HIV-1, HIV Denial, and boxing: Round 3

While practicality is one of the tools in my arsenal against anti-science advocates, its not my favorite. Maybe its because I am a delicate female with doe-eyes and sweet sensitivities, but my favorite weapon is emotion.

I tell you what, its damn hard to talk to the general public (much less wooers) about the intricacies of genetics and retroviruses, its hard to explain the practicality of evolution in my research, but its real damn easy to give examples of that practicality that tugs on peoples heart-strings. Whether its your moms breast cancer, or your grandpas MS, I can give people a real, personal reason to care about ERVs and evolution. Not bacteria evolving into dinosaurs evolving into monkeys, a million bazillion years ago. Real-world shit gets people to care about science, real fast, whether they totally understand the science or not.

So Tommy Morrison doesnt appear to care about or understand the science of HIV-1.

He doesnt appear to be moved by the practicality of HIV-1 research, and what it has done for (+) people.

It appears Tommy is fond of the God card:

God Bless

God Bless.

God Bless

God Bless you for trying.

God Bless

God Bless

God Bless.

God Bless.

God Bless you brother.

I chose to exercise..keep fit..eat healthy..and continue to be a Faithful Servant to God. “Everything Hidden In Darkness Will Come To The Light”.

Fine with me.


Lets start by operating under the assumption that HIV/AIDS is a scam. Its a complete and utter lie cooked up by BIG PHARMA and us money hungry scientists (just filed my taxes, btw– pulled in a cool $20K before taxes! dolla-dolla-bills yo!). Lets pretend that Tommy Morrisons career was taken from him, his future was taken from him, for nothing. HIV-1 does not exist. Morrison does not have HIV-1. For the sake of argument, grant this premise.

Everything that happens to us is Gods will. We have the freedom to respond. If you find out your girlfriend is cheating on you: you could shoot her in the head, or you could forgive her for her transgressions against you, and leave her judgment to the Lord. Furthermore, what is the cliche? God never closes a door without opening a window? Maybe you find out your girlfriend is cheating on you, but then you run into your soul-mate when you are moping at the dog park.

So lets pretend HIV-1 is a lie. God threw Morrison the curve-ball of testing positive, yanking his career out from under his feet. Morrison had the choice to do anything with his life. Coach kids in underprivileged communities. Be a personal trainer for his church, teaching people how to eat and exercise right. He could have gone back to school to become a chef or an English teacher. He could have done anything. God closed a door, but he opened an infinite number of windows. But Morrison chose to stay where he was. He chose to mope about his lost millions of dollars (how Christian!) and make bad life choices (drugs/weapons/jail/etc).

Does anyone really think God thinks that behavior is admirable?

If HIV were a scam, and Morrisons life was taken away from him for no reason, but he did what his docs told him to do, and moved on with his life best he could, I think God would say something along the lines of “You know what, Tommy? You got some hard knocks in life, but you did what you thought was good and best and glorified my name, so Heaven is your eternal reward.” I dont think Gods response would be “You know what, Tommy? You got some hard knocks in life, but instead of doing what was right, you kept doing damn well what you pleased, knowing full well it could hurt or kill innocent people. GOOD JOB!”

… And then… what if HIV/AIDS isnt a scam?

Morrison is, for all intents and purposes, committing suicide by not taking antiretrovirals. That is an unforgivable sin, right?

Morrison is potentially, knowingly infecting other people with HIV-1, thus is murdering other humans. Also unforgivable, right? And its not just the people he is fighting. What if he infects someone he is fighting, that loving and faithful fighter goes home and infects his loving and faithful wife. Neither of them think to get tested because they are in a committed, monogamous relationship. She finds out when she delivers their baby girl that she infected their baby with HIV-1 (too late for antiretrovirals to prevent it). This is murder that could happen. Does it matter to Jesus whether it does happen or not? Does Jesus take a chronic drunk driver into Heaven with open arms, saying “You could have killed dozens of people with your reckless actions, leaving a trail of orphans and heart-broken spouses and severely depressed parents, but you didnt! HIGH-FIVE!! Welcome to Heaven, Buddy!!!”

If I were a Christian, I would be pissed as fuck at Morrison. Not just his insane behavior, but the way he was spitting in the face of my God while calling himself a Christian.

But Im an atheist whos lived with Christians my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his selfish, disgusting behavior, because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*

Comments

  1. #1 Caudoviral
    February 14, 2011

    I think you hit the nail on the head in your last lines. Of the Christians I know (and am related to), I can think of very few who give the consequences of their actions or indeed even the “Christlyness” of their actions, a second thought. Morrison is just following suit.

    I do know some very impressive Christians who approach their theology intelligently, but they are not the norm. Most tend to be more like children desperate to see how much they can get away with and constantly demanding things from God as though the whole religion were a cosmic vending machine.

  2. #2 Sili
    February 14, 2011

    Maybe its because I am a delicate female with doe-eyes and sweet sensitivities

    AHAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAaaaaaa….

  3. #3 Hunter
    February 14, 2011

    Paraphrasing:
    Jesus told his disciples, that if they so much as looked upon a woman with lust in their hearts, it was the same to God as if they had actually committed adultery. So, no it doesn’t matter if the hypothetical deaths actually occur or not, at least according to mainline orthodox christianity.

  4. #4 SLC
    February 14, 2011

    Maybe its because I am a delicate female with doe-eyes and sweet sensitivities, but my favorite weapon is emotion.

    ROTFLMAO

  5. #5 Ethan Siegel
    February 15, 2011

    I still haven’t forgiven him for Rocky V.

  6. #6 Rorschach
    February 15, 2011

    I have HIV and I am an engineer who works for the largest STD dating and support site STDslove. com.

    Learn something new every day. But surely, this is a joke, right ? From that website :

    The Best, Largest, and 100% Confidential Online Community for people living with Herpes (HSV-1, HSV-2), HPV, HIV / AIDS, Hepatitis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and other STDs. We have been bringing people together living with such STDs, and providing support since 2001.

    Why on earth would I look for a partner with gonorrhea ? How many people want sex with a guy who shoots pus instead of semen, or a girl whose vagina resembles a bad patch of shingles ? And for heaven’s sake, these are curable diseases, and not ones we want to transmit onto others ! Someone please tell me that this is a Poe.

  7. #7 Rorschach
    February 15, 2011

    Oh, the former comment #6 got disappeared !!

  8. #8 Zyzle
    February 15, 2011

    Does Jesus take a chronic drunk driver into Heaven with open arms, saying “You could have killed dozens of people with your reckless actions, leaving a trail of orphans and heart-broken spouses and severely depressed parents, but you didnt! HIGH-FIVE!! Welcome to Heaven, Buddy!!!”

    He does if that drunk driver is “Saved”tm

    @6/7 As a young gay man I always thought the “bug chasers” were another set of boogie men dreamed up by right wingers to further demonize the gay community… unfortunately I was wrong, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this was real.

  9. #9 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    “But Im an atheist whos lived with Christians my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his selfish, disgusting behavior, because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*”

    And I expect only idiocy and vitriol from scummy atheists… oh no wait I’m not a bigot.

    “But Im an atheist White who’s lived with Christians Blacks my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his selfish, disgusting behavior, because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*”

    FTFY. It’s amazing how much more obvious the bigotry of such lazy prejudicial generalisations becomes so much more apparent when we substitute a truly disadvantaged group. But bigotry is bigotry whether it’s against the majority or the minority.

  10. #10 Cubist
    February 15, 2011

    Sarah, have you ever considered the possibility that ERV’s comment about “what [she] expect[s] from [Christians]” might actually be an accurate summation of ERV’s experiences with Christians? Because for all the talk-talk that comes out of Christian mouths about “love” and “brotherhood” and so on, it’s pretty hard not to notice that Christians, as a group, have a strong tendency to not distribute their “love” evenly. A rapist who is Christian gets buckets of “love” from the Christian community; his victim who chooses to abort the child which was raped into her, well, she gets excommunicated. Can’t you just feel the love of Christ radiating off of the pious, devout clergymen who did the excommunicating? And it’s not like Christians have been blaming pretty much all of society’s ills on unbelievers for the past few hundred years… oh, wait, it’s exactly and precisely like that, because Christians have been blaming pretty much all of society’s ills on unbelievers for the past few hundred years.
    “Blood libel” is something which you probably don’t want to look into, Sarah, because “blood libel” is yet another of the many ways in which Christians have made themselves, well, utterly fucking monstrous strikes me as a pretty accurate way to describe it.
    Whether you like it or not, Sarah, you Christians have provided unbelievers with mass quantities of reasons to despise Christianity. It would be nice if you Christians would clean up your fucking act… but as long as Christianity’s response to being called out on its sins is to kill the messenger, rather than to stop committing those goddamn sins, well… unbelievers, atheists and otherwise, will just have to continue calling Christianity out on its sins. So you can just fucking well get over yourself and fucking well deal with it, Sarah.
    Or, you know, you can continue to whine about how mee-ee-ean those nasty atheists are.

  11. #11 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    “Sarah, have you ever considered the possibility that ERV’s comment about “what [she] expect[s] from [Christians]” might actually be an accurate summation of ERV’s experiences with Christians?”

    Nope. Not for a moment. Let me… … yep it could. Does this comparably small sample size justify her generalising to “Christians”… nope. Still a bigot.

    “Whether you like it or not, Sarah, you Christians have provided unbelievers with mass quantities of reasons to despise Christianity”

    Bollocks. The Christians who have done bad things have done things that provided unbelievers with reasons to despise them

    “So you can just fucking well get over yourself and fucking well deal with it, Sarah.
    Or, you know, you can continue to whine about how mee-ee-ean those nasty atheists are.”

    Nope. I’ll call out bigots when they say bigotted things. It’s not ‘mean’ to be a bigot. It just means you’re a shit human being.
    Group responsibility is bollocks and bigotted. Or are all white people to blame for the crimes of white people in the past?

  12. #12 Prometheus
    February 15, 2011

    Sarah@#11

    “Does this comparably small sample size justify her generalising to “Christians”… nope. Still a bigot.”

    I don’t think you understand the difference between a generalization and a pejorative. I know you don’t know how to spell them.

    I think you underestimate her sample size. I know the cumulative experience of the whole of western civilization with the christian religion is an adequate sample to form a legitimately disparate opinion.

    I think you think holding a disparate opinion based on a small sample is sufficient to be categorized as a bigot. I know, by your assessment of ERV as a “shit human being”, you are by your own criteria a bigot.

    Short version: You are, based on the sample of thought provided, an ignoramus.

  13. #13 ERV
    February 15, 2011

    Weird!

    Someone with the same handle as ‘Sarah’ with the same IP# as ‘Sarah’ posted on another thread at ERV on Christianity and HIV!

    *That* Sarah lied about HIV-1 statistics (either stupidly or maliciously) to defend the actions of ‘raping children is totally cool’ Ratzinger!

    And then *this* Sarah shows up to preach to everyone about how judging Christians based on their actions is just so *mean*.

    What a crazy random happenstance!

  14. #14 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    Shorter Cubist: Some Christians have done bad things therefore it is ok to be a bigot about Christians

  15. #15 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    You are the one throwing around accusations of being “mean”, I’ve made an uncontroversial point about why being prejudiced against an entire group of people makes you a bigot.

    That was me before, I think, it was so long ago I barely remember. Your definition of “lie” is stupid, I’m either right or wrong, no lying involved. Your understanding of what I was arguing is pathetic and your description innaccurate.

  16. #16 Prometheus
    February 15, 2011

    “I’ve made an uncontroversial point about why being prejudiced against an entire group of people makes you a bigot.”

    No. You made a divisive and morally bankrupt extrapolation from a observable pejorative of a dominant oppressive group to ‘racism’ which makes you an ignoramus….and a giant crap weasel.

  17. #17 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    So… no actual reasoning why she isn’t being a bigot then? I guess it’s just too “mean” to point out that prejudice is prejudice whoever it’s against.

  18. #18 Prometheus
    February 15, 2011

    “….prejudice is prejudice whoever it’s against.”

    huh?

    Prejudice and bigotry are not synonyms.

    Read a book.

    For a statement to be bigoted;

    1. No such statistical correlation exists

    2. There is no good reason for believing in such a correlation.

    3. The extrapolation drawn must be a negative one.

    4. The attitude must be part of a pattern or structure that has a serious impact or has the potential to have a serious impact on people’s lives, or it reflects or helps cement the existing stratification of society.

    Reasoned enough ding dong?

    Prove that ERV’s statements meet the criteria or you get to be the crap weasel.

  19. #19 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    Much better.

    Yep, those are some nice criteria there:

    “1. No such statistical correlation exists

    2. There is no good reason for believing in such a correlation.

    3. The extrapolation drawn must be a negative one.

    4. The attitude must be part of a pattern or structure that has a serious impact or has the potential to have a serious impact on people’s lives, or it reflects or helps cement the existing stratification of society.”

    Unfortunately, as I am not the one asserting anything about the character of any group of people the burden of proof is not on me to prove that “No such statistical correlation exists”

    If I said that Christians are great, then I would need to provide a statistical correlation between Christians and being great. ERV is asserting that Christians are shit, it’s on her to provide the statistical correlation.

    As it stands she easily qualifies for 1-3, so she’s being a bigot.

    4 is just stupid: So an American bigot hates black people, then there is a revolution and the Black Panthers take over, magically reversing all social advantages*… he is now not a bigot, because he no longer fulfilling no. 4
    Yeah

    *If you lack imagination you can say “he moves to Somalia”, if you prefer. It doesn’t matter, either way he no longer qualifies for no. 4

  20. #20 jaranath
    February 15, 2011

    I can appreciate how you feel, Sarah. You see someone making characterizations you don’t identify with about a group you do identify with. You think (and more importantly, feel): “Wait, that’s not ME. I don’t do those things! How DARE she say that about me!”

    There are a few problems here. Technically there’s a kernel of truth to your objection to generalization; I dislike it and try to avoid it when possible. Generalization is by no means necessarily bigotry, but it can often contribute to it.

    But I think you’re missing the challenge here. Your reaction is to the disparity between your characterization and your own self-image. You could reject the characterization by default, but this is also an opportunity to carefully evaluate your self-image. Why would someone generalize Christian behavior as “selfish” and “disgusting”? Have you explored that question, or did you go directly to “nuh-UH!” If you did explore it, did you give it fair consideration, or did you select a few appealing anecdotes of “Christian bad apples” and “atheist anger” to conclude bigotry?

    Have you read The God Delusion? I think you’d find the sections on moderate Christianity and the “well that’s not ME” protest informative. I don’t think you’ve seriously, honestly tried to understand our perspective. There’s a lot more meat to our objections to Christianity in general (and most religion, as practiced) than you appear to see. I put the tendency to shout “persecution!” and “bigotry!” any time the centuries-dominant belief system is criticized at the top of the list. It would at least be a little more compelling if society didn’t have a collective heart attack every time a comedian’s publicly atheist.

  21. #21 Prometheus
    February 15, 2011

    Sarah @#19

    “Unfortunately, as I am not the one asserting anything about the character of any group of people the burden of proof is not on me to prove that “No such statistical correlation exists”

    Again with feeling…huh?

    You are asserting bigotry. The burden of proof is on you to prove the accusation of bigotry.

    Since you didn’t understand the definition until twenty minutes ago you really haven’t met that burden.

    “As it stands she easily qualifies for 1-3, so she’s being a bigot.”

    Why, because you say so? Proof please, and good luck with that.

    Still a Crap Weasel.

    “So an American bigot hates black people, then there is a revolution and the Black Panthers take over, magically reversing all social advantages*… he is now not a bigot, because he no longer fulfilling no. 4
    Yeah”

    Yes.

    Think about that a little harder dear.

    Still a Crap Weasel.

    I strongly recommend an undergraduate level ethics class, or maybe just a walk out of doors.

    Of course there is the ever increasing possibility that your brain is in backwards in which case…..well….you have yourself a super duper day.

  22. #22 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    Thank you for your kind reply jaranath, now you’re going to make me feel bad for having short shrift with those people who replied as briefly as I originally posted.

    There are a few problems here. Technically there’s a kernel of truth to your objection to generalization; I dislike it and try to avoid it when possible. Generalization is by no means necessarily bigotry, but it can often contribute to it.”

    It’s true that not all generalisations are bigotry. But all un-evidenced negative generalisations about specific groups of people are bigotry. And that’s what her comment was.

    “Your reaction is to the disparity between your characterization and your own self-image.”

    Nope. I’m, as you can see on this thread, short tempered, unwilling to tolerate fools and bigots, and further than that I am often selfish, and pretty disgusting.
    If she’d said “Sarah eats all the ice cream and pisses in the bath, she’s so selfish and disgusting” I would not have been able to object to that. It would not have been bigotry. It would be a specific claim about a person.

    What I’m objecting to is people posting bigotted opinions about what they expect from ‘Christians’. I’m entirely aware of the bad things that have caused some people to say bigotted anti-Christian things.
    But I am highly unconvinced by the claim “Oh no, in this case unevidenced negative generalisations about a specific group are not bigotted, because [they're religious; other Christians have done plenty of bad things; other reasons; etc]

    Unless someone has a really great reason why this kind of statement is not bigotry, then it definitely is.

    “I don’t think you’ve seriously, honestly tried to understand our perspective.”

    Well I’ve just met you. There’s still time. :D
    But I’m not making a wider point about your objections to Christianity in general, I’m specifically referring to this single sentence of undeniable bigotry.
    I get the impression that I’d enjoy a wider conversation with you and might learn a lot, but I don’t think this is the time or place where we would have it.

    “It would at least be a little more compelling if society didn’t have a collective heart attack every time a comedian’s publicly atheist.”

    Definitely not ‘society’ here then. I’ve been a fan of Ricky since before/at the same time as the 11 O’Clock Show when he was writing articles, my current favourite comedian is Stewart Lee*, and I recently saw Christ on a Bike by Richard Herring.

    Thanks once again for the considered reply, I do still disagree with you still, though you made some good points. But I feel you’re having a wider ranging and deeper conversation than the single issue point I’m making here.

    * I highly highly recommend him. Do check him out. Though a fellow fan and friend of mine has cooled on him since he saw him at Edinburgh and found him unimpressive. An atheist friend I should say, so it’s not the religious vapours that caused that opinion shift.

  23. #23 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    “You are asserting bigotry. The burden of proof is on you to prove the accusation of bigotry.”

    Ok: “But Im an atheist whos lived with Christians my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his selfish, disgusting behavior, because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*”

    Is bigotted because it qualifies under your own criteria:

    “1. No such statistical correlation exists

    2. There is no good reason for believing in such a correlation.

    3. The extrapolation drawn is a negative one.”

    QED

    “”So an American bigot hates black people, then there is a revolution and the Black Panthers take over, magically reversing all social advantages*… he is now not a bigot, because he no longer fulfilling no. 4
    Yeah”

    Yes.

    Think about that a little harder dear.

    Oh GOODY! Sophomoric sexism. Don’t bother your pretty little head about it.

    Your argument is stupid, you are stupid. Your definition of bigot fails on criteria #4 and you have no defence for that. Don’t fall back on condescending sexism to cover your arse.

    So, unless you have some stunning rejoinder to address my QED, we can consider your objection dealt with.

  24. #24 jaranath
    February 15, 2011

    I don’t think you’re out of line to request more evidence or explanation. But this:

    “But I’m not making a wider point about your objections to Christianity in general, I’m specifically referring to this single sentence of undeniable bigotry.”

    …is actually my point, and I think many others’. Religion in general, and Christianity in particular, enjoys an unearned deference in our culture. Theists seem to interpret any challenge to that privilege in an unreasonably negative way. I do think that’s selfish and that it’s fair for us to object to it. Of course, that is a personal impression, but I’m fairly comfortable with it as it’s been a consistent theme even in my interactions with moderates, and I think you can draw that interpretation from polling results on religion in culture and politics. It’s not that Americans tend to be more like Fred Phelps, but rather that Americans tend to neither know nor care what “faith-based initiatives are, don’t see the problem when they do, and don’t see a problem with courts deciding taxpayers have no standing to challenge them. And Americans tend to share more of Phelps’ ideas than they realize, despite their genuine revulsion toward the man.

    Note that I don’t mind that we’re often described as being hostile to religion; many of us are, and I think often (though not always) appropriately so. Indeed that’s another bone of contention, as reflected in battles over attempts to socially or legally enforce respect for religion.

  25. #25 Poodle Stomper
    February 15, 2011

    I’m actually going to have to agree with Sarah. To say “But Im an atheist whos lived with Christians my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his selfish, disgusting behavior, because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*” implies that Christians in general have those same behavioural traits. It’s true that if you look at the Phelps or Hinns of this world (being that they are some of the more publicly known figures) and assume that they are representative of the whole, that such a statement could seem true. However, there are many Christians that are very nice people (just like there are many Muslims that are not terrorists). ERV could have done a better job at specifying that perhaps those she lived with her entire life were crap-bags. Just because some Christians are crap bags doesn’t mean they all are. Implying otherwise can definitely come off as bigoted even if it wasn’t the intent. People can be crap-bags in general, be they theists, atheists, agnostics, black, white, male, female, ect… but that doesn’t mean we should judge the whole on the actions of a subset.

  26. #26 FormerChristian/NewAtheist
    February 15, 2011

    Sounds like Morrison is an arsehole and a Christian. He’d probably be an arsehole if he were an atheist. Of course his behavior is despicable by any standards, but “Sarah” has a good point (maybe one).

    Specifically about this —
    “But Im an atheist whos lived with Christians my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his selfish, disgusting behavior, because thats what I expect from them.”

    Replace “Christian” with women, African-American, or Jew, and there would certainly be a chorus of complaints about ERV’s prejudices or bigoted statements (and we can parse the definition of bigotry, but come on, the spirit is certainly bigoted).

    But ERV can write whatever she wants. It’s her blog.

    I am a little embarrassed that Sarah would include, in her post railing against anti-Christian sentiment, the epithet “scummy Atheists,” which also is an example of bigotry (by the definition provided by Prometheus). I have to admit, I have never met a scum-laden atheist, but I would imagine that even if I had met a few or a lot, I wouldn’t assume that all atheists were “scummy”.

    Even so (bear with me here), and I know many will disagree with me, equating bigoted statements about the majority rulers with bigoted statements about minorities is, I dunno, wrong. ERV should absolutely be called out for false dichotomy/bigotry, but there’s something just wrong with Christians arguing that they’re somehow the persecuted victims in all these arguments.

    Any person should be called out on bad behavior, but when the people in power are doing the bad/stupid/dangerous acts, the ramifications can be much more serious (kind of like when the Health Minister in South Africa urged people with AIDS to take herbal remedies-true villainy).

    So if ERV starts running the country (an atheist and woman president — a dream come true) and saying things like, “all Christians are selfish and disgusting,” Sarah maybe oughta be worried.

  27. #27 Prometheus
    February 15, 2011

    “Think about that a little harder dear.

    Oh GOODY! Sophomoric sexism.”

    That is a form of address I use for little children of both genders.

    I think you just proved the application is appropriate…dear.

    Criteria four is the damage and position criteria. The accusation is moot unless it is fulfilled because the statement (no matter how mean you think it is) isn’t bigoted unless it does something. Otherwise it is just noise.

  28. #28 Poodle Stomper
    February 15, 2011

    I’m curious where you got those criteria, Pro. The definition for bigot/bigotry/bigoted that I find do not include those (although I admit that I’m simply perusing dictionary.com). The only criteria needed by those definitions is an intolerance for ideas/people/ect… that differ from one’s own. If ERV did mean exactly what the statement she made seems to say (I’m leaving open the possibility that she was simply being unclear in her writing) then it would appear to fit the definition. I would hope that she would realize the fallacy of “all people of group X I know suck, thus all group X people suck”. (paraphrased).

  29. #29 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    “…is actually my point, and I think many others’. Religion in general, and Christianity in particular, enjoys an unearned deference in our culture. Theists seem to interpret any challenge to that privilege in an unreasonably negative way. I do think that’s selfish and that it’s fair for us to object to it.”

    You’re right, and you’re right to object, but I would differentiate between demanding unearned deference and being able to expect that people won’t make unevidenced negative generalisations about us. As FormerChristian/NewAthiest says, it’s what we’d expect for other groups.

    “Note that I don’t mind that we’re often described as being hostile to religion; many of us are, and I think often (though not always) appropriately so. Indeed that’s another bone of contention, as reflected in battles over attempts to socially or legally enforce respect for religion.”

    I would oppose any attempts to legally enforce respect, but I am happy to socially oppose unfair disrespect for religion, atheism, and any number of other things. If a friend starts spouting off about “dirty amoral atheists- you know they CAN’T have morals” I’m going to tell him that he’s an idiot and a bigot. Ditto similar comments about Muslims, Christians, Jews etc.
    Luckily you mostly only see that sort of stuff online, at least if you live around here.

    FormerChristian/NewAtheist:“I am a little embarrassed that Sarah would include, in her post railing against anti-Christian sentiment, the epithet “scummy Atheists,” which also is an example of bigotry (by the definition provided by Prometheus). I have to admit, I have never met a scum-laden atheist, but I would imagine that even if I had met a few or a lot, I wouldn’t assume that all atheists were “scummy”.

    Um. That was my impression of a bigot. So I guess I nailed it?:

    “And I expect only idiocy and vitriol from scummy atheists… oh no wait I’m not a bigot.

    Hooray?

    You’re right of course, minority bigotry will have far less effect than majority bigotry. I referenced that disparity in my first comment when I said: “when we substitute a truly disadvantaged group”. But I could have been more explicit.

  30. #30 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    “That is a form of address I use for little children of both genders.

    I think you just proved the application is appropriate…dear.”

    My mistake. Sophomoric condescension, much better.

    “Criteria four is the damage and position criteria. The accusation is moot unless it is fulfilled because the statement (no matter how mean you think it is) isn’t bigoted unless it does something. Otherwise it is just noise.”

    That doesn’t make any sense – that’s just the difference between a bigoted statement or belief and a bigoted action.
    Are you saying that no statement can be bigoted unless it is accompanied by bigoted action?

    I second Poodle’s question about the source of this criteria. I’ve not seen it before.

  31. #31 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    jaranath:
    “Of course, that is a personal impression, but I’m fairly comfortable with it as it’s been a consistent theme even in my interactions with moderates, and I think you can draw that interpretation from polling results on religion in culture and politics.”

    To tangent a little, I’d be very interested if you posted some examples of things that even moderates would demand unearned deference for. I’d like to see if I would agree with any of them. I predict not, but it’d be interesting to see.

  32. #32 ERV
    February 15, 2011

    *bored*

    I didnt realize what I wrote was unclear.

    When the obvious happens, the normal reaction is not to be surprised. The normal reaction is to shrug, or ignore the situation all together (OMFG! THE SUN CAME UP AGAIN TODAY!! WHAT IS GOING ON???).

    Someone screaming about how Christian they are, while behaving despicably, is not surprising.

    Take dear Sarah, here. She is a fine upstanding Christian who cares more about making sure Christianity is respected, rather than the OPs she has commented on (The Popes deadly position on HIV, Morrisons deadly position on HIV). Her position of choice is retarded post-modernism “U KANT CALL ME BIGUTTED CAUSE THATS NOT RESPECTING ME SO UR BIGUTTED!” aka the “I KNOW U ARE BUT WAT AM I??” philosophy. A mindless need to defend her/his in-group from an out-group. No thought, no introspection, mindless.

    Im not impressed, and Im not surprised.

    It would have been surprising if Sarah had gone to Wikipedia, and compared HIV-1 incidence rates to % Catholicism, and admitted s/he made a mistake. S/He didnt.

    It would have been surprising if Sarah had said something along the lines of “People like Morrison do more harm to the name of God and Christianity than any atheist could. We need to do better” or “I think the church could take some blame for this. HIV is a real problem, and many churches still take stereotypical positions, or refuse to discuss it altogether, and thats unacceptable. We need to do better”. S/He didnt.

    Not surprised.

    *shrug*

  33. #33 Sarah
    February 15, 2011

    Your post makes no sense. No one has called me bigotted, you are the only person who has been called bigotted. And I’m calling you bigotted because of your undeniably bigotted statement:

    “But Im an atheist whos lived with Christians my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his selfish, disgusting behavior, because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*”

    You’re not surprised that I didn’t address an old question on a dead thread? Neither am I.

    Will you address the bigotted nature of your statment?

  34. #34 ERV
    February 15, 2011

    Its like talking to a fucking goldfish.

  35. #35 Prometheus
    February 15, 2011

    Poodle Stomper@#28

    “I’m curious where you got those criteria, Pro. The definition for bigot/bigotry/bigoted that I find do not include those (although I admit that I’m simply perusing dictionary.com). The only criteria needed by those definitions is an intolerance for ideas/people/ect… that differ from one’s own.”

    Then I am describing them poorly. My bad.

    The criteria are from applied/heuristic models in ethics.

    We all acknowledge that bigotry is bad but can a thing that does nothing be practically bad? It has to do something tangibly negative to our society, thus the fourth criteria, that so confuses Sarah, requires true bigotry be the servant of an existing irrational social power differential.

    If it fulfills criteria 1-3 but not four it is at worst (in the very real modern ethical applied philosophical context presently best described by H.G. Frankfurt)bullshit.

  36. #36 Prometheus
    February 15, 2011

    p.s. Hey! You can teach a goldfish.

    Misichthopist.

  37. #37 Poodle Stomper
    February 15, 2011

    Soooooo…hypothetically if two people were rabidly anti-gay and one was an influential politician and the other some backwoods hillbilly that had no influence in society, only the politician could be accurately labeled a bigot?

    I admit I’m not much one for philosophy (my background is in bio) but that seems strange. Eh, all the more reason for me to stick to my DNA. That makes sense to me =P

    @Erv, I’ve grown up around a lot of Christians, too. I’ve seen some very good people among them as well as some very bad ones. To say you expect “selfish, disgusting behavior” from someone because they call themselves Christian is just as stupid as for a Christian to say that they expect a person to be amoral simply because they are atheists (I realize some have said this and it’s a stupid statement to make, imo). Yep, some will be amoral but others will be some of the greatest people you could hope to meet. This applies to any group of people. Let’s try not to judge an entire group on the loudest subsets.

  38. #38 Prometheus
    February 15, 2011

    Poodle Stomper@#37

    “Soooooo…hypothetically if two people were rabidly anti-gay and one was an influential politician and the other some backwoods hillbilly that had no influence in society, only the politician could be accurately labeled a bigot?”

    They are reinforcing the same irrational prejudice against a minority to sustain power differentials in an abusive status quo, just to different degrees. So no, ethically both bigots.

    In her context erv’s statements may be fallacious or unfounded, they may be bullshit or lies or even defamatory but she is writing about an overwhelming majority that has been quite candid about depriving her minority (atheists) of a voice socially and politically in her greater society. Her statements thus serve to deprive persons who have unmerited power over her of that power.

    I know. Too long. Sorry, I have a massive head cold and I don’t think I was supposed to combine the cough syrup and the nasal spray.

    Bigotry is the act of adding insult to injury.

    Midwestern American Christianity is hale, hearty and tax free.

    Erv may be insulting but she isn’t a bigot.

  39. #39 John C. Welch
    February 15, 2011

    I don’t think rampant hypocrisy is particularly unique to christians. It’s a human trait. I don’t think that demanding deference to whatever imaginary sky god someone believes in is a particularly christian trait either. Everyone’s ox is sacred, it’s that OTHER guy’s ox you need to gore.

    The fact that Sarah is willing to overlook her group’s hypocrisy and idiocy to make sure she points out what she sees as hypocrisy and idiocy from every group she doesn’t like is no more surprising than an eel not being particularly good at riding a bicycle. She’s human. Do you really expect anything better?

    I agree with carlin. Individuals can have all sorts of admirable traits. Any group with a permanence beyond “lunch”, has none. As soon as any group of people start talking about some magical collective, they’re doomed. United Way, Catholics, Jews for Jesus, whatever. They’re all stupid, and they’re all going to cause as many problems as they think they solve.

    Sarah is no stupider, or intolerant than anyone else who identifies as part of a group before they identify as a person. Once you give up your identity to some other entity, you’re pretty much done being useful as a person.

  40. #40 jaranath
    February 16, 2011

    “I’d be very interested if you posted some examples…”

    Kinda already did. Again, it’s not that we’re Fred Phelps, it’s that we share many of his ideas. It’s that we seem to think it’s okay that religion enjoy a place of privilege. It’s that public atheism is controversial. It’s that we pretend “under god” is a secular phrase. It’s that people like Bryan Fischer share stages with presidential candidates.

  41. #41 Poodle Stomper
    February 16, 2011

    Pro,
    Thanks for taking the time to answer. I suppose it makes sense from a philosophy/ethics perspective but I will stick with the commonly used dictionary definition partly because I’m not a philosophy/ethics person but mostly because it is the common understanding of the word (unless everyone refers to it as the heuristics definition in which case I’m waaaay behind in my understanding of the English language). I hope you get better. Head colds suck.

    As for the comments that Sarah overlooked the hypocrisy rampant in parts of the Christian community, I don’t necessarily think that it is necessary for her to apologize for the actions of others to make her calling out of ERV’s statement valid. Sarah no more needs to apologize here for the actions of other Christians than I need to apologize to on Christian boards for the actions of atheists/agnostics/misc. The fact that Sarah did not mention specific examples of hipocrisy in the Christian community also does not indicate that she overlooks it. Maybe she does and maybe she doesn’t but we cannot make a definite conclusion from the posts (absence of evidence is not evidence of absence)

    Is Morrison an ass-hat for being willing to expose his opponent to HIV just so that he can make money and get back into boxing? Absolutely! Is he using his religion to justify his actions? Yep. If he weren’t identifying himself as Christian, would he have another reason to justify his actions instead? More than likely. He’s a crap bag. As John stated above, hypocrisy is a human trait. Being a crap-bag is, too.

  42. #42 ERV
    February 16, 2011

    *still bored*

    OMFG! A train that goes past my apartment every morning at 7.21 am went past my apartment at 7.21 am THIS MORNING! WHAT IS GOING ON?? IS THIS REAL LIFE???

    OMFG! A PRIEST COVERED UP CHILD RAPE??? WHAT??? WHAT???

    OMFG! A FAMILY VALUES REPUBLICAN WAS TROLLING FOR ANON SEX ON CRAIGSLIST??? AAAAAAAAAH I DONT UNDERSTAND!!!

    Every day must be so exciting for some people…

  43. #43 the backpacker
    February 16, 2011

    Ok enough feeding the trolls.

    I am sorry if this was covered some where in the comments of part 1 or 2 but is there any consensus/data on the possibility of HIV infection in contact sports? As I Judo this caught my attention. In Judo even the smallest drop of blood is treated with bleach and you can’t go on until the bleeding is totally stopped but things happen and the sport is fast so at times a bloody nose bleeds for a few seconds. Just wondering if I should start lobbing for HIV testing for all adult competitors.

  44. #44 ERV
    February 16, 2011

    I am aware of no sport-related transmission of HIV-1… but a big part of that is exactly what you said:

    In Judo even the smallest drop of blood is treated with bleach and you can’t go on until the bleeding is totally stopped but things happen and the sport is fast so at times a bloody nose bleeds for a few seconds.

    And, with most sports, drawing blood is frowned upon, even in martial arts. Its not like “Karate Kid”– even in college taekwondo competitions, if you drew blood, you lost, automatically (you did not have control of your body, and you hurt your opponent. game over). Scrapes and cuts happen in other sports, but its an accident.

    Boxing is different.

    MMA is very, very different.

    But assuming Judo is like other martial arts, where accidents happen, but you arent drawing blood every class all class every class, the precautions you currently take (get the bleeding to stop, bleach everything down) is sufficient.

  45. #45 John C. Welch
    February 16, 2011

    Indeed. Outside of boxing/MMA/other “unlimited” kinds of things, there is a lot of emphasis on control. I’ve seen a lot of people disqualified on the spot for knocking someone out, as it showed a complete lack of control over what you’re doing.

    (Contrary to popular belief, being fast enough to get a high kick past someone’s block, yet controlled enough to only “lightly” touch them with said kick is not anything close to easy.)

  46. #46 Poodle Stomper
    February 16, 2011

    @ERV
    This is the last post for me on this b/c you have another excellent post up to distract my on SV40…

    OMFG! A train that goes past my apartment every morning at 7.21 am went past my apartment at 7.21 am THIS MORNING! WHAT IS GOING ON?? IS THIS REAL LIFE???

    This is the same fallacy you made earlier. Just because a train passes your house at 7:21 doesn’t mean they all do. Just as with your previously critiqued statement, this is a “Proof by example” fallacy. AIDS deniers use the same (Some positive results on HIV tests can be false positives, thus they all are). I really hoped you’d be able to at least admit to such a mistake since this is my second favorite blog here on Scienceblogs (Orac takes #1). It is in the nature of science to be wrong sometimes and to have to admit to it. I’m off to read your new post.

  47. #47 Poodle Stomper
    February 16, 2011

    John is quite correct. I’ve been in martial arts for over 17 years now and used to do tournaments quite frequently (in my younger years). There is very little blood shed in the non-MMA type sparring matches.

  48. #48 Sarah
    February 16, 2011

    Yeah, it must be soo boring being shown to be an unapologetic bigot in black and white. I feel for you.

    As it has been noted by people who aren’t me, all defences for the sentence have failed, all attacks on me – as if were I a hypocrite you would magically not be a bigot any more – have failed. Do I get a prize?

    Bu-bye.

  49. #49 ERV
    February 16, 2011

    This is the same fallacy you made earlier. Just because a train passes your house at 7:21 doesn’t mean they all do.
    I am not surprised ever that trains go by, because they do all the time. Im especially not surprised at the 7.21 am train.

    Im not surprised when Christians, who claim a moral superiority, behave in selfish, disgusting ways, because they do all the time. Im especially not surprised when someone bellowing “GOD BLESS YOU! I AM A CHRISTIAN! IM A CHRIIIIIIISTIAAAAAN!!!!” behaves in selfish, disgusting ways.

    But Im a female whos worked with males in science my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his sexist behavior, because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*

    But Im an African American whos been the only African American in Atheist/Skeptics groups my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his racist comments, because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*

    Those comments could be made by any minority who has dealt with a lifetime of BS from the majority, to the point of total disillusionment and distrust. Expectations are at the bottom of the barrel.

    I would completely expect a male of some stripe to come along and say “HEY NOT ALL MEN ARE BAD! UR SEXIST TOO!” or a white person to say “HEY NOT ALL WHITES ARE BAD! UR RACIST TOO!”, but that doesnt negate the emotions of the speaker, nor do those emotions make the speaker a sexist/racist.

    Sarah– I dont care. ERV is an open forum, unless youre spamming. Come and go as you please, I get paid no matter who comments.

  50. #50 Pete D
    February 16, 2011

    Because we all know that denying reality and making shit up can’t possibly be disgusting or selfish. AMIRITE?

  51. #51 ERV
    February 16, 2011

    Thats a technicality. You should be more open to different ways of knowing, Pete. I mean, in a way, everyone is right, because we all create our own realities.

    *spaced out look*

  52. #52 Pete D
    February 16, 2011

    I am. That’s why I have my magic 8 ball http://www.m8ball.com/index.php?answer=1928441

  53. #53 the backpacker
    February 16, 2011

    That sounds reasonable. I would say Judo is somewhere between MMA and “striking arts” for lack of a better term. It is a full contact sport so maybe more along the lines of Hockey. You and your opponent are both going full steam but there is no punching or kicking (think wrestling in a Gi) but it is rarely a blood bath and never the likes of the MMA. So that makes me feel better.
    I will have health insurance again in a few weeks so I can hit the mat again and not worry about it woo hoo.

  54. #54 ragarth
    February 17, 2011

    Sarah, I think you’re going about this all wrong. The point you’re attempting to make is that ERV’s statement is an unsupported generalization. The problem here is, the only information you have as to what basis she has to generalize from is what she tells you, and you have no reason to assume she’s lying.

    If we assume she’s not lying, and that it is true that every christian she’s gotten to know closely is a self-absorbed disgusting jerk, then her generalization based upon her own knowledge is self-consistent. If her conclusions are consistent with her knowledge, then the proper way to change those conclusions is not to squeal “YOU’RE A BIGOT” because then you look, in comparison to her existing base of knowledge, to be self-deluded. (hence the responses you received).

    A better tactic would be to show some empathy for her position, understand where she’s coming from, and provide examples showing that her generalization is false.

    Unfortunately you chose to scream bigot and not back up your claim by proving her wrong.

  55. #55 theshortearedowl
    February 17, 2011

    @ ragarth

    Actually, Abbie’s wording made her generalisation completely supportable – she didn’t say all Christians are selfish fuckwits, only that she’s not surprised when she comes across ones that are.

    And I really love that she won’t make the unnecessary caveat/apology for some illogical tone troll hypocrite.

    @ Poodle Stomper

    This is the same fallacy you made earlier. Just because a train passes your house at 7:21 doesn’t mean they all do.

    No, in the same way that just because you dropped an apple and it fell to earth 9 times doesn’t mean that the 10th time it won’t change into a pixie and fly away. But you’d have to be pretty stupid not to spot the pattern…

  56. #56 ragarth
    February 17, 2011

    @theshortearedowl

    Notice I personally never called her a bigot, but was rather pointing out the flaw in Sarah’s argument stemming from the assumption that she was.

    I personally agree with ERV. While it is true that I’ve met good and kind Christians, my experience has been those that aren’t self-centered and morally-repugnant rotting piles of detritus have tended to be those who don’t let their religion define who they are.

  57. #57 Sarah
    February 18, 2011

    Sarah, I think you’re going about this all wrong. The point you’re attempting to make is that ERV’s statement is an unsupported generalization. The problem here is, the only information you have as to what basis she has to generalize from is what she tells you, and you have no reason to assume she’s lying.”

    Doesn’t matter what information she’s generalising from. Unless she has a study her anecdata is not enough to generalise from without being a bigot.
    I don’t doubt that she has met many awful Christians, it’s generalising from that experience that makes her a bigot.

    “If we assume she’s not lying, and that it is true that every christian she’s gotten to know closely is a self-absorbed disgusting jerk, then her generalization based upon her own knowledge is self-consistent”

    Self consistent and bigotted. Listen: trufax I went to a expensive school full of rich, greedy pricks. It was also a Jewish school, so the vast majority of the pupils were Jewish. An accurate summary of the majority Jewish people I’ve known is that they’re rich money loving etc etc anti-semitic stereotypes.
    If I were to generalise from my experience to ‘Jewish people’ I would be a bigot.
    Like ERV

    Anecdata does not justify prejudice. You can come up with all the excuses for her in the world, but it doesn’t change what she said nor make it ok.

  58. #58 ragarth
    February 18, 2011

    Doesn’t matter. That wasn’t the thrust of her argument in the post, it was a personal interjection. If you were attacking her primary argument then you’d have a valid point, but instead you’re taking a side-comment with no bearing upon the issue at hand and squealing about that. This is Abbie’s personal soap-box, and there’s no rule stating that her blog must prove everything on it formally or logically. She is, after all, human and is therefore free to make statements in the normal conversational. Since this was a side-statement placed in for amusing reading, there’s no expectation for it to be proven formally.

    Besides, two logical fallacies don’t make a right. If you were truly interested in fixing people’s views, you would have avoided the ad hominem and instead done what I suggested in my first post to you and, you know, cite examples proving her wrong instead of squealing an insult at her.

  59. #59 Sarah
    February 18, 2011

    What? It’s her soap box so bigoted statements aren’t bigoted statements? That doesn’t make any sense.

    I’m not asking her to formally prove that Christians are nasty, I’m just pointing out that that generalisation is bigoted.

    I’m not trying to fix anyone either. Just pointing out the bigotry.
    I’ve no need to cite examples to show that unevidenced generalisations about very large groups of people are stupid. Nor do I need to insult her.

  60. #60 ragarth
    February 18, 2011

    “What? It’s her soap box so bigoted statements aren’t bigoted statements? That doesn’t make any sense.”

    Straw man arguments are terribly fun, aren’t they? Look, I don’t care about the fact that you eat marshmallows. That has no bearing upon this argument at all. So please don’t pontificate upon the wonder of fluffy sugar when it has no value to the argument at hand.

  61. #61 Sarah
    February 19, 2011

    It’s bigotry if it’s an unevidenced generalisation about a specific group of people, except:

    “This is Abbie’s personal soap-box, and there’s no rule stating that her blog must prove everything on it formally or logically”

    So according to you she doesn’t need evidence as it’s her blog. Yet it still isn’t bigotry. So yes, you’re saying:

    “It’s her soap box so bigoted statements aren’t bigoted statements”

    You’re also saying:

    “Since this was a side-statement placed in for amusing reading, there’s no expectation for it to be proven formally.

    and

    “If you were attacking her primary argument then you’d have a valid point”

    So you’re apparently also saying:

    “It’s her a side point so bigoted statements aren’t bigoted statements. If it was her primary argument then it would be bigotry”

    Which also makes no sense.

    Look, there’s simply no way that “Group X are selfish, and disgusting because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*” can be spun as anything but bigotry

    It doesn’t matter why you’ve developed this bigoted opinion. It doesn’t matter why you’re airing your bigoted opinion, or whether it’s your main point. It doesn’t matter if it’s your blog or a toilet wall you’re writing it on, the content of the opinion does not become less bigoted.

  62. #62 ragarth
    February 20, 2011

    Given up the ad hominems and moved on to strawmen I see.

    “But Im an atheist whos lived with Christians my entire life. So… Im just not surprised at his selfish, disgusting behavior, because thats what I expect from them.”

    does not equal

    “Group X are selfish, and disgusting because thats what I expect from them. *shrug*”

    but that’s not what I’m arguing. I’m neither defending nor rebutting Abbie’s argument because frankly I don’t care. I’m critiquing your poor logic and debate style as inferior for the objectives I presume you hold.

    Further, when did I make a value judgement to you supporting or recusing Abbie’s statement?

    In, “So according to you she doesn’t need evidence as it’s her blog. Yet it still isn’t bigotry.” Where did I say it was or was not bigotry?

    In, “It’s her a side point so bigoted statements aren’t bigoted statements. If it was her primary argument then it would be bigotry” where did I say her statement was or was not bigoted to begin with?

    Through this discussion I’ve had two argument of which you’ve utterly side-stepped in disengenious and under-handed ways. I’ve argued that your tactic fails for your presumed objective, that insults are a poor way to change people’s minds, and that Abbie need not prove every assertion in her posts regardless of the truth/untruth of said assertion so long as said assertion does not act to support the central argument of the post.

    Your arguing strawmen. You’re inventing my argument (and abbie’s now) for me. While I appreciate your attempts to help me, I fear you’re missing the point entirely by fighting these demons. Do pay more attention to what those about you are saying.

    Thus far, I’d say you’ve done a good job proving Abbie right. While I have nothing to asses whether you’re selfish (though your picking this point and showing zero empathy for the central point of her post does go a way towards me getting that feel for you), you’re reliance upon underhanded tactic in making your claim is rather disgusting behavior.

    In debate, I start off giving my opponent the benefit of the doubt. I started off giving you the benefit of the doubt. You’ve proven me wrong in assuming that you’d be a positive debate partner.

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