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Go to: Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a fact

Teg's Avatar Jump to comment 276 by Teg

I can't help but wonder if evolution denialists have ever heard of antibiotic resistance in bacteria (which have such a rapid life cycle that we've had the dubious pleasure of watching new, ever more virulent strains pop up). MRSA, for example, was unknown until 1961; today it's everywhere (I seem to recall hearing that just this year, a zoonotic strain has been documented in humans for the first time in several countries including the UK). I have a great big scar that reminds me of the wonders of evolution every time I look at it.

And never mind the vast evidence (both anatomical and molecular) that snakes evolved from lizard ancestors.... (If you're not familiar with it, I recommend watching pythons have sex, for starters. There's plenty of "Squamate porn" on youtube.)

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 03:48:01 UTC | #889352

Go to: Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig

Teg's Avatar Jump to comment 890 by Teg

Comment 7 by Rich Wiltshir :

There is no more substance to Craig's brand of fairy story than any of the others. His is vulgarity wrapped in sophistry.

Are you sure? My impression was more that he is sophistry wrapped in vulgarity.

Buybull wrapped in Fox News


Tue, 08 Nov 2011 09:15:44 UTC | #888508

Go to: Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a fact

Teg's Avatar Jump to comment 275 by Teg

Comment 28 by chawinwords :

The darkness needs be almost complete before a faint intelluctual spark like Perry can be considered bright. At least Perry and Bush have one thing in common, college degrees garnered with 2.2 GPA's. I suppose they graded on the curve!

Don't know about Perry (I try to avoid thinking about him) but in Bush's case it doubtless had something to do with being a legacy.

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 11:59:32 UTC | #887566

Go to: Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig

Teg's Avatar Jump to comment 885 by Teg

You would search far to find a modern preacher willing to defend God's commandment, in Deuteronomy 20: 13-15, to kill all the men in a conquered city and to seize the women, children and livestock as plunder.

Prof Dawkins -

I hope for your sake that you would indeed have to search far. Sadly, I would probably be able to find such an individual within a few miles of my home. I have the misfortune of living in the Southern USA, where fundamentalists are as common as rodents (but less civilised). A lot of politics politics seem to be informed by exactly this sort of Biblical barbarianism combined with a variety of nationalism that I find very difficult to describe without tempting people to invoke Godwin's Law.

Of course, many of those who claim to be Biblical literalists haven't actually read the thing. (One way that people raised in a fundamentalist background quite often lose their faith, or at least their extremism, is by studying the Bible in an academic context, which requires them to become familiar enough with it that they can't help but notice at least some of the more glaring contradictions. This is one of the chief reasons why I am a strong supporter of including the Bible and other religious works in the study of literature in secondary school.) Even among those who are too lazy or functionally illiterate (or whatever excuse they want to give), I have a hunch that they would get special satisfaction from the appalling violence - particularly genocidal violence like the example you cited. These are the sort of people who think that Americans - white Christian American citizens whose first language is English, that is - are God's chosen people. This permits them to rationalise all sorts of behaviour on the part of the USA that they are perfectly happy to condemn when other nations do the same thing, like "manifest destiny" (the 19th-century excuse for forcing indigenous peoples from their homes for the sake of US expansionism (the infamous "Trail of Tears")), refusing to provide sanctuary to Jews and others who were fleeing Europe in the years leading up to WWII and the early part of the war (out of a desire to avoid a "diplomatic incident" with Germany); the use of atomic weapons on Japan (twice, just three days apart, resulting in the deaths of over 200,000 civilians just in the first couple months after the bombings), the Vietnam war (and particular atrocities carried out during same - use of chemical weapons, etc.); giving money and weapons to Islamic militants in Afghanistan and fascists in Latin America (all in the name of the Cold War), and of course, the Iraq well as despicable attitudes on the part of large numbers of American citizens (provided they're white, English-speaking, Christian, right-wing, etc., of course) - current popular examples include hate directed at immigrants (particularly Hispanics), people (especially mothers and non-whites) on welfare, sexual minorities, and anyone who expresses disapproval of extremist capitalism or extremist religion (unless said speech is directed only at non-Christians); and denialism (evolution by natural selection and human-caused climate degradation are current favourite targets of this lot - I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future they start trying to demand we stop teaching science in public schools altogether).

The promotion of war, genocide, mass murder of civilians, etc. in "holy" books also contributes to terrorism and hate crimes, such as the bombing of family planning clinics and murder of ob/gyns (a favourite form of terrorism among American fundy Christians; South Dakota recently tried to legalise the latter) and of course violence against sexual minorities, both of which are still all too common. Those few Christians who read the Bible are getting the message that it's okay (even morally good) to commit acts of violence against somebody if you disapprove of them on religious grounds. I wouldn't be surprised if, as atheists become more vocal, the religiously-based hate most of us are probably familiar with starts getting expressed in deeds and not just words. (The term used in the New Testament for what is often translated as (apparently purely theoretical) "Christian love" is ἀγάπη (agapē) (in general this means universal/charitable love, as contrasted with φίλος (philos, friendship) and ἔρος (eros, romantic love). It seems to me that Christian hate is far more common in real life, and is distinctive enough among the many varieties of hate that it could use a word of its own. I suggest μισαλλοδοξία (misallodoxia - roughly translates to bigotry). (It's been a while, so I hope someone will correct any issues with my Greek.))

On a random, only-vaguely-related note...has anyone else noticed that "evangelical" seems to have become the politically correct term for fundamentalist Christianity in the last few years or so? If so, any clue as to the cause of this?

Sat, 05 Nov 2011 11:51:50 UTC | #887562

Go to: Britain must be a country where people can be proud of their religion

Teg's Avatar Jump to comment 77 by Teg

Practically all lot of you seem to have beat me to pointing out that people should be embarrassed, not proud, of their religiosity.

What I often find puzzling is that even though the USA is explicitly a secular state where state religion is banned by law, while England still has a state church (as I seem to recall it was privatised in Wales in 1920 or so; not sure about Scotland, and I'm not going to touch the mess that is religion in N. Ireland), we seem to have more problems with fundies than you have. Not only that, your state church is one of the most civilised denominations of any Western religion in the world (not that this is saying much, considering the competition). The whole situation is confusing and baffling to me. Anybody want to take on the ? (And if you have any suggestions for how my country might deal with this plague of fundy fanatics, I should be very grateful.)

Another question, this one for Prof. Dawkins:

She's never been elected to anything. I'm normally too kind to refer to anybody as 'token', but her meteoric rise to the House of Lords (having failed to get into the House of Commons), plus her immediate promotion to the Cabinet and Chairman of the Conservative Party, could hardly be more obvious tokenism if it tried. From Cameron's point of view it must have looked like killing three birds with one stone.

Three birds? I can only think of two (that she's a Muslim and a right-winger). What's the third one?

I have no doubt that you're right that tokenism contributed substantially to the rapid and entirely unearned advancement of her career. Even though I'm an American and have few ties to the UK, I'm all too aware of Warsi as one of the most irritating politicians in your nation. As I recall, the first time I encountered her, she was going on a spiel about how wonderful she considers Ratzinger. That in itself was enough to set off my alarm bells, even before I read the reasons she gave for adoring the old fraud so much.

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 00:47:16 UTC | #886229

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