The Bill Muehlenberg Trophy: Garret Oden’s Burgess Shale of ignorance

18 02 2009
Lately I’ve been weighing in to a debate on Matt’s Notepad between the eponymous Matt and one Garret Oden, regarding the latter’s “A couple reasons [sic] to believe that God DOES exist.” Pointing out the manifold factual errors and logical fallacies in Oden’s list of arguments for theism, a plurality of which are based on the assumption that arguments against evolution are arguments for the existence of God, would (if you’ll pardon the expression) try the patience of a saint; you may do so at your leisure. His waterboarding of reasoned argument is replicated in his exchanges with Matt and myself, such that it is difficult to determine whether or not Oden is a Poe. A glance at his website makes it all the more tempting to draw that conclusion:

 Source: http://www.fredthespot.com/

 
(Source: Fred the Spot)

[UPDATE: BTW, Fred the Spot "evolves" into a crucifix, complete with Biblical texts so grovelling and self-abasing that they would make a BDSM sub blush. This guy should be writing Chick Tracts.]

Garret’s name links to the aforementioned website, so it is reasonable to conclude that it is his. Here are a few tasty morsels, both from his own Forever Christian blog and from pages linked to Fred the Spot. Read the rest of this entry »





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXVII

21 09 2008

The week in fundie . . .

Hello! Im HPV. Vaccinating your daughter against me makes baby Jesus cry!

Hello! I'm HPV. Vaccinating your daughter against me makes baby Jesus cry!

  1. Religious woo-woo is now being incorporated into the treatment of US military service veterans, the Washington Post reports. Patients are now undergoing routine “spiritual assessments,” and according to Annie-Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation are being evaluated on how many times a day they admit to praying. “If you don’t pass the test,” says Gaylor, “the answer is to give you more religion.” More alarmingly, the Post recounts the tale of an orthodox Jew who in 2005 was denied treatment for his kidney stones after he filed complaints against an Iowa veteran’s hospital. Despite telling hospital staff repeatedly that he did not want a chaplain visit, a Protestant pastor continued to enter his room and preach, warning him that he would go to Hell if he did not accept Jesus Christ as his saviour. This kind of thing has been perfectly kosher, of course, since the US Supreme Court ruled that US taxpayers “lack standing in challenging the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.”
  2. Shorter Pope Benedict: Catholics are a persecuted minority in Europe because European governments are secular and pass laws the Vatican doesn’t like. (New York Times)
  3. In a recent survey in a particular Western country, it has been discovered that more than one quarter of teachers believe creationism should be taught in the classroom. Which country? The US? No. The UK. (Telegraph)
  4. Call me a militant atheist fundamentalist bigot, but it is my view that when parents or schools for dogmatic reasons decide to opt out of medical treatment for the children in their care that could prevent them from contracting a potentially fatal disease later in life, these bullies should be charged with criminal negligence. In the Canadian province of Winnipeg, four private religious schools have opted out of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme aimed at Grade 6 girls across the province. HPV, by the way, is a cause of nearly all forms of cervical cancer. The schools in question named “religious reasons[: . . .] Some parent groups worry the vaccine sends the wrong message and may encourage preteen girls to engage in sexual activity.” And there’s apparently nothing that health authorities in Winnipeg can do about it. Let’s not choke each other’s chickens, here. This is about dirty old men getting positively giddy over the prospect of female genital disfigurement and womens’ suffering, absolving themselves at the same time with a sanctimonious appeal to the notion that they deserve what they get because sluttery makes Sky-Daddy mad. (The “She was asking for it, Your Honour” defence.) It’s also about so-called secular liberal democracies bending over backwards to pander to such rank sociopathy, even when it endangers the lives of those who are not allowed to choose for themselves. Any legal system which does not treat religion-inspired negligence in the same way it would treat any other kind of negligence constitutes the state sponsorship of religious dogma—the particular dogma in question being that it is more important to save souls (the existence of which has never been demonstrated) than to save lives. (Vancouver Sun)
  5. 55% of Americans are insane. Read the rest of this entry »




And Neil thought he had problems . . .

19 09 2008

Just have a look at the grief Martin Wagner is experiencing at the hands of a loving Christian. In a nutshell: Wagner, co-host of The Atheist Experience TV show and author of the Atheist Experience blog, critiqued a creationist’s article on the evils of atheism. Well, the creationist didn’t like that, and retaliated by vandalising Wagner’s Wikipedia entry, claiming that Wagner was a drug addict and a paedophile. Wagner called him on it on the Atheist Experience blog, and the creationist didn’t like that, either, so—like a hybrid of David Mabus and John A. Davison—he trawled atheist and Christian discussion boards alike across the Internet, and started a half-dozen blogs, wailing persecution at the hands of Wagner and a Wikipedia administrator (the creationist’s vandalism led to his banning from Wikipedia). Wagner, now armed with sufficient evidence to mount an online defamation suit, obtained the services of an attorney. The creationist went quiet for three months, then issued Wagner with a “Cease and desist” letter. Wagner has decided that enough is enough, and is now pressing ahead with legal action. He observes:

If you write anything online, there’s a good chance it will be read by someone you don’t know, who isn’t already your friend and predisposed to be kind to you no matter how much you insist on doing the writing equivalent of face-planting on the pavement. That’s the crazy thing about the intarweebs: there are people on it. People who have opinions who don’t always march in lockstep with your own. And if they disagree with you, they’ll say so. Sometimes they’ll be polite (which I am), sometimes they’ll be snarky and sarcastic (which I am). But there’s no protective law that says that opinion articles published on blogs and websites get to be shielded from criticism or even pure derision. I understand, every time I post to AE, that what I’m writing is as likely to be critiqued or flamed as it is to be praised. And I don’t mind that fact. If your ego is too fragile to take criticisms of your writing and ideas, you shouldn’t be writing in as public (some might say anarchic) a venue as the frackin’ internet!

Absolutely right. But that’s the thing about these high RWAs, especially when they are permitted access to a keyboard and an internet connection. They don’t like it when people disagree with them. They take disagreement with their ideas as a personal attack, and they deem it justifiable to respond in kind. And given the havoc and mischief they can wreak upon their victims—outing in Jeremy’s case, stalking in Bruce’s case, hacking in Neil’s case, and now legal threats in Wagner’s case—they arguably should be considered a threat to democracy, if not society.





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXVI

15 09 2008

The past few weeks in fundie . . .

  1. Minister aids and abetts the breaking of a Commandment. Fundie JoAn Karlos took it upon herself to decide what other members of the public can read by stealing a sex education book from the public library on the grounds that she deemed it “obscene.” A local clergyman decided to pay the $100 fine, to which the fundie responded: “I’m blessed. I’m very blessed. It’s extremely generous because I know they don’t have a lot of money.” Larceny for Jesus . . . what a great moral example to be setting your children. The fundamentalist brain strikes again! (Boston Globe)
  2. “Who are the British creationists?”: according to ths BBC report, the neurological virus known as Biblical creationism has spread across the Atlantic and is now infecting the UK. Think 28 Days Later, only this time with glossolaliating zombies. Much, much scarier.
  3. A senior Saudi official has “qualified” his remarks that it is permissible to kill broadcasters of “immoral” television content. Moderating his views significantly, he believes they should be put to death only “in the due process of law.” (Scotsman)
  4. Eleven people were killed in a Congo soccer stadium riot after a soccer player tried to use “witchcraft” to win a match. I’m not making this up. And don’t laugh: the offering of prayers to magic sky fairies are routine in American football. (Reuters)
  5. In Canada, a 42-year-old man used a “witchcraft club” to groom two teenage boys whom he subsequently molested. (Canada.com)
  6. In Zimbabwe, Dolores Umbridge of the Ministry of Magic sentenced four people to 18 months each in jail under the Suppression of Witchcraft Act. It is not known if any Dementors were involved in the capture of the offenders. (allAfrica.com)
  7. According to the governor of Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State, loving Christian pastors have been lovingly throwing children into the street, suspecting them of witchcraft. Says the governor: “They even attempted to [lovingly] burn some children alive in the state. We’ve rescued children who have been [lovingly] almost burnt to death on the basis that they are into witchcraft.” (The Sun News On-line)
  8. In Papua New Guinea, an elderly woman was beaten by local villagers after they accused of her using witchcraft to cause flash floods. (The Australian)
  9. In that hotbed of liberal pluralist democracy known as Camden, New South Wales, a residents’ group that had only recently rejected an application to build a Muslim school has welcomed a proposal to build a Catholic school. Spokesman Emil Sremchevich explains: “It’s very simple: people like some things but don’t like other things. Some of us like blondes, some of us like brunettes. Some of us like Fords, some of us like Holdens. Why is it xenophobic just because I want to make a choice? If I want to like some people and not like other people, that’s the nature of the beast.” The English, Mr Sremchevich: you’re doing it wrong. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  10. Nice try, dickhead. A US man tried to get out of paying his taxes by declaring himself a citizen of heaven rather than the United States. Wait a minute . . . where have I seen this before? (DesMoines Register, via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  11. Hindu fundamentalists gang-raped one nun and burnt another alive as they stormed an orphanage in the Indian state of Orissa. (AsiaNews.it)
  12. According to fundie news outlet OneNewsNow, there is “shock and sadness in the Christian community over word that famed Christian music singer Ray Boltz has publicly announced he’s living a homosexual lifestyle.” There’s a lump in my throat, too.




Quote of the week: Biology for Christian Schools

14 08 2008

If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them.

From Biology for Christian Schools, a publication of Bob Jones University Press, also responsible for the Christian Student Dictionary. It was the inclusion of this and similar textbooks on the syllabus of several fundamentalist Christian schools in California which prompted the University of California to reject their faith-based biology courses as inadequate preparation for the, you know, reality-based courses offered at the university. The schools wailed “viewpoint discrimination!” and filed a federal lawsuit against UC in 2005; Biology for Christian Schools played a key role in the recent ruling in favour of UC and science education.

Rejecting claims of religious discrimination and stifling of free expression, U.S. District Judge James Otero of Los Angeles said UC’s review committees cited legitimate reasons for rejecting the texts – not because they contained religious viewpoints, but because they omitted important topics in science and history and failed to teach critical thinking. [. . .] UC denies credit to courses that rely largely or entirely on material stressing supernatural over historic or scientific explanations, though it has approved such texts as supplemental reading, the judge said. (San Francisco Chronicle)

The plaintiffs, who are appealing the decision, accuse UC of “attempting to secularize public schools.” The university replies that the plaintiffs are simply seeking a “religious exemption from regular admissions standards.”

Via Friendly Atheist





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXI

5 07 2008

The week in fundie . . .

  1. The mind-virus that is creationism has infected British schools, 40 of which are teaching in science classes that evolution is a “myth” and creationism a “fact,” according to a survey of Islamic, Jewish and Christian Evangelical schools. 1000 of the students being lied to about the scientific status of creationism attend schools wholly funded by the British taxpayer. (Ekklesia)
  2. Demonstrating its firm commitment to religious freedom, the Indonesian government has told Ahmadi Muslims in that country to convert to mainstream Islam or face 5 years in jail. (Online News)
  3. In Cheshire, UK, two schoolboys were given detention after refusing to pray to Allah during an RE lesson. (Telegraph)
  4. In Herefordshire, a student will have to take four separate buses to travel to school after the local council banned non-Catholic students from using the subsidised bus service it provides to St Mary’s school. (Telegraph)
  5. A 23-year-old woman in Mexico strangled to death a 16-year-old mother, and also killed her 3-month-old baby, because she thought the mother was practicing witchcraft against her. (PR-Inside)
  6. A professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary blames the phenomenon of spousal abuse on women who refuse to submit to their husbands’ “God-given authority.” Those mouthy bitches, Bruce Ware maintains, “desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husbands because of sin.” (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  7. Haredi Jews in Jerusalem vandalised and razed shops selling MP4 devices, which have been banned by the Orthodox Righteous Court of Law because they are apparently “the devil’s way to try and gain entrance to our protected homes and yeshivas, disguised as something you can listen to Torah lessons through.” (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  8. In Romania, where abortion is outlawed, an 11-year old girl who was raped by her uncle will be allowed to abort her foetus, despite threats by 20 Orthodox Christian groups to press charges if the abortion goes ahead. (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)




Mashup: Intelligent design creationism vs. Dr Seuss

26 06 2008

(Click image to see the slideshow)

Genius. Via Pharyngula.








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