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 »





The Bill Muehlenberg Trophy: Muehlenberg (and his monkeys) on Obama

11 11 2008

Never let it be said that fundies are given to shrieking hysterics . . .

At a time of great financial crisis a nation turns to charismatic, eloquent unkown who preaches a better future for them as a country. USA 2008….Germany 1933….
Stephen White

[. . .]

Thanks Stephen

I know my critics think I am far too cynical and over the top already, but I can’t help but thinking that you are clearly on to something here with your interesting observation.

Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

HT: Memeplex Read the rest of this entry »





Michelle Bachmann: Fool for Christ, Liar for Christ

23 10 2008

Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, speaking at the Living Word Christian Centre, October 14, 2006:

God then called me to run for the United States Congress, and I thought “What in the world will that be for?” and my husband said “You need to do this,” and I wasn’t so sure, and we took 3 days and we fasted and we prayed and we said, “Lord. Is this what you want? Is this your will?” and after long about the afternoon of day two, he made that calling sure. And its been now 22 months that I’ve been running for United States Congress. Who in their right mind would spend 2 years to run for a job that lasts 2 years? You’d have to be absolutely a fool to do that. You are now looking at a fool for Christ. This is a fool for Christ. (Minnesota Monitor)

Michelle Bachmann, fool for Christ, on MSNBC’s Hardball, October 2008:

Matthews: “You believe Barack Obama may have anti-American views? You’re suspicious he has anti-American views?”Bachmann: “Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m very concerned that he may have anti-American views. That’s what the American people are concerned about. That’s why they want to know what his answers are.”

Michelle Bachmann, a few days later, lying for Christ:

I did not say that Barack Obama was anti-American, nor do I believe Barack Obama is anti-American. He loves his country, just as everyone in this room does.

Michelle Bachmann, fool for Christ:

Matthews: How many congresspeople are in the anti-American crowd you describe?

[. . .]

Bachmann: What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out: Are they pro-America or anti-America? I think people would love to see an expose like that.

Michelle Bachmann, liar for Christ:

Nor did I call for an investigation of members of Congress for their pro-American or anti-American views. That is not what I said.

I don’t get it. Why would a Christian lie?

Via LA Times.





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

1 08 2008

Two weeks in fundie . . .

  1. This is an old one, but the title of this World Net Daily article says it all: “Soy is making kids ‘gay.’” (Via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  2. Nigerian diners see the name of Allah in a piece of gristle. (Via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  3. From September, taxpayer-funded “faith schools” in Britain will be able to reserve head-teacher positions for religious teachers and “and voluntary aided schools [will be able to] require some non-teaching staff to follow a religion.” (British Humanist Association)
  4. Remember Council Nedd and his In God We Trust organisation? They’re urging Barack Obama to condemn the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s “Imagine No Religion” billboards. In God We Trust, which is responsible for a billboard campaign asking “Why Do Atheists Hate America?,” describes the “Imagine No Religion” billboards as “hateful.” (CNSNews)
  5. Britain’s Chief Rabbi blames declining religious belief for “the spread of depression, stress, eating disorders and drug and alcohol abuse.” Because religion causes you to do good things, and nonbelief causes you to do bad things. It’s so simple! (Mail)
  6. The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is Commanding Contrition from PZ Myers for his Communion Cracker Crucifixion. (Pharyngula)
  7. US organisation Pray At The Pump claims that petrol prices have fallen below $4 a gallon because they (*posthoc* . . . sorry, just had to clear my throat) prayed for it to happen. (Norwich Bulletin)
  8. A poll of Muslim students at British universities suggests that almost a third think that killing in the name of religion is justified, a third support a worldwide Islamic caliphate, and about a quarter believe that men and women are not equal in the name of Allah. (Guardian)
  9. Women were excluded from participating in a parliamentary choir at a special sitting of the Israeli Knesset, held in order to welcome British PM Gordon Brown, in order to placate the cherished beliefs of Haredi parliamentarians. ““I am the director-general of all MKs,” said the Director-General of the Knesset, “and I don’t have any wish to cause situations that would make MKs get up and leave.” Because bigots have feelings, too. (Haaretz)
  10. And bigots with delicate sensitivities that must under no circumstances be upset by inadvertent contact with filthy evil menstruating women, also ride buses. That’s why Egged, Israel’s largest bus company, is continuing to maintain sex-segregation on routes that pass through Haredi districts, where women must sit at the back and men sit at the front. This is in spite of a 2006 incident in which a 50-year-old Canadian woman, on her way to pray at the Western Wall, was set upon by the local Taliban “modesty patrol” who punched, kicked, slapped and pushed her when she refused to sit at the rear of an Egged bus. (All well in keeping with the thesis that religious faith is a prerequisite for moral behaviour, as you can see.) (Jerusalem Post)




The Bill Muehlenberg Trophy: Father Thomas Williams

19 06 2008

Okay, I’ll bite. The man is a liar and a blowhard. A strawman-builder from the get-go:

“Though the atheists claim to represent the side of reason,” he asserts in his book, “their arguments more often than not are ideological rather than rational.”

Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods. Period. If that’s all it takes to constitute an ideology, then not collecting stamps is an ideology. (Aphilatelism?)

Williams has joined the ranks of fleas with an anti-atheist tome entitled Greater Than You Think: A Theologian Answers the Atheists About God. Why does the world need this book? (That is, in addition to the plethora of recent releases with the same Christian apologist/anti-atheist agenda?) Because there has been a “surge in neo-atheist literature” in recent times, with books by Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens making the best-seller list, and as a consequence:

most people only hear one side of the story. They become indoctrinated with the atheistic arguments without ever hearing a reasoned response.

You have to ask yourself what parallel universe this guy is inhabiting, because he’s certainly absent from this one if he can utter the phrase “most people only hear one side of the story” with a straight face, given that he means “the ‘atheist’ side.” Actually, the problem is that, regarding belief and especially regarding non-belief, most people do only hear one side: and that is precisely what is prompting individual atheists, prominent and not-so-prominent, to speak out. Williams’ ridiculous statement reminds me of British Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor’s call for Christianity to be given unopposed air time on the BBC–anything less would be “Christophobic,” according to the Cardinal. Both men are either completely disconnected from reality, or telling lies. Read the rest of this entry »





Is there really much difference between religion and insanity?

31 05 2008

Or at least, between religion and woo-woo?

A couple of weeks ago I blogged on Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales. He was calling for the BBC to be biased in favour of Christianity and to give unopposed air time to Christian voices, accusing secularists of being “Christophobic” and wishing to “close off every voice and contribution other than their own.” He later claimed that reason “leads to terror and oppression.”

This post isn’t about O’Connor. This is about his personal exorcist, Father Jeremy Davies . . . though I suppose, given O’Connor’s stance on reason, it makes sense that he would have a “personal exorcist.” Davies has joined the flea circus of apologist tomes published as a backlash against the “new atheists” with a new book, Exorcism: Understanding Exorcism in Scripture and Practice, in which (according to the National Secular Society) he maintains that

the “spirits inspiring atheism” were those who “hate God.” [. . .] Father Davies writes that Satan has blinded secular humanists from seeing the “dehumanising effects of contraception and abortion and IVF (in vitro fertilisation), of homosexual ‘marriages,’ of human cloning and the vivisection of human embryos in scientific research.

“The result, he said, was that Europe was drifting into a dangerous state of apostasy whereby “only (through) a genuine personal decision for Christ and the church can someone separate himself from it.”

Davies also blames atheism for “perversions” such as homosexuality and extra-marital sex. He condemns atheism, blasphemy, attacks on the Church and “resisting God’s grace” as “rebellions against God”; but, just to prove that he doesn’t go in for that woo-woo nonsense, he also warns against yoga and massages, which the former doctor regards as equally demonic as seances, astrology and acupuncture. Fortune-tellers and mediums are bad, he claims, because attempts to contact the spirits of the dead are “direct invitations to the devil which he readily accepts.”

As the good Father and official exorcist in the Diocese of Westminster reminds us, “Sanity depends on our relationship to reality.” Read the rest of this entry »





The Bill Muehlenberg Trophy: Iftikhar Ahmad

29 05 2008

Iftikhar Ahmad of the London School of Islamics has (it appears) been spamming blogs and discussion boards with an essay arguing for the state-funding of Islamic schools in the UK as a way of improving the academic lot of British Muslim children. He prophesies that “A day will come when all Muslim children will attend state funded Muslim schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role model [sic].”

I want to begin by acknowledging the least objectionable, and in some cases semi-reasonable elements of his argument. Islamic schools are not just faith schools, he contends: they are also bilingual schools.

Bilingual Muslim children need to learn standard English to follow the National Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity.

Agreed. And I would add the obvious point that proficiency in English will enable these children to function as productive citizens and workers in Anglophone societies like the UK.

They need to be well versed in Arabic to recite and understand the Holy Quran.

Hmmm . . . OK. If a knowledge of Arabic affords one an enriched understanding of Islam and the Koran, and facilitates a critical/heuristic approach to the religion, then by all means should these kids learn Arabic. If the aim is to inculcate a submissive, dogmatic approach, whereby the main objective is for the kids to learn the text by rote, then I can’t see why the UK Government should embrace that as a funding priority.

They need to be well versed in Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural roots and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry.

Again, that seems valid to me, but there seem to be cognitive advantages to multilingualism that are (in my view) even more important than keeping immigrant children in touch with their cultural roots (not that the latter isn’t a valuable objective). Moreover, as Ahmad rightly points out: “A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village.” (Underline the words “global” and “village” here. They will become important later on.) Read the rest of this entry »