Pharyngula

Are you on this list?

It’s certainly inclusive.

i-234f5508872d9376210f8455699f8508-hells_most_wanted.jpg

Wait…sports fans?

Comments

  1. #1 Matlatzinca
    June 2, 2008

    I like the proximity of Evolutionists to Child Molesters.

  2. #2 ElJay
    June 2, 2008

    Sweet, I make the list for 6 ‘crimes’.

  3. #3 Justin
    June 2, 2008

    Too bad there is no such thing as a witch or a psychic…
    And it is pretty darn inclusive, I fall into seven by my own count. Now, what exactly is wrong with sitting down to watch a steelers game or the olympics from the fundie perspective?

  4. #4 M.Z.
    June 2, 2008

    One thing’s for sure: the housing market in Hell will never go bust.

  5. #5 Lord Zero
    June 2, 2008

    Damn… i fall in most of those categories…
    How many times i burn in hell ?
    Geez… the ones who make the sign deserve hell
    for their own definition… liars, hypocrites who
    were pot smoking several days in a row to come to
    the idea in the first place…
    PD: I have a question PZ… did you ever sleep ? Im in
    a totally different time zone and there is always a new thread… great fun anyway…

  6. #6 andyo
    June 2, 2008

    Those party-poopers! What’s a guy to do through life? Just sit and wait?

    By the way, the image link is bad.

  7. #7 Phledge
    June 2, 2008

    Aw, man, I only hit nine of these. And I’m not even a sports fan. Also, if you really put two and two together, most of America’s going to the pretend hot place–what other country is so “money-loving?”

  8. #8 JeffreyD
    June 2, 2008

    Damn, only six from that list, and after my poor showing on the science test, 8 of 12. Maybe I do not really belong here.

    Ciao

  9. #9 Lord Zero
    June 2, 2008

    Since E-Sport its a common place concept
    actually (lucky Koreans) does videogameplaying
    califies as Sport Fan ? and what about Martial Arts,
    they are not sports perse but…
    You know im thinking if this its inclusive enough…
    Hell must be crowded and those kinds of parties are
    better.

  10. #10 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    Hmmm. Looks like I am also on there a few times.

    Why is pot smoking and not tobacco smoking up there? (no offence to smokers) Tobacco “defiles” the body, which I think is the scriptural objection to it. Is it only because of the illegality of pot?

    In the Netherlands it’s legal and that happens to be where I live…… So looks like I’m free from eternal punishment on that one. :)

  11. #11 mikespeir
    June 2, 2008

    Ha! I’ve never had a drink in my life.

    Oh, wait. There’s more….

  12. #12 DrBadger
    June 2, 2008

    @#2, only 6?

  13. #13 Jim Lemire
    June 2, 2008

    Um, fornicators? Is reproduction outlawed now too?

  14. #14 Blake Stacey
    June 2, 2008

    Damn. I hate things which make me feel so moral: I seldom drink more than one beer, I don’t gamble, I find the vast majority of pornography to be either disgusting or boring. . . at least I’ve still got my acceptance of scientific fact to fall back upon.

  15. #15 Dave Munger
    June 2, 2008

    Talk about poll-crashing — PZ, you ought to make this a poll: how many of the list do you qualify for? I’d love to know the number of people who can honestly say “zero.”

  16. #16 Katie
    June 2, 2008

    Hehe… Lesbians AND homosexuals. That’s a two for one!

  17. #17 Barklikeadog
    June 2, 2008

    I made 12 of those… He he he. and none but one was a violation of law. Keep ‘em guessing.

  18. #18 Wicked
    June 2, 2008

    Whew!, I’m safe. I only mainline heroin and speed and the 49ers suck so bad its impossible to like sports.

  19. #19 Tex
    June 2, 2008

    Woohoo! 7 out of 22 for me. Does this mean I’ll only have to spend 1/3 of eternity in hell?

  20. #20 Kimpatsu
    June 2, 2008

    Hypocrites?
    So, that all the banner-waving fundamentalists, too.
    But don’t you think Norway’s going to get a little overcrowded as a result…?

  21. #21 A
    June 2, 2008

    No-one who hates sports fans can be all bad.

    What boggles me, however, is drunkards and pot smokers. Apparently tobacco smokers, methheads, heroinists, etc are welcome in Heaven?

  22. #22 Jamie Vaide
    June 2, 2008

    So rock ‘n’ roll, cigarettes and cocaine are okay? Happy days!

    Shame about the masturbating – all those poor damned teenagers…

  23. #23 gg
    June 2, 2008

    With the exception of the child molesters and hypocrites, that sign looks like a prescription for one kick-ass party! (And if we leave out the child molesters and hypocrites, we’ve barred the fundamentalists from the party.)

    I love how ‘murderers’ doesn’t make the list of “Hell’s most wanted,” BTW.

  24. #24 Bunk
    June 2, 2008

    I got a 12 if you count the stuff I’ve done, but aren’t currently up to. (Like smoking pot.) Okay I get an 11 if you don’t count the ones I’m not currently up to.

  25. #25 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    What if your just a Porn-enthusiast (just saying) and not a Porn-Lover.

    I’ve heard of war mongering or fear mongering (hint hint) but Whoremongering? What the hell is that?

  26. #26 Jim Lemire
    June 2, 2008

    dismiss my last post – I should have looked up the definition of “fornication” before I posted. Excuse my ignorance. :(

  27. #27 freelunch
    June 2, 2008

    But don’t you think Norway’s going to get a little overcrowded as a result…?

    There’s room for the overflow in Michigan.

  28. #28 Andreas Johansson
    June 2, 2008

    #21 was me, BTW. No idea what happened to my name there.

  29. #29 hje
    June 2, 2008

    Presumably the person holding the sign would disavow masturbating. That would then qualify them to be a liar.

    As in Real Genius:

    Mitch: [As the voice of Jesus] Hi Kent. Have you been touching yourself?
    Kent: Yes. I mean, NO!

  30. #30 Theron
    June 2, 2008

    I wanted to write some parody bible verse in the style of Leviticus on the subject of sports fans, but how does one parody the notion that sports fans are among “Hell’s Most Wanted”? I at least am neither brilliant enough nor caffeinated enough this morning to pull it off.

  31. #31 AJ
    June 2, 2008

    To my knowledge, methheads are tolerated. Doesn’t the bible even tell the story of that really old guy, what was he called… Methusareh?

  32. #32 No One of Consequence
    June 2, 2008

    Wow, I’ve either done, claimed to do, or convinced people I’ve done almost everything on the list – except maybe for the really bad ones like child molester and repenting and turning to Jesus.

  33. #33 Keith
    June 2, 2008

    I have, at one time or another, been or done 12 of the things on that list. 13 if you count playing basketball in high school as being a sports fan. But then, I didn’t really like sports and did it out of peer pressure, so that would be hypocrisy. I’m up to 14!

    15 if you count the occasional lottery ticket as gambling.

  34. #34 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    Please also dismiss my ignorance. I just looked up “monger”.

    Though my dictionary says it is chiefly british.
    “Take me to your Monger…?”
    I don’t know.

  35. #35 Dan
    June 2, 2008

    It’s nice to see the Whore-Mongers finally getting some press. Really, people. It’s hard out there for a pimp.

  36. #36 Chiadro
    June 2, 2008

    They list both homosexuals and lesbians. Lesbians are homosexuals. They could have eliminated the redundancy and made space for a category that wasn’t quite important enough to make their list. Perhaps bisexuals, adulterers, or murderers. Well, maybe not murderers. Hell apparently isn’t big on violent crime.

  37. #37 Ben
    June 2, 2008

    11 out of 22 – not bad. I guess I’m already halfway to hell. That’s how I like to describe it to my family most of whom are devout Catholics.

  38. #38 shiftysquid
    June 2, 2008

    I hit 11 of them. Glad to have my spot in Hell confirmed. I had always only suspected it. I’m gonna be the managing editor of the Hades Picayune. No shortage of news and scandal down there. After all, I hear Lucifer is a HUGE Yankees fan.

  39. #39 Andrew
    June 2, 2008

    I’m on there 14 times too!

  40. #40 freelunch
    June 2, 2008

    I do love how this clown manages to spend so much time on sexually oriented ‘sins’, yet misses the one forbidden in the Decalogue, adultery.

    Serena, I had always thought that the whoremonger was the pimp, the seller of the whore, but, apparently, some people use the word to mean the john.

  41. #41 Dayna
    June 2, 2008

    It’s a good thing for these folks that NASCAR isn’t a sport.

  42. #42 Token
    June 2, 2008

    Fifteen – top score!

  43. #43 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 2, 2008

    Kick ass. 12 for me.

    I am SOOO going to be a big hit with that goat guy.

  44. #44 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    Freelunch.

    Really?
    I assume you mean the “john” as in the “trick” or “client” and not the “potty”.
    :)
    I learn so many things here!

  45. #45 baley
    June 2, 2008

    I have 8 of those characteristics. I am not as much hypocrite as those American Talebans!

  46. #46 Christopher Olson
    June 2, 2008

    I admit it, I’m a porn-loving psychic.

  47. #47 Matt
    June 2, 2008

    Ten! Woo!

  48. #48 Jason Failes
    June 2, 2008

    I got eight, but I could never deny my atheism, or my evolutionistismiatity, without becoming a hypocrite.

    Damned if you do…

  49. #49 Missyann Thrope
    June 2, 2008

    Wow. Only 9 out of 22. I should try harder this weekend.

    And just let me echo – SPORTS FANS?! Seriously, WTF is up with that?

  50. #50 Necronomikron
    June 2, 2008

    blasphemer, money-lover, atheist, evolutionist, masturbator and porn-lover. Hmm, looks like I’m doing well. Maybe I should go out and add fornication, gambling and drunkard to the list?

  51. #51 J-Dog
    June 2, 2008

    Interesting… Potsmokers are going to hell, but nothing about crack, heroin, amphetamines, HGH etc.

    Even MORE interesting is that the person responsible for making the sign IS on the list… filed right under “Hypocrites”.

    Another clue that the sign-make is not the sharpest Crayola in the box – they totally wasted a line by listing both homosexuals and then making a separate line for lesbians. (Hey knucklehead – one sort of covers the other… D’uh!)

    I sugest replacing lesbian with “Christians”. HTH :)

  52. #52 Suspect Device
    June 2, 2008

    13 for me.

  53. #53 TomJoe
    June 2, 2008

    Cocaine addicts get a free pass?

  54. #54 Budbear
    June 2, 2008

    12 of 22 for me. It could be a baker’s dozen, but I don’t really love the money. I would like to be friends with it however.

  55. #55 Steve in MI
    June 2, 2008

    Eleven!!!1!!

  56. #56 George Bush
    June 2, 2008

    Damn. I score an Eleven.

    Drunkard- college
    Liar- Iraq… whoops
    Thief- Gore… sorry Al
    Sports Fan- duh
    Money Lover- Oil me up!
    Prostitute- I’m saudia arabia’s bitch :(
    Gambler- Iraq again…. double whoops
    Pot Smoker- college again
    masturbator- do u know a bigger wanker than me? thought so!
    hypocrite- too easy?

    Oops sorry! i counted eleven i was guilty of but it is only 10. I suck at reading and thought whoremongering said war-mongering. but i aint going to hell for that! yay!!

  57. #57 Stan
    June 2, 2008

    13; but I’m going to reconsider. I may just become a psychic witch (wizard? or are they ok?) and con people out of their hard-earned money. Then I’ll nail 17 easily. Maybe 18 if I can make enough money to monger me up some whores.

  58. #58 BadeMart
    June 2, 2008

    Leviticus LXXOL:VIII(ff)

    Say to Israel: “Those who strike, chase or lust after spheroids (being either perfect or oblique), either as a solitary perversion or in the company of others, be as the wearers of mixed thread and those who lie with a man as with a woman. You must strike this evil from your midst”.

    Say to Israel: “Those who gaze in adoration or admiration upon all lusters after spheroids (of any description), doing so either proximately or at a distance, are as those who consort in conjugation with other species, be they clean or unclean. You must strike this evil from your midst.”

    Say to Israel: “All suppliers of gain and support to the lusters after spheroids (of any description)and their adorers or admirers, by means of proclamation or invitation or transfer of assets, moveable or immoveable, or who profit from such lusting and gazing, be as the drunken and disobedient child to those who sit at the gates. You must strike this evil from your midst.”

    Say to Israel: “A double agony be visited upon those who gaze in admiration upon the lusters after spheriods (of any description)while simultaneously imbibing, species either alcoholic or calorific, or both, and masticating produce of grain or other vegetable or animal product. You must strike this evil from your midst.”

    Say to Israel: “Any doer of activity that results in adoration, adulation or the egregious sharing of seal or signature must be cast from the congregation and made to wear their shame as does a leper.”

  59. #59 Tom Kox
    June 2, 2008

    Hell sounds a like the place to be in the Afterlife. All fun and smart people seem to be going there, so count me in!

  60. #60 Glen DAvidson
    June 2, 2008

    Wait a minute, evolutionists are atheists. That’s what Ben Stein’s movie was about.

    Don’t they ever coordinate their propaganda?

    And psychics? Wow, they’re really out for a select demographic, because if they give up their moronic psychic believers and sports fans, along with all of the educated segment of the population, they don’t have many people left. If they had just included NASCAR fans, I bet they wouldn’t have anybody for their audience.

    Glen Davidson
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  61. #61 Zeno
    June 2, 2008

    It looks like I’m octuply doomed according to that poster, but I swear that I am not now, and never have been, a sports fan.

  62. #62 Seamyst
    June 2, 2008

    11 for me! Although yeah, WTF is up with sports fans?

  63. #63 ihateaphids
    June 2, 2008

    Oh yeah, those dudes come by Sproul in Berkeley all the time. I saw a dude get in a serious argument with them about the masturbation thing once. It got pretty heated.

  64. #64 J-Dog
    June 2, 2008

    Damn you got to be quick to post here! By the time I got my ideas typed up to make sense, other posters beat me to the points I was trying to make :( Sorry about that@@!

    Maybe the Kooky Kristian could make a new line for people that double post? It would make more sense than some, I mean ALL of the other things on the list.

  65. #65 Steve in MI
    June 2, 2008

    @gg #23:

    With the exception of the child molesters and hypocrites, that sign looks like a prescription for one kick-ass party! (And if we leave out the child molesters and hypocrites, we’ve barred the fundamentalists from the party.)

    Um, YEAH… thus firmly ensuring the kick-assedness of the party!

  66. #66 Blondin
    June 2, 2008

    I’m very well aquainted with the seven deadly sins
    I keep a busy schedule trying to fit them in
    I’m proud to be a glutton, and I don’t have time for sloth
    I’m greedy, and I’m angry, and I don’t care who I cross

    I’m Mr. Bad Example, intruder in the dirt
    I like to have a good time, and I don’t care who gets hurt
    I’m Mr. Bad Example, take a look at me
    I’ll live to be a hundred, and go down in infamy

    – Warren Zevon “Mr Bad Example”

  67. #67 BowserTheCat
    June 2, 2008

    Is there a prize if we qualify for all of them?

  68. #68 frog
    June 2, 2008

    freelunch: I do love how this clown manages to spend so much time on sexually oriented ‘sins’, yet misses the one forbidden in the Decalogue, adultery.

    I don’t see adultery in the decalogue. Here’s the wikipedia paraphrase:

    1. Worship no other god than Yahweh: Make no covenant with the inhabitants of other lands to which you go, do not intermarry with them, destroy their places of worship.
    2. Do not cast idols.
    3. Observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days in the month of Abib in remembrance of the Exodus.
    4. Sacrifice firstborn male animals to Yahweh. The firstborn of a donkey may be redeemed; redeem firstborn sons.
    5. Do no work on the seventh day.
    6. Observe the Feast of First Fruits and the Feast of Ingathering: All males are therefore to appear before Yahweh three times each year.
    7. Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice with leavened bread.
    8. Do not let the Passover sacrifice remain until the following morning.
    9. Bring the first fruits of the harvest to the Temple of Yahweh.
    10. Do not cook a kid in its mother’s milk.

    Right? Or did you mean the rewrite? ‘Cause the original seems to be mostly about the form of idols, festivals to be held, the limitation on child sacrifice, a ban on intermarriage as part of a program of genocide, and some culinary rules. And keeping the sabbath – the only one of real value.

  69. #69 Steve in MI
    June 2, 2008

    @gg #23:

    With the exception of the child molesters and hypocrites, that sign looks like a prescription for one kick-ass party! (And if we leave out the child molesters and hypocrites, we’ve barred the fundamentalists from the party.)

    Um, YEAH… thus firmly ensuring the kick-assedness of the party!

  70. #70 Ranson
    June 2, 2008

    9 current, 12 all-time.

  71. #71 JJR
    June 2, 2008

    I hit Eight. Nine if the Houston Rockets/Texans/Astros or the Texas A&M football teams are having good seasons any given year.

  72. #72 Scott D.
    June 2, 2008

    Only 5 for me, 8 if you use loose definitions.

    Sports fans are on the list because they believe that you’re supposed to “praise God in everything you do”. The Christian god is surprisingly insecure for an omnipotent being.

    What if you’re not smoking your pot, does it still count?

  73. #73 JeffreyD
    June 2, 2008

    Oh, we get to count the past too? Kewl, up to 15 then, and yes, I treasure each and every one of my sins.

    Ciao

  74. #74 CaroCogitatus
    June 2, 2008

    I scored 12! Woo-hoo! I feel a little robbed, though, that “Lesbian” is ruled out for me due to gender. I like having sex with women — can I be an honorary lesbian?

  75. #75 Louis
    June 2, 2008

    Ok is it just me that viewed most of that list (by no means all) as some sort of check list?

    I’m currently running an 11, which is the maximum I’d go for. 3 of the remainder don’t interest me intellectually, 4 don’t interest me ethically, 2 don’t interest me sexually (one of them is also ethically very dubious), 1 doesn’t interest me financially, and 1 of them is a physical impossibility (although sexually appealing!)

    Go figure!

    Louis

    P.S. If hell exists the it’s the place to be. All the best people will be there. Better than that, it means that I don;t have to spend eternity with sanctimonious fuck ups like the person who made that banner. Sharp pokers being jabbed into my wedding vegetables for eternity is a small price to pay for no fucking fundies! ;-)

  76. #76 Ric
    June 2, 2008

    I think I’m on there 8 times.

  77. #77 dvizard
    June 2, 2008

    Wait… this is definitely not Poe’s?

  78. #78 Pablo
    June 2, 2008

    So I only have seven that could be considered current. Historically I could add drunkard, liar, thief and probably money-lover, but those days are long behind me. If I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body, does that count?

  79. #79 Alethias
    June 2, 2008

    w00t! I was a hit on 10 things on the list.

    Sports Fans make the list since you are worshipping something other than the christian god if you are a sports fan.

    off of that list, I am:
    1) A drunkard
    2) Maybe a liar, maybe not depending on the degree
    3) A sports fan
    4) A Blasphemer
    5) A Money Lover
    6) An atheist
    7) A gambler
    8) A porn-lover(I tend to prefer the soft stuff that emphasized the beauty of nudity. does that count?)
    9) Evolutionist
    10) Masturbator

    I smoked pot once, so does that make me a pot smoker? And I used to be a hypocrite(when I was a christian). Do old sins count? And I’ve lusted after women other than my wife over my 25 years of marriage, but never slept with one of them. If I cheated on her, technically that would make me an adulterer rather than a fornicator. Does that count? I don’t know what level of technical accuracy they are looking for.

  80. #80 Mena
    June 2, 2008

    That sign sounds like what a couple of prominent ministers were caught doing in the past few years. They said that they were sorry and that they were forgiven, they couldn’t be wrong about that, can they? ;^)

  81. #81 Blondin
    June 2, 2008

    “Oh yeah, those dudes come by Sproul in Berkeley all the time. I saw a dude get in a serious argument with them about the masturbation thing once. It got pretty heated.”

    You mean there was a lot of friction?

  82. #82 Greg Esres
    June 2, 2008

    sports fans?

    That’s one I can sorta understand. :-) A sad waste of one’s brief lifespan. If anything should be a sin …

  83. #83 yttrai
    June 2, 2008

    Tied for first (if i read correctly) at 15!

    What do we win??
    :D

  84. #84 Michelle
    June 2, 2008

    …witches? They’re not past that shit yet?

    Witches don’t exist, folks… Just like your God. It’s time to let go of the fairies.

  85. #85 jfatz
    June 2, 2008

    When they include “porn-lovers” and “lesbians” on the same list, we are all doomed.

  86. #86 David
    June 2, 2008

    I’m only an 8, although now that I’ve seen the list maybe I should aim higher. What does god have against enjoyable things (excluding child molesting)?

    I’m curious how famous historical figures, especially biblical figures, would score. For example, Lot, out of Sodom and Gomorrah, got drunk and slept with his daughters… that’s atleast 3 no-nos right there.

  87. #87 tsig
    June 2, 2008

    I made the list several times.

  88. #88 Lirone
    June 2, 2008

    Oh no… not only am I going to hell but Ben Stein will be there too (for lying, theft and hypocrisy – and that’s just what he’s demonstrated through expelled!)

    I had always hoped that, if I was wrong and did end up in hell, I’d have the consolation of being in good company.

    But spending eternity with Ben Stein and fellow Christian hypocrites… now that’s eternal torment for you!

  89. #89 JeffreyD
    June 2, 2008

    yttrai, go back, reread, try to make it to 16 and come in first, be creative.

    Oh, and the prize, you will not spend eternity with fundies, a pearl beyond price.

    Ciao

  90. #90 ennui
    June 2, 2008

    As a psychic sports fan who loves money, of course I gambled. But it never seemed to make me any richer. That’s when I knew it was time to ask Jesus to come sit on my heart.

    He’ll turn your life around!

  91. #91 Felstatsu
    June 2, 2008

    They clearly don’t like somethings. We’ve got blasphemer, pagan, and witch all there though they missed out on heathen. Based on their views I think any pagan would automatically also be viewed as a blasphemer, and being a witch isn’t too far away from being pagan. That adds 3 points basically just by having a non-christian religion. Psychic is on there too, which depending on the type of craft practiced by a witch could mean 4 easy points.

    Homosexuals and lesbians too, seems they might have a bit against women or at least women who don’t need men. I don’t qualify as either, but I’ve got enough friends in those fields that this sort of thing rubs me the wrong way.

    In the end though, I only manage 9 points at best. I gotta get my evil on and raise this score.

  92. #92 katietoo
    June 2, 2008

    9 out of 22 ain’t bad, I guess. As long as I’m allowed to claim lesbian and homosexual. And that’s only Hell’s MOST wanted, forget all the little Hellish traffic violations.

    Now, I’m saying at least 10 out of 22 for the righteous dude holding the sign. His minister? At least two more.

  93. #93 buck09
    June 2, 2008

    Hmmm… I consider myself an “evangelical”, yet I’ve managed to score a few ticks in 10 of those categories…

    What’s far more telling is what’s left off the list:
    - Gluttony (Is there a shot of these folks where we can gaze upon their rotundness??)
    - Sloth (Was this shot taken during the workday perhaps?)
    - Envy (Secretly jealous that they didn’t get to hit the bong at Bob Jones)
    - Sabbath-breaking (Hey guys, let’s go to the Waffle House after church – yeah, there’s a man serving me, but surely that’s not the same thing as the male servant mentioned in the 10 commandments)
    - Wheres Rock and/or Roll?!?! Everyone knows that demons play the intro to “House of the Rising Sun” at the gates of hell…

    It’s real easy to get on peoples cases for things that you successfully cover up around your churchy friends, but if these people actually examined themselves against the Bible they say they’re following, there would be one item on that list – Everyone. I wonder if they would be willing to picket their own church for that same list of offenses?

  94. #94 ronbailey
    June 2, 2008

    At least 13 times over!

  95. #95 D
    June 2, 2008

    I’m on for: drunkards, liars, thieves, blasphemers, money-lovers, atheists, porn-lovers, evolutionists, post smokers, fornicators, masturbators. They have homosexuals and lesbians (as if the latter is distinct from and not included within the former), but not bisexuals, so I guess I’m OK there.

    Dammit, that puts me at 11. Can we count bisexuality as inclusive of the other sex crimes? That’d put me at lucky 13!

  96. #96 Notkieran
    June 2, 2008

    Lord Zero @#9:

    As a taekwando black belt who’s working in an Anglican school, I can assure you that the vast majority of Anglicans are actively opposed to martial arts, to the point that they refuse to accept it as a sports activity in the schools here, and this attitude is apparently representative of Christians in Singapore.

    Even the ones who are considered not to be “Christian” by the Anglicans, but *mock shudder* “Catholic”.

    (Look, I just work here, ok? I go where the ministry posts me.)

  97. #97 E
    June 2, 2008

    14 out of 22, past and present included.

    Why are pot-smokers on the list? I was under the impression that: ” . . . the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind; and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:12)

    And: “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” (Matt. 15:11)

    So, following the Biblical logic, “God” created Cannabis and thought it was just fine, “Jesus” himself said that your words and actions towards others are more important than what you put in your body, yet pot-smokers are going to Hell?

  98. #98 Deepsix
    June 2, 2008

    I’m on the list 13 times and open to most of the others (except the child molesting, of course).

  99. #99 D
    June 2, 2008

    Oh, son of a bitch. I wrote “post smokers” instead of “pot smokers.” I don’t smoke any posts. Plenty of pots, though. And I just realized that “child molesters” could be included with the sex crimes category, but I’m not one of those; so while I’m at it, that should read “sexy crimes.” Good ’nuff.

  100. #100 Larry
    June 2, 2008

    I played with a Ouija board when I was 10. Am I doomed?

    Oh, wait, masturbation is on there. Shit!

  101. #101 wesman83
    June 2, 2008

    is that the “happy happy happy” guy’s poster? (the guy who says “happy happy happy” while standing on a bucket at the edge of the berkeley campus)

  102. #102 Facehammer
    June 2, 2008

    Count me in for 9. 10 if you count the fact that lesbians are one of my favourite things. Hell yeah.

    All the cool people will go to hell. Can you honestly see Hunter S. Thompson in heaven? He’d try to shoot himself again. Same for Bill Bailey, Arthur C. Clarke, Winston Churchill, Ozzy Osbourne, Anton LaVey and Jonathan Swift (any man with his wicked sense of humour could never get into this fundie heaven, even if he was a priest).

    The soundtrack will be by Slayer, the Clash, Pantera, Motorhead, the Beatles, the Who, Iron Maiden and other bands who have sold their souls to Satan for their success and inspiration. Whingy shite like My Chemical Romance and FallOut Boy would also technically be there, but I imagine Samuel L. Jackson wouldn’t stand for that shit and would bitchslap them all back into silence in the First Circle.

    In a word, it’ll be awesome.

  103. #103 Andreas Johansson
    June 2, 2008

    For example, Lot, out of Sodom and Gomorrah, got drunk and slept with his daughters… that’s atleast 3 no-nos right there.

    It’s clearly drunkennesss and fornication, but it doesn’t say how old the daughters were, so we can’t know if it was child molestation, and incest as such isn’t on the list.

  104. #104 MPG
    June 2, 2008

    Does putting the occasional 50p into pub quiz machines make me a gambler? Does cheating half a roll of tickets out of a badly set-up Skee-Ball arcade machine as a child make me a thief? Does watching the snooker and taking my father to the British Formula One Grand Prix every year make me a sports fan? (Do they even count as sports?) Seriously, I’m reaching here – I feel like six points isn’t anywhere near enough to hold my head up as an amoral godless heathen!

  105. #105 Hans
    June 2, 2008

    Fornication is bumping uglies with someone you’re not married to, so that covers pre-marital sex, adultery, and visiting prostitutes (unless you’re married to a prostitute, but what’s the point in that?). How they could display such economy with this word, but not see that lesbians are homosexuals, is beyond me. Or perhaps consistency is beyond them.
    As for sports fans, perhaps they are thinking of watersports.

  106. #106 J. D. Burton
    June 2, 2008

    It seems that the political landscape is changing in the U.S.: They’ve taken “democrats” off the list! Unless, of course, this picture is not from the U.S., which I highly doubt.

  107. #107 Fundy Abuser
    June 2, 2008

    So, if I read this list of activities correctly, if you’re a human being, basically, you’re toast.

    Is that about right?

  108. #108 Jason Dick
    June 2, 2008

    Sports fans? Is that a subtle hint that this sign is really just a parody of a fundamentalist? Or is it just an excellent example of Poe’s Law in action: there really are fundies that are that insane?

  109. #109 Steve_C
    June 2, 2008

    I’m 7 or 8 of those… AWESOME!

  110. #110 gramomster
    June 2, 2008

    Ummmm…
    Well, I made the list several times (didn’t count), but just a linguistic quibble over the sign…

    If you’re supposed to turn to jeezus, shouldn’t this be heaven’s most wanted? As those who fall into any of these categories are already going to hell unless they repent? Which is the point?

    Just sayin’…

  111. #111 Felstatsu
    June 2, 2008

    @Stan (#57)

    Sorry, but wizard isn’t going to cut it, it’s not on the list and is different enough from being a witch that it won’t work.

    The distinction is not in gender but in the way they practice their belief. Witches are more into try stuff out and use it if it works, analyze it if it didn’t and figure out why. Wizards are more along the lines of, if it isn’t in this book of things that have been done only one way for X number of years, I’m not going to bother using it.

    In one way it could almost be viewed as scientists being witches while creationists are wizards, since the wizards just stick to a book they trust and don’t ever move away from it. Their view is that if it isn’t in the book then it’s wrong.

  112. #112 Toby
    June 2, 2008

    Guilty x10. And judging by the comments here, at least I’ll have some good company in hell! Wahoo!

  113. #113 Gareth
    June 2, 2008

    Hmmm…

    They could at least have alphabetised it to make it easy to see if you fall into the “sin list”.

  114. #114 Akheloios
    June 2, 2008

    *tick* *tick* *tick*

    Yup, 19 so far, I’m not guilty of child molestation, but I’m guilty of just about everything else.

    So, do I go for the chilly cold Dante’an hell or the firey toasty Miltonesque version.

    Hmm… maybe if I die with my skis on? Snow babes/hunks are more my kind of thing than beach bunnies/himbos.

  115. #115 Muffin
    June 2, 2008

    Hmm, let’s see… I qualify for “Money Lovers”, “Pagans”, “Atheists”, “Porn lovers”, “Evolutionists” and “Masturbators”.

    I arguably qualify for “Homosexuals”, since I’m bi – try telling those people that that’s not the same. They likely include bi folks there.

    Fundies like that would likely argue that I qualify for “Liars”, “Thieves”, “Blasphemers”, “Gamblers” and “Hypocrites”.

    I do not qualify for “Drunkards” (I don’t drink any alcohol), “Sports Fans”, “Prostitutes” (although I wouldn’t necessarily be averse to it), “Witches” (I’ve got friends who’re Wiccans, but I’m not), “Whoremongers” (how *does* one monge whores, anyway?), “Child Molesters”, “Pot Smokers” (I don’t smoke anything at all), “Lesbians”, and “Psychics”.

    Finally, I don’t qualify for “Fornicators”, either, although I wish I did. :P

    So, that’s 6 to 12 out 22. Hmm, I expected a higher score really. :)

  116. #116 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    First off, I’d like to know where this sign comes from and who created it. It’s either the work of some fringe kooks (the likes of Fred Phelps maybe), or it’s a parody.

    Secondly, I actually think it’s intellectually dishonest for you to use an absurd image like this in order to get in your cheap shots at Christians. This sign is, above all else, theologically incorrect according to mainstream Christian doctrine. The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to “Hell”. Christians believe that as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, all sins can be forgiven.

    Don’t get me wrong. I would absolutely acknowledge that there are a number of justified criticisms of Christian ethical teaching. For instance, it doesn’t seem morally right or fair that the faithless can’t be saved, regardless of how virtuous their life is; nor do many of the apparent Biblical restrictions on sexual expression seem particularly logical or necessary. So I’m not constructing a defence of Christian morals or of Christian belief here (this isn’t the place for it, and I don’t want to have that discussion).

    Rather, I’m pointing out that, as you know full well, the people who make these kinds of deranged condemnations are not representative of religious believers in general. It’s not just that they’re “more extreme” and that other Christians practise a watered-down version of the same wacky beliefs; rather, the theology of Fred Phelps and his followers, and other fringe cultic groups (such as the one which presumably created this bizarre sign, assuming it’s not a parody), is completely divergent from mainstream Christian teaching in its ideas about sin, salvation and redemption.

    Please note that even the Rev. Jerry Falwell – often viewed as the archetypal Protestant extremist – did not agree with Phelps’ teaching that God hates homosexuals, nor would he have approved of this sign. Like all mainstream (Nicene Creed) Christians, he believed and taught that all sins can be forgiven through Jesus and that God loves all of humankind. I’m certainly no fan of Jerry Falwell and I’m not going to defend some of his more ludicrous statements – but I’m just pointing out that junk like this is not representative even of the fundamentalist wing of American Protestantism, let alone of the world-wide Christian community.

    There is, of course, nothing wrong with posting and discussing images like this, if all you want is to chortle about the insane fundies and pat yourselves on the back for being so intellectually and ethically superior. But if you’re interested in actually engaging with the ideas of theists, this kind of caricaturing is not the way to go.

  117. #117 Charles Manson
    June 2, 2008

    Whew! That was close, but murder’s my, y’know… bag!

    Rot in hell, suckers!

  118. #118 Feynmaniac
    June 2, 2008

    hehe….I like how sports fans and whoremongers made the list but murderers and warmongers didn’t. I guess they are try to reach the average person by throwing out a bunch of “sins” (sports fans? really?) and hoping something sticks.

  119. #119 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    Total buz kill Walton.

    Jeez. Let us tally up our sins in peace.

  120. #120 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    It no where says this is indicative of all Christian thinking. The post only has 6 words and an image.

  121. #121 MsNomir
    June 2, 2008

    I am a Mets fan and have been since 5th grade, and I root for the Red sox and Cubbies and currently the Tigers, too..

    Shouldn’t VEGETARIANS or VEGANS be on the List? ( I’m a former vegetarian)

    What about TREE-HUGGERS? and LIBRARIANS? LIBERIANS, too…

  122. #122 The Young Linguist
    June 2, 2008

    I get 10. I’m doing good.

  123. #123 Akheloios
    June 2, 2008

    how *does* one monge whores, anyway?

    If Whoremongery is anything like Ironmongery, you have to get them real hot then pound them for hours.

  124. #124 Moses
    June 2, 2008

    Ok:

    Drunkards – Not an alcoholic. But when I was young and in the military, I got potted a half-dozen or so times. Then I wised up to it was cheaper (and far more entertaining) to be the designated driver and laugh like hell at my mates.

    Liars – well, yes, sometimes you need to lie. Like when your girls are going through awkward stages and need some bolstering.

    Thieves – I can’t do that. I shoplifted a $0.15 clip at the five-and-dime (that damn peer pressure) when I was a teen. I still feel guilty. But since I did it once, eternal hell fire for me.

    Sports Fans – Yes, though last year’s season (49er fan) really sucked.

    Blasphemers – God damn right!

    Pagans – Not one of them. But I’m sympathetic. If I weren’t joining them in hell, I’d sneak them snacks and drinks.

    Prostitutes – They don’t bother me at all. I have some prostitute clients. I do there taxes. For money. I guess that makes me a whore’s whore. Burn me up.

    Witches – If only magic worked. I’d be first in line. But since I wish it did, and wishing to sin is as bad as actually sinning – put me down.

    Atheists – Got me there.

    Gamblers – Well, I used to count cards in Reno. Was good at it. But when they went to the shoe it was too much work. The night I split a pair of Ace of Spades, only to draw a third on the split/double-down I gave it up. But, still, my finger prints were all over the chips – so to hell I go.

    Porn Lovers – Who doesn’t? :) Besides I was in the military, if you don’t watch porn you’re “gay” and the shit really hits the fan.

    Evolutionists – Guilty.

    Pot Smokers – Experimented in HS. Don’t like it.

    Fornication – Got me there.

    Masturbaters – I’m a guy. 95% admit, 5% lie, nearly 100% do… Do the math.

    Hypocrites – I’m sure my daughters think so at times. So I’ll cop to it, even if I do think I’m pretty consistent in “I do what I say.”

    Sixteen. Though a few are just guilt by association.

  125. #125 michael
    June 2, 2008

    i would think the faithful would be hell’s most wanted, since apparently the rest of us are headed there anyway.

  126. #126 Ben
    June 2, 2008

    13/22. There will be a kegger in my corner penthouse on the 6th level of Hell, and you’re all invited!

  127. #127 Sarcastro
    June 2, 2008

    Mary, mother of God, was, by all accounts, between 13 and 15 years of age when she bore the Messiah.

    Jehova is going to Hell for child molestation.

    Speaking of Jeebus, his first miracle was turning water into wine. That drunkard too will burn in Hell for all eternity… with Noah.

  128. #128 PZ Myers
    June 2, 2008

    I call dishonest bullshit on Walton.

    I hear that so often — “Behavior X is not representative of True Christianity” — and I get sick of it. Yes, it is. Christianity is a religion of hatred, of proscription of the other, of the denial of humanity. This sign is fucking typical. You can find individual details (“sports fans”, for instance) that are not held by a Christian majority, but others (“homosexuality”) are practically the rule. Tune in to TBN. Go to the church of your local evangelical sect. Listen to the news. Go to a redneck bar and strike up a conversation.

    Pompous asses who try to explain that their favorite theological apologist has said that 90% of Christians are not really Christians make me sick. They are making excuses to remove odious behavior from criticism.

  129. #129 qedpro
    June 2, 2008

    what’s the ruling if you just inhaled the smoke from other pot smokers?

  130. #130 protocol
    June 2, 2008

    I am ashamed to say, I only made 8: Liar, Sports fan, Blasphemer, Atheist, Porn-Lover, Evolutionalist, Masturbator, Fornicator. But some funny accounting by moses….unfair you cannot claim all sixteen by association.

  131. #131 Janine ID
    June 2, 2008

    Secondly, I actually think it’s intellectually dishonest for you to use an absurd image like this in order to get in your cheap shots at Christians.

    Walton

    You are sadly mistaken on this point. None of us need this silly sign to take cheap shots at christianity. The existence of christianity is reason enough. In fact, the existence of religion is reason enough. I say this least you accuse us of mocking only christians.

  132. #132 Craig
    June 2, 2008

    When I was in grad school, I remember a person with a similar sign wandering around campus. Except that one of the entries on his list was “people who talk to cats”. Excellent — one more I was able to check off the list.

  133. #133 Milo Johnson
    June 2, 2008

    “I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.”

  134. #134 EyeNoU
    June 2, 2008

    What if you smoke pot, but don’t inhale? That should count twice…….

  135. #135 Jason Dick
    June 2, 2008

    On Walton’s dishonest bullshit,

    The sad thing is, it doesn’t look like Walton is even condemning the content of the sign at all. He probably agrees with the statement that the people listed are sinners. His point of disagreement appears to be the statement that these people are necessarily hell-bound. In other words, he’s taking a condemnation of sin in sign-form and condemning it for being too simple and not properly qualifying its statements.

    So, I’m not going to say it’s so much dishonest bullshit as stupid bullshit.

  136. #136 Jason Failes
    June 2, 2008

    Walton @116
    “Don’t get me wrong. I would absolutely acknowledge that there are a number of justified criticisms of Christian ethical teaching.”

    Blasphemer! Well, looks like you’ll be joining the rest of us in hell, so sit back, turn on ESPN, with the Playboy channel on picture-in-picture, crack open a beer, light up a joint, let whomsoever you like sit on your face during commercials, and enjoy the fast-track to sulfur-city.

  137. #137 Slaughter
    June 2, 2008

    I could understand listing Cowboys fans, but all sports fans?

  138. #138 EyeNoU
    June 2, 2008

    What if you smoke pot, but don’t inhale? That should count twice…….

  139. #139 gex
    June 2, 2008

    I guess I understand their whole theology wrong. I thought Hell’s Most Wanted = everybody. I also thought Heaven’s Most Wanted = everybody. I thought the whole point is that these forces were battling over everyone’s souls. Now I’m just confused. Perhaps it is not the case that I am an atheist, it’s just that Heaven doesn’t want me.

  140. #140 Tulse
    June 2, 2008

    This sign is, above all else, theologically incorrect according to mainstream Christian doctrine. The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to “Hell”. Christians believe that as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, all sins can be forgiven.

    All sins can be forgiven, but as I understand it, you have to ask for forgiveness, or “repent”, or else you will indeed suffer “the wages of sin”. And that is precisely what the sign implies, that those who perform these “sinful” acts and don’t repent are going to hell. How is that any different from “mainstream Christian doctrine”?

    You might not like the packaging of the message, but the content is pretty standard Christian theology.

  141. #141 Bob Munck
    June 2, 2008

    Tex: Woohoo! 7 out of 22 for me. Does this mean I’ll only have to spend 1/3 of eternity in hell?

    More like 1/pi of eternity. Now if they could come up with a list of 355 sins, we could all strive for 113 of them.

  142. #142 gort
    June 2, 2008

    E @ 96;

    Why are pot-smokers on the list? I was under the impression that: ” . . . the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind; and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:12) And: “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” (Matt. 15:11)

    So Clinton had it wrong – it doesn’t count as smoking pot if you don’t EXHALE.

  143. #143 Brian E
    June 2, 2008

    PZ nailed it @128. Sorry Walton, you don’t get to play ‘I’m rubber you’re glue’ for the brand of Christians/Christianity you don’t like. By your own admittance Of Christian theology, these people are justified for this type of mentality, which I think we all can agree is despicable. Where we will disagree is how best to handle these extremists. Personally I think they need to be arrested for hate speech and psychologically evaluated.

  144. #144 Allytude
    June 2, 2008

    I personally think that the hell they mean here is Texas in the summertime….

    2/22

  145. #145 chancelikely
    June 2, 2008

    Akheloios #123 wins the thread.

    10 out of 22.

    Although “Lesbian” isn’t an option for me, barring major inconvenient surgeries, so 10 out of 21.

  146. #146 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    Hate speech isn’t against the law, and it should never be.

  147. #147 Moses
    June 2, 2008

    what’s the ruling if you just inhaled the smoke from other pot smokers?

    Posted by: qedpro | June 2, 2008 11:48 AM

    Sorry, but you didn’t leave the room. Eternal damnation and hellfire for you.

  148. #148 kev_s
    June 2, 2008

    I never thought child molesting was a good thing to do but since its on that list maybe it could be worth trying …
    (Just kidding)

  149. #149 andrew
    June 2, 2008

    I thought we already burned all the witches…. is this to say they’re regenerating from the homosexuals???

  150. #150 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Professor Myers at #128.

    You are, of course, entitled to the opinion that what I am saying is bulls**t, but I can assure you that I am not being intentionally dishonest. I apologise if I have offended you or anyone else, and I am aware that I am entirely fallible and may well be wrong in any or all of my comments. But I am an honest seeker after truth.

    This sign is f**king typical. – I have explained the theological reasons why it isn’t logically consistent with typical Christian belief. There is a world of difference between saying “action X is morally wrong” and “anyone who commits action X is hated by God and is going to hell”. The latter isn’t actually consistent with Christian doctrine.

    You are, of course, perfectly correct that a number of the actions on that list are condemned by some or all religious denominations. But let’s look at some of the more controversial ones (leaving aside uncontroversial ones such as theft, since I assume you agree that theft is generally wrong).

    Firstly, homosexuality is condemned as a sin by some, but not all, Christians. This is because scripture is actually very ambiguous about it. While Leviticus issues an unequivocal condemnation of homosexuality, this is part of the Mosaic law (which also condemns such things as eating shellfish and wearing clothes of mixed fabrics, and mandates male circumcision). Christians are specifically not required to follow the Mosaic law, as was made clear in Acts 10 and in several of the Pauline epistles. The New Testament says very, very little about homosexuality (1 Corinthians excepted, and that’s simply St Paul’s opinion; it isn’t part of the Gospels). Jesus said nothing on the subject. So there is absolutely no good reason for Christians to condemn homosexuality. Some choose to, but you can hardly judge a belief system by the decisions of some of its followers. Any belief system is open to abuse.

    You say Tune in to TBN. Go to the church of your local evangelical sect. Listen to the news. Go to a redneck bar and strike up a conversation. – So you judge a belief system on the stupidity and small-mindedness of some of its followers? Do you really think that the patrons of redneck bars are the best Christianity has to offer, as regards intellectual caliber?

    Pompous asses who try to explain that their favorite theological apologist has said that 90% of Christians are not really Christians make me sick. They are making excuses to remove odious behavior from criticism. – Firstly, I would not pretend that those who I disagree with are “not really Christians”. I just happen to disagree with them. And I am not trying to “remove odious behaviour from criticism”. Everyone and everything should be open to criticism, and I have no problem with you criticising the behavior of Christians. All I’m trying to do is to ensure that this behavior is represented fairly.

  151. #151 Trefayne
    June 2, 2008

    Speaking of Christians who claim that most other Christians aren’t REAL Christians and should be punished like the non-believers…

    Readers of this Pharyngula post might be interested in a recent spate of blog posts about Tony Perkins (of the Family Research Council). They ask how he can continue to be seen as a mainstream television pundit, despite a history of extreme rhetoric.

    Start here:
    http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2008/06/tony-perkins-and-phineas-priests.html

  152. #152 windy
    June 2, 2008

    The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to “Hell”. Christians believe that as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, all sins can be forgiven.

    What’s your point? Whoever wrote this sign believes that too. Various sinners are “wanted” in hell but they are forgiven if they “repent and turn to Jesus”.

  153. #153 Brownian, OM
    June 2, 2008

    I’ve gotta side with Walton here. The only True Christians? are the Rosicrucians, and specifically, those members of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. If you wanna criticise Christianity and the beliefs and actions of its adherents, please restrict your criticism to those of the doctrines of the Seven Periods of the Great Day of Manifestation, the Seven Worlds and the Seven Cosmic Planes, the Astral body, death as birth, and the Cosmic and Inner Christs.

    All other self-professed Christians and their beliefs aren’t True Christians? or True Christianity? respectively, thus it is intellectually dishonest to criticise Christianity by using such caricatures as representative of the faith.

    Hope you don’t mind my lending you a hand, Walton. By the way, what is your favorite chapter from the Cosmo-Conception? I personally love Heindel, even though I’ve had brief dalliances with the teachings of Leadbeater, Steiner, and even (hey, I was young and in love) Blavatsky.

  154. #154 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    I think it would be easiest to cut out the middle man and ask Walton what is ok to judge and criticize. Lay out/summarize what you feel is acceptable doctrine and let us review the principles of it. We may not agree that it truly encapsulates Christianity, but it seems fair to you. We’d be on the same page in that discussion.

  155. #155 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Jason Dick at #135.

    No, I do not believe that all the things on that list are inherently wrong or sinful. Indeed, I would admit to having committed a few of them myself. And FWIW, I haven’t been a practising Christian for a few years, though I still count myself a firm believer in God.

    All I’m trying to do is to ensure that Christianity isn’t misrepresented. There is a legitimate debate to be had about the validity of Christian beliefs, and indeed we’ve had quite a constructive discussion on other threads (though it started going round in circles after a while).

    Most of the things on that list are only sinful according to some interpretations of Christian doctrine. The Bible says nothing about masturbation, for instance (the Onan story is about coitus interruptus, not masturbation). And my reply to Prof Myers details why homosexuality need not be viewed as a sin either. I certainly don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong or immoral about a stable, faithful homosexual relationship. A lot of Christians would disagree, but that doesn’t mean that their view is the only “Christian” view.

  156. #156 Pablo
    June 2, 2008

    “And my reply to Prof Myers details why homosexuality need not be viewed as a sin either. ”

    And you complain that OTHERS do not represent mainstream Christianity?

    Hokey smokers!

  157. #157 Jackal
    June 2, 2008

    I think I could stretch it to 22 of 22 if I go by Ray Comfort standards. A bi-curious female counts as a homosexual and a lesbian, right? Getting drunk once, and having tried Wicca and tarot cards makes me a drunkard, a witch and psychic. If I fondled my husband for a favor, I’m a prostitute, and since I manage my own “prostitution,” I’m a whore mongerer. OK, and now for the big stretch. If hating someone = murder, then surely fondling myself as a minor makes me a child molester. Yeah? And smelling the pot smoke of someone else’s joint makes me a pot smoker.

    OK, so I really only consider myself “guilty” of 3 – 5 of the poster’s offences, (if I’m an “evolutionist” I’m also a “atom-ist” and a “gravity-ist”), but why should they get to do all the creative “logic”?

  158. #158 Em
    June 2, 2008

    Twelve times! They’ll need to construct some new circles for me!

  159. #159 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    So Clinton had it wrong – it doesn’t count as smoking pot if you don’t EXHALE. – gort

    Even then, you’re OK so long as it’s through the nose!

  160. #160 erick g
    June 2, 2008

    Okay, so let’s say I repent – can I then indulge in all of this tomfoolery and then like, repent each time I try it? Hmm. Win/win sitch, ya think?

  161. #161 buck09
    June 2, 2008

    PZ – Re: Walton

    I think you need to go easy on him. First of all, you’re right that most Christians (and non-theists) universally agree on some moral ills – the fact that homosexuality is in that list simply indicates the different moral code between groups of people. (Being a jackass with a sign seems highly offensive to me, but is perfectly acceptable for Fred Phelps…)

    Evangelicalism isn’t the sole voice of Christianity – it’s an imperfect expression of it that happens to be in the majority in this country.

    Most of the people I go to church with (including me) often act like assholes. I have no way of justifying or rationalizing that behavior. That’s what you get with the Christianity – a bunch of people who don’t deserve what they’re getting, yet act like God owes them. (Incidentally, that’s what got God a-smitin’ back in the Old Testament – you’d think we would have learned…)

    TBN is a freakshow. (Literally and theologically) I don’t know anyone who watches it, even among the fundies I associate with. We’re just too timid to go against “one of our own” regardless if it’s the moneygrubbing, big haired faith healers on TBN or Jim Dobson. (Which is wrong too.)

    Finally, your redneck comment is very telling of the state of “civic religion” in America. The average Joe in that bar doesn’t go to church unless his wife drags him with, yet will spout off right-wing, psuedochristian rhetoric about queers and atheists. That’s no different than the obscenely rich WASPS who horde their cash, live like narcissists, berate their immigrant houseworkers and then look pretty at the Episcopal mass every Sunday. Civic religion (with it’s 10 commandment displays, making a stadium full of people pray, etc.) is a farce. The sooner it’s done away with, the better.

  162. #162 Brownian, OM
    June 2, 2008

    All I’m trying to do is to ensure that Christianity isn’t misrepresented.

    So the apologists are always telling us. Listen, why don’t you guys go after the Phelpses, the Robertsons, the Falwells, et al.? They’re the ones ‘misrepresenting Christianity’, not us.

    Straighten these assholes out, explain the doctrines of True Christianity™ to them, and we won’t put up any more pictures of actual billboards designed and paid for by actual Christians who hold actual beliefs like these and wield their actual political power accordingly, okay?

  163. #163 Erik
    June 2, 2008

    “Sports fans” going straight to Hell? Gotta be a misprint. I’m sure they meant to say “Cubs fans”.

  164. #164 peter
    June 2, 2008

    I’m not revealing my score until I know what the prize is.
    To be fair to the guy: that he put sports fans on the list is surely a sign he’s sincere: he’s certainly not into populism. Round my way I’m the only one who doesn’t fall under that category.
    PZ : your diatribe to the unfailingly courteous Walton, who always supplies considered arguments, and goes into the points of his adversaries, is monstrously provocative
    Peter

  165. #165 Jason Failes
    June 2, 2008

    “I have explained the theological reasons why it isn’t logically consistent with typical Christian belief.”

    It also isn’t logically consistent to refuse to drink poison to prove your faith (Mark 16:18)(Or to take a loved one to a hospital rather than healing through prayer, or to not sell all your things and give the money to the poor), but no one does it.

    If you are looking for logical consistency, you are in the wrong religion (actually, I can’t think of a right religion, except possibly the more secular versions of Buddhism)

  166. #166 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    Re #133 – was that from Blazing Saddles?

  167. #167 Jason Dick
    June 2, 2008

    Walton in #155,

    Okay. Makes you a better person than most Christians. But it doesn’t negate the fact that most Christians (in the US, anyway) still do condemn the vast majority of the things listed on that sign.

  168. #168 Glen Davidson
    June 2, 2008

    I’d take another angle on Walton’s criticisms of the criticism.

    I don’t think the sign is typical of Xianity. I don’t even know what could be considered to be “typical Xianity”, since you can have libertine antin-nomian Xians, puritans, and any number of in-betweens.

    Most of us simply were not pretending that the sign is representative of Xianity, even though PZ tends toward that direction. We were just making cheap shots (really, how hard is it?) at a cheap sign made by cheap Xians. I did, and I certainly wasn’t acting as if such cheap shots answer Bonhoeffer, or even Paul the apostle.

    I was just going to make my single post and forget about it, since yet another example of idiotic religious displays fairly bores me.

    We can have fun (or not) with any manner of stupidity, without it being any grand commentary on religion in general, or even Xianity at large.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  169. #169 MikeM
    June 2, 2008

    Yeah, I think they could have left off “Lesbians” (already covered) and put in “Fraudsters” instead. You know, Falwell, Robertson, Popoff… Yeah, like them.

    Leaving “Murderers” or “Mass Murderers” off the list, though… That’s quite an oversight.

    I’m only about a 7 on the Hell-O-Meter. God Damn it.

    Oops, make that 8.

  170. #170 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Glen Davidson at #168. – I agree with your analysis, and I am glad you acknowledge that the Christian intellectual tradition is much broader than this sign would suggest, and that it’s not representative of all or even most Christians.

    I also agree with you entirely that the sign is idiotic, and I don’t have a problem with people mocking it (indeed, I know plenty of Christians who would do so).

  171. #171 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    There is a larger point here that much of Christianity views certain things are sin, which modern secular morals do not. This causes friction between us forward thinkers, and those who rely on an ancient book for their morals. It is a reason we need to shed Christianity from society.

  172. #172 ekzept
    June 2, 2008

    it doesn’t have materialists, which is how i describe myself these days. :P

    seems to me they could simplify and say Everybody but us.

  173. #173 Tulse
    June 2, 2008

    Most of the things on that list are only sinful according to some interpretations of Christian doctrine.

    Fine, but I thought you were objecting to the theological notion that sinning would send one to hell unless one repents. Is your problem with the specific sins listed? Or do you have a more general point?

    And even with regard to the specifics, based on this survey I’d say that a large proportion of Christians would agree that all the acts listed are sinful (with perhaps the exception of being a sports fan). So I don’t see how you can say that the sign is unrepresentative of Christian beliefs, at least as actually practiced.

    (I will note, however, that I for one do appreciate Walton’s willingness to tangle with the gang here in such a substantive manner.)

  174. #174 CortxVortx
    June 2, 2008

    Damn, Walton, I don’t know what cloistered little bubble you live in, but the picture illustrates the views of vast swathes of Christian Amurrka. Your eyrie of effete theologians may sniff at such crudities of Christian expression, but any cursory examination of Sunday morning television, or the AM radio band any day, will confirm that “mainstream Christianity” holds exactly such views.

    And no one forgets that Hell is the default destination for everyone, whether or not they do anything on that all-too-Christian list. So don’t even try to pretend that the Bible god is just or merciful.

    Thanks for bringing up the Courtier’s Reply once again!

    Re: #133 – Cola –> keyboard

    Oh, and 5/22 (I’m only counting present hits; as listed, they seem to refer to habitual acts).

  175. #175 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    But if you’re interested in actually engaging with the ideas of theists, this kind of caricaturing is not the way to go. – Walton

    Trouble is, Walton, theistic ideas (I use this term since theists can perfectly well have good ideas about other topics) seem not to be worth engaging with, when examined at all closely. There is no convincing evidence or argument for the existence of any deity, and conclusive evidence that the Christian god, supposedly both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, does not exist. Once that has been said, what’s to engage with?

  176. #176 terry
    June 2, 2008

    13 times, I made the list an incredible 13 times, which is amazing considering I’m heterosexual and male.

  177. #177 Bert Chadick
    June 2, 2008

    If you are talking since maturity I’ve got at least 12. $100 and a condom could make it thirteen. Ongoing I’m afraid it’s only six.

    Why didn’t BMW or Hummer drivers make this list?

  178. #178 Pablo
    June 2, 2008

    I concur with Brownian. If “mainstream” and “real” christians don’t agree with stuff like in the sign, then they should actually join us in mocking it!

    Assuming they think it is as foolish as we do, then why are aren’t they joining atheists in opposing them? As Brownian implies, if Walton is right then morons like these actually do far more harm to christians than they do to non-christians. Even if Walton is right, his apologetic approach enables the loonies as they take him and his kind down with them.

  179. #179 PZ Myers
    June 2, 2008

    I judge Christianity on the basis of the stupidity and smallmindedness of the majority of its followers, and on the wretched quality of its fundamental doctrines. The whole concept of original sin is a deep evil that is central to Christianity, and leads directly to nonsense like the sign above. Like I said, you will find very few Christians who subscribe to all of the condemnations listed, but many who will endorse a significant subset … because that is what Christianity is all about, finding evil in humanity and using it as a scourge to compel obedience.

    And no, I will not go easy on Walton. Using good grammar to make apologies for horrors and stupidities and lies does not impress me in the slightest.

  180. #180 SteveM
    June 2, 2008

    While I am as amused by this sign as anyone, I do believe that it is not a list of “sins” (individual acts)but “sinners” (lifestyles). That is, I would not label someone who occasionally gets drunk a “drunkard”, but would you reserve that character assessment for someone who is “always” drunk. Similarly “whoremonger” is someone who makes a living off prostitution, not any one who has ever been a “client”. As for the perplexing inclusion of “sports fan” perhaps that too does not mean the guy that watches Monday night football, or a season ticket holder, but the hard-core fan that wraps his life around sports rather than adding sports to his life. So, this is not a list of individual acts of “sin”, but of sinful lifestyles that this person believes will send you to Hell.

  181. #181 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To CortxVortx at #174 – I am in fact British, and don’t live in the United States. While I’m very familiar with American politics and am a regular reader of many US political columnists (I love Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, for instance), I haven’t grown up in the same cultural and religious environment as most of the participants on this forum. That may explain some of the confusion.

  182. #182 John
    June 2, 2008

    About the sports fans, This too use to puzzle me. There is a reason for the linking of sports and sin. The key point is the second commandment and ” You shall have no other gods before me.” part.

    These people think that using your spare time to enjoy sports and not bowing to God is a major, commandment violating, sin.

    They are a rahter silly, unentertaining and undereducated crowd. I recommend avoiding them.

  183. #183 Niobe
    June 2, 2008

    I fall in 11 of those and I’m a vanilla stay at home mom.

  184. #184 SteveM
    June 2, 2008

    Re 166:
    Re #133 – was that from Blazing Saddles?

    Yes, and I assume posted in honor of recently deceased Harvey Korman.

  185. #185 SC
    June 2, 2008

    (I love Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, for instance)

    Sadly, I don’t believe that was a joke.

  186. #186 Matt Penfold
    June 2, 2008

    Walton loves Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter ?

    Does the man have no taste ?

  187. #187 ekzept
    June 2, 2008

    Had to go back and find out who this dude Walton was. Found his lengthy post, including, among other things:

    … cheap shots at Christians …

    Seems to me, (a) a lot of what they say implicate themselves, and (b) if, hypothetically, there is a distinction between the kind of Christian posting these kinds of signs and “normal Christians”, I doubt you’ll find “normal Christians” attacking and making fun of these. Either is a good reason to begin throwing pies here, IMO.

  188. #188 Johnny Cache
    June 2, 2008

    Hypocrites? That covers a whole lot of christians I know.

  189. #189 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Professor Myers at #179.

    Please note my lengthy reply to you at #150. I’m not asking you to “go easy” on me, nor have I claimed that the quality of my grammar has any bearing on this discussion. I would ideally prefer that you did not call me dishonest, but it’s your blog and I can’t stop you from doing so. I have absolutely no problem with you critiquing my ideas.

    Rather, I was hoping you would engage with and reply to the argument I put forward at #150 above.

  190. #190 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    Not just Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. He earlier mentioned Jerry Falwell in a “positive” way.

    Gag. Shudder. Gag.

  191. #191 PGE
    June 2, 2008

    Just tried linking through, and got a message saying “This image has been linked to without permission”. How idiotic.

  192. #192 Milo Johnson
    June 2, 2008

    “‘Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.’” (Matt. 15:11)”

    Eeew, does that mean it’s not gay if you swallow? And yes, 133 was the late, great Korman as Hedy Lamarr. Err, sorry, that’s “Hedley.”

  193. #193 Matt Penfold
    June 2, 2008

    Anyone who admires Limbaugh, Coulter and Falwell does not really strike me as being someone who cares much about his fellow man.

  194. #194 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Serena at #190 – I did actually make clear that I’m not a huge fan of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. While I respect the strength of his beliefs, I dislike the way he politicised religion (even though this had positive consequences – the election of Reagan being one), and I always disagreed wholeheartedly with a number of his beliefs. Similarly, I don’t think Pat Robertson is always a positive influence on society.

  195. #195 Scott Hatfield
    June 2, 2008

    Well, before I say anything provocative with respect to PZ’s denunciation of Walton let me just say that I qualify for hellfire at least nine ways according to the manifesto of ‘sins’ listed above.

    And, you know, lying to people, stealing from people, some of these things listed, we all know these things are wrong.
    And, even if they don’t hurt other people directly, we know that some of these things (substance abuse, gambling, other addictions) can screw a person up real bad.

    But do Christians as a whole really condemn people to eternal damnation for, say, rooting for the San Diego Padres? I kinda doubt that, PZ.

    I would say, though, that quite a few do condemn people who practice alternative lifestyles: homosexuality, paganism, witchcraft, outspoken godlessness. That list would’ve been well-represented at Jupiter’s the other evening, and it’s my personal belief (not necessarily a point of view enshrined in Christianity) that we should not use another’s identity as a weapon against them.

    But you know what? The God I believe in would’ve chosen to have a beer with that crowd rather than attend a banquet for the self-proclaimed righteous. The God I believe in would’ve said, ‘Neither do I condemn you.’ And that kind of God, fanciful or not, is the kind of God that a lot of Christians actually believe in, just for the record.

    But I also agree with some of the posters above. The public spectacle of ‘civic religion’ is the very essence of hypocrisy, with the modern-day Pharisees preaching their gospels of entitlement for everyone who backs their view of the social norms. And Brownian’s sly post (#153) seems to embody Poe’s Law, in that the most nuanced appeals to ‘true religion’ are indistinguishable from parody. Perhaps the ultimate sin is to presume we know enough about anything of ultimate concern (Tillich’s definition of ‘faith’) to say anything ultimately…

  196. #196 SC
    June 2, 2008

    Walton,

    Better yet, why don’t you reply to Brownian or Dennis N or Nick Gotts?

  197. #197 Bureacratus Minimis
    June 2, 2008

    Walton:

    Some of your points are valid, but still your argument is flawed. It is unreasonable of you to expect atheists (or any non-christian) to accurately judge who is a “true” christian according to your standards, whatever they may be.

    The only thing we (nonbelievers) can do in this case is to take the speaker’s word — if he says he’s a christian, then we accept him as such. There are a huge number of subdivisions within christianity and they pretty much all claim to be the only “true” form of christianity. The recent kerfuffle over whether (non-LDS) christians consider mormons to be christians is an excellent example.

    So, do you really want PZ and the rest of us to decide whether you, or anyone else is a “true” christian?

    First off, I’d like to know where this sign comes from and who created it. It’s either the work of some fringe kooks (the likes of Fred Phelps maybe), or it’s a parody.

    I don’t know where the sign to which PZ linked comes from, but I can tell you that christian-identifying protesters with similar signs are at every gay pride event I’ve attended, also at a recent performance art event.

    I find it curious that someone who is as seemingly well-informed as you about kulturkampf issues actually that ignorant of the depth and prevalence of this form of nutjobbery.

  198. #198 bill r
    June 2, 2008

    Ahh, 18 hits, the advantages of old age. The sixties were great, at least what I remember.

  199. #199 Blake Stacey
    June 2, 2008

    And, you know, lying to people, stealing from people, some of these things listed, we all know these things are wrong.

    Damn. There go Odysseus and Robin Hood.

  200. #200 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    recently deceased Harvey Korman.

    Shame – I’ll watch Saddles one more time in his honour!

  201. #201 PZ Myers
    June 2, 2008

    A laundry list of denials and excuses is not an argument.

  202. #202 Christopher Olson
    June 2, 2008

    Wait, aren’t porn-watchers also masturbators? Are you telling me that there are people who watch porn for the story lines?

  203. #203 Moses
    June 2, 2008

    This sign is f**king typical. – I have explained the theological reasons why it isn’t logically consistent with typical Christian belief. There is a world of difference between saying “action X is morally wrong” and “anyone who commits action X is hated by God and is going to hell”. The latter isn’t actually consistent with Christian doctrine.

    First, the bolded is a straw-man. The sign says what it says. Don’t pretend it says something else.

    Second. Bullshit. I trained for the pulpit before I realized what a complete and fucking scam religion was. Like it or not Sunny Jim, those beliefs are, in fact, expressed by the vast majority of Christian denominations in the US and abroad. There is no way, beyond rank intellectual dishonesty to pretend they are not mainstream biblical/biblicaly interpreted issues requiring, for the unsaved, an eternity spent burning in hell.

    No matter how many times you put that pig in a dress.

  204. #204 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 2, 2008

    Of course sports fans are on the list. They have different religions. You cannot serve both God and the Yankees.

    I don’t really love the money. I would like to be friends with it however.

    Money isn’t everything! But without money everything is nothing!
    – Scrooge McDuck

    This sign is, above all else, theologically incorrect according to mainstream Christian doctrine. The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to “Hell”. Christians believe that as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, all sins can be forgiven.

    That’s exactly what the sign implies at the bottom — red on black, and in bad lighting, so perhaps you overlooked it: “REPENT, TURN TO JESUS”.

  205. #205 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    even though this had positive consequences – the election of Reagan being one – Walton

    Ah, I see the problem, Walton: you’ve got your head stuck on back-to-front.

  206. #206 Emmet Caulfield
    June 2, 2008

    blasphemer, money-lover, atheist, evolutionist, masturbator and porn-lover. Hmm, looks like I’m doing well. Maybe I should go out and add fornication, gambling and drunkard to the list?

    If you’re female, I can help you out with those three ;o)

  207. #207 maxi
    June 2, 2008

    10! Woohoo, I’m going to hell!

  208. #208 Brownian, OM
    June 2, 2008

    Christians are specifically not required to follow the Mosaic law, as was made clear in Acts 10 and in several of the Pauline epistles.

    Matthew 5:17 would suggest otherwise, and other than that, I’m not going to get involved in a discussion on which threads of the Emperor’s New Clothes are the strongest.

  209. #209 Sports Fan
    June 2, 2008

    Walton #181

    a regular reader of many US political columnists (I love Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, for instance)

    Thou infectious shag-eared moldwarp!

    Heaven, how boring it must be.

  210. #210 SC
    June 2, 2008

    While I respect the strength of his beliefs

    That is perfectly ridiculous.

  211. #211 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    Walton
    Yeah, sorry I mis-typed (only slightly, I think). I just re-read your post.

    So you were not a “huge fan” of the man. I think I am not alone when I say the very sight of the man makes me retch. He epitomizes everything that I hate about religion, christianity, creepy fat white guys..etc. So even a slight nod of approval makes me sick.

  212. #212 Disciple of "Bob"
    June 2, 2008

    Hmm, 14 / 22. Amusingly, being a “sports fan” is NOT one of my transgressions.

  213. #213 Eljay
    June 2, 2008

    Having come back to this thread after confessing at #2 that I was guilty of 6 of those crimes I have to say I thought it was what you did since breakfast today that counted.
    Whole life hunh?
    In my whole life, I tried them all except being a lesbian and I just do not have the hairy bits for that else I would at least have tried it just to see what its like. Even tried to screw my cousin when i was 11 and she was 13 so that has to be a twofer right there(it happened in another country so screw you American crazy laws).

    Oh and at #181 a brit who loves Ann Coulter AND Rush Limbaigh: that is just disgusting.
    Shame on you.

  214. #214 bill r
    June 2, 2008

    Ahh, 18 hits, the advantages of old age. The sixties were great, at least what I remember.

  215. #215 Snitzels
    June 2, 2008

    13/22! I’ll bring margaritas to the party.

    What’s with Mr. Wet Blanket? No offense, but have you read ANY of the rest of this blog? The main reason people get disgusted with religion is that there are so many contradictions and hypocrisy and bigotry that really, there’s no way for any human to follow it and not go to hell. So yeah, this wacko with the sign pretty much sums up the main message of hatred that is so rampant in religion. Your philosophy may be all sugar-frosted, but it still has more holes than a torn fishnet. (perhaps the origin of the word “holy”? tee hee…)

  216. #216 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Bureacratus Minimis at #197, and to Brownian in various posts.

    I think you and others have slightly misinterpreted my argument. I am not arguing that the creators of this sign are not “true Christians”. I do not have the right, nor does anyone else, to decide who is and is not a “true Christian”. Anyone who views themselves as a follower of Christ fits that definition.

    I would not deny that Fred Phelps is a Christian. Whether he is a good Christian is another matter; his theology is very much different from mainstream Christian beliefs, and, like most people here, I find his views and activities to be morally offensive.

    Since you brought the issue up, I have no problem with recognising that Mormons, JWs, Christian Scientists, and other non-Trinitarians are Christians. They view themselves as such and they strive to follow the teachings of Jesus. If God were so picky as to reject faithful people because they happened to be brought up in a slightly different religious tradition, I would not want to worship him anyway. For the record, I know many, many mainstream Christians (even liberal-minded ones) who reject the idea that Mormons et al. are real Christians; but I certainly do not think that way.

    So I am not trying to make the argument that my own views represent “true Christianity” and that everyone else is not a “true Christian”. As I’ve said earlier (repeatedly), I am no longer a practising Christian, and I haven’t decided to which particular theological viewpoint I adhere.

    Rather, I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument. That’s all I’ve been saying.

  217. #217 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    And all I’m saying is, what do we judge it on then?

  218. #218 CortxVortx
    June 2, 2008

    Re: #181

    It certainly does explain a lot: You have no concept of the rampant, raging, rabid Christian fundamentalism that we in the Colonies have to endure. It’s not the Father Ted / Vicar of Dibley Anglicanism you seem comfortable with — it’s the Elmer Gantry yahoo-ism of the unlettered Great Unwashed that has taken over the politics of this once-great nation to form the American Taliban of the Bush regime. When you claim that the sign and its sentiments don’t reflect “mainstream Christianity,” perhaps you should make it clear that you mean “British Christianity” — I’ll leave that to a native Brit to critique.

    I love Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, for instance

    Wow. Those shining exemplars of crazed Christianity didn’t clue you to the mood of the mob in the States?

    Q: What’s the difference between Rush Limbaugh and the Hindenburg?

    A: One’s a flaming Nazi gasbag, and the other is just a dirigible.

    Anyway, no more polemics until you sample American-style backwoods “led by the Spirit” self-proclaimed priesthood-of-the-believer preachers who are totally convinced that any thought that pops into their mostly-inactive little minds is a direct communication from God Almighty, and anyone who questions it is a tool of Satan.

    Seriously. This is mainstream Christianity in America. I was raised Southern Baptist; I know whereof I speak.

  219. #219 Barkliekadog
    June 2, 2008

    Walto, Walton, Walton. The small minded followers of the religion make up the religion, are the religion, represent the religion. Shall I go on? WTF, you can’t separate the followers from the book, you are one right? A follower? What kind of religion would it be if you have no followers typical or not? Saying their doing it wrong doesn’t absolve the rest.

  220. #220 Milo Johnson
    June 2, 2008

    “Rather, I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds.”

    -How is it possible to caricature superstition when it is BASED on the extreme and the absurd?

  221. #221 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Nick Gotts at #205: I have no idea what you mean.

  222. #222 Moses
    June 2, 2008

    ..based on this survey…

    Posted by: Tulse | June 2, 2008 12:40 PM

    Best link in a month.

  223. #223 Zach Miller
    June 2, 2008

    What if I only follow losing teams?

  224. #224 Blake Stacey
    June 2, 2008

    It is unreasonable of you to expect atheists (or any non-christian) to accurately judge who is a “true” christian according to your standards, whatever they may be.

    The only thing we (nonbelievers) can do in this case is to take the speaker’s word — if he says he’s a christian, then we accept him as such. There are a huge number of subdivisions within christianity and they pretty much all claim to be the only “true” form of christianity. The recent kerfuffle over whether (non-LDS) christians consider mormons to be christians is an excellent example.

    Exactly. I think of it as the Pipeline Problem: there is no way to judge from secular, empirical, rational evidence which of the competing claimants really has the pipeline to a supernatural power. (Most of the time, when we try, we find that their supernatural powers don’t know all that much about the natural world.) Does Joe say he’s a “real Christian” because he follows a larger percentage of the Bible? Well, OK, but Moe says that he is the better Christian, because his books are more faithful translations of certain Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. Meanwhile, Jack over here is saying that the scholars whom King James hired were touched by God themselves, so the KJV is more inspired than anything before or after! His ex-wife Joan had an epiphany after their divorce and now follows Marcion, so her Bible consists only of a “purified” Luke and a couple Pauline epistles, but dammit, she’s got a personal relationship with Christ.

  225. #225 Vic
    June 2, 2008

    Only 13 of them… I’m small potatoes, it seems…

  226. #226 Snitzels
    June 2, 2008

    If God were so picky as to reject faithful people because they happened to be brought up in a slightly different religious tradition, I would not want to worship him anyway.

    What about people who are faithful to other religions? What about those faithful to the principles of humanitarianism? Your bible clearly states that anyone NOT fully 100% christian is doomed and rejected by your god. It says it MANY times over. I am sorry to mince and nitpick but that argument holds no water at all. Can you clarify how far you prefer your god to smite the unbelievers before you would dismiss him as excessively cruel and/or an imaginary construct of lonely and terrified early humans in desperate need of some kind of leadership?

  227. #227 James Goetz
    June 2, 2008

    Oh, no. I’m a unrepentant NY Yankee fan.

  228. #228 Blake Stacey
    June 2, 2008

    And if the “essential Christianity” is a red herring, what can we do except investigate and criticize the most socially and politically powerful factions? When you care about creating change in this lifetime, chasing phantasms is a waste of time.

  229. #229 Bob O'H
    June 2, 2008

    Ah Walton, you’re British, that explains a lot. I don’t think PZed has been exposed to Anglican doctrine – he’s just extrapolating from the US Christianity he sees to the rest of the world.

    Imagine, if sports lovers go to Hell, that means one ex-pope and a former Bishop of Liverpool. And a couple of former Bishops of Durham get in under Atheism.

  230. #230 Becca
    June 2, 2008

    15/22!

  231. #231 Vince
    June 2, 2008

    Someone who knows how to do this on-line, please put up a poll so we can log in our number of “violations.” We could graph it and everything.

    Twelve for me! Is that significant? If it’s not, is it at least funny? Didn’t think so.

    You can’t beat a post that gets both humor and a serious discussion. Thanks again PZ.

  232. #232 MikeM
    June 2, 2008

    Walton, is salvation based on faith alone?

    Even the Bible isn’t sure.

    http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/faithalone.html

  233. #233 Brownian, OM
    June 2, 2008

    I believe with ever fibre of my being that Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter’s biggest contribution to humanity would be if they were rendered down for their water to offset the coming aridification of the planet.

    I believe this more strongly than any thinking Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Bahá’í believes in their god.

    I hope the theists shall accord to me all the respect the strength of my beliefs deserve.

  234. #234 NickG
    June 2, 2008

    Its really bad that I saw that and got competitive. I should get a bonus one for that I think. But loose definitions: 15. Strictly defined (i.e. weekly or more) 6. And I wasn’t even alive in the 60′s… well sort of: I was gastrulating and very into organogenesis rather than free love and acid at the time.

  235. #235 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    I think we’ve now got past the initial point of contention which I was here to raise – namely, that this sign is not representative of all Christian doctrine or ethics, and that ripping apart the viewpoints of fringe nutters does not discredit the religion as a whole.

    We’re now getting into the same arguments about Christian doctrine itself, and its apparent logical inconsistencies and irrationalities. The truth is, as we established on other threads, I can’t answer those. For one thing, I’m not very secure in my beliefs myself, and I honestly don’t have an answer to some of these legitimate questions. For another, if I or anyone else could give a really definitive answer to the problems of (for instance) theodicy, this debate would be redundant. As it is, we keep going round in circles.

    I’m here for two purposes, ultimately. Firstly, as an honest seeker after truth, I believe that debating and discussing matters with all sides is the only way to arrive at the best possible answer. Secondly, none of the other theists on this blog (a tiny minority) seem to be willing to tackle these issues head on and engage with the substantive problems (except Kenny, and his views seem to have been discredited).

    I’ll withdraw from this thread for now, therefore. This is, in a sense, an admission of defeat – not an admission that you’re right, but an admission that I don’t have all the answers.

    I apologise to Professor Myers for the fact that I seem to have pissed him off somewhat (I don’t honestly understand how; I thought I was being reasonably courteous). If he doesn’t wish me to post on this site again, I will of course respect his wishes.

  236. #236 Snitzels
    June 2, 2008

    Oh, did not realize Walton was British.
    Walton, you probably don’t realize the mind-numbing extent of the ridiculous claims of these backwater loonies… For that I will excuse some things, but please realize some of us were raised wracking our brains about this stuff and being told to basically sit down and shut up and go along with it on the threat of losing any and all connections with our families who would not want to associate with a nonbeliever.

    However, I still don’t agree with you and don’t believe your arguement holds any water, though I’m glad to see you are at least being polite here.
    I never say much, preferring to simply read this blog, but that post of yours hit a particularly sore point with me that really exemplified the hypocritical beliefs I have to deal with in my immediate family. It gets very frustrating watching them pray fervently over things that they could actually do something about, but prefer the course of inaction because “god will fix it”

  237. #237 Jim Harrison
    June 2, 2008

    Shooting fish in a barrel may be fun, and it’s certainly easy. On the other hand, attacking Christianity by picking out its most extreme and marginal manifestations isn’t a very good practice if the aim of the exercise is to arrive at an objective understanding of the sociology of the religion or its role in history. Note that my complaint is not meant as a defense of Christianity–from my perspective that would be as irrelevant as an attack on it–but a comment on the absurdity of reducing complex human phenomena to propaganda cartoons. Anyhow, polemics is more interesting–and honorable–when it engages a worthy opponent instead of some stupid TV evangelist. Attack Gary Wills or Ralph Waldo Emerson instead of some halfwit, and maybe the exercise would come across a little less like making fun of a cripple.

  238. #238 Latina Amor
    June 2, 2008

    Sheesh, they don’t leave many behaviors off the list. We may as well have a complete list! Noticably missing were ignorance, naivite, gullibility, arrogance, power-mongers, slow-readers, denialism, anti-evolutionist, creationist, toothfairy worshiper, slow-learner, wishful-thinker, etc, etc…

  239. #239 Cygnus Tygger
    June 2, 2008

    Funny.

    “Sports Fan” is the only thing I’m not.

  240. #240 K
    June 2, 2008

    Thus quoth Walton:

    To Glen Davidson at #168. – I agree with your analysis, and I am glad you acknowledge that the Christian intellectual tradition is much broader than this sign would suggest…

    Intellectual tradition? Ah, let’s see – the Malleus Maleficarum, Giordano Bruno burnt at the stake, Galileo and Copernicus persecuted for the heliocentric theory, the Spanish Inquisition… Oh wait, they weren’t True Christians now, were they?

  241. #241 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Brownian at #233 (I can answer this, since it’s about politics rather than religion).

    I don’t always agree with what Rush and Ann say. In particular, I’m often appalled at their attacks on Senator McCain (a great war hero, a genuine conservative and a man I deeply respect, though I disagree with him on some issues). I think it’s counterproductive to attack the Republican nominee; they should be lining up behind him to ensure that Obama – a man with little experience, dangerously naive ideas on foreign policy and a worryingly leftist philosophy – is kept out of the White House.

    I do think, though, that they (along with the US conservative movement in general) recognise the most important thing: that the defining struggle of our time is against terrorism, specifically Islamic extremism, and that we need to take the war to the enemy. Ann in particular has been consistently correct in pointing this out. Given that you are all hostile to religious fundamentalism in general, I should have thought you’d recognise the threat to our values posed by fundamentalist Islam. (Believe me, if Bin Laden had his way this blog would not exist, to put it mildly. We on the right are willing to fight and die to protect your freedom of expression, including your freedom to attack us and to get things wrong.)

  242. #242 Pablo
    June 2, 2008

    I think we’ve now got past the initial point of contention which I was here to raise – namely, that this sign is not representative of all Christian doctrine or ethics

    Whoever claimed it did?

    Even when Myers says that this behavior is “typical,” he still notes that “You can find individual details (“sports fans”, for instance) that are not held by a Christian majority”

    So are you having a good time playing in the straw?

  243. #243 Wolfhound
    June 2, 2008

    Shit, I only got FIVE! I’m one effing lousy Blasphemous, Money Loving, Evolutionist, Atheist Fornicator, aren’t I?

    I’m gonna’ go eat some puppies now…

  244. #244 PZ Myers
    June 2, 2008

    Have you noticed the conundrum here? Criticize the extremist kook Christian, and the moderates come on whining that you’re only criticizing the extremists; criticize the moderates, and get protests that they aren’t extremists. It’s Catch-22. Perfect insulation.

    The only answer: treat ‘em both as equals, and slam both the lunatics and the moderates who give them cover.

  245. #245 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 2, 2008

    According to this list, Hitler was a pretty moral guy…
    Drunkard? No, he was teetotal
    Gambler? No
    Posrn-lover? Not that I know of
    Whore-monger? No
    Child-molester? No
    Evolutionist? Despite what expelled says, no.
    Blasphemer? Not that I know of (correct me if I’m wrong)
    Money Lover?
    Not really. He lived well, but not lavishly, considering that he was a world leader.
    Pagan? No. I believe some of his followers were
    Prostitute? No, although there are rumors about his early days on the bum in Vienna.
    Homosexual? Not that I know of, although again there are rumors of his Vienna days.
    Witch? no
    Atheist? No, see Mein Kampf
    Pot smoker? No
    Lesbian? No
    Fornicator? Hitler is thought by some to have been asexual, and died a virgin.
    Masturbator? No, see above
    Psychic? No

    That leaves:
    Liar? Yes, non-aggression pact with Stalin, “Work will amke you free” etc.
    Thief? Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc.
    Hypocrite? Yes.Can’t think of specific examples, so I could be wrong

    See, not such a bad guy. Could be heaven bound with a little work.
    You guys, however…

    Do I get a Godwin?

  246. #246 Mark
    June 2, 2008

    Yeah, I’ve got 13!

    As far as tight or loose definitions go, you can bet the person who wrote that sign would define even THINKING about doing any of those things as being guilty.

  247. #247 Sili
    June 2, 2008

    What? No Christmas trees? For shame.

    Aren’t – whatsit? – Benny Hinn and Uri Geller witches by their definitions? And what about Sylvia Browne? I may of course be unfair, but were I to draw a Venn diagram I’d make the intersection of believers and callers to the psychic hotlines (and readers of horoscopes, but that’s all hunky-dory according to Genesis 1, of course) quite significant.

  248. #248 Milo Johnson
    June 2, 2008

    You wish to be an “honest seeker after truth?” Fine. Show some EVIDENCE that there is a shred of truth to your notion of an omnipotent and ubiquitous sky-daddy. Until you can demonstrate that there is any verifiable, measurable, repeatable, concrete reason to grant that notion any validity, you are spinning your wheels. Belief is not evidence, no matter how fervent it may be.

  249. #249 Ulairion
    June 2, 2008

    Hurm, I’m into seven or eight of them…

    So little time, so much to do ;D

  250. #250 Snitzels
    June 2, 2008

    …if the aim of the exercise is to arrive at an objective understanding of the sociology of the religion or its role in history.

    I’m pretty sure the sociology of the religion is understood, as is its role in history. I think that understanding is where the majority of this backlash comes from perhaps? I can think of a thousand ways to pick apart christianity merely by focusing on the mainstream, normal, white-bread everyday christians that glide through life blithely uncaring about the principles they’re endorsing.

  251. #251 SC
    June 2, 2008

    If he doesn’t wish me to post on this site again, I will of course respect his wishes.

    And the award for Most Dramatic Exit goes to…

  252. #252 Steven Alleyn
    June 2, 2008

    Is it wrong that I’m twelve of those things?

  253. #253 Brownian, OM
    June 2, 2008

    Rather, I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument. That’s all I’ve been saying.

    Walton, this is indeed a good point, but how many examples like this are needed to demonstrate that the people who espouse these beliefs, though extreme, are not all that absurd, at least in a North American context?

  254. #254 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 2, 2008

    I am in fact British, and don’t live in the United States.

    That explains a lot, my fellow European. Where we come from, what you said about majorities is in fact correct. Where the sign comes from…

    Sadly, I don’t believe that was a joke.

    It’s less probable than Russell’s Teapot, though.

    the late Rev. Jerry Falwell [...] I respect the strength of his beliefs [...] positive consequences – the election of Reagan being one

    Where is the teapot again? Between Mars and Jupiter, or between Neptune and Uranus? Because I’m considering buying Hubble time and would like where to look for it.

  255. #255 dsmccoy
    June 2, 2008

    Sports fans?

    Even if it’s the New Orleans Saints?

    Or the San Diego Padres?

  256. #256 BoxerShorts
    June 2, 2008

    How do they define “evolutionist?” I don’t know if I qualify. I mean, I’m not an evolutionary scientist or anything cool like that.

  257. #257 Sports Fan
    June 2, 2008

    Walton #241

    It’s nice to see that republican talking points are reaching your country through those internets.

    We on the right are willing to fight and die to protect your freedom of expression, including your freedom to attack us and to get things wrong.

    Are you an officer of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders?

  258. #258 BoxerShorts
    June 2, 2008

    Sports fans?
    Even if it’s the New Orleans Saints?
    Or the San Diego Padres?

    Or the St. Louis Cardinals?

  259. #259 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 2, 2008

    Attack Gary Wills or Ralph Waldo Emerson instead of some halfwit, and maybe the exercise would come across a little less like making fun of a cripple.

    Uhh, Ralph Waldo Emerson was not a Christian:
    http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/transcendentalism/ideas/onaddress.html

  260. #260 Dennis N
    June 2, 2008

    I don’t see most American conservatives willing to fight and die for the freedom of gays to be themselves and love who they wish. Actually, they wanna amend the Constitution against that.

  261. #261 Brownian, OM
    June 2, 2008

    I apologise to Professor Myers for the fact that I seem to have pissed him off somewhat (I don’t honestly understand how; I thought I was being reasonably courteous). If he doesn’t wish me to post on this site again, I will of course respect his wishes.

    Walton, it’s not your tone, but the argument you are making.

    I’m going to echo the sentiments expressed here by others and ask you to stay. We’re a feisty bunch and tend to go on the offensive fairly quickly, but well-meaning, reasoned disagreement are appreciated and welcome here. Until you become guilty of repeatedly engaging in the behaviours listed here, you have no reason to feel that you don’t have something to contribute.

    Besides, as a Canadian, we need all the commenters who use -ise rather than -ize and -our rather than -or we can get.

  262. #262 Snitzels
    June 2, 2008

    Brownian, are you critizing the ardor with which we use our spelling? ;)

  263. #263 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Sports Fan at #257 – To answer your implied question, no, I have never served in combat, as I imagine you guessed. But I was expressing the fact that I would, ultimately, be willing to fight and die to protect my country and the freedoms which we all enjoy. I wasn’t trying to be pretentious.

    FWIW, I am a cadet in the OTC (similar to US ROTC, although it doesn’t lead directly to the awarding of a commission). I’m thus technically a (non-deployable) member of the British Territorial Army, and hope to join a deployable TA regiment after I graduate from university. So I may have the opportunity to serve in combat one day.

    Give me a break, I’m only 19 (well, tomorrow is my 19th birthday). :-)

  264. #264 CJO
    June 2, 2008

    I saw a sign like that one time, but it was even more extensive, and included, hilariously, “Church Gossips.”

  265. #265 Umbo
    June 2, 2008

    No hell for abortionists? Must be the readers digest condensed list, accent on dense.

  266. #266 Emmet Caulfield
    June 2, 2008

    #145

    Akheloios #123 wins the thread.

    Yes, definitely. I laughed myself silly. The “Hindenburg” gag in #218 is good too; I hadn’t heard that one before.

  267. #267 jc
    June 2, 2008

    I only hit 11, but I included “Liars”. sooo……

  268. #268 Patricia C.
    June 2, 2008

    That sign is typical of signs I see three days a week in front of the local porno shop. Those good christians have been protesting there for almost four years now. The gawdists of America are crazy. Am I the only one that wonders why the FLDS’ers aren’t being charged with bigamy? Can’t go messing with someones faith now can we. The fundies are screaming because the bible belters are finally being belted back. Good on ya PZ.

  269. #269 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    attacking Christianity by picking out its most extreme and marginal manifestations isn’t a very good practice if the aim of the exercise is to arrive at an objective understanding of the sociology of the religion or its role in history.

    Who said that was the aim of the exercise in this case? The original aim of the post was surely to share a chance to laugh at an unpleasant, intolerant fool (notice the category: “Kooks”).

  270. #270 Jason J Brunet
    June 2, 2008

    Sports Fans is the only one I agree with!

  271. #271 Janine ID
    June 2, 2008

    (Believe me, if Bin Laden had his way this blog would not exist, to put it mildly. We on the right are willing to fight and die to protect your freedom of expression, including your freedom to attack us and to get things wrong.)

    Posted by: Walton

    But do you respect the strength of his beliefs?

    To Serena at #190 – I did actually make clear that I’m not a huge fan of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. While I respect the strength of his beliefs, I dislike the way he politicised religion…

    Posted by: Walton

  272. #272 Dancaban
    June 2, 2008

    Can only make the grade on 6. Unlike some here…

  273. #273 Jason J Brunet
    June 2, 2008

    Oh wait…I just noticed “Child Molesters”. OK, so there are two that I agree with!

  274. #274 DiscoveredJoys
    June 2, 2008

    I, of course, am not guilty of any of these sins (except hypocrisy. Doh! got me).

  275. #275 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Serena at #271: the comparison is not a good one. Unlike bin Laden, Jerry Falwell did not want to execute those who apostasised from Christianity, nor impose Sharia law (or a Judeo-Christian equivalent thereof). Nor did he use violence in pursuit of his aims.

  276. #276 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    Sorry, I meant Janine ID, not Serena.

  277. #277 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Walton: I do think, though, that they (along with the US conservative movement in general) recognise the most important thing: that the defining struggle of our time is against terrorism, specifically Islamic extremism, and that we need to take the war to the enemy.

    See Walton, most of us see the enemy in a wider horizon — not just the Jihadis, but those who funded and helped create the Jihadis. Those would be your heroes – Reagan and Bush Sr., and McCain who wishes to continue their programs that will inevitably lead to an expansion of the Jihadis, not their diminuition. Those who ally themselves with the House of Saud, who sold weapons to Iran, who have funded bloody dictators across the world.

    So Walton, from history, I can’t take your claim to be willing to “fight for my freedom” at face value. It’s the conservatives who are doing a dragnet on the internet, who are tapping American’s phones, who are kidnapping folks off the streets, who are denying Americans their right to fair and speedy trials, who have created “no-fly” lists, who claim to have the right to abrogate the fourth amendment and use military force against American citizen, and who accuse anyone who isn’t a flag-lapel wearing phony as suspicious. The same folks who did the same thing fifty years ago, and wouldn’t allow Linus Pauling to travel abroad because he had “suspicious politics”.

    If anything, some on the right are in effect collaborators with the Jihadis. Remember we have always been at war with EastAsia!

  278. #278 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 2, 2008

    Insert “to know” in the appropriate place in my last sentence.

    To Nick Gotts at #205: I have no idea what you mean.

    Reaganomics? Star Wars? Iran-Contra? Does none of that ring a bell?

    Senator McCain (a great war hero, a genuine conservative and a man I deeply respect

    Do you know what the Bush campaign did to him in the primaries, and how he reacted?

    Also, where you and I come from, Obama and Clinton are quite genuine conservatives. Kerry would fit even better, though. And Schwarzenegger.

    Obama – a man with [...] a worryingly leftist philosophy

    For crying out loud, the man is about as leftist as Tony Blair!!!

    the defining struggle of our time is against terrorism,

    Cut the poetry. The defining struggle of our time is against paranoia, ignorance, and stupidity. You are much more afraid of the terrorists than can be justified based on their real power — which means they have won. That’s exactly what they want you to be: terrified.

    specifically Islamic extremism,

    No more dangerous than the Christian extremists in the USA. They have terrorists, too; the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 was just the most spectacular act in a long line.

    and that we need to take the war to the enemy.

    I repeat: cut the poetry. Terrorists are criminals. What to do is to get the police to put them to court and then in jail. They are not an army, let alone one of a country. Nor are they numerous enough to form an army if they wanted to.

    Given that you are all hostile to religious fundamentalism in general, I should have thought you’d recognise the threat to our values posed by fundamentalist Islam.

    Only in the countries where they rule. That’s bad enough — don’t get me wrong! –, but you seem to be irrationally afraid of them taking over Europe or something, which is an impossibility for a long list of reasons. (Such as the enormous attraction of Western culture, or lack of culture if you prefer, har har.)

    (Believe me, if Bin Laden had his way this blog would not exist, to put it mildly.

    I’m not trying to defend the man — he’s for killing people, and would qualify for “dangerous madman” even if he weren’t –, but you should have read the transcript of his October 2004 video. (Was on http://aljazeera.net for years, but is no longer available.) There he rhetorically asks why 9/11 was perpetrated in the USA “and not, say, Sweden”.

    In his view, we are all going to hell anyway because we aren’t Muslims in the first place. He’s fine with letting us go there in peace. He “just” doesn’t want any interference with his (religious) pet topics: support of Israel, support of the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

    I want to see him in court, charged with instigation to and support of over 2700 cases of mass murder. But if I said I thought he wanted his followers to blow people up in Sweden, I’d be lying.

    ———————

    Blasphemer? Not that I know of (correct me if I’m wrong)

    That’s a definition issue. Basically, it depends on one’s idea of God.

    Psychic? No

    Again depends on the definition. He was deep into the occult.

  279. #279 gex
    June 2, 2008

    “Most of the people I go to church with (including me)…”

    How often do you go to church without you?

  280. #280 Nemo
    June 2, 2008

    Is it possible to be both a blasphemer and an atheist, or does being an atheist rule out blasphemy? Is blasphemy judged by the standards of the hearer, or the speaker?

  281. #281 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To Frog at #277.

    See Walton, most of us see the enemy in a wider horizon — not just the Jihadis, but those who funded and helped create the Jihadis. Those would be your heroes – Reagan and Bush Sr., and McCain who wishes to continue their programs that will inevitably lead to an expansion of the Jihadis, not their diminuition.

    I don’t know quite what you mean here. Yes, it is true that the Reagan administration armed and assisted Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan in the 1980s – but would you really condemn them for that, given that Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union? Wasn’t it justifiable to prevent Soviet power from expanding at the expense of a helpless nation? It was the lesser of two evils.

    And I don’t see how McCain’s policies will “lead to an expansion of the Jihadis”. McCain is the only candidate who wants to keep troops in Iraq for as long as it takes to stabilise the country. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the 2003 invasion – and I for one would acknowledge that it was appallingly poorly planned and executed, with no thought given to the question of nation-building – we cannot pull out now. Withdrawal would lead to Iraq collapsing into insurgency and civil war; the Iranian-backed Shi’a militias would also take over vast swathes of southern Iraq, expanding Iran’s power in the region. McCain, like it or not, is the only candidate with a realistic approach.

    Those who ally themselves with the House of Saud, who sold weapons to Iran, who have funded bloody dictators across the world. – Our alliance with the Saudis is, again, a necessary evil. They are not the most pleasant regime in the world; I don’t think anyone would dispute that. But, distasteful as it is, they do bring some degree of stability to the region, which is preferable to the probable consequences of overthrowing them/withdrawing support. The last thing the Middle East needs is more anarchy.

    As to selling weapons, I am a firm opponent of selling weapons to dangerous countries, however lucrative the deal. I think it is a mistake that we have done so in the past. Security interests must come before profit.

    It’s the conservatives who are doing a dragnet on the internet, who are tapping American’s phones, who are kidnapping folks off the streets, who are denying Americans their right to fair and speedy trials, who have created “no-fly” lists, who claim to have the right to abrogate the fourth amendment and use military force against American citizen, and who accuse anyone who isn’t a flag-lapel wearing phony as suspicious.

    Most of the above is vastly exaggerated and paranoid. Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario. And who is “kidnapping folks off the streets”?

  282. #282 Serena
    June 2, 2008

    Gex 279

    I made it a point to attend church without myself. Or at least that is how it felt. It was all about survival.
    :)

  283. #283 Sarcastro
    June 2, 2008

    The vast majority of Christians (leaving aside hyper-Calvinists like Phelps) do NOT believe that committing any sinful act condemns you to “Hell”.

    No, the VAST majority of Christians don’t know their own theology from a hole in the ground.

  284. #284 Matt Penfold
    June 2, 2008

    Walton is 19 and admires someone for being a genuine conservative ?

    What are his political views going to be like when he matures ?

  285. #285 buck09
    June 2, 2008

    PZ (244) – I recognize your conundrum, but doesn’t that exist in other places where there is a wide spectrum of belief?

    Does PETA provide cover for the Animal Liberation Front? What about Greenpeace and Earth First? Your local campus Marxist and Stalin? Bill Buckley and Alex Jones? Would you paint them with the same rhetorical brush you would Christians?

  286. #286 Sarcastro
    June 2, 2008

    Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario.

    I’ve got this bottom land in Florida you may be interested in. I’ll throw in the Brooklyn Bridge to sweeten the deal…

  287. #287 itzac
    June 2, 2008

    10/22. Can’t say I’m not proud of that.

  288. #288 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    To David Marjanovic at #278.

    Also, where you and I come from, Obama and Clinton are quite genuine conservatives. – I agree to an extent as regards Clinton, but not Obama. While he is portraying himself as a moderate, it’s very hard to tell; his platform appears to consist of “hope”, “change”, and little in the way of substantive policy. His Iraq plans are unworkable (as I’ve suggested above, immediate withdrawal would be a disaster and would lead to Iraq collapsing into insurgency and chaos, or else being taken over by Iran). Also, don’t forget his friendship with a convicted Marxist terrorist (Bill Ayers) and with a black-nationalist religious lunatic (don’t tell me that you, as an atheist, approve of Rev. Jeremiah Wright?)

    To address your other points briefly.

    There he [Bin Laden] rhetorically asks why 9/11 was perpetrated in the USA “and not, say, Sweden”… He’s fine with letting us go there in peace. He “just” doesn’t want any interference with his (religious) pet topics: support of Israel, support of the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Firstly, it is perfectly true that Islamic terrorists do not target the likes of Sweden to the extent that they target the United States, and that the reason for this is, at least partially, the fact that Sweden does not interfere in the Middle East (and does not have the capacity to do so even if it wished to). But this does not mean that we (by which I mean the US and UK) are doing anything wrong, or are somehow “responsible” for 9/11. Are you seriously arguing that we should withdraw totally from the Middle East, leave the beleaguered nation of Israel (one of our few reliable allies, and the only Middle Eastern democracy) to fend for itself? We, as major powers with strong military forces, have a moral responsibility to intervene in order to stand up for the values in which we believe.

    [Islamic terrorists are] No more dangerous than the Christian extremists in the USA. They have terrorists, too; the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 was just the most spectacular act in a long line. – This is a ludicrous comparison, quite frankly. Christian terrorists, while they undoubtedly exist, did not fly two large planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3,000 Americans. They have never had the capacity to do so. That doesn’t make them any better morally, but it does make them less of a threat. Ultimately, the differences are both ideological and sociological, and it is pretty clear that there will never be a worldwide, well-organised network of Christian terrorists, laundering large amounts of funds, training their operatives at remote locations throughout the world and recruiting new members from a large, disaffected religious minority. On the other hand, that is exactly what we do face with Islamic terrorism.

    I agree with you that, ideally, we would use the police and the court system to deal with Islamic terrorism. But it is too powerful and too dangerous for that. There are Islamic terrorist networks around the world – with the capacity to work acts of destruction, as illustrated not just on 9/11, but with the Madrid train bombings and the 7/7 bombings in London – and we need all the resources at our disposal to fight that threat, including our intelligence and security services and our police. We also need to take the fight to the terrorists themselves – the best defense being a good offense – which is what we have correctly done in Afghanistan.

  289. #289 Owlmirror
    June 2, 2008

    I became curious to find out; what do religious people actually think about God and sin? An admittedly quick Google [ religion survey popular hell ] found this:

      Is God Angered by Human Sin?
    http://www.thearda.com/quickstats/qs_98.asp

    Note that the sum total of “Agree” and “Strongly Agree” is 56.3%, a strong majority. Hm.

    A strong majority also believes in Hell:

    http://www.thearda.com/quickstats/qs_72.asp

    Now, the survey did not include the exact question “Do you believe that God hates sinners and condemns them to burn forever Hell”, but I think that it could be inferred from the above that the answer to that is very probably “yes”, for the majority of religious persons.

    As I said, a very quick Google.

  290. #290 windy
    June 2, 2008

    Rather, I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument. That’s all I’ve been saying.

    Walton, I appreciate you coming here and trying to defend the moderate religious view, but you yourself are making a strawman of what the sign says. As pointed out by Tulse in #140, myself in #152 and David in #264. The sign says that effectively everyone is a sinner and should repent and turn to Jesus. What’s so extreme and unchristian about that?

  291. #291 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Walton: And I don’t see how McCain’s policies will “lead to an expansion of the Jihadis”. McCain is the only candidate who wants to keep troops in Iraq for as long as it takes to stabilise the country. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the 2003 invasion – and I for one would acknowledge that it was appallingly poorly planned and executed, with no thought given to the question of nation-building – we cannot pull out now. Withdrawal would lead to Iraq collapsing into insurgency and civil war; the Iranian-backed Shi’a militias would also take over vast swathes of southern Iraq, expanding Iran’s power in the region. McCain, like it or not, is the only candidate with a realistic approach.

    Can you not see that staying for a century (as McCain said) can only lead to fortifying the worst elements in Iran and Pakistan? The current government of Iraq (the one we’re backing) is seen as an Iranian stooge in the ME! It’s the Iranians who are gaining. We not only screwed up, we continue to screw it up by our so-called “stabilization”. Our occupations is THE problem — it’s too late to stop Iranian dominance over Iraq.

    Most of the above is vastly exaggerated and paranoid. Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario. And who is “kidnapping folks off the streets”?

    How do you know? How could you know whether this information is being used to blackmail politicians? We know that this was done by Hoover’s FBI back in the 50s and 60s — why would we assume the good-will of the folks in power today? Isn’t it the so-called conservatives who claim to be shy of unchecked government power?

    I’m unimportant — but you dare to imagine that folks with a dragnet over the entire internet (yes, lookup the Naurus 2000!) are unlikely to use such information for political advantage? What naivete!

    Have you not heard of “extraordinary rendition”? We have picked up folks off the street (so far no confirmed cases within the US), and held them in secret, incommunicado for years at a time. Some of them have been innocent of any crime whatsoever — see the El-Masri case. Really, it’s unbelievable that anyone would defend such a flagrant criminal act.

    And once again, the right-wing strawman comes out. No one is against legal wiretapping. But without the checks and balances of public juridical oversight over such wiretapping, we’re being “protected” in the same way that the Soviets “protected” their citizens against “dangerous counter-revolutionaries”. Don’t you see how your arguments have been used since the 1850′s to justify oppressive government tactics? That these same talking points would have been right at home in the USSR? We haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I’d feel more comfortable the farthest we could be from our sworn ideological enemies, rather than being pale emulations of them.

    I guess we’ve reached the point that simple realism is accused of “paranoia and exaggeration”. Since this information is quite publically available, it’s difficult to believe in the good-faith of those who deny it.

  292. #292 Janine ID
    June 2, 2008

    To Janine ID at #271: the comparison is not a good one. Unlike bin Laden, Jerry Falwell did not want to execute those who apostasised from Christianity, nor impose Sharia law (or a Judeo-Christian equivalent thereof). Nor did he use violence in pursuit of his aims.

    Posted by: Walton

    Falwell and his ilk did not need to use violence to get his aims, the control of the enacting of laws was the weapons of choice. As for these laws not being sharia, I would beg to differ. The laws they keep working for would reduce this person (female and lesbian) and others like me to being second class citizens. That is violent enough.

    While you are correct about the violence done in the name of islam, just check the thread about Laila Huessain, it does not excuse the actions of Jerry Falwell nor of your heroes like Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh and *nn C**lt*r. They have worked hard to curtail my freedoms and I do take that personally.

  293. #293 chris
    June 2, 2008

    I havent read all of the posts but here is what I heard recently. Some of you may have heard of brother Micah a crazy preacher who goes to unversites all round the eastern US. He has an extensive list of hell bound people.
    lesbians
    Homosexuals
    smokers, drinkers and other drug users
    fraternity and sorority members
    people who kiss on the mouth before marriage
    pet owners
    sports fans
    rock and roll, rap, even if xian rock or rap
    catholic
    baptist
    atheist
    jews, muslims etc
    john lennon, jimmy hendrix, gandhi, MLK, Teresa
    he estimates 98 percent of people in hell
    he calls the televison helevision. lol
    personally I cant think of anyone he doesnt damn
    luckily hell doesnt exist

  294. #294 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 2, 2008

    I only hit 11, but I included “Liars”. sooo……

    LOL! Suck on it, Epimenides!!! :-D

    But do you respect the strength of his beliefs?

    The obvious question nobody thought of. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

    the comparison is not a good one. Unlike bin Laden, Jerry Falwell did not want to execute those who apostasised from Christianity, nor impose Sharia law (or a Judeo-Christian equivalent thereof). Nor did he use violence in pursuit of his aims.

    So it’s the beliefs themselves, and not the strength, that you respect. That’s sane of you.

    (Well, respecting Foulwill’s beliefs still isn’t sane as far as I know, but you get my point, I think.)

  295. #295 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Walton: Christian terrorists, while they undoubtedly exist, did not fly two large planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3,000 Americans. They have never had the capacity to do so. That doesn’t make them any better morally, but it does make them less of a threat. Ultimately, the differences are both ideological and sociological, and it is pretty clear that there will never be a worldwide, well-organised network of Christian terrorists, laundering large amounts of funds, training their operatives at remote locations throughout the world and recruiting new members from a large, disaffected religious minority. On the other hand, that is exactly what we do face with Islamic terrorism.

    I think you should look more closely at phenomena such as “Joel’s Army”, the “Family” prayer group and other militant fundamentalist sects in the US. The threat of terrorist attacks on much greater scales is present, and I would not be surprised if some of our military actions have been motivated in part by fundamentalist doctrines. The intent definitely exists — recall that a few years ago a US general declared that the US invasion of Iraq was part of a religious confrontation between “our” God and “theirs”. One may even be tempted to believe that some of the supporters of the Iraq war were motivated primarily by religious, not geopolitical, considerations.

    Wouldn’t that be terrorism on a scale vaster than those piddling little jihadis? But they would be on your side!

    This isn’t paranioa, but geopolitical reality. Maybe you are unaware of some of your allies on this side of the Atlantic – but I doubt it if you follow Coulter and Limbaugh.

  296. #296 SC
    June 2, 2008

    We, as major powers with strong military forces, have a moral responsibility to intervene in order to stand up for the values in which we believe.

    This calls for another link to Robert Newman’s History of Oil:

    http://www.thedossier.ukonline.co.uk/music_satire.htm

    (Scroll about 40% of the way down the page to find it.)

  297. #297 skeptic99
    June 2, 2008

    Sports fans might fall into this group because they’re always tempted to skip church and stay at home Sundays in order to watch NFL football, French Open tennis, European soccer etc. Also they usually pay money for cable to get ESPN, TSN, etc.-money that should rightfully be given to the church. Those Learjets don’t fuel themselves you know-regardless of the prayers directed upwards.

  298. #298 Vic
    June 2, 2008

    Objections like the one here are plain bullshit:

    Shooting fish in a barrel may be fun, and it’s certainly easy. On the other hand, attacking Christianity by picking out its most extreme and marginal manifestations isn’t a very good practice

    You make the mistake of thinking this is an ‘extreme’ or ‘marginal’ manifestation. Some of the trivial ones like sports fandom may seem extreme, but ARE widespread nevertheless – And, worse, ARE SCRIPTURALLY SUPPORTED (even if only through contortions like ‘thou shalt have no other god before me’ – if they can twist that to saying love nothing more than you love god, then complaining that it applies to loving sports is just a question of degree…).

    Worse for your position is that there really aren’t that many ‘kooky’ entries on the list. Of the 22 there, ones that are held as sinful by most mainstream flavors of christianity are:

    thieves
    liars
    money lovers
    pagans
    homosexuals
    witches
    atheists
    porn-lovers
    whoremongers
    child molesters
    lesbians
    fornicators
    hypocrites

    That’s 13 out of 22, and really drug users and alcoholics would be put on by a good deal of christians, though admittedly not anywhere near as many as the ones I mentioned. Prostitutes and gamblers would be thrown in by a pretty good number as well.

    What makes this ‘funny’ is the inclusion of so many innocuous things like liking sports, or the simple fact that someone would be openly so bigoted and hateful, but as much as moderate-christian ‘defenders’ want to pretend this is just ‘extreme’ and ‘not representative of christianity as a whole’, well, suck it, because MOST christians DO agree with the majority of that list. They’re just tactful enough to not bring it up, and/or slightly more sane so that they don’t go batshit crazy throwing in the kitchen sink.

  299. #299 Interrobang
    June 2, 2008

    Walton: Look up Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who was kidnapped by US law enforcement authorities on spurious evidence (essentially, he knew someone who knew someone who might have once been in contact with a terrorist organisation) provided them by CSIS and the RCMP, “extraordinarily rendered” to Syria despite asking to be returned to Canada, stuck in a grave-sized hole in the ground and tortured for six months, with the complicity of the Bush Administration, who knew damn well that was what would happen to him.

    Look up Omar Khadr, while you’re there — a Canadian-born Canadian citizen being held in Guantanamo Bay indefinitely because he was sent to Afghanistan as a fifteen year old boy, and he threw a grenade at some US soldiers. His military tribunal court date (at least he got one!) has been kangarooish at best and plagued with irregularities, not least of which is that the judge was dismissed. Despite the Canadian authorities’ asking, Mr. Khadr has not been able to return to Canada.

    These are just two cases.

    And that is the kind of thing the Bush Administration and its lackeys worldwide support — unlawful, indefinite detention, torture, kidnapping, and the violation of habeas corpus and due process. I don’t care who’s on the other side; surely we’re collectively better than that. Some shitpot terrorist is worth giving up all that and most of the worthwhile civil liberties besides? (I note that Bush’s people have not yet located nor apprehended Osama Bin Laden, and by Bush’s own admission, don’t really care about catching him, either. He’s much more convenient as a boogeyman if he’s wandering around loose, after all.)

    And while we’re there, let’s talk about Zbigniew Brzezinsky admitting in an interview in a French newspaper that the US was funding and arming mujahadeen in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion, hoping to goad the Soviets into invading so that they’d get bogged down in “their own Vietnam.” And let’s talk about the hyperexaggerated threat from the Cold War, and Iran-Contra, and the number of recycled Watergate and Savings and Loan Scandal felons still kicking around in US right-wing politics. Fine company you’re keeping, throwing your hat in with that lot.

    And that’s not actually getting into all the right-wing Christian terrorism the Bush Administration has essentially ignored or blinked at. If you look at the history of right-wing terrorism in the United States, they’ve killed altogether many, many more people than Islamic terrorists ever did. (Lynching alone counts for thousands.) And yet, you and all people like you are so intent on hating Muslims and turning a single terrorist attack into a new world war, you’re pissing your collective pants at the drop of a hat.

    Grow up.

  300. #300 trj
    June 2, 2008

    They forgot one category: “People we don’t like”.

  301. #301 Tulse
    June 2, 2008

    Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario.

    Given that, in the US, some such wiretaps are not subject to any court oversight, how do you know what they are being used for?

    And who is “kidnapping folks off the streets”?

    The CIA.

  302. #302 Latina Amor
    June 2, 2008

    Walton,
    please allow me to cut to the chase…
    Ann Coulter and Rush Bimbaugh are American jihadist. No different! Count the Bushs, Cheneys, Rumfelds and Roves and neo-con-artists with them…all delusional jihadists! Monikers could be Osama Bin Coulter and Muhammed Limbaugh. They are religious delusionists just like Osama Bin Lying. Only difference is our jihadists have cruise missles and F-22 Raptors with thermonuclear weapons. Does that make sense? And scare the shit out of you, yet?

  303. #303 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 2, 2008

    Wasn’t it justifiable to prevent Soviet power from expanding at the expense of a helpless nation? It was the lesser of two evils.

    This is a much more difficult question than you think. For example, in hindsight, it was probably the greater of two evils. If I had to choose between living under Brezhnev or under the Taliban, I’d choose the former…

    Walton is 19 and admires someone for being a genuine conservative ?
    What are his political views going to be like when he matures ?

    Calm down, it’s just Adolescent Rebellion?, he’ll return to his parents’ Social Democratic values when he’ll grow up ;-)

    And I don’t see how McCain’s policies will “lead to an expansion of the Jihadis”. McCain is the only candidate who wants to keep troops in Iraq for as long as it takes to stabilise the country.

    That’s it. That’s what we’re talking about. Keeping them in the country would only keep attracting people with a terminal messiah complex who either want to remove the Americans from the national soil, or the heathens from the sacred soil, or both.

    I agree to an extent as regards Clinton, but not Obama. While he is portraying himself as a moderate, it’s very hard to tell; his platform appears to consist of “hope”, “change”, and little in the way of substantive policy.

    The substantive policy is practically identical to Clinton’s, as far as I know (haven’t bothered to check out his website). That’s certainly among the reasons why it hasn’t been mentioned more. I predict the parts that McCain disagrees with will come up a lot over the next months.

    His Iraq plans are unworkable (as I’ve suggested above, immediate withdrawal would be a disaster and would lead to Iraq collapsing into insurgency and chaos, or else being taken over by Iran).

    And that would be different from the current situation how?

    I’m completely serious.

    No, really. Get out, get the UN in instead, and pay for it.

    Never mind the fact that the continued presence of US troops so close to Iran would be used by the theocrats there to justify acts of ever greater paranoia* — and would indirectly cause greater and prolonged suffering for the population of that country. The Assad dynasty in Syria can be expected to react similarly.

    * Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not coming after you.

    Also, don’t forget his friendship with a convicted Marxist terrorist (Bill Ayers)

    Never heard of it.

    and with a black-nationalist religious lunatic (don’t tell me that you, as an atheist, approve of Rev. Jeremiah Wright?)

    Friendship? He wasn’t there when the Irreverend preached that, and he has condemned those lunatic views how many times now?

    (BTW, whether I’m an atheist is a matter of definition. I prefer calling myself an apathetic agnostic.)

    But this does not mean that we (by which I mean the US and UK) are doing anything wrong, or are somehow “responsible” for 9/11.

    Indeed not. That’s not what I mean.

    Are you seriously arguing that we should withdraw totally from the Middle East, leave the beleaguered nation of Israel (one of our few reliable allies, and the only Middle Eastern democracy) to fend for itself?

    Not at all. I was arguing against the “they hate us for our freedoms and want to kill and/or conquer us all” mindset. I repeat: if he’s still alive, I want to see him and any surviving henchmen in court for over 2700 cases of mass murder.

    This is a ludicrous comparison, quite frankly. Christian terrorists, while they undoubtedly exist, did not fly two large planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3,000 Americans. They have never had the capacity to do so.

    Ah, really?

    I agree with you that, ideally, we would use the police and the court system to deal with Islamic terrorism. But it is too powerful and too dangerous for that.

    Ah, really?

    There are Islamic terrorist networks around the world -

    So what? That doesn’t make them powerful. That only means there are several countries with three terrorists in them.

    I agree about the “intelligence and security services” though. Should have mentioned them.

    Some of them have been innocent of any crime whatsoever — see the El-Masri case.

    You didn’t count Driving While Arab.

  304. #304 Rey Fox
    June 2, 2008

    I wonder if this is Bible Jim, the guy who holds fort at the University of Idaho once a year around the time the weather starts getting warm. I have a couple pictures from his harangue back in 2001, and “Sports Nuts” was on the list. I notice this list doesn’t have Mormons on it, which maybe means it’s a different guy.

    “Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario.”

    To echo frog, how do you know? How could you know? Why, for instance, did the Bush Administration feel the need to exempt themselves from FISA? You know, the old lawful (and yet still rather easy) way to get warrants for wiretapping?

  305. #305 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Walton: Yes, it is true that the Reagan administration armed and assisted Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan in the 1980s – but would you really condemn them for that, given that Afghanistan was invaded by the Soviet Union? Wasn’t it justifiable to prevent Soviet power from expanding at the expense of a helpless nation? It was the lesser of two evils.

    By that logic, it would be justifiable to fund bin Laden to protect Iraq from US expansionism — aka, completely illogical and insane. You know, in that Afghan case, it was actually the government of Afghanistan that invited in the Soviets — making their unjustified aggression more justified than ours!

    You see where we get once we enter this topsy-turvy world of wingnut politics — everything has to be hedged by special exemptions due to our “moral superiority”, since no symmetry exists. In short, no real morality, but simply apologetics for the unconstrained use of force. Kind of like Christian apologetics, come to think of it…

  306. #306 khan
    June 2, 2008
  307. #307 Cujo359
    June 2, 2008

    Only managed 8 out of 22. Maybe nine, but I don’t think I have the self-awareness needed to tell if I’m a hypocrite.

    I have to wonder what the maker of that sign does for fun.

  308. #308 David Marjanovi?, OM
    June 2, 2008

    And while we’re there, let’s talk about Zbigniew Brzezinsky admitting in an interview in a French newspaper that the US was funding and arming mujahadeen in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion, hoping to goad the Soviets into invading so that they’d get bogged down in “their own Vietnam.”

    Wow.

    Which newspaper?

  309. #309 IBY
    June 2, 2008

    With sports fan and hypocrites, they already sent 99.99999999% of the population that has ever lived to hell, including Jesus if he would have existed, and the fundamentalist Christians themselves.

  310. #310 Corey Schlueter
    June 2, 2008

    Let’s see, I am an evolutionist but I am a sometimes sports fan, sometimes liar, sometimes thief, sometimes gambler and sometimes hypocrit (aren’t we all).

    Interesting it says nothing about murderers, as mentioned, or Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics. Or even polygamists and bisexuals.

  311. #311 dave
    June 2, 2008

    Not only is the list incredibly inclusive, but it is only of Hell’s MOST wanted. Presumably then, there are people who aren’t represented on this list who are going to hell for some lesser offenses.

    Heaven mus be a pretty lame place. Unless in heaven you spend eternity with all the awesome people who went to hell and in hell you spend eternity with all the fundies.

  312. #312 Ktesibios
    June 2, 2008

    Most of the above is vastly exaggerated and paranoid. Wiretapping is necessary to pre-empt terrorist plots; the government is not using it to investigate your personal life or to create a 1984 scenario.

    What a steaming pile of fetid dingo’s kidneys. Apparently Walton’s ignorance of American history extends to the fact that our Glorious Organs of State Security have a long, well-documented and consistent history of seeing themselves as secret political police and acting on that vision.

    We have no more good reason to assume that the right-wing authoritarian-follower personality traits which inspired those abuses (and which Walton is a marvelous exemplar of) are no longer in action than we would have to assume that someone with a past conviction for child molesting would make a good babysitter.

    The history on Walton’s side of the pond is probably just as shameful as it is in the USA, as secret police creeps are pretty much the same sort of creature wherever you find them.

    @ Matt Penfold in #284: Bob Altemeyer’s research on authoritarianism indicated that his students’ RWA scores tended to decrease as they continued their college educations, but tend to rise again in middle age.

    As for the going-to-Hell checklist, I’m not gonna tote up my score until I find out whether it’s graded on a curve.

  313. #313 Bachalon
    June 2, 2008

    Walton, so what if the Falwells of this country don’t use overt violence. The fact of the matter is that they don’t need to: they can rally their good little sheep and vote down gay marriage, protection from violence for gay and lesbian students, they can prevent GLBT folks from serving in the military, from having protection from housing discrimination.

    You’ll have to pardon this gay man for not leaping to my feet to sing their praises for simply not killing me. Even then, there are quite a few who do think that way (go browse the FSTDT archives for a bit if you don’t believe me).

  314. #314 Cygnus Tygger
    June 2, 2008

    With sports fan and hypocrites, they already sent 99.99999999% of the population that has ever lived to hell, including Jesus if he would have existed,

    What was his team?

    (um, some religious tracts say the Jesus spent the three days in hell. Had to for some reason.)

  315. #315 ndt
    June 2, 2008

    I’ll take one from column A and three from column B, please.

  316. #316 MAJeff, OM
    June 2, 2008

    I don’t see most American conservatives willing to fight and die for the freedom of gays to be themselves and love who they wish. Actually, they wanna amend the Constitution against that.

    And when Walton’s hero Reagan was in office, they cheered while we faggots died.

  317. #317 frog
    June 2, 2008

    DM: You didn’t count Driving While Arab.

    Ah yes. In Florida, there were two medical students arrested and searched in the Everglades because they were overheard talking in a restaurant by a waitress in their native language. That was enough for them to be treated like terrorists. No evidence whatsoever, no “probable cause”, other than speaking a foreign language and appearing brown (and being foolish enough to eat in one of our “family” eateries — don’t go to Cracker Barrel, Shoneys and such in the US if you are “suspiciously” brown).

    But then I recall that once in Florida a swat team raided a restaurant because someone claimed that Khadaffi was eating there — and that was back in the mid-90′s.

    By the way, I believe it was Le Nouvel Observateur that did the Brzezinski interview — I recall reading it, and here’s a link to a selection in couterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/brzezinski.html

  318. #318 J. A. Baker
    June 2, 2008

    Wait…sports fans?

    Yeah…that kind of reminds me of that excerpt from Matt Taibbi’s upcoming book where he infiltrates Rev. Hagee’s whackadoodle church and goes on one of their little retreats.

    In the name of Jesus, I cast out the demon of handwriting analysis!

  319. #319 Walton
    June 2, 2008

    I don’t have time to respond to the flood of responses tonight (it’s the evening where I am and I have to do some work) but I’ll respond briefly to Bachalon at #313.

    [T]hey can rally their good little sheep and vote down gay marriage… – Yes, but there is rather a big difference between not wanting to extend marriage to homosexual couples, and going around blowing up buildings in order to destroy homosexuals and infidels. Wouldn’t you say?

    While I (as stated above) don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with homosexuality, and am in favour of allowing same-sex civil partnerships, I don’t think that those who oppose such partnerships on moral grounds can really be compared to Islamic terrorists.

    …protection from violence for gay and lesbian students… – All students, including gay and lesbian students, are protected from violence by the general law. If someone attacks you, they are guilty of assault/battery, regardless of your sexuality. No conservative has suggested making it legal to assault gays.

    …they can prevent GLBT folks from serving in the military… – Is serving in the military an inalienable right? I’m not going to defend “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, but I think that decision should be made purely on the basis of what will be best for the combat efficiency of the military. If commanding officers on the ground feel that allowing open homosexuals to serve would not compromise the cohesion and combat effectiveness of military units, then I am entirely in favour of homosexuals in the military. (Here in the UK we have allowed open homosexuals to serve in the military since 2000 and it hasn’t caused any particular problems.) But it isn’t a rights issue; the only important factor is military efficiency.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that discrimination against homosexuals is a good thing. I am personally in favour of same-sex civil partnerships; some conservatives are against them. But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law, of security and of their constitutional rights. No one wants to bring back sodomy laws. (Well, Fred Phelps does, but he is widely recognised as a complete lunatic. Jerry Falwell called him a “first-class nut”.) On the other hand, Muslim extremists do, in general, want to destroy homosexuals.

    There is no comparison.

  320. #320 Dahan
    June 2, 2008

    Eleven… or twelve for me. Kinda depends on some of those definitions. At least I made 50%! I feel good about that.

  321. #321 j
    June 2, 2008

    I can’t believe “Feminists” isn’t on there! I am disappointed.

  322. #322 Pablo
    June 2, 2008

    There is no comparison.

    What a selling point!

    “Christians: Not as bad as Islamic Terrorists!”

    So discrimination and bigotry is acceptable as long as it’s not as bad as “Muslim Extremists”?

  323. #323 Bob Dowling
    June 2, 2008

    From way back, near the top:

    [I]f you’re a human being, basically, you’re toast.

    I think it’s called original sin.

    p.s. Only 9/22. I feel so unworthy.

  324. #324 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Walton: But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law, of security and of their constitutional rights.

    Are you f’ing kidding me??? They’ve moderated their speech in recent years, but it’s only a decade since gay sex was legalized in many parts of the US — Falwell et. al. were all for having the state intrude into the most private of matters! Denying marriage rights is clearly a violation of equal protection, just as “separate but equal” and miscegenation laws were.

    These are people using the power of the state to violently attack gays, no question about it — these are people who say that “gays” are responsible for 9/11 and the Katrina disasters, rather than their own compatriots who were actually in control of the levers of government that were supposed to protect us from those disasters.

    You’re right, they’re not for stoning gays — they’re for throwing them in stinking cells for six months to a year, where they’re likely to be raped, beaten and possibly even killed. They’re for winking and nodding at those who terrorize gays, in the same way they winked and nodded at the klan back in the day. They (and you) simply refuse to legally recognize acts of terrorism and want to treat them as simple assault. Did Bin Laden “just” assault and murder on 9/11?

    My respect diminishes with every one of your postings, as I see recycled right-wing nonsense underlying your “oh so sensible” Christian moderation. If this is what moderation looks like, I almost pine for the simple-minded honesty of a Kenny.

  325. #325 Jim Benson
    June 2, 2008

    I can’t believe I only can claim to be 10 out of the 22. Darn.

  326. #326 Nick Gotts
    June 2, 2008

    Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the 2003 invasion – and I for one would acknowledge that it was appallingly poorly planned and executed, with no thought given to the question of nation-building – we cannot pull out now.

    The fact that every poll shows a clear majority for a swift end to the occupation, of course, makes no difference whatever as far as you’re concerned, any more than it does to Bush and his British stooges, or McCain.

    In addition to being poorly planned and executed, the invasion was also a war crime, founded on lies (for the lies, if we needed it, we now have testimony from one of Bush’s senior accomplices in his crimes, Scott McClellan).

  327. #327 Eric
    June 2, 2008

    Walton said:

    I do not have the right, nor does anyone else, to decide who is and is not a “true Christian”. … I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument.

    Walton,
    Don’t you realize that this is just the same argument, rephrased? Instead of arguing about which sects count as Christian, you’re now arguing about which Christian sects are absurd. But whose definition of absurd are you using? Your own sect’s, of course. What you now mean is: these people are absurd and extreme as defined by my own interpretation of Christianity.

    ripping apart the viewpoints of fringe nutters does not discredit the religion as a whole

    Same problem. One man’s fringe nutter is another man’s devout, mainstream believer. If you want to demonstrate that this is fringe nuttiness, you have to tell us on what you base that claim. Number of adherents? As a Brit you should probably not choose that metric: protestants lose that one. Protestants ARE the fringe nutters according to the bigger Roman Catholic and Russian/Greek Orthodox churches. Adherence to certain core religious beliefs? We can’t use that one, there’s no way for an outsider to decide which core beliefs are better than any others. So, again, how does an outsider decide what to count as non-nutty Christianity?

    So you judge a belief system on the stupidity and small-mindedness of some of its followers?

    What else do you judge it on? Internal consistency? Christianity loses. Aesthetic appeal? Happiness granted? Those are in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps you could judge a belief system on the number of people fed or number saved from disease. In which case Science wins. In short – if you don’t judge a belief system on the actions of its members, then what do you judge it on? Name your metric for judging belief systems.

    I really hope you don’t withdraw from the debate. Your comments have been interesting, if not entirely satisfying. And happy birthday.

    #280 Nemo: I don’t think being an Atheist necessarily makes you a blasphemer. Blaspheming – according to the dictionary – is about what you say, not about your thoughts.

    ..and for the record, I score 11ish. Damn all you pagan witch pot-smoking lesbians for breaking the curve!

  328. #328 woozy
    June 2, 2008

    Damn all you pagan witch pot-smoking lesbians for breaking the curve!

    Especially us underaged ones who self-abuse each other!

    Of course, my “all but sports fan” status means that I’m a liar in which case …

    I mean, you aren’t judging yourself on the honor system are you? You’ll never get to hell that way!

  329. #329 Laser Potato
    June 2, 2008

    I think it’s pretty well established that Walton’s just repeating the No True Scotsman fallacy again and again.

  330. #330 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Walton:

    Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?
    Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
    Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
    Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.
    Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

    So which is it? Is the current hysteria justified or was the hysteria about the Soviets justified? You can’t have both, according to one of the architects of the mujahadeen program in Afghanistan.

  331. #331 wooz-- er, I mean, Cygnus Tygger
    June 2, 2008

    Oops, I signed that last one with my wrong name…

    …well, you caught me in a bluff…

    Athiest, maybe… Pagan, in a pinch… but Liar? Most def’

  332. #332 woozy
    June 2, 2008

    Oh, wait! Its Hell’s Most WANTED

    They want the sports fans and lesbians and atheists and pagans because Hell is too crowded with Fundie hatemongers and they need some good pagan witch pot-smoking lesbians to liven the conversations.

  333. #333 Nemo
    June 2, 2008

    Walton:

    Christian terrorists, while they undoubtedly exist, did not fly two large planes into the World Trade Center and kill 3,000 Americans. They have never had the capacity to do so.

    I think you greatly overestimate the capacity required. What training did they have? Minimal flight school. What equipment? Boxcutters and synchronized watches. Almost anyone could have done it — which is the truly scary part, I suppose. The only special element they needed was a willingness to die (and to make a lot of others die) for their cause.

    Eric:

    I don’t think being an Atheist necessarily makes you a blasphemer.

    No, of course not — I’m asking if being an atheist precludes you from being a blasphemer. (Because, if it does, then I can’t count that one towards my total.) That is, don’t you have to believe in God before you can blaspheme? If we assume that the sin is in the intent, then an unbeliever can’t really form the intent to blaspheme, can he?

  334. #334 Paul
    June 2, 2008

    So, if I understand this correctly, there won’t be any ESPN or pay-per-view channels in Heaven, and they won’t let me bring my Big Lebowski DVD with me.

    “This is a bummer, man! That’s ah… that’s a bummer…”

  335. #335 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 2, 2008

    With sports fan and hypocrites, they already sent 99.99999999% of the population that has ever lived to hell, including Jesus if he would have existed,

    What was his team?

    I don’t know his team, but ancient scripture (aka old Canadian joke) tells us that he played goal in the NHL:

    “Jesus saves!…and Gretzky scores on the rebound.”

  336. #336 Daniel
    June 2, 2008

    I got nailed on only 2.Evolution and third from the bottom right.

  337. #337 Gustav Nyström
    June 2, 2008

    And that’s only Hell’s MOST wanted, forget all the little Hellish traffic violations.

    Yeah, “traffic violations” like murder, rape, abuse, etc that they apparently forgot to list there…

  338. #338 natural cynic
    June 2, 2008

    Wow, late to the game and it took 265 to mention abortion?!! And no mention of transsexuals?!! And no mention of anyone who covets a neighbors belongings or pieces of ass – that’s a whole commandment there – two if you’re RC?!!

    Some people really can’t make good inclusive lists.

  339. #339 Steve_C
    June 2, 2008

    Daniel.

    You gotta get out of the house more.

    Teehee.

  340. #340 Mac
    June 2, 2008

    Do you get to check one off if you haven’t actually done the action, but seriously intend to?

  341. #341 Greg
    June 2, 2008

    wow – I’m 14 of those

  342. #342 ChrisC
    June 2, 2008

    Wow! 11 for me! I wonder if there is a special spot in hell reserved for those of us who like to drink while watching sports? (I spent most of Sunday night at a bar watching my beloved Australia scrape a narrow, lucky win over Iraq in the world cup qualifier)

  343. #343 natural cynic
    June 2, 2008

    Does it count if you wanna be a lesbian but don’t have the equipment?

  344. #344 Jim Harrison
    June 2, 2008

    Somebody upstream made some claims about the list of sins based on quotes from the Bible. I’m amused when it turns out that village atheist types are all fundamentalists when it comes to their approach to hermeneutics. Thing is, you can’t really characterize the beliefs of particular Jewish or Christians groups by quoting a line or two from Leviticus. I don’t give a damn if it’s bad theology–I’m not a believer–but it is absurd from a historical or sociological point of view because the Bible that matters to particular sects and denominations is the Bible-as-interpreted. Thus it may say in the Jewish Bible, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” but actual Jewish law hasn’t interpreted justice that way since before the beginning of the common era. Even believers who think they adhere to scriptura sola do not. Last month I listened to a radio preacher who claimed that the Bible literally fingered Satan as the tempter in the Garden of Eden, presumably because he’s so used to the conservative protestant understanding of the story that he forgot the bad guy who shows up in Genesis is simply a talking snake. And so it goes. You can’t make a faith out of a book, especially a book as self-contradictory as the Bible. Only the Fundies and, apparently, the village atheists think you can.

    Somebody corrected me about calling Emerson a Christian. Since Emerson began his career as a Unitarian preacher and wound up some sort of pantheist, he certainly wasn’t an orthodox Christian. He was, however, part of the religious ferment of the Second Great Awakening in America and that was surely a largely Christian phenomenon. The first half of the 19th Century in this country produced a remarkable collection of religious figures, some rational, some barking mad, some progressive, others reactionary. What I object to is the tendency to dismiss all these men and women and their 20 and 21st Century counterparts as a bunch of Elmer Gantrys as if Fundamentalism, which was actually a rather late development, somehow typifies religion in the U.S. I figure that all religions are equally false if you consider ‘em as systems of propositions about the universe; but it’s just bad history to claim that they are always or even usually the source of social evils. For example, in American history, the churches were often on the side of the movements such as the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and universal education. They were, in fact, mostly very supportive of the sciences, trusting that the facts would support their spiritual intuitions. Ideological atheists, as opposed to those of us who simply don’t believe in God, tend be pretty crude historians.

  345. #345 Gilmore
    June 2, 2008

    Is Walton aware that Rush Limbaugh goes on Viagra vacations to the Dominican Republic, one of the biggest world hotspots for the purchase of sex with children?

  346. #346 woozy
    June 2, 2008

    I got nailed on only 2.Evolution and third from the bottom right.

    Poor boy. I hope you will soon get nailed frequently and often so you can get the fourth from bottom right.

    Um, you *do* want to get nailed on more of them, don’t you?

  347. #347 Ferrous Patella
    June 2, 2008

    “9 current, 12 all-time.”

    You are doing 9 of those right now, all at the same time? Impressive!

  348. #348 frog
    June 2, 2008

    JH: Somebody corrected me about calling Emerson a Christian. Since Emerson began his career as a Unitarian preacher and wound up some sort of pantheist, he certainly wasn’t an orthodox Christian. He was, however, part of the religious ferment of the Second Great Awakening in America and that was surely a largely Christian phenomenon.

    So by this standard, all American citizens from the 19th century where “Christianish”, since they were all certainly influenced by the 2nd Great Awakening?

    Such sophisticated hermeneutics! Such a subtle understandig of history! Please, give me the village atheist instead – I’d rather have someone crudely right, than someone sophisticatedly wrong.

  349. #349 qkslvrwolf
    June 2, 2008

    I’m on there for between 6 and 8, depending on whether you put “chronic” or “occasional, accidental” in front of “liars” and “hypocrites”.

    I’m not perfect, is all I’m sayin’…

  350. #350 Budbear
    June 2, 2008

    If I can consider myself a lesbian trapped in a man’s body, that would get my score up to 13. Can I get an Amen!… er, Awomen!… ah, you know what I mean.

    Nemo: When I had religion, I was a blasphemer. Goddammit! Now as a nonbeliever there is no damnation and nothing to do the damning anyway.

  351. #351 mellowjohn
    June 2, 2008

    8

  352. #352 extatyzoma
    June 2, 2008

    not a very good use of space there: homosexuals AND lesbians, i’d have replaced ‘lesbians’ with ‘intolerence’.

    Good to see that you can have a drink, just not be a drukard!!!

  353. #353 Miss M
    June 2, 2008

    I feel tame – I can only get to 12, and that’s if you count lesbianism as a subset of homosexuality.

    Woe is me, I shall never acheive pure sinfulness…

  354. #354 Karen Peralta
    June 2, 2008

    I’m damned on nine counts.
    Looks like I have some work to do.

  355. #355 Darth Gundam
    June 2, 2008

    Wow I get all 22, I’m really regretting having sex while under-age now…or not ;-P Wow I’m kinda awestruck I am truly evil.

  356. #356 Rey Fox
    June 2, 2008

    Wait a minute…psychics…they forgot GORGYLES!

  357. #357 Benjamin Franklin
    June 2, 2008

    PZ-

    I’m calling bullshit on this game, as it’s horribly biased.

    You can’t win unless you are, or have been, female!

    Oh, well. I guess I have to settle for 20/22, but I swear to God, I’m really a good person!

  358. #358 Leigh
    June 2, 2008

    @Eric #327: “In short – if you don’t judge a belief system on the actions of its members, then what do you judge it on? Name your metric for judging belief systems.”

    Christianity’s most generally accepted metric, according to its creator, Paul, is codified in Galations 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

    When judged by that metric, this clown and his obscene (and ridiculous) sign are a massive FAIL. And WTF? Sports fans?

    And by the way, Jesus told us NOT to stand on streetcorners, praying and making a public display of religiousity. So, double FAIL.

  359. #359 JimCH
    June 2, 2008

    Where the hell is “People who answer their cell phone during a movie”?

  360. #360 windy
    June 2, 2008

    Somebody upstream made some claims about the list of sins based on quotes from the Bible. I’m amused when it turns out that village atheist types are all fundamentalists when it comes to their approach to hermeneutics.

    Somebody upstream made some claims, so village atheists are all fundamentalists? At least you practice what you preach and do not let your criticism be constrained by literal sources.

    And whose claims do you mean, anyway? The only thing I saw resembling a bible quote is #58; if that’s the one you are miffed about, you might want to take a closer look.

  361. #361 Lyle G
    June 2, 2008

    At least I’m not a sports fan. Actually, if you only count things done habitually, I only rate six. I guess I’ve let a sheltered life.
    Why did several commenters say there were no such thing as witches? Most certainly there are. I can’t claim to be one (yet). So far I just hang out with witches.

  362. #362 buckyball
    June 2, 2008

    @ PZ, #128:

    “I hear that so often — “Behavior X is not representative of True Christianity” — and I get sick of it. Yes, it is. Christianity is a religion of hatred, of proscription of the other, of the denial of humanity.”

    …and #244:

    “The only answer: treat ‘em both as equals, and slam both the lunatics and the moderates who give them cover.”

    PZ…Wait, so would you then assert that Matthew Fontaine Maury fell into this category? According to Wikipedia, he’s the “Father of modern Oceanography and Naval Meteorology”. Per Wikipedia:

    “Maury lived by the Scriptures; he fully and unconditionally believed in what the Holy Scriptures stated; he hardly ever spoke or wrote without the inclusion of scriptural references; he prayed every day.”

  363. #363 Wowbagger
    June 2, 2008

    Breaking it down I have to say I’ve done more than half of these at some point – but am only ‘guilty’ of a few on a regular basis. Some I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do but am in favour of being done by those who choose to do it. A couple of others I abhor as much as the sign-writer – though probably for completely different reasons.

    I echo ealier posters in wondering about…sports fans? Doesn’t NASCAR go hand-in-hand with right-wing Xianity in the south of the USA? They’ver started showing it on tv here (Australia) recently, and I find it kind of strange – I thought the commentary was parody at first but apparently it’s not. I’m hardly a motorsports fan but at least F1 has style.

    My ‘evil’ of choice is cricket, preferably the five-day test version. Yes, it’s crazy – but it’s my kind of crazy.

  364. #364 Benjamin Franklin
    June 2, 2008

    Walton-

    May I say something about Ann Coulter? She is a half-wit, a termagant, a dimwit, a blowhard, a worthless silicone nothing, physically ugly and could be likened to Eva Braun, who was Hitler’s mistress. As it happens, these are all descriptions or characterizations Coulter uses for others in her book, “Slander.” It ought to be called “Mirror”.

    And that was before she ridiculed Donny Deutch and his religion with some of the most unspeakable anti-semitic remorks while appearing as a guest on his show.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s63rzfy8FFs

    Walton, on another thread I said I liked you, and wouldn’t mind sharing some beers and discussion with you, but you really have to rethink your love of Ann Coulter. She is about as lovable as flesh eating bacteria.

    No beers for you!

  365. #365 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    “Maury lived by the Scriptures; he fully and unconditionally believed in what the Holy Scriptures stated; he hardly ever spoke or wrote without the inclusion of scriptural references; he prayed every day.”

    considering that xian ideology has exactly as much relevance in oceanography as in any other branch of science…

    the answer is obviously yes, ALL of us would rightly chastize the good Mr. Maury, if today he chose to expound his ideology as explanatory of any of his physical observations. In fact, I challenge you to show us how Maury’s brand of xianity informed ANY of his oceanographic publications, even back then.

    moreover, we move on, and rightly so.

    You might as well have brought up Mendel for all the good that would do you.

  366. #366 john maxwell
    June 2, 2008

    Journalists are not among those most wanted in Hell because, of course, they run the joint.

  367. #367 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    May I say something about Ann Coulter?

    may I?

  368. #368 Benjamin Franklin
    June 2, 2008

    Ichthyic-

    You drive home a good point. Why the hell isn’t sodomizer on the bloody list?

  369. #369 Cygnus Tygger
    June 2, 2008

    You can’t win unless you are, or have been, female!

    Or lie about it!

    In God’s eyes, we are all female!

    Quack! Quack!

  370. #370 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    You drive home a good point.

    :p

  371. #371 CalGeorge
    June 2, 2008

    Only 10 for 22. I’ve got to get to work!

  372. #372 Mark Plus
    June 2, 2008

    I find this poster reassuring. If hell doesn’t exist and nobody can go there when she dies, how can all these people’s lives have any meaning?

  373. #373 Aquaria
    June 2, 2008

    o Serena at #271: the comparison is not a good one. Unlike bin Laden, Jerry Falwell did not want to execute those who apostasised from Christianity, nor impose Sharia law (or a Judeo-Christian equivalent thereof). Nor did he use violence in pursuit of his aims.

    BULLSHIT.

    Pure, unadulterated BULLSHIT.

    As a Brit, you have no idea that the goals of Falwell and his ilk have always been to impose Christian law on the whole of America (have you even looked at what groups like the Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, etc. espouse???). What they mean by Christian law, what they state openly and without shame or hesitation, is that homosexuality should not be legal (which means they would make it illegal again). Abortion would not be legal. Contraception would not be legal. Women would not be allowed to work, at least not after marriage, and don’t be so sure that many other rights women have obtained wouldn’t be taken away, like voting. Don’t be sure that other minorities won’t soon have their rights taken, either; racism is rampant in this group. And that’s just what can happen to “Christians” in America.

    These Christian Dominionists make it clear that atheists and any other non-Christians would not be allowed to stay in this country. It’s convert or leave–or go to jail (maybe). They believe in extreme punishments for even minor crimes–you can serve years in prison for stealing a $500 TV here, they’ve proposed bringing back punishments now considered inhumane, the Religious Right are huge supporters of the death penalty, so, yes, I believe they would gladly torture or kill apostates or any other violators of “law” if they had full control of this country.

    They (and the vast majority of what constitutes “conservatives” here) care fuck all about protecting rights like free speech. They only care about protecting their rights, and up yours to anyone who isn’t marching lockstep with them. Disagree, dissent, question–they would gladly silence you. One way or another. Just look at how they structure their media shows. On radio, they will cut you off if you start making sense, or proving the right winger wrong. If he lets you on the air at all (you have to lie to make it past the screeners–and it’s usually a he, btw). The wingnut TV host shouts over the people who disagree with him, literally drowning them out so that they can’t be heard. That’s what they do when dissenting voices are “protected” by silly things like secular laws. Take off those gloves (as the Religious Right would do), and I doubt they’d be more accommodating to dissenters.

    What you are are seeing here is a backlash, the people who have had enough. Some have thought that this was a phase and it would pass. Some didn’t realize things had gotten so bad because they’re busy. But they’re awake and aware, and they’re sick of what this country has become. They’re not going to be quiet anymore, and the conservatives and religious had better get use to that.

    And please don’t equate conservatives with “protecting rights” or “protecting us from threats.” They don’t. Conservatives in charge only drive the economy into the ground, cause the infrastructure of this country to deteriorate to dangerous levels and cause strife between Americans and with other nations. They have the reverse Midas touch. Everything they touch turns to shit. Since they’re too busy lining their pockets and those of their friends, they ignore domestic and international problems until the problems give them little choice but to notice them (see: Katrina; see: sub-prime loans, see: NIE warning about impending Al Qaida strike). Then they fuck up when they try to fix the problem. This is hardly protecting us from threats.

  374. #374 Monado
    June 2, 2008

    Wot no money-changers? Usurers? Politicians? Fat priests? Fake faith-healers?

  375. #375 Pierce R. Butler
    June 2, 2008

    To proclaim that other christians aren’t true christians is not just typical of christians across the sociopolitical spectrum, it’s a defining feature of christianism.

    This is a tradition 2 kiloyears in development, as reflected in the observation that every single book of the N.T. contains at least one warning against false doctrines &/or teachers.

    At first, this finely honed factionalism was little more than a source of humor to those not involved – but the chariot wheels really came off when certain Roman emperors gave certain christian overseers (root meaning of “bishop”) power of execution to express their critiques.

  376. #376 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    Just look at how they structure their media shows.

    …or their commercials…

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/05/what_if_they_wouldnt_sell_cars.php

    as to where their long-term interests like, those unaware of the “moral majority” movement, might want to take a gander at Pat Robertson’s law school sometime.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2163601/

    http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2007/04/08/scandal_puts_spotlight_on_christian_law_school/

    oh, most assuredly these folks are interested in far more than “live and let live”.

    violence can take many forms aside from the directly physical.

  377. #377 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    like lie

  378. #378 Brenda von Ahsen
    June 2, 2008

    Walton
    There is, of course, nothing wrong with posting and discussing images like this, if all you want is to chortle about the insane fundies and pat yourselves on the back for being so intellectually and ethically superior.

    Walton is pretty much correct there. That really is all it would seem most here want to do.

    PZ
    I hear that so often — “Behavior X is not representative of True Christianity” — and I get sick of it. Yes, it is. Christianity is a religion of hatred, of proscription of the other, of the denial of humanity. This sign is fucking typical. You can find individual details (“sports fans”, for instance) that are not held by a Christian majority, but others (“homosexuality”) are practically the rule. Tune in to TBN. Go to the church of your local evangelical sect. Listen to the news. Go to a redneck bar and strike up a conversation.

    Confirmation bias. What a truly unintellectual and emotionally charged ‘argument’, a childish diatribe PZ. You may be a fine biologist but you appear to know nothing at all outside of your field.

    Brownian, OM
    Listen, why don’t you guys go after the Phelpses, the Robertsons, the Falwells, et al.? They’re the ones ‘misrepresenting Christianity’, not us.

    More confirmation bias. Pathetic. Why the focus on Christian fundamentalism, what about Islamic extremism?

    Walton, this is indeed a good point

    Walton, it’s not your tone, but the argument you are making.

    Hypocrisy. First you say his argument has a point, then you deny it.

    CortxVortx
    Damn, Walton, I don’t know what cloistered little bubble you live in, but the picture illustrates the views of vast swathes of Christian Amurrka. Your eyrie of effete theologians may sniff at such crudities of Christian expression, but any cursory examination of Sunday morning television, or the AM radio band any day, will confirm that “mainstream Christianity” holds exactly such views.

    it’s the Elmer Gantry yahoo-ism of the unlettered Great Unwashed that has taken over the politics of this once-great nation to form the American Taliban of the Bush regime.

    My god what an ugly thing you are. A particularly ugly example of snobbery. Effete? Theologians are gay? How old are you, nine? You are every bit as narrow minded and insular as those you rail against. No difference at all.

    PZ
    I judge Christianity on the basis of the stupidity and smallmindedness of the majority of its followers, and on the wretched quality of its fundamental doctrines.

    That’s an ignorant approach though isn’t it? I know of no intellectual who would judge the worth of a religion, ideology or philosophy through their worst examples. It may be a valid method in biology but that isn’t how you critically examine ideas. Real intellectuals argue honestly (or try to) and do their best to represent their opponent fairly. They treat them as fellow human beings and do not heap scorn, derision and abuse in order to inflate their ego.

    A laundry list of denials and excuses is not an argument.

    Neither is ridicule.

    Walton
    I am making the argument that you should not caricature Christianity by seizing on its most extreme and absurd manifestations and ripping them to shreds. This is functionally equivalent to a straw man argument. That’s all I’ve been saying.

    Bingo! Walton wins the thread. Fundamentalism is the strawman of modern atheism. However, it is also about the only point of agreement we have in common.

    Patricia C
    That sign is typical of signs I see three days a week in front of the local porno shop.

    Still more confirmation bias, I though ya’ll were supposed to be uber rational ‘n stuff? Why is it that almost every single reply in this thread a bright shining example of bad reasoning?

    Peter
    your diatribe to the unfailingly courteous Walton, who always supplies considered arguments, and goes into the points of his adversaries, is monstrously provocative

    One of the best arguments against Atheism is the general character of atheists themselves.

    I hear that so often — “Behavior X is not representative of True Atheism” — and I get sick of it. Yes, it is. Atheism is an ideology of hatred, of proscription of the other, of the denial of humanity. This blog is fucking typical.

    See how that works?

  379. #379 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Ah yes, Brenda, we should take at face value (courteous, polite) those who then go on to defend Falwell and the other monstrosities of fundamentalism. Don’t look at the pattern of substance, focus on the polite words and half-thought (and well-worn) arguments.

    Nice try — you are another example of exactly this kind of “moderation” which is only acting as a disguise for the worst kind of immoderate religion and politics. One of the best arguments against religion is the disingenuousness (“lying”) perpetrated by it’s apologists.

  380. #380 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    Why the focus on Christian fundamentalism, what about Islamic extremism?

    because that wasn’t on this sign?

    summary of Brenda’s post:

    courtier’s reply, combined with mucho concern trolling.

    confirmation bias?

    sounds more like projection on your part.

  381. #381 Nemo
    June 2, 2008

    Lyle G:

    Why did several commenters say there were no such thing as witches? Most certainly there are.

    Certainly there are people who call themselves witches (like wiccans). What don’t exist are “witches” in the common understanding of the word: people with supernatural powers, casting spells that actually work.

    You’re free to disagree with this point, of course, as we’re free to laugh at you if you do.

  382. #382 frog
    June 2, 2008

    You know Icthic, I’d be willing to go 2:1 that “Brenda” is a sock-puppet of Walton. The style is so similar, and old Walty suddenly disappeared when the underlying Falwellian politics suddenly spilled out.

    Is there a law of conservation of concern trolling? Is there just one person who spends all day concern trolling PZ (maybe one of the producers of Expelled, now that their employment has ended?)

    I mean, I’d expect at least one “moderate” Christian, or concerned “atheist”, to not turn out to be a raving right-wing wacko! And you’d think they’d get better at it — hiding their xenophobia just a little bit longer.

  383. #383 karl
    June 2, 2008

    My favorite guy in Korea

    http://www.gokorea.info/rndimg/600demaphobe.jpg
    http://www.gokorea.info/rndimg/600crazyjesusguyrev2e.jpg

    I think his signs say something Jesus go to heaven, or else hell.

    And nothing gets the unconverted attention like a guy walking around with a suicide belt:

    http://www.gokorea.info/rndimg/540wackjesusguy.jpg

  384. #384 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    I know of no intellectual who would judge the worth of a religion, ideology or philosophy through their worst examples.

    even if the worst examples are the majority, which is exactly what PZ said?

    just how many fundies do you think there are in the US, anyway?

    there are over 30 million registered xian evangelists just in this organization alone:

    http://www.nae.net/

    so called “moderate” xians really do seem to like to hide their heads in the sand.

    why do you think that for 30 years, the neocon wing of the republican party has so focused their efforts on wooing fundamentalist xians as a voting block?

    because they are so rare?

    the point being, whether they are the majority or not, in this country, politically speaking, they are the the face of xianity.

    wanna change that?

    don’t yell at PZ for pointing out the bloody obvious, get political yourself and remove the fundie influence within your own social-grouping you like to call a religion.

  385. #385 Ichthyic
    June 2, 2008

    To proclaim that other christians aren’t true christians is not just typical of christians across the sociopolitical spectrum, it’s a defining feature of christianism.

    I’d have to agree.

    I have a buddy who is an atheist-Jew (yes, it works; I posted his explanation in the Einstein thread), who spent some time studying the differences between protestant xianity and Judaism and wondered why there were thousands of sects of xianity, but only about 4 (according to him) for Judaism.

    His conclusion:

    the big difference between xianity and judaism was that xianity is based on BELIEFS, while judaism is based on DEEDS.

    claiming one xian is not a “true xian” is exactly the thing that leads to new sects of xianity, and it’s always based on some particular argument over some particular belief, rather than on actually ACTING as a “xian” in the world itself.

    xianity essentially boils down to a whole bunch of philosophy, with little or no practical use.

    It’s small wonder, then, that there are around 38,000 sects of xianity.

    no true xian, indeed!

  386. #386 Notkieran
    June 2, 2008

    To PZ re: comment 128:

    I think Walton’s missing the point that the sign _does_ typify and is representative of Christianity:

    He may not agree with WHO it condemns, but he is perfectly in agreement with the idea that condemnation to eternal torture is the way to deal with those who don’t live their lives according to what he thinks they should.

  387. #387 frog
    June 2, 2008

    Icthyic: Islam also has innumerable sects. It’s in the nature of state religions to try to invade your mind. Judaism hasn’t had a state for thousands of years — it’s based on ritual, but you’re left with freedom of conscience; if anything, Judaism has been defined by Jews resistance to accepting the local despots philosophical leanings. Islam and Christianity, on the other hand, have been tools of totalitarians, big and small, for almost the entire last 2K years.

    Not surprising they want to crawl up into you forebrain, your hindbrain, and your brainstem. Note that Communism has finely defined sects and counter-sects, constantly in battle over who has the “true” communism.

  388. #388 Jacob
    June 2, 2008

    In this thread, #17 takes care to point out that he is not a child molester.

    Oh yeah, I hit 12 of them. Jesus fuck I’m screwed.

  389. #389 commissarjs
    June 3, 2008

    Psychics? What do they have against psychics? That just makes me want to roll a 2d6, scream “Storm Of The Emperor’s Wrath” at the top of my lungs, and make a dramatic gesture at the fellow holding this sign.

  390. #390 Brenda von Ahsen
    June 3, 2008

    frog
    I’d be willing to go 2:1 that “Brenda” is a sock-puppet of Walton. The style is so similar

    Conspiracy theory? I can assure you that I am in many many ways the complete opposite of Walton. I live in the US, I’m female, I’m a skeptic, I’m on the liberal end of liberal and I think his other beliefs are ludicrous. I just don’t agree with you which in your illogical mind means I must be exactly like Walton. Great powers of reason ya got there.

    Icthic
    even if the worst examples are the majority, which is exactly what PZ said?

    Yes, because all you are really doing is pointing and laughing and any asshole can do that. You don’t access the validity of an idea by looking at the behavior of it’s adherents. You examine the idea or concept itself, fairly and accurately, and then you debate it. You don’t sling mud which is about all I have seen on this blog so far. Perhaps that’s not fair. As far as I can tell, the only person with any integrity on this blog is Walton. The rest of you look to me like poo flinging monkeys.

    just how many fundies do you think there are in the US, anyway?

    there are over 30 million registered xian evangelists just in this organization

    Non sequitur. So what’s your point? There are thousands of religions. What does that have to with your strawman? Oh wait, that is your strawman.

    why do you think that for 30 years, the neocon wing of the republican party has so focused their efforts on wooing fundamentalist xians as a voting block?
    because they are so rare?

    What does that have to do with anything? I along with Walton it would seem, am calling bullshit on your strawman.

    don’t yell at PZ for pointing out the bloody obvious, get political yourself and remove the fundie influence within your own social-grouping you like to call a religion.

    Please try reading for comprehension, I didn’t yell at anyone especially not for pointing out the obvious. You all sure can dish but you can’t take any criticism can you? Even worse, the moment someone speaks up out comes the ad hominem, guilt by association and plain old thuggery. You’re no better than they are and really, you’re not helping. Besides, I am politically active and I’m very concerned about where this country is headed. I’m not that worried about fundamentalism though because I think they’ve had their day.

    What is the average age of commenters here 15? You sure act like it.

  391. #391 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    Crap.

    I knew I shouldn’t have watched that Celtics game the other night.
    :-(

  392. #392 Leigh
    June 3, 2008

    @Aquaria #373:

    Great rant. I agree with you.

    (Damn, that sounds so . . . dry. What I really mean is, YES. YOU ARE SO RIGHT!)

  393. #393 Rob
    June 3, 2008

    All right! Ten! Maybe ten and a half if you consider I use as an excuse the pagan holidays of my ancestors to engage in drunkenness, gambling, sports fandom, deep discussion (potentially about evolution) and, if all goes well, fornication. And if not, then there’s always porn.

    But since it’s being used as a conduit to so many of the other ones, maybe it should count as more than a half?

    Ok, so, eleven! Woo!

  394. #394 JimCH
    June 3, 2008

    Brenda #378…

    Bingo! Walton wins the thread. Fundamentalism is the strawman of modern atheism. However, it is also about the only point of agreement we have in common.

    Oops, you might want to know what you’re talking about before you spout off. It turns out that the only thing you agree on with Walton is also wrong. According to the latest Pew evangelicals out-number mainline protestant christians by a factor of ~1.5 (most definitely not a straw-man) … lookie:
    http://religions.pewforum.org/affiliations

    One of the best arguments against Atheism is the general character of atheists themselves.

    I’m confused. Is this sarcasm that is meant to underline an example of your “confirmation bias” pontification?

    Also, I fail to see how Particia C’s comment is an example of confirmation bias.

    That’s an ignorant approach though isn’t it? I know of no intellectual who would judge the worth of a religion, ideology or philosophy through their worst examples.

    Whoopsie. Here, I’m afraid that you are guilty of quote-mining PZ.
    The sentence following the one you quoted is as follows:

    The whole concept of original sin is a deep evil that is central to Christianity, and leads directly to nonsense like the sign above.

    Original sin is a fundamentalist concept which is found in all but the most marginal strains of christanity, including the main-lines. So, this fundamentalist tenant, which PZ considers of the most reprehensible, is a faulty pillar on which nearly all christian sects are built. As for judging a movement based on what the margins believe (or, don’t believe) … who the hell does that?

    There is, of course, nothing wrong with posting and discussing images like this, if all you want is to chortle about the insane fundies and pat yourselves on the back for being so intellectually and ethically superior.

    Walton is pretty much correct there. That really is all it would seem most here want to do.

    This is done because in one sense it’s fucking funny. Sometimes you have to point out the utter stupidity you find as a reality check to make sure you’re not the only one even if you know that you really arn’t (it’s called being human). Also, it serves as a wake-up call. If the majority of protestant christians out there are evangelicals & this is a representative sample of the kind of crap they believe, then people should be on their toes.
    Brenda, it seems you are a typical example of main-line christians who mistakenly think that they are in the christian majority. Oh shit, was that a selection bias?

  395. #395 buckyball
    June 3, 2008

    @ #365, Ichthyic:

    “In fact, I challenge you to show us how Maury’s brand of xianity informed ANY of his oceanographic publications, even back then.”

    I suppose you could start here:

    http://www.bible.ca/tracks/matthew-fontaine-maury-pathfinder-of-sea-ps8.htm

    It looks like there are even Scripture verses engraved on monuments to the guy.

    @ #385, Ichthyic:

    “I have a buddy who is an atheist-Jew (yes, it works; I posted his explanation in the Einstein thread), who spent some time studying the differences between protestant xianity and Judaism and wondered why there were thousands of sects of xianity, but only about 4 (according to him) for Judaism.

    His conclusion:

    the big difference between xianity and judaism was that xianity is based on BELIEFS, while judaism is based on DEEDS.”

    Well, if most Christians would actually pay attention to verses like Matthew 5:17, read Romans 6, and read the Book of James, they’d realize deeds are supposed to be a part of their faith. Problem is, most of them don’t bother to look things up. Or worse, they never even bother with the Old Testament because they think it is “for the Jews” (which is inaccurate). Part of this can be blamed on basic human laziness, part on insufficient teaching, and part on the tired old verse “rotation” system that many large denominations follow. They repeat the same sets of verses year after year, and in the same format: a passage from the Old Testament, part of a Psalm, followed by some verses out of the New Testament, and then a few lines from the Gospels.

    If believers would actually read their Bible in the first place, half of the errors that numerous teachers perpetuate would be evident immediately. But this isn’t unique to only Christianity.

  396. #396 Axolotl
    June 3, 2008

    I guess I’m doomed … if I’m TOTALLY honest, I qualify for eight of the items on the list, including the worst of the lot …. Sports Fan!!!!!

    Jack

  397. #397 Wowbagger
    June 3, 2008

    #390 Brenda

    Before long (though it might take a while; it’s early in the morning in the US) someone’s going to point out, perhaps impolitely, that if you don’t like what’s written here then you have the option to go somewhere else.

    I think there is so much ‘poo-flinging’ (as you described it) because the majority of the posters here don’t have that option. They live in a place where they can’t get away from stuff (i.e. Xian stupidity of the sort illustrated in the OP) they don’t like. It’s rammed down their throats on a daily basis, and seemingly pandered to by the media and the government. I says seemingly ’cause I don’t live in the US; however, from what I can tell this sort of thing isn’t too far out of the ordinary. If had to live with it I’d be frustrated as well.

    I’m interested to know what you would have them do instead.

  398. #398 Krystalline Apostate
    June 3, 2008

    Brenda:

    You don’t access the validity of an idea by looking at the behavior of it’s adherents.

    This is a variant of Augustine’s “Don’t judge a philosophy by its abuse.”
    I’m afraid I’ll call bullshit on that (pardon my indelicacy).
    It’s a cheap apologist’s excuse. Because after all, track record is how we measure people: whether it’s a group, an individual, or a nation.

    You examine the idea or concept itself, fairly and accurately, and then you debate it.

    You must not have gotten that memo. It’s been done. Done to death, I might add. Been put paid to, & laid to rest. But stubborn is as stubborn does, I suppose. Your cry for civil discourse will go unheeded. & why? Because the larger portion of the religious will do literally anything to reverse the trend. Go against every precept they’ve been taught. (After all, ‘Love thy neighbor’ was a localized environment, nowhere near as all-encompassing as the flock have been told.) This includes lying, cheating stealing, & even murder.
    I’m currently reading GOD: The Failed Hypothesis. I’d recommend that you do a little more homework before you come wading in, fists flying.

    Oh, & PSSST!

    One of the best arguments against Atheism is the general character of atheists themselves.

    Whatever happened to ‘accessing the validity of an idea?’ Are you ‘accessing’? Oh dear. How does the saying go? Pot.kettle.black.
    If you can’t see how you’ve contradicted yourself, ’nuff said.

  399. #399 ThinCritter
    June 3, 2008

    Well at least they added themselves to the list.

    Hypocrites.

  400. #400 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that discrimination against homosexuals is a good thing. I am personally in favour of same-sex civil partnerships; some conservatives are against them. But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law, of security and of their constitutional rights. No one wants to bring back sodomy laws.

    Posted by: Walton

    So you have no problem with GLBT people? Fine, Walton, you are a prince among christians.(Oh, wait, you are not a christian but instead, playing devil’s advocate.) But simply because some conservatives like Barry Goldwater thought that GLBT people should have equal rights does not mean that a majority does.

    I have to say, you are living in a fantasy world. No one wants to bring back the sodomy laws? Just in the last two weeks, two men were charged with sodomy in Raleigh, North Carolina. Fortunately, those charges were dropped. But those “crimes against nature” laws are still in the book and can still be used. And a few months ago in Mississippi, a woman was charged for selling dildoes. Please do not tell me that all is fine and true conservatives would never do this. Most of us in the real world know better.

    You claim to admire Rush Limbaugh and *nn C**lt*r. Please visit a site called The Free Republic, a place where those two are honored. You will not find many kind words about GLBT people. In fact, we are responsible for many of the ills of the world. Or are Freepers not conservatives.

    One last thing, just because Falwell thought the Fred Phelps was crazy does not make Falwell a bulwark of reason. It merely makes Falwell less crazy. Just remember the exchange between Falwell and Pat Robertson on September 12, 2001.

    Walton, you are just and other example of Sam Harris’ argument that the moderately religious tries to make excuses for the religious extremists. You are giving respect to people that you do not agree with. Walton, you need to rethink just who you are.

  401. #401 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    http://www.bible.ca/tracks/matthew-fontaine-maury-pathfinder-of-sea-ps8.htm

    ROFLMAO

    holy crap, talk about stretching a story!

    given the logic of the argument presented in what you linked to, I guess you could also say that the modern submarine owes everything to Jules Verne, too.

    seriously, that was pathetic. That wasn’t religion informing his science, that was an idea presented in a story sparking an idea of something to test for. It was what he tested for that resulted in something interesting. If he gave credit to Jeebus, he’s just as wrong about it as you are.

    It’s like if I used the idea of breeding striped animals by putting painted sticks in front of them, and then deciding because that passage motivated my interest in heritable characteristics, that I should give all credit for the discovery of genetics to a fucking bible passage.

    again, think about Gregor Mendel; often called the “father of genetics”, one can hardly say just because he was a monk, that all of his knowledge of genetics flowed from his wholly babble. In fact, his knowledge entirely arose from carefully designed experiments, not from a fucking book.

    Is this the level of argument you wish to present???

    I will give you credit for at least trying, though, which is more than most nutters will do usually.

    Well, if most Christians would actually pay attention

    …then they wouldn’t be True Xians(tm).

  402. #402 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    Errr… I missed the “effete=gay” memo. When was that issued?

    One sense may imply effeminateness, but of the various shades of meaning that is the least sensible in the context of the comment in which is was first used. You may have an eye for strawmen, Brenda – but you fail to watch your own. Because this gaffe occurred in the comment in which you bashed pretty much every-not-named-Walton for “bad reasoning,” I believe your comment qualifies as an example of Coren’s Law in action.

    Other than that, I have to agree that this sign doesn’t represent mainstream anything. In my corner of the USA, this kind of thing is beyond fringe. Questioning whether they are “real” Christians is pointless – of course they are. But “real” Christians all exist along a continuum; at one end we have the people at my church, you know, the one with the openly gay assistant rector, at the other, you have the freakshow that produced the sign PZ brought to our attention.

    The problem (if it is a problem) with this freakshow is that at least one or two of their concerns are shared by even the most liberal Christians – I mean hey, who likes child molesters? – so there’s some guilt-by-association going on, apparently. The question is, how much responsibility, incurred by their shared theology, do the liberal xians have for the freakshow?

    Uh, it suddenly occurs to me that I’m way too tired to comment intelligently on this. Better sleep on it.

    Oh, one more thing. Walton… Anne Coulter?

    O_o

    Also, Walton, don’t fool yourself: even if you’re correct to state that this freakshow wouldn’t have received 100% approval from the late Mister Falwell, they’re not as far apart as you think. The signmakers may be outliers, at the fringe of the fundamentalist big-top, but they’re still inside the tent. Your distance from the USA may give you a more balanced perspective on some issues, but it may also rob you of the chance to see things with the clarity of detail required to make nuanced assessments of the relationships under discussion here.

    Ok… NOW I’ll stop trying to be intelligent. Gee, I wonder how thing are over on JWHorne’s blog?

    *smirk*

  403. #403 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    If you can’t see how you’ve contradicted yourself, ’nuff said.

    she could, but she won’t.

    hence, projection.

  404. #404 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law

    so George Bush and John McCain aren’t mainstream conservatives?

    why is one president (the one supporting ammeding the constitution) and the other the current nominee (who currently supports passage of legislation denying rights to homosexuals in his own state), then?

    Why does the current administration draw heavily on personnel from publicly homophobic bigots like Robertson?

    Walton, you are seriously dreaming.

    Just because your local golf buddies aren’t homophobes doesn’t mean that you represent “mainstream conservatives” in any way.

  405. #405 Rey Fox
    June 3, 2008

    So far no one on this thread has given one good reason why we shouldn’t be mocking the hell out of this sign and the person who made it.

  406. #406 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    (Is Walton really 18? That’s weird. I thought he said he had a legal background. How can you have a “background” in anything like Law at 18?)

  407. #407 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    How can you have a “background” in anything like Law at 18?

    let me guess…

    His daddy’s a lawyer?

  408. #408 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    Hey! If Walton is really a Coulter fan, maybe he would like to take up PZ’s challenge?

    here ya go, Walton:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/06/a_clarification.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/06/ann_coulter_no_evidence_for_ev.php

    If you decide to take up the challenge, you’d be the first of her fans to do so since it was issued.

  409. #409 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    If believers would actually read their Bible in the first place

    which version?

    which parts of which version should they ignore?

  410. #410 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    bucky:

    … do you REALLY think:

    “if only they would just read their babbles, there wouldn’t be 38000 sects”?

    are you truly that deluded?

  411. #411 Grimalkin
    June 3, 2008

    OK, I’m confused. If someone has the amazing and miraculous ability to read minds – wouldn’t that be a “gift from god”? (assuming, of course, that the former is possible and that the latter exists)

    Why would god give someone an ability and then punish them for having it? Sounds like original sin all over again…

  412. #412 Wowbagger
    June 3, 2008

    I wasn’t familiar with Ann Coulter (don’t think she’s had much impact in Australia) so I had a bit of a look around.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I can tell she’s a vicious, hate-filled, right-wing mouthpiece who makes a living out of telling conservative xenophobes exactly what they want to hear.

    And she’s not a parody like Colbert, is she? No, I doubt he could come up with some of the vile garbage that she’s spewed forth.

    Walton, that you can claim to admire this person (and I use the term loosely) saddens me. I felt that some of the posters were unnecessarily harsh toward you; now I’m feeling less sympathetic.

  413. #413 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I can tell she’s a vicious, hate-filled, right-wing mouthpiece who makes a living out of telling conservative xenophobes exactly what they want to hear.

    that’s about the size of it.

    And she’s not a parody like Colbert, is she?

    nope.

  414. #414 DLC
    June 3, 2008

    If I cared what some would-be witch doctor thought of my personal life, I’d say I score on at least 3 of those.

    As for Walton: Your arguments are much akin to the infamous
    “No True Scotsman” argument.

  415. #415 Wowbagger
    June 3, 2008

    I’m just sorry there aren’t more on the list that I could claim to have done, just so i know I’m doing the right things.

    How come they didn’t include ‘learning’ and ‘thinking’ amongst the habits of the hell-bound? Avoiding those seems to be a necessary condition for this idiots. Or maybe ‘reading anything other than the bible’. Not that many of them do that in any real sense.

    I’m impressed they managed to spell all the words correctly and mainstain a standard of formatting. That probably entitles them to a PhD from a faith-based institution.

  416. #416 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    How come they didn’t include ‘learning’ and ‘thinking’ amongst the habits of the hell-bound?

    maybe on the other side of the sign?
    ;)

  417. #417 Wowbagger
    June 3, 2008

    In #415 I wrote:

    I’m impressed they managed to spell all the words correctly and mainstain a standard of formatting.

    Er, maintain. Lousy poetic justice (shakes head). No doubt believing in karma is on the list, too.

  418. #418 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    I am highly offended by Frog’s remarks at #382. Just because someone turns up and happens to agree with my position on one narrow point does not make them my sockpuppet. I’m astonished at the failure to assume good faith. Why is it that those of us who happen to disagree with the consensus view get labelled as trolls?

    I can’t prove that I’m not using sockpuppets, but I’m going to have to ask you to trust my word. For the record, you can find me on Wikipedia, Wiktionary and other WMF sites as User:Walton One (I won’t post the link, since the comment will go into moderation), where there is more information about me. I’ve been a Wikipedia administrator for over a year. This is just to establish that “Walton” is not just a throwaway online identity, it’s my usual handle, and I am a real person.

    The reason I bowed out of the discussion was not because I was somehow exposed as something other than I am. It was because I went to bed (it was about 2300 here in the UK and I needed to get some sleep so as to get up early today). Re moderation, I have never purported to be moderate on everything. I’m moderate on religion, but unashamedly right-wing on politics. I have not pretended otherwise. Unfortunately, admitting that I like Ann Coulter – which was a throwaway comment tangential to the discussion – seems to have brought down the wrath of most of the forum.

  419. #419 Bachalon
    June 3, 2008

    Walton,

    Yes, but there is rather a big difference between not wanting to extend marriage to homosexual couples, and going around blowing up buildings in order to destroy homosexuals and infidels. Wouldn’t you say?

    In terms of action yes, in terms of the ideology behind it? No. It’s all a matter of magnitude. I’m not going to be grateful to someone for not killing me. Did you know that there have been at least two people who have run for office (and both received 10% of the vote) whose platforms included executing homosexuals?

    While I (as stated above) don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with homosexuality, and am in favour of allowing same-sex civil partnerships, I don’t think that those who oppose such partnerships on moral grounds can really be compared to Islamic terrorists.

    Why not? Both are acting on their morals, yes? Both of them can have an adverse effect on the lives of people they don’t like, yes? Again, it’s all a matter of magnitude. You’ll have to pardon me for thinking that you don’t quite get it.

    All students, including gay and lesbian students, are protected from violence by the general law. If someone attacks you, they are guilty of assault/battery, regardless of your sexuality. No conservative has suggested making it legal to assault gays.

    Oh please, you ignorant little boy, you’ve never been to an American public school. There is a sickening amount of violence between students. Usually nothing too serious, but you know what? Teachers and administrators are more than happy to look away. I can think of at least three examples if you want them of just how schools treat GLBT students. No conservative wants to make it legal, no, but they sure do fight against anti-bullying laws that protect gay students.

    But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law, of security and of their constitutional rights. No one wants to bring back sodomy laws.

    You are either a liar or you are ignorant. I prefer to see the best in people so I will assume that you don’t have the benefit of vision that living here in America grants.

    What do you call denying not just civil-unions but gay marriage? Opposition to hate-crimes bills that include a provision for sexual orientation (which incidentally also protects heterosexuals, but gee, you don’t have anything to worry about do you)? Denying federal housing protection? DADT? Forced reparative therapy for GLBT youth?

    What about the case in, I think it was Raleigh where two men were arrested under sodomy statutes?

    You are either a fucking liar or you are fucking naive. Either way shut the fuck up; I’m sick and tired of hearing the same tired old arguments. I thought you people over the in the UK were supposed to be smarter?

  420. #420 Pyre
    June 3, 2008

    With a nod to Walton, the sign sure doesn’t have much in common with the Christianity of just 100 years ago.

    No condemnation of card-playing, dancing, bare arms, high skirts, tobacco, or alcohol?

    The Ladies’ Moderance Leagues would swoon en masse.

  421. #421 LogicLad
    June 3, 2008

    It would appear that heaven is a very empty place, which would be fine for the truly dull people who are the only ones who would get there. I would guess most of them enjoy being on their own as just about any human interaction is likely to get you on this list some how.

  422. #422 Wowbagger
    June 3, 2008

    Walton wrote:

    Unfortunately, admitting that I like Ann Coulter…

    Agreeing with her on some things – you have a right to your opinion – is tolerable; claiming to like her isn’t. I went to the Wikiquote page and read some of the things she’s said and written, and I was appalled. Sickened, even.

    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ann_Coulter

    Based on that I would struggle to think of a more repugnant piece of human garbage. I sincerely hope it’s all front, judiciously chosen to sell copies of her books and tickets to her public events – that would just make her a disingenuous leech, scamming right-wing suckers for cash. If she’s being honest about what she says she’s truly vile. A monster.

  423. #423 Militant Agnostic
    June 3, 2008

    Brownian – are you some kind of monarchist, preferring British spellings over the more phonetic American ones.

    Walton – Ann Coulter is a vile attention seeking lying gasbag who is in it for the money and the noteriety. Also, how was Reagan a conservative when he racked up huge deficits, a dubious feat which is now being surpassed by Bush and would be continued by McAin.

    You support civil partnerships for Gays and Lesbians – anything less than the the same right to marry as the rest of us has is blatant discrimination. Civil unions is a spineless compromise with religious extremists.

  424. #424 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    Walton,
    Here’s a few Coulterisms you might particularly enjoy:

    “These broads [a group of 9/11 widows) are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis... These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them... I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."

    "They're [Democrats] always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let’s do it. Let’s repress them. Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the First Amendment.”

    “I think we ought to nuke North Korea right now just to give the rest of the world a warning.”

    “The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet”

    “We should invade their [Muslims'] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

    “I think our motto should be, post-9-11, ‘raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.’”

    “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”

  425. #425 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    Ichthyic,please post the link to THAT Coulter piece,I cant find it lol,it would seem the right time for it lol…..

    @Walton : I have been trying to keep up with the comments while at work during the day here,saw your earlier skirmish with PZ,and have to say,full well realizing im late to the party,that you really have all the tricks in your arsenal,from the Courtier’s reply to the Scotsman,and while I dont think you are a troll,and probably not a bad person,your same ol’ long refuted arguments are just plain tiresome mate…
    I dont care if you want to f**k the Coulter abomination,or whether youre a right-winger or leftie,but you will forgive me when I say,Coulter,homophobia,moderate christian,right-wing jut…a pattern emerges….

  426. #426 toby
    June 3, 2008

    Why don’t they leave masturbators alone?

    As W. Allen says, isn’t it having sex with someone you love?

  427. #427 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law

    Quite simply a lie.

    John McCain wishes to appoint more justices that like that state being able to break into queer bedrooms and arrest them for having sex (Scalia, Thomas….). He supported an amendment to the Arizona constitution barring any recognition of gay families as families.

    Stop lying.

    And, since you’re just a punk ass brit kid, stop trying to lecture people who have been involved in American sexual politics, and who study and teach those politics, about what is an isn’t going on in the US. Begone silly ignorant child.

  428. #428 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    Oh,and on a personal note lol,I scored 14 on that list,which as I can see is by no means a winning score,but not bad either…..

  429. #429 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    @MAJeff,(slightly OT)

    Greg Laden has a rather disconcerting vid of McCain up today,link is here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2008/06/mccain_do_you_trust_him_i_dont.php

  430. #430 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    clinteas,

    But McCain can’t be that dishonest and hollow enough to say absolutely anything. He’s a good good man and awesome politician–the DC press corps told me so while they were having a bbq with him.

  431. #431 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    You know MAJeff,the press over here in OZ is an abomination,they couldnt spell Tucholsky if their life depended on it,but compared to the press in the US,I reckon we are still doing ok….

  432. #432 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Our DC press corps has replaced the courtier class.

  433. #433 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    //But no mainstream conservatives are in favour of depriving homosexual people of the equal protection of the law//

    Even I on the other side of the world know thats BS….

    @ Brenda No 390:
    //Yes, because all you are really doing is pointing and laughing and any asshole can do that. You don’t access the validity of an idea by looking at the behavior of it’s adherents.//

    Great choice of fancy wording there !

    Shorter Brenda:Religion isnt wrong just because its followers are mostly batshit insane dimwit schizos.

  434. #434 owlbear1
    June 3, 2008

    Bah, when a fundie tells me I’m going to hell I just smile tell ‘em, “I’m not worried, I memorized ‘The Inferno’ and my visit will be short.”

  435. #435 gord
    June 3, 2008

    why must they always lump us in with sports fans

    there is no justification for sports fans, and that makes all the rest of us seem reprehensible

    im generally ok with the devaluation of whole categories of people (paint them all with the same brush);

    however, everyone knows that if you lump any group of people in with “sports fans”, they will forever be damned and never be redeemed

    there is no value to watching sports

  436. #436 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    @gord

    I suggest you familiarize yourself with Cricket mate…..

  437. #437 windy
    June 3, 2008

    Brenda wrote:

    Bingo! Walton wins the thread. Fundamentalism is the strawman of modern atheism.

    So we atheists have made up the fundamentalists? You got us there. We probably made this sign, too.

    Wowbagger wrote:

    I think there is so much ‘poo-flinging’ (as you described it) because the majority of the posters here don’t have that option. They live in a place where they can’t get away from stuff (i.e. Xian stupidity of the sort illustrated in the OP) they don’t like. It’s rammed down their throats on a daily basis

    Personally I don’t feel like that. That’s not why I ask, I’m simply curious. There are several people here who have asked why this sign is claimed to be not “logically consistent” with mainstream Christianity. That is a strong claim. So far we have got a blatant misrepresentation of the sign from Walton (“anyone who commits action X is hated by God and is going to hell”) and dripping condescension from Brenda.

  438. #438 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    Walton and Brenda strike me as the next generation of trolls here,they have evolved from the lows of the Kenny and J…no boldisms,correct grammar,flowery descriptions,polite manners….but the same boring platitudes,just nicely packaged…

  439. #439 Vic
    June 3, 2008

    Jim Harrison (344) still doesn’t get it:

    Somebody upstream made some claims about the list of sins based on quotes from the Bible. I’m amused when it turns out that village atheist types are all fundamentalists when it comes to their approach to hermeneutics. Thing is, you can’t really characterize the beliefs of particular Jewish or Christians groups by quoting a line or two from Leviticus. I don’t give a damn if it’s bad theology–I’m not a believer–but it is absurd from a historical or sociological point of view because the Bible that matters to particular sects and denominations is the Bible-as-interpreted.

    Do you see how both of your bolded sections above contradict each other, and only play into my point? When fundies (or ANY christian, really) ‘interpret’ the bible, what they do is take their position that they want to justify and then quote-mine the bible for a verse that supports that position. THAT’S HOW IT’S INTERPRETED! That’s exactly what christians of all stripes do.

    Now, most of them are pretty unobjectionable, even to nonbelievers. I’m a fan of no murder and no theft myself. But while some nice, intelligent, liberal christians agree to that point they refuse to go as far as justifying hatred of homosexuals – does that make them right or wrong, when you consider the greater number of fundamentalist or even casual believers who DO condemn homosexuality? And, guess what – THEY HAVE SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT FOR DOING SO! if you want to bitch about ‘fundamentalist hermeneutics’, you really ought to direct your ire at the fundie christians who are the ones really guilty of this, not those of us nonbelievers who merely hoist them on their own petard.

    So, really, all your handwaving over hermeneutics doesn’t really hide the fact that you dodged just how mainstream most of that list is with regards to ‘sins’ as christians call them.

  440. #440 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    You know, I really wish I hadn’t disclosed my nationality and my age. I now get vicious ad hominem attacks such as that posted by MAJeff at #427 above, from people who think that my argument isn’t worth addressing just because I happen to be young and not from the US. Be honest, how many of you would have correctly guessed my age or my nationality before I admitted them?

    I want to clear a few things up.

    Firstly, I am NOT homophobic. Have I said anything here which is dismissive, offensive or hateful towards homosexual people? I hope not, and if I have inadvertently done so, then I apologise. I believe in constructive dialogue, not hate.

    Secondly, I have done my best to be polite, civil and constructive. I have not insulted anyone else on this forum. I have discussed the substantive issues in a detached way. But everyone else seems intent on making my personal characteristics an issue. If one more person calls me an “ignorant little boy” or anything close to it, then I can assure you that I will lose interest in participating in this forum. If I’m not wanted here, I won’t stay.

    Thirdly, in response to MAJeff’s substantive points at #427 (ignoring the insults, which I won’t lower myself by responding to), I support the appointment of strict constructionist judges and I think that Scalia, Thomas and Alito are broadly correct in their legal philosophy.

    You say: John McCain wishes to appoint more justices that like that state being able to break into queer bedrooms and arrest them for having sex… – I presume this is a reference to Lawrence v Texas. Scalia and Thomas did indeed dissent from the majority opinion; but this was not tantamount to arguing that sodomy laws were a good thing. Indeed, Thomas described the Texas law in question as “uncommonly silly” and stated that, if he were a state legislator, he would vote to abolish it. All Scalia and Thomas were arguing is that said law is not unconstitutional under the US constitution – which is not the same as arguing that it should not be unconstitutional. And I agree with Justice Thomas. The states’ sodomy statutes were repressive, foolish and thoroughly anachronistic, and I would passionately oppose any new attempt to criminalise consensual homosexual behaviour. But they were not unconstitutional under the federal US Constitution. The former is a political argument, the latter is a legal argument, and there is a difference.

    Many constitutions in the world (including many US state constitutions), and the European Convention on Human Rights, do enshrine a specific right to private life, including privacy of one’s sex life. I support that right, and I would have no problem with amending the US Constitution to include it, which would render unconstitutional any restriction on consensual homosexual behaviour. But the US Constitution, as written, contains no such right (despite what the Supreme Court claimed in Griswold and in Roe v Wade).

    I disagree with the politicisation of the judiciary. Judges should not be appointed on the basis that they are “conservative” or “liberal”. Liberals don’t deserve all the blame in this regard, by any means, and judicial politicisation is not exclusively a liberal phenomenon. But the fact is, liberals are guilty of encouraging this trend; they are insistent on appointing judges who will support their desired political policy outcomes (such as the continuation of a universal right to abortion). They are concerned with the substantive outcome, not with good legal process and adherence to the law as it stands. And I believe this is wrong. Law ought to be firmly distinct from politics. Judges should be appointed who will read the Constitution and apply what it says, taking into account the framers’ intentions; they should not be “updating” the Constitution to meet their own desired policy outcomes.

  441. #441 MAJeff, OM
    June 3, 2008

    I would have no problem with amending the US Constitution to include it,

    You’re not a citizen. Who cares?

  442. #442 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    //But the fact is, liberals are guilty of encouraging this trend; they are insistent on appointing judges who will support their desired political policy outcomes (such as the continuation of a universal right to abortion)//

    Ehem,Walton,now laddie,in all seriousness,conservatives would never dare to appoint judges who will support their desired political policy outcomes?
    I thought you were mildly deluded,but that just sounds bad LOL

  443. #443 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    To Clinteas at #438: I am not a troll. I am not here to disrupt this forum or to irritate people. If I have inadvertently had that effect then I apologise. But you may note that, earlier in this thread, several posters told me that I need not leave the forum.

    If you would all rather I left, then I’m willing to do so. But I think it’s depressing that a few people on this forum seem unwilling to tolerate dissenting voices.

    I can’t speak for the motives of Brenda, Kenny or J, only myself. As I understand it, Kenny is a devout Christian (which I am not); J is an atheist like yourselves, but seems to have a problem with the word “atheist” for some reason which I don’t understand; and Brenda refers to herself, above, as a liberal and a skeptic. So there really isn’t much to be gained from lumping us all together into one – all we have in common is that we have dissented from the majority view on this forum, which seems to annoy you in itself.

  444. #444 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    Sorry about the incorrect italicisation in my post at #440 – only the quote from MAJeff should be italicised, not the entire paragraph.

  445. #445 Krystalline Apostate
    June 3, 2008

    I support the appointment of strict constructionist judges and I think that Scalia, Thomas and Alito are broadly correct in their legal philosophy.

    Well whoopdie-do.
    Strict constructionists can kiss my ass, pardon the indelicacy. We aren’t living in the 18th CE anymore. The times, they have a-changed. 1 should adhere to the spirit in which the principles were founded, not to the strict lettering of them.
    Easy out, though: would the Founders’ve been for or against gay marriage? Easy answer. They were for the most part Christians, so NO.
    Life is fluid, the Constitution is fluid (otherwise, why have amendments?), & we shouldn’t be forced to live by anachronistic rules.
    So says a citizen.
    So say we all.

  446. #446 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    Walton,
    theres people here that have been on this blog much longer than me,but what Ive learned since Ive been here is that we go through a stage of open discussion,a kind of bring-it-on phase,with christian posters,and occasionally there will be a challenging thought,or new idea,and we love to discuss it,check it out,see if it has merits,but most of the time its really just the same ol’ standard responses of the brainwashed and deluded,and that includes the moderates like yourself….I am yet to hear anything original from a Christian to convince me or even stimulate me,because I have heard it all before…You know theres a reason there are standardised responses to common christian arguments….So to reiterate,people who dissent with the majority view here I really really like ,if their arguments bring anything new to the discussion at hand(which occasionally happens)….
    I would not want you to leave Walton,or Brenda,but be prepared that your arguments might get dissected by the many sharp minds on this blog,and Im not counting myself as one of them lol…..

  447. #447 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    Re #443. I’ve seen no evidence that Walton is trolling, and I agree with him that his age is not relevant. While his political views are at once naive and repulsive, he does address points raised by others. So as far as I’m concerned, he’s welcome to continue participating. Similarly, I find Brenda’s finger-wagging annoying, but she does contribute some substantive points. Again, not remotely comparable to J. or Kenny.

  448. #448 Ranson
    June 3, 2008

    @ Ferrous #347

    “9 current, 12 all-time.”

    You are doing 9 of those right now, all at the same time? Impressive!

    Well, I had a quiet night in with the wife.

  449. #449 Richard Simons
    June 3, 2008

    Walton said

    I do think, though, that they (along with the US conservative movement in general) recognise the most important thing: that the defining struggle of our time is against terrorism, specifically Islamic extremism, and that we need to take the war to the enemy.

    I see you are only 19 so you will be too young to remember the IRA’s terror campaign in the UK, which was funded largely from the US. The IRA leaders used to go on regular fund-raising drives to places like Boston where they received strong verbal support from people like the Kennedies. Many who do remember regard the new-found US campaign against terror with a certain amount of cynicism.

    I think if you look it from Bin Laden’s point of view, you will find that he strongly believes he is defending his people against American aggression and felt he had to ‘take the war to the enemy’.

  450. #450 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    To Krystalline Apostate at #445.

    Life is fluid, the Constitution is fluid (otherwise, why have amendments?), & we shouldn’t be forced to live by anachronistic rules. [emphasis added]

    Exactly! Because some parts of the Constitution were always bound to become anachronistic or ineffective over time, it includes an amendment process. This amendment process is deliberately difficult and complex, and requires a high degree of consensus, precisely because the Constitution wasn’t meant to be easy to change.

    So some liberals, lacking enough popular support to amend the Constitution in accordance with their values, instead use the shortcut option; supporting the appointment of judges who will “interpret” the Constitution to agree with those values.

    It is entirely true that society has changed since the 18th century. No one is disputing that. Which is exactly why the changing views of society should be reflected through laws enacted by democratically elected legislators, who are representative of society. It should not be for a tiny group of judges to decide what is and isn’t the appropriate “modern” view of rights.

    No one is suggesting that we should have to “live by anachronistic rules”. Most of the rules which govern everyday life are not found in the Constitution; they’re found in other laws. Contrary to popular belief, overturning Roe would not instantly create a constitutional ban on abortion. Rather, it would leave it up to state legislatures – who represent the people – to decide whether or not abortion should be legal, and under what circumstances.

    So strict constructionism is not tantamount to “returning to the 18th century” or to introducing “anachronistic rules”. Rather, it simply reflects the belief that the Constitution is limited in the scope of what it covers, and that other areas of policy should be governed by democratically elected legislators, not by judicial activism. Where there is a consensus in society that a particular provision of the Constitution is outdated and needs to be changed, it is possible to amend it. But judges should not be creating new “rights” which are not in the Constitution.

  451. #451 SC
    June 3, 2008

    the Constitution is fluid (otherwise, why have amendments?)

    The Ninth, in particular, comes to mind…

    Walton, get over yourself, already, and cut the theatrics. The only person to mention banning you from the blog is you. You can stay and (try unsuccessfully to) defend your arguments without people having to roll out a virtual welcome mat every time you feel slighted.

  452. #452 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    If you had been called an “ignorant little boy”, and variants thereof, by at least two posters, then I suspect you too would feel slighted.

  453. #453 Ray C.
    June 3, 2008

    Shoot, is there one single person on Earth who doesn’t hit at least one of these categories, including the nutjob carrying the sign?

  454. #454 SC
    June 3, 2008

    So what? Ignore the jabs and keep arguing the substance. This “If you would all rather I left, then I’m willing to do so” business is lame.

  455. #455 Steve_C
    June 3, 2008

    I think the constitution allows for gay marriage. It doesn’t allow for the establishment of a national religion. Since it’s the religionists that have the issue and are insisting it’s only between men and women, and the constitution said all men (and women) are created equal… I don’t think wedding same sex people is establishing “new” rights… because getting married is apparently already a right.

    I’m going a little in circles… but I think you catch my drift.

  456. #456 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    Walton:

    and judicial politicisation is not exclusively a liberal phenomenon.

    O_o

    Right.

    That is correct, Walton, but your phrasing reeks of the distortion of reality that occurs when one is exposed to too much wingnut talk-radio. “Not exclusively?” LOL.

    I like you, Walton, and I’d have been hard-pressed to guess your age and nationality prior to your disclosure, but knowing these details to help resolve some dissonances between my image of you (my best guess was American male of age 37, give or take 5 years) and the puzzlingly ill-informed and naive quality of some of your comments. (I advise you to take that as a compliment.)

    You’re almost exactly the same age as my middle brother (he turns 19 on Friday) and he’s still learning to synthesize knowledge and new information into opinions that he can rightly call his own. I realize that I’m flirting with an ad hominem assessment of your comments, now, but knowing that you’re 18 (ok, were 18 – happy birthday!) does cast the rather sophisticated arguments you made regarding the California SJC decision about gender and marriage in a different light. That is, it’s easier to see them as a well-presented restatement of the kind of ideologically-driven sophistry that comes from the mouths of people like Limbaugh, rather than as a reasonable analysis of the decision based on years of experience in constitutional law.

    I’m not going all ageist on you – I’m only 5 years older than you – but it’s been a long five years, if you know what I mean. Anyway, I have some friendly advice for you: You’re not doing yourself any favors if you rely on Limbaugh and Coulter as representatives of American conservative thought. Limbaugh, though he’s not always completely reprehensible, jumped the shark quite some time ago, and Coulter is, in a word, contemptible. You can do better. Unfortunately, I need another cup of coffe (or maybe a hefty dose of oxycodone) before I can come up with some alternate recommendations… heh.

  457. #457 Nephi
    June 3, 2008

    Nothing on the list for being a member of a Cult.

    Bestiality is not mention at all…interesting.

  458. #458 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    “Jumped the shark” is new to me – origin?

  459. #459 Steve in MI
    June 3, 2008

    Oops.

    Once I read the comments, I realized that I may have undercounted myself on a couple of items. As they say in Congress, may I have unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks?

    16, and I’ve never been a Pagan. :-)

  460. #460 clinteas
    June 3, 2008

    @Kseniya,

    can i marry you now (finally)?
    LOL

    //and he’s still learning to synthesize knowledge and new information into opinions that he can rightly call his own//

    That is as beautiful an analysis of hot-blooded youth thought processes as Ive ever seen….

  461. #461 Benjamin Franklin
    June 3, 2008

    Hey Walton-

    Are you a sports fan?

  462. #462 Steve_C
    June 3, 2008

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jump_the_shark

    It refers to the Fonz jumping sharks on water skis during Happy Day’s popularity.

    WTH? Exactly. Refers to straying so far from the original concept that’s it almost unrecognizable.

  463. #463 frog
    June 3, 2008

    NickGotts:

    Jump the shark refers to a late episode of the long-running ’70s US comedy Happy Days, where flagging ratings lead to a couple of episodes where the cast went on vacation. In one of these, the Fonz jumped his motorcycle over a pool of sharks. It is widely regarded as the death knell of the series, when it became obvious they were desperately trying gimmicks to revive the show.

    It is similar to “having a baby”, where a TV show will suddenly have a lead actor become pregnant in order to inject some interest in the show, despite the fact that it has no link to the overall arc of the show — Little Richie in I Love Lucy was an example of this.

    American cultural references are primarily TV and movie based — to understand our idiom, you really need to have spent 50% of your childhood watching bad sitcoms and afternoon cartoons.

    “Teacher — 1 cm!”

  464. #464 Andreas Johansson
    June 3, 2008

    I have explained the theological reasons why it isn’t logically consistent with typical Christian belief.

    What makes you think the typical Christian holds logically consistent beliefs?

    (This quite apart from the fact that the “it” you refer to does not appear to be held by the maker of the sign.)

  465. #465 N ick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    frog – thanks. Strange I hadn’t come across it before. However, I thought I understood it – as meaning having gone completely Finchley* – but now that doesn’t seem right. Is “Was once worth paying attention to but not any more” a reasonable literal meaning?

    *Finchley is two stops beyond Barking on one of the London underground lines, also known for being Margaret Thatcher’s parliamentary constituency.

  466. #466 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    Various responses.

    Benjamin Franklin at #461 – Not especially, though I do watch international cricket when it’s on. I’m not keen on football (of the soccer type), which is the big thing in this country. However, let me assure you that I do fall into at least 5 or 6 of the other categories listed on the sign (assuming “drunkard” means “someone who gets drunk from time to time”, and “evolutionist” means “someone who accepts the overwhelming scientific evidence for biological evolution as a mechanism for the development of species”).

    Kseniya at #456 – For the record, I am a law student and have actually studied constitutional law, though with a focus on the UK rather than the US (and our constitutional traditions are radically different; we don’t even have a codified constitution). I didn’t claim at any time to have “years of experience” in constitutional law; but I’m relatively bright, educated in law, and very interested in the US political situation. It is one of the fields where I’m not out of my depth. (Contrast that with, say, evolutionary biology, physics or economics, in all of which fields I am entirely out of my depth; and I’ve made clear that anything I say on those topics is a layman’s view and that I welcome corrections from those more knowledgeable than me.)

    I don’t just rely on Coulter and Limbaugh, believe me. Nor am I just recycling their arguments. I think Ann Coulter is wrong about a lot of things: she’s wrong to oppose McCain, she’s wrong about “Darwinism” (indeed, I think she’s clearly out of her depth when discussing science topics in general), and she has a fairly simplistic view of Cold War history which is, on several points, empirically incorrect. (See her book on McCarthy, for instance.) But she’s witty, entertaining (a true mistress of the one-line put-down), and often insightful.

    As regards other conservative politicians and authors, the conservative movement is, of course, not homogeneous, and the left-right spectrum itself is overly simplistic. I agree with a lot of Ron Paul’s views, for instance, as regards the economy, federalism and the role of government, but I wholeheartedly disagree with him on foreign and defence policy. Similarly, I have many friends who are conservatives over here, but who would in the US be regarded as libertarians; the British conservative movement isn’t identified so strongly (if at all) with religious belief, and so there’s a very strong libertarian strand, particularly among younger conservatives, which is favourable towards same-sex marriage and other liberal social ideas. I myself am considered absurdly right-wing by most people I know, but in the US I would be a fairly middle-of-the-road Republican.

  467. #467 Epikt
    June 3, 2008

    Walton:

    I disagree with the politicisation of the judiciary. Judges should not be appointed on the basis that they are “conservative” or “liberal”.

    By any remotely objective assessment, conservatives are far more guilty of politicizing the judiciary than are progressives. Do you think abortion isn’t used as a litmus test for judiciary appointments by the right?

    “Activist judges” is simply conservaspeak for “judges who don’t dance to our tune;” witness the screaming from the right about the Kitzmiller decision, handed down by a republican-appointed conservative judge who was vilified as “activist.”

  468. #468 frog
    June 3, 2008

    Kseniya: You’re not doing yourself any favors if you rely on Limbaugh and Coulter as representatives of American conservative thought.

    Pray tell, what good examples of conservative American thought are there? The handwaving BS of Fukuyama (who, by the way, is supporting Obama)? The barely repressed homoeroticism of Harvey Mansfield? Really, it’s been forty years since American conservatism has had any intellectual content – they long ago abandoned any pretense at that, replacing it with Goebbelian propaganda. When Goldwater failed, he left a wake of political opportunists who got in bed with the worst scum of American society to re-make the Republican party.

    Just ask McClellan.

  469. #469 frog
    June 3, 2008

    NG: Is “Was once worth paying attention to but not any more” a reasonable literal meaning?

    More like desperately trying to retain relevancy, but in the process clearly marking itself as irrelevant. A lame duck, in politicspeak. The corpse hasn’t yet recognized it’s own demise. “I’m not dead yet — I’m feeling better!”

  470. #470 Emily
    June 3, 2008

    I once saw a preacher with a sign similar to this one which also included “Hebrews”, “Muslims” and “Mouthy Women”. Since I tried to argue with the guy, I fall into the third category, and I’m also an atheist but at least not a child molester.

  471. #471 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    Jump the Shark: Though I’m aware of the Happy Days origin of the phrase, but that was way before my time and I’ve never seen the show. The phrase has become familiar to me here in blogland. I use it in a sense similar to the phrase “run off the rails” though I realize the meanings aren’t identical.

  472. #472 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    Epikt at #467: I actually don’t think Dover v Kitzmiller was an example of judicial activism. Assuming the finding of fact (that intelligent design is creationism, and therefore religious) was correct (a question which I don’t have sufficient knowledge to answer definitively), it was entirely correct to rule that it should not be taught in public school science classes. This contravenes the principle of the non-establishment of religion, which was a principle that the framers of the Constitution quite clearly intended to set down. So I don’t see anything wrong with the legal reasoning in that particular case.

    So no, “judicial activism” is not a synonym of “decisions we don’t like”. Roe was judicial activism not because its outcome was undesirable, but because it invented a wholly new right which is not in the Constitution, using flimsy pseudo-legal argument, and thereby deprived the American people of the right to determine the laws which govern them. I would feel equally outraged if the same technique were used to produce a conservative social outcome.

    I don’t deny that conservatives have contributed to the politicisation of the judiciary, but we have done so only in response to liberal judicial activism. When the liberals use judges to push through unpopular policy agendas and place said agendas beyond the confines of democratic debate, what do you expect us to do?

  473. #473 Dennis N
    June 3, 2008

    unpopular policy agendas

    translation: expansion of rights “social conservatives” don’t like

    I scare quote that because a real social conservative would keep government out of people’s lives, not try to control them.

  474. #474 Alfonso Armenta
    June 3, 2008

    Well, only 8 for me, but I can become simultaneously a witch, a pagan and a hypocrite, for a whopping 11.

  475. #475 Eric
    June 3, 2008

    Brenda, #378
    Fundamentalism is not the strawman of atheism. ‘Strawman’ denotes no real people actually believe the viewpoint put up for discussion. But Evangelical Protestantism is the single LARGEST Christian group in the U.S., at 26.3% of the total US population* or about 75 million people. That’s no strawman. Rather, it is more accurate to say that your moderate, inclusive theology (as a self-identified liberal) represents a strawman view of American Christians, since you are in a smaller minority.

    Nor is it confirmation bias on PZ’s part to point out that a popular activist in the single largest Christian group in the U.S. might possibly represent the views of, um, a large group of U.S. Christians.

    *2008 PEW Survey of the US Religious Landscape

    Eric

  476. #476 Daniel R
    June 3, 2008

    Where, in FreeThoughtPedia, this image come from? Which article?

  477. #477 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    So some liberals, lacking enough popular support to amend the Constitution in accordance with their values, instead use the shortcut option; supporting the appointment of judges who will “interpret” the Constitution to agree with those values.

    Posted by: Walton

    Please be so kind as to take off your blinders. That is not a “liberal” tactic. That is a tactic that a person in power uses, regardless of ideology. Or do you think that over the past few decades, Reagan and the two Bushes have not placed onto the court judges who overturn Roe v Wade.

  478. #478 frog
    June 3, 2008

    Ah, I see the problem with Walton — he’s got the Anglophonic disease, which has a tendency to lead to “Libertarianism” in the US (and I guess the British and the Australian equivalents). He’s a lawyer.

    It is the dreg ends of theology — the desire to develop a synchronic logical system that will subsume other orders. It has led to the positive developments of Newtonianism, and the political tendency to value legitimacy in an ideological sense, thereby limiting open civil war among the elites.

    Unfortunately, it is nonsense. No such creation can exist — you can’t find a closed (in the mathematical sense) constitution, because no such beast exists. This is why Libertarianism, US conservatism and it’s cousins reminds me so much of Marxism — it values some Platonic concept of reality over reality itself. The US constitution has to be interpreted as a codification of the facts on the ground — not as some kind blueprint for those facts, any more than science can find a TOE. None exists in mathematics, science or law. See Goedel for the mathematical equivalent.

    But the Anglophonic tradition of law (and related cultural phenomena) are emotionally invested in discovering this rare beast — they are stuck in a philosophy of science that has been outmoded for over a century. Sadly enough, the Scottish pragmatists were among those who pointed the way out, but this still has not penetrated Anglophonic culture. Maybe it has something to do with an unwillingness to recognize the slow end of Anglophonic global dominance?

  479. #479 windy
    June 3, 2008

    Yes, because all you are really doing is pointing and laughing and any asshole can do that. You don’t access the validity of an idea by looking at the behavior of it’s adherents. You examine the idea or concept itself, fairly and accurately, and then you debate it.

    I’ve been trying to address a concept for a while now. Brenda, since Walton seems to be a bit overwhelmed right now, would you like to defend the claim that the sign is logically inconsistent with mainstream Christianity?

    As far as I can tell, the only person with any integrity on this blog is Walton. The rest of you look to me like poo flinging monkeys.

    Would you also care to tell me how #152, #290, and #437 are the equivalent of “poo”? Otherwise, I’ll be forced to conclude that you are full of …poo.

  480. #480 StuV
    June 3, 2008

    BAH! Only 11.

    Must-sin-more…

  481. #481 Pablo
    June 3, 2008

    OK, in retrospect, the real question should have been, who has the FEWEST number of things on the list, as opposed to the most.

  482. #482 frog
    June 3, 2008

    Here’s my favorite example of how the US Constitution doesn’t mean anything synchronically:
    From the Articles of Confederation, Article VI:
    No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

    From the US Constitution, Amendment 2:
    Amendment 2 – Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Obviously, Amendment 2 has to be interpreted in light of it’s predecessor — it’s an explicit reference to Article VI “A well regulated militia”, “security of a free State”. But now no free states exist — the US has a unitary military, and the states have lost functional sovereignty. How the hell can someone hope to interpret amendment 2 in any way, when the underlying context has changed, in practice, so radically? The US of 2008 is the legitimate successor of the US of 1789 — but it isn’t the same country at all in substance! The original was a confederacy (more centralized than it’s predecessor) and the post-civil war US is an organic centralized state.

    The constitution (and amendment 2) only has meaning by a complete reinterpretation, where the relationship between states and the federal government is reinterpreted, re-written, as relationships between individuals and the central state — individuals suddenly are invented as sovereign entities entering into a compact, with the right to bear arms!

    By deluding themeselves into believing that the words have meaning independent of the current social conditions, of the facts on the ground, Walton and other legalists simply remove our ability to make the document and it’s history intelligible at all — and then do what we do anyhow, force their social claims on a document that doesn’t include them inherently. Aka, the whole game becomes a big lie (whether done sincerely — by self-delusion — or not — Scalia is way too smart to not know this).

    It’s a delusional disease that the Anglophonic world is trapped in, raising idols of air to replace their ancestor’s crucifixes and molten idols.

    This is of course not a claim about whether we should have a right to bear arms, but about how we came to believe that we have the right to bear arms.

  483. #483 Dave
    June 3, 2008

    Walton:

    I actually don’t think Dover v Kitzmiller was an example of judicial activism. Assuming the finding of fact (that intelligent design is creationism, and therefore religious) was correct (a question which I don’t have sufficient knowledge to answer definitively), it was entirely correct to rule that it should not be taught in public school science classes. This contravenes the principle of the non-establishment of religion, which was a principle that the framers of the Constitution quite clearly intended to set down. So I don’t see anything wrong with the legal reasoning in that particular case.

    So no, “judicial activism” is not a synonym of “decisions we don’t like”

    Actually, many American Conservatives, including, I believe, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter *have* claimed it was judicial activism. The fact, which you appear to agree with, that it was manifestly not an activist opinion, under any reasonable definition of judicial activism, is what makes many of us believe that the term “judicial activism” from the mouths of American Conservatives is simply code for opinions I dont like.

  484. #484 StuV
    June 3, 2008

    Oh, I thought it was more of a “collect them all”.

    Oops.

  485. #485 Jon Jones
    June 3, 2008

    This is why I don’t agree with ‘organized religion’. It bundles everyone up into some big imaginary group, and other people who adhere to the same faith or teachings, but don’t believe nor have even heard of what these morons are doing, are blamed for something they had no part of. Individuals should educate themselves on what’s the best course of action for their lives, don’t expect other people or organizations to do it for you. This is what happens when you do.

  486. #486 spencer
    June 3, 2008

    Well, if you count all the things I have done up to this point (as opposed to behaviors I currently engage in), then about half of these descriptors can apply to me.

    However, if only current behavior counts, then I make the grade for six. Won’t tell you which six, though . . .

  487. #487 Leigh
    June 3, 2008

    Owlmirror and I wrestled with Walton on the Constitutional issues (I think successfully) in the thread about marriage in California. Obviously, however, we didn’t convince him as much as I had hoped.

    And Walton, the most pressing issue in the world today is the battle between rationality and unreason. Terrorism, the issues we have in the U.S. with Christianist Dominionists, our inability to deal effectively (or even recognize) the dangers of climate change, and many other problems are informed at their roots in this battle.

    The problem is caused by the failure of public education in the U.S., and the absence of education in the Middle East. Reason is the only weapon that can destroy fundamentalism. In this context, religion is a big part of the problem, a fact that P.Z. and many posters here obviously recognize, because it actively encourages and rewards irrational thought and behavior.

  488. #488 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 3, 2008

    Yes.

    Btw, FreeThoughtPedia (the originating site for the picture) is an interesting wiki.

    Main page label<7a>:

    Gods don’t kill people.
    People with Gods kill people.

  489. #489 bezoar@alltel.net
    June 3, 2008

    Nine for me but once again Atheists don’t believe in hell, so, what me worry?

  490. #490 Walton
    June 3, 2008

    Leigh at #487. And Walton, the most pressing issue in the world today is the battle between rationality and unreason. Terrorism, the issues we have in the U.S. with Christianist Dominionists, our inability to deal effectively (or even recognize) the dangers of climate change, and many other problems are informed at their roots in this battle.

    I can see what you mean, but I don’t entirely agree.

    I would concur that in the long run, encouraging education in the Middle East could certainly be a useful weapon in fighting the causes of terrorism. For instance, in Pakistan, the failure of the public education system has led to the rise of radical Islamic madrassas, the only educational option for many young people from poor rural backgrounds, who are thereby indoctrinated with extremism. So I don’t disagree with that idea in principle, but I also think that in the short term we have to fight al-Qaeda and the other extremist groups which wish to destroy our civilisation. Striking at the causes of terrorism is important, but not to the exclusion of using as much force as needed to defend ourselves.

    As to climate change, though I’m no climatologist and wouldn’t care to argue the point, I am given to understand that a significant minority of the scientific community worldwide contend that solar cycles, a natural factor, make a larger contribution to global warming than anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Furthermore, as I understand it, it is also the case that the Earth has gone through numerous natural “warm” and “cold” periods in the past; and that the current warming trends have also been vastly exaggerated due to media hype and sensationalism. So while I don’t oppose reasonable and moderate measures to control our impact on the environment, I do think we need to steer clear of media-fuelled hysteria on global warming.

    I also don’t think religion (except in its more extreme forms) need be seen as always holding back education and rational thought.

  491. #491 Nick Gotts
    June 3, 2008

    As to climate change, though I’m no climatologist and wouldn’t care to argue the point, I am given to understand that a significant minority of the scientific community worldwide contend that solar cycles, a natural factor, make a larger contribution to global warming than anthropogenic carbon dioxide. Furthermore, as I understand it, it is also the case that the Earth has gone through numerous natural “warm” and “cold” periods in the past; and that the current warming trends have also been vastly exaggerated due to media hype and sensationalism.

    You are, quite simply, wrong. There is overwhelming consensus among relevant experts that human production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is responsible for all, or almost all, the rise in global temperature over the last half-century. A joint statement to this effect was issued by the national scientific associations of the G8 plus China, India and Brazil in 2006; and the recent IPCC report draws on the published research of recent years to arrive at the same conclusion. The fact that there have been natural changes in temperature in the past is, of course, well-known to climate scientists, and is also irrelevant: does a detective investigating a suspicious death say “Well, there have been lots of natural deaths in the past, so obviously this isn’t murder”?

    You’ve been listening to rightwing fruitcakes again, haven’t you Walton? Go to http://www.realclimate.org/, and click on “Start Here”.

  492. #492 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    June 3, 2008

    our inability to deal effectively (or even recognize) the dangers of climate change,

    As NASA just admitted, but not officially, they contributed to the sham:

    NASA’s press office “marginalized or mischaracterized” studies on global warming between 2004 and 2006, the agency’s own internal watchdog concluded.

    In a report released Monday, NASA’s inspector general office called it “inappropriate political interference” by political appointees in the press office. It said that the agency’s top management wasn’t part of the censorship, nor were career officials.

    NASA downplayed the report as old news on a problem that has since been fixed. NASA spokesman Michael Cabbage said the space agency’s new policies have now been hailed for openness by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

    It is satisfying that a government office clears the government from any wrongs of interfering in agency policies. [/irony]

  493. #493 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    Good catch, Thorbear. Now what was the name of that boy wonder whom the Bush admin put in place to oversee the abuse and corruption of the science-advisory process? I seem to have blocked it out of my mind…

  494. #494 Epikt
    June 3, 2008

    Kseniya:

    Now what was the name of that boy wonder whom the Bush admin put in place to oversee the abuse and corruption of the science-advisory process? I seem to have blocked it out of my mind…

    George Deutsch. The one whose degree was in something unrelated to science. Except it turned out that, contrary to what he claimed on his resume, he hadn’t even finished that.

    For the Waltons out there who might not be familiar with the issue, it wasn’t an attempt by NASA to produce “hysteria on global warming.” It was an attempt to censor its own researchers, to suppress results not supportive of administration policies.

  495. #495 BlueIndependent
    June 3, 2008

    @ #483:

    It IS code for decisions they don’t like. Their offerings for appointment to the Court indicate this rather strongly.

    But the larger point, as is illustrated beautifully (depending on your perspective) by this moron’s sign. They create labels, which then become buttons, which are then attached to peoples’ emotions, and those buttons are pressed to get squeaky noises out of the apologetics that make up their electorate.

    Lost a huge case to get religion into public schools? “SQUEAKY!”

    Keep losing to pro-choice forces? “SQUEAKY!”

    Gays and Lesbians can marry in other states now? “SQUEAKY!”

  496. #496 BlueIndependent
    June 3, 2008

    @ #494:

    I recently had a short tit-for-tat on a camping trip with someone who thought the daily weather prognostications here in Phoenix were intentionally heavily weighted due to pressure from quote “tree huggers” on the local news channels to inflate daily high temperatures to give the impression of Global Warming, when we all know GW doesn’t really exist…

    He also was adamant that a Toyota Prius had a more significant environmental impact than a Hummer.

  497. #497 Rey Fox
    June 3, 2008

    “Brownian – are you some kind of monarchist, preferring British spellings over the more phonetic American ones?”

    Worse than that. He’s Canadian. They need all those extra vowels to keep warm.

  498. #498 frog
    June 3, 2008

    BlueIndependent: Lost a huge case to get religion into public schools? “SQUEAKY!”

    It’s more than just squeaky. You’re assuming, like most empiricist, that they think like we do — the evidence is the ultimate driver. But no, what drives them is the conclusions — if global warming were true, then an organized response would be in order. But since an organized response implies “socialism” (socialism meaning any kind of organized response), which is evil/atheistic, therefore global warming must not be true.

    It’s the normal legalistic, rather than scientific reasoning. The goals (the law/the case/sacred scripture/the writings of the ancients) are pre-determined, so the role of argument and logic is to prove what must be true. Just like the Marxists where everything must be class struggle, and the Libertarians where everything must be a market (I’ve had that argument — at the end of the day, everything that is good is a market by definition, and everything bad can not be a market).

    So it sounds all “SQUEAKY” to you. But if you knew that the constitution must support prayer in school, then it only stands to reason that any case they lose is due to judicial activism. You also see this kind of “logic” on the left, where rather than recognizing that the US Constitution is an outdated and ultimately absurd document that has had numerous codicils abandoned by fiat and the gun, people insist that the constitution must be reasonable and protect their rights when read strictly.

  499. #499 Milo Johnson
    June 3, 2008

    “If one more person calls me an “ignorant little boy” or anything close to it, then I can assure you that I will lose interest in participating in this forum. If I’m not wanted here, I won’t stay.”

    —Is that a promise, you ignorant little boy?

  500. #500 Sloan
    June 3, 2008

    “Masturbators”

    I suspect we’re ALL doomed.

  501. #501 Tim G
    June 3, 2008

    I’ve discovered that picture in another blog. This is a reprint of my response with a few edits.

    Drunkard – I’ve been tipsy a few times, but never drunk.
    Liar – My nose has grown a bit.
    Thief – Did Napster count?
    Sports fan – Go Cubs! Go Bears! Go Penguins! Go…
    Blasphemer – Jesus Christ, yes!
    Money Lover – I like to smooch Ben Franklin.
    Pagan – Paganism is misunderstood. I’m not a Pagan anyway.
    Homosexual – I’m not homosexual–not that there’s anything wrong with it.
    Prostitute – I don’t think I’d be very successful in that line of work.
    Witch – No, I don’t even like Harry Potter books that much.
    Atheist – Agnostic, I fear commitment.
    Gambler – I’d wager that nearly everyone has gambled.
    Porn Lover – Can’t get enough!
    Whoremonger – Nope. I don’t like diseases.
    Child Molester – Hmmm…which item on this list is not like the others…
    Evolutionist – Yes, I believe in DNA.
    Pot Smoker – Never tried it, never had the opportunity.
    Lesbian – If I were a lipstick lesbian, how hard would it be to find other lipstick lesbians?
    Fornicator – Not too much action here.
    Masturbator – Too much action here.
    Hypocrite – I practice what I preach…if I preached.
    Psychic – My guesses are usually educated.

  502. #502 FastLane
    June 3, 2008

    Actually, referring to Scalia or Thomas as strict constructionists is just more buying into the hype. They are only constructionists when it suits their political agenda. There is no ‘strict’ about it.

    I forgive you (Walton) for making this mistake, given your apparent choice of news sources.

    As for good sources for conservative thought? That’s a tough one. George Will is one of the better (at least, more consistent), but that’s not saying much. He still tends to be highly partisan (party over policy).

    I’ve always considered myself a conservative, but I haven’t voted for a republican (with very few exceptions) in at least the last decade (I’m 40 now). So very few republicans (or self labelled conservatives) actually want smaller government, which used to be the cornerstone of the conservative ideology.

    Socially, I’m a liberal (very), but when it comes to the government spending my money, I want them to be more responsible than my broker, not less, because I don’t have a direct choice over where it goes.

    As for conservatives only politicizing the judiciary as a reaction to the liberals doing so, I call bullshit..major bullshit.

    And yes, the popular use of ‘judicial activism’ is simply decisions that conservatives don’t agree with (since it was the conservative spin machine that coined the term).

  503. #503 Epikt
    June 3, 2008

    BlueIndependent

    He also was adamant that a Toyota Prius had a more significant environmental impact than a Hummer.

    There’s actually a study that claims to show that. It was mentioned on the WSJ editorial page, and by Rush Limbaugh, so if you find your brow furrowing in skepticism, you’re not alone.

    The study contained some assumptions that bordered on the surreal. Of the few I remember:

    The R&D costs of the Hummer were minimized by claiming that it used many components already used in other GM vehicles, so development of those shouldn’t be charged against the Hummer.

    The per-vehicle R&D costs were determined at a time when almost no Priuses (Priui?) had been sold, artificially inflating the cost of the Prius.

    The estimated lifetimes of the various Hummer models were assumed to be 200K-400K miles, but only 110K for the Prius. (I especially like this one. What can you do to get a Toyota do die in only 110K miles, that doesn’t involve an IED?)

    There were other equally silly assumptions. The organization performing the study consistently refused to reveal who funded it.

    The whole thing was pretty clearly an attempt to manufacture a squawking point for halfwits.

  504. #504 Cpl. Cam
    June 3, 2008

    On it? I thought it was a check list. Save me a seat by the fire please.

  505. #505 BlueIndependent
    June 3, 2008

    @ #503:

    I figured the claim was fallacious, but wasn’t sure and didn’t want to blurt out a dumb response and look like an idiot. Fact is, I should’ve known the real story, being a car guy, and I had actually heard the argument before. I just wasn’t prepared to rebut right away. WIRED debunked that myth though, and the entire anti-Prius argument rests on the factory providing the nickel for the batteries. But then you find out that so little nickel is required for the batteries, the impact is no more than any other car realistically speaking, and the Prius still gets better MPG.

    But just looking at a Hummer and a Prius side by side explains the true answer. The unfortunate thing is this garbage circulates via email, and people believe it because they feel all “M’urcan” about their rolling ego boosters.

  506. #506 Benjamin Franklin
    June 3, 2008

    BlueInd-
    If you look real close on the sign, #23 is tit-for-tat

  507. #507 Dave
    June 3, 2008

    Blueindependent @495:

    I see that my blockquote was closed incorrectly. That first line after the quote, ‘So no, “judicial activism” is not a synonym of “decisions we don’t like”‘ was supposed to be inside the blockquote as it was Walton’s statement. I do think that the vast majority of the time the term is used, it is code for “opinions I dont like” and was trying to show that to him with the case he had already admitted was legitimate. Sorry for any confusion. On the other hand, to the extent that the term has any real meaning, judicial activism has had a long history in the US. See 5 US 137.

  508. #508 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    The proliferation of Hummers across the highways of America serves as an apt metaphor for the imposition of Neoconservative foreign policy initiatives upon the face of the world.

  509. #509 Hummers suck
    June 3, 2008

    The R&D costs of the Hummer were minimized by claiming that it used many components already used in other GM vehicles, so development of those shouldn’t be charged against the Hummer.

    This is actually a reasonable point, as both the H2 and H3 are just ugly boxy bodies bolted onto standard-issue GM truck chassis/drivetrains.
    Which just makes Hummers even more stupid.

  510. #510 Longtime Lurker
    June 3, 2008

    Late to the party, lot of posts… but has anyone yet pointed out to Walton that he is the perfect age to sign up to defend us from the civilization-threatening Islamofascists? At this point, there are a lot of foreign nationals in the U.S. Army, so he can join up, work toward U.S. citizenship, and move to Florida.

    I think Walton is a sockpuppet for Jonah Goldberg.

    P.S. Only seven…

  511. #511 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    Ichthyic,please post the link to THAT Coulter piece,I cant find it lol,it would seem the right time for it lol…..

    see #367

    have no fear, any thread I see that has at least 3 mentions of the word “Coulter” will find me posting that link.

    think: “beetlegeuse”

  512. #512 BlueIndependent
    June 3, 2008

    @ Epikt:

    “…The R&D costs of the Hummer were minimized by claiming that it used many components already used in other GM vehicles, so development of those shouldn’t be charged against the Hummer…”

    @ #509:

    “This is actually a reasonable point, as both the H2 and H3 are just ugly boxy bodies bolted onto standard-issue GM truck chassis/drivetrains. Which just makes Hummers even more stupid.”

    Ehh, maybe *TECHNICALLY*. But it can be argued that while component development can’t be tied directly to Hummer models versus others, the Hummer brand exists expressly to push a big tough SUV/truck image that is loosely related to the actual military-use Hummer. Ergo, fewer trucks would be marketed and sold (possibly) if Hummers didn’t exist. Knowing GM and the amount of part sharing that takes place, you can make a case for any truck being a drag on the environment.

    From my perspective, you can still blame Hummers in that they use bigger engines, are large, very heavy, are significantly less fuel efficient compared to cars, and generally require more materials to build than most cars. Am I going to push legislation that will keep people from buying Hummers? No. I think the $100+ gas prices will do that, and that is what’s being seen now, as GM’s truck sales have slumped big time, and as GM even contemplates selling the Hummmer brand off.

    I honestly do not see how a Prius materially will cost the environment more than a Hummer. Look at the amount of metal used to make either. Look at the size, the weight, the aerodynamics. The Hummer is also likely to consume nearly 3 times as much gas on average. Hummers force the drilling of more wells. I can keep going, but…

  513. #513 Brenda von Ahsen
    June 3, 2008

    windy
    I’ve been trying to address a concept for a while now. Brenda, since Walton seems to be a bit overwhelmed right now, would you like to defend the claim that the sign is logically inconsistent with mainstream Christianity?

    Over 500 comments! I can’t possibly address them or even read them, I do have a life. Ok… what is “mainstream Christianity”? I don’t know of any modern theologians who take the Bible as the literal, inerrant word of God as presented in the sign. Yes, the fundamentalists do and yes, they constitute a political force that is frightening. I’m not sure they represent a true statistical majority. Even if they do they do not represent modern theology. Fundamentalists are throwbacks to the 19th century.

    Theology as it is taught in reputable seminaries, and no that does not include Oral Roberts U, bears no resemblance to Fred Phelps, which is most likely where that sign came from.

    Would you also care to tell me how #152, #290, and #437 are the equivalent of “poo”? Otherwise, I’ll be forced to conclude that you are full of …poo.

    PZ Meyers claims above that he reserves the right to judge Christianity by it’s worst examples, as do many others here. Therefore I have the right to judge you by that same measure. Is there a problem with that? If you want to be treated like an adult then act like one. Besides, if you are an evolutionist as I am then I would think you would take it as a compliment.

  514. #514 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    I think Walton is a sockpuppet for Jonah Goldberg.

    sound-a-likes aren’t always clones.

    He has indeed apparently drunk the same conservative kool-aid, though.

    among the many mistaken notions Walton has, the notion that conservatives are fighting against “judicial activism” might be one of the worst.

    In fact, if he would take the time to really examine the situation, he would find most conservative-described “judicial activism” has actually been on the part of self-identified “conservative” judges to begin with.

    It’s a standard tactic of the rethuglicans in the US to accuse their opponents of the very things they themselves are most guilty of.

    They’ve been doing it successfully for over 30 years now.

    I’ll give Walton 2 points of leniency:

    1. he’s only 18 (hell, even I voted for Reagan when I was 18)

    2. He has no practical experience with American conservatism.

    both things combined kinda poison the well he speaks from, but it’s really up to Walton to either drink that well water or not.

    seriously, Walton, if you want to understand American conservatism as it has been practiced over the last 30 plus years, you have your work cut out for you.

    …I would highly suggest NOT listening to mouthpieces for ultra-right talking points, as these folks (like Limbaugh and Coulter), are merely trying to attract your attention away from the real political issues. They’re nothing but burned out noisemakers, intended to whip up a frenzy in the nonthinking ignorant horde that the rethuglicans use as a voting block.

    there’s MASSIVE amounts of information on actual politics out there, you really have no need to comb through the feces of Limbaugh and Coulter (or any other talking head) to find out what’s going on.

    However, if you CHOOSE to remain ignorant; lapping up the spew put forth by these people, you will of course find people who have real experience and know better laughing at you.

    up to you.

    another science blogger has actually written a pretty decent book you might want to peruse:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=7utk9yd_NZYC&dq=republican+war+on+science&pg=PP1&ots=6irqEbtUr-&sig=2FJizc76pLggg8czLx0D0LFAdNA&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3Drepublican%2Bwar%2Bon%2Bscience%26btnG%3DGoogle%2BSearch&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail

    We often chastise Mooney for his “special” relationship with Matt Nisbet, but really, he’s an excellent writer, and that book is a great read, and good place to start your explorations of modern conservatism in America.

  515. #515 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    Therefore I have the right to judge you by that same measure. Is there a problem with that?

    not at all, so long as you don’t continue to get childishly defensive when you get corrected on your mistaken notions.

    …like thinking that somehow evangelical xianity in the US is some sort of “fringe sect”.

  516. #516 Ichthyic
    June 3, 2008

    Even if they do they do not represent modern theology

    what does that even mean?

    do YOU represent “modern theology”?

  517. #517 Janine ID
    June 3, 2008

    PZ Meyers claims…

    Posted by: Brenda von Ahsen

    BBZZZZZZZZZZ! You have already lost the IDiot test!
    Yes, Brenda, I am laughing at you. Perhaps one of the regulars here will be kind enough to explain the joke. I am not feeling so generous.

  518. #518 windy
    June 3, 2008

    Over 500 comments! I can’t possibly address them or even read them, I do have a life.

    Then how did you decide that Walton was the only one with integrity, if you didn’t even read most of the comments?

    The reason I asked you to defend Walton’s claim, is that several people patiently pointed out that Walton is factually wrong: the sign does not claim that all those sinners are doomed to hell. Yet you barged in here and accused all these patient and articulate people of being poo-flinging monkeys. I hope you are a little ashamed.

    I don’t know of any modern theologians who take the Bible as the literal, inerrant word of God as presented in the sign.

    A sign that mentions sports fans and pot smokers? Those aren’t in the bible at all, so your argument makes no sense. Try a little, at least.

    PZ Meyers claims above that he reserves the right to judge Christianity by it’s worst examples, as do many others here. Therefore I have the right to judge you by that same measure. Is there a problem with that?

    No, PZ said that he judges Christianity by what the majority of Christians does. “Judge” me all you want, but don’t be dishonest. And your poo-flinging accusation came before you decided on this pitiful “but atheists do it too” ploy, so it’s nothing but intellectual laziness on your part.

  519. #519 Kseniya
    June 3, 2008

    Walton,

    IMO, Ichthyic has offered some good advice.

  520. #520 windy
    June 3, 2008

    PZ Meyers claims above that he reserves the right to judge Christianity by it’s worst examples, as do many others here. Therefore I have the right to judge you by that same measure. Is there a problem with that?

    Didn’t notice this at first. PZ claims he judges a belief system by its worst adherents, you judge people based on what other atheists do (and unlike PZ, you claim that this is a get-out-of-argument-free card). Yes there is a problem!

  521. #521 Epikt
    June 3, 2008

    Hummers suck:

    This is actually a reasonable point, as both the H2 and H3 are just ugly boxy bodies bolted onto standard-issue GM truck chassis/drivetrains. Which just makes Hummers even more stupid.

    That’s probably the least-insane of the three points I mentioned. On the other hand, I do wonder whether the study included the cost of all the advertising designed to convince the typical American male that he’ll begin suffering from testosterone deprivation if he doesn’t buy a Hummer right this minute. Or the cost of hospitalization incurred when he decides that he’s a red-blooded American rebel who’s immune to the consequences of a shoulder-height center of mass on offramps.

  522. #522 Neil B.
    June 3, 2008

    Well, give them credit for fighting the Republican establishment by putting “Money-lovers” up there.

  523. #523 frog
    June 3, 2008

    Epikt: Or the cost of hospitalization incurred when he decides that he’s a red-blooded American rebel who’s immune to the consequences of a shoulder-height center of mass on offramps.

    Ain’t that the problem of almost all economics? Full accounting is tremendously difficult — both explicit accounting systems and market based systems have a tendency to fail miserably with distributed costs.

    Just look at any IT department — they probably cost more in time-wastage than they save in centralization.

    It’s why I lost respect for most of economics as a science years ago — the costs they account for are usually just a function of what policies they want to push.

  524. #524 John the Skeptic
    June 3, 2008

    Is it weird that I want to jerk off into the Stanley Cup?

  525. #525 mds
    June 3, 2008

    A bit later than I’d like, but it looks like the party’s still going on here, so I tossed together a site to help collect some statistics on people’s responses at http://pnakotic.com/22sins/

    It’s very bare bones, but might provide some interesting information.

  526. #526 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 3, 2008

    #524

    Is it weird that I want to jerk off into the Stanley Cup?

    Weird.

    …and fill it up?

    Awesome.

  527. #527 Milo Johnson
    June 3, 2008

    …from here?

  528. #528 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 3, 2008

    Walton:
    I suspect that a lot of the animosity to you is based on your fanboi admiration of Anne Coulter. Her writings and comments on evolution are pig ignorant. Such promotion of ignorance to the detriment of our society is disgusting, and I don’t see how any rational person can feel anything but contempt for such a person. Therefore, I can’t help thinking that you’re an idiot. Sorry.
    Incidentally, I feel the same way about Bill Maher and his anti-vaccination propaganda. He may be witty and progressive, but in the end he is contemptible.

  529. #529 Fergy
    June 3, 2008

    Walton@472:

    So no, “judicial activism” is not a synonym of “decisions we don’t like”.

    [...]

    I don’t deny that conservatives have contributed to the politicisation of the judiciary, but we have done so only in response to liberal judicial activism. Roe was judicial activism not because its outcome was undesirable, but because it invented a wholly new right which is not in the Constitution, using flimsy pseudo-legal argument, and thereby deprived the American people of the right to determine the laws which govern them.

    In other words, despite your feeble claim to the contrary, you DO think “judicial activism” is synonymous with “decisions I don’t like”. You really need to get your story straight!

    I would feel equally outraged if the same technique were used to produce a conservative social outcome.

    Somehow, I doubt that.

    When the liberals use judges to push through unpopular policy agendas and place said agendas beyond the confines of democratic debate, what do you expect us to do?

    We expect you (and by “you”, I mean actual U.S. residents) to respect and obey those rulings. They were made by people with far more experience, education, and wisdom than you. There are very good reasons we have a system of government that limits the tyranny of the majority in order to protect the rights of the less powerful. Perhaps you should reflect on that before blathering on about “unpopular policy agendas”.

    You know, it’s rather funny to see someone so young, who is not an American (or even living in the U.S.) parroting nonsense like “…WE have done so in response to liberal judicial activism”, or “…what do you expect US to do?”. Where do you come off thinking there is any “us” that includes you, child? Just because you think Ann Coulter is hot doesn’t make you an honorary American neocon fascist, er, fundamentalist whackjob, er, Republican. Quite frankly, we have far more than we need already…

  530. #530 dabeast
    June 4, 2008

    God! ‘SportsFan’ beat out Beastiality Again!!!!
    When do we get some respect!

    dabeast

  531. #531 E in MD
    June 4, 2008

    I’m no biblical scholar, but I don’t recall any mention of pot smokers in the bible at all, let alone them going to hell.

    Actually as I recall the bible says we’re given dominion over all flora and fauna. So how is smoking pot a hell worthy offense?

  532. #532 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    So how is smoking pot a hell worthy offense?

    It’s a gateway drug to liberalism, which leads to atheism.

    Isn’t it obvious?

    *rolleyes*

  533. #533 Janine ID
    June 4, 2008

    So how is smoking pot a hell worthy offense?

    It’s a gateway drug to liberalism, which leads to atheism.

    Isn’t it obvious?

    *rolleyes*

    Posted by: Ichthyic

    Hey! I became an atheist about two years before I smoked pot.

    Oh! Wait! Sarcasm! You could have warned me.

  534. #534 Brenda von Ahsen
    June 4, 2008

    windy
    Didn’t notice this at first. PZ claims he judges a belief system by its worst adherents, you judge people based on what other atheists do (and unlike PZ, you claim that this is a get-out-of-argument-free card). Yes there is a problem!

    Here is what Mr. Myers actually said:
    I judge Christianity on the basis of the stupidity and smallmindedness of the majority of its followers, and on the wretched quality of its fundamental doctrines.

    Therefore, I judge Pharyngula on the basis of the rudeness and childishness of the majority of it’s commenters, and on the wretched quality of it’s fanboi discussions.

    Is that better?

  535. #535 wk
    June 4, 2008

    Re: Judicial Activism

    The concept of originalism’s ladder is a useful way to understand what’s going on with the whole “strict construction”/”originalism” line of legal reasoning. [BTW, you can find the original SL post linked to in the above article here (search for "originalism"), courtesy of the WayBackMachine.]

    Granted, these posts are a couple year’s old, but they are still the best articulations I’ve found on how unprincipled that theory is as currently practiced.

  536. #536 BlueIndependent
    June 4, 2008

    Walton:

    “…So no, “judicial activism” is not a synonym of “decisions we don’t like”. Roe was judicial activism not because its outcome was undesirable, but because it invented a wholly new right which is not in the Constitution, using flimsy pseudo-legal argument, and thereby deprived the American people of the right to determine the laws which govern them. I would feel equally outraged if the same technique were used to produce a conservative social outcome…”

    Well, African Americans didn’t exactly get their human rights in the Constitution or Bill of Rights, so your argument is flimsy at best. If we follow a 240 year-old document to the letter (btw, a letter-of-the-law strategy has never worked nor created freedom), the great majority of progress this country has made would never have happened, and indeed would be turned backward if put in place now.

    Face it: Society changes, and so do legal documents. The Constitution was never meant to remain static, and the writings of the forefathers (as mythical as that sounds) explicitly show this. We were doing a fine job judicially until we started getting people on the court that wanted to turn back the clock to a time that never existed. Now those people are trying to do the very thing they accuse others of, changing the Constitution, and even expressing the want to change it to expressly exclude people. I note that the right to exclude others (gays, lesbians, etc.) is not guaranteed by the Constitution. In what way would you argue you or anyone else has the right to do so? Majority rule isn’t sufficient argument by the way…

    And as far as your claim that the outcome of Roe v. Wade was not the main firepoint of criticism, um, you might want to talk to every anti-choicer out there. I guarantee they will not cite that as their first concern. No, the problem 100% absolutely was the anti-choice intentions of those that lost, and continue to lose on the issue. I have never heard a single anti-choice supporter cite the Constitutional aspect as the primary criticism, and further still, few of them ever make that claim. It’s about their moralizing over womens’ vaginas, sex, and about the goalpost shifting nature of their argument that “abortion is murder”.

    Flimsy pseudo-legal arguments? Conservatives really don’t have the credibility to make this argument…in my oh so humble opinion. I’ll see your Warren Court, and raise you Scalia, Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and even Bork for even attempting to get him on there.

  537. #537 Janine ID
    June 4, 2008

    Therefore, I judge Pharyngula on the basis of the rudeness and childishness of the majority of it’s commenters, and on the wretched quality of it’s fanboi discussions.

    Is that better?

    Posted by: Brenda von Ahsen

    Please keep in mind that Brenda von Ahsen is a delicate little flower who gets the vapors when she reads nasty words. We all must be proper ladies and gentlemen or else she will let Seed know about all the naughtiness going on here.

  538. #538 wk
    June 4, 2008

    Gahhh! Should be “years” not “year’s”, above.

    [And I'm usually one of the Unnecessary Apostrophe Police -- sigh!]

  539. #539 BlueIndependent
    June 4, 2008

    “Therefore, I judge Pharyngula on the basis of the rudeness and childishness of the majority of it’s commenters, and on the wretched quality of it’s fanboi discussions.

    Is that better?”

    Well, you can certainly do that. But the problem is Christians keep coming here with the same tired arguments, and we have to keep pointing them toward real evidence why their arguments are, well, wrong. Then they shuffle their feet, start stretching for hidden meanings, and ultimately end up in a dishonest mess.

    Vox Day, Walton, Starbuck, Egnor, it matters not.

    Fanboi discussions? If dicussing cephalopod species, the latest papers, religion in politics, and the random story about Morris, MN equate to “fanboi discussions”, well, frankly I’ll take that over all the roundabout talk of “heart”, transubstantiation, “hope” vis a vis death, etcetera ad nauseum.

    Science contributes. Science gives us discovery and understanding. Science moves us forward.

    Signed,

    A former Christian

  540. #540 Rey Fox
    June 4, 2008

    “Is that better?”

    Yes. You get a cookie now.

  541. #541 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 4, 2008

    Brenda wrote: Therefore, I judge Pharyngula on the basis of the rudeness and childishness of the majority of it’s commenters, and on the wretched quality of it’s fanboi discussions.

    If you’re so damned smart, why are you unable to understand the difference between “its” and “it’s”?

  542. #542 Milo Johnson
    June 4, 2008

    Brenda, you may actually be a well-intentioned person, but you really are a dumbass. What you so conveniently overlook is that we supporters of science have EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE on our side, ton after ton after ton of evidence that anyone who takes the time to do some real learning so that they can understand it is able examine for their own satisfaction. We don’t have to believe anything because we simply let the universe tell us about itself by observing it. What do you superstitious trolls have? Not a shred of evidence to support your claim of a realm beyond the tangible universe. Yours is a chosen belief system built around a cobbled-together late Stone Age mythology with serious self-contradictions and massive credibility problems. You can choose to dismiss the scientific evidence as you undoubtedly will, but you do not have the credibility necessary for us to believe your claims until you can demonstrate that our evidence is scientifically invalid and you are able to likewise support your own case with verifiable, quantifiable, repeatable data that we can examine. Until you actually “get” the meaning of that and provide us with something we can observe, measure, make predictions about and repeat as many times as we wish, you are wasting your time and ours. How fervently you believe has no bearing on the reality of your belief. We don’t have to believe anything, we can see for ourselves the evidence that supports our system of understanding the universe. You have no choice but to believe, as you have no evidence. I know you haven’t understood a word of this so I await your illogical and non sequitur rebuttals with the anticipation of laughing at your thick-wittedness until my sides hurt.

  543. #543 Willo the Wisp
    June 4, 2008

    Doe it really say “hypocrites”?
    *irony gland asplodes*

  544. #544 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    Fuck this. I’m fed up with being called “child” and patronised because I admitted my age. As Kseniya conceded, my age was not obvious until I told everyone what it was. But now my age and nationality are used as an excuse for ad hominem attacks.

    I have done nothing except put forward arguments civilly and courteously, addressing substantive points. In return, I have received uncalled-for insults from many people, impugning my intelligence, age, maturity and nationality, among other things. I’m not putting up with that.

    Some of you are frighteningly hostile, personally hostile, to ideas and opinions which disagree with your own, whether political or religious. Speaking for myself, I am not capable of being offended by any idea, only by insults or hate speech. But some of you seem personally offended by the fact that not everyone in the world is a liberal atheist, and that some people who are theists and/or conservatives might dare to advance their views.

    I am not going to insult atheists by suggesting that this is a characteristic of atheism. Trite as it sounds, I have plenty of atheist friends and acquaintances in real life, and most of them do not behave like this. I don’t know whether the problem is that people are more aggressive on the Internet – where they aren’t accountable for their behaviour – or whether it’s simply that this blog has a higher proportion of unpleasant people.

    Thanks to Nick Gotts, Kseniya and a few others who have engaged constructively and respectfully with my arguments. But they are in the minority.

    I will concede that there are some points on which I have been defeated. For instance, I can’t defend orthodox Christian teaching on theodicy, because it seems to me nonsensical that God is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent, and yet that evil persists in the world and that Christ, allegedly, had to die to save us from the consequences of sin – if God is truly omnipotent, why was that necessary? Religion isn’t really my field. But I can argue conservative politics all day, and would continue doing so; but since I’m evidently going to be insulted, attacked and
    patronised at every turn, I have better things to do.
    Hence I will not be posting here again except to clear up any misunderstandings and misconceptions.

  545. #545 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To those of you who have been constructive in argument – Kseniya, Nick Gotts, Dave, frog, etc. – thank you. I hope you don’t consider me idiotic or ill-informed, and that we can disagree respectfully.

  546. #546 JeffreyD
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, I encourage you to stay and I will continue to read your posts. I do not like or agree with much, if any, of what you say. In fact, I took an instant dislike to you with your first postings and nothing has changed. Still, I do encourage postings that challenge the majority view in any venue. If you do continue to post along the lines of what you have to date, you will be savaged periodically. It is good for you as you are still forming your opinions and ideas and defending them will help sharpen your insights.

    Your age is immaterial to me and I always dislike someone making age a point of contention. I know a lot of people my age, late 50′s, who I would not allow to run a snow cone stand, much less make decisions on my rights.

    One point, which others have made, if you want to be taken seriously in any group of people who can tie their shoes without assistance you probably have to drop your fondness for Ann Coulter. Calling her a conservative should be something at which conservatives take offense. She is just a demagogue with a good gig. I truly believe she would be a flaming liberal if there was more money in that.

    If you would like to read a conservative who does think and writes very well, explore Florence King. Until recently, she was a columnist for the National Review and has many books and columns still available. She is a gun toting, cigarette smoking, lesbian Republican. I would suggest reading Molly Ivins and Florence King in turn to obtain a somewhat balanced view of American thought.

    Ciao

  547. #547 Milo Johnson
    June 4, 2008

    Shorter Walton:
    Blah fucking blah blah, waaaaah.

    You obviously didn’t read my immediately previous post. It equally applies to you. You have no arguments based upon tangible evidence, you have uninformed opinions and unfounded assertions many of which are largely attributable to the folly of an easily-led youth. That is not ad hominem, any more than is pointing out your monumental ignorance. Come back when you have more and better evidence than assertions with no foundation. I don’t give a flying fuck if you respect me or like me, you are irrelevant to the issue, as am I. The evidence is all that counts and you have none. Buh-bye.

  548. #548 spencer
    June 4, 2008

    Can I double up on these by being a “lesbian porn-lover”?

  549. #549 Benjamin Franklin
    June 4, 2008

    Spencer-

    Can I double up on these by being a “lesbian porn-lover”?

    NO. But if you ever have a buddy over to watch the lesporn together, that would probably qualify you for homosexual.

    Add 1 hellpoint for creative, salacious thinking.
    .
    .

  550. #550 Gustav Nyström
    June 4, 2008

    Therefore, I judge Pharyngula on the basis of the rudeness and childishness of the majority of it’s commenters, and on the wretched quality of it’s fanboi discussions.

    Really, Brenda, come on! You just admitted that you didn’t read all the comments. How do you judge a majority of commenters by a minority of them?

    And reading all of the comments, by the way, would not be evidence enough to judge Pharyngula on. Confirmation bias, and all.

  551. #551 Janine ID
    June 4, 2008

    Fuck this. I’m fed up with being called “child” and patronised because I admitted my age. As Kseniya conceded, my age was not obvious until I told everyone what it was. But now my age and nationality are used as an excuse for ad hominem attacks.

    Posted by: Walton

    First, I will call your bullshit about being patronised because of your age. There are commentators who are also open about their age, the same age as you. There is no problem.

    The problem is the nature of your argument, they are weird. You are an eighteen your old brit, yet you use “we” when you talk about what american conservatives do. You express disagreement with some core populist conservative talking points, i.e. homosexuality is evil; so much so that it appears you do not know the realities of the situation. And on top of it all, you moan about ad hominem attacks. This after you express admiration for two people who made their respective careers on ad hominem attacks.

    I told you this before, place your lot with the indefensible and you will get grief for your efforts.

    As for your claim that *nn C**lt*r was taken out of context of a legitimate point, I also call bullshit. She speaks in sound bites. There is no context to be had except for the surface.

    Walton, stop identifying with modern american conservatism, develop your own identity and stop your sobbing.

  552. #552 windy
    June 4, 2008

    So Brenda, you cling to your misrepresentation of PZ but can’t defend your assertion that the sign represents the the Bible “as the literal, inerrant word of God”! Where are pot smokers in the bible?

    Bwaaak bwak bwak bwak bwaaaak!

  553. #553 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To Janine ID at #551.

    First, I will call your bullshit about being patronised because of your age. – People have been calling me “child” in a patronising manner, often prefixed with “ignorant”. (See Fergy, supra #529, and MAJeff in various posts.) This did not happen until I disclosed my age.

    You are an eighteen your old brit, yet you use “we” when you talk about what american conservatives do. – And where is the problem with me choosing to do so? My age and nationality should be completely irrelevant to the validity of my argument. Just forget I told you anything about myself, and think of me as a 30-year-old American small-town conservative if it makes things easier.

    You express disagreement with some core populist conservative talking points, i.e. homosexuality is evil; so much so that it appears you do not know the realities of the situation. – Plenty of conservatives do not believe that homosexuality is evil. Don’t lump all conservatives into one homogeneous box; it’s as empirically inaccurate as asserting that all Democrats are flaming socialists. Even Bill O’Reilly, a hate figure for the left, has dissented somewhat from the Catholic Church’s line (he’s a practising Catholic) in expressing support for gay rights (though not gay marriage). Some self-identified strong conservatives, such as Grover Norquist, don’t disclose their religious or moral views at all, and have no recorded viewpoint on homosexuality. And even as early as the 60s, Barry Goldwater was in favour of allowing gays in the military; are you saying he wasn’t a real conservative? Furthermore, even those conservative figures more hostile towards homosexuality (Jerry Falwell, for instance) have consistently condemned the clownish stupidity of Fred Phelps and his ilk.

    As to Ann Coulter, I wish I’d never mentioned her. Since I brought up her name in a single throwaway remark, every other post directed at me seems to be about Ann and how much you all hate her. I am not Ann Coulter, nor am I responsible for her public relations. So it would be nice if we could talk about something else for a change.

    I am guessing that the main reason you object to Ann is her bizarre viewpoint about evolution and intelligent design. For the record, I do not agree with her on that. She’s a political pundit, not a scientist, and I always get the impression that she’s out of her depth when talking about science (as indeed am I, but I recognise my own failings in this regard). I don’t turn to her as a source of scientific information.

    Hope that clears things up.

  554. #554 Nick Gotts
    June 4, 2008

    I am guessing that the main reason you object to Ann is her bizarre viewpoint about evolution and intelligent design.

    Wrong, at least so far as I’m concerned: I hate her because she’s a lying scumbag who justifies wars of aggression.

  555. #555 Pablo
    June 4, 2008

    “Roe was judicial activism not because its outcome was undesirable, but because it invented a wholly new right which is not in the Constitution”

    Actually, there are countless rights that are not in the Constitution. For example, the Constitution does not say that I have the right to stand in my driveway on one leg during a rainstorm singing Judy Collins songs. Yet, if my local city council tried to pass a law saying I couldn’t do it (provided I was not “Disturbing the Peace”) it would never survive a challenge. Why? Because the constitution does not give government the authority to govern such things.

    This is the point to remember about the Constitution: the constitution is a directive for the GOVERNMENT, not for the citizens. It tells the GOVERNMENT what it can and cannot do.

    The USSC, in Roe vs Wade, ruled that the Constitution does not allow the government to create laws restricting access to an abortion.

    The question answered in that case was not, “Is there a right to an abortion in the constitution” but “Is there something in the Constitution that allows government to makes laws against abortion?”

    Failing to find the latter, they ruled the law to be unconstitutional.

    The Ninth Amendment makes it very clear that it doesn’t have to be stated as a right in the constitution to actually be a right:

    “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

    So even if the USSC did “invent a wholly new right” then they were allowed to do it.

  556. #556 cobracommander
    June 4, 2008

    I actually, seriously hit 16 out of 22 here. I’ve been a bad, bad boy. See you in Hell!

  557. #557 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: And where is the problem with me choosing to do so? My age and nationality should be completely irrelevant to the validity of my argument. Just forget I told you anything about myself, and think of me as a 30-year-old American small-town conservative if it makes things easier.

    In an extended conversation, which this is, the “agenda” and internal coherency of the players becomes important. Where in the case of a single-round game, the ad-hominem and related attacks are illegitimate, when the conversation becomes a multi-round, global argument (which it has clearly has become: conservatism vs. the world), the rules change. We long ago left arguing the original post (where you would have a point), and entered the continuing cross-thread conversation.

    It does appear “weird” that you identify so closely with American conservatism. It is fair to wonder where your argument is going — is it authentic (ie, are you make identity claims that aren’t true)? is it sincere (are you just bullshitting)? are you arguing in good-faith (I think you have shown that — very few trolls ever agree that they’ve lost a round)? Is your position across conversations coherent (are you just arguing conclusions and not process)? Is your judgement sound enough to make continuing the conversation worthwhile (are you some crazy fascist or Maoist under it all)?

    You have to recognize that most arguers who take your position on this blog fail at most if not all those points. It honestly is difficult to give credibility to the judgement of someone who takes pure propagandists like Rush or Coulter seriously. And there is an underlying difference in logic between the scientific, materialist, empirical mindset of most of the readers here, and your movement’s scholastic, idealist, legalist system of interpretation; misunderstandings will be rife, and actual understanding will be worse (I think many people would actually be more aggressive if they fully understood the underlying assumptions of your viewpoint!)

    The flames just reflect that. If you want to keep on playing, don’t take the flames too seriously — sometimes hyperbole is wonderfully clear, even if it is impolite. It’s part of the rhetorical space you have chosen to enter.

  558. #558 MAJeff, OM
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, go look at the rest of the comment where I called you a little boy. Go look at what else I said.

    Now, you can come up with individual examples of conservatives who aren’t anti-gay. Whoop-dee-doo. What you seem to be intent on denying–and what I as a participant in and student of these political battles, along with plenty of the rest of us are pointing out–is that the conservative movement, despite isolated individuals, is deeply anti-gay.

    It isn’t only the religious right, either. McCain himself supports an amendment stripping all recognition of gay couples as families. No rights, no protections, no benefits. Not families. That’s “moderate” conservatism for you. We’ve gone around about Lawrence. You keep up with the silly “original intent” and “strict constructionist” without paying any attention to the fact that McCain wants to appoint justices who agreed not only with the right of the state to break down doors and arrest people for having private sex, but supported the existence of the law. But of course, we can’t also mention conservative lawmakers in North Carolina blocking the repeal of that state’s sodomy laws (even though unconstitutional), resulting in two men being charged with sodomy lately. Because, after all, no one supports sodomy laws anymore, and there isn’t an entire conservative legal infrastructure trying to undo not only Roe, but also Lawrence and Griswold. And of course, we should avoid any conversations about conservatives refusing to support hate crimes inclusions or non-discrimination policies regarding gay men and lesbians, nor should we mention the ways that the Bush administration removed job protections for gay and lesbian federal employees, blocked any pursuit of sexual orientation discrimination claims, and targeted gay-specific HIV prevention and treatment programs for audits.

    Nope, nothing anti-gay about the movement whatsoever. Nothing. Those isolated individuals are the reality of conservatism. That must be why we have no DOMA, why those men weren’t arrested, why McCain has decried attempts to limit the rights available to gay men and lesbians, and why we’re protected from discrimination in federal law. You’re right. Conservatives rawk!

  559. #559 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    Pablo #555 – While your analysis makes sense in itself, this isn’t how the Supreme Court actually justified Roe. The District Court invoked the Ninth Amendment, but the majority in the Supreme Court expressly rejected this argument and instead relied on an implied “right to privacy” in the Fourteenth Amendment, basing this on earlier cases such as Griswold v Connecticut. Justice Douglas, in his concurring opinion, even went so far as to say “The Ninth Amendment obviously does not create federally enforceable rights.” I think it’s pretty clear, as I’ve said on another thread, that the framers did not intend the Ninth Amendment to be used by the judges to invent new rights. Rather, they meant that the enumeration of specific rights in the Bill of Rights did not exclude or eliminate the traditional rights of citizens conferred by (English) common law, or by state law, or other sources.

    For example, the Constitution does not say that I have the right to stand in my driveway on one leg during a rainstorm singing Judy Collins songs. Yet, if my local city council tried to pass a law saying I couldn’t do it (provided I was not “Disturbing the Peace”) it would never survive a challenge. Why? Because the constitution does not give government the authority to govern such things. – I agree that such a law could be struck down, but it might well fall under various enumerated rights, including the First Amendment right to freedom of expression, and the rights to property and privacy conferred under most state constitutions. I find it incredibly implausible to suggest that if such a law were enacted and then challenged in court, the court would strike it down without referring to any specific enumerated right in either the US Constitution or a state constitution. Can you name me a case where such a rationale has been used?

  560. #560 Janine ID
    June 4, 2008

    And where is the problem with me choosing to do so? My age and nationality should be completely irrelevant to the validity of my argument. Just forget I told you anything about myself, and think of me as a 30-year-old American small-town conservative if it makes things easier.

    Sorry, I have the same reaction to anyone who expresses themselves in the royal “we”. And the simple fact you do this at a remove makes it more of a problem. Imagine if I were to use “we” when talking about what the military junta in Myanmar.

    Plenty of conservatives do not believe that homosexuality is evil. Don’t lump all conservatives into one homogeneous box; it’s as empirically inaccurate as asserting that all Democrats are flaming socialists.

    How very disingenuious. Many of the most prominent american conservatives do just that. The most prominent american conservative who decried homophobia was Barry Goldwater and he was well out of step with modern conservatism the last few decades of his life.

    Furthermore, even those conservative figures more hostile towards homosexuality (Jerry Falwell, for instance) have consistently condemned the clownish stupidity of Fred Phelps and his ilk.

    Sorry to point this out but Jerry Falwell was a greater threat to my existence then Fred Phelps could ever hope to be. Jerry Falwell was better able to influence the enacting of anti-GLBT laws. Just because one crazed asshole thought that an even more crazed asshole was clownish does not absolve Falwell of all the harm he has done. And Falwell creating more misery then Phelps.

    As to Ann Coulter, I wish I’d never mentioned her. Since I brought up her name in a single throwaway remark, every other post directed at me seems to be about Ann and how much you all hate her. I am not Ann Coulter, nor am I responsible for her public relations. So it would be nice if we could talk about something else for a change.

    What? So you can better cloak what you find admirable? If I were to say in a throw away line that I admire Che (WHICH I DO NOT!), would you let that slide. Or would you see that as one more sign about how I think?

    I am guessing that the main reason you object to Ann is her bizarre viewpoint about evolution and intelligent design.

    No! I hated that person years before her stupid advocacy of ID. In the context of everything she has spewed out over the years, it came as no surprise that she supports ID. I object to *nn C**lt*r because she is a child of privilege who espouses a sheer contempt for everything that does not fit in her fantasy world. Her ideal world would be a nightmare for 99.99 percent of humanity. She is a worthless waste of time.

    Hope that clears things up.

  561. #561 MAJeff, OM
    June 4, 2008

    I am guessing that the main reason you object to Ann is her bizarre viewpoint about evolution and intelligent design. For the record, I do not agree with her on that. She’s a political pundit, not a scientist, and I always get the impression that she’s out of her depth when talking about science (as indeed am I, but I recognise my own failings in this regard). I don’t turn to her as a source of scientific information.

    Wrong. She’s a provocateur and radical propagandist, not a serious commentator. That you turn to her as a source for anything is troubling.

  562. #562 Vaal
    June 4, 2008

    Evolutionists? Is that along with Gravitionists or Einsteinists? What next, musicians? Elvis fans?

    Must be running out of real estate in Hell, now that just about ever male on the planet is destined to go there. Heaven must be intolerably dull. Maybe God slips down and wears a fake beard (aka Life of Brian) to watch a game or two.

  563. #563 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    I have noted that for a number of people here, gay rights seems to be the most important issue, or among the most important issues. That’s fair enough. I sympathise.

    And like I said, I am not in any sense anti-gay or homophobic. Homosexuality is not illegal, and homosexuals, like all other law-abiding citizens, deserve the equal protection of the law. I am also, as I have clearly said, in favour of same-sex civil partnerships, which should confer all the same financial benefits, inheritance rights etc., as a marriage. (Indeed, I’d extend the same concept to non-sexual partnerships, such as cohabiting siblings. Any two people who live together legitimately, in a relationship of mutual trust, should be entitled to legal recognition of that relationship and to all corresponding rights and privileges.)

    Where I, and many other conservatives, do draw the line is at the enactment of certain anti-discrimination laws regarding private organisations. If a church or other private religious organisation does not wish to recognise the legitimacy of a same-sex partnership, then they should not be forced to. In a secular country with freedom of religion, you’re under no obligation to support that church or religious organisation in any way; and they should have the right to enact whatever internal rules they see fit.

    To address one topical issue which perfectly illustrates this: I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to exclude homosexual members and scoutmasters. However, I also believe that public funding and support (where they receive it) should be withdrawn from the BSA, since an organisation which discriminates in this way between one law-abiding citizen and another should not receive state funding.

    In short: the government, and all institutions thereof, should be required to extend equal rights and protections to LGBT citizens, just as it does for any other citizen. However, private citizens and organisations should be free to act on their own moral conscience as regards their own private property. This, I think, strikes an appropriate balance between the rights of homosexual people to equal protection and the need to preserve freedom of religion and conscience.

    Sorry for this rambling. I’m just clarifying what I, personally, believe, and doing my best to dispel any suggestion that I’m hostile towards homosexuals. I don’t speak for the conservative movement as a whole, just for myself.

  564. #564 Pablo
    June 4, 2008

    “The Ninth Amendment obviously does not create federally enforceable rights.”

    No, it does not CREATE those rights, because those rights already exist!

    Rights exist regardless of whether the are enumerated or previously delineated.

    BTW, if “rights to privacy” exist in common law (you’ve said it’s in state constitutions), then how is invoking a right to privacy “inventing a new right”?

    The question is, where does the constitution allow the government to restrict abortion?

  565. #565 Benjamin Franklin
    June 4, 2008

    Walton-

    Glad you decided to jump back into the fray- Good on ya mate!

    This, like most active blogs has a wide mix of contributors. There are great wits, nitwits, prols, drolles, and trolls. But there are nuggets of incisive truth, so act like a gold miner, keep sifting through the tons of mud and cherish and keep the occassional valuable booty.

  566. #566 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: I find it incredibly implausible to suggest that if such a law were enacted and then challenged in court, the court would strike it down without referring to any specific enumerated right in either the US Constitution or a state constitution. Can you name me a case where such a rationale has been used?

    Thank you for proving that originalism never existed, except as a political dodge for covering up naked power plays. If originalism had existed, then the “unenumerated rights” argument would clearly be a major player — it’s one of the original 10 amendments, for chrissakes!

    But it has been loudly ignored for two centuries — because it clearly makes the US government, as it has been practiced from it’s inception in 1789, impossible. It makes the entire governmental system of the US static, if read plainly. Every power that is not explicitly given to the federal government, as understood in 1789, is forbidden to the federal government.

    That’s not a conservative agenda — that’s an impossible utopia, given that the US constitution is explicitly designed to be unamendable except in the most extreme case — 100 year old concensus or martial law.

    Once again, sit down with the Articles of Confederation and the 1789 constitution, and read them side by side. It is trivial to show that any modern understanding of the constitution — conservative, liberal, fascist or marxist! — is incompatible with the cultural and historical context of its original implementation. It’s the reason why eternal contracts are nonsense — meaning is never stable enough to outlast 3 generations.

  567. #567 Pablo
    June 4, 2008

    If a church or other private religious organisation does not wish to recognise the legitimacy of a same-sex partnership, then they should not be forced to.

    Strawman alert!

    I guarantee you, those gay people fighting to get married aren’t insisting on doing it in a Southern Baptist church.

    The Catholic Church doesn’t recognize civil marriages right now (gay or not). Why would anyone think they will be forced to in the future?

    Religions can allow whoever they want to marry. Who cares? We are talking about the Government.

    Sheesh.

  568. #568 JKessler
    June 4, 2008

    9 or 11, depending on definitions.

    I don’t think you will find any “Evolutionists” here, whatever that means. If by “Evolutionist” you mean “people who acknowledge the overwhelming evidence for evolution”, then yes you will find us here.

  569. #569 windy
    June 4, 2008

    I will concede that there are some points on which I have been defeated. For instance, I can’t defend orthodox Christian teaching on theodicy…

    That’s not a hard concession to make, since no one has successfully solved the problem of theodicy. But you couldn’t even defend your original claim in this thread, that the sign is “completely divergent from mainstream Christian teaching in its ideas about sin, salvation and redemption”. (Other than that all Christians would not agree on the list of sins, which is a red herring since there is not a consensus mainstream Christian list of sins.)

    As I said before, you might be a bit overwhelmed being in the minority here and I don’t blame you for turning to discussing something more “fun”, like politics. But as a poo-flinging monkey who lacks integrity (interestingly your sensitive insult radar had no problems when Brenda said that), I think it’s interesting to note this.

  570. #570 Janine ID
    June 4, 2008

    To address one topical issue which perfectly illustrates this: I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to exclude homosexual members and scoutmasters. However, I also believe that public funding and support (where they receive it) should be withdrawn from the BSA, since an organisation which discriminates in this way between one law-abiding citizen and another should not receive state funding.

    Posted by: Walton

    So, are you saying that you disagree with dubya’s “Faith Based Operation”?

    You know what? If you were to try to have a discussion with those you admire about some of these issues, you would be dismissed as a socialistic liberal. Once more, I implore you, rethink what you are defending. You have no ground to stand on.

  571. #571 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    Windy at #569: I admit that I read the sign somewhat incorrectly at first. It isn’t inherently inconsistent with mainstream theology. However, I do also think that this kind of condemnatory, “burn in hell” kind of Christianity is counterproductive, and contrary in spirit (if not in letter) to what Jesus taught.

    Christian teaching is that everyone – everyone – is a sinner, not just certain defined groups of people. Assuming a literal “hell” is presumed to exist (which depends on how you interpret the relevant scriptural passages), every single person – regardless of their sexuality, apparent virtue, etc. – would be going there, were it not for the sacrifice of Christ. Whether or not they are homosexuals, masturbators, gamblers etc. has little to do with it.

    Christianity is not supposed to be an excuse to hate, or to feel superior to people who live a “less moral” lifestyle. That was the attitude of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time, and you may note that, according to the Gospels, he was extremely critical of their teaching – and he chose to spend time with prostitutes (Mary Magdalen), tax collectors, Samaritans (who were viewed as heretics), and other people who were condemned on moral grounds by Jewish religious society. So this is why I feel that this sign, if not fundamentally contradictory to Christian doctrine, is at the same time not commensurate with the original spirit of Christ’s teaching.

    Don’t get me wrong, I find some Christian teaching bizarre myself, which is why I’ve moved away from trying to defend it head-on. But this is why I was not keen on the idea that “this sign represents the way Christians think”. It doesn’t – or, at least, it shouldn’t. If it does, then American Christianity is in a rather poor state, morally and spiritually.

  572. #572 Pablo
    June 4, 2008

    Christianity is not supposed to be an excuse to hate, or to feel superior to people who live a “less moral” lifestyle.

    It’s already been explained to you many times that this No True Scotsman approach doesn’t really work.

  573. #573 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    Janine ID at #570: Yes, I know some American conservatives would view me as a borderline liberal. I was treated with great suspicion on Conservapedia (where I used to be an editor) because I don’t subscribe to young-earth creationism, among other things.

    But I agree essentially with most of the goals and principles of the conservative movement. I agree with reducing the size of government; less taxation; judicial strict constructionism; a strong military; and an interventionist foreign policy which involves taking the war to the terrorists. All of these things are very important in choosing which candidate to support. I might be more liberal than McCain on gay rights etc., but because I agree with his stance on foreign policy, the economy and other key matters, I prefer him to Obama or to any other possible candidate.

    In the end, isn’t partisan politics always like that? Does anyone agree with every single viewpoint of their chosen party or candidate? Ultimately, it’s just “best fit”. One picks the candidate who is closest to one’s own views.

  574. #574 Janine ID
    June 4, 2008

    …American Christianity is in a rather poor state, morally…

    I know, I am cherry picking here. But Walton, you are so close to the truth. Believe it or not, I am rooting for you to understand this and move on from honoring bad personalities.

  575. #575 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To Pablo at #572 – Would you not acknowledge that it is possible to have respect for the teachings of Jesus and for Christian doctrine, without defending every single person (or even the majority of people) who term themselves Christian?

    Indeed, it would be logically impossible to defend everyone in history who has called themselves a Christian. From Oscar Romero, to General Franco, to Martin Luther King, to George W. Bush, to Oliver Cromwell, to Jeremiah Wright, to Barry Lynn, to Jerry Falwell… all these people had completely different political ideologies and philosophical outlooks, but all were devout Christians of one kind or another.

    So is it so wrong for me to argue that the purveyors of sectarian hatred, and those who have a Pharisee-like “I’m better than you” moralising condemnatory attitude, are not representative of the spirit of Christian teaching? And am I so wrong in the theological argument I made at #571 above?

  576. #576 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    Sheesh! Avert your eyes from this blog for a day or two and suddenly there’s 550+ comment threads! Being a regular Pharyngulite is starting to look like a full-time job! Has anyone figured out how many more words per day that PZ the average regular commenter writes?

    Anyway, I’m so thoroughly hellbound that it’s easier to note the exceptions:

    In the “not habitually, but I can’t claim never” category…

    Drunkard
    Liar
    Thief
    Gambler
    Pot Smoker

    In the “not me, but I don’t object” category…

    Pagan
    Homosexual
    Prostitute
    Witch
    Whoremonger
    Lesbian [this is in the "I ain't got the equipment" subcategory... but isn't it really redundant to "homosexual"?]

    Finally, in the “Hell, no, not me! These people really are going to Hell!” category…

    Child Molester

    BTW…

    Florence King.

    Sounds fascinating. I’ll have to check her out.

    She is a gun toting, cigarette smoking, lesbian Republican.

    The very idea gets me hot. Not that getting hot will do me — a cranky old married straight male nonsmoker — any good in this instance. ;^)

  577. #577 CanadianChick
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, please, show me where those people legitimately fighting for legal recognition of same sex marriage are simultaneously demanding that all religious institutions perform said marriages?

    Right. You can’t. Because that’s a strawman at best.

    If the Catholic church wants to say that two women can’t be sacramentally married, that’s an issue for the members of that church to deal with – not anyone outside of it. Just as it’s an internal matter for them to say that a Catholic can’t marry a Jew or a Buddhist sacramentally.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass what a religion says about who can or cannot be married – it’s the LAW that I’m concerned with. Hell, I think it’s ridiculous that civil marriage and religious marriage have become so co-mingled.

    Oh, and if you count everything I’ve done in my past, consider occasional tipsiness to make me a drunkard, and count agreeing to have sex because it was just easier after a dinner date than actually having to make conversation as prostitution then I score 14. I’ve never smoked pot. You can raise it to 15 if you add “whore-monger”, since if solicitation and running a whore house were legal, I’d happily be a madam.

  578. #578 Milo Johnson
    June 4, 2008

    You’re cracking me up, dude! A teenaged “editor” at Conservapedia – that explains a lot. You keep explaining what you think christianity is “supposed to be” while conveniently overlooking what it actually demonstrates itself to be. By your logic, we should love communism because it claimed to be a movement of the people. Perhaps if you started to define things by what they present themselves as rather than what they purport to be you would end up with a more realistic appraisal.

  579. #579 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: However, I do also think that this kind of condemnatory, “burn in hell” kind of Christianity is counterproductive, and contrary in spirit (if not in letter) to what Jesus taught.

    This is almost hopeless. Have you read the material like the dead sea scrolls from Israel in the first century? The spirit that would be consistent with the historical context is what these fools are selling — it is inconsistent with mainstream christianity, which fits with the “spirit” of many centuries later.

    There is no “authentic” Christianity — primitive Christianity was likely much more similar to these fundamentalist than orthodox teaching.

    It’s always the problem with the scholastic attitude — consistency with dogma is the core of that kind of analysis.

  580. #580 Pablo
    June 4, 2008

    So is it so wrong for me to argue that the purveyors of sectarian hatred, and those who have a Pharisee-like “I’m better than you” moralising condemnatory attitude, are not representative of the spirit of Christian teaching?

    Is it wrong for you to argue that? Of course not. You can believe whatever you want. What is wrong is for you to think that what you believe constitutes “true” Christianity is a compelling argument. That’s the No True Scotsman fallacy.

  581. #581 Janine ID
    June 4, 2008

    But I agree essentially with most of the goals and principles of the conservative movement. I agree with reducing the size of government; less taxation; judicial strict constructionism; a strong military; and an interventionist foreign policy which involves taking the war to the terrorists.

    I cannot help that this is all a bait and switch action from “conservative” leaders. Under Reagan and the Bushes, the government grew and it’s operations became more cloudy. Also, how can a strong military be grown and maintained with low taxes. The current tax rebates while military spending keeps going up is going to be a heavy burden for decades to come.

    As for McCain, he was smeared by dubya and the religious right back in 2000. Now he is whoring himself to those nutcases. How will this effect his administration if he is elected.

    If you are looking for a conservative voice that has a great grasp of what the current crop of “consevatives” are doing, I suggest Kevin Phillips. Try reading American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush and American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century.

    And keep in mind, Barry Goldwater style conservatism has been ignored by the american right since the days of Nixon. By this point, I am badly repeating myself, but you show admiration for the most vile people. But you also seem to be too thoughtful to be a part of that. The simple fact that you left the insanity that is Conservapedia is a point for you. Now keep thinking.

  582. #582 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    Walton (@571):

    …he chose to spend time with prostitutes (Mary Magdalen), tax collectors, Samaritans…

    Not for nothin’, but hasn’t the notion of Magdalene as a prostitute been pretty much abanoned these days?

  583. #583 Fergy
    June 4, 2008

    Walton#563:

    In a secular country with freedom of religion, you’re under no obligation to support that church or religious organisation in any way; and they should have the right to enact whatever internal rules they see fit.

    Um, no…

    If you thought about this for a split second, you would realize the sheer idiocy of your comment. Religious organizations have no such “right to enact whatever internal rules they see fit”–just ask the Catholic Church how their “internal rules” regarding pedophile priests worked out…

  584. I did ten of those last weekend. Hooray for me!

  585. #585 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, not to jump back so far in the conversation, but I want to address a point. Your age and nationality specifically. This has become an issue because it clarified some naivety on your part. You don’t seem to really understand what conservatism in America actually is or what the majority of conservatives actually believe.

    I’ll say this: if more conservatives thought like you, I don’t think we’d have a lot of the problems we do now.

    However, they don’t. I live in Texas, they don’t think like you. Not by a long shot. You would be a liberal to them. Are you beginning to understand?

  586. #586 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    Religious organizations have no such “right to enact whatever internal rules they see fit”–just ask the Catholic Church how their “internal rules” regarding pedophile priests worked out…

    If we modified Walton’s formulation a bit, so that it was that religious organizations have a “right to enact whatever internal rules they see fit, as long as those rules don’t violate the laws of the larger society,” we might have something. But even then, the interaction between religious self-governance and secular law is complex: What about a practice that is technically illegal (e.g., ingesting psychoactive drugs or giving wine to minors), but which is [a] a key element of religious practice and [b] arguably harmless to anyone other than consenting participants?

    While I haven’t read the whole thread, it seems to me that Walton is seeing a world with stark, bright-line disntinctions between public and private, religious and secular, etc. In my experience, the truth is more that there are complex, nuanced, and somewhat hidden interactions between those aspects of life, requiring a subtler, more situationally relative approach. While I generally uphold the principle of treating all commenters the same regardless of age, perhaps this sort of nuanced worldview is an attribute of maturity.

  587. #587 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To Bachalon at #585.

    I don’t think I’d necessarily be viewed as a liberal overall. But yes, I will concede that my views on matters such as gay rights and the role of religion in society, while perfectly centrist and mainstream in the UK, might be considered mildly liberal in the US. However, my views on the economy, foreign policy, the role of government, law and order, and immigration are all unapologetically right-wing.

    To put it another way. I have “conservative” positions on the following issues:

    1) Taxes – I support reducing levels of direct taxation; we have far too much in the UK. In a US context, I admire Bush’s tax cuts and the abolition of estate (inheritance) tax, and I think we should do the same thing over here.

    2) Foreign policy – I support keeping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I support a “hardline” stance against terrorism, and taking the war to the enemy.

    3) Law and order – I endorse the death penalty in a limited subset of circumstances (though I think the current “Death Row” system in many states is needlessly barbaric). I am undecided on whether we should reintroduce it in the UK.

    4) Drugs – I 100% support the War on Drugs and think that a hardline anti-drug policy is the right way to go.

    5) Immigration – needs to be tightly controlled. In a US context, I would support tightening border controls and strongly oppose amnesty for illegals.

    6) Education – I support school choice. I think a partnership between the public and private sector is the way forward.

    7) Strict constructionism (obviously this is a US issue only, since we don’t have a codified constitution in the UK). I have already elucidated my position on this at length.

    8) I am sceptical of anthropogenic global warming and of the environmentalist movement.

    9) I am pro-life and would generally prohibit abortion, except where the woman’s life is threatened by childbirth.

    In contrast, my “liberal” (well, moderate) positions are as follows:

    1) I support same-sex civil partnerships (though not marriage).

    2) I support the separation of church and state, broadly speaking. I don’t think public funds should be spent directly on religious institutions, or in a manner which overtly favours a specific religious denomination or sect. In the US, I recognise that the First Amendment mandates an even stronger line than this (whereas in the UK we technically have an Established Church).

    3) I don’t support the teaching of creationism (or intelligent design) in schools. It seems unconvincing to me in light of the scientific evidence, and I am willing to defer to the findings of the vast majority of the scientific community (being acutely aware of my own ignorance so far as science is concerned). The evidence raised in Kitzmiller v Dover further convinced me that it isn’t really science.

    4) I recognise the need for some state regulation of civilian gun ownership; in particular, no civilians should possess automatic weapons (since they have no legitimate purpose for sporting or self-defence). I don’t oppose the gun control laws we have here in the UK. However, I would also acknowledge that in the US, the Second Amendment does constitutionally guarantee the right to bear arms (though I know this is presently under legal dispute).

    So, with this in mind, do you really think I’d be classed as a liberal in Texas? (I’ll defer to your expertise, since I’ve never been there.)

  588. #588 Nick Gotts
    June 4, 2008

    Walton may be thinking of a recent UK controversy over adoption by same-sex couples. Despite pressure from the Catholic Church (backed by other religious bodies), a law has recently been passed that forbids adoption agencies discriminating against same-sex couples. These agencies are not state-run, but depend on public funds, which reinforces Bill’s point about the grey areas between public and private. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6311097.stm

  589. #589 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: But I agree essentially with most of the goals and principles of the conservative movement.

    Every time I look away, you give more evidence of my analysis — and I think it’s generally applicable to conservatives and other similar “movements”, left and right. The goals and ideology override empirical evidence — you don’t say that you agree with their analysis on point A & B, but you privilege the results — “goals and principles” — over the analysis that would lead to them. Probably not intentionally, but in practice. Otherwise, it is highly unlikely that you would agree with them in general — any collective is going to be 50% garbage.

    Ideology is mankinds most wasteful pursuit.

  590. #590 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, yes you would. By even allowing some abortions given extenuating circumstances, by even questioning the death penalty (I personally know 2 people who have tried to find a way to be able to be the person that actually does the execution. Lucky for all of us, that is handle by prison staff), by supporting the wall of separation, by even uttering the words “gun control” (we take our guns very seriously here), and last by not doing all you can to get creationism in school (there’s a big flap going on with our board of education right now).

    For even daring to break with the party line here, that makes you as much a liberal as Barack Obama (who by the way isn’t a liberal). Texas is a very conservative state. I could tell you some horror stories about what I heard following the decision of the Lawrence case. For someone like me, a self-identified liberal socialist with strongly atheistic and feminist leanings who is also gay, anywhere outside of Austin is not the friendliest place. You can still find a lot of people here (I live in a small town outside of Houston) or are openly racist.

  591. #591 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    Bachalon #590 – Really? That is bizarre, considering that I’m one of the most right-wing members of my university’s Conservative Association.

    I could tell you some horror stories about what I heard following the decision of the Lawrence case. – I’m aware that Texas is a very conservative state, and it does seem bizarre and pointless to most British people that Texas still had anti-sodomy statutes until they were struck down in 1997 (we repealed ours, without any need for judicial fiat, in the 60s; they were barely enforced even before that). But are you really telling me that many Texans actually want to send police round to citizens’ bedrooms and arrest them for engaging in consensual gay sex? Are there not more important things to spend public money and resources on (given the high general crime rate and drug problems in US cities, for instance)?

    I disagree that Obama isn’t a liberal, but I will say that my problem with him is not so much with his substantive domestic policies (does he even have any?) as with his lack of experience. I also, as stated, disagree vehemently with his policy on Iraq. Withdrawing troops would be an absolute disaster. (Hopefully he will realise this if he is elected.)

    McCain himself has, of course, been labelled as a liberal by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. No doubt some of the Texans to whom you refer would regard him as a liberal. However, I’m roughly in line with him on most issues (except perhaps immigration) and I regard him as a conservative.

  592. #592 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    do you really think I’d be classed as a liberal in Texas?

    If you support any form of gun control, Hell yeah!!

    (I’m joking, but only just barely.)

    Actually, I think that if you lived here in the U.S. you’d have a very hard time finding a candidate to vote for, or any community of like-minded people with whom to caucus: Mainstream conservatives wouldn’t like your tolerant positions on “God, guns, and gays”; Libertarians who might like your (somewhat) tolerant stand on same-sex unions and your support of lower taxes would hate your positions on drugs and guns; folks who agreed with you on separation of church and state would wonder how you could be “pro-life” (which really means “anti-choice,” and on specifically religious grounds); homeschoolers and voucher fans who liked your support for “school choice” would consider you a traitor on the teaching of creationism….

    The problem is that you’re looking at conservatism as a coherent philosophical construct, and it really isn’t that in practice (to be fair, almost no political movement is). Instead, it’s a yoking together of shared emotions, gut feelings, and preconceptions. I’m not saying there are no thoughtful, intellectually honest conservatives; I’m only saying that they’re rare among leaders of the conservative movement… and when they do appear, they’re generally considered iconoclasts.

  593. #593 K
    June 4, 2008

    we repealed ours, without any need for judicial fiat, in the 60s; they were barely enforced even before that

    Um, not quite – ever hear tell of someone named Alan Mathison Turing?

  594. #594 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To Bill Dauphin at #592: I agree that it is difficult to label myself precisely within the conservative movement. I used to regard myself essentially as a libertarian, but over time I’ve become more hardline on law and order (particularly drugs), and I’m a strong neoconservative/hawk as regards foreign policy. (Hence why I didn’t support Ron Paul; he’s very good as a senator, but I vehemently disagree with his stance on national defence.) I’m evidently not part of the “religious right” either, due to my opposition to creationism in schools.

    I would say that my underlying philosophical rationale, inasmuch as there is one, is a belief in qualified liberty. That is to say, prima facie, I trust human beings to make their own decisions about their lives, without government interference or control; hence low taxes and a free market economy. However, this is qualified by the fact that the proliferation of certain social ills – such as drugs – is harmful to all of society, and, by contributing to crime and social breakdown, ultimately limits everyone’s freedom and enjoyment of life. Thus I’m not a pure libertarian. I also recognise the fact that “freedom doesn’t come free” and that we are at war with global Islamic terrorism, and therefore that we need to fight to defend our freedom.

    Re abortion, I don’t think it’s a religious issue at all, and I don’t understand why it must always be lumped together with same-sex unions. There is no persuasive secular argument against same-sex unions, since there is no evidence that they do society any harm, or affect anyone except the persons who choose to enter into them.

    Abortion, on the other hand, boils down to this: at what stage of development does a fetus become a human being, and therefore merit the protection of the law? Since we don’t have a definitive, objective answer to this question (as we have no idea at what age a human consciousness develops), I would err on the side of caution and consider a fetus to constitute a human being from its earliest stages of development. This is nothing to do with religion; it’s a secular argument. Hence why I oppose abortion. If it were just a religious matter, I would not wish to impose it on the rest of society as a matter of law, since we live in a plural, secular society in which no one religious view should be imposed.

  595. #595 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: Since we don’t have a definitive, objective answer to this question (as we have no idea at what age a human consciousness develops)

    Once again, have you bothered to look at the empirical evidence? Myelination of the CNS isn’t complete until an infant is about 3 months old — so human consciousness is impossible until that point. Just pick up a neuroscience textbook before spouting off on neuroscience.

    For god’s sake, it just isn’t that hard to refuse to hold an opinion until you’ve bothered to have a passing knowledge of the underlying empirical reality!

  596. #596 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Walton,

    Really? That is bizarre, considering that I’m one of the most right-wing members of my university’s Conservative Association.

    And perhaps you might be starting to understand the differences between where you are and were I am.

    I’m aware that Texas is a very conservative state, and it does seem bizarre and pointless to most British people that Texas still had anti-sodomy statutes until they were struck down in 1997 (we repealed ours, without any need for judicial fiat, in the 60s; they were barely enforced even before that). But are you really telling me that many Texans actually want to send police round to citizens’ bedrooms and arrest them for engaging in consensual gay sex?

    Well, YES. JESUS CHRIST, MOTHERFUCKING YES. These people think about homosexuality than I do.

    Are there not more important things to spend public money and resources on (given the high general crime rate and drug problems in US cities, for instance)?

    What are you? A liberal? I think there are, but seriously, Americans are good at finding anything other than the issues that matter.

    Here’s a good example that I’m reasonably sure I’ve used elsewhere, maybe even here, before.

    There is a scale of 1 to 100. 1 being the most liberal of liberals, 100 being the most conservative. If one is a 78 on the scale, most things are going to seem liberal, even things that aren’t actually espoused by liberals. Do you see?

  597. #597 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Whoa, I forgot to close my tags. Sorry ’bout that.

  598. #598 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    human consciousness is impossible until that point

    We vegans would like to remind you that it’s not only human consciousness which deserves our consideration.

    For humans, there’s a point near 20-26 weeks in the womb when pain may begin, and every M.D. looking at the data can tell you this. Not coincidentally, you’ll have a hard time finding an M.D. offering abortions after the 20th week. Walton forgets that the ethics he’s concerned about are also taken into consideration by people who’ve given the Hippocratic oath.

    It is unethical to fail to educate one’s self on the facts pertaining to what one calls ethical issues.

    There’s a copy of this post with a link in moderation. I apologize for my impatience. Walton, come back to it when it appears, please.

  599. #599 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    Walton:

    I used to regard myself essentially as a libertarian, but over time I’ve become more hardline on law and order (particularly drugs), and I’m a strong neoconservative/hawk as regards foreign policy.

    Good that you said “used to” there; a law-and-order, hawkish/interventionist libertarian would be a major oxymoron.

    (Hence why I didn’t support Ron Paul; he’s very good as a senator, but I vehemently disagree with his stance on national defence.)

    First, he’s a congressman (i.e., a member of the House of Representatives), not a senator. Functionally (and often temperamentally), there’s a big difference between the two. Next, the man is a dangerously radical nutjob (I was living in Texas back when he was getting his start in politics). The problem with “smaller government” conservativism in the U.S. is that rather than having the goal of measured, rational reductions in government bureaucracy, it’s usually code for the desire to completely tear down whole functions of the public sector that the right wing finds ideologically intolerable (e.g., public education, social welfare infrastructure, etc.). Paul’s position on school choice, for instance, is really a Trojan Horse that would have the effect of eventually bankrupting (and therefore abolishing) the entire enterprise of public education.

    Re abortion, I don’t think it’s a religious issue at all, and I don’t understand why it must always be lumped together with same-sex unions.

    I was engaging in no such lumping in this case… but since you ask, the reason abortion and gay rights often end up in the same conversation is that many of us liberals perceive the other side’s position on both issues as deriving from fundamentally puritanical ideas about sexuality. Both abortion and homosexuality challenge the orthodox religious/conservative view that the only legitimate expressions of human sexuality occur within “traditional” (i.e., heterosexual, monogamous, open-to-God’s-gift-of-children) marriage. No doubt there are principled opponents of abortion who are genuinely (albeit misguidedly, IMHO) concerned with the “sanctity of life,” but there are many others who believe (and even a few of them will admit this) that abortion, like contraception, is bad because it allows sexual “sinners” to escape the consequences of their sin.

    Abortion, on the other hand, boils down to this: at what stage of development does a fetus become a human being, and therefore merit the protection of the law? … I would err on the side of caution and consider a fetus to constitute a human being from its earliest stages of development. This is nothing to do with religion; it’s a secular argument.

    The argument boils down to what constitutes personhood, and virtually everyone who tries to define that as anything other than independent life (i.e., having been born) ends up making reference to some concept of a metaphysical soul. That may be “nothing to do with religion” in your mind, but I assure you that as a political movement, in this country, opposition to abortion has everything to do with religion.

    I think this is the problem with your take on American politics: You see what people say, but you don’t have the secret decoder ring, which can only be gotten by digging around in the cereal box a bit. I’d face the same issues were I to try to comment on British politics, don’t you think?

  600. #600 Fergy
    June 4, 2008

    Can we please not turn this thread into yet another pointless debate about abortion? The discussion has already gone so far off the rails as to have no relation to the original topic of the article, which by the way, OMITTED any mention of abortion (but did include “sports fans”, who apparently are a whole lot worse, I guess…)

  601. #601 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To Bill Dauphin at #599. I don’t have time for a full reply now, but I’ll make a few brief responses.

    First, he’s a congressman (i.e., a member of the House of Representatives), not a senator. Functionally (and often temperamentally), there’s a big difference between the two. – Apologies, I misspoke. I do understand the difference between a Senator and a Congressman; I’m extremely familiar with the US system of government.

    I am fully aware that most pro-lifers are religious and base their opposition to abortion on religious grounds. Rather, the point I was trying to make is that there’s no logical reason for viewing it solely as a religious issue; it ought to be an ethical dilemma for everyone, religious or not. There would be nothing inherently contradictory about being a pro-life atheist.

    …there are many others who believe (and even a few of them will admit this) that abortion, like contraception, is bad because it allows sexual “sinners” to escape the consequences of their sin. – I am aware that some people oppose abortion as part of a broader outlook on sexual morality generally. But I am bemused (and slightly horrified) that anyone would see it as some sort of “punishment for sexual sin”; for one thing, what about young girls who become pregnant as a result of rape? Or where naive young teenagers become pregnant, having been emotionally and physically exploited by older men? In those cases, telling them that they had to keep the baby purely as some sort of bizarre “punishment” would be not only unjust, but barbaric. Rather, the reason why I would not necessarily endorse abortion in such cases (unless the girl’s life was endangered by childbirth) is that I do see the fetus as a human life. I acknowledge the evidence presented above by some people, and as I’m not a doctor, I’m not qualified to have any sort of intelligent opinion on when a fetus becomes, in any meaningful sense, a human being; but as I said, I would prefer to err on the side of caution. I don’t deny your assertion that some people might well see it all in terms of “punishment for sexual sin”, but if they do make such an argument, I think they’re both wrong and ethically repugnant (and fundamentally out of step with Christian values as well: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”)

    I’d face the same issues were I to try to comment on British politics, don’t you think? – Maybe, but British people are exposed to a lot more information about American politics (especially during an election cycle) than vice versa.

  602. #602 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: … I do see the fetus as a human life. I acknowledge the evidence presented above by some people, and as I’m not a doctor, I’m not qualified to have any sort of intelligent opinion on when a fetus becomes, in any meaningful sense, a human being

    ????

    Really — ???? WTF?

    You should never ever say “I’m unqualified to have an intelligent opinion in field X, but I have strong opinions on field X”.

    “I’m not an engineer — and have never studied the field — but I strongly believe that steel in unusable in bridges”.

    “I’ve never studied physics, but most assuredly the Copenhagen interpretation implies the psychics are real”.

    “I’ve never opened a bible, but I’m convince that Jesus was an alien being”.

    “I’ve never studied the constitution, the law or semantics, but we should definitely apply originalist theories”.

    If you think you should have an opinion on something — go study a field for a while, even as a layman or dilettante, then come back when you at least have a reasonable argument for your position, other than hand-waving “the safe position is”.

    Why does this come from the right so often? Every asshole has the right to an opinion, but that doesn’t mean that they’re opinion is of any value! If anyone should know that, it should be a conservative.

  603. #603 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Sad that even the Milk Snatcher was better on reproductive rights than Walton. How does a person become so divorced from reality that he thinks a blastocyst has rights?

  604. #604 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    their their, frog

  605. #605 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    Well, I’ve accepted the limits of my current knowledge and I’m more than willing to learn. We’re waiting for the link posted by Grammar RWA (#598 above) to get through moderation, which may add extra scientific information to this discussion.

    You may note that I have repeatedly acknowledged, on every thread, that the physical and natural sciences are entirely outside my area of expertise. Unlike areas which I do know about – such as foreign and defence policy, military studies, and constitutional law – I have only a basic understanding of science, and on scientific points I’m more than willing to listen to the experts, of whom there are many in this forum. So I’m intentionally not purporting to be knowledgeable about this subject.

    But if medical science could give us a conclusive, or even a good, answer as to when a fetus becomes a human being – when the nebulous concepts of “humanity” and “consciousness” develop – then surely there would be no ethical controversy over abortion, because everyone would agree that a fetus either is, or is not, a human being?

  606. #606 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    There’s no scientific content in my link. But hell, you can get a decent education by googling pain+weeks+fetus if you have any grasp of biology.

    But then I realize that if you’re studying law, and you don’t know how to tell reputable scientific journals from non, you’ll be adrift in the ocean. Ask KillerChihuahua and friends.

  607. #607 windy
    June 4, 2008

    I would err on the side of caution and consider a fetus to constitute a human being from its earliest stages of development.

    It’s not a fetus until the 9th week. Before that, it’s an embryo.

  608. #608 Milo Johnson
    June 4, 2008

    So, Walton, not only do you continue to prove yourself to be an ignorant little boy, you have shown yourself to be a lying ignorant little boy. It’s been a day since the manipulative tantrum in which you assured everyone that if you were referred to as an ignorant little boy again that you would stop posting, yet here you are still flapping your jaws with abandon. I suppose it’s unfair to expect a little boy to demonstrate his grown-up-big-boy integrity and stand by his own word though, isn’t it?

  609. #609 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, how do you define “human being?” Because right now, from what you’ve said, you strike as a person without empathy. Great, so the psychological trauma of having to carry a rapists baby to term means nothing to you? Only a man would ever say such a thing. What would you tell a girl who asked to get an abortion in such a case?

    Congratulations, once again you show your astounding ignorance of how beliefs and politics actually intersect in this country.

  610. #610 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To Milo Johnson at #608 – I shouldn’t even be responding to abuse like this. Frankly, I think it’s pathetic that you feel the need to attack me in this manner; and that you are so sickened by the idea of someone disagreeing with your strident views that you see fit to call them an “ignorant little boy” in an attempt to get them to leave.

    You are an embarrassment to atheism (just as hatemongers like Fred Phelps are an embarrassment to theism). Most people on this forum are at least willing to engage constructively with my ideas and discuss them. Unlike you, I can respect others as human beings even where I do not concur with their ideas.

    I am not going to reply to you again, because I don’t want to be drawn into an insult-flinging match, nor do I intend to sink to your level. And no, I am not going to stop posting just to make you happy. I’m going to continue discussing issues constructively with other members of this forum, and ignore any further abuse I receive from you.

  611. #611 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Milo, you ass, shut up. Some people, Nick Gotts and others, are enjoying talking to Walton, and you’re trying to lower others’ enjoyment of this blog. If you don’t want to read him, get firefox/greasemonkey/killfile.

  612. #612 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    Fergy:

    Can we please not turn this thread into yet another pointless debate about abortion?

    I haven’t really been talking about abortion, per se. I’m talking about the unspoken (and often somewhat hidden) ulterior/ideological agendas that lie under ostensibly principled political positions; the politics of abortion is just one example. For instance…

    I am aware that some people oppose abortion as part of a broader outlook on sexual morality generally. But I am bemused (and slightly horrified) that anyone would see it as some sort of “punishment for sexual sin”; for one thing, what about young girls who become pregnant as a result of rape?

    This is precisely the example that proves my earlier point: It makes perfect sense for abortion foes to carve out the nearly ubiquitous “rape-and-incest” exception if you think of unwanted pregnancy as the consequence of sexual sin: Since there’s no sin in being raped (unless you happen to be a Muslim woman, of course), it’s acceptable that you should be protected from the consequences. OTOH, people who truly believed (as virtually all abortion opponents claim to) that the fetus was morally equivalent to a born child wouldn’t support any such exceptions: Since when, after all, do we execute children for the crimes of their biological fathers?

    If, as I suspect, the unacknowledged basis of most folks’ opposition to abortion is largely religious notions of sexual morality, that’s a problem for someone who wants to be a pro-life secularist… which goes back to my earlier point about Walton not matching up to any one American political definition as well as he(?) imagines.

    As for your complaint about thread drift, what do you expect after 600+ comments? Howevermuch I disagree with his politics and think he’s naive, Walton strikes me as thoughtful about and engaged with the world around him. In what sense is chatting seriously with a bright young foreigner who’s interested in U.S. politics a bad thing?

  613. #613 fixer
    June 4, 2008

    I’m going to continue discussing issues constructively pompously and humorlessly with other members of this forum

    Fixed it.

  614. #614 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To Bachalon at #609.

    What would you tell a girl who asked to get an abortion in such a case? – In all honesty, I have no idea. That would be a horrific moral dilemma, and it would be both arrogant and false of me to pretend I had an easy answer.

    I’m sorry that you see me as a person without empathy. I’m really not like that in real life, but I appreciate that this may not always come over in my discussion of abstract political issues.

  615. #615 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To Grammar RWA and Bill Dauphin (#611 and #612): Thank you.

  616. #616 Milo Johnson
    June 4, 2008

    I really don’t care who is enjoying chatting with the child, and I really don’t care if the child engages with me or not. I simply pointed out his dishonesty, inconsistency, and immaturity. If you don’t like my comments, you are welcome to ignore them yourself.

  617. #617 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    To respond to Bill Dauphin at #612:

    OTOH, people who truly believed (as virtually all abortion opponents claim to) that the fetus was morally equivalent to a born child wouldn’t support any such exceptions. – And, indeed, I don’t support exceptions for rape and incest, harsh and unsympathetic as I may sound in saying so. Once the fetus has passed the point at which we can regard it as a human being (whenever that may be, and this is the area which is open to dispute), it is only acceptable IMO to kill it if the mother’s life is directly at risk.

    It is, of course, perfectly clear (as you point out) the views of many abortion opponents are, in practice, bound up with a condemnatory morally-conservative (perhaps rather Pharisee-like) approach to sexual behaviour. I don’t disagree with you that this is a major factor in the political thinking of the American religious conservative movement. But I am merely arguing that there is a secular justification, and that my “pro-life” stance is genuinely just that – I want to preserve innocent human life.

    I know that this raises absolutely horrific moral dilemmas, such as cases of rape. And I do think that, in the worst possible scenario – where an underage girl is raped and becomes pregnant – the shock and harm that a full-term pregnancy would cause to her, both mental and physical, is a valid argument for allowing an abortion. In such a case, even if she were physically able to carry the baby to term, condemning her to do so would be functionally equivalent to destroying her life, and I think that may outweigh the life of the fetus. So I’m not making an absolute blanket statement here. (Just as killing a human being to save another is not always wrong.)

  618. #618 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    I’m sorry that you see me as a person without empathy. I’m really not like that in real life

    Translation: I don’t really believe in forced birth and brood mares for the state, I just play an anti-choicer on the internets.

    Read Pandagon, Walton. But I don’t recommend you post there; you’ll get your ass handed to you.

  619. #619 Owlmirror
    June 4, 2008

    But if medical science could give us a conclusive, or even a good, answer as to when a fetus becomes a human being – when the nebulous concepts of “humanity” and “consciousness” develop – then surely there would be no ethical controversy over abortion, because everyone would agree that a fetus either is, or is not, a human being?

    Um.

    Have you read this? It’s by Carl Sagan, addressing the issue of fetal development of the brain.

    http://www.2think.org/science_abortion.shtml

    Do you have an argument against his suggested critera of detectable brain waves? Read the first, second, and third parts as well.

  620. #620 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Starting here:
    pandagon*blogsome*com/2006/12/26/some-reproductive-rights-links-to-consider-while-digesting-christmas-leftovers/#comment-307482

    And why can Owlmirror post links but not moi?

  621. #621 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    …you strike as a person without empathy. Great, so the psychological trauma of having to carry a rapists baby to term means nothing to you? Only a man would ever say such a thing.

    It has nothing to do with lacking empathy or being a man; he’s just being more logically consistent than most abortion foes are.

    Personally, I don’t think anyone should be forced to carry anyone’s baby to term for any reason, but if you believe (as I do not but Walton seems to) that the embryo/fetus is a true human person with full rights, then its mother’s psychological trauma, however tragic, is no justification for its murder.

    As I said before, the fact that pro-lifers do carve out the rape-and-incest exception gives the lie to their pretense of defending the sanctity of life. This, along with the fact that those who would criminalize abortion (e.g., the South Dakota ban) never propose the sort of penalties that murder would demand, is what convinces me that the so-called pro-life position is fundamentally disingenuous. They pretend abortion is murder in order to give their position moral weight, but they don’t act like they really believe it because, I think, they don’t believe it, and they know nobody else does either. IMHO, “pro-life” is almost always code for “anti-sex,” which in turn is a fundamentally religion-based position.

    And that’s why I (politely) called Walton out on (among other things) his claim to be both pro-life and secular.

  622. #622 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    Owlmirror at #619: That’s a very interesting article, and no, I hadn’t read it before or been presented with that argument. Indeed, it addresses precisely the area I was concerned about.

    I always felt that “viability” was a flimsy point of distinction to use, ethically; is the capacity for independent survival – which, of course, is not possessed by some human beings; consider the position of some terminally ill and disabled people – a logically valid criterion? However, I’m pleased to see that Sagan moves away from that line of argument.

    Since I’m not terribly familiar with the science (as I’ve already conceded), I hadn’t come across the idea of using detectable brainwaves as the relevant criterion. But it certainly seems less arbitrary than any of the other factors, since it is ultimately the workings of our brains which makes us human, and brain activity is the only physical factor from which we could possibly infer any sort of human consciousness.

    So no, I don’t have a rebuttal for that line of argument, and I’m going to have to go away and reconsider my thinking on this. (I hope this makes clear that I am open-minded and willing to consider new information when it comes up.)

  623. #623 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    I don’t disagree with you that this is a major factor in the political thinking of the American religious conservative movement. But I am merely arguing that there is a secular justification, and that my “pro-life” stance is genuinely just that – I want to preserve innocent human life.

    Understood… but when I chimed in you seemed to be trying to place yourself in an American political context (e.g., would you be a liberal in Texas); if you want to do that, you have to understand what that context really is (as opposed to what it claims to be). You personally may be able to reconcile pro-life advocacy and secularism; you won’t find many fellow travelers in American politics.

  624. #624 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    I always felt that “viability” was a flimsy point of distinction to use, ethically

    Stipulated. And if you reject some arbitrary definition of in utero “viability,” you’re left with only two logically reasonable milestones to consider: The beginning of gestation (i.e., the moment of conception) and the end (i.e., birth). If you stick strictly to biology, it is (I fearlessly assert) patently absurd to call a freshly fertilized egg a full-fledged person… which leaves birth as the only defensible secular definition of the beginning of a human person’s life. To argue otherwise, it seems to me, you must posit some sort of metaphysical ensoulment event… and then we’re right back to religion.

    See why I’m skeptical of the yoking of pro-life and secularism?

  625. #625 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    I think, perhaps, the conclusion I can draw from this is that I don’t fit exactly into an American conservative niche. My social (as opposed to economic or foreign-policy) views are slightly too “liberal” (in the broadest and most nebulous sense of the word).

    Yet I will say that I can read a column by a conservative author, such as Ann Coulter, and generally agree with the overwhelming majority of its content. So if one is faced with a simplistic choice of being labelled as “conservative” or “liberal”, I think “conservative” fits me a lot better, even in America. Don’t my free-market economic and hawkish foreign policy views outweigh a moderate stance on social and moral issues?

    I also hope I’ve shown that while I’m by no means infallible, or even particularly brilliant, I do try my best to be open-minded and intellectually honest, and I do rethink my views when presented with new information or compelling arguments (such as that presented by Owlmirror above regarding abortion). I’m not a knee-jerk adherent of everything that leading American conservatives say.

    I’m genuinely saddened that Milo Johnson considers me an ignorant child, and I don’t know what I’ve said to give him that impression. I hope that he will revise this assessment at some time. I can’t help being relatively young, but I don’t think I’m stupid or ignorant, and I haven’t knowingly lied. I acknowledge that I have been wrong on many things in the past and that I may be wrong now.

  626. #626 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Don’t my free-market economic and hawkish foreign policy views outweigh a moderate stance on social and moral issues?

    In the sense that they lead to an ever-increasingly stratified and authoritarian society which trends toward eliminating social freedoms and individual ethical decision-making, yes.

  627. #627 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, he called you an ignorant child because, no offense, you sort of are. I know you detest bringing age and nationality into this, but you were the one who revealed both. You can’t decry others using that; no changing the rules in the middle of game.

    I’m going to be honest, when I found out both, a lot things made sense. Specifically some startling, er, ignorance of how politics and beliefs in American actually work. To your credit, you’re fairly well-read, certainly more than most people I encounter, but there’s a large difference between reading something (like say, a virgin writing about sex) and actually experiencing it. That’s the difference. You don’t really know how conservatism and conservatives work here. You can’t without being here.

    There is no shame in being ignorant. I myself am ignorant of a great many things. If someone points that out, I don’t get upset. Rather, I see it as something new to be learned. You seem to suffer from the same problem that many here in America do: they take it as a personal insult, often interchanging it freely for “stupid,” yet strangely enough, not doing anything to remedy it. They wail long and loud about how dare someone call them ignorant.

    But it’s true: you are ignorant, and in this increasingly infantilizing culture, you are not yet an adult. I won’t call you a child, but you do have a lot of rather…immature views on things. You seem stuck on a lot of things, which the main obstacle being that, again, you haven’t experienced things.

    You express shock over the fact that sex could be considered a punishment to some people. Yet it is. People here talk about how sex is a gift from god, yet they oppose comprehensive sex aid, free contraceptives and the morning after pill, thus making sex a punishment.

    I’m not quite sure what else to say. It’s good to see you questing after knowledge, but one thing you have to understand here: most of the commentators here are both older than you and are natives of this (being America) country. Just keep that in mind in future postings.

  628. #628 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Aye, Bachalon, but Milo flat out told him to leave. I mean, he isn’t J.

  629. #629 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    You don’t really know how conservatism and conservatives work here. You can’t without being here. – I take your point. I’ve never lived in the United States or experienced it first-hand. I am, as you say, very well-read in American politics and I do understand the mechanics of it; but I do realise that there’s a gap between academic knowledge and daily experience.

    You express shock over the fact that sex could be considered a punishment to some people. – No, I was expressing shock at the idea that someone would want to impose pregnancy as some sort of “punishment” for having illicit sex (Bill Dauphin asserted above that this is part of the rationale behind many pro-life views in the US). If this were taken to its logical conclusion, one would have to conclude that sexually transmitted diseases are a punishment on people for having illicit sex, so we shouldn’t try to cure them – and that would plainly be a ludicrous and barbaric view. I was merely trying to explain that my rationale for opposing abortion was radically different to that.

    For the record, I’m not particularly “pro-sex”. I don’t think sex before marriage and sexual promiscuity are positive things for society at all. But I don’t think I have the right to try and impose my personal moral views on others.

    Thank you for being polite and respectful in your tone. Milo Johnson, whatever he may have meant, was a long, long way from being polite and respectful, hence why I reacted to him with hostility.

  630. #630 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    And these defenses of Ann Coulter! When I was a reichwing Christian, I still wouldn’t have associated myself with such small-minded tripe. She is shitlicking low.

    The woman feels it acceptable to invoke homophobic slurs against political adversaries. The social acceptability of that language correlates with gay-bashing. It says a lot about Walton.

  631. #631 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    But I don’t think I have the right to try and impose my personal moral views on others.

    I am pro-life and would generally prohibit abortion, except where the woman’s life is threatened by childbirth.

    Limit one per customer, sir.

  632. #632 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    I am, as you say, very well-read in American politics

    ROFLMAO

    Is that what you call perusing the spew of Limbaugh and Coulter?

    being well read?

    that’s fucking hilarious!

    like I said, you should consider becoming a comedian when yo grow up.

  633. #633 D
    June 4, 2008

    If this were taken to its logical conclusion, one would have to conclude that sexually transmitted diseases are a punishment on people for having illicit sex, so we shouldn’t try to cure them – and that would plainly be a ludicrous and barbaric view.

    Yet many hold that view as well. Whatever has colored your view of American politics and discourse is truly different from the reality on the ground here.

  634. #634 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    I don’t think sex before marriage and sexual promiscuity are positive things for society at all.

    Mmmm. I can’t resist exploring this psychic dungeon, Walton.

    Why do you believe sexual partners should not confirm that they are compatible before they sign legally binding contracts? I don’t think I’d buy a used automobile from you.

    And why should the pleasures of the body not be experienced by those who prefer their lives be absent such contracts?

  635. #635 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    And do you make exceptions for gays who live in states where they can’t marry?

  636. #636 D
    June 4, 2008

    Oh and Walton, as you are a fan of Coulter, perhaps you’d like to take PZ’s challenge.

  637. #637 Milo Johnson
    June 4, 2008

    Grammarboy, you don’t have very good reading comprehension despite your cognomen, do you? I didn’t tell the child to leave, I reminded him that he bluntly stated that he was going to stop posting if anyone called him an ignorant little boy again, and that he did not keep his word after I called his bluff and did so. Get it right, especially if you want to be the self-designated comment referee. And Walton, as far as “polite and respectful” goes, you have to earn that from me and if you present yourself as an ignorant little boy in the manner you have, I will grant you neither. You came in here to prove something, you made a fool of yourself, and you are trying to deflect the accountability for your own tantrum-induced words by whining that I’ve been rude to you. You come to a noted atheist venue and think that you’re the one that can reinvent the wheel and convince us that your fairy tale isn’t a total load of crap, and you don’t seem to realize that you’re about the twelve thousandth troll to do so just in the time that I’ve been reading and writing here. I find it telling of your own inner neediness that you think that I’m susceptible to the argument that I “make atheists look bad.” First, atheists are already the most hated group in this country, so I can’t really drag unbelievers into the mud. Second, I’m not in a club, I don’t care what anybody else thinks of me or what I think, I’m not trying to persuade you or anybody else, and when you start throwing asinine and juvenile assertions around like you initially did I’ll continue to call you out on it. So, put up or shut up. Either keep your word and take a hike, or admit that you said something juvenile and stupid in a moment of rashness and take the responsibility that a real man does. Earn a little respect like an adult does, or stop pretending to be one.

  638. #638 Fergy
    June 4, 2008

    But I don’t think I have the right to try and impose my personal moral views on others.

    I am pro-life and would generally prohibit abortion, except where the woman’s life is threatened by childbirth.

    Limit one per customer, sir.

    Not to mention that he supports the death penalty…

    What is it with people like Walton who can’t see their own hypocrisy? (Oh, wait! That’s on the sign, isn’t it?)

  639. #639 Bill Dauphin
    June 4, 2008

    For the record, I’m not particularly “pro-sex”.

    For the rest of the record, the more common term for what you’re saying you’re not, particularly, is sex-positive. Just so’s you know… ;^)

    BTW, a note of clarification: I wasn’t saying that people want to proactively impose pregnancy as a punishment for sex; rather, they think that disconnecting sex (e.g., through contraception and abortion) from its “natural” consequences (e.g., pregnancy and disease) makes it easier to “get away with.” That is, they see contraception and abortion (not to mention Gardasil!) as anti-deterrents to sexual sin.

    This, BTW, perfectly in line with market-based economic conservativism, which claims that individuals in the marketplace always respond rationally to cost, and that the sum of those individual rational responses is, by definition, Good. This is also why they want us to be careful comparison shoppers when, for (a very personal) example, an only child has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

    [Hmmm... I just realized that last sentence seems scary. No worries: It was years ago, and my daughter is fully recovered. But the idea that people should be responsible for making rational purchasing decisions in the middle of such a crisis just frosts me. If I ever needed it proved to me that the laissez-faire approach to healthcare policy was the bunk, that experience did the trick.]

  640. #640 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Grammarboy, you don’t have very good reading comprehension despite your cognomen, do you?

    I don’t even need to read between the lines, Milo. There’s no possible honest reading where your “I suppose it’s unfair to expect…” comment doesn’t mean “leave.”

    If we’re going to keep this up, though, I must insist that you buy me dinner first. The dangers of promiscuity, and all that. Or is mutual mental masturbation not sex?

  641. #641 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: If this were taken to its logical conclusion, one would have to conclude that sexually transmitted diseases are a punishment on people for having illicit sex, so we shouldn’t try to cure them – and that would plainly be a ludicrous and barbaric view.

    So many conservatives in the US are barbaric. It was actually an argument here (and continues to be), whether giving teenage girls the HPV vaccine was “moral” — that protecting them from disease was a sin!

    As well, your hero Ronny Ray-gun Reagan and his allies fought quite vocally against funding research into AIDS — since it was a punishment from The Big Guy for gay sex.

    Really Wally, you’ve put yourself in bed with unrepentant barbarians by your own admission. This is the core of the American conservative movement. If you don’t agree with these views, you don’t agree with what American conservatism is, and has been, for the last 30 years. It’s barbarism, pure and simple.

    Maybe some of your other views are just as barbaric? You have to consider that, if you agree on so many positions with barbarians.

  642. #642 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Frog, good call. Walton, there is a sizable contingent of conservatives here that oppose the HPV vaccine because they feel it would give girls (always girls) a “license to have sex.”

    For another thing, look up Dr. Reginald Finger. He was suggested as a name for the FDA by Focus on the Family. He was the only member of the review committee to oppose Gardasil. He’s on record saying he’d oppose a cure for AIDS since it would eliminate the so-called “disinhibition factor.”

    He is the rep of FotF, a fairly mainstream conservative organization here in the US. These are the people you want to align yourself with?

  643. #643 Milo Johnson
    June 4, 2008

    You really do have some literacy issues, don’t you? The referenced “I suppose it’s unfair to expect…” comment clearly meant exactly what it said, that he didn’t follow through on his declared ultimatum and that it was unlikely that he would be man enough to keep his word. Nobody forced him to make that declaration and now he doesn’t want to admit ownership of it, but instead hides behind feigned hurt feelings and looks for the sympathies of others. Why don’t you let the child fight his own battles, anyway? You simply don’t have a piece of this dispute and I’ll thank you to mind your own damned business. Do I need to find smaller words or do you get it now?

  644. #644 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    Nobody forced him to make that declaration and now he doesn’t want to admit ownership of it, but instead hides behind feigned hurt feelings and looks for the sympathies of others.

    I’d have to agree with Milo here, that does appear to be what is happening.

    Walton wants to play “the poisoned well” card, but repeatedly (by telling us his age, his sexual status, etc.) seems to be intentionally poisoning his own well.

    can’t have it both ways:

    he can either claim the ignorance of a child, and look to BE informed, instead of trying to inform the rest of us.

    or he can stop whining about the fact that he intentionally poisons his own well, and we end up reacting to that.

  645. #645 Nick Gotts
    June 4, 2008

    Why do you [Walton] believe sexual partners should not confirm that they are compatible before they sign legally binding contracts? – Grammar RWA

    I’ll leave Walton to answer for why he does, but a couple of thoughts on how he can:
    1) He probably thinks premarital sex is a decadent modern invention, and doesn’t know that in many very traditional societies, marriage followed pregnancy, because to remain childless was a great economic and social disadvantage, so you needed to be sure you were fertile with your chosen partner.
    2) By his own account, he’s never had sex, so he doesn’t realise that for most people it takes practice. If you want to risk a disastrous wedding night, Walton (I’m assuming you’re straight), then fine, abstain from premarital sex. (I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw years ago in Private Eye, showing one man saying rather smugly to another: “I’ve been a practising homosexual for twenty years, and now I’m rather good at it.”)

  646. #646 The MadPanda
    June 4, 2008

    I gotta ask–what IS Walton’s main area of study? ‘Cause unless it’s American Government and/or Political Science, he’s got some nerve barging in and throwing his under-fermented opinionating around like a heavyweight pundit.

    And if it IS AG/PS, he needs to take a few more upper level courses before he opens his mouth on a blog full of ‘Mericans to tell us what’s what…about our own system, no less.

    Unless, of course, we are free to dump on him about the various issues and failings of, say, Thatcherism. Or the humanitarian idiocy of the Commissariat during the Crimean War. Or the various excesses of Oliver Cromwell. Or the woodenheadedness of the Admiralty. Or the way the Polish Cryptographers were sidelined over the whole Enigma thing…

    The MadPanda, FCD

  647. #647 frog
    June 4, 2008

    NG: He probably thinks premarital sex is a decadent modern invention, and doesn’t know that in many very traditional societies, marriage followed pregnancy

    And by traditional you mean Western, and specifically British-derived cultures. In the 17th century, one study (read many years ago before my dementia set in) found that in Maryland, more than 50% of marriages were officialized after pregnancy. There was betrothal, and marriage only followed if the bride got pregnant.

    That’s the whole point of the wedding band deposit – man gives wedding band of significant value to protect the woman in case he backs out after impregnating her, but man won’t get married until he confirms fertility of the couple. You don’t get any more Britishy and Puritan influenced than the mid-atlantic colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, do you?

    Part of the great American (and Anglophonic) self-delusion.

  648. #648 Sven DiMilo
    June 4, 2008

    Walton’s main area of study is, clearly Walton.
    Guy’s an obvious narcissist, and pompous about it ta boot.

  649. #649 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    You simply don’t have a piece of this dispute and I’ll thank you to mind your own damned business.

    I damn well do, Milo, unless your sexual hang-ups are equally interesting and you’re volunteering for a public probing.

  650. #650 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    Walton’s main area of study is, clearly Walton.
    Guy’s an obvious narcissist, and pompous about it ta boot.

    on the nosie.

  651. #651 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    In response to Frog and Bachalon at #641 and #642: Yes, sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a conservative when these people make their more ludicrous comments. But as you well know, it’s an unfortunate fact that the American right relies on their support, and so their views can’t be ignored. It’s a sacrifice which, as I understand it, must be made in order to hold together the fragile conservative coalition.

    I admire Reagan greatly, for his role in winning the Cold War, saving the American economy from disaster, and building a strong, united and healthy conservative movement (which sadly has fallen apart under GWB, since he’s polarised conservatives and made religion more of a divisive issue). But I don’t have time to argue all of that tonight (it’s nearly 1am where I am) and don’t want to clog up this already-immense thread with twenty more political issues. Basically, though, the point I’m trying to make is this: the two most important political issues are the economy and national security/foreign/defence policy. Those are the issues on which I typically agree with conservatives. Therefore, in order to ensure that the right things are done in these areas, it’s necessary to get conservatives into power, and in pursuance of that aim it’s necessary to ally oneself with some of these slightly bizarre people on the religious right. This is all I’ve been saying all along; I haven’t been intending to actually defend indefensible viewpoints.

    Re the remarks about premarital sex, that’s a personal moral belief which I don’t think I need to justify, since (as already expressly stated) I don’t want to impose that personal belief on other people. In the interests of an efficient, harmonious and non-dictatorial society, it’s best that people’s private, consensual activities, provided they don’t hurt anyone else or infringe anyone else’s rights, should not be matters for the state to control. The state is not the arbiter of morals (and, indeed, the scariest totalitarian regimes in history have been those which have taken on that role). I doubt anyone here will significantly disagree with that. Therefore, as I’m not imposing my beliefs on anyone else, I don’t see why we need to argue the point.

  652. #652 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    I admire Reagan greatly, for his role in winning the Cold War, saving the American economy from disaster, and building a strong, united and healthy conservative movement (which sadly has fallen apart under GWB

    you REALLY need to drink less kool-aid.

    I’m embarrassed to be a conservative when these people make their more ludicrous comments

    I-R-O-N-Y

  653. #653 The MadPanda
    June 4, 2008

    Walton, my lad, Ronald Reagan did NOT win the Cold War. He was just in at the end…and ultimately his vision has lost the peace.

    Or maybe you’ve forgotten where your bestest buddy, bin Laden, got some of his initial funding?

    The MadPanda, FCD

  654. #654 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Therefore, as I’m not imposing my beliefs on anyone else, I don’t see why we need to argue the point.

    Because your attitudes contribute to a dangerous culture in which sex is something to be feared, and that hurts people, specifically, everyone who grows up in that culture. It hurt me and I can see it sure as hell hurt you.

    You made a moral statement: X is wrong. Even if you aren’t planning to use the state to enforce it, you’re still responsible for backing up your reasoning. Or else morality and ethics are not serious enough for public discussion.

    But as you well know, it’s an unfortunate fact that the American right relies on their support, and so their views can’t be ignored. It’s a sacrifice which, as I understand it, must be made in order to hold together the fragile conservative coalition.

    Translation: it’s not that I believe women, gays and brown-skinned people don’t deserve rights. It’s just that there are other priorities more important than letting them have those rights right now. Surely they can wait until the next round of bigots dies off. And the next round, and the next round, because public discussion of personal morals is off the table so we can’t make headway on that front either.

  655. #655 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: It’s a sacrifice which, as I understand it, must be made in order to hold together the fragile conservative coalition.

    I hate that argument — to ally yourselves with the most obtuse and criminal barbarians, to lie to them (which is what that coalition does) and use them, and then risk having them take over the coalition and revert society to barbarism.

    At the risk of Godwin, this was the same mistake that German center-rightists made in the 20s & 30s. “Oh we don’t believe in all that fascists crap, but they’re useful tools in a coalition against the Red Menace”. Anyone who plays that game deserves to have their ideas eliminated from society — just as the German right has been now for over half a century for that mistake. It’s also what has happened in Chile and Argentina for the right’s roles there in military dictatorships.

    Ye shall be judged by your allies — your opponents will not be forgiving if you drag us into the dark ages. Allies of theocrats should be shown the same mercy that allies of bolsheviks have been shown.

  656. #656 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Walton,

    Yes, sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a conservative when these people make their more ludicrous comments. But as you well know, it’s an unfortunate fact that the American right relies on their support, and so their views can’t be ignored. It’s a sacrifice which, as I understand it, must be made in order to hold together the fragile conservative coalition.

    That sounds suspiciously like you’re saying that the ends justify the means. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Poisonous views can most certainly be ignored. Who cares if they agree with you otherwise? I like the idea of socialized medicine, but I’ll be damned if I seek help from people who also think people with strong religious views should be sterilized.

    Basically, though, the point I’m trying to make is this: the two most important political issues are the economy and national security/foreign/defence policy. Those are the issues on which I typically agree with conservatives. Therefore, in order to ensure that the right things are done in these areas, it’s necessary to get conservatives into power, and in pursuance of that aim it’s necessary to ally oneself with some of these slightly bizarre people on the religious right. This is all I’ve been saying all along; I haven’t been intending to actually defend indefensible viewpoints.

    If they’re indefensible, why do you want to ally yourself with them? You don’t get it, do you? The moment those people are in power, they will turn on you for all the things you don’t see eye to with them on. These are not the people you want to court. If you are right, then all you need is evidence and sound reason. You don’t need to recruit lunatics who probably don’t know shit about fuck but only think that way because they’re told to.

    Re the remarks about premarital sex, that’s a personal moral belief which I don’t think I need to justify, since (as already expressly stated) I don’t want to impose that personal belief on other people.

    Then why the fuck are you so intent on casting your lot in with people who think that part of the state’s job is to police the bedrooms of people they hate?

    In the interests of an effiient, harmonious and non-dictatorial society, it’s best that people’s private, consensual activities, provided they don’t hurt anyone else or infringe anyone else’s rights, should not be matters for the state to control. The state is not the arbiter of morals (and, indeed, the scariest totalitarian regimes in history have been those which have taken on that role).

    THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU SO INTENT ON CASTING YOUR LOT WITH PEOPLE WHO EMPHATICALLY THINK THE STATE SHOULD ENFORCE NOT JUST MORALS, BUT THEIR PARTICULAR MORALS?

    I doubt anyone here will significantly disagree with that. Therefore, as I’m not imposing my beliefs on anyone else, I don’t see why we need to argue the point.

    Then I have nothing further to say to you. If you can’t understand why we disagree so vehemently, then you truly are an ignorant fucking child.

  657. #657 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    oh, I gotta go out, but as far as Reagan’s “economic contributions”?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/12/13/72111/695

    again, if you rely on the likes of Coulter and Limbaugh for your education, you’re going to be laughed at for being an imbecile.

    there’s something I really don’t get, though.

    why is an 18 year old brit stuck on coulter and Reagan?

    any REAL UK’ers care to comment on whether that is common or not?

    I rather suspect “Walton” is pulling our collective chains.

  658. #658 windy
    June 4, 2008

    I admit that I read the sign somewhat incorrectly at first. It isn’t inherently inconsistent with mainstream theology. However, I do also think that this kind of condemnatory, “burn in hell” kind of Christianity is counterproductive, and contrary in spirit (if not in letter) to what Jesus taught.

    Thanks for answering, but as frog said, modern Christian behaviour bears only a tenuous connection with Christ’s original teachings. You are moving the goalposts in saying that instead of criticizing prominent Christian behaviour, we should discuss some idealised version of Christianity.

    Christian teaching is that everyone – everyone – is a sinner, not just certain defined groups of people. Assuming a literal “hell” is presumed to exist (which depends on how you interpret the relevant scriptural passages), every single person – regardless of their sexuality, apparent virtue, etc. – would be going there, were it not for the sacrifice of Christ. Whether or not they are homosexuals, masturbators, gamblers etc. has little to do with it.

    I hope you don’t deny that actual Christians very frequently do point to some acts as more sinful or immoral than others.

    You are probably referring to stuff like Matthew 5:22:

    But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

    OK, Jesus may be implying that everyone’s a sinner. But he makes this point EXACTLY the same way the sign does, by contrasting large and small sins and saying they may all condemn you to hell!

    Secondly, it must be a very small minority of Christians who actually, seriously believe that insulting your brother is just as bad as murder. If Christians don’t take this shit seriously, why should we? (Actually, the “without a cause” was probably inserted in that verse by later scribes to make it seem more sensible.)

  659. #659 Nick Gotts
    June 4, 2008

    Walton,
    I have many reasons for hating Reagan, who was a liar, war criminal, mass-murderer and disgusting hypocrite, but I’ll mention just one: he nearly got me killed. OK, he nearly got everyone killed, but as Yossarian said “What difference does that make?”. Reagan’s “evil empire” rhetoric and arms build-up, particularly moving cruise and Pershing missiles to Europe, convinced the Soviet leaders of the time that a first strike nuclear attack could be imminent. In the early eighties I was shit-scared, and I was right. In November 1983, the routine NATO exercise “Able Archer” was misinterpreted by Soviet intelligence as a cover for such a strike, and for a period of days Soviet nuclear forces were on a hair-trigger, waiting for any sign of a U.S. missile launch. If any one of a considerable number of Soviet submarine commanders had lost his head (they had the power to launch), or if a computer malfunction had occurred, the holocaust would have happened. (Earlier the same year, a Soviet computer did malfunction, warning of a missile launch, and we owe our lives to a certain Comrade Petrov, who overruled the computer five times.) Incidentally, I loathe Castro and Che Guevara even more – they actively tried to kill me (and of course everyone else) during the Cuban missile crisis, urging Khrushchev to launch missiles from Cuba.

  660. #660 Walton
    June 4, 2008

    Frog: you would be absolutely right if “the most obtuse and criminal barbarians” in the modern world were the American Christian right. But they’re not, not by a long shot. The most criminal barbarians in the modern world are the Islamic terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center, and everyone who supported them. We are at war with global Islamic extremism, and that war has to be the first of our priorities. And so the right needs to unite behind that one, crucial policy goal.

    (And aside from the Islamists, there are plenty of groups far, far more barbaric than the American right. Communists, the Burmese military junta, the Sudanese Janjaweed militia, just to name a few.)

    Arguments about gay marriage etc. are important, undoubtedly; but even from the point of view of a homosexual person, would you not say that it’s more important to protect them from being slaughtered by terrorists than to ensure that they have the right to get married? Just saying.

    We don’t really have this problem in the UK, since both major parties are in favour of same-sex civil partnerships, and (apart from some Catholic opposition) it’s all relatively non-controversial. Which is better, undoubtedly. But (as you keep reminding me) the US is not the same as the UK.

  661. #661 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Oh, Walton, shut the fuck up. Somehow, you’ll have to find the way to pardon me for thinking that, for whatever strange reason, the people here, in my home town, are more of a threat to me than a terrorist over in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Why the fuck can’t I have both? Why should I settle for second-class citizenship for the sake of safety? Oh, that’s right, because I’m not safe from the terrorists here at home.

    You’re well read, right? You might recognize this quote, then.

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  662. #662 Nick Gotts
    June 4, 2008

    why is an 18 year old brit stuck on coulter and Reagan?

    any REAL UK’ers care to comment on whether that is common or not? – Ichthyic

    Not common, I’d say, but not that rare either. Many young rightwing Brits would admire American conservatives, often without much real idea what they are admiring, because the US crowd are far more upfront about their prejudices than the British right (even British fascists don’t tend to go in for the kind of public bigot-speak Coulter indulges in). On top of that, there’s sheer power-worship, and also anti-Europeanism (hardly noticing that the US right regard all Europeans with contempt, including Brits) and sometimes a racially-tinged attachment to the idea of an “Anglosphere” consisting of the UK, USA and white Commonwealth (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and in apartheid times, South Africa and Rhodesia).

    Yaaaaaaawwwwwnn. Must get to bed.

  663. #663 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Arguments about gay marriage etc. are important, undoubtedly; but even from the point of view of a homosexual person, would you not say that it’s more important to protect them from being slaughtered by terrorists than to ensure that they have the right to get married? Just saying.

    Reagan tried to kill us. You keep ignore this when it’s brought up, but he wanted gays to die, and his AIDS research policy killed many of us.

    I take this personally. I take your support of him personally. I do not care that you dishonestly pretend civil unions are equivalent to marriage and would “permit” civil unions (even though you’ve never once lifted a finger in activism for us, and you’re 100% talk). That doesn’t mean shit. You lay down with homophobes, and you are fully accountable for the results of your alliances.

    Furthermore, you exaggerate the dangers of terrorism (automobiles are more dangerous). And you lie that conservatives can protect us from terrorists better than liberals can. Even while your good buddy GWB rattles his saber at Iran, providing the excuses for crackdowns by Ahmadinejad against liberals and reformers in Iranian academia and government. Fucking conservatives are creating terrorism.

    But in the midst of being wrong about the facts, you tell me I’m better off cowering in fear from your handmade bogeymen instead of joyfully marrying another person I love in this brilliantly short lifetime.

    Fuck you for that. Fuck you, sincerely.

    Bill Hicks was right about the eyes of fear and the eyes of love.

  664. #664 Nick Gotts
    June 4, 2008

    The most criminal barbarians in the modern world are the Islamic terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center, and everyone who supported them. We are at war with global Islamic extremism, and that war has to be the first of our priorities.

    Walton, this cowering before a few handfuls of fruitcakes hiding in caves really is ridiculous. Yes they are criminals, barbarians if you want, but we are not at war with them. They are not a state, have nothing approaching the power of a state, and almost certainly never will have. They are, in relation to the unprecedented power and capabilities of western societies, a minor irritant. The main danger they pose to those societies is an indirect one – that they can be and are being used as an excuse to introduce laws and technologies that could very easily be used to destroy the freedoms we have.

  665. #665 Bachalon
    June 4, 2008

    Oh, Walton?

    Reconcile this

    …it’s best that people’s private, consensual activities, provided they don’t hurt anyone else or infringe anyone else’s rights, should not be matters for the state to control.

    with this

    I 100% support the War on Drugs and think that a hardline anti-drug policy is the right way to go.

    Yer ass is showin’ boy.

  666. #666 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    The most criminal barbarians in the modern world are the Islamic terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center, and everyone who supported them

    what do you base that on?

    body count?

    novelty?

    symbolism?

    because, by any measure, it’s not hard to find historical precedents that outweigh it.

    how far back do you want to take your “modern world”?

  667. #667 frog
    June 4, 2008

    Walton: The most criminal barbarians in the modern world are the Islamic terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center, and everyone who supported them. We are at war with global Islamic extremism, and that war has to be the first of our priorities. And so the right needs to unite behind that one, crucial policy goal.

    So I guess you didn’t get my comment about the German center-right allying themselves with the Nazi’s to fight the communists? Or the center-right in Chile and Argentina allying themselves with the militarist fascists to fight the communists?

    This is always the tactic of the business right — they’re so afraid of compromising a bit with the liberals to form a united front against the radicals on both sides, that they inevitably act to foment the radicals, since the radicals feed on each other — nobody loves the Christian right more than the Jihadis, no one loves the Jihadis more than the Christian right.

    Since this pattern is so universal, one would be remiss to not consider that their true leanings, under all the oh-so-reasonable discussion, really lies with theocrats and fascists. Just search for “The Family”: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2008/5/10/112839/361

    Go to bed with dogs, get up with fleas. One thing is pragmatism, but this is just plain stupidity.

  668. #668 Benjamin Franklin
    June 4, 2008

    Slightly OT here, but did anyone else catch George Will on the Colbert Report last night?

    He told Colbert that he was a (gasp!) Agnostic!

  669. #669 windy
    June 4, 2008

    Slightly OT here, but did anyone else catch George Will on the Colbert Report last night?

    I did! As a Yuropean I don’t know anything about this dude, but props for mention of agnosticism without taking a swipe at atheism, meh for the “there are only two kinds of people” crap. Where does he classify your authoritarian republicans that are not so big on liberty?

  670. #670 Ichthyic
    June 4, 2008

    Where does he classify your authoritarian republicans that are not so big on liberty?

    I’m no fan, but IIRC, Will does have his own column in the WaPo:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/03/24/LI2005032402294.html

  671. #671 Grammar RWA
    June 4, 2008

    Where does he classify your authoritarian republicans that are not so big on liberty?

    I think Walton answered this for us. He forgets they exist as often as he can. Peace of mind, you know.

  672. #672 Militant Agnostic
    June 5, 2008

    Walton – you admire Reagan and Bush’s tax cuts – Do you not realize that these cuts are illusory since the US government is running a huge deficit (which is now being financed to a great extent by China) and therefore these taxes are merely being deferred to future generations.

    When did fiscal irresponsibility become conservative?

    If you are worried about terrorism, why do you want to continue a war which has proven a great recruiting tool for Al Queda.

  673. #673 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    Bachalon at #661.

    Somehow, you’ll have to find the way to pardon me for thinking that, for whatever strange reason, the people here, in my home town, are more of a threat to me than a terrorist over in Afghanistan or Iraq. – But the terrorists aren’t just over in Afghanistan or Iraq. 9/11 was a direct attack on US soil.

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Yes, it’s Thomas Jefferson. And I see his point. However, I don’t see gay marriage as an issue of fundamental basic liberty (and I’m fairly sure Jefferson wouldn’t have either). If someone were suggesting rounding up gays and incarcerating them indefinitely without trial (or indeed stoning them to death, as Fred Phelps would like to do), I would be fighting to the death to prevent it, and I would never ally myself with any administration which was trying to do that. But marriage is just a legal contract; no one is stopping gay couples living together as if they were married. Don’t get me wrong – as I’ve said, I don’t see any logical reason why a gay couple shouldn’t be entitled to the same legal rights and benefits as a straight married couple, hence why I’m in favour of civil unions. But I don’t see it as an issue of basic human rights.

    And at #665, yes, I can reconcile those two statements. As I’ve said earlier, the basic principle in a free society is that we allow people to do as they wish in their private life without government intervention; however, this is tempered where there is overwhelmingly persuasive evidence that a particular practice or phenomenon is highly damaging to society as a whole and, ultimately, to the rights and freedom of others. This is the case with drugs. Drug abuse is responsible for a lot of crime, social and family breakdown, and other problems in society (both in the US and the UK), and it would be a step backwards IMO to legalise any recreational drugs. (Though I can see the argument for limited legalisation of marijuana for medical purposes, on prescription.)

  674. #674 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    To Nick Gotts at #664.

    They [terrorists] are, in relation to the unprecedented power and capabilities of western societies, a minor irritant.

    Tell that to the 3,000 American men, women and children who were murdered on 9/11.

    Tell that to the thousands murdered in the Madrid train bombings.

    Tell that to the British people murdered in the 7/7 London bombings.

    Tell that to the people murdered every day by suicide bombers in Iraq and elsewhere.

    Tell that to the women who were oppressed under the Taliban, the apostates who were executed, etc., until we liberated Afghanistan.

    This is a war against a brutal and barbaric enemy, who have shown themselves willing to kill as many of us as possible at any cost. And they’ve shown that they have the resources and strength to be able to do so.

    We have to destroy them.

  675. #675 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    Grammar RWA at #663.

    Don’t judge Reagan too harshly. While it’s undoubtedly true that he did very little to deal with AIDS during the early years of his presidency, very few people really understood the scale and danger of the problem until the mid-1980s. In 1986, Reagan commissioned Surgeon-General C. Everett Koop to produce a report on the problem of AIDS; the conclusions reached by the report included support for a comprehensive education strategy and the distribution of condoms. So I think it’s twisting the facts somewhat to say that Reagan “wanted gays to die” and was willing to let AIDS spread. He wasn’t a monster.

    Believe me, if I thought Reagan had actually been content to let AIDS kill off gays, then I would not be able to count him among my personal heroes. I sincerely ask you to believe that I’m not inhuman or evil, and I harbour no hatred or even dislike towards homosexual people. I’m sorry if I gave you the impression that I did harbour any such dislike.

  676. #676 JeffreyD
    June 5, 2008

    Walton, time to walk the walk not just talk the talk. Do not be like the chicken-hawks who infest and bring shame onto the Conservative movement in America. Enlist now, work hard and make it into the SAS and fight terrorism directly. My first war was Vietnam and have been in the latest two as a civilian, i.e., not military, counterterrorism officer. Once in Iraq and twice in Afghanistan and going back again. IF you honestly believe terrorism is the greatest threat we face then live up to your belief, enlist, fight, protect. You are the right age, you can do this.

    The reason people like me and many of my colleagues and many soldiers have contempt for Bush and the current crop of, for want of a better word, conservatives is that she have shown themselves very willing to commit the sons and daughters of others to war. They do not expose their own families and selves to the potential horror. And do not bring up McCain, one example is not enough and while I admire him surviving imprisonment, it frankly it no more impressive than a 20 year old surviving his second tour and walking point in Iraq or a young under trained and under armed soldier trying to survive yet another IED and ambush on her supply column. I actually find them more impressive, but I have never been a POW so cannot compare what that is like.

    Be a real conservative and actually show some backbone and fight for what you believe. Then, what you say might be worth a listen.

    For the record, I do not see terrorism or drugs as the great challenges facing the world. I see them as just effects from what I consider the true evils, ignorance, poverty, and the desire to control others.

    Ciao

  677. #677 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    He wasn’t a monster.

    nope just ignorant and a bit stupid, but a nice guy.

    hmm, now I get why you like him!

    and I’m fairly sure Jefferson wouldn’t have either

    based on your vast knowledge of Jefferson’s writings, right?

    phht.

    you’re a buffoon, boy.

    better grow up a little faster if you want to play the authoritarian game.

    Tell that to the 3,000 American men, women and children who were murdered on 9/11.

    I tell them as soon as you tell the descendants of about a million german and Japanese descendants who were firebombed by US and allied forces.

    and while your at it, why don’t you tell it to the descendants (if there are any left) of the victims of the mujaahideen, that the US funded during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.

    while were at it, why not tell it to the hundreds of people murdered in the Oklahoma city federal building bombings.

    you understand SO little of the history of the word “terrorist”.

    if I thought Reagan had actually been content to let AIDS kill off gays, then I would not be able to count him among my personal heroes.

    frankly, you don’t know shit about the man.

    first, you need to understand why those who are gay revile the man for the AIDS issue, as some of us are actually old enough to actually remember what he really did, and don’t get our history from the likes of Coulter and Limbaugh.

    The Reagan administration was criticized for its slow response to the growing HIV-AIDS epidemic.[119] As thousands became infected with the virus, President Reagan did not increase funding to try and discover cures, rather he downplayed the situation and only acknowledged that it was an issue of concern at the May 31, 1987 Third International Conference on AIDS in Washington.[119]

    source:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/06/08/EDG777163F1.DTL

    I lived in the state where the actor Reagan (a horrible actor too, btw), was groomed for the governorship, and then the presidency, by people who used him like a fucking puppet.

    Reagan was a supporter of McCarthy (do you even know who that was?), which is what attracted those people to him to begin with, as they knew they could use anti-communism sentiment just like they use anti-gay and anti-science sentiment today to motivate their ignorant voting base. His political career was entirely a construct of the Southern California Republicans, and Reagan himself had little to do with it.

    as to whether Reagan’s administration had any worthwhile policies, I already showed you the failure of supply side economics.

    you can look up for yourself the long-term problems incurred with deficit spending.

    as to the rest, you know so little about the man, I can’t really tell you where to start.

    you could try reading the wiki article on him and following up with some of the hundreds of references there.

    you can see a bit of a summary of Reagan’s real legacy here:

    http://prorev.com/extreme.htm

    as to the first fall of the Soviet Union, I’m not a historian, but again there are thousands of references that will detail the relevant economics and political structures that lead to the collapse. Really, Reagan had no more to do with it himself than being a figurehead.

    just one at random:

    http://www.essortment.com/all/fallofthesovi_rkcm.htm

    do you see Reagan mentioned anywhere?

    nope.

    Moreover, I’m sure there are dozens here who would have been happy to make book recommendations to further your education on the subject, if you weren’t so convinced that at 18, you already knew everything about it.

    Frankly, I find myself not interested in conversing with you further; as I feel sorry for you that you seem to find the revisionist history and lies of people like Coulter and Limbaugh appealing, and have apparently lost all interest in learning at such a young age.

    I do hope you don’t represent a large segment of your current age group, or you will end up finding yourself in a brave new world, being as ignorant as you are.

  678. #678 Nick Gotts
    June 5, 2008

    Re #674 Walton,
    First, a minor point. Thousands did not die in the Madrid bombings. Get your facts right.

    The Spanish people gave their verdict on their government toadying to Bush and thus putting them in the firing line, then lying about the identity of the bombers, a few days after those bombings – I suggest you listen to them.

    As I said, Islamist jihadis are a minor irritant in relation to the power and capabilities of Western societies.
    Just look at how few times they have been able to strike since 9/11 – the PIRA were a far greater threat to British lives, and still fell far short of the toll from road accidents. A war requires an enemy capable of commanding resources commensurate with your own.

    Admittedly we are now involved in wars – because our troops are occupying other people’s countries, and many of the inhabitants resent it enough to attack them. Had 9/11 been followed by a swift and limited operation to destroy terrorist bases in Afghanistan, those wars would not be happening. The reason there are suicide bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan, and were bombings in London and Madrid, is the illegal invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein, vile creature though he was, was a secular dictator, who hated the Islamists, had no link to 9/11, and posed no threat to the west. Iraq was one of the most secularised Muslim states.
    Had the neocons believed their own lies about being in a war with Islamic extremism, they would have left him alone and concentrated on Afghanistan. Iraq was invaded to secure military bases and control of the oil industry. One side-effect was to give Sunni jihadis the chance to establish themselves there. Another was the creation of home-grown terrorist groups in the UK and Spain. A third was to give power to the most reactionary among the Shia clerics – essentially the deal between the occupiers and the Shia hardliners is: we get control of the oil industry and our bases, you get a share of the loot, and control over Iraqi women’s bodies. (Among the other side-effects: hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths – but what the hell, as Ann Coulter says, they’re only ragheads – four million displaced people including a large proportion of the most educated and secularised Iraqis, the creation of Sunni-Shia hatred and persecution of other religious minorities in a country where intermarriage was common, the destruction of irreplaceable cultural relics, and at least in large part, the current financial crisis.)

  679. #679 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    To JeffreyD. As I’ve said earlier, I am actually in the OTC (Officers Training Corps – similar to US ROTC, except it doesn’t lead automatically to a commission). I do hope to join the Territorial Army (equivalent to your National Guard) when I leave university, and if I have the opportunity I would be proud to serve a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. So I am not a chickenhawk, or at least I don’t intend to be. (Though I’ve wasted so much time on this forum over the last couple of days when I should have been in the gym, so my fitness test result may not be as good as it could be… still, I can run a 6-minute mile, which is good enough for the Army PFT.) :-)

    You’re right, I have little respect for politicians of any stripe who dodged the draft during the Vietnam years. I suspect Cheney would have been a better vice-president, and more clued-up about the strategy in Iraq, had he served in Vietnam (rather than getting a series of student deferments, as he did). Clinton, of course, was also a serial draft-dodger (he studied here at Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, and smoked marijuana with his friends while others of his age group were fighting and dying for their country.) But as you point out, that can’t be said about McCain.

  680. #680 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    and if I have the opportunity I would be proud to serve a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan

    yes, that is a good use of your talents.

    go be a soldier.

    OTOH, you aren’t very good at listening, so I wouldn’t expect to rise too high in the ranks if I were you.

    I picture you as the equivalent of a staff sergeant, after say 6 years commitment.

    and smoked marijuana with his friends while others of his age group were fighting and dying for their country

    and bush snorted coke and was an alcoholic before he became “born again”.

    drug abuse seems to be a requirement of political service.

    what makes you think that service in the Military leads to “clean livin’”, btw?

    Oh, I think you’ve got some larnin’ to do there, too.

    …and speaking of learning, as a grunt in the field, just exactly what do you expect to learn that would be of value as a politician?

    things of tactical value in the field (how best to kill with a rifle) are rarely of value in the strategic sense.

    However, I think you’ll make a good grunt.

    I suggest you stop wasting time here and get on with it.

  681. #681 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    To Nick Gotts. Apologies, I misspoke about the number killed in Madrid. But it doesn’t affect my point that it was a terrorist attack which murdered numerous civilians.

    The Spanish people gave their verdict on their government toadying to Bush and thus putting them in the firing line, then lying about the identity of the bombers, a few days after those bombings – I suggest you listen to them. – I just love the way that, according to most people on this forum, the view of the majority of ordinary people matters not at all when it comes to abortion or gay marriage, but on issues of war it suddenly becomes the most important factor. IIRC, someone even tried to deploy the argument earlier that “opinion polls show that the majority of Americans want to leave Iraq, so we should withdraw.” Moral of the story: the people are always right – except when they disagree with the liberal position. (To be fair, though, conservatives are very often guilty of the exact same kind of thinking.)

    Had 9/11 been followed by a swift and limited operation to destroy terrorist bases in Afghanistan, those wars would not be happening. – What kind of operation are you talking about? Yes, we could have gone in, bombed the al-Qaeda training camps and left, and it would have set the terrorists back a bit. But it would have done nothing for the long-term problems. The Taliban would still be harbouring and supporting terrorists, were they in power today. Now, on the other hand, millions of Afghans have been liberated; for the first time, Afghan women, for instance, have a chance to get an education and to enjoy basic civil rights. Don’t get me wrong; stabilising Afghanistan will not be an easy ride, and we’re a long way from achieving it yet. But that’s no reason to chicken out. In the long run, spreading education and building a stable infrastructure should help to eliminate Afghanistan as a breeding-ground for extremism. (I thought you were all in favour of the idea that better education will help to fight the causes of Islamic fundamentalism?)

    Re Iraq, you are, of course, right, and it mystifies me why we had to take out Saddam at that particular point, considering that Iraq was one of the most secular states in the Middle East and had no link to al-Qaeda. But regardless of the rights and wrongs of the invasion, we’re stuck over there now, and things will only get worse if we pull out.

  682. #682 Darwin's Minion
    June 5, 2008

    Quoth Walton:
    “We have to destroy them.”

    Good luck with that. The problem is, you’re going to have to find them first.
    …anyone know where Bin Laden’s at?

  683. #683 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    To Ichthyic at #680: It was JeffreyD at #676 who brought up the issue of military service, and implicitly accused me of being a chickenhawk. I was answering that. I wasn’t just randomly bringing it up.

  684. #684 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    Walton,

    you are a contemptible little shit. Oh noes, someone smoked marijuana while opposing an unjust military action.

    Vice President Cheney would have done better had he served? You forget that his entire world view is corrupt and that he’s a vile human.

    What we have here is the Brit version of a YAFer. A worthless little true believer.

  685. #685 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    MAJeff at #684:

    What we have here is the Brit version of a YAFer. – Funny you should say that; I actually applied to attend a conference in Washington DC this summer run by the YAF. I didn’t get accepted for that one, but I’m going to a different one run by the Leadership Institute, a similar conservative organisation.

    This will be my first hands-on experience with American (rather than British) conservatism. Since the consensus here seems to be that I have a naive view of American politics and that I won’t really understand it until I’ve lived it, I hope it will be an educational experience.

    you are a contemptible little shit. – You’re certainly entitled to that opinion, and I’ve been called worse. For what it’s worth, the sentiments are not mutual; I’ve developed some degree of respect for most people on this forum (with the exception of Milo Johnson, perhaps). I don’t dislike or despise you personally because of your views. I wish you could extend the same tolerance to me, but I won’t expect that of you.

  686. #686 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    To Ichthyic at #680: It was JeffreyD at #676 who brought up the issue of military service, and implicitly accused me of being a chickenhawk. I was answering that. I wasn’t just randomly bringing it up.

    Is that really your conclusion as to what my post to you was about?

    holy crap.

    you don’t belong here.
    seriously.

    I can think of a hundred blogs where you would feel more at home… like this one:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/home.htm

    yes, that’s more your speed, I think.
    you’ll have fun there.

    now, run along and play.

  687. #687 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    I wish you could extend the same tolerance to me, but I won’t expect that of you.

    Your views, when put into action, harm people. I do not respect that in the least.

    You’re not as bright, informed, or moral as you think.

  688. #688 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    And if you think YAFers are “moderate Republicans,” if you think you’re somehow a “middle of the road conservative” you’re wrong. YAFers are right wing. The sorts of people who think Ann Coulter is an actual intellectual. Sad and pathetic.

  689. #689 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    I can think of a hundred blogs where you would feel more at home… like this one:
    http://www.freerepublic.com/home.htm

    They, sadly, might be too bright for him.

  690. #690 Nick Gotts
    June 5, 2008

    Walton,

    I love the way when you don’t have a good response, you start burbling about “liberals” – you’ve learned your neocon lessons well, I’ll give you that. For the record, I am not a liberal, but a socialist. The reason we should withdraw from Iraq is that most Iraqis want us to.

    Yes, we could have gone in, bombed the al-Qaeda training camps and left, and it would have set the terrorists back a bit. But it would have done nothing for the long-term problems.

    That’s because the long-term problems are not solvable by military means. The occupiers of Afghanistan are now bogged down in a war which will almost certainly continue as long as they remain in the country.

    Now, on the other hand, millions of Afghans have been liberated; for the first time, Afghan women, for instance, have a chance to get an education and to enjoy basic civil rights.

    You really don’t know much history, do you Walton? Afghani women were considerably more liberated than they are now, before the mujahedin gained power. I don’t deny many are better off now than under the Taliban, but most of Afghanistan is under the control either of the Taliban, or of corrupt and brutal warlords. Your faith that it can be stabilised by foreign forces is entirely unwarranted: the longer they stay, the more they interfere, the more they will be resented – as the Russians found.

    Re Iraq, you are, of course, right, and it mystifies me why we had to take out Saddam at that particular point, considering that Iraq was one of the most secular states in the Middle East and had no link to al-Qaeda.

    Excellent! You’re mystified. That ought to be a clue Walton: if a theory or worldview makes no sense of some of the most prominent features of the domain it attempts to explain (as your theory that we are at war with Islamist terrorists and your worldview that the neocons are the good guys make no sense of the invasion of Iraq), there’s something wrong with it.

    I’ve told you why Iraq was invaded. Indeed, it’s hardly a secret. Look at the plans for permanent military bases, and the oil law the occupiers have been trying to push through the Iraqi parliament. Look at the website of the Project for the New American Century… ah, you can’t! I just tried to go there to check the name of a document, and it’s been suspended. However, you can find out about it if you want to: the basic idea is that the USA can, and should, dominate the world. Its associates include Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, and many other current or former members of the Bush regime as well as their academic supporters.

  691. #691 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    I hope it will be an educational experience.

    if you continue to rely on “camps” and radio talk show hosts for your information, I don’t think “educational” is the word you want to use there.

    “indoctrination” is more appropriate.

    I’d tell you to cultivate a more skeptical eye, but it would be wasted advice.

    get ye hence to the freerepublic, and lounge with your fellow ignorant pigs.

    I’m sure you will find them full of “information” that confirms your greatest hopes and dreams.

    They, sadly, might be too bright for him.

    one has to have goals, though, right?
    besides, I think you might be overrating them a bit.

  692. #692 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    ‘ve told you why Iraq was invaded. Indeed, it’s hardly a secret. Look at the plans for permanent military bases, and the oil law the occupiers have been trying to push through the Iraqi parliament. Look at the website of the Project for the New American Century… ah, you can’t! I just tried to go there to check the name of a document, and it’s been suspended. However, you can find out about it if you want to: the basic idea is that the USA can, and should, dominate the world. Its associates include Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, and many other current or former members of the Bush regime as well as their academic supporters.

    Silly Nick. Don’t you know by now that this is an “abstract” “intellectual” exercise and that actually existing conservatism is irrelevant to this conversation?

  693. #693 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    Look at the website of the Project for the New American Century… ah, you can’t! I just tried to go there to check the name of a document, and it’s been suspended.

    ROTFLMAO!!!

    that is just so poetic…

    THE website where the ideals of the neocon movement are identified, with signatories, and…

    they forgot to pay the bill!

    man, that is a funny note to end the night on.

    I hope that thing is cached somewhere, as I very often link to it.

    ITMT, you could send young Walton here:

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

  694. #694 JeffreyD
    June 5, 2008

    Walton #679, you stated “As I’ve said earlier, I am actually in the OTC (Officers Training Corps – similar to US ROTC, except it doesn’t lead automatically to a commission). I do hope to join the Territorial Army (equivalent to your National Guard) when I leave university, and if I have the opportunity I would be proud to serve a tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. So I am not a chickenhawk, or at least I don’t intend to be.”

    IF you have the opportunity, eh? You have it now. Quit college, enlist. I served in the military after two years of college then returned for BA and MA, not hard to do. Unless you are willing to serve, front line serve, stop telling me that one of the main dangers to society is terrorism. It is in your power to do something about it on a personal level. Forget about the TA, actually enlist in the active forces.

    Let me be clear to the blog at large here. I do not think one has to serve in the military to have the right to talk about war, politics, terrorism or any of that. To me, citizenship and basic human rights gives anyone the right to speak out and to speak about anything that effects us all. What I cannot stomach are those who think and state that the Iraq and/or Afghanistan war is a good thing and that we should send our sons and daughters to fight it when they and their families do not bear any burden. Walton, you have stated how important the war against terrorism is, you support the wars, your country has troops in both places. Time to join and put your body where only your mouth seems to go.

    I do believe we can help in Afghanistan, that is why I return. I believe Iraq is a lost cause, but would return if asked to try and help because I am good at what I do. It is not courage, it is not politics, it is the career path I chose long ago, and it is one that gets harder to defend to myself, but that is a personal issue.

    Walton, you said regarding Iraq, “But regardless of the rights and wrongs of the invasion, we’re stuck over there now, and things will only get worse if we pull out.” Not sure if I believe that premise on a strategic level, tactically, yes. So, another reason for you to enlist and go, defend your views, defend your beliefs.

    Walton, you are the one stating over and over again the need to defeat terrorism and the necessity to still be in these wars. Until you do something more than move your mouth, you are a chicken-hawk. You do not even have plans to serve after college, just expressed a willingness to serve, apparently if asked. Well, I am asking you.

    BTW, if you do not think the above is fair, tell me to sod off, but please, spare me another round of apologetics and attempts to be rational and noncontroversial. I have no interest in hearing excuses about why you cannot enlist tomorrow.

    Yes, this is a controversial issue. Some people hate me for what I do, I live with it. I do not hide or try to please them all. I am proud of me and my children are proud of me, that is enough. I am not a hero or anything of that sort, but, to quote an older line, I have served with heroes.

  695. #696 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    Interesting, I genuinely wasn’t familiar with that organisation. This is slightly worrying.

  696. #697 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    Interesting, I genuinely wasn’t familiar with that organisation. This is slightly worrying.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake.

    Ignorance of actually existing American conservatism? Who would have ever guessed such a thing?!

  697. #698 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    JeffreyD at #694: I should have made clear that I greatly respect you for your service.

    And I also maybe wasn’t being totally clear. Territorial Army units in the British Army are deployable, and given the personnel shortage in the UK military, it is highly likely that if I join a TA regiment after graduation, I will be deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. Assuming the TA will accept me (I still have to pass the selection board and the commissioning course at Sandhurst), I do wish to serve, and I will go on deployment when my country requires it. The reason I don’t want to drop out and join now is because I want to serve as an officer, not in the ranks (since I think that’s the role in which I can most usefully contribute). (Although a university degree isn’t formally required to serve as an officer in the British Army, around 80% of officers do have degrees, and in any case I don’t feel I yet have the maturity or the confidence to pass officer selection; I hopefully will have built up these qualities by the time I graduate.)

    What I cannot stomach are those who think and state that the Iraq and/or Afghanistan war is a good thing and that we should send our sons and daughters to fight it when they and their families do not bear any burden. – I understand that, and I don’t want to be one of those people. And I believe wholeheartedly in supporting the troops. I donate to military charities when I can, and I believe we should spend money on higher pay and more benefits for our armed forces.

  698. #699 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    This is slightly worrying.

    LOL

    just ignore the nasty intellectuals. They are only interested in all that “book larnin’” mumbo-jumbo.

    now, now, no need to worry your pretty little head about it. You just get yourself right on over to the freerepublic, where they will soothe your furrowed brow with the platitudes and lies that have become familiar like a warm blanket to you.

    turn on a podcast of Limbaugh before you go to sleep, and you’ll feel better in the morning.

    sleep tight.

    oh, and just remember:

    War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Strength

    that’s a good lad.

  699. #700 Benjamin Franklin
    June 5, 2008

    Hey Walton –

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    This was not said by Jefferson, it was said by my namesake, Benjamin Franklin!!!

  700. #701 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    hmm, some are proposing it’s a scrub job on the old PNAC site:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132×5999015

    ya think after 8 years, the neocons finally got tired of having their own words thrown in their face, just like the DI with their “Wedge Document”.

    oh, btw, when you wake up tomorrow, Walton, you should look for the “Wedge Document”.

    I think you’ll find some interesting parallels.

  701. #702 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    oh, and the PNAC site is cached, of course:

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.newamericancentury.org

    take a look at this one:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20020923154604/www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

    This is the infamous “Pearl Harbor” catastrophe memo (see page 63). Try to count the number of times the words “Iraq” or “Saddam Hussein” appear, then tell me they didn’t have this invasion/occupation planned pre-9/11…and still they manged to cock everything up.

  702. #703 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    Try to count the number of times the words “Iraq” or “Saddam Hussein” appear, then tell me they didn’t have this invasion/occupation planned pre-9/11…and still they manged to cock everything up.

    Please. Anyone who watched the 2000 campaign knew this was what they wanted. I remember calling my parents after one of the debates and saying, “He wants to invade Iraq.”

    What I love is how people are shocked–Shocked! I say–when someone might intimate that the invasion was desired and that the “war on terror” was nothing more than a justification for something already in the works.

    Amazing what you can learn and know when you pay attention to what actually happens in the world.

  703. #704 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    -Shocked! I say

    vapors and all?

    Amazing what you can learn and know when you pay attention to what actually happens in the world.

    sadly, I don’t think that will be the fate of poor Walton.

    I think he finds himself too comforted by the right-wing freaks gently pulling at his ear.

    seriously…

    the Leadership Institute?

    *shudder*

    once he goes there, he will have swallowed the final mouthful of the koolaid.

    no turning back for Walton.

    He will have fully reinforced his delusional worldview, just like the PNAC guys want him too.

    *shakes head sadly*

    *plays taps*

  704. #705 SC
    June 5, 2008

    I wonder what part of “I have no interest in hearing excuses about why you cannot enlist tomorrow” he was unable to grasp.

  705. #706 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    Look, guys. Seriously.

    I am not some kind of brainwashed conservadrone, programmed to mindlessly repeat every Coulterism and Fox News headline. I was not brought up in a conservative household. My parents (though practising Christians) are quite politically moderate. I myself have moved further and further to the right over time, because I found my instincts leading me in that direction. I have been influenced by conservative intellectuals such as Douglas Murray (who is British, but, like me, is primarily interested in US politics).

    I don’t just read Coulter and Limbaugh, believe it or not. I regularly visit liberal websites such as Media Matters for America, to see what the other side is saying. (And I also watch the Colbert Report, demonstrating that I have a sense of humour, contrary to popular belief.) I have many liberal friends in real life (and, indeed, even my conservative friends are generally well to the left of me; this is the UK, after all). I am exposed to other views regularly.

    I had hoped that I could win the respect of people on this blog, by discussing issues in a rational and open-minded way, and learning from others’ ideas. And, indeed, I have learnt things. Sadly, though, many people here seem to consider me a brainwashed conservadrone of some description, and so many seem to think that “neocon” is a synonym for “lunatic”.

    I’ve spent most of the last two days on this blog when I should have been working. I don’t know why I keep coming back; I’m seemingly addicted. :-) I apologise to the people I’ve inadvertently annoyed and offended, and I thank those people who’ve raised new and interesting points – particularly Bill Dauphin and Nick Gotts. I can respect people who disagree with me, and respect the validity and intellectual coherence of their opinions.

  706. #707 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    and so many seem to think that “neocon” is a synonym for “lunatic”.

    that you DON’T is why we are considering you to be a brainwashed “conservadrone”.

    you say you are read, but exhibit no knowledge indicating such.

    you’re lying to yourself, and as such, lying to everyone here.

    and it’s pathetic.

    I hope college will be good for you, but with your current attitude, I rather doubt it. I think it will chew you up and spit you out.

    I apologise to the people I’ve inadvertently annoyed and offended

    seriously, nobody really cares if you’ve offended someone with an insult (which you haven’t, so apologizing for that would be stupid).

    what people get offended at around here the most is by those pushing ignorance as if they were knowledgeable.

    …because it’s exactly how creationists operate.

    seriously, I really doubt you will learn anything you WANT to know here.

    go to the freerepublic and commit yourself to your ignorance already.

    there is simply too much for you to learn for a blog to be of worth to you.

    come back if you manage to finish college, and actually take some classes in history or politics.

  707. #708 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    I had hoped that I could win the respect of people on this blog, by discussing issues in a rational and open-minded way, and learning from others’ ideas. And, indeed, I have learnt things. Sadly, though, many people here seem to consider me a brainwashed conservadrone of some description, and so many seem to think that “neocon” is a synonym for “lunatic”.

    Based on actually existing neoconservatism, how could we reach any other conclusion?

    Conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed….

  708. #709 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    I wonder what part of “I have no interest in hearing excuses about why you cannot enlist tomorrow” he was unable to grasp.

    ummmm.

    all of it?

    He came here to preach, not to listen, though he appears somehow to have convinced himself otherwise.

    strange lad.

  709. #710 spurge
    June 5, 2008

    “I am not some kind of brainwashed conservadrone”

    That is exactly how you come off. If you don’t think you are one you really need to do some serious introspection.

    You really have no idea what it was like when Reagan was president.

    You just parrot the right wing that has turned him into some sort of conservative demigod.

  710. #711 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    Conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed….

    “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”
    -John Stuart Mill

  711. #712 JeffreyD
    June 5, 2008

    Ichthyic, JS Mill was an optimist, I think.

    Ciao y’all

  712. #713 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    Ichthyic, JS Mill was an optimist, I think.

    LOL

    yeah.

    see ya in a few.

  713. #714 Bill Dauphin
    June 5, 2008

    MAJeff:

    You’re not as bright, informed, or moral as you think.

    Well, I agree with you 2/3: I think Walton is bright, based on the evidence of his writing (by which I mean the quality of the writing per se, not the ideas expressed). I agree that he’s poorly informed (but then, who among us was not at 18, eh?), and I don’t think too highly of the morality of the positions he’s espousing. But he seems to be listening, despite the snark of some here, which is the ultimate cure for being uninformed. And I think morality is at least in part the residue of information, so IMHO there’s hope for Walton’s future.

    Plenty of bright young people have been taken in by the seductive wingnuttery of Limbaugh, et al. (not to mention the seductive fetish wear of Coulter); perhaps if we can get just a little information through Walton’s defenses, sow just a few seeds of doubt, then he’ll approach his Leadership Institute experience with a bit of skepticism, and his path to the Good Side of the Force will be shorter and less painful.

    Oh, I can dream, can’t I?

    JefferyD:

    For the record, I do not see terrorism or drugs as the great challenges facing the world. I see them as just effects from what I consider the true evils, ignorance, poverty, and the desire to control others.

    Bingo! Thank FSM someone with your background has said this, and so cogently. Every time I attribute social problems (whether geopolitical or domestic) to ignorance and poverty, my right-wing acquaintanes call me a goddam lily-livered socialist.

  714. #715 JeffreyD
    June 5, 2008

    Ichthyic, re your #713, “LOL, yeah. see ya in a few.”, not sure about that. I have allowed anger to make me far more open than I usually wish to be and beyond a level with which I am comfortable. I think I will drop back a little more into lurk mode for a while, lots of things to do and my head needs to be clear. I will continue to enjoy this blog when possible and fight the good fight with postings as the fancy seizes me, but nothing too deep for a while. (smile)

    Ciao all

  715. #716 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    JeffreyD at #715: I’m genuinely sorry for angering you. Let me reiterate that I respect your service in the military (it’s far, far more than I’ve done for my country so far) and I admire you for that, despite our disagreement about political issues.

  716. #717 Bill Dauphin
    June 5, 2008

    I have many liberal friends in real life…

    I suspect you really would have to be an American to understand how eerily reminiscent this is of a middle-aged suburban white guy (ca. 1970) saying, “No, really, some of my best friends are Negroes!

    I thank those people who’ve raised new and interesting points – particularly Bill Dauphin and Nick Gotts.

    De nada. But don’t for a moment read into my interchange with you even a tiny particle of agreement with your politics. I’ve been engaging you respectfully because I want to change your ideas, not defend them.

    I assume you’re a sincere person dealing with us in good faith, but I agree with others here that ideas like yours, when put into practice in the world, are very destructive. I don’t discourage you from military service, but I hope by the time you finish university and become an officer, you will be doing so with a better informed, more balanced view of the world. You would do well to re-read JeffreyD’s upthread meditation on pursuing a military career/mission in this benighted world.

    And if you must attend the Leadership Institute, please do so with a critical mind. Ask yourself whether these are truly principled conservatives with whom you have common intellectual ground… or just ideologues bent on enlisting you in a movement dedicated to nothing nobler than perpetuating and expanding its own power.

    Famously (but apparently incorrectly) attributed to your own Winston Churchill is the observation that, “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.” For myself, I think the truth is exactly the reverse: The older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve learned, the more liberal I’ve become. When I was your age, I was a Republican… but I got better. My fondest hope is that you will, too.

  717. #718 Kseniya
    June 5, 2008

    Bill, the Churchill quote, which conservatives love to cite, also implies something they seem never to consider: that life-long conservatives have no heart.

    You were a Republican when you were young? Ah. Interesting. My dad has spoken of the push-and-pull of being raised in a solidly Republican state (CT) by independent, left-leaning immigrant parents during the era of social revolution, rock’n'roll, and a nation divided over a foreign war. America – love it or leave it, baby!

    My take on that last bit of nostalgia (LOL) is this: The government works for us, not the other way around. The nation is the child of the Enlightenment and of the genius-cluster that founded it. In that light, what possible benefit is there to cast criticism of country as treasonous? When a child brings back a lousy report card, what does a caring and responsible parent do?

    I feel this is a very conservative point of view, and I just don’t get why many conservatives I know refuse to put any stock whatsoever in the annual reports which suggest that many of our peer nations in Europe and Oceania boast superior overall quality of life, much lower crime and infant mortality rates, and greater environmental sustainability than the self-described “greatest nation on earth”.

    It is because I am a patriot that I care enough to mention it. What degree of arrogance is required to conclude, without analysis, that we have nothing to learn from our neighbors and cousins?

  718. #719 IseFire
    June 5, 2008

    Shouldn’t the sign really read, “Hell’s Most Welcomed?”

  719. #720 windy
    June 5, 2008

    I just love the way that, according to most people on this forum, the view of the majority of ordinary people matters not at all when it comes to abortion or gay marriage, but on issues of war it suddenly becomes the most important factor.

    Well gee whiz, do you really not see why that is? When a nation is at war, that’s everyone’s business, abortion and marriage are private matters.

    (Opinions differ on abortion, but it has already been explained to you why abortion in the earlier stages of the pregnancy is not “killing a human” by any reasonable definition.)

    You have been getting an increasing amount of heat here, which is understandably frustrating to you, but consider that these people have been personally hurt by the policies of American conservatives. How would you feel if Americans started praising some UK politician you consider particularly odious and harmful, spoke of UK liberals as “we”, and said that you need to give up some of your political goals and be grateful that you haven’t been stoned to death?

  720. #721 Kseniya
    June 5, 2008

    Cheney utilized “student deferments” – but Clinton was “a serial draft-dodger”?

    You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.

    Walton jumps the bluefin.

    Walton, you can do better than being a dittohead. I know you can. But at present, your influences betray you.

    Oh, and you DIDN’T know that regime change in Iraq was neocon policy, defined when Clinton was still President? Yikes. Well, live and learn.

    Are you not aware that this policy was at the top of the Bush admin’s To-Do list after he took office in 2001? That as early as February he was pushing his advisors to give him an excuse to knock down Hussein? That memos on the topic of oil-distribution rights for western oil companies in a post-Hussein Iraq were being circulated in early 2001 as well?

    How can you not know this?

    The newamericancentury site is down? LOL. Oh well. Scrub scrub scrub.

  721. #722 Bill Dauphin
    June 5, 2008

    You were a Republican when you were young?

    Yah, I thought I’d given my confession here previously: I voted for Reagan twice (including my veryfirst vote for president) and Bush 41 once. (Take note, Walton: Someone who actually voted for Reagan now hopes you and your generation will utterly turn its collective back on his legacy!) I was never a rabid right-winger by today’s standards, but… it’s been 30 years now since I became eligible to vote, and those decades have been a continuous journey from moderate conservativism to a better informed, more enlightened liberal position.

    My dad has spoken of the push-and-pull of being raised in a solidly Republican state (CT)

    That’s funny: These days, CT is a fairly deep-blue state. 4 of our 5 congresspersons are Democrats (that’ll be 5 of 5 by the end of this election cycle, I think, as we’ve got a strong Democratic challenger for the increasingly loopy Chris Shays); both of our senators are Dems (well, of course, we have to put an asterisk next to LIEberman, but he was a staunch D until recently, and I’m confident he’ll be replaced with a real D at the first opportunity); we have large and growing Democratic majorities in both houses of the state General Assembly; and all of the elected constitutional officers (Attorney General, Secretary of the State, Comptroller, Treasurer) are Democrats (who typically run unopposed). Perversely, we seem addicted to Republican governers, and in many towns Republicans have been able to ride anti-tax sentiment to local power (local government here is funded almost entirely by property taxes, which totally warps local politics). Generally, though, CT is a solid blue state, and relatively liberal, too (even our millionaires are often liberal, as witness Ned Lamont).

    The government works for us, not the other way around. The nation is the child of the Enlightenment and of the genius-cluster that founded it. In that light, what possible benefit is there to cast criticism of country as treasonous? When a child brings back a lousy report card, what does a caring and responsible parent do?

    Hear! Hear!

    I’ve always insisted that the real ideological difference between left and right is that the left actually believes that government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” while the right treats government as a separate (and generally hostile) entity from “the people.” To critics who say, “yeah, well our government isn’t really all that representative, is it?” my response is that if that’s true, the proper fix is to make government more representative, not to shackle or bankrupt or shrink it.

    And once you’ve come to that position, the whole big government/small government conversation becomes trvial: If government is a true reflection of the will of the people, then size doesn’t matter, except as it relates to effectiveness. A government activity is good to the extent that it effectively represents and executes the will of the people… regardless of whether doing so requires a lean, agile office or a large army of civil servants.

    I just don’t get why many conservatives I know refuse to put any stock whatsoever in the annual reports which suggest that many of our peer nations in Europe and Oceania boast superior overall quality of life, much lower crime and infant mortality rates, and greater environmental sustainability than the self-described “greatest nation on earth”.

    Because they’re much more committed to ideology than to results (oddly, this is exactly the claim they make about liberals, but I’m pretty sure they’ve got it backwards). And note that ideology is different than principle: Commitment to the concept of personal liberty (for instance) is a principle; commitment to the notion that unfettered free markets always maximize personal liberty (a la libertarians) is ideology. I don’t mean that ideology is a bad thing, BTW; I just mean that folks for whom ideology is far more important than either principle or pragmatism will lead us in directions that are neither just nor effective. Because American conservatives espouse (even if they don’t actually follow) the ideology that government solutions to social problems are always inferior to market solutions, we’re stuck with unjust, ineffective policies around healthcare, welfare/poverty, wages, etc. It doesn’t matter that Europe, Canada, et al., get better results; THER DOIN’ IT RONG!

    (Kseniya, forgive me for being so didactic. I know you don’t need me to teach you any lessons; my longwinded answer is just another part of my quixotic attempt to lead young Walton to the light.)

  722. #723 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    Kseniya at #721: Cheney utilized “student deferments” – but Clinton was “a serial draft-dodger”? – I didn’t mean it to come over like that. Both of them were draft-dodgers, and both (mis)used student deferments to escape going to Vietnam. It has nothing to do with partisanship or political ideology; it diminishes my respect for both of them.

    Oh, and you DIDN’T know that regime change in Iraq was neocon policy, defined when Clinton was still President? – I was perfectly aware that getting rid of Saddam was a policy goal which many people were advocating as early as the 1991 Gulf War and its aftermath. (Understandably, since Saddam was unquestionably a bastard who killed a lot of his own citizens.) I also know that James Baker advised H.W. Bush, back in the 1991 war, not to go all the way and eliminate Saddam, knowing that Iraq would collapse into insurgency and infighting without the stability of the Baathist regime (as indeed it did). And I’m aware that at the time, some people regretted that Saddam had been left in power. I just hadn’t heard of the “Project for a New American Century”; that doesn’t mean I’m wholly ignorant of the history of American foreign policy.

  723. #724 MAJeff, OM
    June 5, 2008

    Posted by: Walton | June 5, 2008 11:06 AM

    *whoosh*

  724. #725 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    I’ve always insisted that the real ideological difference between left and right is that the left actually believes that government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” while the right treats government as a separate (and generally hostile) entity from “the people.” – That’s not quite how I see it. As a matter of practical reality, the incentive of government bureaucracy is to expand its own power, at the expense of the interests of the people. Bloated government has to be held in check. I think the economic history of my own country (which was nearly destroyed in the 70s due to over-mighty trade unions, bloated nationalised industries and high tax rates) shows that smaller government is generally better. Furthermore, we conservatives also believe that (with a few exceptions) it is better to trust people to run their own lives and make their own decisions, particularly about how to spend their money, than to let government do it for them.

    A government activity is good to the extent that it effectively represents and executes the will of the people… regardless of whether doing so requires a lean, agile office or a large army of civil servants. – True in theory, but not in practice. A huge bloated government employing a “large army of civil servants” cannot be genuinely responsive to the will of the people. And because it isn’t subjected to the pressures of the free market, it has no incentive to be efficient and to avoid wasting money.

    I don’t think, however, that ideological dogma of any sort should be applied to everything across the board. There are some things which government clearly should do, and generally does well. So I would agree that the “small government” principle can be taken too far.

    It doesn’t matter that Europe, Canada, et al., get better results; THER DOIN’ IT RONG! – Speaking as a (reluctant) European, I would question whether we get “better results”. France and Germany, which do practise big-government solutions in general, have huge economic problems (though in Germany this is partly from the stresses of reunification with the former Communist East). I don’t think that the welfarist solutions practised in some European nations, particularly the Scandinavian countries, are actually economically sustainable (and, indeed, the new centre-right “Moderate Party” government in Sweden is starting to dismantle some of their over-mighty government).

    As regards healthcare, don’t be too quick to praise our system and criticise your own. Speaking as someone whose country has a so-called “universal healthcare” system, I can testify that it has its own problems. Yes, inequities of access are remedied to some extent, and obviously we don’t have HMOs with all their attendant problems. But we do have long waiting lists, a poor quality of care in many hospitals (it’s something of a postcode lottery), and a health system which is fast becoming financially unsustainable. Our survival rates for many cancers are far lower than yours, and many cutting-edge treatments don’t become available on the NHS until too late. As for the Canadian health system, where they don’t even allow private healthcare, I am given to understand (I’m sure some Canadians will correct me if this is radically wrong) that there are massive waiting lists for state medical treatment, and that some Canadians are compelled to cross the border and pay for private treatment in the US. (Indeed, I believe there was a Canadian Supreme Court case about it.) So Michael Moore’s Sicko should be taken with a pinch of salt. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt that the American healthcare system has huge problems (everyone acknowledges this). But our system shouldn’t be seen as a panacea.

  725. #726 Janine ID
    June 5, 2008

    Tell that to the women who were oppressed under the Taliban, the apostates who were executed, etc., until we liberated Afghanistan.

    Please tell me about all of the feminist groups that were ignored by mainstream organizations when they kept reporting about the abysmal way women were treated. Please tell about people getting more upset about the blowing up of two buddhist statues. Please tell me about how life for women have not changed in most of Afghanistan. Please tell me about all of the warlords still running who are no better then the Taliban.

    Oh, and please tell me about how the search for Osama bin Laden was waylaid so that the administration could do what they really wanted to do all along, bring down Hussein. And what did Hussein have to do with any of the terrorist attacks you named? Answer without using Rovian talking points.

  726. #727 Janine ID
    June 5, 2008

    (Understandably, since Saddam was unquestionably a bastard who killed a lot of his own citizens.)

    Many of those killed were when Hussein was a US ally, meant to be a balance against post revolution Iran. Please do not use morality as a reason to get rid of Hussein when US foreign policy did not give a flying fuck he was doing this when he was an “ally”.

  727. #728 russell
    June 5, 2008

    Over the course of 700+ posts I’ve been variously disgusted (by pretty much all of his positions) impressed (by his ability to admit, sometimes, when he is wrong) and confused trying to figure out what ties all Walton’s thoughts together. FWIW I think he is basically a fairly bright young man who has yet to throw off the tyranny of idealistic adolescent thought processes that are primarily informed by ignorance of how the world really works. Like when you learn that your sports hero (my score is a paltry 13, BTW), while a great player, is also an asshole. Some of Walton’s positions seem to be faltering as he realizes that reality doesn’t mesh well with his idealism. But mostly not. I suspect that he knows quite a lot, but a lot less than he thinks he knows. Perhaps in time, if he manages to broaden his horizons beyond the cesspools of Coulter and her ilk, as he is doing here.

    There have been many excellent posts helping Walton to see where his idealism, in the light of the real world, is self contradictory or runs on the rocks, but I’d just like to throw in one that stuck out to me: Walton admits that he doesn’t think he has the maturity to pass the officer screening, but seems to feel that he has the maturity to pass judgement on great swathes of social, moral and political thought. Hmm… Interesting.

  728. #729 Nick Gotts
    June 5, 2008

    Walton,

    With regard to health care systems, take a look at comparative statistics for life expectancy and infant mortality.

  729. #730 Kseniya
    June 5, 2008

    Bill, no worries – my knowledge store is limited. I can learn things from just about anybody. Maybe even Kenny!

    Walton:

    I didn’t mean it to come over like that.

    Well, fair enough – but it did, and you can’t take it back. That kind of slant reeks of Limbaugh. Cheney “deferred” his service, while Clinton “dodged” his – and smoked pot while his countrymen died.

    Oh, yeah. That’s balanced.

    As I said, your influences betray you.

    What do you think party-hardy fratboy Dubya was doing during those years, during and after his curtailed stint in the reserves?

    By the way – how do you feel about the shameless GOP attacks against decorated war vet John Kerry during the 2004 campaign? Have you ever heard of Max Cleland? Are you aware of the disgraceful, libelous attacks he was subjected to at the hands of the contemptible Ann Coulter?

    It’s not Coulter’s bizarre views on science that turn “us” off to her, as you’ve speculated. It’s that she’s a mean-spirited wretch who holds nothing sacred beyond her own extended ambitions.

    I just hadn’t heard of the “Project for a New American Century”; that doesn’t mean I’m wholly ignorant of the history of American foreign policy.

    Of course not. Did I say that? No. It did seem, however, that you were saying that you just couldn’t imagine why Bush & Co decided to invade Iraq after bin Laden became (in)conveniently elusive. Apologies if I misread that.

    Hey, Walton, I’m still on your side. If I’m being too edgy, well, sorry. In my defense, I’m sick as a dog and my head is pounding like a bass drum; there are weasels fighting in my sinuses and I’m very cranky – so things that might normally irritate me have become magnified.

    I think this is my cue to crawl back into bed for a while…

  730. #731 windy
    June 5, 2008

    I don’t think that the welfarist solutions practised in some European nations, particularly the Scandinavian countries, are actually economically sustainable (and, indeed, the new centre-right “Moderate Party” government in Sweden is starting to dismantle some of their over-mighty government).

    Modernization of the welfare system started long before the current Swedish government and the changes brought by the present government have been minor. Sweden’s economy continues to grow.

    And if you are worried about sustainability, how can you support “taking the fight to the terrorists”? Is that economically sustainable to the present US government? Bringing up Sweden’s hypothetical unsustainability in the long run and forgetting the real cost of the war on terror is ridiculous.

  731. #732 Bill Dauphin
    June 5, 2008

    Walton:

    You say…

    I don’t think, however, that ideological dogma of any sort should be applied to everything across the board.

    …but your very language…

    Bloated government has to be held in check. …

    A huge bloated government employing a “large army of civil servants” cannot be genuinely responsive to the will of the people. [my emphasis]

    …presupposes the dogmatic view big government activities are by definition “bloated.” I would say that a government activity was bloated if it were bigger than it needed to be to be effective, regardless of how big or small it was; my sense is that conservatives say (and I gather you agree) that any “big” government activity was “bloated,” regardless of how effective it was. You also…

    And because it isn’t subjected to the pressures of the free market, it has no incentive to be efficient and to avoid wasting money.

    …presuppose that your political/economic theories (i.e., that “market pressures” are required to produce efficiency… and that efficiency is the sole proper metric of government effectiveness) represents axiomatic truth, regardless of either results or the concerns of the rest of the people. This sort of elevation of theory over either principle or practicality is precisely what I was talking about in my note to Kseniya.

    And what about “the people”? When you say…

    Furthermore, we conservatives also believe that (with a few exceptions) it is better to trust people to run their own lives and make their own decisions, particularly about how to spend their money, than to let government do it for them.

    …you’re perfectly fulfilling my earlier description of a key distinction between right and left: You say “people,” not “the people,” clearly referring to individuals rather than a synthetic whole, and your syntax clearly places “government” in opposition to “people.”

    Margaret Thatcher famously said “there’s no such thing as society,” and while I know she repudiated that line as having been taking out of context, I think it says something very true about conservativism, whether she meant it that way or not: Conservatives focus exclusively on individuals (and pseudo-individuals like family units and corporations) and think of society (if at all) as an aggregation of individuals rather than any synthetic whole that might be more than the simple sum of its parts.

    That sounds OK in theory, I suppose, but in practical terms it leads to the people in my town who annually vote against the budget because they don’t want to pay for town services they don’t personally use… like public schools, services for the elderly and disabled, relief for the poor, public transportation infrastructure…. As a bleeding-heart, commie-symp liberal, I have this crazy notion that those services benefit the whole community, not just their direct “customers,” and so it’s reasonable that we all share the responsibility for paying for them. So while you might be able to construct a plausible theoretical defense of your ideas about government and taxes, in practice people who think like you are destroying my town. Do you now see why some folks here have been unwilling to just agree to disagree in this thread?

    Whether you believe me or not, I’m really not an ideologue. I don’t (nor do I believe liberals generally do) advocate for government solutions for their own sake; I advocate for solutions that work to advance principles I support. Because many of the things I care about — social, civil, and criminal justice systems; public education; human and civil rights (in which category I include universal access to healthcare); etc. — are unlikely to be profitableinherently good; I’m willing to listen to any solutions that produce good results in line with the principles I’ve described. But your “better idea” needs to work better; don’t tell me it’s “better” based on some abstract notion of philosophical purity.

    If you listen to the healthcare debate in this country, though, you’ll hear conservatives say “You don’t want the government running your healthcare system, do you?” Full stop. As if it were intuitively obvious that government systems are bad. When I hear talk like that, expressing absolutes without any reference to analysis or evidence regarding actual effectiveness, I know I’m listening to an ideologue.

    I’m sure I’m not totally objective on the point, but my observation is that I hear that sort of ideological cant vastly more often from conservatives than from liberals. YMMV.

  732. #733 jane hay
    June 5, 2008

    Looks like Hell will be REALLY REALLY crowded – I guess the Bible’s right about only 100,000 of the Elect being saved in the Last Times. Let’s see…. hypocrites – most every rightwing Republican Xtian; sports fans – everyone in the Red States; porn lovers, fornicators, gamblers – ditto; money-lovers – all the bankers, corporate CEOs and Wall Street tycoons; people who are rational and science-minded; etc.etc.
    OK, just who IS going to be raptured?

  733. #734 BlueIndependent
    June 5, 2008

    “Many of those killed were when Hussein was a US ally, meant to be a balance against post revolution Iran. Please do not use morality as a reason to get rid of Hussein when US foreign policy did not give a flying fuck he was doing this when he was an “ally”.”

    This point cannot be said enough. When we put Hussein in place, it was to stem the supposed rise of communism in Iraq. Surely when we deposed the former elected leader-with-communist-intentions conservatives here praised Hussein for being a strong law-n-order type leading his people away from the clutches of communistic squalor. How convenient that he kept Iran in check, partly by oppressing the Shiite majority in his own country. How convenient then that we supposedly go to liberate them, and in turn liberate the very people most closely related to those we speak so vituperatively about now.

    Using the supposedly moral argument that going into Iraq was a means of liberating the oppressed is wildly dishonest, wildly disingenuous, ignorant in the extreme, convenient to the level of gross opportunism, and 100% wrong in every logical sense.

  734. #735 Kseniya
    June 5, 2008

    Furthermore, we conservatives also believe that (with a few exceptions) it is better to trust people to run their own lives and make their own decisions, particularly about how to spend their money, than to let government do it for them.

    This leads to a paradox, by the way, when “[the] people” decide that the best way to run their own lives, make their own decisions, and manage their spending, is to offload some of those tasks and responsibilities to the government the people have put in place themselves.

    So, Walton – you conservatives trust [the] people to make their own decisions only as far as those decisions agree with your own?

    Please reconcile. TYVM.

  735. #736 Grammar RWA
    June 5, 2008

    Walton, instead of yelling I would like to ask a favor of you: read this book with an open mind: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/

  736. #737 Kseniya
    June 5, 2008

    Good comment, there, Bill.

    “You don’t want the government running your healthcare system, do you?” Full stop. As if it were intuitively obvious that government systems are bad.

    Play MadLib with that one:

  737. “You don’t want the government running your revenue collection system, do you?”
  738. “You don’t want the government running your election system, do you?”
  739. “You don’t want the government running your food and drug safety regulation system, do you?”
  740. “You don’t want the government running your securities and exchange oversight and regulation system, do you?”
  741. “You don’t want the government running your judicial system, do you?”
  742. “You don’t want the government running your military system, do you?”

    And so on. Of course, there’s no reason why one cannot shout “Hell, no!” or “Hell, yes!” to any one or all of these, but playing this game yields some absurdities, not the least of which is the conclusion that we’d be better off with no government at all. Because, you know, we know what’s best and because unfettered free-market capitalism invariably produces the best quality of life for the greatest number of people.

    Errr… right?

  • #738 Kseniya
    June 5, 2008

    When we put Hussein in place, it was to stem the supposed rise of communism in Iraq

    How ironic, given the identity of Saddam’s #1 role model.

  • #739 Bachalon
    June 5, 2008

    Walton, a few things.

    I apologize for taking the tone I did with you earlier, but it’s frustrating to listen to someone with know experience speak like that. I stand by what I said, though with substantially less “fucks.”

    Second, if you want to hit me up personally, my e-mail is bachalon@gmail.com, and I can be reached via AIM as “detrs is my name.” I’d be delighted to get some one on one with you outside of here. I’m not looking to debate or argue, though I can’t promise that won’t happen.

    Last, and this is the most important part.

    While you’re attending your leadership institute thing, I want you to do me a favor (which is part of the reason why I want to hit you up in private): I want you to try and find a graceful way to bring up all the positions you are moderate about. I want you to look at the reaction you get. If you are unable to find a good way to bring those up, do it anyway.

    I want you to pay attention to the reasoning why they will almost surely disagree with you. I want you pay attention to how they treat you from then on.

    Even more important still, I want you to remember this: if you do not bring that up, if you hear something with which you not only disagree but strongly disagree with and you say nothing, you are complicit for helping to promote something you oppose.

    There was a slogan used by many gay and lesbian people in the 80s.

    That slogan is “silence = death.” You may not understand that now, but I want you to do this for me.

    And I want you to remember that when you’re being attacked for your moderate views by people you consider to be your brethren.

  • #740 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    (To Bachalon) What, so you’re suggesting that, at the LI conference, in discussing issues with American Republicans, I purposefully try to bring up the few narrow areas in which I disagree with them (such as gay marriage or creationism in schools)?

    The problem with this plan is that those kind of moral issues mostly boil down to religious beliefs. My religious beliefs are nowhere near as strong as those of the average US Republican, and I’m not keen on the idea of imposing them on others through governmental action. But someone who fervently believes in an evangelical Protestant position, who believes young-earth creationism to be the scientific truth, and who thinks homosexuality is a sin (all of which will doubtless be the beliefs of some attenders at the conference), is not going to be able to debate those issues with me in a constructive way, because there isn’t any common ground from which to debate. Ultimately, it isn’t really possible to have a secular argument about gay civil partnerships, for instance. There are no good secular reasons for opposing same-sex civil partnerships; only religious reasons. Either one shares the religious beliefs which lead to such opposition, or one doesn’t; and I personally don’t. So I don’t see what good that kind of argument would do.

    Surely the Republican party is a broad church (so to speak) with room for all kinds of different views? (As I recall, ex-Senator Lincoln Chafee didn’t even support Bush’s re-election in 2004.)

  • #741 Sven DiMilo
    June 5, 2008

    Such freakin tedium.
    If you want to know where Walton is coming from, count the number of first-person pronouns in #706. Or in pretty much any of his comments, for that matter.
    A more self-absorbed, narcissistic commenter I hope never to virtually meet.
    I’m curious as to why folks choose to interact with this guy. At least Kenny was fun to tease. For a little while.
    (But why should I care? A: I shouldn’t. Probabaly shouldn’t even post this one, but just once more and then no more commenting about other commenters. Hold me to it!)

  • #742 BlueIndependent
    June 5, 2008

    “Surely the Republican party is a broad church (so to speak) with room for all kinds of different views?”

    That would be mostly incorrect, at the very least from a national standpoint. Maybe in smaller places it’s a bigger tent, but that is not the case nationally, and they sure don’t let on that they are a particularly big tent. The current republican party consists of three groups: rabid capitalists, neo-cons (what people in Europe and Australia call neo-liberals), and religious conservatives. These three groups have allied to control economic, social and foreign policy, to deleterious ends I might add. Rarely has a republican been forward-thinking in his/her stances (Teddy, Eisenhower, even Nixon to a degree), and they have quite nearly fully divested themselves from any sort of policy stance that is remotely mainstream. Party loyalty is prized first above pretty much anything, and being a party member while not towing a particular policy line is practically heresy, punishable by their form of excommunication. Many current republicans are perfectly happy thinning the party’s ranks of anyone that even voices dissention from major stances, such as pro-choice sympathies. And I am not making these things up; I have heard these things from republicans.

    It is quite rare to find an atheist republican, and if you do, he/she is a libertarian moonlighting with a party that actually wins elections. It is also quite rare to find a pro-choice republican, for nearly the same reasons.

    The Democratic party on the other hand has always had a bigger tent politically speaking, and has nearly always been more diverse ethnically and politically.

  • #743 Walton
    June 5, 2008

    To BlueIndependent at #742: So, in your opinion as an American voter, and taking into account the statement which I’ve already made of my own views and principles, do you think I’d be better off (in a US context) identifying as a conservative Democrat than as a moderate Republican?

  • #744 Ichthyic
    June 5, 2008

    I think I will drop back a little more into lurk mode for a while, lots of things to do and my head needs to be clear.

    oh, no worries, I completely understand, and I think you would find all the regulars understand that as well.

    In fact, I would suggest avoiding even lurking here; the temptation of SIWOTI is just too strong if you have other things you need to be doing.

    just put it away for a while and come back in a couple weeks.

    you WILL feel better about it.

    seriously, this place is like a good pub, and the “alcohol” is good conversation, and throwing darts.

    I’ve heard it compared to smoking crack.
    :P

  • #745 Bachalon
    June 5, 2008

    Fuck it.

    Walton, I’m not going to lead your hand to the point I’m trying to make.

    Here’s the deal: if you’re not going to make some attempt to engage your allies about things upon which you disagree, if you keep your mouth shut, then you are complicit in anything they do.

    If you’re not going to try and convince people otherwise then you have no right to say “not all conservatives believe this.”

    If you’re not going to try, then anything they do in the name of conservatism, in your name, can be laid as much on your feet as theirs. If you keep quiet, you are passively supporting things you claim you disagree with.

    If you’re not going to try, then you have forfeited any right to complain that I am now telling you that you have just become my enemy.

  • #746 Forrest
    June 5, 2008

    And as for the question on “sports fans”…I think all commenters on that so far have misunderstand this just a bit…surely they only mean to condemn those who participate in fantasy sports activities