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“I am not horrified by the rhetoric and love of violence on the far right because I have some attachment to the Democrats. I am horrified because it is horrifying, because for years now, this kind of thing has become commonplace at the very top of the conservative political apparatus, and because the invocation of violence in a political context is inherently corrosive of democratic values. When you add to this a party committed to the use of military force as almost a first option, and to torture as a legal method of interrogation, it is irresponsible not to worry about where this is headed.”
~Andrew Sullivan

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A long time back I ran across a statement regarding atheism and morality responding to the claim atheists can’t have morals … made, of course, by someone of a religious bent. I do not know who the author was, and the site it sat on went down years ago. but it was a keeper.

Here it is, in toto.

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“Atheist morals are derived from the same place yours are; namely, the culture around you, your parents, the stored wisdom of the human species, your own thinking and observations, and your experiences. Atheist morals, like yours, are situational, ad hoc, and relative. The only difference is we don’t pretend to have some absolute system we can impose on everyone.

“Your system is inhuman, nihilistic, meaningless and incomplete. It is inhuman because it focuses on something other than people. Nihilistic because in the end, nothing humans do matters, only your deity counts. Meaningless because it is incoherent and contradictory. Incomplete because despite being “absolute” there are whole areas of values your system fails to address. For example, what is the proper way to manage a river basin? Should we subsidize infant industries? What type of personal weapons should be legal? What is the proper level of taxation? How should incinerators be sited? What level of individual risk is safe? And so on. Additionally, your Bible is worthless as a guide to proper behavior because of the kind of behavior it produces: intolerant, violent, narrow-minded, evil and ignorant. One need only look at the way Christians behaved for the 1800 years prior to the Enlightenment for confirmation. Any decent behavior Christians have — love, tolerance, liberty, democracy — they brought in from outside Christianity. Christian clerics running death camps. Christians aiding Hitler. Christian clerics acting as dictators. Christians hunting Muslims in Indonesia and Buddhists and Hindus in India. Christians sending in missionaries to places like China and Afghanistan where converts are murdered. Christians fighting democracy in the US. Christians murdering each other in Ireland. Christian clerics planning genocide in Rwanda. Christian clerics supporting Chiang Kai-shek, Franco, Hitler….. The list goes on. And you want to lecture us on what is moral? You people don’t know shit about what is moral. Here’s one for you: no atheist has ever committed genocide for the purpose of atheism. Communists killed for Communism, not atheism (they executed freethinkers in China, Vietnam and Russia). Meanwhile, Christianity has given us twenty centuries of murder. But you guys are the moral ones…. I get a little tired of the group that argues that the majority of individuals in society — women, gays, atheists — should have reduced civil rights telling us that they are morally superior. What is the purpose of this absolute morality of yours? Dominance. Authoritarian power. Control over the minds and bodies of others. God’s love is the same as Hitler’s: Follow me or die! Is that what you stand for? I feel sorry for you.”

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… heh …

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... but tell us how you really feel ...

Christine O’Donnell is an easy target. A really, REALLY easy target. And not because she’s the girl who won’t (allegedly) masturbate. Any way you look at it, the anti-masturbation comments are sincerely wacked and, most likely, so is Ms. O’Donnell. At least, from the perspective of reality. But understanding that truth shouldn’t then cause us to write her off.

I think that would be a mistake … and not just for the reasons outlined in the piece I linked.

The thing is with O’Donnell, she speaks to a very large and likely still-influencial minority, extremist Christianists who hate the modern world and the Enlightenment that spawned it – and all the challenges said world presents for a mindset that is okay in believing in bearded white guys as God and other, similar departures from reality. She has questioned that the concept of the separation of church and state exists in the First Amendment – in front of an audience of law students, no less – and has characterized resistance to the inclusion of Creationism as part of science curriculums as an example of support for ‘big-government mandates.’

Say what?

Take her monkey statement. Christine says (not in so many words):  “Evolution can’t be true – if it were and we evolved from monkeys, why haven’t monkeys evolved?”

Seriously, why are there still monkeys hanging around?

*sigh*

What Darwin suggests (and I use the term ‘suggests’ in tongue-in-cheek fashion) is that we – monkeys and humans, two species of simian ancestry – evolved from a COMMON ancestor.

Now stop.

If you sincerely don’t ‘get it’, don’t actually understand the ramifications of that statement, stop bullshiting, go to google and start researching what I mean when I use the phrase ‘evolved from a common ancestor’. Or, if you are pressed for time, visit talkorigins.org, in particular this piece entitled: What is Evolution.

Shorthand explanation: the term ‘common ancestor’ means we – monkeys and homo sapiens – came from the same place, but our lines developed in different fashion. This really shouldn’t be hard to grok (translation: fathom). It’s sort of like you and your brothers and/or sisters or (for you single children) you and your contemporaries, growing into different lives and all that means, your worlds evolving in different directions even though you came from the same beginnings. This example of how life-paths vary works as an analog of the functioning of evolutionary biology: divergence in biology is like divergence in the way people of similar origins lives’ unfold, which is to say to different places and fates.

It happens to bats and beetles and cockroaches.

It happens to simians.

It’s really not all that hard to understand.

Unless you are lazy, or stupid, in denial … or a fanatic.

Here’s a thought:

Could one of you Creationists out there articulate a “Theory” of Creationism – a scientific ‘Theory’ of Creationism – that makes predictions that can be scientifically tested and verified?

Failing that, can you point us to a specific source for one? (I’m talking about an all-encompassing theory here, something upon which a scientific discipline or school of thought can rest upon akin to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity for Physics or Darwin’s Theory of Evolution for Biology and Medicine).

Bottom line: If you are going to claim it is science and insist it be taught as science, you need to provide the evidence it is science.

Where’s the “theory”?

If you want legitimacy, pony up.

Articulate a scientific “Theory” of Creationism that makes predictions that can be tested and verified as science.

Oh, and all you Creationism 2.0 fans, AKA Intelligent Designers (And, yes, ‘Intelligent Designers’ does sound like a 60s comic book secret society). Same deal. Talk is cheap. Where’s the Theory? 20 years or so since the Discovery Institute came into being and in that time NO RESEARCH, no actual TESTING OF THE ALLEGED THEORY!!! (And note that the Discovery Institute admits it has done no research.)

Seriously … WTF?

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Disproving” evolution won’t do it for you…that would only disprove evolution – not that you can, but the distinction is important in the sense that a common Red Herring engaged in by Creationists trying to dodge is to attack evolution instead of answer the question. It should be understood that anyone who understands science to a competent degree understands this is a false proposition, and if the effort is to convince those people of the veracity of your position, then heading down that road simply labels you as a “fraud”.

 

This isn’t about comparing the merits of one against the other; but about establishing the individual claim’s veracity as science. This is particularly relevant given the two ideas are, by definition, areas of separate, unrelated focus: even if it were a scientific theory, Creationism ultimately concerns itself with discussing origins; Evolution, on the other hand, focuses on the progress of life through time, not its ultimate origin. On that basis alone, talk of the two being ‘competing theories’ is a non-sequitur. – Stu

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What exactly does the theory of evolution state?

The theory of evolution states that:

1. All life forms (species) have developed from other species.

2. All living things are related to one another to varying degrees through common descent (share common ancestors).

3. All life on Earth has a common origin. In other words, that in the distant past, there once existed an original life form and that this life form gave rise to all subsequent life forms.

4. The process by which one species evolves into another involves random heritable genetic mutations (changes), some of which are more likely to spread and persist in a gene pool than others. Mutations that result in a survival advantage for organisms that possess them, are more likely to spread and persist than mutations that do not result in a survival advantage and/or that result in a survival disadvantage.


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... 'nuff said ...

Originally found here

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Given the current tempest in a teapot over the Northern District of California court ruling on that state’s Proposition 8, it is probably helpful to consider the following before throwing a hissy fit.

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Regarding Homosexuality and “Choice”*

The application of the word “CHOICE” automatically assumes that there are – at least – TWO options to CHOOSE from.

1. When did you choose to be heterosexual? If you did not choose to be heterosexual, is sexual orientation then not a choice? Why?

2. What process did you use to make this decision? If you did not make a decision, do you believe that others DID make a decision? Why?

3. When did you discard your sexual attraction to the same sex to choose your attraction to the opposite sex? If this did not apply to you, does it to anyone else? Why?

4. If you believe in choice, are you implying that you think that we are all born bisexual, and then at some point pick which one we would like to be? Why?

5. How do you “choose” to be attracted to something that you are not attracted to?

6. Can YOU force yourself to be sexually attracted to the same sex, even for a minute? If you can’t conceive of this, why do you think that others could force themselves?

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One last thought regarding Judge Walker’s ruling: nothing was taken away. Nobody’s rights were stolen or abridged. Life will go on; the world will not stop spinning on its axis. The “institution” of marriage will carry on, albeit with some extra participants.

This is a good thing, I think.

*Saw this and saved it years ago. Don’t know who the author was.

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