepresent us with such consistency. Your arguments to create a theocracy do not stand on their own merit so you manufacture an enemy of others who do not share your desire to create a theocracy to be militant!”

    Since when did I call anyone a “militant atheist?” Since when did I call for a theocracy?

    Remember the ninth. Oh wait…

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  11. Josh, because my response to your “No one is unbiased” (so enforced neutrality – by public officials, public organizations, public policies, public education, public law, public agencies in the public domain – is unreasonable and we should therefore privilege my christian beliefs to be imposed on others by the state and anyone who disagree is militantly advocating for religious intolerance, death to believers, and support for a totalitarian state) will have to be so narrow, I’m starting a new block comment here.

    Let’s try another tack: how is not privileging religion in the public domain harmful? Who are the victims of such neutrality?

    How is it that you see equal and fair treatment for all by these public organs to be intolerant and militant? Again, where is the harm? Who are the victims of such a dastardly plot to remove public privilege from private religious beliefs?

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    • You first define “religion” and then tell us how anyone can make laws that don’t somehow intersect with the beliefs and opinions that they hold. And while you’re at it, maybe you could answer the other questions I asked you. I’m not going to let you get away from answering questions anymore, remember?

      1) Can you show share with us one nation that is neutral in practice, not just on paper?
      2) Have you ever met anyone who is unbiased?

      And let’s stop with the silly caricature you’re painting of my position. I didn’t say that neutrality was unreasonable. I was being far more practical and saying that it was impossible to expect it (see paragraph and questions above). There is no neutral position. But remember that you are the one who casually yet deliberately accused Christians of treason and said “take your religion out of the public domain and out of our lives”, not me. (If I said that about atheists, you would likely throw a virtual fit.) Once again I ask:

      3) How you are going to do remove religion out of the public domain?
      4) If you are not an atheist, why else would you desire to do that?

      I’ve already shown that the charge “we should therefore privilege my christian beliefs to be imposed on others by the state” is an empty one. (Did you read my previous comments?) Christianity is about a change of heart in individuals; a bottom-up approach, not a top-down approach. Any attempts to impose Christianity in its entirety from the top down is not only doomed to failure, but unbiblical. That’s the third time I’ve told you in this thread. Of course, if you had visited a Christian church building when the people are celebrating the Lord’s Supper, you’d see such a practice in action. How so? Well, people who are present but are not Christians aren’t forced to break bread and drink wine or grape juice in remembrance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. In fact, the opposite is true. They are told if they are not a self-confessing Christian, they are not to participate (because they would be celebrating Someone they don’t know of through a ceremony whose symbolism they don’t understand; it would all be meaningless to them). But I know facts like this may be difficult for atheists like yourself to deal with because they go against the idea you have that we Christians are trying to force everyone to be one. Of course, there is something to be said in your favor. There are people claiming to be Christians who do want to “reclaim” government and establish a theocracy. And I strongly disagree with them and I would be there to tell them so. One major reason would be that I think their motivation would be self-serving, not God-honoring. (Pat Robertson is the most embarrassing example of this.) I trust that in the Day when the thoughts of everyone’s hearts will be revealed and every secret known, many of the people involved in such a movement will be ashamed that they, essentially, were trying to clean the house before the maid came.

      And let me honestly say that the more I interact with you, tildeb, the more I can’t help but be convinced that you are not arguing for any point other than to argue. I see this because, as I’ve told you before, you ignore my genuine questions. I’ve even stopped leaving links because you apparently don’t even look at them. It’s getting boring. How about you give the comment section of my blog a break for a month? Maybe do some traveling to some self-identified secular nations around the world and then come back and give us a report, OK?

      Joshua

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      • You get religion out of the public domain by cutting off its public privilege. You cancel the 72 billion dollars a year spent by the US federal government subsidizing it. You stop spending dime one of public money on religious programs and projects. You implement public policy for the public on best reasons and not on religious belief. You stop pretending that religion has earned an expected place at the discussion table of grown-ups in all areas of public involvement like education, law, medicine, science, and governance. Religion has no place here. You stop inserting religious slogans and religious prayers and obedience to religious sentiments into anything paid for or in the service of the public. Public service must represent the interests of the public as a whole and not some segment of it. It’s not hard and its not intolerant. Worship to your little heart’s content on private property but stop expecting the public to bow its collective head whenever you feel the urge to praise your god and interfere in legitimate public areas of activity with your delusions of supernatural intervention. Go grovel elsewhere but leave the shared public domain alone. Stop organizing people to try to insert your religious beliefs by eliminating my choices in law, in education, in medicine, in policies, in governance. You don’t have the right to reduce mine in the name of obedience to your delusions and you will always have a fight on your hands whenever you try (and then call those who stand up to your bullying ‘militant’ and ‘intolerant’ to your religious ‘freedom’).

        I know you can’t do it. You are so inculcated to privilege your religious beliefs at the expense of the rights and freedoms of others that you will never stop expecting everyone to just go along without ever appreciating just how much damage you’re supporting. Fortunately, the next generation isn’t buying it and I expect that within 25 years religious advocates will be a vocal if ineffective minority.

        I don’t answer your questions because they are very poor questions that wander away from the pointed criticisms I offer of your cartoons. This is, after all, my motivation to comment which seems to be something with which you take issue. So I will follow your request, take a break from your blog, and maybe someday return.

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      • tildeb, the entire point of this particular cartoon was to highlight the double standards practiced on the side opposite Christianity, namely: It’s OK for everyone to have an opinion and express it, just not Christians. It’s OK to shove your religious beliefs down our throats (like homosexual behavior is OK and it should be promoted as socially acceptable behavior – in fact, we should have law makers enshrine their beliefs about it in laws), just not Christians. If you are a Christian and you express your opinion on a moral issue, you are automatically an intolerant bigot, in New Amerika, at least.

        You are constantly complaining, making accusations, ignoring the bulk of the content in my comments, and using the comment section as a soap box to voice your hatred of religion in general and Christianity specifically, not seeing that you yourself are eaten up with your own particular brand of religious zeal. (These are just observations, not accusations. Readers are welcome to review your previous comments as evidence and correct me accordingly.) You have convinced yourself that you’re not religious and that atheism isn’t a religion. Well, it’s sad. I’m saddened that you didn’t define religion because I was going to enjoy watching the linguistic gymnastics you were to perform trying to make a definition that you yourself didn’t fall under. All in all, from my perspective, you’re not looking for any answers, just looking for a place to complain (which we all do sometime). In this world, it is easy to complain — I hear too many complaints as it is. I want some solutions. Before you suggest it, let me say that having everyone (forcibly) adopt atheism as a worldview isn’t a solution. (Didn’t work in Russia or China or Vietnam or Cambodia.)

        Our interactions here have really made me think of this question: How can two people have an honest dialog when one of them already considers you an enemy before the conversation even starts?! They can’t! So I won’t.

        Please do take a long break and not just from this blog. Maybe give the keyboard a rest.

        Joshua

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      • Oh, and one more thing: I have lived on four continents and am well aware of the tremendous benefits to human well-being by western secular liberal democracies. That we continue to fall short of practicing full secularism doesn’t mean we should stop trying to obtain it. How about you try living in a theocracy of a religion different than the one you support (as I have done) and report back with a compare-and-contrast report about what religious freedom really means… if you survive. And I can report that many western liberal democracies that reduce religious influence in the public domain are doing much, much better (in overall human well being) than the ones that continue to have to have to battle against religious interference.

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      • Did you ever think that to live in a society where everyone is free to believe whatever they wish entails the freedom to believe things that you might not like? Let me be more direct and candid: This sort of dream bubble you yourself and many atheists desire to live in where life is untainted with “religion” is ridiculous and borders on being childish.

        If we Christians were all gone, I have difficulty understanding what you’d have to talk about, man!

        Joshua

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      • Joshua asks, Did you ever think that to live in a society where everyone is free to believe whatever they wish entails the freedom to believe things that you might not like?

        Gosh, but that’s a such a keen question! Or, at least it might be with someone else, someone who didn’t write:

        “no matter how often I write that today’s atheism holds your right to believe whatever you want as firmly as your claim to any other right of citizenship, I garner equally absurd accusations that I support some kind of bloody pogrom against christians in order to persecute them. In fact, I want our rights – believer and non believer alike – to be equal, and I want government to treat our rights equally regardless of other considerations believers like to introduce like gender rights, sexual orientation rights, reproductive rights, or rights to hold particular and even popular religious belief.”

        Yeah, I’m so intolerant.

        But Josh’s repeated commentary about this straw man is quite revealing in another way and a way I’m sure he didn’t intend (but makes plain): he quite seriously believes that equality and fairness under law is anti-christian and an attack on his religious freedom! And he believes it! Seriously!

        This skewed view plainly shows something rather important about what his unqualified support for his christian beliefs means in action, that religious allegiance like the one he favours (and expects the state to favour) over and above allegiance to the common rights and freedoms for all citizens is, at its rotten heart, profoundly anti-democratic and anti-secular.

        This allegiance to religious tyranny through bullying in the public domain to favour and privilege it reminds me of a a little book he might want to read about an animal farm: what happens when we begin to believe that some pigs really are more equal – deserving of privilege and favoritism – than other pigs. It’s not in the least surprising, then, that Joshua’s commentary (and that of other supporters) exhibits what believing in religious privilege does: it must first skews language to make up be a ‘double standard’ for down and black be a double standard of white, where advocating for fairness and equality in law for all is a double standard of intolerance, and a neutral public domain is really a double standard of anti-religious freedom. Some religions, you see, deserve to be more equal than others, that two legs (religious allegiance) is better than four (secularism) and anyone who suggests otherwise is the one advocating for totalitarianism.

        Yeah, right.

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      • tildeb, again, you’ve yet to define either the public domain (How many people does that constitute?) or religion (What is it?). So, your extended comments on sexual rights, reproductive rights, etc. seem a bit confusing.

        I live in a majority Buddhist country and you want to lecture me about religious freedom and favorites?! Hahaha! (Picture me with a slight smile right now.) The competing worldview doesn’t harm me a bit. I can show the irrationality of Buddhism and I do it to friends and acquaintances in conversations. In fact, I have been in contact with the largest Buddhist TV station here to work to translate some of their materials into English so that I can better understand it and improve my own ability to show its irrationality. How easy it would be of me to just follow your lead and say “Kill it!” And that’s supposed to show the superiority of a worldview?! The reason I mention this is because the genuine truthfulness of a worldview is shown in public debate in the market of ideas, where Christianity has won consistently because it is internally coherent and rational, unlike competing worldviews, including atheism (maybe that’s why you’re so angry?). How is eliminating all competition from public scrutiny (remember, you want to eliminate religion from the public domain and your life) and debate showing the superiority of one worldview over all others?

        You just want to eliminate all other ideas so that your religious preference, atheism, is favored.

        Doublespeak.

        You’ll get no more of my time on this thread.

        Joshua

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  12. tildeb, I don’t know where this “theocracy” that you speak of exists, but here is the US it’s pretty much a secular nation even though the founders were Christians whose ancestors escaped religious persecution by the State. You are free to practice or not practice any religion of your choice and can even make up your own religion–as was observed throughout American history. Just because we have evidence of the Christian roots that this nation was founded upon, does not mean that anyone is trying to force any type of belief down anyone’s throat. Politicians may pose and posture to appeal to Christian voting majority, but it doesn’t really go beyond symbolic gesturing and broken promises–business as usual in the political world.

    Contrast this to countries founded specifically on atheist beliefs. Extremism in ANY form is a dangerous thing.

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  13. tildeb, I think you’re being overly dramatic. You speak of favoritism, double standards, and some being “more equal” than others but you never bother to elaborate on these concepts with current and concrete examples. And you never gave an example of the theocracies that you claim that are a real threat to us all–you just ignored my questions.

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    • The latest from Missouri, voted in by 5-1, regarding religious freedom:

      “that students may express their beliefs about religion in written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their work; that no student shall be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate his or her religious beliefs”

      I know you have difficulty comprehending whatever I write, so I will point out what I think is obvious about this amendment to the state constitution, namely, that such a provision privileges religious belief over and above the teaching of current knowledge and best practices. This amendment is aimed squarely and solely at subverting the teaching of evolution in biology. If you cannot see the harm at privileging Iron age mythology over 21st century scientific knowledge, then you truly have no eyes to see, no ears to ear, and no means to compete in the modern world with those who do. Remember, the top 5% of students graduating from China and India outnumber ALL students graduating from ALL western liberal democracies. Curtailing scientific knowledge in the name of promoting and privileging ‘religious freedom’ is so stupid it burns.

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      • “I know you have difficulty comprehending whatever I write…”

        You want to provide examples of this? Or do you simply wish to post childish insults at your intellectual superiors?

        And, no, evolution does not belong in a biology textbook. It’s more mythology than anything else. South Korea, which values science, even has doubts about continuing to include evolution in the textbooks.

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      • Oh, that’s nice. There was a vote of representatives and that group of people decide what is best for their society on this particular issue. So? I thought you were all for that, weren’t you? So, if that’s what was decided in Missouri, then you should applaud the democratic process — Oh wait! I think it was you who wants a forced acceptance of one particular view. We definitely don’t want people to have “evil” choices!

        I don’t know about the university system in mainland China, but I think genuinely interested people might want to research the number of universities per capita there and in India. If you’ve got a university system that admits more freshman every year than the number of children born in the entire nation in any given year, then it might be something to note. Did you ever consider that? Of course, there are quality universities in both China and India. But if they are anything like the rest of the world, there are also many poor universities, too. And more universities per capita would equal more poor universities per capita.

        If I were you, I would also research the state of ethics in China’s educational system, among both students and teachers. You can’t just assume that the people graduating from those universities are really qualified or that they are ready to use their knowledge to aid society. Sometimes education these days doesn’t make people better citizens or more knowledgeable. No, instead it tends to, as C.S. Lewis said, “make men more clever devils”, something that happens quite easily and naturally when the goal of your life is to get as much as you can at any cost in this life — especially if you’re in an extremely competitive system and you have outrageous student debt.

        And I’m not sure what the number of university graduates has to do with anything anyway. What is the point? Quality versus quantity isn’t a new concept, tildeb.

        Weren’t you going to take a break?

        Joshua

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  14. Came across this from The Atheist Camel and thought it rather relevant:

    In “Pity the Persecuted Christians,” for example, he describes how some religious leaders:

    “make it sound as though Christianity is undergoing a veritable Inquisition. . . .They cannot differentiate between their right to practice their religion (which is never implied) and the rights of non-Christians NOT to have Christian religion forced upon them . . which is precisely what they are protesting. By impeding their holy charge to proselytize, convert, harass, badger, and impose their beliefs on others, it is they who are being persecuted. That’s about as bizarre a reversal of logic as one could conceive.”

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    • “By impeding their holy charge to proselytize, convert, harass, badger, and impose their beliefs on others, it is they who are being persecuted. That’s about as bizarre a reversal of logic as one could conceive.”

      Then that means you also favor forcing Dawkins to give up his freedom of speech as well when he HARASSES, BADGERS, PROSELYTIZE, and tries to CONVERT Christians to his own evolutionary beliefs as well (and tries to make them to say that they are “apes”), do you not?

      Or is there a DOUBLE STANDARD in favor of those who have the “correct,” government-sanctioned beliefs?

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      • Didn’t you know that all atheists / evolutionists / naturalists / materialists are neutral and unbiased on everything, SC?! They don’t have an ax to grind and they don’t have the slightest interest in making converts. They just leave comments on blogs, rudely insult people to their (virtual) face, and push for laws to privilege their beliefs just for the heck of it. It’s a lot of fun!

        :)

        Joshua

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    • Now, I know you need such a caricature of Christians to support your point, but it doesn’t work, especially as it relates to this thread. Don’t forget we’re talking about the big uproar over Dan Cathy stating his opinion. Read his words again, readers. Nowhere is he trying to “proselytize, convert, harass, badger, and impose [his] beliefs on others”. He just stated a wonderful, positive opinion on marriage, to which the world responded by calling him intolerant and a bigot.

      I think the popular word these days to describe this latest effort of yours is “fail”.

      Joshua

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      • No caricature, Josh: The WinShape foundation really has donated more than 1.7 million bucks to lobby for ‘traditional’ marriage. This is ‘militant’ anti-gay funding, targeting gays and lesbians to be discriminated against in law in the same way race used to be used as an excuse to legally discriminate against ‘mixed’ marriages in order to prevent ‘mongrel’ children. It’s not Cathy’s words that are the problem here; it’s his actions to discriminate on the basis of his religious beliefs.

        I have never been accosted by new atheists on public streets the way I have been by proselytizing christians. No agnostic bangs on my door and tries to tell me the Good News! of uncertainty. No government holds an official secular breakfast nor is there any secret Family of atheists to promote non belief in legislation at home and in foreign countries. No military hardware comes with Hitchens quotations inscribed on it. No atheist advocates for secular phrases to be stamped on coinage or printed on bills. No local council starts its proceedings with a demand that everybody stand or bow their heads and pay homage to evolution. There is no organized push to replace religious studies with Greek philosophy or Enlightenment treatises. When I open my drawer at a hotel, I don’t find The God Delusion waiting for my perusal. Local secular alliances don’t possess tax free land throughout the city nor receive any official endorsement to incoming students. Military personnel are not ordered to attend secular readings and secular events. School Boards are not staffed and funded by secularist organizations with an agenda to get Darwin into morning announcements.

        Christianity is everywhere in North America and enjoys not just special privilege in public funding and public institutions but is recognized and respected and advocated for by public officials almost everywhere. Public boards and councils and commissions and committees insert christian tenets into almost everything they deal with, be it in policy, medicine, education, law, the environment, defense, and so on. It is this pernicious effect that New Atheists now make public, pointing out that supporting a Chic-fil-A is doing more than buying a meal: it is helping a company promote a religious agenda that acts to legally discriminate on the basis of favouring those beliefs. What’s wrong with people knowing this?

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      • Maybe the reason atheists aren’t confronting people in the street is because it doesn’t really matter whether or not the atheistic view of reality is the correct one.

        Imagine the scene:

        *knock on the door
        *person opens door

        Home Owner: Yes?

        Atheist: Good news! Life is an accidental byproduct of natural processes. There’s no god. Morality is the product of a group consensus. All religions are false. Think about what I say using the organ in your head that is the result of a blind “creative” process — you should still trust its conclusions. Believe me! Here’s a copy of our “bible” — but it’ll cost you $15.95 USD.

        Home Owner: (turning to wife) You know, I actually miss hiding from those Jehovah’s Witnesses. At least they stuffed some free literature in the mailbox and had a reason to come back again.

        As for your complaints about the religious slogans that abound in North America: Well, tildeb, it’s really bordering on childish. You have got to see that. How could you claim to have lived on 4 continents and be upset at finding a Gideon’s Bible on a table in a hotel room? You can’t get outside of the US and not encounter religious practices in every day life, especially in the Far East.

        By the way, I wouldn’t mind finding a copy of Dawkins’s book in a hotel room. But it would never happen because he doesn’t seem really interested in people knowing “the truth” in this way: If he really had revolutionary information in his book that would help us poor religious types, why not give out copies for free, like Gideon’s? (Not sure how a biologist gets a free-pass as a philosopher and theologian, but, hey, someone stepping out of their league is what gave us Darwin, no?)

        Personally speaking, I’ve been rocked awake by a barrage of fireworks in the dead of night — fireworks lit for a religious purposes. I’ve had afternoon naps interrupted by loud funeral processions right outside my window. Following your lead — to silence them and prevent their freedom of religion — I would shrink my circle of friends and family really quickly. But God created people for human interaction. I need it. You need it. I can only see your type of atheism as a deterrent to genuine, congenial social interaction.

        Thankfully, many atheists live a very social life in spite of the conclusions the reduced status that the worldview forces onto each individual and society in general. They may believe we’re all just glorified descendants of African monkeys (rf. Dawkins video above), but they sure don’t treat us the same way.

        Joshua

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      • Oh look, you excuse everything religious in the public domain (and for the umpteenth time that means the domain owned by everybody, such as PUBLIC policy, PUBLIC governance, PUBLIC law, PUBLIC education, PUBLIC defense, and so on where no ONE interest is privileged above any OTHER interest).

        I have yet to read, see, or hear any religious believer admit boundaries to the influence of his or her religious belief. You do not surprise anyone to follow this same principle. And anyone who dares suggest otherwise – that religious constraints are necessary to ensure fairness and equality – must be vilified… even if that includes breaking commandments by lying, deceitfulness, and misrepresentations.

        All is fair if one believes one is defending god, you see, because it’s religious in intention, and religious intention excuses everything because no boundaries are acceptable and that’s why it is fair and equitable to privilege religious faith even when it discriminates against real people in real life causing real harm. Inequality and unfairness IS equal and fair if it’s religious!

        And thus we see again how religious allegiance demands its followers to argue that up means down and black is another kind of white and turns otherwise reasonable people into intellectual hypocrites and ethically suspect tools not in the service of their country’s best interests or the very real welfare of their neighbours but as forces for authority and obedience to some over-reaching priest class.

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      • “This from the person complaining of no response from me.

        That’s rich, synapticcohesion, but not surprising.”

        Not with me. You keep going on with Joshua when he told you about 20 times that he wanted to end the argument with you already.

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  15. tildeb:

    I apologise for taking some time with my response, work has kept me busy.

    The following 4 matters are peripheral to the main topic of this thread, so I’ll try to address them as quickly as possible over 2 or 3 posts, before one further post that focuses squarely on the topic. My 4 points are centred on some of the things you’ve said throughout the thread, and are as follows.

    1) You keep going back to the strawman that Christians are interested in establishing a theocracy. Now, as Christian theists, we may speak up when certain things call for it, often as a moral obligation (such as when people do not realise that abortion is tantamount to killing human beings, a point that I made well-clear to you in a previous thread). But that doesn’t mean we intend to gather priests of some branch of Christianity to claim God had put them in charge of administering divine law in the nation and try to get civil governments around the world to go along with that (which is essentially what a theocracy is). When was the last time someone forced you to become a Christian at gunpoint, tildeb? In fact, my bet is that the only thing Christians you have come across have been guilty of is sharing the gospel (Good News, if you will) a tad too excitedly for your comfort, and you can be sure that if you were to decline accepting God into your life, most Christians would not hurt you in any way for it. For the Christian faith is one of an intimate, personal relationship between you and Christ, and involves the believer personally accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour from the heart, not through force.

    I urge you to read the following article, where the writer makes some excellent points on the matter:

    ‘The United States is in No Danger of Becoming a Christian Theocracy’ (http://wannabwriter.hubpages.com/hub/The-United-States-is-in-No-Danger-of-Becoming-a-Christian-Theocracy)

    Do note that Josh and synapticcohesion have already pointed out individually and in no uncertain terms, we do not want a theocracy, we never said we did, and our discussions certainly do not suggest that. So I hope you’re done with beating the same old strawman, all of us would really appreciate it.

    2) You seem to be suggesting quite consistently (and do correct me if I am wrong on this) that I am calling most or all atheists “militant”. Now this, too, is a strawman. Let’s note that I never once said that ALL or MOST atheists are militant, in fact, very far from it. Here, let me quote myself:

    “… one group that seems to often advocate intolerance – while not at all being representative of the many wonderfully tolerant and respectful atheists out there – is the militant neo-atheist movement, the so-called ‘New Atheists’, led by the likes of Richard Dawkins.”

    This is something I’ve maintained consistently: that the phrase ‘militant atheists’ refers to a very small group of atheists, and certainly not the entire population. So why would you suggest something I didn’t say? And nor is it something that I plucked out of thin air to use in derogatory fashion. While the term ‘militant atheist’ may have a slight negative connotation, it has been used as a technical term by agnostics (eg. Bryan Appleyard as I originally quoted), theists and atheists alike, to describe a particular type of atheist. British atheist author and philosopher Julian Baggini said that “Although …atheism is not necessarily hostile to religion, there are, of course some atheists who are hostile to religion, and not just fundamentalist religions….Atheism which is actively hostile to religion I would call militant. To be hostile in this sense requires more than just strong disagreement with religion—it requires something verging on hatred and is characterized by a desire to wipe out all forms of religious beliefs. Militant atheists tend to make one or both of two claims that atheists do not. The first is that religion is demonstrably false or nonsense, and the second is that it is usually or always harmful.”

    Another atheist, Andrew Fiala, Professor of Philosophy at California State University, in a paper published in the academic journal ‘International Journal for Philosophy of Religion’, states that the “claim that all religion is poisonous is linked to the final problem with the new breed of militant atheists: intolerance toward religion. It is this characteristic that leads me to call these new atheists “militant”.” Finally, atheist Bruce Sheiman, an Atheist 3.0 leader, has stated that “when militant atheists portray religion, they critique every political and organizational misdeed that can be attributed to it” but “portray science in idealized terms, untainted by commercial interests, political intrusions, and ethical conundrums.”

    So I hope we’re on the same page about this: only a small group of atheists are militant atheist, in a distinct, categorical way that is unrepresentative of the rest of the atheist population.

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  16. 3) Before I begin the 3rd point, I believe it is important to make a few distinctions. Firstly, I want to agree with you on the dangers of fanatical religion or ideology that can inspire violence. And quite frankly, I am ashamed as a Christian of the reputation particularly in the Middle Ages, with the Crusades and so on, that they are associated with Christianity. And it is worth pointing out that the perpetrators of that kind of atrocity were not following Christ and were actually disobeying his commands and acting in a manner inconsistent with Christianity. I certainly hope you see that those events have no bearing on where people like Josh, synapticcohesion and I stand as Christians.

    Secondly, I can understand why you might be looking to revise history to airbrush out the role of atheism, as you might think it would allow people to draw a parallel between those mass murderers and the kind of ideology that motivates you. But I’m sure you’ll be rightly insulted if anyone were to suggest that you approve of the acts carried out by the likes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. I fully trust that you do not (of course, in that same manner, I would respectfully ask the same of you in not linking modern-day Christians to the same mentality that historically drove fanatics to commit crimes contrary to the teachings of Christ).

    Having said all that, the degree of historical revisionism you have had to resort to in denying the links between atheism, totalitarian regimes and mass murder is, frankly, quite disturbing. You seem either oblivious to or in denial of the motivating ideologies that drove communist leaders and the likes to murder millions in an attempt to get rid of religion. Virtually all totalitarian systems that murdered massive numbers of people have been atheistic. Even in the present day, the atheism in communist regimes has been and continues to be a form of militant atheism which led to various acts of repression, including the razing of thousands of religious buildings and the killing, imprisoning, and oppression of religious leaders and believers. Some links that I’d really appreciate you looking into:

    ‘Darwin and the Nazis’ by Richard Weikart, professor of history and author of ‘From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany’ (http://spectator.org/archives/2008/04/16/darwin-and-the-nazis)

    ’10 People Who Give Atheism a Bad Name’ (http://listverse.com/2010/06/05/10-people-who-give-atheism-a-bad-name/)

    [P.S.: For your information, Stalin is listed at Number 1 on this list of atheists. And they also have a list of ’10 People Who Give Christianity a Bad Name’, should you be interested to make a comparison]

    I’ll leave you with author Vox Day’s words concerning atheism and mass murder:

    “Apparently it was just an amazing coincidence that every Communist of historical note publicly declared his atheism … .there have been twenty-eight countries in world history that can be confirmed to have been ruled by regimes with avowed atheists at the helm … These twenty-eight historical regimes have been ruled by eighty-nine atheists, of whom more than half have engaged in democidal162 acts of the sort committed by Stalin and Mao …

    The total body count for the ninety years between 1917 and 2007 is approximately 148 million dead at the bloody hands of fifty-two atheists, three times more than all the human beings killed by war, civil war, and individual crime in the entire twentieth century combined.

    The historical record of collective atheism is thus 182,716 times worse on an annual basis than Christianity’s worst and most infamous misdeed, the Spanish Inquisition. It is not only Stalin and Mao who were so murderously inclined, they were merely the worst of the whole Hell-bound lot. For every Pol Pot whose infamous name is still spoken with horror today, there was a Mengistu, a Bierut, and a Choibalsan, godless men whose names are now forgotten everywhere but in the lands they once ruled with a red hand.

    Is a 58 percent chance that an atheist leader will murder a noticeable percentage of the population over which he rules sufficient evidence that atheism does, in fact, provide a systematic influence to do bad things? If that is not deemed to be conclusive, how about the fact that the average atheist crime against humanity is 18.3 million percent worse than the very worst depredation committed by Christians, even though atheists have had less than one-twentieth the number of opportunities with which to commit them. If one considers the statistically significant size of the historical atheist set and contrasts it with the fact that not one in a thousand religious leaders have committed similarly large-scale atrocities, it is impossible to conclude otherwise, even if we do not yet understand exactly why this should be the case. Once might be an accident, even twice could be coincidence, but fifty-two incidents in ninety years reeks of causation!”

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  17. 4) Finally, you said the following:

    “Well, guess what? You’re losing. The next generation here in North America is approaching the tipping point of non belief that will render your Discovery Institute dreams as so much ash…”

    “Fortunately, the next generation isn’t buying it and I expect that within 25 years religious advocates will be a vocal if ineffective minority.”

    I’m humbly suggesting that your claim, which as of now isn’t backed up with any evidence, cannot actually be substantiated. In fact, I can actually point you to sources (many of them neutral) which state that atheism is actually, on the contrary, losing adherents in terms of global population.

    In 2011, the American Spectator cited a research and reported that atheism is on the decline as a whole in terms of adherents:

    “The report estimates about 80,000 new Christians every day, 79,000 new Muslims every day, and 300 fewer atheists every day. These atheists are presumably disproportionately represented in the West, while religion is thriving in the Global South, where charismatic Christianity is exploding.”

    In 2009, the book ‘A sceptics guide to atheism’ indicated: “A worldwide poll taken in 1991 put the global figure for atheists at just 4.4% of the population. By 2006 it was estimated that only 2% of the world population were atheists.”

    In 2012 an article entitled ‘Atheism in decline’ by Nigel Tomes declared:

    “The IBMR publishes yearly figures for religions (and non religions) around the globe. Their latest numbers, hot off the press (Jan. 2012) show some interesting trends.

    Atheism is in Decline

    In 1970 atheists (those avowing there is no God) numbered 166 million worldwide; that was almost one-in-twenty—4.5% of the globe’s population. By 2012 atheists’ number is estimated at 137 million. That’s a decline of almost 30 million. Since world population is growing, atheists’ share declined to less than one-in-fifty—under 2% in 2012. Put differently, every 24 hours there are 800 fewer atheists in the world! Atheism is in decline.

    Agnosticism is in Decline

    In 2000 agnostics (those who “don’t know” if there is a God) numbered 666 million, 10.9% of the world’s people. By 2012 agnostic’s number is estimated at 661 million–a decline of 5 million. In relative terms by 2012 agnostics represent less than one tenth (9.4%) of world population. Every 24 hours there are 1,100 less agnostics in the world. Agnostics are also in decline.

    Added together these two groups make up a declining share of global population. In 1970 atheists and agnostics accounted for one-in-five (19.2%) of the world’s people. Based on current trends by 2025 they will represent less than one-in-ten (9.7%). Their population share will fall by half in 50+ years.”

    Here are some excerpts from a 2012 article, ‘Study: Atheists Have Lowest ‘Retention Rate’ Compared to Religious Groups’ by Napp Nazworth:

    “Only about 30 percent of those who grow up in an atheist household remain atheists as adults. This ‘retention rate’ was the lowest among the 20 separate categories in the study…

    There were 1,387 atheists (weighted) in the survey. Four-hundred thirty-two weighted respondents said they were raised atheist. Of those, 131 self-identified as atheist…

    “What these findings reflect is that in the U.S. atheists are for the most part ‘made’ as adults after being raised in another faith. It appears to be much more challenging to raise one’s child as an atheist and have them maintain this identity in their life,” Dr. Mark Gray wrote at CARA’s blog.”

    Put that together with a recent Gallup poll which suggested that over 75% of Americans believed that God guided the process of evolution, and I struggle to see “ the tipping point of non belief” that you boast of. Perhaps you’d care to elaborate?

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    • (Sorry, I forgot to add this paragraph which comes at the end of point number 4 that I made, so you can read this as a continuation of that post)

      But even with all this being said, tildeb, my question is: Why would you even suggest that this is a game of numbers? If the whole world had been brainwashed into thinking that 1+1=5 and only you believed 1+1=2, who would be believing in the truth, tildeb, you or the billions of other people out there? Get my point?

      I hope you can see, then, that truth is not determined by might or consensus. All of the various worldviews that the world contains come with their own truth claims and fact claims, and it is up to us to determine the best worldview in terms of factual adequacy, coherence, inferences to the best explanations and the like. It is exactly that thought process that allowed me to give up my atheism for Christian theism, a process that has since blessed me abundantly and made my life better and better by the day. I would strongly urge you to do the same if you haven’t already done so: put all biases aside and follow the evidence where it leads. You’ll be glad you did. =)

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  18. And with all the peripheral matters out of the way, here is something specific to the thread, namely, the idea of tolerance or intolerance. Some of these are questions I have already asked you that you have yet to respond to. I would appreciate your response on these matters.

    Firstly, I would like to bring attention to something you said in defence of Richard Dawkins calling on the crowd at the Reason Rally to mock and ridicule Catholics:

    “Dawkins was referring specifically to catholics who should be asked if they literally believe the wine is blood and the cracker flesh; if the answer were ‘yes’, then ridicule them.”

    Which begs the question: Is ridiculing someone or their beliefs justified at all? I am here to suggest that it isn’t. What happened to respecting someone’s religious or non-religious preferences, tildeb? Isn’t the whole idea of freedom of expression that someone should be able to hold their beliefs without someone like you ridiculing them? Put it this way: even if I were to see that your atheistic worldview faces some very serious challenges, especially in matters of origins, morality, consciousness and the likes, I would never find it justified to ridicule you for your worldview’s shortcomings. In fact, I have questioned your beliefs many, many times (often without reply), but not once have I mocked or ridiculed them. Do you now see why ridiculing someone’s beliefs borders on the intolerance Josh initially spoke of?

    Secondly, Appleyard, in his article which I originally cited, described a particular type of unsettling behaviour, which included the following:

    (1) “There have been threats of violence. De Botton has been told he will be beaten up and his guts taken out of him. One email simply said, ‘You have betrayed Atheism. Go over to the other side and die.’ ”

    (2) “All hell broke loose. Such was the abuse that Fodor vowed never to read a blog again. (P Z) Myers the provocateur announced that he had no intention of reading the book but spent 3,000 words trashing it anyway, a remarkably frank statement of intellectual tyranny.”

    What I’d like to ask you is, is this what you refer to as “strong criticism”? Would you personally advocate the kind of behaviour that Appleyard described as undesireable, tildeb, or would you not? Please respond.

    Finally, I’d appreciate that definition of marriage that I’d asked many times earlier, it would certainly give me an insight into the specific criteria you use in your definition and allow us to further the conversation. It’s really up to you now. Thanks.

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  19. Synaptic-cohesion: “South Korea, which values science, even has doubts about continuing to include evolution in the textbooks.”

    A creationist petition was sent to the textbook publishers, who made the decision to remove the evolution of the horse and Archeopteryx from the textbooks. This was done without consulting any biologists. Surveys in South Korea show that of those who claim they doubt evolution, the majority say they reject it either because it contradicts their religious beliefs or because they simply don’t understand it. I don’t see how you can draw any conclusions about the viability of evolution or its status among biologists from any of that.

    More like ‘synaptic confusion’.

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    • Note the switch from ‘creationist’ to ‘South Korea’ as if they were synonyms, and then the astounding but true statement They (meaning creationists everywhere… even in South Korea) don’t understand why some people agree to call it “science” when it serves no useful purpose.”

      In a nutshell this shows the scope of detachment creationists seem to proudly maintain. It is impervious to knowledge and blind to all the useful technologies, applications, and therapies synapticcohesion takes for granted. Moreover, this reveals a desire to keep this colossal ignorance intact. What a waste of a mind.

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      • How does an insult disguised as a gross, lop-sided generalization that overlooks the history and importance of creationists in science (ref. Pasteur, Pascal, Morse, Boyle, Kepler, Kelvin, Newton, etc.) add to the conversation? And what scientific qualifications do you hold that make you able to verify how much or how little the theory of evolution contributes to technologies, applications, and therapies?

        I eagerly await your answers!

        Joshua

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  20. “Surveys in South Korea show that of those who claim they doubt evolution, the majority say they reject it either because it contradicts their religious beliefs or because they simply don’t understand it.”

    Yes, they don’t understand how it could ever be considered to be a viable theory. They don’t understand why some people agree to call it “science” when it serves no useful purpose.

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    • “Yes, they don’t understand how it could ever be considered to be a viable theory.”

      No, they said they don’t understand it. Not the same thing. Your debating tactic appears to be saying ‘yes’ and then just making something up. My post was clear enough, you either didn’t read it properly or are being disingenuous.

      And whether something is science or not has nothing to do with whether it serves a useful purpose, so you’re offering a non sequitur. Either way, if you don’t understand the enormous benefits biology has gained from our understanding of natural selection, then you have much reading to do. You might as well say E=MC squared is useless, or parse ‘people don’t understand it’ as ‘people don’t get why it’s a theory or science’.

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      • Andrew Ryan said:

        “Either way, if you don’t understand the enormous benefits biology has gained from our understanding of natural selection, then you have much reading to do.”

        If you are referring to the adaptive abilities of all organisms to resist changes in the environment, then that is a moot point because we (scientists, botanists, doctors, agriculturalists, animal breeders, etc.) already figured this out long before evolutionary theory and so-called “natural selection.”

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      • Andy,

        SC said they don’t understand evolution. But I noticed that you wrote “if you don’t understand the enormous benefits biology has gained from our understanding of natural selection, then you have much reading to do”.

        Are you not using “natural selection” and “evolution” interchangeably?

        The links that you referred to me (and I read) a while back state that evolution is “a plurality of theories and hypotheses” (rf. 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution). Natural selection, which does occur, is just one of many mechanisms under the umbrella of evolution. So, I must ask: Who can truly understand evolution, all its theories and hypotheses? At what point can a person say, “OK. I understand evolution because I understand this theory, this hypothesis, and this mechanism”? Use yourself for example: At what point did you conclude that you understood evolution? What portions of the theory (theories, hypotheses, and mechanisms) must one know at minimum to conclude that they, too, understand evolution? If those students in South Korea understood natural selection, but still rejected evolution, would they still be wrong?

        I noticed that even the unbiased talkorgins.org group mentioned how difficult it was for professional scientists to define evolution. (I’m not saying that something has to be clearly defined to be understood or workable [like we don’t know what light and gravity are exactly].)

        Note: Now, contrary to popular tactics by some, this is not a veiled request for a character assessment. So there’s no need that I be reminded about how dishonest, disingenuous, and the generally pond-scum-ish level of my character is when answering any of the above questions.

        Joshua

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      • Josh:

        “The links that you referred to me (and I read) a while back state that evolution is “a plurality of theories and hypotheses” (rf. 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution).”

        It’s great that you brought up the link, buddy, because while we’re on that topic, we find that we would be hard pressed to point to one evidence that makes the case, for all 29 seem to fall apart upon scrutiny!

        ‘A Critique of Douglas Theobald’s – “29 Evidences for Macroevolution” by Ashby Camp’ (http://www.trueorigin.org/theobald1b.asp)

        Indeed, macroevolutionary theory involves a enormous extrapolation from evidence of very limited ranges (microevolution) to conclusions far beyond the evidence, and anyone serious about exploring the limits of evolutionary theory would do well to recognise that. =)

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      • Thanks so much for the link, GA! I hadn’t seen this one. I’ll keep my eye out on it to see if the opposition even clicks on the link. (In the past, all links were avoided so I pretty much stopped leaving them.)

        You know, I was wondering if they would take your comments and links a little more seriously if they knew you are somewhat of a scientist yourself! ;) (You operate extremely complex scientific machines on a daily basis.)

        Joshua

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      • A yes, let a lawyer critique evolutionary biology! I’m sure he knows what he’s talking about.

        Yes, please read his critique and then read the response (although I don’t know why I bother because as Josh points out, “In the past, all links were avoided.” Of course, this isn’t true in either case but is asserted as a bald lie to serve a rhetorical purpose as well as continue to falsely paint the character of people people who dare criticize his misrepresentations. How very… militant and intolerant of us, eh?).

        As for G.A.’s credentials, anyone who turns to such experts as those ‘fellows’ of the Discovery Institute and other scientific wannabes for source material to malign and misrepresent good science as he continues to do – in spite of knowing the political agenda they publicly endorse to undermine serious scientific inquiry in favour of religious Oogity Boogity – obviously has a serious deficit in their intellectual ability to differentiate holes in the ground from certain bodily waste orifices. This lawyer’s critique – motivated and sustained entirely by a religious defense of his Iron age beliefs rather than a respect for reality and what’s true about it – is just another example of G.A.’s continuing disrespect for what’s true in fact while busuily trying to find whatever crap he can find on the ‘net to support his agenda. I, too, use sophisticated technologies every day and I don’t for a moment think that empowers me to know much of anything to accurately and perceptively critique what’s taken as standard knowledge about theoretical physics. G.A – and now you – seems to think your religious belief exempts and excuses you from any similar and reasonable self control.

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      • GA and readers:

        My evidence for the links left unclicked is the “Clicks” section on the WordPress dashboard. Most of the time, up until the past six months to a year, when I left links I didn’t see clicks on them showing up during the time comments on those cartoons were active. (Even now there is only 1 click count on most of them.)

        What would that suggest to the dispassionate observer?

        Joshua

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  21. “And what scientific qualifications do you hold that make you able to verify how much or how little the theory of evolution contributes to technologies, applications, and therapies?”

    Methinks that when tildeb hears phrases like “the evolution of the i Pad,” he draws the correlation between advancement in technology and evolutionary theory.

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    • Maybe. As you know, such “evolution” isn’t the result of evolution — it’s the result of intelligence and intelligent input. :)

      So I wonder if we could we find a scientist who would apply the principles of evolution to their work? While some scientists do spend long ages on their work (thanks to grants usually), I don’t see them applying chance and accidents to them. In fact, I see the opposite: intelligent / very specific input; controlled environments; assumption that natural laws will remain the same; assumption that senses are reliable enough to inquire, observe, and use to draw conclusions. Improvements, like the improved speed and lightened frame of an iPad, can be made because they are based on intelligent input and analysis, not blind chance and happy accidents.

      Of course, my bigger beef is with the slam against creationist scientists, especially those working in the field of science today. tildeb has repeatedly made the following equation: creationist = anti-science. It’s uninformed and ignores the history of science (as I’ve told him twice, I think). It is refuted by facts, like the gene gun, which came mostly from the mind of John C. Sanford, a plant geneticist who is also a young-Earth (!) creationist. Then there are people like Dr. A.E. Wilder-Smith, Robert Gentry, Dr. Jason Lisle… the list could go on.

      But I guess silly creationists like myself should remember that if it’s not on talkorigins.org, it just isn’t true…

      Joshua

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      • Create and maintain a false dichotomy–a tactic commonly employed by those with tenuous foundations. Perpetuate the idea that believing in God and creation is the equivalent of being anti-science and anti-education. Promote the ancient myth of evolution as being indisputable scientific fact.

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  22. Josh, you don’t understand what evolution means.

    Again, in case you missed it, you Josh do not understand what evolution means.

    When you use the term, you are not describing what is really means; you are inserting your own definition on this term which is factually incorrect. This continues to be a problem that you are happy to maintain, happy to trot out over and over again in spite of repeated effort by others to help you realize your error and correct it. Yet here you are – yet again – continuing to equate “blind chance and happy accidents” with the physical process known as evolution (it’s anything but, you see Josh, which shows the extent of your deeply held confusion and bias) a process to which all life is factually subject (sorry to pop your protective bubble of ignorance synapticcohesion, but your astounding lack of understanding far exceeds Josh’s and tthat’s really saying something. If you don’t want to continue to sound like a person happily entrenched in this shared idiocy there’s this thing called the internet which can help you out of the religious muck and funk it’s made of understanding this science. Just a hint for you that I know you won’t take seriously).

    The fact of the matter is that creationists of all stripes insert Oogity Boogity as the causal agent for some ‘creation’ at some historical point which is honestly and truthfully contrary to the method of science where a lack of knowledge results not in permission to insert some made-up shit but an honest “We don’t really know but based on this evidence we can speculate…). The rest of us not directly involved at the leading edge of these unknown frontiers should just admit we don’t know and leave it there until better information comes along about things and events and agencies we know nothing about (but find handy in our religious proselytizing because it sort of sounds like we know what we’re talking about in a scinecy kind of way). But creationists will not do this, of course, because religious belief recognizes no boundary including ignorance and creationists are always religious (that’s also a clue, btw); they insert their personalized metaphysical notion of Oogity Boogity and pretend this is as intellectually honest and equivalent as the admission that we don’t know something when it is anything but. It is not honest. It is not equivalent. It’s simply made-up shit. I merely call this insertion of belief in Oogity Boogity (and pretending it has valid explanatory power) for what it honestly is: anti-science.

    If any creationist scientist (and yes, there are many in the same way there are pedophile priests but the latter term – scientist like priest – doesn’t lend any support WHATSOEVER to the former descriptive term…. duh!) committed this same insertion of personalized metaphysical made-up shit anywhere else in their exercise of science, he or she would be exposed for being a fraud, tainting and undermining whatever scientific results linked in any way to the made-up shit.

    Once again (and with feeling) faith of the religious kind is a virtue only in religion, whereas its exercise is a vice anywhere at any time at any point in the method of science. This fact (not my opinion) stands on its own merit and reveals the scope of the disconnect necessary for those scientists who claim anti-scientific creationist beliefs. I’m sorry this truth offends you, Josh, but you’re going to have to work through it on your own: religious faith like creationism adds nothing but pollution to the inquiry we call science and when dealing with claims about reality such insertions of made-up shit always acts (like with creationist beliefs) contrary to its honest pursuit.

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    • tildeb said:

      “If you don’t want to continue to sound like a person happily entrenched in this shared idiocy there’s this thing called the internet which can help you out of the religious muck and funk it’s made of understanding this science.”

      Yes, please enlighten me on the wonders on this thing you call the Internets–I’m communicating with you right now from the year 1956. An atheist visiting from the future is typing my response for me on his i Pad, but he’ll be leaving soon.

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      • Yes, you are able to use it to reveal your ignorance, but not so much to reduce it. This is why I wrote that the internet can “help you out of the religious muck and funk it’s made of understanding this science.”

        If you took more than a second to comprehend what is written rather than jump to what you believe something means you might save yourself from what seems to be your determination to sound and look so foolish so often. If you were the least bit concerned about finding out what’s true – rather than continue to rely on your willingness to believe what’s true – you might actually learn something to alter this perpetual state of profound ignorance. And your ignorance about the science of evolution is profound. That you seem capable of altering this deplorable state but refuse for what I suspect are purely religious reasons is why I feel bad that the quality of what your participation brings to the internet having anything to do with the science of evolution is simply a revelation of an intellectual wasteland scorched by your cherished ignorance. It’s sad because it doesn’t have to be this way. But this is the cost to all of us for you to maintain your religious allegiance: your sacrifice of your intellectual integrity.

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      • tildeb said:

        “If you took more than a second to comprehend what is written rather than jump to what you believe something means you might save yourself from what seems to be your determination to sound and look so foolish so often. If you were the least bit concerned about finding out what’s true – rather than continue to rely on your willingness to believe what’s true – you might actually learn something to alter this perpetual state of profound ignorance. And your ignorance about the science of evolution is profound.”

        As usual, you’re good a giving simplistic, sweeping generalizations without any supporting evidence whatsoever. Congrats.

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      • You just did it again!

        *sigh*

        I quoted what I had written about using the internet to help you in “…understanding the science” that you called an “ancient myth” (of all the ludicrous descriptions!). You took this to mean that I was criticizing your ability to use the internet (which obviously you can). My criticism still stands. But rather than learn from this, you rush quickly into making the foolish statement I am criticizing you “without any supporting evidence.”

        *face plant*

        This is supporting evidence, synapticcohesion, even if you fail (yet again) to comprehend it as such.

        The failure here is in your comprehension problems and does not reside with me who simply points it out to you.

        Read and learn (but as I wrote earlier, I very much doubt you will).

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      • tildeb:

        One word: Wow.

        If smears and willfully deceptive rhetors — tildeb, with all due respect, sadly, this means you – can get away with strawmannising and dismissing synapticcohesion as “foolish”, theists as “creationists”, rational philosophical inquiry into God’s existence as “made up s**t”, and God as “Oogity Boogity” – amongst other smears – then we can be distracted from the issues on their merits and be lured into burning ad hominem- soaked de-humanised creationist strawmen.

        For the impartial passing reader to note: In a toxic atmosphere like this, it is then all too easy to some to simply brand and stereotype any theistic thinker who takes a scriptural tradition seriously as irrational, anti-scientific, or a would be theocrat, without offerring proper intellectual responses to the discussions at hand. And I think it is to synapticcohesion’s enormous credit that he hasn’t sunk his teeth into tildeb’s bait and responded in like fashion.

        Now it is worth asking: Why this unreasonableness from tildeb and other self-styled champions of reason? It seems to me that theistic thinker’s unforgivable sin has been to scientifically delineate the limits of science along a shorter radius than that which religiously committed materialist atheists and adherents of Darwin’s theory (like tildeb) hoped to permanently encompass. As David Berlinski once noted:

        “Put yourself in the position of a Daniel Dennett or a Richard Dawkins, who are used to being the reignant priests of a powerful orthoxy. And for the first time in their lives someone says, ‘Hey you guys are simply not credible.’ Of course they are going to react with outrage and indignation.”

        Of course, the brilliant irony here, is that in applying smears across most if not all theists in blanket sweeping fashion, tildeb has inadvertently served to highlight the VERY point of the OP that Josh put up: that of the intolerance of certain atheists. And I’m not sure he even realises that!

        The cloud in the silver lining, though, is that tildeb’s behaviour is not representative of the many wonderfully tolerant and respectful, and intellectually serious atheists and agnostics out there who are interested in serious intellectual discourse through proper debating tactics with a view to illuminating one another’s worldviews.

        My words of advice to Josh, synapticcohesion, and anyone else who would grant me the privilege of your time, is this: exposés of the true nature of people like tildeb, along with exhortations to “the better angels of our nature,” are most-vital in this particular Information Age free-for-all, along with all the rest. They will be heard, above the din, by the silent onlookers, many of whom share our interest in seeking the truth.

        As for you, tildeb, based on the level of swearing, condescending statements and words of provocation you have reduced yourself to over the last few exchanges with synapticcohesion above, you are beginning to morph into an Internet troll. Please unmorph soon, that would be much appreciated.

        [P.S.: On a separate note, I have yet to get a response from you on the 4 consecutive posts I made from “2012/08/10 at 3:48 AM” to “2012/08/10 at 4:01 AM” (try searching this threads with those dates and times). I would appreciate your time in attempting a response to some, if not all, of the matters raised. Thanks.]

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      • tildeb is quick to assert that others lack basic reading comprehension skills, yet he claimed that the article I cited is an example of an ancient “creation myth.” A creation myth…without a creator.

        He also dismissed abiogenesis as being crucial the evolutionary explanation of the origins of life. That is something I could never understand: How evolutionists can deny the basic tenets of their beliefs whenever they see fit. This inconsistency often arises in an attempt to maintain control in arguments; but it does nothing but gnaw away at their credibility.

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    • tildeb, let me just end our interactions here with this:

      I see that the intellectual snobbery never gets old for you. Truly, we are all pond scum and we shouldn’t expect to be treated better than that, I guess. (Of course, it doesn’t bother me. You should know that by now.)

      Give us (me) integrity, not insults. Answer questions, don’t continue to dress character assaults in feigned, disingenuous comments garb. They only hurt yourself and your case, because I see the intellectual snobbery, unjustified insults, and generally bad social skills you have continued to exhibit here as the sad results of the pitiful worldview you hold to.

      By the way, I don’t think we’re dealing with issues regarding evidence. The evidence that there is a God, that He has revealed Himself as Creator in nature, in the Bible, and most personally and intimately in the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus is open for every reasonable, rational person to inquire into (I hope that doesn’t disqualify you). But those aren’t the only factors. Sometimes people participate in lifestyles and behaviors that push them farther and farther away from seeking their Creator. As they do, they slip farther and farther away from valuing human interactions and eventually only find “joy” in their own self-imposed selfishness. In turn, the despise anything — evidence, proofs, revelation — that points to their Creator. They seek after things to justify their laying in a ditch that their wrongdoing has dug for them. And most of all, they loathe the people who talk about God — and don’t dare mention Jesus! I know these things because I used to be one. I used to practice intellectual snobbery, be involved in a lifestyle that was against my conscience, and laugh at Christians in particular. But God used one of the very same people I made fun of to start His work of disinfecting my poisoned conscience and softening my hardened heart.

      Now, tildeb, you can post here as long as you want. I always welcome you to do that. But you’re not going to get away without me praying for you any longer. I pray that God would have compassion on your firmly sealed mind and open it. That you would come to know that the thing your fighting against is the very knowledge that changes people from the inside out.

      So, if you start feeling a surge of confusion and conviction in your conscience, you’ll know where it’s coming from, man.

      With a handshake,

      Joshua

      Like

  23. tildeb:

    If you don’t mind, I would like to delve deeper into a few of your comments directed at synapticcohesion.

    Firstly, I’d like to focus on these 2 separate quotes of yours:

    “Once again (and with feeling) faith of the religious kind is a virtue only in religion, whereas its exercise is a vice anywhere at any time at any point in the method of science. This fact (not my opinion) stands on its own merit…”

    “…religious faith like creationism adds nothing but pollution to the inquiry we call science and when dealing with claims about reality such insertions of made-up shit always acts (like with creationist beliefs) contrary to its honest pursuit.”

    tildeb, 2 very quick yes/no questions:

    1) As far as you’re concerned, is science the sole source of knowledge “claims about reality”, and the sole arbiter of truth?

    2) You keep suggesting that faith is present “only in religion”. Are you indeed suggesting that your worldview, as well as the methods of science, are devoid of any faith whatsoever?

    And finally, on to these 2 quotes:

    “(to Josh) Josh, you don’t understand what evolution means. Again, in case you missed it, you Josh do not understand what evolution means.”

    “(to synapticcohesion) And your ignorance about the science of evolution is profound.”

    I’ve actually asked you this a couple of times before (I believe Josh has as well), without a proper response. I believe the time is ripe to address it now. I’m not sure you’ve noticed, but the truth is, even evolutionists seem split on the definition of ‘evolution’. In fact, in recent years, the word ‘evolution’ has been perceived by some to be the ultimate weasel word. In an illuminating article called “The Meanings of Evolution,” Stephen Meyer and Michael Keas attempt to catch the weasel by distinguishing six different ways in which ‘evolution’ is commonly used:

    1. Change over time; history of nature; any sequence of events in nature.
    2. Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population.
    3. Limited common descent: the idea that particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor.
    4. The mechanisms responsible for the change required to produce limited descent with modification, chiefly natural selection acting on random variations or mutations.
    5. Universal common descent: the idea that all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor.
    6. ‘Blind watchmaker’ thesis: the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms.

    So, I’ve giving you an opportunity to inform us once and for all, and to help propel subsequent discussions on the topic. Please let us know, in no uncertain terms, which of the 6 definitions of ‘evolution’ above (or maybe even one of your own) you subscribe to. I’d appreciate if you do not avoid the question this time round.

    We (or at least I) look forward to your reply with interest.

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    • Getic, responding to you is pointless because you don’t care about what’s true. You search the internet to find only that which seems to support your beliefs without regard to their quality. That’s why you quote the people you do – not because they raise legitimate criticisms but because they have already been shown to be illegitimate. But you don’t search for these responses and ignore all references to them because you don;t care about what’s true; you only care about supporting your current beliefs regardless. No matter how I respond to the particulars, you simply carry on with this disingenuous tactic, insisting that I spend overtime answering you. There’s no point, for example, informing you of the loss of a minimum of 71 billion dollars a year in tax revenue to show harm from privileging religions in the States when you simply slough this fact off as irrelevant but are the first one to suggest religions do good with some single digit expenditures in social relief practices. So why should I bother? You simply don’t care. You don’t find the best demonstrable evidence for evolution and criticize it; you listen to the lies and deceits of the Discoveroids and become another schill for them, thinking all the while that your response to my original criticism of Josh’s post is therefore satisfied. It’s not. It is avoided and supplanted with your beliefs and whatever internet sources you can find to lend them what only appears to be support. That’s why you demonstrate complete disregard for what’s true and I won’t waste my time trying to convince you otherwise with evidence from reality when what’s true in reality simply doesn’t matter to you.

      Take a look at who wrote this list you demand I select from. Is it from a renowned biologist? Ha! Of course not. It’s from another Discovery Institute employee who makes his living from writing for the Discovery Institute… an ‘Institute’ whose mandate for Templeton funding is to try to insert creationism – aka Intelligent Design – into public education and public debate. That’s his job, GA. It doesn’t matter to him that creationism – aka Intelligent Design – has produced no good science, no applications, no practical therapies, no new technologies… no knowledge whatsoever. It just doesn’t matter to him to misrepresent what evolution is: a natural process of how life changes over time by selective environmental pressures and genetic variances that favour a higher rate of successful reproduction. He’s paid to insert god into the process under the name of Intelligent Design so he does so. His arguments in favour of complexity revealing design has been dismantled so thoroughly and so often by so many that to do so again to suit you is a fool’s game because you don’t care what the answer might be anyway unless it agrees with your belief. The fact is that you do not spend time searching for these explanations by reputable biologists. After all, you know evolution cannot be true as an unguided process that causes speciation and diversity because you believe differently and there is nothing anyone can say or do or show contrary to this belief that you will respect. This is the truth of the matter and is the reason why I will not respond any further to your comments.

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  24. The question shouldn’t be about me getting ‘riled up’. The right question is about why you aren’t, why you refuse to see the very real threat to your civil liberties and autonomy by this theocratic creep into all aspects of the society we share that produces real misery for real people in real life.

    Two years to learn? You’ve learned nothing.

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  25. I’ve looked at the curricular requirements needed become an “evolutionary biologist” and as I suspected, it seems to be less rigorous than the requirements needed to become a meteorologist.

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    • Don’t just make such a pronouncement: show it. And then tell us why this somehow matters. At my university, one cannot get a degree in meteorology (which is a two year certificate program at a local community college) but a science degree in Atmospheric Studies divided down into an assortment of meteorological specialties (agrometeorological research, micrometeorology, climate science, hydro-meteorology, dynamic meteorology, physical meteorology, general meteorology, synoptic meteorology, plus additional programs involved with climatology). Although specific courses differ, I would be very hard pressed to differentiate on some vague notion of difficulty; each faculty offers a deepening specialty in the different areas. But I would certainly pay attention to what each graduate might have to say about their specialty accompanied by a Masters or PhD because their knowledge base should be very strong and up to date.

      Like

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