Scientists recently noticed a ice sheet the size of 11,000 football fields broke free from Canada's Ellesmere Island 16 months ago. The cause isn't precisely known, but most scientists suspect that record high temperatures in the Arctic as a result of global warming are to blame.
Considering the Arctic ice pack is 90% smaller than it was in 1906, what more will it take to convince Bush to take action? Could the Republican party and he quit distorting science long enough to address this threat to our future? It might hurt corporations in the short term, but it's better than the devastation our economy would suffer if the worst case scenarios came to pass. Global Warming is very real, and everyone needs to wake up to its dangers, otherwise this comfortable world we live in will change. If fact, it might be too late, but hopefully we can keep it from getting too bad.
Check out the CNN article on the topic here.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Scientists recently noticed a ice sheet the size of 11,000 football fields broke free from Canada's Ellesmere Island 16 months ago. The cause isn't precisely known, but most scientists suspect that record high temperatures in the Arctic as a result of global warming are to blame.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
This blog is now a member of the Athiest Blogroll maintained by Mojoey over at a Deep Thoughts. You can see a list of the entire blogroll at the bottom of the sidebar to the right. There's some excellent sites over there, so if you're an an atheist or just want to enjoy some free thought, check it out. If you'd like to get your blog added to the blogroll, just click on the icon at the top of the list and follow the insructions. Enjoy!
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has reported on a troubling development in one of the nation's premier national parks. Bush political appointees have applied pressure to the staff of Grand Canyon National Park, forcing them to refrain from saying anything about the landform's age.
“In order to avoid offending religious fundamentalists, our National Park Service is under orders to suspend its belief in geology,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “It is disconcerting that the official position of a national park as to the geologic age of the Grand Canyon is ‘no comment.’”
Furthermore, the Park's bookstore, which law and park policy dictates must act like a public school, stocks the book Grand Canyon: A Different View, a Creationist book claiming that the Grand Canyon was formed by waters from Noah's great flood. The park's superintendent tried to remove the book from the store's shelves, but was halted by political park officials who promised to review the book's content. Three years on, the book remains on shelves and thre review has still not occurred.
Why does a national park have to worry about offending fundamentalists? Now that they've done this, they're offending people who can think for themselves. At least with the naturalistic stance, they had a view supported by evidence geologic evidence. If fundamentalists don't like the facts, that's what they get for refusing to acknowledge them. Maybe they'll learn something instead of using a book written in the Bronze Age for scienific knowledge.
As for removing the Biblically-inspired book from the park's bookstore, I'm all for it. Normally, I'd be against censorship, but since the park legally acts as a public school, then it must remain secular. The government cannot respect a religious establishment in this manner. It's unconstitutional.
Check out PEER's article here.
Update: It has since come to light that PEER was dishonest in regards to their "no comment" claim. Read more here.
Friday, December 29, 2006
With the legal death of Intelligent Design as a result of the Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board ruling, the current trend within Creationist circles is to “teach the controversy” surrounding evolution. Creationist organizations such as the Discovery Institute in
Next, one needs to look at what exactly constitutes a theory. Perhaps Creationists don’t know what “theory” means in scientific terms. However, I doubt this, and it seems more likely that organizations such as the Discovery Institute want to exploit the public’s misunderstanding of science for their own purposes. The word “theory” has significantly different meanings between its uses in science and common English. In English, a theory is nothing more than a guess. This fits closer to the scientific term hypothesis. In science, a theory is an explanation for natural phenomena that is supported by a large amount of empirical evidence. Furthermore, theories can never be proven right, but they can be falsified. However, no evidence has come to light proving evolution to be false. Scientists have certainly tried, but any hypotheses against evolution have quickly been ruled out. Furthermore, the evidence for evolution continues to grow. The fossil record supports it. Genetics supports it. Advances and discoveries in modern medicine support it (the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, for example). I could continue, but the fact remains that it would take a monumental discovery to debunk evolution. Just to give you an idea of the type of find it would take, British scientist J.B.S. Haldane famously said it would take “fossil rabbits in the Precambrian” to falsify the theory of evolution.
Now, if schools have to put stickers in biology books saying “evolution is just a theory,” then those same schools had better put stickers in physics books saying “gravity is just a theory,” too. Like evolution, the theory of gravity describes an observed, natural phenomena. However, scientists have no idea what actually causes gravity. A great number of hypotheses exist, but no evidence has been found to support any of them. In some ways, evolution is better understood than gravity because we know the mechanisms behind it.
As for Intelligent Design, it is not a theory at all. It breaks the cardinal rule that all scientific theories must adhere to: it cannot be falsified. We cannot observe the supernatural “Intelligent Designer,” therefore, it is impossible to prove or disprove its existence, which makes Intelligent Design (and its parent, Creationism) outside the realm of science and reason.
The next time someone tells you “evolution is just a theory,” please educate them and tell them: “At least it deserves the status of theory, unlike Intelligent Design or Creationism, which do not even adhere to the conventions of science.”
Science defeats the forces of ignorance once again! I'm a little behind the times in finding this one, but check out this CNN article about the Cobb County school board's decision to stop placing stickers in biology textbooks stating that "evolution is just a theory."
Dr. James Dobson (pictured), founder of the fundamental Christian organization Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, recently wrote an opinion piece in Time magazine concerning the news that Mary Cheney, Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, is pregnant and intends to raise the child with her female partner. In the article, Dobson cites the research of Carol Gilligan, a profesor at NYU, for proof that children need a mother and a father. In it, he states that Prof. Gilligan found that "mothers tend to stress sympathy, grace and care to their children, while fathers accent justice, fairness and duty. Moms give a child a sense of hopefulness; dads provide a sense of right and wrong and its consequences. Other researchers have determined that boys are not born with an understanding of "maleness." They have to learn it, ideally from their fathers."
That seems like fair enough evidence I suppose. Except it's not what Prof. Gilligan's research said at all. She wrote an angry letter to Dobson demanding that he not cite her work anymore because he had severely distorted her findings. There's even a video on YouTube that features her disputing Dobson's article (you can see it here).
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of same-sex couples raising children (personally, I'm not even sure where I stand. I'd like to see more, unbiased studies on the matter), lying to prove a point is simply dispicable. Furthermore, it seems un-Christian to me. As a nonbeliever, I might not be the best authority on the subject, but isn't the 9th Commandment "Thou shalt not lie"? Dr. Dobson, you just committed a sin you hypocrite by distorting science for your own means (and it wouldn't be the first time).
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Science is a subject near and dear to my heart because I feel it is our greatest and only hope for truly understanding the world around us. It may not know everything, and it never will, but it has paved the way to our modern, technologically advanced society and allows us to better understand each other and our place in the universe. Now, when someone messes with it, I get angry.
Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science made me very angry. It it, Mooney lays out a well-documented essay on how the Republican Party has ignored or distorted science for its own purposes since it took control of Congress in 1994. He shows how Republicans have repeatedly ignored scientific findings on important topics such as global warming, obesity, and wildlife protection in order to pander to big business lobbyists. Mooney shows how Republicans' insistence on using "sound science" is actually anything but and makes it almost impossible for science to work the way it's supposed to. Mooney also laments the encroaching influence of religion on science education through intelligent design, a subject very near and dear to my heart. Finally, Mooney looks at how religious "morality" has interferred with protecting this country's youth from the dangers of STDs and stalled the life-saving potential of stem cell research by using fake science to distort the facts.
In summary, Mooney's The Republican War on Science is an excellent expose on the dangers of politicized science and documents (with notes you can verify, unlike Ann Coulter) the Republican Party's efforts to destroy science for political purposes. Furthermore, it shows how the government's actions are hurting America's lead in science and giving other nations a chance to surpass us, which I feel is an unmistakable sign of our decline as a world power. If you're a fan of science and concerned about it's future in America, I recommend picking this one up.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The following is a debate a couple of others and I had with a fundamentalist Christian (I think, he never said what he was) on the response page of one of DefCon's blog posts. It gives you an idea of the irrationality of refusal to listen we're dealing with. By the way, Carson is the person responsible for my Quote of the Week.
I want to address the RR's insistance that we live in a time of uncontrolled immorality. They always harken back to a "better past" where people followed God's word, never had premarital sex, or took drugs.
I have a theory here. I’m sorry that I do not have much data to support it, but I think the argument speaks for itself. The reason things “seem” so much worse is because of the growth of the media and the internet. Nowadays, information reaches us faster than ever, and we have a vast repository of information at our fingertips. In my grandparents’ day, they didn’t have that. They’d see the news at the movie theater in clips such as “The March of Time.” It would condense a weeks worth of news into a ten minute clip. At home, all my grandparents had was a radio that only recieved a few stations. Most of those stations were only concerned with local news and major national events. The “immoral” activities of the nation were not important enough to make local headlines and were therefore discarded.
Furthermore, a recent study has shown that 95% of all Americans have premarital sex, and that trend has held steady since the 1950s at least, when the study was started. This trend probably goes back much farther. Futhermore, alochol is just another form of drug, and there has been rampant alcoholism throughout our counrty's history. It’s my theory that things are much the same now as it always has been in America. We just "feel" like it's worse now because information travels much faster and in far greater quantities. The “moral past” is a mythical age that never actually existed.
Here’s a CNN article discussing the study I referenced.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
William Dembski, a mathematician and one of the leading proponents of intelligent design has proven that he has way too much time on his hands. He created this flash animation which features Judge Jones (the Judge who ruled against intelligent design in Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board) being a puppet of evil “Darwinists.” The funny thing is that all Dembski did was read snippets from Judge Jones’ decision and sped it up as if a high pitched voice makes the points any less valid. It even had fart noises in its original version, but Dembski toned it down because too many people made fun of him for it.
In his defense, Dembski wrote on his blog, Uncommon Descent, “In most if not all of the comments from the anti-ID crowd they focus on the farting sounds or what Judge Jones is actually saying. They entirely miss the point being made. The point is that what the judge is saying aren’t his own words. They’re the words he was given by the people pulling his string. In other words, he’s nothing but a talking doll mindlessly repeating verbiage supplied by others.” Sorry Dembski, Judge Jones repeated the points because they’re the only valid arguments he heard during the trial. He is allowed to repeat what he heard if he agrees.
Of course, you need to understand Dembski, first. He feels he is a poor, persecuted scientist who will help start a new revolution in science just like Galileo. Here are some of his quotes:
“Just as a tree that has been "rimmed" (i.e., had its bark completely cut through on all sides) is effectively dead even if it retains its leaves and appears alive, so Darwinism has met its match with the movement initiated by Phillip Johnson. Expect Darwinism's death throes, like Judge Jones's decision, to continue for some time. But don't mistake death throes for true vitality. Ironically, Judge Jones's decision is likely to prove a blessing for the intelligent design movement, spurring its proponents to greater heights and thereby fostering its intellectual vitality and ultimate success.”
“Taking a longer view, I think
“Ann [Coulter] is taking Phillip Johnson's message as developed in DARWIN ON TRIAL and REASON IN THE BALANCE and bringing it home to the masses. Critics will dismiss it for its hyperbole, lack of nuance, and in-your-face attitude. But she has the gist just right, which is that materialism (she calls it liberalism) dominates our culture despite being held by only a minority of the populace and has become an agenda among our elites (academy, scientists, media) for total worldview reprogramming.”
“The pressures directed against frontline ID proponents are real. From your armchair, it is easy enough to say that we need simply to get to work. But families and livelihoods really are under threat by these Darwinian fascists, and when our days are spent trying to shore up the latter, the former does not get done.”
That last one makes me laugh. So shoring up the latter means you spend your time making flash videos with juvenile humor? And still no peer-reviewed articles this year on intelligent design? Dembski, get back to work. Or can you finally admit that there is nothing to work on because ID is not testable in any sense and, therefore, not science?
“My answer to my kid being forced fed prayer?
No I have no problem with the school requesting that my child pray with the rest of the class.
Now if he were forced to pray to a Allah then I would have a problem with that.”
- Response from a fundamentalist Christian on DefCon's comments page. Is he so blinded by his faith that he is incapable of seeing an issue from the other side?
CNN has reported on a recent study that shows 95% of Americans engage in premarital sex. If that isn't proof that abstinence-only education won't work, then nothing is. Clearly, Americans are going to have sex whether you tell them to or not. Not teaching them anything about contraceptives, or teaching that contraceptives are harmful, is criminal in my mind. If the RR wants to reduce teen pregnancies and abortions, then they need to face reality and actually educate children on the propery way to prevent pregnancies. Of course, the RR operates in a dreamworld of magic, and everyone knows that reality has a strong liberal bias.
To read the CNN article, click here.
The following is from www.thinkprogress.org:
Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) issued a letter to constituents earlier this month in which he declares, “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States” if we do not adopt “strict immigration policies.” The letter was inadvertently sent to a local progressive activist, who shared it with the C-Ville Weekly newspaper.
In the letter, Goode references the election of Muslim Rep.-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), and warns “American citizens” to “wake up” or “there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office”:
I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran.
At another point in the letter, Goode describes telling a “Muslim student” who “came by my office” that the Koran will never be hung on his office wall:
The Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall in my office. A Muslim student came by the office and asked why I did not have anything on my wall about the Koran. My response was clear, “As long as I have the honor of representing the citizens of the 5th District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives, The Koran is not going to be on the wall of my office.”
Goode’s bigoted views are no secret, and he uses them to justify more than his hardline immigration policy. Earlier this year, he announced that he opposed increasing the minimum wage because it would “be a magnet for illegal aliens to come to this country. We do not need a strong magnet to lure illegals here.”
This is downright scary. How can an elected representative even think he could get away with garbage like this? This is bigoted hatred and Orwellian scare tactics. Goode is using existing fear of Islam in an attempt to subvert our rights and further the RR's dream of making fundamental Christianity the state religion. We as citizens cannot stand for this. Hopefully, Goode gets his ass voted out of office in '08. Retard.
I just have one question: Rep. Goode, why do you hate freedom?
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Here's an informative documentary from the BBC that thoroughly explains the End Time movement I discussed in brief a couple posts down. Frightening stuff (and not because I think Revelations will come true).
Here’s a disgusting story from the New York Times. In
This disgusts me to no end. First off, what about the students who are not Christian? What are they to think? Public schools are not a place for preaching, EVER. To do otherwise is unconstitutional, i.e. illegal. Religion must stop at the door and remain a private decision.
What’s worse is that the student was chided by the school and he even received death threats after bringing his teacher’s statements to the press. Christian love, eh?
The last disturbing part of this story is that the class was on the US Constitution. How can a teacher explain a document when he clearly doesn't understand it? *sigh*
First, let me tell you who End Timers are. They are the bulk of the evangelical right who believe that the book of Revelations accurately predicts the second coming of Jesus. When this happens there will be plagues, natural disasters, genocide, war, etc. Luckily for Christians, they think they’ll be “ruptured” into heaven to dance and party with Jesus until the end of time. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the Antichrist will call all the nonbelievers to his side to destroy the remaining Christians (poor bastards, I guess they didn’t believe enough in the first place). Luckily, Jesus will come back in seven years as a superhero and smite the forces of the Antichrist, judge all of humanity, and then reign on Earth for the next thousand years. And it’s all going to start in the next fifty years. Don’t believe me? Read the Left Behind series by Tim Lahay. This money grubber lays it out exactly how fundamental Christians think it will happen.
The problem with prophecy is that it can become self-fulfilling. Evangelicals today want to do everything they can to hasten Jesus’ return. They support war in the Middle East, refuse to allow
The idea of the Rapture first appeared in the 1800s. It’s not an ancient belief at all. Furthermore, the author of Revelations was writing for a contemporary audience. The Christians of the time rightly feared the Romans and believed that Jesus was going to come back and destroy the
Because of the control the RR (Religious Right) has on our government (not to mention our born again President) through the Republican Party, this belief in the End Time permeates through government policy. Bush rejected the Kyoto Treaty to stop global warming, and believes that he is doing God’s work in
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
What could be better than teaching your child that violence is okay as long as you do it in the name of Jesus? Everyone knows that nonbelievers are going to hell anyway! Why don't we help them along?
Amazingly, that's the basic idea behind the new PC game Left Behind: Eternal forces. Based on the overly popular books by money-grubber Tim LaHey, the game follows the events in the Book of Revelations along the narrow and completely unfounded interpretation favored by born again Christians. The game takes place in New York in the not too distant future and the goal is to convert as many people as possible to the born again variety of Christianity to make America into a Christian theocracy ready for Jesus' return. For those that don't join you, the answer is simple: kill them.
While advocates of the game argue that the game punishes players for unwonton killing by reducing "spirit points," a player has no choice but to kill the unending hoards of the Anti-Christ's Global Community Peacekeepers, which is closely modelled on the United Nations. But hey, at least it doesn't show any blood.
Furthermore, the game features between mission "factiods" meant to debunk anti-Jesus ideologies such as evolution (for my thoughts on this matter, click here). So, besides simply endorsing religiously-inspired violence, it also tries to convert people. Great.
For me, this is terrifying. It teaches children and teenagers that it is okay to kill people for not sharing their same beliefs. Now, I'm all for freedom of expression, but all I'm saying is don't buy this hateful piece of garbage.
Besides, it's a terrible game. Just read some of the reviews. Terrible controls, terrible graphics, terrible AI, terrible message. Enough said.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Sam Harris' The End of Faith challenges us to take a hard look at religion in the modern world and wonder why we still refuse to apply reason and evidence to it when we require rationality for any other subject of debate. As Harris argues (and I agree), we need to make this change sooner rather than later because Iron Age beliefs can quickly become the means to our extinction in an age of nuclear weapons.
Harris initially confronts the most obvious religious problem in the world today: militant Islam. His main point is that all Islam is militant and not a religion of peace. For proof, one simply needs to read the Koran where every single book has calls for Muslims to kill infidels. It's refreshing to see an author confront the truth of the matter rather than skirting the issue and saying the Islam has been "hijacked by radicals." Only with the true nature of the problem in sight can we even try to address the problem.
However, Harris does not limit himself to Islam. He turns equally against Christianity and shows how destructive of an influence it has become in the US. Many of his arguments can be found throughout this blog. Correctly arguing that no modern Christian derives thier morality from the literal word of the Bible, Harris makes a plea for people of faith to confront the true issues of the day with reason rather than outdated poetry and realize that clinging to religious dogma would be considered a sign of insanity if only everyone else wasn't doing it. Consider the following quote from The End of Faith: "Jesus Christ - who, as it turns out, was born of a virgin, cheated death and rose bodily into the heavens - can now be eaten in the form of a cracker. A few Latin words spoken over your favourite burgundy, and you can drink his blood as well. Is there any doubt that a lone subscriber to these beliefs would be considered mad?" I just hope enough Christians can get the message. I doubt they will, but The End of Faith will at least provide rational people with quality ammunition to argue their point.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
This is an excellent documentary (from which the Ted Haggard clip came) by Richard Dawkins, an Oxford professor and scientist. In it, he argues that religion does more harm than good in the modern world. I don't necessarily agree with his call for complete atheism, but I do think he's correct about the ignorance and hatred that comes from blind faith and organized religion. All in all, it's an interesting look at the rise of intolerant religion in the modern world. I'll post part 2 shortly.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Even though he might sound a bit extreme in his views, Kieth Olbermann of MSNBC makes some excellent arguments concerning how President Bush has basically trashed the Constitution to do what he wants and how we have allowed him to do it. It's good stuff. As I said before, hopefully the change we voted for in Congress will have an effect.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Check out this clip from an interview with Ted Haggard (the conservative pastor from Colorado Springs' New Life Church who turned out to be gay). It's amazing how he tries to invoke science while not understanding anything about it. He obviously has no idea that using the Bible as a source of scientific thought does not follow the scientific method at all. No wonder it's so hard to argue with people like this. I also love the reaction of the interviewer. It's pretty much the same as mine would have been.
Finally, the American people voiced thier disgust with the policies of the Republican-controlled government and voted them out of control of Congress, proving that the Religious Right is a majority in this country. Only time will tell, but hopefully the Democrats will reverse our country's course and once again bring rationality to the government. I guess we'll see once the new Congressmen take office in January.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
A new study has shown that only 18 percent of Americans support abstinence-only sex education. This is just more proof that the Religious Right is terribly out of touch with mainstream America. Now people just need to vote and show that the Christian Right truly is a monority and that their sway over the Republican party will no longer be tolerated.
Please, go to your local polling station today and voice your opinion. If you want a change, by all means, vote for change, and help steer the country off the dangerous course it has begun to take under the Religious Right-controlled Congress. It's your right, so exercise it!
Monday, November 06, 2006
"Guns have little or nothing to do with juvenile violence. The causes of youth violence are working parents who put their kids into daycare, the teaching of evolution in the schools, and working mothers who take birth control pills."
–Tom DeLay, Former House Majority Leader, on causes of the Columbine High School massacre, 1999
Saturday, November 04, 2006
You gotta love it when a leading Conservative Christian goes gay-bashing and then you find out that he was having sex with a male prostitute at the same time. On Friday, a man came forward claiming to have been paid to have sex with Ted Haggard, leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and a leading member of the National Association of Evangelicals. If true, maybe some congregations of the Religious Right will actually think twice about listening to the hypocritical hate that their leaders spout on a regular basis and start to think for themselves. But I doubt it. They'll probably just crucify Haggard and eagerly eat up whatever his successor has to say, no matter how ignorant or hateful his beliefs are. For more information, click here.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
If you haven't heard the ignorant, hateful, and arrogant crap that spews from this woman's mouth...well, I'll let you see for yourself. Whatever you do, don't give this woman money and buy her books.
One of the most bizarre parts of the Religious Right’s current political efforts is their victim mentality. They feel that godless liberals in the government have been waging a literal “war” against everything Christians stand for and want to destroy Christianity as a faith by pushing Christians to sin (if you need proof, just look at this fundraising letter from the Traditional Values Coalition). Conservative Christians argue that when the various courts in the nation support gay marriage and abortion, they are actually trying to destroy the faith and values of Christians throughout the country.
If you ask me, that’s a stupid argument. The courts have never forced anyone to marry another person of the same sex or forced expecting mothers to go through an abortion. They have simply given people the choice to do so. That’s what freedom is all about. If you don’t like it then don’t do it. Don’t blame others for your problems.
Furthermore, the Religious Right needs to stop arguing that the 1st Amendment requires the government to legislate in favor of Conservative Christian values. More than anything, it looks extremely ignorant because that’s exactly what the 1st Amendment prohibits. However, it’s always dangerous to label someone as stupid, so don’t think the leadership of the Religious Right doesn’t know what it’s doing. Fear has always been the most powerful political motivator in history. Just look at the events following 9/11. The populace supported
Conservative Christians’ victim mentality has gone so far that they have an interesting obsession with the idea that they are “soldiers” battling for the survival of their faith. I was watching the unsettling preview for the documentary Jesus Camp (you can see it here), and it shows just how martial the Religious Right has become. I wonder how many of them realize that they are “battling” to limit their own freedom. Can’t they see that government favoritism towards religion can quickly turn against them if another religious group rises to prominence and dominates the government in the same way the Christian Right hopes to dominate it themselves? Then they’d actually see a real rather than imagined assault on their faith.
The Christian Right needs to take a step back and realize just how free they are, stop blaming others for their problems, and quit acting like the government’s courts have been picking on them. The government does not tell any religious group in this nation how to conduct itself and (theoretically) should only step in when a religious group is harming others. Perhaps the change needs to come from within the Religious Right movement itself when its members demand that their leaders stop misleading them and stop distorting the way the American government operates. Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen, so the rest of us need to do what we can and keep this minority from dominating our lives the way they would like to.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
A recent global study has found that promiscuity does not lead to higher rates of STDs and people are not having sex at a younger age than ever before. I guess the Religious Right will have to pull out their "rogue" scientists once again to come up with different data if they want to keep supporting their scare tactic that sex before marriage spreads STDs. That, or quit trying to use fake science for political reasons and actually listen. Alas, I suppose I ask too much.
Click here to see the MSNBC article on the study's findings.
Before I get much farther with this blog, I want to stress that my main problem with the Religious Right is not that they are Christian. I firmly believe in freedom of religion and the idea that people can worship however they want as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. I don’t even care about the Religious Right’s specific beliefs. It’s their right to believe whatever they want. My problem with them is that they want to illegally change the government along Biblical lines. Their goal is to force the rest of the country to govern itself through a strict interpretation of the Bible, which is inherently unconstitutional, i.e. illegal. In other words, they want the Bible to be legally more important than the Constitution. This would mean that no laws could be made contrary to the dictates of the Bible, and the nation’s courts would have to use the Bible before the Constitution to determine the ruling of a case. In a nutshell, the whole purpose of this blog is to speak out against the Christian Right’s effort to remake the
If you’re a Christian, a Biblically-based theocracy might not be so bad. But what if you’re not a Christian? What’s to stop the government from throwing you in jail for heresy? The answer is nothing, because the Bible says that Christianity is the only true way to know God (i.e. the only permissible religion), and if the Bible is superior to the Constitution, then it comes before the Bill of Rights. In the end, a government ruled by the Bible will become nothing more than a Christian Taliban, controlled by a small group of people who use the interpretation of an ancient, contradictory book to set laws.
Now, I seriously doubt it would ever get that bad, but it’s terribly important to maintain the separation of church and state within this country to preserve our freedoms. Unfortunately, many Christian Conservatives argue that the framers founded the US as a Christian nation for Christians and many in the Christian Right actually state that the framers never intended for there to be any separation. Not only is this false, but it’s a distortion of history. The idea that the framers came from a fundamentalist Christian background is laughable. The framers were the products of the Enlightenment, not a church. Benjamin Franklin was basically an atheistic scientist. Thomas Jefferson was Christian, but of the Deist variety (the idea that the world is a machine and god only set it in motion). He even published a version of the Bible that had all the miracles removed because he felt they were nothing but superstition. Like
Then we come to the next major misunderstanding of the Religious Right. One of their favorite claims is that the separation of church and state is not specified in the Constitution, which is completely false. It might not say the exact words “separation of church and state”, but the 1st Amendment does say: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise, thereof.” Now, if the government had to adhere to the Bible for its legislation and judicial decisions, then it would definitely be respecting the establishment of Christianity, making it unconstitutional. The specified separation seems obvious to me.
Unfortunately, Conservative Christian organizations don’t appear to see it. For example, the Traditional Values Coalition, a major supporter of President Bush, specifies on the values page of their website: “Bible-based traditional values are what created and have preserved our nation. We will lose our freedoms if we reject these values” (click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to see it for yourself). This statement is completely self-contradictory because if the government only recognizes Bible-based values, then we limit our freedom to believe in other values.
Finally, Conservative Christians seem irrationally worried that there is a coordinated assault against Christians in this country. They feel that the government has forced them towards sin and immorality by supporting or refusing to legislate against issues such as abortion, gay marriage, etc. They quickly refer to the 1st Amendment, demanding that the government protect them by making the Christian Right’s values law. However, there’s nothing stopping them from preaching these values to their congregations—it’s a freedom guaranteed to them under the 1st Amendment—and they need to stop forcing them on others who don’t share their beliefs and stop blaming others for their sins. The major problem the Religious Right fails to see in their actions is that if the 1st Amendment is destroyed in favor of the Bible, then the government can dictate what they can and cannot say to their congregations. I seriously doubt any church leader would want that.
In closing, this is not a general attack against Christians or even the Republican Party. I fully understand that the majority of Christians are moderate and believe in the ideals of the Constitution and that the fundamentalist movement is a relatively small group (although it has grown enormously in recent years). Unfortunately, the low voter turnout in this country has allowed the better organized groups to advance their interests far above the others. In the last couple of decades, the Religious Right has been one of the best organized groups and has convinced a vast majority of their followers to vote, thereby skewing the results in their favor, which forces politicians to cater to their interests. Just look at the change in the he Republican Party. It used to be severely moderate, but during the Regan years it saw an opportunity to gain power through the high voter turnout amongst the Religious Right and continues to strengthen its ties with them. That’s not to say the Republicans are evil for it. I’m sure the Democrats would have done the same if they could have adjusted their agenda enough to appeal to the Religious Right. I simply want to stress the dangerous direction in which the Christian Right has pushed this nation. They need to stop trying to force their beliefs on others and realize that their actions could quickly erode their own freedom as well. In the end, theocracy hurts everyone.