Who are the real fundamentalist, extremist zealots?

For pure entertainment value it’s hard to beat the op-ed articles over at WingNutDaily. Particularly just about anything written by Joseph Farah in his Between The Lines column. This week he’s asking the question:  Who are the real fundamentalist, extremist zealots? According to Joseph the answer is “Evolutionists!”

Joseph opens his article by talking about a Roseville, CA parent by the name of Larry Caldwell who felt that the Joint Union High School District’s science textbooks “failed to point out any of the weaknesses of the theory of evolution – teaching it instead as a matter of fact.” So Larry decided to petition the school district to change this policy claiming that he wasn’t so much interested in injecting religious views of creationism into the schools as much as providing “objectivity and balance when it comes to teaching about Charles Darwin and his theory.” The school board offered up a compromise where the textbooks would remain unchanged, but they would encourage teachers to provide “scientific information that challenges the theory of evolution” as well as set up resource centers in the school libraries to provide “other points of view.” Additionally letters would be sent out to parents stating that “a growing minority of scientists question the ability of Darwin’s theory to provide an adequate scientific explanation for the origin and diversity of life on Earth.” The compromise was not to be, however, as the school board rejected the plan in the end. Joseph’s reaction to this is entirely predictable:

The plan seemed eminently reasonable and accommodating to all viewpoints – which is why the real intolerant, fundamentalist, extremist, Taliban-like, religious zealots shot it down.

By a 3-2 vote, the school board decided there would be no dissent permitted on an article of faith like evolution.

I literally laughed out loud when I read that. Let’s break Joseph’s description of the school board down adjective by adjective:

  1. Intolerant: Is the school board being intolerant by not going with the compromise plan? Actually, yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The compromise plan is an awful lot of jumping through hoops over an issue that is questionable at best. When designing the curriculum for any subject, and particularly for science, school boards have to go with what is commonly accepted as being the “facts” for the topics being covered. When knowledge of a subject advances enough that the “facts” change then the curriculum should be updated accordingly, but it would be folly to try and offer dissenting viewpoints to every topic without regard to the merit of those viewpoints. If the school board were to engage in this sort of thing with every topic that has some dissent on it they’re quickly going to be spending more time providing alternative viewpoints than teaching anything at all. What happens, for example, when the Holocaust Deniers decide they want their viewpoints on the problems with the history course that’s being taught taken into consideration? Certainly teachers should allow some time for discussion of the material presented and that would be a good time to touch on dissenting viewpoints, but the curriculum has to focus on what is the current accepted standard and the current accepted standard happens to be Evolution.
  2. Fundamentalist: Common use of this word is almost always in relation to religious movements and Joseph is aware of this which is why he makes the common claim that Evolution is an “article of faith,” which is patently not true. Just the same, the word can be used to describe rigid thinking and adherence to principle as well as intolerance toward other views. Again I would argue that a certain amount of fundamentalist thinking may be necessary to craft an effective curriculum. At least in regards to sticking to the currently accepted standards of knowledge for various topics and fields. The irony of a Fundamentalist complaining about a school board using fundamentalist thinking is very amusing.
  3. Extremist: I’d really like someone to explain to me how insisting on sticking to a well established and widely accepted educational standard is in any way an extremist position to take. Clearly Joseph doesn’t understand the meaning of the word.
  4. Taliban-like: Another laugh-out-loud moment for me. Last I checked the newspapers I haven’t heard of any students being severely beaten for daring to state their disagreement with the Theory of Evolution. No trials for blasphemy for the crime of disparaging Darwin’s good name have taken place anywhere that I’m aware of. Nor, for that matter, are there heavily armed Educational Enforcement Officers walking through the school halls ensuring at gunpoint that students are complying with the tenets of Darwinian Evolution. This sort of appeal-to-emotion rhetoric may score well with readers of WingNutDaily, but it’s neither accurate or intellectually honest and makes Joseph sound like a moron.
  5. Religious Zealots:  If I wanted to give Joseph the benefit of the doubt I’d suggest that he appears to once again be confused on the meaning of the words he’s using, but the more likely probability is that this is just an extension of that whole appeal-to-emotion method of debate he seems to be fond of. He’s certainly smart enough to realize that if he’s going to charge the school board with being religious zealots he has to identify how this is so considering the obvious rejection of religious concepts involved in the school board’s decision not to offer “alternative viewpoints” to the Theory of Evolution. He’s already laid the ground work for this with the claim that Evolution is an article of faith so we’ll be talking about this more as we go on.

So let’s see, out of the five adjectives he used to describe the school board we have a grand total of two that might actually apply in some way to the people he’s describing and those two aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Already Joseph has demonstrated that he won’t be using well-reasoned debate in making his case, but rather healthy amounts of specious logic and the ever popular straw-man fallacy.

Oh, I know what you are going to say: “The majority on the school board wasn’t religious. They were fighting the religious views of others that are creeping into the schools. There’s no place in public schools for teaching religion.”

“These supplemental materials are religious in nature,” explained parent Pam Herman. “They don’t belong in our science curriculum.”

Let me contradict that statement. When people accept the theory of evolution as an article of faith and teach it as a matter of fact and permit no dissent whatsoever from their doctrine, let me tell you: Those are religious people pushing religious views.

Joseph never bothers to tell us what the supplemental materials are composed of so we don’t have any way to judge whether or not Pam Herman is correct in her assertion that they are religious in nature, but as far as I’m aware the only other theory that’s being promoted as a viable alternative to the Theory of Evolution is the “Theory of Intelligent Design” in which case Pam would be quite correct with her statement. We’ve talked about Intelligent Design on more than one occasion here at SEB and it’s quite clear that all ID really is is Creationism dressed up in scientific-sounding terms with direct references to God yanked out of it.

Joseph goes on to state that he will contradict Pam’s claim, but rather than discuss what the supplemental materials contain and why they should be considered acceptable for use in a school he instead tries to obfuscate the issue by relying on the fallacy of the undistributed middle. In other words, rather than try to show how the supplemental materials are not religious in nature, that they are in fact scientific and thusly perfectly acceptable in a science curriculum which is what you would expect in a contradiction, Joseph attempts to paint the school board members as pushing a different religious agenda of their own. He provides no basis for his assertion that the people on the board accept Evolution “as an article of faith” nor does he establish that the members will permit no dissent. It’s entirely possible that the members of the board accept the Theory of Evolution for reasons other than mere faith and it’s also possible that the members may accept dissenting viewpoints for inclusion into the science curriculum if they can be shown to be valid scientific theories. This sets things up nicely for the straw man fallacies which are to follow:

I’m not sure which religious views they hold. They may be atheists. They may be agnostics. They may be pagans. They may be secular humanists. I don’t know which particular dogma they follow. It isn’t important. But rest assured they are only disguising their narrow religious views in the language of science.

If their particular religious views are unimportant then why does Joseph even bother to mention them in the first place? You’ll note that he carefully lists only those religious viewpoints that are unpopular with the Fundamentalist Christian audience he’s addressing while conveniently ignoring the fact that there are plenty of Christians around that accept the Theory of Evolution as fact. It’s more than likely that the school board he’s berating is largely composed of Christians, but acknowledging this wouldn’t serve his argument too well. After all atheists, agnostics, pagans and secular humanists together form the ultimate Axis of Evil as far as most Fundies are concerned. So while he doesn’t come right out and accuse anyone of actually holding one of these viewpoints, he’s clever enough to raise the possibility that they might. I’m willing to bet Joseph had included “Satanists” in an earlier draft, but he realized that might be a bit too over-the-top. Again the irony of his assertion that the board members are only “disguising their narrow religious views in the language of science” is pretty funny when you consider the source of the statement.

The theory of evolution is now being treated like Holy Writ. That’s not science, it’s religion.

It’s a nice assertion and would certainly be true if it were an accurate summary of the situation, but Joseph doesn’t bother to provide anything that would support the idea that this is the case here.

If something in science suddenly becomes so sacrosanct that you can’t question it, then it ceases to be science. It’s actually a contradiction of the principles of science and the scientific method, which requires testing, evidence, proof.

This is probably the only statement Joseph makes that is largely true and accurate in this entire article. Indeed, he won’t find an honest scientist who would disagree on this point. It demonstrates that Joseph isn’t ignorant of what science is or how it’s supposed to work which leaves one to wonder how he can make all of the other distorted and misleading claims throughout the rest of his column? Prior to this we could afford to give him the benefit of the doubt about his knowledge of what constitutes proper science, but now we have to question his honesty and the motivations behind the assertions he’s making.

And that’s what is happening all over the country – not just in Roseville, Calif. There’s a new wave of sweeping intolerance and rigid conformity being required of teachers and students.

Another assertion with nothing to support it. He makes it sound like there’s a drive to remove references to theories other than Evolution from classrooms across the country as though these “alternative viewpoints” have always had a place in the science curriculums of every school as opposed to the reality that these “alternative viewpoints” are trying to weasel their way in where they don’t belong.

It seems to me when authorities are unwilling to accept any criticism of their doctrine, there is probably good reason. In the case of evolution, that reason is the theory itself is little more than speculation unsupported by evidence.

Yet another patently untrue statement. Either Joseph is amazingly ignorant about the Theory of Evolution and the evidence which supports it or he is intentionally lying at this point. It is the preponderance of evidence and the fact that the Theory works when making predictions about what we should expect to find that is the reason it is commonly regarded as fact by the majority of scientists in the field. There are whole fields of science and modern medicine for which the Theory of Evolution is the foundation and it is considered the cornerstone of modern biology. It’s considered fact because it works and is still the best explanation available.

I will once again challenge anyone to provide me with a SINGLE scientific breakthrough or field of study that is in any way founded on the Theory of Intelligent Design. Show me an example of a prediction this so-called theory makes and any supporting evidence there might be for it. You’ll excuse me if I don’t hold my breath in anticipation as I have serious doubts this challenge will be answered.

I’ve been through the indoctrination camps in high school and in college. I remain thoroughly convinced that evolution is nothing more than a religious tenet of secular humanism – unsupported by facts and unsupportable by facts. I am hardly alone.

A lot of people live in denial of facts they feel threaten their beliefs, Joseph, that hardly makes you an authority on the issue of Evolution. The fact that there are others with the same problem doesn’t prove anything other than you have company in your delusions. If you are going to convince anyone you’re going to need to provide a viable alternative theory that has at least as much evidence in support of it as what Evolution has, but you haven’t provided any such thing. Instead you continue to offer distortions and logical fallacies to try and hide the fact that you have nothing better to offer up in Evolution’s stead.

Evolutionists are incapable of selling their ideas in an open marketplace. Instead, they resort to Soviet-style coercion and censorship to impose their views on others. Remember, it was the communists who made a special point of teaching that God played no role in the creation of the universe and mankind. Evolution became their god, and history is repeating itself in America’s classrooms today.

First Taliban-like and now Soviet-style! Joseph certainly has a gift for milking the straw man fallacy like a true pro. Not only is there nothing “Soviet-like” about this situation, but as far as I know the Soviets didn’t worship Evolution as a God. Nor is Evolution presented as anything God-like in American classrooms. But don’t let reality get in the way of your skillful use of hyperbole.

The truth is we don’t know what we don’t know. And that’s as good reason as any not to teach what we don’t know as fact to kids forced to attend government schools. There are many good arguments against government education, but the fact that so many turn into state-sponsored propaganda mills and miseducation camps is the best reason of all.

This whole paragraph is just funny. It almost refutes itself.

Some of the very brightest people in the world today disbelieve in the theory of evolution. Some of the very brightest people throughout history have believed the world was created – men like Sir Isaac Newton, Copernicus and Maury. Why is it so vital to the new gods of scientific correctness that every schoolkid in America be taught only – I repeat, only – their theories of the universe and the origins of man?

And he finishes up with the ever popular argumentum ad verecundiam or appeal to authority fallacy. The fact that some of the brightest people in the world disbelieve in the Theory of Evolution, both today and throughout history, is only really relevant if those people are likely to hold an informed opinion on the issue. Being intelligent, or “bright,” is no guarantee that your conclusions and beliefs will be correct. Let’s take the aforementioned Sir Isaac Newton for example:

There is no disputing that Sir Isaac Newton was one of the most influential scientists who has ever drawn breath and his impact on the fields of astronomy, physics, and mathematics is nothing short of revolutionary. What is lesser known is the fact that he was also an alchemist of the Hermetic tradition—that is, he believed that the body of knowledge of alchemy originated in the ancient past and was given to mankind by supernatural agents—and he devoted a good portion of his time and energy to experiments dealing with alchemy.  By the time of his death he had written over a million words on the subject and although none of his experiments in alchemy are known to have been successful he maintained a belief in the reality of alchemy to the very end. Today you’d be hard pressed to find a scientist of any significant standing who is likely to express much of belief in the validity of alchemy as a science. Newton was clearly of superior intellect in many ways, but that didn’t prevent him from being completely wrong about the validity of alchemy.

The fact that Newton, Copernicus, Maury and many other great thinkers throughout history accepted the idea that he world was created by a God or other supernatural agent doesn’t in itself prove anything other than some great thinkers have believed this particular idea to be true. Just as many other great thinkers over the years have believed the opposite. For every Sir Isaac Newton that Joseph can name I can probably counter with an Albert Einstein.

Joseph’s last question might be reasonable if any of the “alternative theories” on the origins of the Universe and mankind happened to be as equally valid as what is currently being taught in schools, but the problem of course is that they aren’t as equally valid. Despite his insistence to the contrary, there is plenty of evidence in support of the Theory of Evolution that has been documented over the years as the theory has progressed. Joseph’s denial of this fact is necessary so he can pull Evolution down to the same level as the “alternative” theories he’d like to see taught in schools which really don’t have a single shred of evidence in support of them. His whole argument is based on trying to show that Evolution has no more weight behind it than any other viewpoint as opposed to trying to prove that the “alternative” theories have any basis at all outside of faith or are in any way scientifically valid. Joseph knows that’s not possible so he resorts to logical fallacies and trying to associate the opposition with unpopular groups in an effort to cover-up the shortcomings of the viewpoint he wishes to promote.

18 thoughts on “Who are the real fundamentalist, extremist zealots?

  1. Thanks for the article Les. This Joseph Farah guy has got to be either a complete moron or the worst kind of scammer! It sickens me to no end to hear this garbage being spewed upon the world. How can anyone possibly think this way? I read some of the other crap on their site and I think I’m going to have to take a shower now – I feel dirty somehow!

    PS. I think you are doing a very important job here by exposing this fool (and others) for what he really is and I’m sure some folks searching for this idiot, thru google etc., will find their way to this site and be “enlightened”.

  2. *sigh*

    Same shit different day.

    Les, I admire your endurance.  And that’s not a facetious comment, either; I truly respect the fact that you can come back to this over and over, despite the fact that the loonies have their fingers screwed into their ears up to the second knuckle.

    What worries me is that the schoolboard vote was 3-2, in Roseville.  I mean, Roseville’s in the Sacramento area and, while they’re not ultraliberal by any stretch of the imagination, I remember the area being fairly, uh,—modern—in its attitudes.  3-2 indicates that they’re a little closer than I thought they were to slipping back into medievalism.  What’s next, we’ll start bleeding people who have the flu?

  3. Ha! nowiser that reminds of…

    “Theodoric your patient is weaker and growing ever more pale. What shall we do?” – apprentice

    “That’s easy. Bleed her some more!” – Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber

  4. Is it just me, or is Christianity dangerously on the rise?  Maybe it’s the current political scene, or the movies, or whatever, but this whole trend is really, really disturbing.

    As we advance and evolve, why do so many continue to cling to these archaic fantasies?  Greek mythology died out, the Norse gods are dead and rotting, few (if any) still worship Zarathustra…what’s it gonna take to dump this mythos?

    More to the point…

    I love this intolerance crap that the Christies spew regarding anyone who doesn’t follow their beliefs.  I had this boss once who came up to me one night while I was on watch and asks me, “So, do you think we came from fish?”

    My answer was a quick “Yes,” which shocked the hell out of him.  I told him that I knew where he was going, and that Yes, I did believe that we had evolved from lower life forms, but that since I didn’t witness the path, I’m not sure where we diverged.  I told him that at some point, our ancestors were almost certainly amphibian.

    Naturally, this started the whole conversation, the same one most of you have had.  What I’ve always remembered from his argument, however, were two ridiculous points that even as a 20 year old kid I found laughable.

    Point #1: He says, “If I can prove to you that one thing in a book is true, wouldn’t that make the whole book true?”  Naturally, I said, “You mean the bible, of course.”  He says, “Yes, but in principle, wouldn’t that be a logical statement?”  What the fuck?  I mean, that kind of stupidity just sets you up for having your head pulled out of your ass.  I responded to him, “Sure, that’s fine. Shall I go get an encyclopedia, and then find one incontrovertable fact, thereby validating the entire book, even if it contradicts your book?”  He quickly moved on to Point #2.

    Point #2: He says, “Don’t you find that scientists are the most arrogant people you have ever met, the least tolerant, the most judgemental?”  My response was, “No, in my experience, Baptists fit that description far more than scientists.”  He walked away, and we never spoke of it again.

    Man, I love this blog.

  5. [Quote]Is it just me, or is Christianity dangerously on the rise?  Maybe it’s the current political scene, or the movies, or whatever, but this whole trend is really, really disturbing.[/Quote]
    I think part of it has to do with evolving world situations.  Feeble minds are scared with all of the rapid development in technology, medicine, communications, etc… Grasping for religion provides them with a degree of comfort.  The more rapidly we ‘evolve’ the tighter they squeeze.  Hopefully, over time they’ll realize that all they are holding on to is each other and the myths will go by the wayside.

  6. $46K – Hmm, about one teacher’s salary for the year.

    Back in about 1983 I got into a correspondence with a creationist debating these issues, but I just finally couldn’t do it anymore.  When he started seriously contending that the Earth was surrounded by a hollow shell of ice (out in space, refracting the rays of the sun so that there weren’t any seasons) and that when that ice melted, that was Noah’s flood, I just gave up.

    I have to agree with nowiser, Les – your endurance is tremendous. Please keep up the good work.  I hope you feel a sense of support from people who share your focus on rationality.

    For example, the materials state, similarities among species – such as having five digits on each limb – do not necessarily indicate a common ancestor. Another example concerned perceived problems with fossil evidence.
    – from the factual article mentioned above

    Back in about ‘66, my dad was teaching summer extensions at the U. of Alberta, and we spent a few weekends in the Fox river valley hunting dinosaur bones.  Found some – I still have one.  It’s a seven-inch long segment of a load-bearing bone five inches in diameter. (Yeah, I know better than to take artifacts or bones from sites now, and I’ll take that one back someday when I’m retired and travelling around.)

    I remember clearly the appearance of the strata where I found the bone.  Flat layers that recognizeably encompassed the entire area for miles around.  Not a turbulent flood, but sediment slowly collecting at the bottom of a large body of water.  Saw it!  Didn’t read it in a book somewhere.

    Submission word: “wrong” – hmmm

  7. Skippy, I admire your fortitude in that conversation with your boss as much as I admire Les’ stamina in writing this post.  If someone like your boss tried to have that conversation with me, I don’t think I would have been able to stop myself from laughing in his face.

    As for Joseph Farah…

    the real intolerant, fundamentalist, extremist, Taliban-like, religious zealots

    no dissent permitted

    people accept the theory of evolution as an article of faith and teach it as a matter of fact and permit no dissent whatsoever from their doctrine

    they are only disguising their narrow religious views in the language of science

    The theory of evolution is now being treated like Holy Writ.

    If something in science suddenly becomes so sacrosanct that you can’t question it, then it ceases to be science.

    sweeping intolerance and rigid conformity being required

    unwilling to accept any criticism of their doctrine

    the theory itself is little more than speculation unsupported by evidence.

    indoctrination camps

    unsupported by facts and unsupportable by facts.

    coercion and censorship to impose their views on others.

    propaganda mills and miseducation camps

    Um…pot, kettle, “black”?  Or, more accurately: pot, white kettle, “black.”

    Every one of these quotes referred to the theory of evolution or those who believe in the validity of the theory of evolution.

    Doesn’t this stuff sound familiar?  Eerily so.

    This reminds me of that movie, School Ties, where Matt Damon’s character cheated on an exam, and Brendan Frazer’s character knew it.  Brendan told Matt to confess, or he’d turn him in.  Matt agreed.  But then, in class, when the teacher demanded to know whose crib sheet he’d found, Matt stands up and says, oh, yeah, I saw him, it was Brendan.  So when Brendan quickly stands up and says, No, Matt did it, Matt gets to say: “You’re just saying that about me because I said it about you, so since I said it first, I’m telling the truth and you’re not.”

    Joseph Farah wants to jump on us and call us all of these things which completely and utterly define the religious mindset for the past five thousand years (and even moreso in the past two thousand years).  That way, when we point out (rightly) that actually, all those epithets and descriptions more accurately describe religion rather than science, he can say, “Aw, you’re just saying that ‘cause I accused you first.”

    What an annoying little man.

  8. What I would like to know is lets assume that a school board agrees to such lunacy, which I believe has happened several times recently has it not? Then as a “Science Teacher” what exactly are you supposed to do?

    How in good conscience could you possibly spew such garbage on your students? Unless you just made a joke of it or something.

    If I were the teacher I would flatly refuse to “Preach” in my classroom and tell them fire me and you will be the center of the next “Monkey Trial” because I will haul your stupid ass straight to court.

  9. Its funny how the Atheists here are so blinded by their ignorant rantings they can’t even form a cohesive argument. Your continued defelection of real argument and specious statements about your ‘selection’ of specfic statements by others you don’t agree with is all anyone with any intelligence need to know to realize that the truly insane are those who can’t explain simple truths in science like: Men do not, and cannot know everything. Explain infinity you foolish people. You can’t, because to try inevitably leads you to ‘creative design’. God will reveal himself to you when it’s far too late for you to be saved. And you will have nice long (eternal) separation from the glory of God, all in the name of your selfish rantings about how you are your own gods. So sad.

  10. goop…

    To know everything would be boring!
    Infinity has always existed.
    I gave your god a chance to reveal himself,
    he was too shy or too stupid to think of a logical way to do so.
    Who designed your god?

    What’s sad is living your life in fear of a fairy tale!

  11. Explain infinity you foolish people. You can’t, because to try inevitably leads you to ‘creative design’.

    No, it doesn’t.  We’re perfectly comfortable with the idea that there IS no willed cause for infinity, and even that there is no answer to be had.  To quote your own words back at you:

    Men do not, and cannot know everything.

    It’s you who can’t seem to live with that fact, because you want to invent someone ELSE to know “everything,” and you call it “God.”  You can’t live without an answer for everything, so you make up someone who will give you the answers (or not, as he sees fit).  It makes you feel better to think that SOMEONE knows all the answers, even if you don’t.  We don’t need that false reassurance; we’re just fine with things the way they are.

    Have a nice infinity with your security blanket.

  12. Hmmm. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a True Believer show up to tell us how blind we are. This should be amusing.

    Its funny how the Atheists here are so blinded by their ignorant rantings they can’t even form a cohesive argument.

    Are you speaking about someone in particular or just in general? I only ask because I think I put together a pretty decent and coherent argument in my entry, but you don’t bother to address any of the points raised as that would be too much work. Instead you opt to try and tell us how wrong we are as if we have any reason to accept what you say as being even remotely true.

    Your continued defelection of real argument and specious statements about your ‘selection’ of specfic statements by others you don’t agree with is all anyone with any intelligence need to know to realize that the truly insane are those who can’t explain simple truths in science like: Men do not, and cannot know everything.

    What’s to explain? I have no disagreement with the statement that men don’t know everything and it’s probably unlikely we’ll ever know everything. My question is: So what? What does this prove other than you have an amazing ability to state the blindingly obvious?

    Explain infinity you foolish people.

    Explain it in what way? As a definition? A concept? An abstract idea? Just tossing out vague questions leaves too much room for you to repeatedly say “No, that’s not what I meant.” I may as well ask you to “explain cheese.”

    You can’t, because to try inevitably leads you to ‘creative design’.

    Only within your limited perception of reality.

    God will reveal himself to you when it’s far too late for you to be saved.

    Kinda seems pointless for him to wait until then, doesn’t it? Unless he’s not all that concerned about us “finding him” as so many believers keep claiming he is.

    And you will have nice long (eternal) separation from the glory of God, all in the name of your selfish rantings about how you are your own gods.

    If he’s anything like he’s described in the Bible I think I’d prefer the nice long eternal separation from his “glory.”

    So sad.

    What a coincidence! I was thinking the same thing about you!

  13. And you will have nice long (eternal) separation from the glory of God

    That’ll be nice, especially since my eternity thusfar (42 years living and breathing) has been fraught with far too many intrusions by folks who keep sullying up my perfectly peaceful life with incredible tales and dire warnings about this “glorious” divine bugaboo they thank for everything from waking up in the morning to taking a shit.

    If this God fellow is so wonderful and powerful, why is he letting other psychotic humans who worship him under a different name decapitate his Christian children?  I’ll bet the Johnson family’s feeling really warm and fuzzy basking in “God’s glory” as they mourn the death of their loved one at the hands of fucking religious whackos on the other side of the world.

    Deities are worthless for anything other than scaring the child-like into behaving as authority would like.

    (hahaha—captcha: “control”—fucking brilliant!)

    damn, didn’t type it in, so have another: “distance”—which is what us rational people want lots of between ourselves and you superstitious religious nutjobs

    3rd time’s a charm?  Hopefully now I’m “through” getting errors!

  14. I DO BELIEVE THIS, BUT I DON’T BELIEVE THAT!

    By Peter Fredson

    When I was young I did not hold many beliefs, other than that candy was good, and that I would be spanked if I were bad.  I went to school and was told about George Washington and a cherry tree, and I believed the story.  Why wouldn’t I? Were not teachers supposed to teach only the truth? I was sent to a Sunday School, and there, among other things, I was told that a Holy Ghost had intercourse with a woman and the result was a Holy Baby.  I had to believe that, because the neighborhood minister of the church were I was sent, without consultation,  told me it was true. He told me that without cracking a smile, so I guessed it was true. He wouldn’t lie to me, would he?

    Later I learned that there were other almost-identical reports from other societies, like the Greek, Roman, Chinese, Assyrian, Hindu, Aztec, etc……but I can’t believe THEM…those are not MY people.  Perhaps THEY really believed those stories.  So what?  They were ignorant and gullible and they believed anything their priests told them, or if they didn’t they would shut up about their disbelief lest they lose their social status, their property or their life. They didn’t consider that having sexual intercourse with a virgin, without her consent or knowledge, by any entity, (ghost, spirit, spook, or otherwise,) was rape and was a very bad thing.

    Either that, or people today are just as gullible as in the days of the Greeks, when they firmly believed in gods and goddesses on Mt. Olympus, and on land and on sea, and when they made sacrifices to those supernatural entities, and believed heart and soul in them, and built great edifices and statuary to those supernatural entities.  It took 100,000 Egyptians over 20 years, so one mummified corpse of some specially-privileged person could be placed in a tomb and be preserved until resurrection.  But, of course, I don’t believe ANY of THAT stuff.  It is TOO unbelievable.

    WOULD THEY LIE TO ME?

    I was told that priests of OTHER societies were generally intolerant and vicious with their disbelievers, and that other gods were vicious, murderous and intolerant, although MY priests tell me they are NOW very tolerant and peaceful. I must believe them because they are MY people.  They tell me that they are now MUCH better than any other priesthood of any other nation….so I must believe them.  They tell me that they are in sole possession of the absolute eternal TRUTH! Would they deceive me? Would they hide any ugly side of religion from me? Religion once caused social boycott, elimination from public office, discrimination, torture, murder, and war? Could that happen in this enlightened day and age with a religion of truth, peace, love, tolerance and charity?

    Priests of OTHER cultures lie and deceive and make up imaginative scenarios concerning supernatural beings and places…but I don’t believe ANY of that stuff…no sir.  It is obviously imaginative fiction, or illusion or delusion on the part of the OTHER people, but MY priests tell me they are absolutely right and that they only tell the absolute truth.  And then they thump their ‘sacred’ book, written directly by a god, and thunder threats down on me if I don’t believe that….so I believe.  I believe ALL that stuff. You bet!

    We can examine claims of OTHER societies and find that all the claims concerning supernatural intervention (miracles) are false….but we must not examine OUR claims….it would be wrong….it would be ‘sinful’, and besides belief doesn’t have to be based on evidence…in fact the lesser the probability of evidence the greater grows the strength of belief.  OUR religion will not let us waste our time in investigating any claims of OUR religion.  It’s not necessary.  Truth is truth …right?

    Although many nations have ‘sacred’ texts, written by or by the ‘inspiration’ of some god or goddess or a follower, such as the Rig Veda, the Koran, the Popol Vuh, etc….I don’t believe ANY of that nonsense…no sir.  It is too full of fanciful statements…too full of unbelievable events and statements…only a stupid jerk, priest-educated from childhood to believe those texts, would believe those texts.

    But, it is different with OUR sacred texts.  They were written by OUR god, or by HIS inspiration to OUR priests, and whatever is written by OUR god or OUR priests must be absolutely legitimate all-time truth, so we must believe those writings.  Besides, that is customary, and it keeps people out of trouble.

    It is better to be conformist…to believe anything the official line believes, anything the majority believes, especially if they have blasphemy laws, social boycotts, property confiscation, torture, burning at the stake, drowning, strangulation and other niceties to protect us from straying away from OUR truths.

    So therefore, although I disbelieve in any one of the 100,000 gods and goddesses of the past, and although I disbelieve in the ‘sacredness’ of any text of some OTHER society of the past….yet, I am absolutely positively convinced beyond all shadow of a doubt, that OUR gods and OUR eternally renewed virgins,  angels, cherubims, devils, demons, tooth fairies, Santa Clauses, and Easter Bunnies actually exist….that’s what I am daily told is the absolute positive truth, so I believe it all. Yes, sir!  For, if I say I do believe all that I can run for and hold any public office, almost any job, and be honored and respected.  But if I say I don’t believe all that—- then I will be shunned, ostracized, thrown out of positions, not be allowed to hold public office, and suffer enormous discrimination and very possibly any of various physical injuries.

    All politicians uphold belief without evidence (or even contrary to evidence) as a pre-eminent virtue: all of the 1,000 born-again judges appointed by Ronald Reagan and George Bush affirm it fervently, and even the President of the Supreme Court says that state-church separation is a bad metaphor.  He probably believes that a state-church would be better, that conformity is better than investigation, that truth is whatever church dogma is.  The only trouble is that HE believes that only HIS church should be connected to the state…..much as Islamic Fundamentalists firmly believe in a church state, or Hindus, or Irish Catholics.

    Now if only everyone in the world could agree on which specific dogma, doctrine and belief is absolutely true, (which of the thousands of these)…then we could all conform and there would be world peace, and we could all kiss someone’s hands or feet, (or some other designated part of anatomy) of some self-designated intermediary to some deity! Wouldn’t that be dandy?

    Perhaps if everyone in the world chanted HARE KRISHNA 50 times a day, the millennium will come.  Perhaps if we all spun prayer-wheels 1000 times a day, we could all be ‘saved’.  Perhaps if we got Jews to accept Christianity, and then start a war, then the Apocalypse will come, and 99% of the world’s people will be consigned to hell and the remaining 1% will go straight to heaven.  Perhaps if we get Saddam Hussein to convert to Judaism, and all Irish Protestants to kiss some part of Papal anatomy, the millennium will come. Or, if everybody would embrace Buddhism we could all enter Nirvana. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    I firmly believe all this….really, truly. Honest to Betsy!

    IS GOD’S SPIRIT ON THEM?

    When I look at television evangelists squinching their beady eyes deep into their sockets, and strain all the muscles of their face as through they were constipated and were trying to defecate a watermelon, I know that the Spirit of some Lord is upon them.  I know that because they tell me that’s what is happening.  Would they lie to me? When they tell me that they can cure people by having some sick person put a hand on the television set while the evangelist squints and strains again…I KNOW that they are effecting a cure….through some Lord of course.  And when they collect a million dollars by doing this nothingness, I KNOW that God’s Grace is really beyond all understanding.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

  15. LOL  I wonder if Senor Farah is familiar with the term “projection” (probably not, given the little I’ve seen of his intellect). He might wanna look it up in the dictionary though, assuming he has one.

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