December 7, 2011

"A skeleton, dressed as Santa Claus, nailed to a cross" — on display at a Leesburg, Virginia courthouse.

It's controversial, and a lady ripped it down, but "Skele-Claus" was accepted by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. The creator of the anti-Christmas display, Jeff Heflin said: "It depicts how society's materialistic obsessions and addictions are killing the season's peace, love, joy and kindness."
The leader of the Northern Virginia Atheists, Rick Wingrove, says tearing down the display was illegal, and people should keep an open mind.

"Offense is in the eye of the beholder. We're offended by the religious displays on government  property. We think it's constitutionally improper," Wingrove said.
See, this is why you don't want to turn government property into a public forum for speech in the form of unattended displays. If that's what you've got, free speech law proscribes viewpoint discrimination. (There are ways to have Christmas decorations without running into this problem, but they risk running into Establishment Clause problems.)

I don't like these "atheists" who are really religion-haters. If you really only think there is no God, why are you so hostile toward people who think otherwise? Find something else to do. Why obsess about religion? And why can't you enjoy festive displays of things that you don't actually believe in? Virtually everyone who puts up a Santa Claus display doesn't believe in Santa Claus. It's just a lightweight seasonal amusement. What's to hate? I wouldn't dignify virulent religion-haters with the neutral appellation "atheist." It's not fair to all the amiable, well-balanced atheists out there.

186 comments:

cassandra lite said...

"If you really only think there is no God, why are you so hostile toward people who think otherwise?"

Because we have to believe what they believe and disbelieve what they disbelieve. Why wouldn't we? They're so much smarter, more liberal, more enlightened. We should want to be more like them. See how happy they are? Well, they would be, if we were less happy.

Original Mike said...

"If you really only think there is no God, why are you so hostile toward people who think otherwise?"

Exactly. These kind of people make me embarrassed to be an atheist.

Big Mike said...

Speaking as an amiable, well-balanced atheist, I thank you for your post. There's a difference between religion-haters (though most of them, in my experience, really only hate Christianity) and those of us who believe that there is no God but respect the people who believe otherwise. Most religious people hurt no one and many do more good with their charity work than government programs could hope to achieve.

Westboro Baptists, Muslim jihadis, and Jehovah's Witnesses are probably the main exceptions to the above.

Original Mike said...

"Because we have to believe what they believe and disbelieve what they disbelieve."

Militant atheists are like militant Islamists.

Without the killing.

Scott M said...

Aren't atheists cute?

MadisonMan said...

The tearing down could also have been achieved if the Santa Claus nailed to a cross blocked the way for shoppers on Black Friday.

Scott M said...

It occurs to me that if this particular display were done on a college campus, the person ripping it down would be the villain, all in the name of freedom of expression. Have a bake sale with different prices for different demographics, however, again in the name of expression, and those with the cookies are villains.

Tim said...

"The creator of the anti-Christmas display, Jeff Heflin said: "It depicts how society's materialistic obsessions and addictions are killing the season's peace, love, joy and kindness."

Materialist obsessions and addictions are killing the season's peace, love, joy and kindness?

So true, especially since the definition of "materialist" is defined as:
1. a person who is markedly more concerned with material things than with spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.
2. an adherent of philosophical materialism; "materialism" is defined as:
1. preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.
2. the philosophical theory that regards matter and its motions as constituting the universe, and all phenomena, including those of mind, as due to material agencies.

In short, atheists are materialists.

Irony. It's one funny bitch.

MadisonMan said...

I actually don't see much difference in message between the Santa nailed to a Cross and the 'Keep Christ in Christmas' signs that people in my church put up. They're both essentially saying the say thing.

Chef Mojo said...

I don't like these "atheists" who are really religion-haters. If you really only think there is no God, why are you so hostile toward people who think otherwise? Find something else to do. Why obsess about religion?

Exactly. As I've said on a number or occasions here, groups such as Northern Virginia Atheists are themselves, in their own aspect, religious groups. They have simply replaced one belief system with another, with all its attendant trappings and dogma. "Atheism" is their religion, which sort of defeats the point of atheism.

I like to think of myself as one of those amiable, well-balanced atheists. The whole idea of atheism, to me at least, is not to obsess about religion.

As to the broader question of them putting up a display at the Leesburg Courthouse (I used to live across the street from the Courthouse.)? It is their right to do so, but they are assholes for exercising that right in this manner. Assholes, pure and simple.

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

I actually don't see much difference in message between the Santa nailed to a Cross and the 'Keep Christ in Christmas' signs that people in my church put up.

Nailing Santa to a Cross is an Easter protest, not Christmas. If they put a skeletal baby dressed in a Santa outfit and put that in a crib, then maybe we'd have something. So, given that it's a poorly chosen Easter protest, it is indeed different from "Keep Christ In Christmas".

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"I don't like these "atheists" who are really religion-haters. If you really only think there is no God, why are you so hostile toward people who think otherwise?"

Because like other leftists they are motivated by an I-hate-my-Daddy impulse. They think that they're brave rebels against some evil conspiracy.

Franklin said...

Anti-religious zealots are every bit as bad as religious zealots.

Paco Wové said...

So a bunch of atheists are protesting that society isn't doing a religious holiday right?

Marshal said...

"If you really only think there is no God, why are you so hostile toward people who think otherwise?"

Describing them as religion haters misses the point I think, although it is not inaccurate. These type of anti-religion activists are predominantly leftists who see religion as an obstacle to their political goals. This is no different than how leftists act in any other environment, By Any Means Necessary.

TMink said...

Big Mike wrote: "though most of them, in my experience, really only hate Christianity."

An accurate and astute observation. And the rest of the post got better. Thanks bro.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Trey

Sofa King said...

This is craven repression and a shocking violation of free speech rights.

Shanna said...

Ah, Leesburg. Lots of cute shops, but I can't imagine this display would bring the shoppers in.

traditionalguy said...

Being anti Christ is nothing new. It's the history of the world with the heathen raging against an invasion of earth on the Advent of The Son of Man come to bring a kingdom to rule over them.

So let them have their fun being the most creative ones raging against what they cannot stop.

Next, they will outlaw Tim Tebow for acknowledging the Christ they fear and hate.

Pastafarian said...

I love Christmas, buy my kids presents, and I only very rarely defile nativity scenes with my excrement.

But allow me to play devil's advocate (so to speak).

Proselytizing atheists think that religion is a disease, and they have the cure; so their actions can be understood, they're rational.

Over the years, I've concluded that religiosity is a natural state of the human condition (and that's why it springs up in every isolated culture), so such proselytizing is not only obnoxious and presumptuous, but counter-productive.

timmaguire42 said...

Agnostics actually are what atheists only think they are.

Pastafarian said...

But here, as others have pointed out, I don't think this particular group's primary motivation is to argue against religion or to convince anyone; they gave away their real motivation with their socialist nonsense about materialism.

What would these atheists prefer to materialism? Spiritualism?

These are just a bunch of goddamned hippies using atheism and freedom of religion to legally justify sticking their thumb in the eye of The Man.

edutcher said...

What's fascinating is how the Grinches think they're actually going to impress anybody with this kind of behavior. It doesn't brand them as smarter - although I'm sure they think it dies - and it just makes everyone else dig in their heels.

Big Mike said...

Speaking as an amiable, well-balanced atheist, I thank you for your post. There's a difference between religion-haters (though most of them, in my experience, really only hate Christianity) and those of us who believe that there is no God but respect the people who believe otherwise. Most religious people hurt no one and many do more good with their charity work than government programs could hope to achieve.

Westboro Baptists, Muslim jihadis, and Jehovah's Witnesses are probably the main exceptions to the above.


Mike, you might want to exempt the JWs from that list. They may be annoying, but they're no hypocrites; in fact, Der Fuhrer singled them out just like the Jews.

J said...

Christmas trees on public property are not that big of an issue (and should not bother the reasonable non-believer) but Santa might be. What of manger scenes, or a cross (or "chaunakkah", etc)? That's another issue. Best not to allow any (as the Constitution would seemingly imply).

Michael said...

Why, these people are scientists. As all know it is possible to prove, without evidence, that something does not exist. Very smart people know that certainty is a valued scientific trait.

I would recommend skepticism and bet hedging at the very least.

Paco Wové said...

"What would these atheists prefer to materialism?"

Really. Who should be more materialistic than an atheist? Socialism is just Christianity mutated into a malignant disease.

Joe said...

If she were a real Christian, she would destroy ALL Santa Clauses, Christmas trees and all other pagan symbols. In fact, she'd shun "Christmas" entirely since it has only the patina of Christ on top of paganism.

Synova said...

We're expected to be tolerant of other people's beliefs and even to appreciate the expressions of other cultures.

And you know, it's not that hard to do.

The customs and artwork and music that people create to celebrate their beliefs is usually interesting and often beautiful.

This thing was ugly on purpose. It wasn't an expression or celebration of anything, it was an attack on someone else. It is intolerance.

It's not the same thing.

It's the difference between a "my kid is an honor student" bumper sticker and a "my poodle is smarter than your honor student" bumper sticker. One of them is a celebration and the other one is attacking others.

It's the difference between a symbol about yourself like a fish, and the mutilation of someone else's symbol like the darwin fish.

Big Mike said...

@Trey, back atchya, friend.

@edutcher, perhaps you're right about the Witnesses. I wrote too quickly.

Marshal said...

"One of them is a celebration and the other one is attacking others."

If you're a twisted narcissist you believe any celebration not of yourself qualifies as an attack on you.

To tie in another comment, just last week I heard a local radio sports host explicitly explain his rooting for Tebow to fail by claiming "he thinks I'm going to hell". Since he referenced no personal interaction and the part of the country he's in doesn't tie to Tebow in any way, I can only conclude this is a reference to his own Jewishness.

So this person considers Tebow's Christianity in and of itself an attack on Jews.

There were three or four reporters / pundits involved in the back and forth, not one expressed that this might be contrary to the American ethos of religios tolerance.

J said...

The customs and artwork and music that people create to celebrate their beliefs is usually interesting and often beautiful.

Yes Mss Syn. but that doesn't mean Santas (even mutilated ones) or other christmas symbols should be on public property. The manger scenes that many believers (at least nominal believers) put in their front yardsalso seem questionable as are the mega-light displays ( and use a great deal of power). Some see that Mary post-delivery in the barn with the animals, the baby Jeebus, her cronies and well...kickoff time!

Anyway it's usually the right-wing hypocrite churchies (whether WASP or catholic) who have the ridiculous lawn displays, the santas, and ueber-lights. Like say Trad. guy aka Byro-sorepaw the Subluxanator (Sac white supremacist sockpup with dozens of phony s-names, etc).

Christopher in MA said...

"If you really only think there is no God, why are you so hostile to people who think otherwise?"

Because they're BRAVE! REBELS! QUESTIONING! AUTHORITY! ELEVENTY! and you're one of the sheeple bowing down before an imaginary sky-spirit (or, at least, these fools are. I have no quarrel with an atheist or agnostic who believes what they believe and isn't an in-your-face lunatic).

Think of it as the atheists' version of liberals foaming at the mouth because there exists one channel not toeing the lefty propaganda line.

Paddy O said...

A skeleton dressed up as Santa?!

Shocking!

Disturbing!

Say it ain't so!

The Crack Emcee said...

If you really only think there is no God, why are you so hostile toward people who think otherwise?

Because there's nowhere we can go to be done with them or their "beliefs" - for our entire lives.

I'm not defending this, but you asked,...

Oligonicella said...

cassandra lite --

"Because we have to believe what they believe and disbelieve what they disbelieve. Why wouldn't we? They're so much smarter, more liberal, more enlightened. We should want to be more like them. See how happy they are? Well, they would be, if we were less happy."

In other words, they're thinking and behaving precisely like religious people? Climb off your horse.

For what it's worth, I would have probably ripped the thing down too.

The Crack Emcee said...

And before anyone says it, I'm a conservative American so communist countries are not an option,...

Marshal said...

The Crack Emcee said...

"Because there's nowhere we can go to be done with them or their "beliefs" - for our entire lives."

Simply knowing people believe things you don't is so onerous it justifies attacking those beliefs even though they don't matter to you?

The Crack Emcee said...

Also, religious people are so good.

That's THEIR story,...

Shanna said...

It's the difference between a "my kid is an honor student" bumper sticker and a "my poodle is smarter than your honor student" bumper sticker. One of them is a celebration and the other one is attacking others.

Indeed, Synova.

Because there's nowhere we can go to be done with them or their "beliefs" - for our entire lives.

So you've decided the best way to deal with it is to return the favor by being even more obnoxious? (not you specifically, of course).

The Crack Emcee said...

Marshal,

People act on their "beliefs" - the first time I admitted I didn't believe in God I got hit in the face by my foster brother with my foster mother's approval.

Atheists are NOT slow learners when it comes to the vast difference between what religious folk claim and what they do,...

Original Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

Shanna - I repeat: I'm not defending this, but answering Ann's question.

The effect of having illogical "beliefs" forced on you, in a world that otherwise claims to respect science and logic and exists by their benefits, can be quite traumatic for many.

I'm not surprised some lash out when the common sense we've been taught to use, and is supposedly our highest ideal, is set upon daily.

TWM said...

"I don't like these "atheists" who are really religion-haters."

Fortunately there are few of them. Unfortunately they have the ACLU backing that few. That's in real life, though. On the internet they are a dime a dozen, brave souls standing against religious oppression, while baracaded in their mommy's basements.

Original Mike said...

"Aren't atheists cute?"

No, but we are more intelligent. Or at least have more common sense.
[ducks]

Lyssa said...

There was this guy, a long time ago. I realize that you can debate his actual existence, but, based on the best available historical records from the time, the man probably existed. Some of the stories about him might be exaggerated, or even completely made up (compare to, e.g., George Washington and the cherry tree), but he inspired a lot of people to live their lives around his teachings, and we remember him today for that, and in honor of his birth and life (like we do for many other historical people), we celebrate a holiday with the ideals he taught, including giving, joy, and peace.

Is that really so bad? If the courthouse puts up an MLK display in January, does the local KKK get an exhibit, too?

(Substitute capital H's as it suits you.)

TWM said...

"No, but we are more intelligent. Or at least have more common sense.
[ducks].

That's the standard claim of liberals as well, and time and time again it's been proven wrong. Is being proven wrong hopefully for the last time in history right now.

Marshal said...

"The Crack Emcee said...
Marshal,

People act on their "beliefs" - the first time I admitted I didn't believe in God I got hit in the face by my foster brother with my foster mother's approval."

So you believe that all atheists should be tainted by whatever actions the most militant atheists decide to undertake?

Original Mike said...

"That's the standard claim of liberals as well, and time and time again it's been proven wrong. Is being proven wrong hopefully for the last time in history right now.
"


Yes, it's not true of liberals, though surely it's wishful thinking that this is the end game for liberalism.

J said...

while baracaded in their mommy's basements.

that can't be you, Byro TWM the Subluxanator, since like yr mama--po' Janey, right?--mysteriously disappeared during one of your visits to Yuma and your LDS pals, raht. Maybe you mean ...barracaded while dressed in their mama's dresses?? Yeah something like that.

Steven said...

Agnostics actually are what atheists only think they are.

The loudmouthed, unbalanced atheists are loudmouths and unbalanced. But every putative agnostic is a coward, ignoramus, or idiot. Either you have evidence of a phenomenon or you don't; in the latter case you don't say things like, "Well, maybe Ann Althouse is a kind of vampire anyway, just a special type that we can't detect." You say, "I don't believe that Ann Althouse is a vampire."

The Crack Emcee said...

That's the standard claim of liberals as well, and time and time again it's been proven wrong. Is being proven wrong hopefully for the last time in history right now.

Belief in God is being proven wrong as well. He's gone from an omnipotent being to a guy who puts pictures of his kid on toast.

It's only a matter of time,...how long depends on the intelligence of the "believers," so it may take a while, still, but we're on our way. Going to the moon - proving he doesn't live in the sky - was a big help,...

multiuseless said...

Atheist says people should keep an open mind.

Now that's rich.

Scott M said...

Either you have evidence of a phenomenon or you don't

My understanding, perhaps flawed, was that there are three options. You believe, you do not believe, or you hold that it's impossible to prove or disprove in the first place.

J said...

Cracki, while I oppose biblethumpers (or torah/koran thumpers) the arguments for/against God may be a bit more complex than you realize.

Either way, the proper secular response is to object to public displays of Santas and other Xmas symbols (chaunakkah/kwanzaa, etc).

The Crack Emcee said...

Marshal,

So you believe that all atheists should be tainted by whatever actions the most militant atheists decide to undertake?

When it comes to "belief," I don't have to look to the most militant to find disgusting acts. Some of the nicest believers I've known have turned out to be killers.

The whole set-up is a recipe for pain. That few believers consider dropping the whole thing - which they do for every other belief but their own - is enough to accuse them of a mental disorder.

Original Mike said...

"Agnostics actually are what atheists only think they are."

I call myself an atheist, even though I would answer the question, "Are you sure there is no God?" with "Of course not. I'm not sure". It's just that "agnostic" is too weak a word. I think a lot of people are in the same boat. Maybe we need a word for someone who concedes there might be a God, but considers the probabilty remote.

Hunter McDaniel said...

I vaguuely recall a James Fallows article from ~1980 where he recounted how the Japanese, with a negligible Christian population, had nonetheless embraced Christmas - with some odd cultural filtering.

And one of the examples he recounted was a major department store with a prominent display of.... Santa Claus nailed to a cross.

The Crack Emcee said...

Original Mike,

I call myself an atheist, even though I would answer the question, "Are you sure there is no God?" with "Of course not. I'm not sure".

Not me - I am 100% certain there is not, has never been, and will never be anything even remotely approaching the concept of a God or gods. It's just silly humans, being silly, with disastrous results for anyone who gets in their way.

And I resent the insult to my intelligence for the whole fiasco,...

traditionalguy said...

The University that I attended for nine years had a skeleton as its mascot. There was no football team. The tradition was a Medical School thing from anatomy courses.

To get angry over a Santa Clause skeleton does not compute...maybe a parent with small kids wants to avenge Santa Clause?

Marshal said...

Crack,

So atheists don't deserve to be lumped together because you're one of them. You know from person experience atheism is a thoughtful group with enough attraction outside of the militancy aspect that it's unfair to believe the militancy aspect itself is the draw.

But Chistianity on the other hand has so few redeeming qualities that those who join clearly do so in support of murderers. Thanks for clearing that up.

Scott M said...

But Chistianity on the other hand has so few redeeming qualities that those who join clearly do so in support of murderers.

Or, at the least, face slappers.

Alex said...

It's the difference between a symbol about yourself like a fish, and the mutilation of someone else's symbol like the darwin fish.

When I see a Darwin fish, I give a thumbs up and take that person out to a lavish 5-course dinner where we mock Christians!

Marshal said...

Scott,

"Some of the nicest believers I've known have turned out to be killers."

Apparently believers graduated to killers.

Christopher in MA said...

"Belief in God is being proven wrong as well. . .going to the moon - proving he doesn't live in the sky - was a big help."

There's stupid. And sometimes there's absolute slap you in the face, suck the air out of the room idiocy.

Stick to the New Age ranting, Crack. You're way out of your league on this.

rosebud said...

Wow, J's comments in this thread were really interesting to plot.

Comment 1 was pretty coherent, and could come from someone rational.

Comment 2 started out on a reasonable basis, but halfway through took a turn for the worse.

Comment 3 was full-on J mode, with the byro sublux whatchamajingies we all have come to associate with him, although I didn't see any AZ in there.

Comment 4 seemed somewhat lucid again.

He must be right at that stage where the chemical levels are just fluctuating above and below the critical mark.

rosebud said...

Ah, I see I missed the reference to Yuma. There's the AZ connection.

Original Mike said...

"Belief in God is being proven wrong as well. . .going to the moon - proving he doesn't live in the sky - was a big help."

I thought it had been established that he lives in Iowa.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

The creator of the anti-Christmas display, Jeff Heflin said: "It depicts how society's materialistic obsessions and addictions are killing the season's peace, love, joy and kindness."

Wait, doesn't the "peace, love, joy and kindess" of the season stem from it's being on of the most important celebrations in Christianity?

Scott M said...

I thought it had been established that he lives in Iowa.

No, that's the Kirk clan. And He's only God to Picard-haters.

Original Mike said...

I was thinking more Kevin Costner.

damikesc said...

So this person considers Tebow's Christianity in and of itself an attack on Jews.

..which is quite odd, given the religion of Jesus.

Hint: He didn't worship himself.

Anyway it's usually the right-wing hypocrite churchies (whether WASP or catholic) who have the ridiculous lawn displays, the santas, and ueber-lights.

And it's the left-wing hypocrite tolerant brigade who insult anybody who disagrees with them.

Ironic, huh?

That's THEIR story,...

It's not like the most murderous group in human history was an expressly atheistic group or anything.

J said...

Yeah the 1st Amendment's a bit deep for AZ stoners, eh rosebud-byro. Maybe like grow a spine and link to yr real blog, Byro-rosebud, scientologist
Let the A-bots see your rightist-Romneyite schtick one day, and the OWS the next, AZ-trash. Many people are on to you now. Even Digby, not to say Sac mental health people

traditionalguy said...

Crack. Christians believe that Truth turned out to be a person born on Christmas day.

Since you are a lover of the truth, He came especially so you can meet Him.

Merry Christmas.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

I don't get the Santa on a cross thing. Very strange. Sounds more like a halloween-worthy offering.

Like if Jason suddenly had Freddy's knife fingers.

Sofa King said...

Let us supposed for a moment, that God is super-natural. Literally, that means that God exists outside the natural world; that is, our Universe.

Now, I would suppose that if you ask many atheists, "does anything exist outside our known Universe?" you'd get a range of answers, from a belief in multiverses to frank admissions of lack of knowledge, to subtle arguments about the nature of "existence" and its necessary connection to our own Universe, etc.

However, then ask the same person if God exists, and you would get a flat "no." Even though it is really exactly the same question.

It's the difference between the two responses that constitutes the difference between strong and weak atheism, IMO.

J said...

And it's the left-wing hypocrite tolerant brigade who insult anybody who disagrees with them.



You mean you, Byro OWS? That's per the 1st Amendment, drug-scum . Not Karl Marx. Now, spam away with your dozens of s-names mental patient. The server admin thinks its funny as well.

Original Mike said...

"However, then ask the same person if God exists, and you would get a flat "no.""

My answer isn't "no", it's that there is no evidence.

I don't believe in the multiverse either. Unless by that you mean multiple inflationary bubble, for which there is a credible argument for.

damikesc said...

You mean you, Byro OWS? That's per the 1st Amendment, drug-scum .

What side of the political scale is so obsessed with claiming that their opponents are intolerant?

Hint: Not conservatives.

We stick with "our opponents tend to be morons." Because, luckily, it is ACTUALLY a factual statement.

And, Byro is EVERYWHERE!

Not Karl Marx. Now, spam away with your dozens of s-names mental patient. The server admin thinks its funny as well.

Can you point to the wording of the First Amendment allowing indefinite occupation of public property and excluding other citizens from being able to use it?

William said...

Crack has the irrational belief that he has no irrational beliefs. Irrationality is a basic part of our nature, and religion in some ways serves to ameliorate that irrationality. OK, perhaps some religions are better than others in dealing with the contradictions of human drives and aspirations. but there's no reason to believe that atheism results in a more exalted or even relaxed state..... I think a lot of atheists believe that the abolition of relgion will free them from the constraints of conscience, but such binds are not tied by God but by civilization. We're stuck with our alienation and discontent. Religion gives a certain amount of symptomatic relief, but there's no real cure......I myself don't believe in love and marriage. All wedding chapels should have a picture of the decapitated Anne Boleyn squirting arterial blood to remind the bride of how catastrophic the consequences of marriage can be. There's far too much sentimentality and rejoicing during nuptials.

Chef Mojo said...

@Sofa and others:

It's up to the believer to prove existence, as opposed to the non-believer to prove non-existence.

How can I prove the non-existence of god(s); that would be attempting to affirm the negative. Even more to the point; why would I? It's not imperative for me to prove anything.

As a Christian, you, by your dogma, desire me to believe, thus ensuring my salvation. A noble sentiment on your part, to be sure, but it is still incumbent upon you to make the argument. It's up to you to make the sale.

I don't have to do a damn thing, because I simply don't believe.

Scott M said...

We're stuck with our alienation and discontent.

Side-effects of the self-conscious mind's ability to suffer, which is different than pain. Suffering requires a cognitive component while pain is a simple nerve response. While our wonderful ability to think abstractly brings us a lot of good, it's quite possible it also brings innate suffering.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"Even though it is really exactly the same question."

Well, sort of, an interesting illustration Sofa.

The difference lies whether one believes in intelligent design (God), or randomness, I suppose.

The guy that created this 'anti-Christmas' display is puzzling. If he wanted to truly highlight or pay fitting homage to 'the season's peace, love, joy and kindness', nailing a skele-Santa to a cross does not make communicate the right message.

Marshal said...

"Chef Mojo said...
@Sofa and others:

It's up to the believer to prove existence, as opposed to the non-believer to prove non-existence."

Completely false. Believers don't have to prove anything. Their faith is their business and no one else's.

Shanna said...

Just looked up 'inflationary bubble'. Very interesting.

I think the whole idea of something supernatural cannot really be proved or disproved. That's why we talk about belief. It's not science. Science can lead us in interesting theological directions, but it can't answer the more philosophical questions about the meaning of it all.

But people who put up obnoxious anti-Santa displays aren't worried about any of that.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

The 'make' shouldn't have been in my last post...


BYRO IS EVERYWHERE!!!

Original Mike said...

"The guy that created this 'anti-Christmas' display is puzzling."

He's simple to explain. He's an attention seeker.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"He's simple to explain. He's an attention seeker."

Yes, purposely provocative AND dishonest about the message he was trying to send.

Atheist: "Offense is in the eye of the beholder..."

Message fail there, too.

Shanna said...

The effect of having illogical "beliefs" forced on you, in a world that otherwise claims to respect science and logic and exists by their benefits, can be quite traumatic for many.

This is what I don't understand. It doesn't bother me one bit that people believe things I don't. I am well aware that there are people out their who believe all manner of dumb things and for the most part I just don't dwell on it.

How are these illogical beliefs being forced on anyone (aside from small children)? It seems to me some folks are offended by things simply because someone else believes them. Period.

Sofa King said...

[quote]My answer isn't "no", it's that there is no evidence.[/quote]

Nor would any be expected. The nature of the question itself precludes any empirical investigation.

Sort of like asking, am I living in a computer simulation? It's entirely possible. Maybe even probable. But ultimately, it has no effect on the universe as I know it and so it is an intriguing but *inherently* unanswerable question.

WV: jewino - the "Yaweh" particle?

Original Mike said...

"Nor would any be expected. The nature of the question itself precludes any empirical investigation."

Which has always made me wonder why atheists are looked down upon as dolts.

Rialby said...

Atheism is their religion.

damikesc said...

The whole set-up is a recipe for pain. That few believers consider dropping the whole thing - which they do for every other belief but their own - is enough to accuse them of a mental disorder.

Do you realize your obsession with "New Age" would qualify you for such treatment as well?

It's only a matter of time,...how long depends on the intelligence of the "believers," so it may take a while, still, but we're on our way. Going to the moon - proving he doesn't live in the sky - was a big help,...

I was unaware any aspect of Christian theology contained the belief that God lived on the moon.

Faith seems to drive you to irrational extremes.

Chip Ahoy said...

Nailed to a cross. That's Easter. Heflin doesn't have the holidays sorted. Should be a skeleton dressed as Santa in a manger with the Wisemen brothers offering gifts for sale.

Scott M said...

lol Chip.

Here's my comment from 10am or so.

Nailing Santa to a Cross is an Easter protest, not Christmas. If they put a skeletal baby dressed in a Santa outfit and put that in a crib, then maybe we'd have something. So, given that it's a poorly chosen Easter protest, it is indeed different from "Keep Christ In Christmas"

jimbino said...

The commenters above simply need to get out more often.

For starters, almost all scientists and mathematicians are atheists. Most are not militant, but like Dawkins, we can soon learn to hate the Christianists who interfere with our science (like stem-cell research).

Here's a list of how to learn to hate the Christianists and the Muslims, especially.

It's easy if you try! Imagine:

1. How the world was kept in darkness by religion for hundreds of years.

2. How many wars have been waged in the name of religion.

3. Trying in vain to buy a beer on a Sunday at Oktoberfest in Helen, GA.

4. Trying in vain to order a beer with your enchiladas in West Texas.

5. Trying in vain to buy a beer or bottle of wine anywhere in Texas on a Sunday morning.

6. Trying to avoid arrest when drinking a beer in public in NYC or Chicago.

7. Trying to get elected to public office as a declared atheist.

8. Trying in vain to have a meal at the local Senior Citizen center without having to endure a moment of silence beforehand.

10. Trying in vain to get treated in a hospital room that doesn't have a crucifix hanging over the door to make you sicker than when you came in.

11. Trying to get a consultation with an atheist chaplain in an Amerikan hospital, battlefield or prison.

12. Trying to enjoy a football game without being assaulted by a religious anthem.

13. Trying to get a fair trial involving a freedom-from-religion issue in Texas, where the TX constitution says that all judges, lawyers and jurors have to be religious believers.

14. Trying to visit Muslim countries as a declared atheist.

15. Trying to take a taxi from the airport with a dog or booze in your baggage.

Chef Mojo said...

@Marshal:

Completely false. Believers don't have to prove anything. Their faith is their business and no one else's.

And yet the public Profession of Faith embodied in the Nicene Creed would put the lie to that. Within the Church, it is everybody's business what you believe.

Why have a Church otherwise?

And, yes it is up to believers to prove something, if it is a tenet of their faith to spread the "good news" in order to ensure the salvation of their fellow man. That's a relatively easy task when you're preaching to someone who believes in something else. At that point you're dealing with someone who already has a foundation of a belief in a god/spirit. You're argument is based on a variation on the theme of the nature of god. Easy-peasy, really.

And unbeliever is more of a challenge. Proof is needed.

Kirk Parker said...

Christopher in MA,

Indeed. I really loved C.S. Lewis' response to the announcement by the Soviets that their cosmonaut had been in space and didn't encounter any God there. Paraphrasing, it was: "This is not at all disturbing. The disturbing thing would have been if the cosmonaut had, indeed, encountered God living just a few miles outside the atmosphere. What kind of God would that be???"

Marshal said...

"And yet the public Profession of Faith embodied in the Nicene Creed would put the lie to that."

Really? You honestly believe because a group of people choose to repeat something amongst themselves it requires them to prove something to you? Why exactly? And it's so obvious any belief otherwise is not merely a difference of opinion but a lie?

You start to see why believers think so poorly of atheists. You still haven't managed a logical argument but have nevertheless pressed on to what your unsupportable conclusion says about believers.

n.n said...

The intellectually honest atheist would acknowledge that more people have been killed, enslaved, and dispossessed in the name of their faith (i.e. selective) than any other religion other than Islam. However, with the latter, the tyranny and destruction was spread over more than 1000 years, which was matched by the former in less than 100 years.

The skeleton would have been most appropriately dressed in the garb of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or any of the other notable atheists that litter human history; or, if they were really courageous, in the garb of an Arab Muslim.

Of course, it must also be acknowledged that these atheists were thoroughly corrupted by their delusions of grandeur. However, they could not have realized their effort to consolidate wealth and power without people who also dreamed of physical, material, and ego instant gratification through redistributive and retributive change, which is not, unfortunately, an exclusive characteristic of atheism.

In any case, the skeleton connotes an explicitly negative message, while Santa is implicitly positive.

There are people who are afraid of death, afraid of life, and choose to run amuck.

Synova said...

The command to be a witness says nothing about having to prove or force anyone else to accept the Truth. Not even evangelicals give to a person the responsibility for saving others. You're bound to be a witness... this is what God did for me. Proving, and forcing, belief is something else.

Original Mike said...

"...we can soon learn to hate the Christianists who interfere with our science (like stem-cell research)."

Valid point (though I think "hate" is too strong a word).

"...7. Trying to get elected to public office as a declared atheist."

I wonder how many Christians who decry the anti-Mormon bigotry directed at Romney would consider an atheist unfit for office?

Synova said...

"11. Trying to get a consultation with an atheist chaplain in an Amerikan hospital, battlefield or prison."

Until this point I thought you might be serious.

Alex said...

The intellectually honest atheist would acknowledge that more people have been killed, enslaved, and dispossessed in the name of their faith (i.e. selective) than any other religion other than Islam. However, with the latter, the tyranny and destruction was spread over more than 1000 years, which was matched by the former in less than 100 years.

Good luck with that. I bet you're a real hoot at parties.

Original Mike said...

"The intellectually honest atheist would acknowledge that more people have been killed, enslaved, and dispossessed in the name of their faith..."

Bullshit. A non-belief in God had nothing to do with Hitler, et al. Hell, you yourself negate your stupid claim later in your screed.

Original Mike said...

"The disturbing thing would have been if the cosmonaut had, indeed, encountered God living just a few miles outside the atmosphere. What kind of God would that be???"

The God of Shakari. ("Why would God have need of a starship?")

damikesc said...

O.M, even if you ignore Hitler, you have Communism to deal with.

That killed HOW MANY people last century?

Atheism was a major part of their system.

Original Mike said...

"Atheism was a major part of their system."

It didn't derive from atheism. The state tried to oppress religion as a means of controlling the populace.

garage mahal said...

The intellectually honest atheist would acknowledge that more people have been killed, enslaved, and dispossessed in the name of their faith (i.e. selective) than any other religion other than Islam.

Atheists don't have any religious faith.

Marshal said...

"Bullshit. A non-belief in God had nothing to do with Hitler, et al."

Is it any lamer than justifying a hatred of modern Christianity by first generalizing to "religion" and then blaming every war ever fought by a nation with a religious identity on that sole factor?

jimbino said...

Yo n.n.

Since when did Hitler, Stalin or Mao kill in the name of atheism?

Hitler specially persecuted Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews and gypsies, of course, and lots of Christians and atheists who were merely infirm, Russian, Polish or gay.

Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and Mao were equal-opportunity murderers who killed most anybody for any reason, without regard to sex, age, race, religion, national origin, marital status, family status or sexual preference.

If you have information that any of them murdered as they did to promote atheism, I'd like to see it.

Synova said...

"...we can soon learn to hate the Christianists who interfere with our science (like stem-cell research)."

The opposition to stem-cell research is generally the opposition to the fact that a human is conceived and then destroyed to benefit other humans.

This doesn't take "Christianist" sentiments to wonder over.

Do we use humans as lab material? Ought we be cautious about that?

Making it into Christianist oppression solves the problem of having to ask any of those questions or make any judgements about the possible negative elements of creating human life to destroy it, and what eventual definitions we might find convenient for us in the name of research and medical care for the living and/or wealthy and/or old.

We used to vivisect criminals... generally we've gotten better than that.

The same people who pursue stem-cell research derived from embryos and cloned embryos are against cloning for reproduction. The problem is, of course, that if something is classified life rather than lab material, the classification of lab material might come under question.

jimbino said...

Synova,

You might try following the news:

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/04/143057431/chaplains-wanted-for-atheists-in-foxholes

Atheist chaplains exist. Keep tuned: they will soon be coming to a prison and hospital near you.

Synova said...

jimbino, you ought to apply the same standards to supposed "religious" wars which were, almost always, political or otherwise motivated.

Or else show a legitimate doctrine that unbelievers should be killed that counts for anything other than the most ancient of History.

If your atheists were just bad people and the deaths not attached to their belief systems, show how that is not the case for despots living in a time when the existence of God or gods was assumed.

Synova said...

"Atheists don't have any religious faith."

No, but apparently they want chaplains.

(Actually, what they want is non-religious counseling and they refuse to get it from regular chaplains who are bound to give counsel to people of all faiths and bound from evangelical activities in most cases... but that's not good enough.)

Original Mike said...

"The opposition to stem-cell research is generally the opposition to the fact that a human is conceived and then destroyed to benefit other humans."

A human according to you. And that belief stems from your religous beliefs. I respect that, but don't agree with it. Not sure you would return the favor.

damikesc said...

Atheists don't have any religious faith.

Nobody said they did have a directly religious faith.

They have faith. It need not be religious. However, the militancy of more than a few of them makes one ponder.

It didn't derive from atheism. The state tried to oppress religion as a means of controlling the populace.

So what type of "atheism" is "real atheism" versus whatever other type of atheism people subscribe to?

They opposed religion. Said God didn't exist. The difference between them and Hitchens is what? Lack of power by him?

Also, as a plus for the religious --- it wasn't atheists who started agitating to end slavery.

Original Mike said...

They opposed religion, because they didn't want it effing up their authority, not because they thought it was important to spread "atheism". They didn't give a rat's ass about some belief system called "atheism". It was a tool, not a belief.

Original Mike said...

"Is it any lamer than justifying a hatred of modern Christianity by first generalizing to "religion" and then blaming every war ever fought by a nation with a religious identity on that sole factor?"

No, it's not. I don't do that. I rest responsibility on the people who commit atrocities on the people, not a religion.

jimbino said...

Synova,

You just don't get the idea of civil and religious rights.

We can all get a Brazil-wax from a man or a woman. Black folks used to be able to get the same water, just not from the White Christian fountain.

While there is no "freedom of Brazil-wax" or "freedom of water" in the Constitution, there is a 1st Amendment, which should have long since put the kibosh on rampant and pervasive Christianism.

I actually applaud the inroads of Islam in this country: it will serve to reveal to the Chistianists how offensive their religion has been for centuries and especially every Christmas, Easter and Sunday.

janetrae said...

Jimbino added to his list:

6. Trying to avoid arrest when drinking a beer in public in NYC or Chicago.

Huh? Since when is public drunkeness an act of faith? And since when do the police ask you what religion you are before they tell you pour it out?

Sofa King said...

A human according to you. And that belief stems from your religous beliefs.

And yours stems from...?

I'm not a deist myself, but I can't stand the lazy argumentation of atheists who argue, in effect:

- My position is not based on religion.
- Therefore, it is based on reason.
- Therefore, anyone who disagrees with me is irrational.

Original Mike said...

I'm not arguing anything like that Sofa King.

Original Mike said...

In particular, these are your words that you are attempting to put in my mouth: "Therefore, anyone who disagrees with me is irrational."

jimbino said...

Janetree:

Somewhere in your upbringing you seem to have skipped over learning that our oppressive rules governing sex, drugs and R&R derive directly from religion.

You also missed the lesson that drinking and drunkenness are two different things entirely--like sex and breeding.

We here in Texas all know that our oppressive laws restricting having a glass of wine with your meal derive mostly from the religion of the Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Baptists and Methodists.

Of course, Catholics oppress us in other ways.

Have you never heard of Blue Laws?

Sofa King said...

But you jumped to an assumption that she considers embryos to be "human beings" because of religous beliefs, instead of, say, starting from different logical premises.

Original Mike said...

On the issue of stem cell research, my position is that it has potential (possibly great potential) to alleviate human suffering. I support that fully and I do not agree with the argument, dervived from religous beliefs of the sanctity of, in my opinion, a blob of protoplasm, that society should not be allowed to develop this science. I do not think we should allow suffering to continue to appease the people with those beliefs. But I do not call them irrational. In fact, I respect them. But I do not think that argument should win the day.

Sofa King said...

Mike, you're missing my point, which is that you are dismissing any possibility of a rational, non-religious objection, thereby claiming that mantle of rationality exclusively for yourself. That's obnoxious.

Original Mike said...

"Mike, you're missing my point, which is that you are dismissing any possibility of a rational, non-religious objection, thereby claiming that mantle of rationality exclusively for yourself."

No, I'm not. You are just flat out wrong. Maybe I misspoke upthread and if you can point to something specific, I may retract it or apologize for it.

But as far as being obnoxious, fuck you. There. That's obnoxious

garage mahal said...

I love it when Original Mike gets pissed.

Original Mike said...

Sometimes it's good for the circulation.

Marshal said...

jimbino said...

"rampant and pervasive Christianism."

I see jim is lacking a sense of proportion. He's also historically ignorant by claiming religion kept the world in the dark ages for hundreds of years without acknowledging the learning which brought us out of the dark ages was maintained primarily by religion.

Religion has quite the mixed history as you'd expect of any institution involving so many (fallible) human beings. Religion's record is vastly superior to Government's record though. It's quite the mystery why leftists can't quite get the blinders off when it comes to that institution.

Marshal said...

"Original Mike said... I rest responsibility on the people who commit atrocities on the people, not a religion."

I noticed that and that's what I want to emphasize. Let's remember that according to the trolls and most leftist bloggers Althouse herself is a winger. The slightly less deranged will admit she isn't but insist her commenters are. Yet those same commenters went out of their way to distinguish between militant atheists and atheists in general with no promting at all. They're simply intelligent enough to regognize reality and and charitable enough to admit it.

In contrast the leftists attacking religion simply will not grant the same courtesy. The double standards are so ingrained they cannot let them go even when they are pointed out. In fact they're so screwed up to find someone intelligently and honestly supporting the leftist position you have to find a non-leftist.

Revealing.

Synova said...

"The opposition to stem-cell research is generally the opposition to the fact that a human is conceived and then destroyed to benefit other humans."

"A human according to you. And that belief stems from your religous beliefs. I respect that, but don't agree with it. Not sure you would return the favor."

Biologically human and alive and only temporarily an embryo.

Those are objective facts. What is alive and not alive is science. Which life is human and which life is not human is science.

Which human life we chose to deem a person and which human life we chose to deem not-a-person *may* be based on religion or it may be individual preferences based on practical factors.

Deciding that the human life temporarily in embryo form ought to count does not in any way *require* a basis in religious belief.

ken in sc said...

Hey, Crack, I used to be an agnostic, but I changed my mind. Actually, I didn't change my mind. God did. That's why I am a Presbyterian. You know, predestination and all that stuff. It makes sense to me because I didn't do anything to deserve it. God did it and I accept it.

Original Mike said...

"Which human life we chose to deem a person and which human life we chose to deem not-a-person *may* be based on religion or it may be individual preferences based on practical factors."

Agreed. But if based on "practical factors", such as slippery slope arguments that the use of embryos may metamorphize into something evil down the road, precautions can be considered. If it stems from a religous belief, the holder of that belief is unlikely to accept anything less than full compliance with their belief. No?

Shanna said...

10. Trying in vain to get treated in a hospital room that doesn't have a crucifix hanging over the door to make you sicker than when you came in.

You claim to believe a piece of wood over your door will make you sicker and call Christians ‘unscientific’?

A human according to you. And that belief stems from your religous beliefs.

The problem is that here you are just assuming it has to do with religion, rather than just having an opinion.

there is a 1st Amendment, which should have long since put the kibosh on rampant and pervasive Christianism

You need to go back and reread if you think the point was to stop people from practicing 'rampant and pervasive' Christianity.

Original Mike said...

"You claim to believe a piece of wood over your door will make you sicker and call Christians ‘unscientific’?"

LOL

"The problem is that here you are just assuming it has to do with religion, rather than just having an opinion."

I think I just addressed that above. However, if it's really just an opinion, not tied to a concern that the use will grow into something monsterous over time, then I think it's really hard to justify that "opinion" as the reason for not doing everything we can to alleviate the suffering of those alive now.

Joe Schmoe said...

To all you wv haters out there I just want to reiterate comedy gold from Sofa King:

WV: jewino - the "Yaweh" particle?

jimbino said...

Yo Shanna and Mike:

Yes, discovering a crucifix over the door in my hospital room will make me sicker-- sick as hell to realize that the folks treating me are believers.

Hell, I won't even go to a doctor who can't speak Standard American English, unless he speaks it as a second language.

Any Amerikan-"educated" doc who says things like, "You are at risk for [correct=of] infection" will turn me away!

How do you believers choose your docs? Whomever the gummint assigns to you? Whoever is rejected by us conoscenti?

Lost sheep!

damikesc said...

I think I just addressed that above. However, if it's really just an opinion, not tied to a concern that the use will grow into something monsterous over time, then I think it's really hard to justify that "opinion" as the reason for not doing everything we can to alleviate the suffering of those alive now.

Using this logic, how were things like the Tuskegee experiments wrong, then?

It's uninformed testing done on humans who some seem to dispute were actually fully human.

If it stems from a religous belief, the holder of that belief is unlikely to accept anything less than full compliance with their belief. No?

Is arguing that "I think it's really hard to justify that "opinion" as the reason for not doing everything we can to alleviate the suffering of those alive now" appreciably different?

damikesc said...

Yes, discovering a crucifix over the door in my hospital room will make me sicker-- sick as hell to realize that the folks treating me are believers.

But THEY are the ones forcing their views on others, eh?

You know why some hospitals have crucifixes in the room?

Because, by and large, CHURCHES RUN THEM. The Baptists, Catholics, etc own tons and tons of hospitals. Run them and offer affordable health care to anybody, believers or otherwise.

Stand by your guns and don't use their services, fucking hypocrite.

Hell, I won't even go to a doctor who can't speak Standard American English, unless he speaks it as a second language.

Any Amerikan-"educated" doc who says things like, "You are at risk for [correct=of] infection" will turn me away!

How do you believers choose your docs? Whomever the gummint assigns to you? Whoever is rejected by us conoscenti?


At what point did you become batshit crazy?

Don't worry --- you're not crazy. You just totally get it better than anybody else.

Shanna said...

I think I just addressed that above.

Thanks, I see it. I think I'd start going in circles if I go further into it so I'm going to leave it at that because I don't really feel all that strongly about stem cell research, but I do have concerns about devaluing human life. We've done it in various societies throughout our history and I don't think it's a great way to go. Stem cell research is very interesting, and we'll see what comes out of it.

I just object to the sort of knee jerk asigning of everything bad that's happened in the history of the world to religion (not saying this is from you, just in general), when religious and non-religious societies both have plenty of historical examples of barbarism in them. People are people, and some of us suck.

jimbino said...

Yo Damikesc,

You apparently haven't been in Amerika long enough to realize that all those religious hospitals are supported by the public's tax dollars.

We've already had a knockdown-dragout fight over that here in Austin with the RC-run Seton, which loved our tax dollars but wouldn't tolerate our insistence that they perform post-natal tubal ligations, not to mention abortions.

Obamacare will exacerbate these conflicts, as the Roman Catholics are already learning, now that they are faced with having to provide birth-control benefits to their employees.

The obvious solution to the problem is to privatize all hospitals so that I am not forced to subsidize the religionists who insist on inflicting their superstitions on me while pretending to treat me.

If privatization were to happen, we atheists could open our own atheist hospitals, replete with atheist docs and scientists, offering abortions and sterilizations, free of religious icons polluting our rooms. The rest of you could then keep your hospitals, free of taxpayer support, with the superstitious docs, prayers and icons hanging all over the place.

No problem. Now let's work on privatizing public mis-education!

damikesc said...

You apparently haven't been in Amerika long enough to realize that all those religious hospitals are supported by the public's tax dollars.

...in that they accept Medicare/Medicaid to help the poor and elderly? It's totally evil. They do more benefit for humanity than atheists have done.

We've already had a knockdown-dragout fight over that here in Austin with the RC-run Seton, which loved our tax dollars but wouldn't tolerate our insistence that they perform post-natal tubal ligations, not to mention abortions.

Yup, we should have government dictate what medical procedures are to be done by doctors. How beautifully fascistic of you.

Obamacare will exacerbate these conflicts, as the Roman Catholics are already learning, now that they are faced with having to provide birth-control benefits to their employees.

I could've SWORN you said you opposed having others views forced upon you.

Apparently, I was mistaken.

The obvious solution to the problem is to privatize all hospitals so that I am not forced to subsidize the religionists who insist on inflicting their superstitions on me while pretending to treat me.

So, churches spend all the money and do all the work to set them up --- so let's have government steal them "for the greater good".

So, the difference between you and a dictator is what, exactly?

Dictators wear cooler hats?

If privatization were to happen, we atheists could open our own atheist hospitals

Nothing is stopping you presently outside of the notorious greed of atheists who don't do much anything for the overall good.

It wasn't Christians who killed over 100M people in the 20th Century. That was people who, well, agreed with you.

replete with atheist docs and scientists, offering abortions and sterilizations, free of religious icons polluting our rooms. The rest of you could then keep your hospitals, free of taxpayer support, with the superstitious docs, prayers and icons hanging all over the place.

Given that they treat more people than the government does, knock yourself out.

The funny thing is --- if atheists were given the choice, they would NEVER provide free health to people.

Those evil Christian hospitals? They'd STILL do so.

No problem. Now let's work on privatizing public mis-education!

Heck, I'd kill to let my kids go to a religious school. Unlike the secular ones run by the state --- they actually tend to their job. Stop stealing my money to force them go to substandard schools that secular dictators like you demand I do.

cassandra lite said...

Oligonicella: "In other words, they're thinking and behaving precisely like religious people? Climb off your horse.
For what it's worth, I would have probably ripped the thing down too."

To my knowledge and in my experience, only Muslims act that way. I don't know any Christians who assert in a physical way the primacy of their beliefs over someone who believes differently. Be specific, please, with examples, if you know of Christians (which I'm not) who would do anything like that.

Christopher in MA said...

"We can soon learn to hate the Christianists who interfere in our science (like stem-ccell research)."

Lie. We oppose EMBRYONIC stem-cell research - which has never shown one bit of success in getting Christopher Reeve to walk or all the other miracles that we were assured we just around the corner were we to nod our heads in agreement at slaughtering children.

I won't even bother to address the rest of your rant, since the claim that you would never allow yourself to be treated by anyone who is a Christian makes you even more of a whacked-out lunatic than J, which, until this moment, I never thought possible.

Christopher in MA said...

Whoops. I apologize. I just reread your rabies-induced rant again. "Amerika?"

Dude. It's "Amerikka." Didn't Obama teach you anything? But I congratulate you. That was an excellent satirical portrayal of an intolerant athiest. Bravo.

Paco Wové said...

NoNONoNoNo!!! It's Amerikkka!! God, can't you people even troll correctly??!!!

garage mahal said...

We oppose EMBRYONIC stem-cell research - which has never shown one bit of success in getting Christopher Reeve to walk or all the other miracles that we were assured we just around the corner were we to nod our heads in agreement at slaughtering children.

Millions of prayers didn't show one bit of success in getting Christopher Reeve out of his wheelchair either. Maybe we should start opposing God.

ampersand said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

"It depicts how society's materialistic obsessions and addictions are killing the season's peace, love, joy and kindness."

And, he's promoting peace, love, joy and kindness?

DADvocate said...

'Keep Christ in Christmas'

It's 'Keep[ Christ in Xmas'

DADvocate said...

Maybe we should start opposing God.

I thought you did.

You obviously oppose logic.

ampersand said...

Let's put aside our differences and come together to celebrate David Roland Waters Day.
The festivities include persuading militant atheists to spend all their savings and credit card monies on presents for you. A good time to be had by all.

garage mahal said...

"Militant Atheist" being any non believer not willing to be cowed under pressure by religious zealots.

DADvocate said...

"Militant Atheist" being any non believer not willing to be cowed under pressure by religious zealots.

Cowed? Is this a play on your avatar? Do you have a bovine obsession?

Do you always think in straw men concepts?

The Crack Emcee said...

Marshal,

Crack,

So atheists don't deserve to be lumped together because you're one of them. You know from person experience atheism is a thoughtful group with enough attraction outside of the militancy aspect that it's unfair to believe the militancy aspect itself is the draw.


Atheists aren't a group sharing a belief system - we're individuals denying a deity. I've dumped on plenty of atheists in my lifetime.

But Chistianity on the other hand has so few redeeming qualities that those who join clearly do so in support of murderers. Thanks for clearing that up.

Your God, according to your holy book, wiped out almost everyone on the planet merely because he got pissed.

You can't win this, Marshal, so give it a break,...

The Crack Emcee said...

traditionalguy,

Crack. Christians believe that Truth turned out to be a person born on Christmas day.

And, since it's a belief, it can be changed. Like Tony Blair's sister going from Catholic to Muslim. Or Newt Gingrich's latest Catholic conversion.

or just giving up the whole charade entirely,...

The Crack Emcee said...

William,

Crack has the irrational belief that he has no irrational beliefs.

Not true - I was explaining that in my views on the brain a few days ago - I say irrational beliefs should be acknowledged and managed.

There's no reason to believe that atheism results in a more exalted or even relaxed state..

Who said atheists were going for that?

The Crack Emcee said...

ken in sc,

Hey, Crack, I used to be an agnostic, but I changed my mind. Actually, I didn't change my mind. God did.

Ahhh, but you're putting your own mind in there as a actor:

It can change again,...

Marshal said...

Crack,

"Atheists aren't a group sharing a belief system - we're individuals denying a deity."

Atheists share the belief that god doesn't exist, just as the religious believe one does.

"I've dumped on plenty of atheists in my lifetime."

And virtually every religious person has criticized another. The fact you think these two data points somehow distinguish atheists sufficiently to justify communal guilt among Christians but not atheists is laughable. It's a sad attempt to defend the indefensible.

"Your God, according to your holy book, wiped out almost everyone on the planet merely because he got pissed."

Now you're just throwing shit on the wall praying something sticks. Let's try a thought experiment:

Scenario A, God Exists:
You think believers are responsible for what their god does? Why isn't god responsible for it? I've read novels where gods draw strength from the number of their believers. Do you belong to some subset of atheists who believe this while concurrently denying gods exist at all?

Scenario B, God Doesn't Exist:
So believers are responsible for a natural catastrophe because they asribe it to a higher being? Can you explain the acting mechanism for us?

No, it's pretty clear your position is emotionally driven and these post hoc rationalizations will convince no one.

Christopher in MA said...

"Millions of prayers didn't show one bit of success in getting Christopher Reeve out of his wheelchair either. Maybe we should start opposing God."

God isn't a vending machine, garbage. But oh, if only someone could rid you of those meddling priests keeping you from slaughtering the untermenschen, you'd have heaven on earth, wouldn't you.

Bah. Just by responding, I've given you more attention than you deserve.

Original Mike said...

"Using this logic, how were things like the Tuskegee experiments wrong, then?"

Simple, they were wrong (very wrong) because they were done on sentient people.

craig said...

jimbino said...

"I actually applaud the inroads of Islam in this country"

and elsewhere:

"our oppressive rules governing sex, drugs and R&R derive directly from religion"

Thus we see the pole star of leftism on full display: any amount of tyranny against the individual is permitted, so long as the individual is granted unlimited sensory amusements.


"We here in Texas all know that our oppressive laws..."

Oppressive laws?? We have drive-thru liquor stores here. IIRC, the driver of a motor vehicle cannot have an open container but his passengers may. Beer and wine are sold in every grocery store. For all the hoo-hah about so-called "blue laws", they are nothing more than the same kind of time, place, and manner restrictions that are settled Constitutional law in speech cases.

craig said...

Original Mike said...

"Simple, [the Tuskegee experiments] were wrong (very wrong) because they were done on sentient people."

So if they were done on those sufficiently mentally impaired, or perhaps Alzheimer's and coma patients, they would then be OK?

Once you establish the principle that personhood is contingent upon capability, then it's only a matter of degree as to what the more capable are allowed to do unto the less capable.

Original Mike said...

"So if they were done on those sufficiently mentally impaired, or perhaps Alzheimer's and coma patients, they would then be OK?"

No, absolutely not. The mentally impaired are sentient beings.

Christopher in MA said...

"I actually applaud the inroads of Islam in this country."

Oh, jimbino, you deluded fool. If you think you're being oppressed by the heavy hand of religion now, you just wait. If sharia law ever came to pass in America (whoops, Amerikkka), you'd be begging for us Christianists to save your worthless ass.

The Crack Emcee said...

Marshal,

Crack,

Atheists share the belief that god doesn't exist, just as the religious believe one does.

I don't think you understand what a belief is,...I don't have to "believe" God ain't here since he's never shown up anywhere - you do.

Big difference.

The Crack Emcee said...

BTW - In his latest Vanity Fair article, Christopher Hitchens tells a great story about more of the wonderfulness Christianity bestows on us:

Not long ago I was invited onto a Christian radio station in deepest Dixie to debate religion. My interviewer maintained a careful southern courtesy throughout, always allowing me enough time to make my points, and then surprised me by inquiring if I regarded myself as in any sense a Nietzschean. I replied in the negative, saying that I had agreed with some arguments put forward by the great man but didn’t owe any large insight to him and found his contempt for democracy to be somewhat off-putting. H. L. Mencken and others, I tried to add, had also used him to argue some crude social-Darwinist points about the pointlessness of aiding the “unfit.” And his frightful sister, Elisabeth, had exploited his decline to misuse his work as if it had been written in support of the German anti-Semitic nationalist movement. This had perhaps given Nietzsche an undeserved posthumous reputation as a fanatic. The questioner pressed on, asking if I knew that much of Nietzsche’s work had been produced while he was decaying from terminal syphilis. I again responded that I had heard this and knew of no reason to doubt it, though knew of no confirmation either. Just as it became too late, and I heard the strains of music and the words that this would be all we would have time for, my host stole a march and said he wondered how much of my own writing on god had perhaps been influenced by a similar malady! I should have seen this “gotcha” coming, but was left wordless.

And Jesus wept,...

Shanna said...

Crack, I don't knwo where you or Hitchens would get the idea that everyone who is a Christian, or purports to be one, is perfect.

As I said, people aren't perfect. Even the bible tells us that ALL have sinned.

All religion does is give a set of guidelines that might make us attempt to be better people. It also tells Christians not to be jerks, lest you lead someone astray.

damikesc said...

Simple, they were wrong (very wrong) because they were done on sentient people.

They certainly weren't viewed as being equal to humanity by large swaths of the population. Rabbits are "sentient" as well. They are tested on because they are inferior to humanity. There was a sizable portion of people back then who felt blacks ALSO were inferior.

Therefore, again, it is not appreciably different if one decides to use your ethos to its logical conclusion.

No, absolutely not. The mentally impaired are sentient beings.

People with severe Alzheimer's or dementia aren't terribly sentient most of the time. So, in those times when they aren't --- it's cool to experiment on them, right?

Duncan said...

I believe in Santa Clause. He was the Bishop of Myra. Attended the First Council of Nicea where he helped write the Nicean Creed.

Original Mike said...

No Damikesc, my position is that embryonic stem cell research is ethical. I reject ANY of the other examples you're trying to equate to it.

damikesc said...

No Damikesc, my position is that embryonic stem cell research is ethical. I reject ANY of the other examples you're trying to equate to it.

...without providing a logical difference in them outside of "Well, I don't like THOSE things". I find both unethical and it's based on the reality that humans should not be experimented on without informed consent. Prenatal or postnatal.

You seem to find SOME humans deserving of tests being performed without informed consent. It's important to determine where this mindset stops and how one can logically explain why it stops there.

Why is opposing embryonic stem cell research just an opinion that shouldn't stand in the way of doing "everything we can to alleviate the suffering of those alive now." while opposing the Tuskegee experiments on people not thought to be equal or testing on Alzheimer's or dementia patients should be stopped?

See, I oppose both. My beliefs are consistent.

You are incapable of actually explaining HOW they're different. And if you cannot do that, then you don't REALLY believe that we should do "everything we can to alleviate the suffering of those alive now."

craig said...

Thank you, damikesc.

Original Mike's rebuttal that "The mentally impaired are sentient beings" is an assertion lacking objective standards. It's true, of course, but the problem is that it requires someone define what sentience is, and how much of it is necessary in a person to be accorded the rights of persons. Since sentience is a subjective quality, unlike DNA, it is a wax nose that can be twisted this way and that.

Original Mike said...

"You are incapable of actually explaining HOW they're different."

What do you mean "HOW"? If you can't see the difference between a blob of embryonic cells and a mentally ill person, I can't help you. Obviously you don't have to agree with me that they should be treated differently, but frankly I don't believe you can't see a difference.

Original Mike said...

I think you guys need to look up the word "sentient".

Original Mike said...

"...but frankly I don't believe you can't see a difference."

Actually, let me modify that. If your stance procedes from a religious belief (which is how we got here in the first place), then I do understand your position that they are the same thing. Otherwise, no.

Marshal said...

Mike,

At what point does a fetus acquire the sentience that would prevent them from being an appropriate component of medical research?

damikesc said...

What do you mean "HOW"? If you can't see the difference between a blob of embryonic cells and a mentally ill person, I can't help you.

If you can't recognize what is and what is not a human, I'm not sure the limitation is on this side of the equation here. I'm sure you believe that life begins when a head emerges from the birth canal, but that is patent silliness.

Obviously you don't have to agree with me that they should be treated differently, but frankly I don't believe you can't see a difference.

If you're going to argue that ANY person should be used, against their will, for experimentation for the greater good, it's up to you to explain why some get picked for it and others don't. Even if some people WANT it, there should be limits.

If a dementia patient said "Sure, I'll allow you to experiment", would you actually do it?

Why not?

I'd say no because it's wrong and they are incapable of providing informed consent. Which is kind of a stumbling block for the stem cell crowd when it comes to babies.

...and it's even funny when you realize that adult stem cells have been far more effective as is.

Original Mike said...

Marshal - I do not think it is possible to define a point (this is not novel to this discussion; most processes do not have clearly delinated boundaries) but I would error on the side of caution; say the blastocyst stage comprised of a few cells, no more.

Damikesc said: "I'm sure you believe that life begins when a head emerges from the birth canal"

and "If you're going to argue that ANY person should be used, against their will, for experimentation for the greater good,"

These are NO WHERE near my views, nor can you claim they are from what I have said. I'm not wasting any more of my time with you.

damikesc said...

These are NO WHERE near my views, nor can you claim they are from what I have said. I'm not wasting any more of my time with you.

That is PRECISELY what you're arguing. If you didn't notice it, that, again, is not my problem.

If a fetus is a human while in the womb, why does it have no rights? Why should THEY be used, against their will, for experimentation?

Either you believe they aren't people (ergo, humanity occurs when the head emerges) or you advocate that a person should be used for experimentation against their will.

Sorry if you missed that in your attempts at making a point.

See, a fetus is a person unless you believe humanity occurs when the head emerges. No other event occurs that can be pointed to as the start of humanity before then outside of the implantation in the womb --- which, you know, makes them humans.

Marshal said...

"Original Mike said...
Marshal - I do not think it is possible to define a point (this is not novel to this discussion; most processes do not have clearly delinated boundaries) but I would error on the side of caution; say the blastocyst stage comprised of a few cells, no more. "

So from this perspective aren't people who think ESCs should be protected simply drawing the line in a different place from you? And if so how does this mean their opinion is religious in nature?

Original Mike said...

"So from this perspective aren't people who think ESCs should be protected simply drawing the line in a different place from you"?

Yes.

"And if so how does this mean their opinion is religious in nature?"

Not necessarily. I'm not sure I follow the gist of the second question.

damikesc said...

"And if so how does this mean their opinion is religious in nature?"

Not necessarily. I'm not sure I follow the gist of the second question.


If you agree that they simply draw their line in a different place than you --- why is THEIR belief religion and YOURS is not?

What is the difference in your belief and theirs? Why should their opinion be dismissed as "religion" and not simply a differing ethical consideration?

Me, for example. While I have finally rediscovered my faith, my arguments against ESC aren't religious. They've been based solely on their inability to provide consent for what is being done to their body.

That is what it appears he is asking.