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The man who called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who concurred with scumbag Jerry Falwell that 9/11 was his monstrous god’s retribution for the actions of the ACLU, feminists, pagans, gays and lesbians, abortionists and secularists, who gave credit to Ariel Sharon’s stroke to his monstrous despot of a god, who consorted with former presidents Charles Taylor of Liberia and Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (both internationally denounced for human rights violations), who lied about sending relief aid to Liberia (for which he was given mining rights by Taylor) but instead was smuggling diamond mining equipment in Operation Blessings aircraft, is at it again.

Pat Roberson weighs in on why he thinks Haitians deserve the tragedy that is unfolding in Port-au-Prince:

And you know, Christy [the nodding yes-woman talking head to his right whose sole purpose it seems is to make Pat look intelligent – and fails], something happened in Haiti a long time ago, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French – uh, you know, Napoleon the third – and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, “We will serve you if you get us free from the French.” True story [This story isn’t in any book on the histiory of the Carribean I’ve ever read…]. And so, the Devil said, “Okay. It’s a deal.” And, uh, they kicked the French out of – you know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free [And I thought it was the Devil, Pat!].

But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other – desperately poor. The island of Hispanola is one island [Hence the singular “island”. Duh!], cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti and on the other side is the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resources [But, lucky for them, no diamonds…]. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island!

They need to have – and we need to pray for them – a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come. But right now we’re helping the suffering people and is unimaginable.

The histories of Haiti and the DR rapidly diverged following French withdrawl, which is the real source of difference between the two and not the Devil, Pat. Having been to the DR, I would say that it is definitely better off than what I know of Haiti, but I wouldn’t call it affluent. But, two countries having different histories – must be the Devil! Or some such illogic… And what of all the believers who are as equally affected by the earthquake as the non-believers (very few of those in that part of the world, actually…)? Pat, your murdering god isn’t all that discriminating. Funny, that. You view world events through a warped lens, where everything is interpreted in terms of how events affect people. Good outcomes mean your god is happy, bad means your god is pissed, so you make up crap to rationalize it. Very convenient, postdictive and self-fulfilling. And you’re a putz, Pat. And speaking of the history of Haiti, Napolean III hadn’t been born before the slave revolt of 1803…

I will be blunt. Pat Robertson, you are a son-of-a-bitch. As with the demise of Jerry Falwell, I will feel no remorse when you are gone and the world will be better off without you. That is a terrible thing to have to say about a fellow human, but I question whether there is an ounce of humanity left in you, Pat. Like Falwell, there must be someone who loves you and will miss you, and to those people I will give my sympathy. But you are the worst kind of opportunist, using tragedy as a prop to spread your hate-filled beliefs rather than trying to promote them via their merits. Oh, right. They have no merit. You need human tragedy as a backdrop to make your god look good, which is why ‘witnesses’ just love people in personal crisis.

But nothing good comes of human tragedy born of natural disasters, or any disaster, Pat. (Unless one subscribes to redemptive suffering, and those people can just sod off…) Your first thought is “How can I take advantage of this?” To you, providing real aid (you know, medical aid, food, water and shelter – definitely NOT prayer) is a nuisance, just getting in the way of your prosthyletization schemes. How annoyed you sound! And to those who listen to this degenerate asshat, you should feel shame knowing no bounds!

(And Pat has the gall to mention despots as a consequence making a pact with the Devil when he himself was in collusion with despots in Afric- wait a minute… Could there be a connection? Could Robertson be… SATAN? If I was remotely religious I might think so…)

Am I angry? Damn straight! And so should any thinking and feeling human being. Evil! Thy name is Pat Robertson!

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71 Comments

  1. There are lots of good Secular organizations down there helping: http://www.pih.org/home.html and http://www.redcross.org/

    I wish Pat would go the way of Oral.

  2. Indeed. There will be a lot of organizations mobilizing as I write this. UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders… The Canadian government is thinking of sending in the DART unit, a branch of the military whose sole purpose is relief aid. They have some pretty cool technology for providing large amounts of drinking water…. They’ve already managed to get a DART reconnaissance team into Haiti to assess things.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    • adoubtersramblings
    • Posted January 19, 2010 at 11:09 am
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    • Reply

    Pat Robertson is a world class douchebag. The problem is, he’s got millions of minions who believe this spew that he preaches. Whether they admit it or not. Where’s the huge outcry from the christian community condenming him for preaching hate? There isn’t one, and there won’t be one…because ultimately, they agree with him.

  3. Not so adoubtersramblings… hi Shamless, thought I would drop by and see if you have read this: http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/fundamentalists-and-the-atheists-who-love-them/

    Be good.

    • I can’t speak for Richard Dawkins, but I don’t think he would have any problem with what I am about to say. The so-called New Atheism is a reaction to idiots like Pat Robertson and we would have no problem (I think we would be much happier) if no one would spout the nonsence such people espouse. It would be wonderful if we had no reason to stand up tell these people that they are wrong and what they say that people lap up like so much spilt ambrosia is dispicable. We don’t need these people to be atheists, or even ‘New Atheists’. Sure, Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, Harris, Stenger, et al wouldn’t sell many books without the Falwells and Robertsons (of which there are entirely too many), but then there would be no need to write them in the first place. That, I’m sure all the authors I listed above, would agree on as being an awesome thing. So, no. There is no symbiotic relationship. We are appalled by such people and we feel obliged to let them know. It’s as simple as that.

      Dawkins is not defending Robertson at all in his statement. All he is saying is that fundamentalists are more true to the basic tenets of his religion, and that ‘liberal’ and ‘moderate’ Christians have moved away from what would have been considered orthodox in the 12th century CE because they understand how that mixing zeitgeists from different millennia just doesn’t work. I agree. So do fundamentalists. They see them as traitors to Jesus, while I see them as having smartened up. The Bible contains snapshots of what was considered morality millennia ago and things have changed. Moderates have realized this. Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps and their ilk have not, and we look at them as if they were insane because their beliefs are anachronisms that are totally inappropriate in today’s world.

      I always endeavor to be good. Thanks for stopping by, Lauri!

  4. Point taken, but I was hoping that you would notice the references he cites from the bible which contradict Robertsons proclamations. I also wanted to show you an example of somebody who gives him and others a bad time for saying what they say, as per our previous discussion.

    I am sure you always endeavour to be good. Sorry I didn’t mean that to be a statement of moral value. Though morality relates to it somewhat. I meant more that your existence (being/or doing) should be uplifted, a wish of good health etc.

    • The problem with using scripture to support or refute a position is manifold. Christians do what they often accuse others of – taking quotations out of context. Next, do you honestly beleive that Robertson can’t go into the Bible and come up with scripture supporting his position? Scripture is a Rorschach test that speaks to the character of the person quoting it. Aside from the lack of reasons to accept the authority of scripture on any matter, this is why I am unswayed and simply ignore scripture when it is used to convince me of anything.

      Of course, neither you nor Robertson feel that way and can argue amongst yourselves what scripture has to say on the matter, but from my vantage point I could not care less. To me (and every other atheist) it is simply irrelevant – or worse. (See the above comment about mixing zeitgeists.)

      I am sure you always endeavour to be good. Sorry I didn’t mean that to be a statement of moral value. Though morality relates to it somewhat. I meant more that your existence (being/or doing) should be uplifted, a wish of good health etc.

      No offense was implied or taken, and thank you.

        • Lauri
        • Posted February 1, 2010 at 4:21 am
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        Again, your point is made well in the abstract, though I think you will agree that in practice, the same can be said about science, or at least the application of scientific knowledge.

        Robertson’s theology is not canonical, so I guess I would say that most Christians, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, would have to disagree with him, as per the citations in the article from the W. Confession and the Catholic Catechism.

        Finally, the other reason why I sent you the article was to encourage you that, an author in the NY Times (no less) argues against Robertson a) on his own terms and b) is critical of his views in the public sphere.

  5. Again, your point is made well in the abstract, though I think you will agree that in practice, the same can be said about science, or at least the application of scientific knowledge.

    No, I most certainly would NOT agree. There is a vast difference between belief from faith and belief from evidence. I don’t see how the two are even comparable.

    Robertson’s theology is not canonical, so I guess I would say that most Christians, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, would have to disagree with him, as per the citations in the article from the W. Confession and the Catholic Catechism.

    So you say. Robertson would disagree and pull out his own favorite citations. I’ve watched tennis matches like this many times. From my vantage, you are BOTH wrong. Doing things because it says to do them in scripture is not a good reason. Actions (even if deemed to be good by all) must be backed with much better reasons than that.

    Finally, the other reason why I sent you the article was to encourage you that, an author in the NY Times (no less) argues against Robertson a) on his own terms and b) is critical of his views in the public sphere.

    You found ONE. A mere ONE. Whoopie. I am suitably unimpressed. Did you email Robertson? I don’t bother because I am just an atheist and easily dismissed as a “god hater”. In the meantime, the Pat Robertson machine rolls on unabated.

    Oh, and I’ve been looking into Plantinga’s Warranted Belief. It explains a lot about the nuttiness in the EAAN. It doesn’t, however, make it any less nutty. Or any less wrong. I just understand a bit more where Plantinga is coming from. None of it changes my analysis, though. The strength of our beliefs should be proportionaly to the evidence in their favor. Plantinga is simply trying to convince himself that this is not so, an implicit admission he has none for his religious position. Why is he not a Muslim, then? A Ba’hai? A Ba’al worshipper? They are equivalent in the amount of supporting evidence. Warranted Belief is equivalent to saying that all beliefs are innocent until proven guilty, but how can he avoid the fact that this necessitates believing in mutually contradictory concepts? He’s simply wrong. We should strive to hold beliefs for which supporting evidence exists. Plantinga wants a particular conclusion and sets out to make it so, and that’s just plain dishonest.

    • PS Would you like to see why I think robotically basing actions on scripture is fundamentally flawed? Via Pharyngula

      Hi!

      Thanks for writing me about my comments on my program regarding homosexuality.

      It might be worth noting that what I actually suggested is that we impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse, since both pose the same kind of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. I’d be curious to know what you think should be done with IV drug abusers, because whatever it is, I think the same response should be made to those who engage in homosexual behavior.

      If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program.

      Secondly, I’m afraid you’re simply wrong about the Bible’s perspective on the law and homosexuality.

      Paul lists quite explicitly in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 the actions and behaviors that are the proper concern of the law:

      “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…”

      The bottom line here is that, biblically, those “who practice homosexuality” should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery.

      You express a belief in the Scriptures, and I trust your confidence in Scripture is not selective. If you believe all Scripture is inspired, then you are compelled to accept that legal sanctions may appropriately be applied to those who engage in homosexual behavior.

      Thank you for contacting us, and I hope this response will help you think in a thorough and biblical way about this important social issue.

      Bryan Fischer
      Host, “Focal Point” radio program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association
      [Emphasis mine.]

      Screw him and his ilk.

        • Lauri
        • Posted February 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm
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        This is an interesting topic because it touches on public policy. Or in other words, when “neutral” science relates to how law is made.

        You know that Homosexuality was deemed a disorder by the American Psychological Association until the 1960s… That it was a part of the DCM3 (the manual which is used as a diagnostic tool) Now, without wanting to get into the politics that goes on in science and the scientific community, why do you think that was the case? And, what part of “science” changed? How does knowledge and belief operate in a world of imprecise measurements, or the messiness of human lives. This point relates to what I was saying earlier about the relationship between knowledge and belief.

        Playing a bit more of the advocate here, do you know the rates of HIV/AIDS infection amongst gay men is?

        On what grounds do you ‘condone’ homosexual behaviour? Or do you?

        As for a robotic text following. The problem for me in this case is that you did not engage with the text, but rather made an issue with the context in which the text was pronounced. So, how does science relate to your position, other than only saying God isn’t therefore any parts of the bible that I might think are bunk (because of cultural mores or otherwise) should be ignored.

        Just for the record. I am not convinced that the proposals in Uganda are a good idea. Neither do I think the US is “gods nation” and so I don’t think that the text in Timothy applies to the law of the US.

      • You know that Homosexuality was deemed a disorder by the American Psychological Association until the 1960s…

        Sure I do. Because it was not acceptable behavior, personal RELIGIOUS biases of the medical professionals entered into things. What’s your point? We have worked to purge the way science is done of such personal biases, and continue to do so. Unlike religious teachings, we are continually examine our beliefs and change them accordingly when there is good reason to do so. In this case, it was recognized that homosexual behavior is not a disorder because it simply didn’t line up with reality. It failed to recognize that human sexuality is not a light switch, where in one position it is “homosexual” and the other “heterosexual”. Scientific observation of human sexuality has shown that it is a spectrum of behavior. And the idea that homosexuality is somehow a “lifestyle choice” like the hoola-hoop craze back in the 60s is totally ridiculous. It was labeled so because it offended the religious sensibilities of people (too bad). We are hardly the only species of animal in which some members engage in homosexual activities. So, science didn’t change at all. The old, antiquated and unsubstantiated beliefs were replaced with evidence-based conclusions. Hardly new or interesting.

        On what grounds do you ‘condone’ homosexual behaviour? Or do you?

        I see nothing wrong with anything that goes on between consenting adults. If there is one thing all religions are good at is prohibitions and the first thing they attack is sexuality. Well, I don’t play that.

        Playing a bit more of the advocate here, do you know the rates of HIV/AIDS infection amongst gay men is?

        Sure I do. Responsible health policy and education has drastically dropped those numbers, too, the same way venereal disease has diminished for the same reasons. But I somehow doubt you would have advocated discrimination against people engaging in heterosexual behavior.

        And in Africa things are going to worse because of some asshhole wearing a funny hat in Rome thinking he has something to say on public health policy in those contries affected at epidemic levels.

        If you think that this is some kind of reason to discriminate against gays and lesbians, I’d suggest you also consider the frequency of sickle-cell anemia in those of African descent. Perhaps we should keep them from having children?

        The problem for me in this case is that you did not engage with the text, but rather made an issue with the context in which the text was pronounced.

        You don’t get it. I don’t care. He’s using scripture to confirm his bias. So are you. Neither is good methodology. I much prefer not to come to conclusions based on antiquated, barbaric societal values millennia old just because it says so.

        As for applying science to the matter, I thought I was pretty clear. There are no grounds for taking scripture as authority. In science, we do not proclaim a proposition to likely be true unless it has evidence going for it. A study of the source of scripture and its accuracy has failed to meet this criterion. Public policy should be evidence-based, not just-so stories.

        I am not convinced that the proposals in Uganda are a good idea.

        That you were even thinking this might be so is frightening. It’s nothing more than legalized genocide, and Americans (re: The Family) are behind it.

        • pkboomer
        • Posted February 4, 2010 at 11:39 am
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        On what grounds do you ‘condone’ homosexual behaviour? Or do you?

        Lauri, on what grounds do you ‘condone’ heterosexual behavior between consenting adults? Or do you? (I’m not being facetious, I honestly want to know.)

    • In relation to behavior based on knowledge v. belief: But scientific knowledge is developing (communal), as does behavior based on experience (individual). So the relationship between belief and knowledge, even taken from a purely scientific perspective, must not be as cut and dry as you make it sound. (and I am defining belief not as a belief in God, but simply a belief or trust in experience or others experience).

      Hence, truths that are found in Milton, Amis or behavioral therapy (for that matter) are based on descriptions of reality. No scientist can claim that they have “pure” knowledge, though they might be able to claim that they have knowledge. So in practice behavior is linked to belief (false or true), which scientific knowledge does not always or cannot always back up.

      Robertson is one, so is the guy who wrote the article. I think you will find that this sort of opinion will be voiced more and more… It just takes a bit of time I think, for people to know how to articulate a view that is not syncretistic, but speaks truth in a way that is more appealing.

      As for Plantinga, glad you checked out the book. I think that the reason Plantinga wrote the argument is simply that he thought it might be a good idea to poke (or attempt to poke) some holes in the fabric of the world view of non-Christians, rather than being on the constant defensive in apologetic terms. He has other reasons for why he is a Christian, which he does not write about in this book. I would say its a bit of a stretch to argue that because he makes this argument he is implicitly admitting to anything. Your reading into his motive a bit to much there.

      Do you love?

      • In relation to behavior based on knowledge v. belief: But scientific knowledge is developing (communal), as does behavior based on experience (individual). So the relationship between belief and knowledge, even taken from a purely scientific perspective, must not be as cut and dry as you make it sound. (and I am defining belief not as a belief in God, but simply a belief or trust in experience or others experience).

        I have to get back to you on this because the answer is not short. Richard Carrier has a lot to say on this and I find that I agree with him in toto. It actually is more cut and dried than you think. All observations are experience, so what we are looking for are explanations for our experiences. It’s a bit involved and I will get back to you on that.

        No scientist can claim that they have “pure” knowledge, though they might be able to claim that they have knowledge. So in practice behavior is linked to belief (false or true), which scientific knowledge does not always or cannot always back up.

        Agreed. But this just goes to my statement that we can only attach confidence in our beliefs proportional to the evidence we have in support of them. Beliefs without evidence are almost certainly wrong (not, according to Plantinga, 50/50 odds).

        So, no. Plantinga put forward his idea of Warranted Belief as an apologetics argument. If not, he could have made his points without resorting to that. So I disagree with you on his intent. And it does imply an admission that his belief does not have evidence in support. Otherwise, why bother arguing it doesn’t need evidence? I think that’s loud and clear.

        Of course I love. But if you’re thinking that a supreme being is necessary for the existence of love, you are going to have to prove your case, not just say something like “Well, how else do you explain it?”

  6. My point about the dcm3 and the APA is simply to say that science cannot make the claim that it is neutral. It was influenced by culture (as much sa by religion). I think the green debate falls into the same sort of category. Economic theory claims to be neutral, but as soon as one theory is recomended over another, it becomes political.

    “Beleifs without evidence are almost certainly wrong.” Back that up.

    The question about love related not to a supreme being but to the point I make in the paragraph on Milton, Amis and behavioural therapy. What I am saying is that there are many types of knowledge and that the scientific method, is only one of the ways that we gain such knowledge. So, while you quite correctly discribe what happens in the brain and through the body to show love as a phenomenon, I want to know what it means to know love. For that the whole idea behind the belief/knowledge para is key.

  7. My point about the dcm3 and the APA is simply to say that science cannot make the claim that it is neutral.

    It depends on what you mean by neutral. If you mean that there is some kind of agenda that science has, then yes. It is most certainly neutral. It is people that have agendas. If you mean that it gives us the tools to make informed conclusions, then of course it isn’t neutral. In both respects, studying sexual behavior scientifically allowed us to do away with old prejudices born of religious belief. It was neutral because the problem was approached without preconceived notions. It was not neutral because it allowed for an informed conclusion to be formed. With regard to both, it was immensely successful in this case.

    “Beleifs without evidence are almost certainly wrong.” Back that up.

    C’mon, Lauri. It isn’t difficult to see that there are an infinite number of possible beliefs that can be believed without evidence, many of which are mutually exclusive. They are in fact impossible to differentiate from wild guesses because that is exactly what they are. From these, only a small fraction can possibly be correct. Simple probability theory should tell you that the odds of being correct are vanishingly small. Indeed, you will find that most of them are absurd beliefs, but that is beside the point. I find belief in anything without evidence – including deities – just as absurd as believing that there are pink unicorns prancing about on Pluto, and accordingly give them the same weight. This is the point of Bertrand Russell’s Celestial Teapot, and just another reason why warranted belief by Plantinga’s definition is prima facie silly.

    The question about love related not to a supreme being but to the point I make in the paragraph on Milton, Amis and behavioural therapy. What I am saying is that there are many types of knowledge and that the scientific method, is only one of the ways that we gain such knowledge.

    Oh, sure. There are ways of understanding, though I don’t know why you include ‘behavioral therapy’ in that list. That is quite ammenable to empirical study. In fact, it would be useless if it weren’t so.

    HOWEVER, if you are going to call conclusions drawn only from such subjective experiences knowledge, there are problems. First, our confidence in such conclusions being knowledge is by no means equatable with those drawn using the science toolbox. Thus, when sufficient empirical evidence refutes the conclusions drawn from such lower confidence forms of methodology, we must be prepared to supplant them in favor of empirically-derived conclusions. Indeed, whereever possible I think it best that beliefs should be based on a scientific approach since it gives us the best chance of holding correct beliefs.

    Second, people often overstep the boundaries of what conclusions can be drawn from such a methodology. In the love example, what I really mean when I draw the conclusion that I love my wife is that I have the feeling we define as being love when I hold the ‘my wife’ concept. I can not go from there to ‘my wife, whom I love, exists’. Most people do do that because it is obvious from other means that their spouse (if they have one) exists – sight, smell, touch, etc. – and we have to invoke things like theory of mind. It’s a complicated business, and we tend to do it without thinking through the steps. And this automatic mental calculus can get us into trouble. It is incorrect to bypass this step demonstrating existence and presume the existence of my wife from the concept of my wife. This is why I do a face-palm every time I hear ‘I know God exists because I can feel Him in my heart.’

    No, no, no, no, NO! I have no doubt that the person feels something that when holding their concept of God in their minds, but it is impossible to draw a line from there to God’s existence because the only thing such a subjective line of reasoning can show (and to that person alone – there is no reason (in fact, there is reason against) using such subjective experience to convince anyone else of anything, which is another reason why being ‘witnessed to’ is of no relevance to me…) is that one can hold a concept of God in their minds. This says nothing about the validity of any god’s existence in reality and is well beyond what can be concluded from such evidence. Worse than that, it is a belief based on desire and emotion – neither of which can be considered evidence in favor of any belief whatsoever.

    Not for one second do I think that knowledge derived from such a methodology is even in the same ballpark as that derived from empiricism.

  8. pkboomer: Exactly. Thats sort of my point. Though you might be taking it the wrong way. How can scientific knowledge helps us, when we are dealing with this sort of question?

    • How can uninformed opinion help? Science has a great deal to say about human behavior, contrary to what you seem to think. I’ve already pointed out how science has purged unsound ideas such as homosexuality being once considered a mental disorder. It is a success story, not a flaw at all.

      Your point remains to be made. If it is that science can’t answer some things, you’re probably right. You are just picking a really, REALLY bad example. However, on matters of whether a god exists or not, I reject that science does not have a good deal to say based on what the purported properties of said deity/deities are.

    • 1) You didn’t answer my question.
      2) This isn’t a scientific issue, it is a social issue.

        • pkboomer
        • Posted February 4, 2010 at 12:54 pm
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        By that I don’t mean scientific knowledge doesn’t apply… it always does.

  9. Never maid a point that it does not. I am simply asking how. You quite right that science added by “taking away” something, I am asking about a possitive ontribution, beyond taking away.

    By the way, a reminder. I love science. I’m not denying it at all. (Was somthing which seems to be implicit in your assumtion, though I might be wrong)

    I just have not been satisfied by science in all of my questions. This is sort of what I am getting at. And, the stuff about climate change comming out in the Guardian today is interesting. I am not denying climate change (its more than likely that we need to stop using all this fosil fusles that we are currently using. THe point was that “science” is not neutral). By science I mean, the practice and the people who work on it…

  10. 1) I asked first.
    2) Yes it is. If you look a the previouse comments made I want to know from what basis we are talking about this issue. Its a fundamental question, not a matter relating significantly to the details.

    • 1) Fine. Yes I condone homosexual behavior, between consenting adults. On the grounds that what goes on between consenting adults is none of my business, and since it does no harm to anyone else and is CONSENTUAL. Now you answer.

      2) One person’s opinion about other people’s sexuality is definitely a social issue. How that person comes to their opinions, whether religious dogma, personal prejudices, or scientific evidence is dependent on the person. My opinion on homosexuality is based upon my belief that all people should be treated equally and justly, because to treat people otherwise is detrimental to our society. Therefore, a social issue.

      However I also use scientific evidence to fortify my stance. I will elaborate AFTER you answer the question posed to you so I can give examples by context.

  11. Never maid a point that it does not. I am simply asking how. You quite right that science added by “taking away” something, I am asking about a possitive ontribution, beyond taking away.

    I showed that. It WAS a positive contribution. It did not subtract from our knowledge – it ADDED to it. The previous view was wrong and it was changed to match what knowledge about human behavior. Let’s say that there was no opinion on where homosexuality comes from. Finding out that human sexual behavior is a spectrum of behaviors is not a positive addition to our knowledge? The old view was worse than not having an opinion on the matter because it was based on old prejudices and bigotry. You really aren’t expressing what you are trying to get at at all well – to the point where I have no idea what you are trying to say.

    THe point was that “science” is not neutral
    Yes, it is. It is people that are not neutral. I do not include people in science because I consider it a methodology – a means of rational inquiry that attempts to remove preconceptions, prejudice and bias and thus increase our confidence in the veracity of our conclusions. Individual scientists do indeed have their pet theories, etc. It can get very political. However, this is human behavior and has no bearing on science as a methodology. The point is to adhere to the methodology as much as possible in order to accomplish what we set out to gain knowledge of.

    • Science is not neutral, it is truth-biased. Coincidentally, reality has a well known liberal bias.

  12. Perhaps your right Shameless. I think wat I was getting at is much more clearly articulated in this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/jan/31/charles-taylor-philosophy-religion-science

  13. also just to reassure you on my sources, Mark Vernon is a lapsed Anglican vicar, come atheist, and now lapsed atheist and agnostic, and he is gay too…

    • Sounds wishy-washy.

  14. Pkboomer reality has a well known liberal bias? Your funny.

  15. Sorry. By that I mean that the statement made me laugh. Not that your laughable… It’s funny because you move so swiftly from talking about science to power and then rather incongruously (the stuff of humor) you move from that to a political, rather than scientific statement. That sort of proves my other point in relation to the problem that people are engaged with science and because people are not reliable, the distance between the reliability of science (in the abstract) to science as practiced can be quite far. Reality has a liberal bias… hehe

    • It’s tongue-in-cheek. A joke. Besides I can’t take credit for it, that was Stephen Colbert who said that.

      I am looking forward to your answer to my question from before.

    • What should I take away from the fact that you are ignoring my question? That you do not want to acknowledge the fact that you are bigoted, and that you cannot justify your stance rationally and fairly? If this is not the case, please answer my question. I answered yours.

  16. Sorry for not replying, I forgot. To be honest I am having a hard time following the progression of this discussion since it has a lot of tangents and I am not exactly sure how the argument developed because the strings are not clear.

    Your right to ask, but I am a bit hesitant because its a whole discussion in and of itself, which does not relate completely to the previous discussion. Perhaps, if you went to my blog post here: http://bit.ly/br9osT and read that article, perhaps that would set up my position from a political perspective. Do let me know what you think, either here or on my blog.

    • Thanks for the response, but this doesn’t answer the question that I posed. In case you forgot what it was, I will ask it here again:

      On what grounds do you ‘condone’ HETEROsexual behavior between consenting adults? Or do you?

        • Lauri
        • Posted February 9, 2010 at 11:42 am
        • Permalink

        I replied in relation to your question about homosexuality bellow. I am sure you noticed, but I wanted to make sure others who might read also notice.

        In relation to condoning heterosexual behaviour, there are aspects that I do and others that I do not. In relation to sexual behaviour I think procreation (the perpetuation of the speciece and to multiply) can be argued by both scientific and theological arguments. Sex as such can be argued for on the basis of enjoyment alone as well. But as with all things there are appropriate boundaries for a healthy enjoyment of sex… Does that answer your question?

        • pkboomer
        • Posted February 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm
        • Permalink

        No, it doesn’t really answer my question. A simple yes or no is all I want. I know you will say that you can’t generalize that way, that it is situation dependent and so on and so forth. But you and I both know what I mean when I ask you the question. In principle, is heterosexual behaviour something that YOU condone? Yes or no? This is what you intended, by asking such a generic question as “do you condone homosexual behaviour”.

        You say that there are aspects of heterosexual behaviour that you condone and aspects that you do not. This is dodging the question. I could say the exact thing about both hetero and homosexual behaviour. Of course certain behaviours from both orientations are inappropriate or even immoral… indecent exposure, unsolicited advances etc. but these are NOT orientation specific. Referring to specific aspects, that apply to both homosexual and heterosexual behaviour is not the intent of the question I asked. What specifically about homosexual behaviour is different than the corresponding heterosexual behaviour in your eyes? The point I am making by turning your question back to you is how do you think homosexuals should be treated any different than heterosexuals, and on what basis?

        • Lauri
        • Posted February 10, 2010 at 3:37 am
        • Permalink

        PK: That’s not at all what I intended by asking that question. Not a simple yes or no question. Again, when I originally asked the question it was to make a point about epistemology, not about morality.

        I would say that promiscuity is a problem more so for the homosexual community (in general). The premise that promiscuity is a problem is one which has not been proven for all, but significantly linked to various problematic social indicators, such as depression, sex addiction (ok this is still under debate), alcohol and drug abuse, STDs and if you want to spread the wings really far out, stability for children.

        I would say that male to male sexual practices (practices not exclusively homosexual) tend to be the most dangerous in relation to hiv/aids transfer. Have a look at the Centre for Disease Control statistics for new infections here: http://bit.ly/b0Fma3 53% of new cases in 2006 (latest data available) where due to male to male sex. Given that the homosexual population is about 5%-6% of the population and that includes lesbians and perhaps bisexuals, this is an astounding and quite sad figure. It also flies in the face of Shameless’ claims about education taking care of the problem.

        Now, of course these are not exclusively gay issues. If they where, or if you thought that I thought they where, then you would be right in calling me a hypocrite and perhaps phobic of gays. But that’s simply not the point. The point is that there are objective facts, which are not talked about in relation to the claims relating to the freedom and rights of consenting adults. In order to be truly free, consenting adults have to know the facts, and know how to control their urges perfectly. Nobody can do that.

        So for me the question is not how homosexuals should be treated differently. (For the most part they should not be.) I am concerned about the political debate. How it is shaped, and who is shaping it and why.

        Finally, in relation to heterosexual sex, I think empirical evidence shows that the best place to bring up a child is in a stable married household (in general here). There is evidence to show that (in general) people who have a life long partner are satisfied more with their sex lives. There is also evidence that shows that commitment (and a track record of such) in a relationship, decreases stress levels. Etc etc. So my point is that what consenting adults do behind closed doors matters, and their choices are not value neutral.

        I am not necessarily saying that based on this evidence we should prohibit any other form of relationship. Nor am I saying that all marriages will lead to the same outcome. What I am saying, is that what we learn from the bible, principles that have been around for some time know, the anthropology shaped by millennia of experience has something to contribute to the political debate today and it is empirically verifiable, to the extent that psychology and sociology can be valued as empirically reliable.

        • pkboomer
        • Posted February 10, 2010 at 2:54 pm
        • Permalink

        “PK: That’s not at all what I intended by asking that question. Not a simple yes or no question. Again, when I originally asked the question it was to make a point about epistemology, not about morality.”

        Unlikely. I only turned the question back on you to highlight the absurdity of the question. How can you make blanket judgements on a group of people like that? It’s ridiculous. I asked the exact same question of you about heterosexuals to show how ridiculous it is.

        • Lauri
        • Posted February 11, 2010 at 4:34 am
        • Permalink

        Unlikely? Go back and read the statment. Sociology, Psychology and as previously noted epidemology regularly make blanket statments about groups of people. Mr. Schameless just did by saying he despizes religion in general. Come now. React to what I wrote not what I didnt write.

        Sorry for reposting this (i placed it in the wrong place first time round)

        • pkboomer
        • Posted February 11, 2010 at 10:14 am
        • Permalink

        I didn’t say anything about religion; irrespective of your discussion with SA, I took offense to the obtuseness of your question about homosexuals. If your basis for judging “homosexual behaviour” is the disproportionally high rate of HIV transmission, then you should also be making the same judgement on black people. They also have a similarly disproportionately high rate of HIV transmission. Does this infer something about the inherent wrongness of “black behaviour”? Do you understand now what I mean about making unwarranted blanket judgements?

      • It doesn’t really matter where I get the impetus for my hypothesis from, does it? As long as it can be proven? This is public policy we are talking about not a scientific paper.

        Public policy formation without informed decision making always leads to bad policy. So policy formation should always have scientific inquiry as a major component. But you haven’t proven your case at all. You have not shown that there is any problem specific to homosexuality. This is a requirement that you have not met. HIV is not a problem restricted to homosexuality, something my brother has pointed out. Broken marriages are not restricted to homosexual couples. So your reasons for discrimination against homosexuality would be equally valid for use against heterosexuality. You have monumentally failed. So the source of your bias is very much in play.

        What I see is not just bigoted views (that shoe fits, Cinderella) – I see a bigot born of religious doctrine. What I see is someone who has been told that homosexuality is a sin for their whole life, and needs to confirm that bias by giving it an air of respectability, even if that means using bad arguments to do so. Discrimination IS hate, even if the word isn’t used in the report. So I don’t care what the statistics are since what you propose (What I think you are proposing – you haven’t said squat about that. Why is that?) violates individual freedoms – something I will, as I said, oppose to my dying breath. I would even do so for your right to religious freedom, and my guess is that I shouldn’t expect the same from most religious people.

        What I see is someone trying to avoid the guilt associated with the desire to discriminate by creating a self-induced delusion of respectability based on weak arguments that sound good only to you. All you have presented are rationalizations that do not stand up to any scrutiny whatsoever. A discriminatory policy is a discriminatory policy, and there is no excuse. I call you bigoted because you are. You’ve tried to justify to me the violation of fundamental principles that I hold inviolable and failed.

        For instance,

        I never said that Children who grow up in one parent homes are damaged goods, far from it. Research shows that these kids do have to suffer (in general) more hurdles in life. That is all.

        So why would you apply policy to homosexual single parents that you wouldn’t apply to heterosexual ones? You have not (and can not) justify this.

        So, yes, Lauri. You ARE a bigot. You’ve been taught that homosexuality is a sin all your life, so it’s no surprise. But that does not constitute an excuse to continue to be a bigot, and your arguments nothing more than window dressing.

        What you have, and I grant you I support it whole heartedly (as a principled pluralist) was not a covenant made before the church and God. So for you the difference might be in semantics, but for Christians marraige is a sacrament, akin to baptism, or communion and has nothing to do with the state.

        Again, bullshit. For a marriage to be recognized by the state, it must meet the letter of the law. The major religions respect the law of the land, and the state holds that there is no difference between a ‘civil ceremony’ and a religious one. So the state is very much involved and your distinction between the two is just so much nonsense.

        Is it your argument that homosexuals should not be married in a religious ceremony? You’ve never actually stated what it is you are arguing for. If it is, I have no problem with that. Of course, I think it is utterly wrong, but I would not force that on any religion, so long as a non-religious ceremony was readily available and the state recognized such unions as being marriage.

        Is it your argument that homosexual couples not be allowed to adopt children? By your own admission, children adopted by homosexual couples share the same risks as children adopted into straight ones. There are no risks specific to adoption by homosexuals couples. That homosexual couples are more likely to split is irrelevant, since this is part of the assessment for adoption suitability as a part of risk management. And there is something you completely ignore in your arguments – 25 years of research has shown that children in single-parent families (regardless of the gender of the primary-care parent) or the sexual orientation of parents fare no worse than children gowing up in heterosexual families[1,2,3, and references therein]. Your omission of the only thing that matters in regards to homosexual couples and children – answering the scientific question as to whether they grow up being perfectly normal adults – is glaring. That it may be more difficult to raise children in single-parent or homosexual unions is IRRELEVANT. This pulls the rug out from under all of your arguments, even if they were valid. And they’re not. Are you seriously considering prohibiting gays and lesbians to adopt children and experience the joys because it’s a little bit harder to raise children under those circumstances? The strongest argument you offer is such a transparent obfuscation to hide your prejudice? That is SHAMEFUL! How dare you? How dare the Tories? Dressing it up in irrelevant statistics can’t hide the stench!

        No, my statement above that you are a bigot is justifiable and justified. And it is your religion that promotes such bigotry, so the source very much matters. Society is changing, Lauri. Come out of the 12th century and into the 21st.

        What I have a problem with in relation to your definition of knowledge is the lack of acknowledgement of time as a factor in which the scientific process takes place. Yes, it is self correcting, just as the free market is self correcting. But the time between the corrections might see a whole host of people loose their jobs, dignity and sometimes family, while they are retraining or until the job market opens up again.

        There is nothing to comment on. Time has nothing to do with my definition of knowledge, nor should it. All one can do is base decisions on the best evidence available at the time. When new data comes in we reassess. If that takes time, so be it. The alternative is basing decisions on irrational knee-jerk reactions, unfalsifiable claims or the watered-down definition of knowledge you seem to be promoting. What’s your point? That we should substitute demonstrably inferior – but faster – processes? Give me a break. It may not be perfect, but it has shown itself to be a hell of a lot better than any other epistemology. I’ll stick with the methods that have demonstrably shown give us the best chance at correct beliefs, thanks. I may be wrong in my beliefs, but I’ll wager that my beliefs are far more likely to be correct than not. You keep trying to tell me that other forms of epistemology are on an equal footing with empiricism or mathematical proofs, but that’s just pure hubris.

        I am for a principled pluralism rather than secularism. This means that evidence is required to make public policy decisions, and by evidence I don’t just mean that the bible can be used as evidence. It also assumes the separation between church and state (as in America). But as you know, the concept of liberty of the individual is a philosophical one. There is a very good argument to be made (at least in Locke, though not in Hume) that the concept was derived from a certain way of interpreting the bible.

        That’s exactly the point – there is absolutely nothing in the bible concerning fundamental freedoms, and so it must be interpreted after the fact. The bible, if interpreted in another way, can lead to the complete opposite. Locke interpreted the bible as he saw fit in order to support his conclusion. He wanted that outcome, he wanted it to come from his religion. But to do so, he had to be incredibly creative, cherry picking scripture from here and not there. But he had already arrived at his conclusions from sources outside of the bible. It certainly can’t be used to derive freedoms of religion and thought.

        I also fail to see how secularism excludes the use of evidence to make policy decisions or church-state separation. Indeed, the latter is a requirement of secularism.

        Even if it was not, it is still a way, not THE way, of understanding political freedom. You seem to bow to a philosophical concept which is a moral standpoint; therefore your claimed neutrality as a secularist is bunk. Rawlsian secularism defeats itself, because it asumes plurality of voices, but by beging for neutrality in discource, it anialates all possibility for plurality in act, leading to a totalising “state,” in which those who define the “neutrality” of the language become the arbiters of justice.

        I never said I was neutral. I consider it a moral duty to NOT be neutral. And, no. Rawlsian secularism does NOT beg for neutrality in its discourse. It recognizes the plurality of a society but treats each sect equally without favoring any. In a pluralist society (I don’t care how principled), it is possible for one sect to dominate all others. This is, in fact, happening in the US, as secular principles are being eroded by the religious right. Secularism is the only way in which to prevent this kind of domination by one group, and pluralism has the pitfall of excluding groups it refuses to recognize. Secularism is self-defeating? My ass, it is.

        By the way, I dont know what you as a Canadian are complaing about. You have some of the most liberal secularist laws in the world. In other words, you have it good from your own perspective.

        We do indeed, and I want to keep it that way. And it works incredibly well for a self-defeating construct. But that does not mean that I do not care about what happens to freedoms in other places. I’m a secular humanist, after all.

        Finally on the failure of the church to develop good public policy: You completely ignore the good stuff. (Perhaps thats because you hate religion, an irational stance hinted at in my first sentance this post). Public schooling, public health, health and safety regulations, the abolition of the slave trade, peace movements, women’s suffrage, racial equality and justice in Europe and the US, radical protest against Vietnam and the list goes on… The first two of this list used to be the exclusive domain of the Church, nobody else would do it!

        Nobody else was in a position to do it, you mean. The church had all the money and political power. How could they not, after fleecing the populace for centuries? Heck, it went out of its way to kill people like me! You forgot the banking system. It was invented by the Templars. The problem with your logic is that these things would have happened with or without the actions of religious authority. And some of your examples are a conflation of people being religious and their causes. For instance, Dr. King was certainly religious, but his actions were based on principles found nowhere in the bible. Not to mention, those siding with the status quo were also religious and in point of fact used their religion to continue segregation. Radical protest of the Vietnam War was religiously inspired? That’s a new one, but old bullshit smells just like the new pile. The abolition of the slave trade was mainly due to economic factors (labor became cheaper than keeping slaves), but humanists were definitely involved. As were the religious, using the bible to maintain the slave trade – not end it. Indeed, nowhere in the bible is slavery condemned, and is tacitly approved of, even telling owners how to treat them and punish them. I have no doubt that without religious authority stifling free inquiry set humanity back centuries. The Church actively suppressed knowledge and those who sought it. They even attempted to keep the printing press – one of the most important inventions in the history of humanity – under wraps. Your logic is spurious at best.

        As for women’s suffrage being religiously motivated, do you mean the same misogynistic religion that kept women from being treated as equal partners in society? How dare you look at only the rosy side of religioun and ignore its crimes. It took 300 years for the Vatican to apologize to Galileo (speaking of time…). I wonder how long it will take to apologize to Bruno? The Vatican murdered him, after all. So don’t you DARE come to me giving religion credit for things which it has no legitimate claim to take credit for. Peace movements? Really? I. Don’t. Think. SO! Women’s suffrage, peace movements, Vietnam protests – there were people of all kinds doing these things, religious and nonbelieving. To chalk complex issues up to single factors is utterly myopic. It’s like saying that the acts of Mao and Stalin were all do to the atheism (a common and utterly stupid argument) without bothering to factor in vastly more important things like history and culture.

        And the policy of shuffling pedophile priests around rather than handing them over to the proper authorities (a policy implemented by the current pope…) in their zeal to keep the Church looking pristine is a great policy? How about Ratzinger telling Africans that condoms actually contribute to spreading HIV, thus interfering with sound and proven public health care policies? Calling himself ‘Benedict’ doesn’t make him beneficent. How about the religious group known as The Family in Washington that is behind the Ugandan law which promotes the state murder of homosexuals? A 9-year-old rape victim in South America who became pregnant as a result was (along with the doctors) excommunicated from the Church because she underwent a life-saving abortion. I think we could all do without this kind of compassion shown by the Church. I could go on and on. Yeah, religious motivations are wonderful, aren’t they?

        Sure, there are religious groups that help people in need. But religion is not a requirement to do so, and the religious forget that there are excellent secular organizations out there that do just as good a job, and often far better. And which is more noble – giving aid in return for having to swallow superstitious nonsense or giving aid without expectation of anything in return? Is it more noble to do good because your religion tells you and there is fear of punishment/expectation of reward, or because it is the right thing to do based on the principles of reciprocation, consequences and empathy? Religion gives bad reasons to do good when good reasons already exist.

        And let’s say that public schools were an idea religiously inspired. This is no more to the point than that astronomy has its roots in astrology, or that chemistry came out of alchemy. The origin of schooling was to promote religious teaching, not learning anything useful. Modern secular schools bear no resemblance to anything in the 12th century. The same for hospitals. People actually get better in modern hospitals. When religious groups ran hospitals centuries ago, they were places rampant with disease. Going to one was a death sentence. Public institutions such as hospitals and schools have discarded the religious aspects because they are not at all useful to their ends.

        I despise religion because of the barbaric and antiquated values it promotes. If we maintained its barbaric traditions, women would still not have a place in society and would be treated as chattel (the very word used in the bible…), slaves would still be beaten by their masters up to the point they didn’t die within a day or two, murdering an unfaithful spouse would still be legal (like it was in Brazil till recently), a rape victim would be further victimized by authorities if she didn’t scream loud enough to be heard. THIS is what you call ‘biblical wisdom’? If we pick and choose which forms of ‘biblical wisdom’ to follow on the basis of whether we think they are good or bad, what need have we of the bible? I say none.

        He quadrupled US funding for foreign aid and developed a strategic partnership (which was headed up by a Gay Democrat no less, who Hilary Clinton fired the first day in office) to combat AIDS in Africa. The ABC program has seen a significant reduction in HIV/AIDS cases in Uganda and Kenya. All of these things are largely down to the ideological commitments made by Christians for the bettering of the common good.

        GWB also denied funding for family planning programs in Africa (and the US) and stem cell research, both actions based on his Christian ideals, not to mention propagating an illegal war (along with his lap dog Tony Blair) that has killed tens of thousands in Iraq because God told him to and left that country in ruins. His father initiated sanctions that succeeded only in killing up to (by the NSA’s own estimation) 1 million Iraqi citizens, most of them children. Proposition 8 in California (opposed by Governor Schwarzenegger, by the way) discriminating against gays and lesbian marrying is based on religious principles. You accuse me of seeing the negative, but I accuse you of only seeing the positive without accepting the negative, and I dispute your examples of the positive. Religion did not give us germ theory of disease. It did not give us the concept of social justice (far from it). It taught that mental illness was due to possession by demons, something the Vatican still holds as real. It teaches misogyny as doctrine. So don’t feed me shit and tell me it’s sirloin.

        A very good argument can also be made, which was articulated by Marilynne Robinson (a Pulitzer Prize winner) in her book The Death of Adam, that Hitler’s policy on the Jews, was based on a type of Social Darwinism prevalent amongst the atheistic intelligence all around the world at that time. “Time” (as mentioned beforehand) really matters in science and in scientific development and its application to public policy.

        This argument has thoroughly been discredited. And just why would I care that Robinson is a Pulitzer Prize winner? I assess the merits of the argument, not the author. Social Darwinism has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution in the first place, the two bearing no resemblence. Indeed, Darwin’s name is attached only in order to discredit evolution in a logic fallacy known as the Argument from Consequence. It is far more accurate to call it Malthusism, after clergyman Thomas Malthus who predated Darwin. The simple idea that if members of a population die, then they leave no offspring (the central tenet of what is falsely known as “social Darwinism”) was hardly new by the time Darwin (a staunch abolitionist, by the way) came on the scene. Even if the Nazis based their eugenics program on Darwin’s ideas, it is a twisting of them beyond recognition. Darwin wrote about natural selection. The Holocaust was anything but. And all ideas, no matter how good or true, can be twisted.

        The problem with the argument is manifold, however. First, neither Hitler nor any of his cronies were atheists. Second, there is no evidence to suggest they even knew of Darwin, let alone his ideas. Let’s compare how many times Hitler mentions almighty, god and creator versus how many times he mentions Darwin and evolution in his exposition of his world view, Mein Kampf. Oh, look! God wins! 51-to-0! Third, Hitler based his ideas not on Darwin, but on the writings of Lanz von Liebenfels (a defrocked monk). The actions of Hitler and his cronies bares far more relation to what Martin Luther prescribed in On The Jews and Their Lies than anything in On the Origin of Species. Indeed, books on evolution were on the banned list. Fourth, when did any of the Christian SS guys wearing belts with “Gott mit uns” inscribed say, “Hey, this is wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this.”? Fifth, ‘social Darwinism’ had religious people as its biggest promoters. It wasn’t long ago that mentally ill patients in the care of Catholic authorities in Canada were sterilized “for their own good”. Fifth, it is inconceivable that the Holocaust could possibly have occurred in the absence of an anti-Semitic society, anti-Semitism actually being a real invention of Christianity. And lastly, it is impossible to get to social Darwinism through atheism. One has to get to Malthusism by other means, becoming an atheism plus Malthusist, just like I am an atheist plus a secular humanist. Atheism alone can’t get one to either.

        So, once more – j’accuse! You are not only a bigot about homosexuality, but atheism as well!

        1. Pawelski JG, Perrin EC, Foy JM, et al. “The effects of marriage, civil union, and domestic partnership laws on the health and well-being of children”. Pediatrics 118 (1): 349–64 (2006)
        2. Herek GM. “Legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the United States: a social science perspective”. The American Psychologist 61 (6): 607–21 (2006)
        3. Biblarz TJ and Stacey J. How Does the Gender of Parents Matter? Journal of Marriage and Family 72: 3–22 (2010)

        • Lauri
        • Posted February 16, 2010 at 11:49 am
        • Permalink

        “That homosexual couples are more likely to split is irrelevant, since this is part of the assessment for adoption suitability as a part of risk management.

        No its not. The evidence proves otherwise.

        “That it may be more difficult to raise children in single-parent or homosexual unions is IRRELEVANT.

        No it isn’t. The evidence proves otherwise.

        “Are you seriously considering disallowing gays and lesbians to adopt children and experience the joys because it’s a little bit harder to raise children under those circumstances?

        Did I say that? Nope. Did the Tories? Nope? Did you read the document? I’m not sure.

        “All one can do is base decisions on the best evidence available at the time.”

        Indeed, thus time, taking the longer view is important.

        “That we should substitute demonstrably inferior – but faster – processes?”

        Never said that. Just talking about your theory of knowledge is all. You seem not to be able to get rid of this us and them category when we are talking about knowledge.

        “I never said I was neutral. I consider it a moral duty to NOT be neutral.”

        Ah! Finally the truth comes out. Deny science then. That’s the point, You must be political, even in your science. By the way, your reading of Rawls is a strange reading indeed. Yes, he begs for neutral language. Equality of treatment aside, he asks all sects to “neuter” their language.

        “This is, in fact, happening in the US, as secular principles are being eroded by the religious right.”

        Really? You must be joking. That is certainly not the case.

        “Secularism is the only way in which to prevent this kind of domination by one group, and pluralism has the pitfall of excluding groups it refuses to recognize.”

        Not its not, evidence exists to prove you wrong. Holland is case in point, as is the EU.

        “Secularism is self-defeating? My ass, it is.”

        Oh Shameless, I love it when you really use “argument”!

        What you write after this is very interesting. Your interpretation of Dr. King are untrue. Your assumption that selflessness would have come about with or without the church is based on what exactly?

        Dispassionate you aren’t. That’s for sure. Angry about some things that you quite rightly should be angry about, but unable to see the forest for the trees it seems, yes indeed. Dont fling durt at me. I am fully aware of the crap that the church has done. We would not be human if we hadn’t. And that is sad beyond beleif. But moots your point.

        “If we pick and choose which forms of ‘biblical wisdom’ to follow on the basis of whether we think they are good or bad, what need have we of the bible?”

        You’re the one who is picking and choosing.

        “You accuse me of seeing the negative, but I accuse you of only seeing the positive without accepting the negative, and I dispute your examples of the positive.”

        I am well aware of what is done in the name of my faith. Don’t lecture me on that.

        “So don’t feed me shit and tell me it’s sirloin.”

        I’m looking forward to my rump stake. But I didn’t feed you anything. Shits stinks. I am not trying to color the flavour, or the texture for that matter.

        Your last paragraph is worth it. Indeed, my point was not at all to ‘point’ fingers…

        But again, I reiterate I do not hate, homosexuals and atheists are quite enjoyable.

        As for what I believe should be done. It was fun to see how much you thought you knew about me, without ever asking me about what my proposals are or would be in relation to policy. Your asumptions are an interesting full card board box of arguments you seem to have had before.

        The debate was never about that. If you would have been a bit more detached you would have seen that I was talking constantly about knowledge and epistemology.

        Your brother, who I do find charming, and who I think has more of a desire to educate me than you has taken this into consideration. To his words I will return more often to look at myself and see my own blind spots.

      • “That homosexual couples are more likely to split is irrelevant, since this is part of the assessment for adoption suitability as a part of risk management.

        No its not. The evidence proves otherwise.

        “That it may be more difficult to raise children in single-parent or homosexual unions is IRRELEVANT.

        No it isn’t. The evidence proves otherwise.

        Wrong, Lauri. The evidence shows this is indeed the case. Please refer to the references I cited in the literature, and references therein. The ONLY concern is for outcome. Since children do not fare worse in single-parent or gay families, you have no leg to stand on. How difficult it is to raise children is indeed irrelevant. The only reason you can possibly have to bring these irrelevant facts into the argument is if you can’t find any evidence on outcomes to prop-up your presuppositions.

        “I never said I was neutral. I consider it a moral duty to NOT be neutral.”

        Ah! Finally the truth comes out. Deny science then.

        I do NOT deny science. I am a scientist by trade. What I am saying is that using the science toolbox allows us to draw conclusions based on evidence. A conclusion is hardly neutral. Nor is a conclusion drawn on evidence political. And so I act on those evidence-based conclusions.

        Now, if you want to talk about politicizing, it is abundantly clear that you have a conclusion as your starting point and cherry-pick your information to suit it. This is the very antithesis of informed decision making.

        “Are you seriously considering disallowing gays and lesbians to adopt children and experience the joys because it’s a little bit harder to raise children under those circumstances?

        Did I say that? Nope. Did the Tories? Nope? Did you read the document? I’m not sure.

        I have commented several times that you have not been clear as to what it is you are advocating. You have either been exceptionally evasive or completely unwilling to answer the question. That ends or you’re blocked.

        The Tory position paper is an exercise in uselessness. It is long on how family break-up is a problem, occurs for many reasons, and should be addressed, but doesn’t say anything about how this will be accomplished.

        It also has a fundamental flaw – it presumes that the traditional view of what a family is the desired situation. I’m not at all sure that it is. If anything, the paper shows that it isn’t. I agree that if we accept this model, families should be supported and nurtured, but I disagree on what constitutes a family. The old artificial definitions don’t work anymore.

        And your arguments have done nothing to change my view because they are irrelvant. I have no problem with supporting gay parents. Why? Because outcomes (that is, how children fare) are no different (and in the case of lesbian parents, they fare better) than children in the traditional nuclear family, there is no reason to treat them differently. Nor are outcomes different in families that split up, heterosexual or gay.

        Yes, it is desirable under the current model that families remain together (within limits), but perhaps another look at the model is in order. However, there is simply no reason why sexual orientation should have any bearing on e.g., adoption.

        “This is, in fact, happening in the US, as secular principles are being eroded by the religious right.”

        Really? You must be joking. That is certainly not the case.

        WHAT!?!? Do you watch the news at all? The ACLU can’t keep up with fighting constitutional infringements! If it weren’t for groups like the ACLU, the US would already be a theocracy! Placing a monument to the ten commandments at a courthouse isn’t erosion? Saying official prayers before council meetings? Trying to keep evolution out of the science classroom and introduce creationism in its stead? Wow! Talk about blinders!

        I am fully aware of the crap that the church has done. We would not be human if we hadn’t. And that is sad beyond beleif. But moots your point.

        It is my WHOLE point! As Stephen Weinberg poignently said,

        With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion.

        As for

        I am well aware of what is done in the name of my faith. Don’t lecture me on that.

        you seem to need lecturing. For some reason you conflate what good things religious people do with a religious causation, ignoring that religious people also took the opposing positions with the end of slavery and segregation. The very idea that religion started the peace movement – indeed! It was people that protested the Vietnam war – both religious and not – just as it was people – both religious and not – that propagated the Vietnam war.

        As for what I believe should be done. It was fun to see how much you thought you knew about me, without ever asking me about what my proposals are or would be in relation to policy.

        I stated several times that you haven’t been forthcoming with your position – a not so subtle hint to get you to state it – and yet you continue to evade. How honest is that? So, if you do not make this clear in your next comment, you will be blocked. I won’t put up with such shinanigans anymore. If I made assumptions, you have only yourself to blame. I am allowed to do so if you purposefully obfuscate your responses as you have been doing.

        If you would have been a bit more detached you would have seen that I was talking constantly about knowledge and epistemology.

        And I told you my definition of knowledge – that which is verifiable. Nothing you’ve said gives me any pause to consider watering it down as you would have me do. Revelation is the least valuable of all possibilities. Again, you make no argument for why you pick and choose which pearls of “biblical wisdom” you accept and reject (assuming you do), even though I have brought this up several times.

        To his words I will return more often to look at myself and see my own blind spots.

        Don’t count on it. He’s tired of you, too. And you haven’t seen a thousandth of the blind spots yet, though they’ve been pointed out.

        “Secularism is the only way in which to prevent this kind of domination by one group, and pluralism has the pitfall of excluding groups it refuses to recognize.”

        Not its not, evidence exists to prove you wrong. Holland is case in point, as is the EU.

        Yet by any metric, the most secular and least religious societies are the happiest [1, and references therein]. Huh. Go figure.

        1. Zuckerman P. Society without God (2008)

  17. Previously, I was simply using the dcms3 example, like other examples to point out the politics of science.

    In relation to homosexuality and consent: I tend to agree with the issue of consent in general as a good liberal principle, though I recognize that in some areas the state or the church should be allowed to intervene, particularly if the behavior is harmful. Whether homosexuality acts are harmful is an important debate, which needs to be highlighted.

    I see the institution of the church as a community, who (while it doesn’t always in practice) should care for those around it. Whether this relates to alcoholism, poverty or other behavior/identity issues that are the results of behavior which is not beneficial. (people who are not members of the church, or people of no faith who do not want that help… well its not a matter of force)

    The state should be allowed to intervene if it is a matter of legal consensus that it should (and the debate about what is allowed and what is not should be a democratic debate, based on evidence, including evidence which is politically unpopular, and also on opinion, which does not have conclusive evidence, if the will of the house is for the opinion.)

    The church should be allowed to intervene in the lives of some as well. However, we often confuse the power the state wields (coercive based on force) with the power (or rather lack thereof) of the church.

    The church should not step over the boundaries where a mater is purely a family or individual one. So it might be OK for a pastor to try and persuade his congregation that living in urban London is the way forward, its not up to him to condemn an individual for leaving an urban environment for the suburb. (And this relates differently to people who are members of the church and to people who are not.)

    In matters relating to sexual orientation I take the view that the question of homosexuality and more precisely (homosexual identity, as identity politics) should be problematized exactly because sexuality is on a continuum and not just for life, but at times expressed differently in the same life. This is empirically more or less proven.

    So in relation to the state, I believe that good laws should exist, that appropriately limit behavior which is destructive if the law is enforcible. Limiting the sale of recreational drugs are an example. Limiting cottaging might be another example (in relation to the possibility of children seeing something they should not see).

    In relation to the church, I believe that it would be hard for a Christian to reconcile living in a homosexual lifestyle with what the bible teaches about homosexuality. (Though some seem not to have a problem with it and interpret the bible very loosely). All the while maintaining that the matter is not over until the person is dead and perhaps not even then… (I am not God that I can judge whether somebody is forgiven or not, based on what they may or may not have done.)

    Finally, even if I cannot justify my views rationally (or in a way that would satisfy your understanding of rationality), and while I might come across as obstinate about the issue, I harbor no animosity to gays and lesbians. The last element is the element you would need to prove if you wanted to label me a bigot.

    • Oh, here we go with the homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle’ canard. When was the last time you woke up and said to yourself, “I think I’m going to be heterosexual today?” as if you were choosing which cologne to wear? And I don’t know what there is to debate. All the arguments in favor of criminalization of homosexuality involve the suspension of freedoms and rights – totally unacceptable to anyone that accepts the freedom of the individual as paramount, and the state has no right to interfere with that. Arguments such as ‘marriage is under attack’ have no supporting data and are meaningless. Debate over.

      Christianity itself teaches hatred of homosexuality (and atheists, for that matter). The ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ thing is a total dodge. It is impossible to separate the ‘sin’ from the ‘sinner’. (Of course, I do not subscribe to the concept of sin at all, since it is nonsense outside of a religious framework. I certainly do not consider either morally wrong, which is about as close as I get to such a concept. I prefer to be able to defend my ethics rationally, not just adopt something from an antiquated book that represents a zeitgeist no longer accepted even by its adherents.)

  18. Shameless, your at the Harry Frankfurt stuff again.

    Your first para is misleading. Of course it does not work that way. But do bare in mind that a big part of homosexuality is a lifestyle, within a subculture. That is empirically verified. Not all people chose to be a part of the “scene” but don’t fudge the issue.

    Secondly, I don’t think about my sexuality much, but I think that many people who are at the edge of this sort of decision do. It’s a big issue because the minority often define themselves by what the majority is not, or secure their identity in the definition the majority would place them in. (extending stereotypes etc. this relates to depression, anxiety, higher levels of drug and alcohol abuse etc etc.)

    Who mentioned criminalizing homosexuality? And who supported it here? There are other measures to deal with the possible problems than jail or fines or silly things like that.

    Freedoms and rights should be curtailed in instances where they overstep the boundary of the health, safety or the freedoms and rights of others. The debate is far from over on that one.

    Your second paragraph is simply not true. I am to love my neighbor as myself, and that includes my atheist or gay neighbour as much as it includes my Christian neighbour. Its the golden rule. If you take that away from a Christian, he is certainly redefining the faith in a very strange way.

    I don’t know whether sin can be separated from the sinner in the way people like to often ‘glibly’ say the cliche that you find is such a dogs ear.

    Be that as it may, if you don’t believe in sin how can you say that one cannot separate the sin from the sinner? All you make are empty claims without arguing why you cannot separate the sin from the sinner. Mind you thats a theological debate that I would love you to get into!

    Finally, once again, you deny the possibility that there are other valuable sources of wisdom beyond the fallible source of the scientific method, you also don’t explain how you can ensure that your rationality has not been influenced by politics. Don’t hide behind your undesire for ethics via perceived revelation. That’s just sophistry. As if thats what any believer does completely? They might claim to… but thats another matter, I would take up with them, not you.

  19. Your first para is misleading. Of course it does not work that way. But do bare in mind that a big part of homosexuality is a lifestyle, within a subculture.

    So is heterosexuality. What’s your point?

    Your second paragraph is simply not true. I am to love my neighbor as myself, and that includes my atheist or gay neighbour as much as it includes my Christian neighbour. Its the golden rule.

    First, the golden rule predates Christianity by millennia. And even then it is a codification of behavior that evolved in order to optimize intragroup cooperation. Second, Christians typically do not display this ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ when they learn that they aren’t (oh, lordy, lordy!) like them. You should do as my brother says and sit and watch when a Christian finds out that I’m an atheist. It’s been my experience that secularists are far better at upholding what Christians consider their values than they are.

    Be that as it may, if you don’t believe in sin how can you say that one cannot separate the sin from the sinner?

    I was arguing from within your framework. I don’t have any use for the sin concept. I do, however, subscribe to the concepts of morals and ethics. And I do NOT believe that violation of morals and ethics can be separated from the interloper, since these largely define each individual.

    Finally, once again, you deny the possibility that there are other valuable sources of wisdom beyond the fallible source of the scientific method, you also don’t explain how you can ensure that your rationality has not been influenced by politics. Don’t hide behind your undesire for ethics via perceived revelation. That’s just sophistry.

    I don’t deny the possibility that there are “sources of wisdom beyond the fallible source of the scientific method” – I unabashedly flat-out REJECT it! Rational inquiry based on evidence is not just the most successful methodology for obtaining knowledge, it is THE ONLY METHOD which can be demonstrated to actually produce knowledge. That which is not verifiable, such as ‘revelation’ (which itself can not be shown to be revelation…), is a pretty good operational definition of sophistry. I hide behind nothing. If verification of a claim of knowledge is not possible, IT ISN’T KNOWLEDGE! To attempt to claim that something like revelation is on the same footing as empirically-derived knowledge is laughable, Lauri. I mean, really silly.

    How do I ensure that my rationality has not been influenced by politics? Because I critically appraise my conclusions to see if they are based on invalid preconceptions or dogmatic thinking. And I’m well trained in this area. It may be fallable, Lauri, but it is not only by far the best methodology we have, I think it’s the only horse in the race. And it is self-correcting. Your example above is not a refutation of the method – it is a vindication of it. I find the insinuation that when we discovery of mistakes through examination of how we arrive at our conclusions invalidating the methodology as a whole patently absurd.

  20. From the bottom. Did not mean to insinuate anything. I believe in the value of the scientific method too. Its just that I also recognize that I have a perspective and that that can cloud things (in real time). Knowledge narrowly defined, as you do, is in itself a political position. (and here I am not defending faith, simply stating a philosophical position, defensible by logic.) Take that argument as coming from somebody who is able to (imperfectly!) detach himself, from his position. (but not contradict himself even though he believes in revelation.)

    You still don’t in any way prove or argue why sin cannot be separated from the sinner. Give it a try. I am willing to be convinced even by an atheist 😉

    Its neither her not there if the golden rule precedes Christianity. It is THE commandment that Christians should obey (and often don’t.) Shame on us. But that does not alleviate my arguments weight. While your experience of Christians sounds sad and to the extent that I can I apologise for my “brothers”, your experience is of little consequence to this debate, as I am sure, you will readily submit, if you truly want to argue from empiricism. Having said that, I take very very seriously, your expression, (subjective expression) of knowledge relating to Christians. Let it be a reminder to those that fail to love their neighbour.

    As for the last (first point). You’re absolutely right to point that out. However, I was responding to your “get out of bed” and wander what shoes to put on today problem. The difference is that there are real differences between the subcultures and those differences need to be looked at from an empirical perspective. Not many people will touch it though, because of the political pressures surrounding the issue.

    • Is it not the sinner that commits the sin through free will (Do understand that I am arguing from within the religious framework. Nor do I adhere to the same idea of free will as is typical – I’m a compatabilist.)? It is our beliefs and actions which define us. Similarly – from my own framework now – those that act immorally from my point of view I judged as being immoral. Those actions define the character of the person. Really. I thought it would be self-evident that separating the acts of a person from who they are is impossible. And if you still think so, you are truly kidding yourself.

      And our local Catholic bishop Fred Fucking Henry (an atheist hater if there ever was one) is one of those that wants to recriminalize homosexuality, by the way. Of course, he had no problems doint the pedophile priest shuffle either. And I would beg to differ that my experience with Christians is not empirical. True, I haven’t rigorously quantify things, but doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to do so. That would actually be an interesting experiment to try. But I’ve already met more than enough Christians who rapidly change their view of my character when they find out about my nonbelief to make me wary of Christians in general. I do not believe that all Christians are like that, but there are enough out there that my wife is concerned about safety issues.

      Its neither her not there if the golden rule precedes Christianity. It is THE commandment that Christians should obey (and often don’t.)

      It most certainly is. All Christians (you included) go around assuming that Christianity is the source of this maxim when it is nothing of the sort, that nonbelievers are incapable of understanding the golden rule. The problem is that religion is utterly unnecessary to living it or any other of the rules people should live by.

      Knowledge narrowly defined, as you do, is in itself a political position. (and here I am not defending faith, simply stating a philosophical position, defensible by logic.)

      If it isn’t defined properly, the word itself becomes meaningless. I stand by my definition. The idea that it is ‘political’ is rejected. One simply can not attach any confidence to a claim of knowledge that can not be verified. Revelation is the worst – it can’t even be shown to be revelation! If it is indistinguishable from nonsense, then no matter how ardently we believe it, it probably is.

      I’d like to know – and this relates to my brother’s question – what is it about homosexuality that needs debate? I see no need for any such debate. Nor are you answering his question except with nonanswers.

      In relation to sexual behaviour I think procreation (the perpetuation of the speciece and to multiply) can be argued by both scientific and theological arguments.

      Are you saying that sexual behavior should be limited to that which is involved in procreation? This sentence is unclear. If so, then, no. There are no scientific arguments that could be used to argue so, though if you feell otherwise you can give it a try. And I could not care less about the theological issues with regard to sex.

      But as with all things there are appropriate boundaries for a healthy enjoyment of sex…

      Who determines what is healthy enjoyment? What are these boundaries? As I said, this is a nonanswer.

      And I’m beginning to lose track of this thread.

        • Lauri
        • Posted February 10, 2010 at 4:06 am
        • Permalink

        Shameless, I am sorry your wife fears for your safeties. I just cannot imagine that situation. It is completely foreign to me.

        From the top: Is it conceivable to you that somebody’s character can change? So (couched in your language) If somebody commits and immoral act (and they are correctly defined as immoral) is there a way for them to, over time, became moral? So I guess I would insert time into the equation of hating sin, loving the sinner (over time) and I guess I would add that Christians also don’t mean that all the consequences of the sin are therefore also to be ignored.

        Do you believe in forgiveness?

        “All Christians (you included) go around assuming that Christianity is the source of this maxim when it is nothing of the sort, that nonbelievers are incapable of understanding the golden rule. The problem is that religion is utterly unnecessary to living it or any other of the rules people should live by.”

        Really? Come on. First of all, on a technical point, Christianity is not the source of the golden rule even for Christians, Judaism (if anything) is. Secondly, the fact that similar maxims can be found does not negate why an individual might ascribe that rule to his faith, especially if it was uttered by Jesus. You should also note that the differentiating factor of Christianity is that Jesus also commands us to love God. That is the difference that Kingsley Amis pointed out so aptly with his quote, remember?

        “Its not so much that I don’t believe in God, as that I hate him.”

        Thirdly, Christians stop at red lights (for the most part), that’s because not to stop at a red light is stupid. There is no command that stopping at the right light is obligatory in the bible. Ok it is not central to the faith… But who ever said that you are not capable of living it? I was also not using it to persuade you of Christianity, I was pointing out why Christians should not and often do not hate atheists or gays.

        “Are you saying that sexual behaviour should be limited to that which is involved in procreation?”

        No.

        “And I could not care less about the theological issues with regard to sex.”

        Sure, but I do and I thought I would say so.

        You said that enjoying sex needs boundaries. That is the political debate which our polis is constantly defining and redefining. And it requires nuance, mature adults making well informed decisions and elements of personal responsibility.

        What I have a problem with in relation to your definition of knowledge is the lack of acknowledgement of time as a factor in which the scientific process takes place. Yes, it is self correcting, just as the free market is self correcting. But the time between the corrections might see a whole host of people loose their jobs, dignity and sometimes family, while they are retraining or until the job market opens up again.

  21. I recently had a death threat on here, but I don’t take it seriously. However, the animosity towards atheists (even in Canada) is measurable. I don’t consider the problem to be with more than a minority of Christians, but it is clear that religion is not a guarantor of good behavior, though it often claims to be. But, yes. My wife is concerned.

    So I guess I would insert time into the equation of hating sin, loving the sinner (over time) and I guess I would add that Christians also don’t mean that all the consequences of the sin are therefore also to be ignored.

    That is not, however, the meaning in which it is quoted the vast majority of the time. One can certainly change their character, but so what? If they change, then a reassessment of the character of that person is required. This is even reflected in our penal system with things like early paroll, etc.

    However, I reiterate my position that it is impossible to separate actions from moral character of the person at the time the act was carried out (the sin from the sinner, in your vernacular). That the person can change later is irrelevant to my argument. In fact, I do not believe that Christians really do separate the sin from the sinner. I’ve never seen it. They’re as judgemental as everyone else. Some are incredibly so.

    Finally, in relation to heterosexual sex, I think empirical evidence shows that the best place to bring up a child is in a stable married household (in general here).

    I think you made this up, as I am unaware of any published data which supports this proposition. Please provide citations from peer-reviewed publications.

    What I am saying, is that what we learn from the bible, principles that have been around for some time know, the anthropology shaped by millennia of experience has something to contribute to the political debate today and it is empirically verifiable, to the extent that psychology and sociology can be valued as empirically reliable.

    There is no way I would ever accept “it’s in the bible” as a basis for creating public policy. First, not everyone shares the idea that the bible is authoritative. Second, there is nothing of empirical value which relates to the question at hand. Third, if you accept any of it you must also accept the principles of stoning homosexuals and the ability to beat your slave to the point where they do not die within a day or two. If you reject those, then you have done so because of something from outside the principles contained in the bible.

    If the principles within the bible can’t be arrived at using reason based on a few fundamental values, such as freedom of the individual, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, etc. (which are, by the way, conspicuously absent from the bible), then whatever it is in the bible you are trying to use necessarily violoates those fundamental values, is wrong in a moral sense and should be discarded. In other words, they are ‘just-so’ stories and I have no reason to accept them. And I don’t.

    If it is possible to derive those biblical principles, then the bible isn’t telling us something we don’t already know. This is very similar to the Euryprho Dilemma. And there is no way that “biblical truths” can ever be considered equal to empirical study. I think religious arguments have no place in determining public policy in a secular society. If a position can’t be reasoned out on the basis of fundamental values such as those I list above, it isn’t worth spit. And a secular society is the only one in which it is even possible that everyone can be treated fairly and equally.

    Besides, if I am supposed to accept theological arguments, why should I accept Christian over Islamic theology, for instance?

    Worse, the bible is a snapshot of a 2000+ year old zeitgeist and people like you are trying to shoehorn it into a modern society. This just does not work and creates problems that will be insoluble until people stop trying to do this. For the most part, they have. We do not, for instance, keep slaves anymore, though the end of legal slavery had as much to do with economics as anything else.

    I would say that male to male sexual practices (practices not exclusively homosexual) tend to be the most dangerous in relation to hiv/aids transfer.

    This has to do with public health policy, not the problems you obviously have with homosexuality. What you’ve been trying to do is somehow conflate the two. I don’t buy it, not any more than a gonorrhea outbreak should get us to ban heterosexuality.

    You have every right to believe that homosexuality is wrong. (There are consequences to that which you must accept, however.) You do NOT, however, have the right to decide that for someone else. And bringing public health issues into the argument is an artificial pretense that allows you to paint a veneer of reason to accomplish this. If you don’t like homosexuality, don’t have a relationship with someone of the same sex. If you don’t like the idea of gay marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex. However, you do not have the right to have your belief forced on everyone else whether they agree or not.

    • “In fact, I do not believe that Christians really do separate the sin from the sinner. I’ve never seen it.”

      I think the phrase is short hand for leaving room for forgiveness, whilst allowing room for personal failure and recognizing previous relationships. In that sense you can on the one hand hold the tension that comes about by hating the sin, with loving the sinner. This is not that hard to do, if you allow for multiple emotions. A parent who loves his child deeply gets angry that the child may have don’t something wrong. That does not mean that the relationship breaks down, or that the parental love for the child is diminished.

      I’m sorry you have never seen it the loving of sinners. But then it is ironic to me that Jesus would have sided with you in his criticism of those that do not show love to their neighbour. And in fact did with the Pharisees.

      I think you may have tried to not see the love. Your hate for Christians seems to be coming out a little at a time, but I hear it there. You just have no time or inclination to take a balanced view at Christians around you. I would even say that you are a bit phobic myself, but then I don’t really know you and cannot judge that at all, as you cannot judge whether I am a “hater” either.

      In relation to my statement I will say it again and link to a paper which outlines the arguments for a public policy that supports marriage within the UK context. It is a policy paper developed by the Centre for Social Justice and has been taken up by the Conservative Party (very far from anything close to the republican party in the US) who support gay rights. The papers section C outlines the arguments for why my statement is true, with references to numerous peer review articles. I do it this way, because I believe since we are now talking about social policy rather than epistemology (in this question).

      I will add a caveat and that is that I was assuming that Homosexual couples don’t, for the most part, want to settle down. Gay couples, even when they are married (or are cohabiting, in a civil partnership which is what we have in the UK) are twice as likely to separate as straights, whilst lesbians are 2 times as likely to separate as gays.

      If we assume (according to the paper by the CSJ) that the best place to bring up a child is a stable marriage, and that data they have produced shows that on balance cohabitation and single parent families have a harder time in brining up children (not that its their moral failure at all). Then we can assume that marriage, which by the way, is an institution of the church not of the state, then we can assume that my statement in relation to homosexual sex is accurate. The link is here on a PDF. Look for section C: http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/client/downloads/BB_family_breakdown.pdf

      More later.

      • Christians have given us ample reasons not to trust them with guiding public policy. Public policy must be SECULAR policy, not based on biblical just-so stories that not everyone thinks hold any truths at all. Just because I don’t trust those that cry out their piety at the top of their lungs when they are responsible for policy affecting everyone regardless of whether they share that belief and that there are bad Christian apples out there does not mean I hate them. I wouldn’t have many friends if I didn’t like people who also happen to be Christian. I admit I wouldn’t count any of those that go around prosthyletizing amongst their, but that should be no surprise since I abhor such activity.

        So cut out the false martyrdom crap. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like you if I got to know you. But there are more than enough examples of bad actions born of religious belief to be wary of the religious. Especially those in a position to enforce their beliefs on the population as a whole.

        I do, however, despise religions in general, or anything else that demands the suspension of reason and burden of proof to believe it. Homeopathy, anti-vaccinationism, chiropractic claims of curing disease, UFOology, conspiracy theory – these are needlessly harmful. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, whatever are misogynistic, bigoted, antiquated, barbaric belief systems. What is not to dislike about them?

        In your attempt to promote what is clearly bigotry and give it the veneer of respectability, you have provided an inconsistent argument. You admit that children already grow up in single-parent situations after divorce in heterosexual marriages, but you would deny the rights of individuals to adopt children just because they are homosexuals and even in same-sex marriages? Just because they separate more often? The only way you can make this consistent is to either make divorce illegal or make children of single parents wards of the state. Nor does living in a marriage guarantee a stable environment. My wife has a friend who’s marriage was clearly on the rocks. His wife emasculated him in front of the kids daily, yet he refused to give her a divorce because he was thinking of the kids. Do you honestly think that children raised in such a “stable” household are better off than lovingly cared for by a single parent? Children who are raised by a single parent are NOT damaged goods. Shame on you for implying that!

        The health argument didn’t wash, either. This is typical of starting from a desired conclusion and working backwards to inventing your premises in order to make it so. Balderdash! Even if I accepted your arguments, I would still reject your conclusions on what to do. If it involves violating the rights and freedoms of individuals, I want NO part of it and will oppose it to my dying breath. And I want no part of the religion that put these ideas in your head.

        Then we can assume that marriage, which by the way, is an institution of the church not of the state, then we can assume that my statement in relation to homosexual sex is accurate.

        WHAT!? It’s an institution of the church? Where do you get this bullshit from? I did not get married in a church. I did not get married by anyone representing a religion. I did not get my marriage license from any religious organization and followed the marriage laws set out by the STATE. The state does NOT recognize marriage as a religious union, but a contract between individuals. If people want to add on the religious aspects they are free to do so, but these additions are superfluous and not recognized by the state. I have no idea where you got that idea from.

        Marriage is a religious institution… PLEASE!!!

  22. “I would say that promiscuity is a problem more so for the homosexual community (in general).”

    Oh would you? Based on what? Even though almost half of marriages in America end in divorce, and almost 90% of first-time divorces are the direct result of infidelity? And these statistics are from before there was gay marriage.

    “I would say that male to male sexual practices (practices not exclusively homosexual) tend to be the most dangerous in relation to hiv/aids transfer. Have a look at the Centre for Disease Control statistics for new infections here: http://bit.ly/b0Fma3 53% of new cases in 2006 (latest data available) where due to male to male sex.”

    Even more alarming from that report, over 55% of new HIV infections occur among black people. If this is what you are basing your argument on, then you should be at least as concerned about black people having sex. And I question your figures on the rate of homosexuality among men, I think you are being highly selective with your source data. Also keep in mind that male to male sexual experiences are not limited to men who exclusively identify themselves as homosexual.

    “Finally, in relation to heterosexual sex, I think empirical evidence shows that the best place to bring up a child is in a stable married household”

    Stable married household? How is this relevant to the discussion? If gays can legally marry (and they can in more and more jurisdictions), this does not exclude them from your statement.

    “There is also evidence that shows that commitment (and a track record of such) in a relationship, decreases stress levels. Etc etc.”

    Again this goes back to what I said about promiscuity. Unless you can back up the claim that gays are more promiscuous (or less committal) then straights, this statement is irrelevant to the discussion.

    “So my point is that what consenting adults do behind closed doors matters, and their choices are not value neutral.”

    Arguably no single choice by any given person is without consequence. That’s not the point. What goes on between two consenting adults is nobody else’s business unless it is doing someone else specific harm. Just because the thought of gay sex offends someone’s sensibilities is that person’s tough luck.

    Why even bring the Bible into it? Do you agree with everything the bible has to say? If you use the Bible as a moral authority, then do you believe that disobedient children should be stoned to death?

  23. Unlikely? Go back and read the statment. Sociology, Psychology and as previously noted epidemology regularly make blanket statments about groups of people. Mr. Schameless just did by saying he despizes religion in general. Come now. React to what I wrote not what I didnt write.

  24. Man Shameless, you really disprove the claim to cold dispassion in the face of evidence. Go read the CSJ paper.

    It doesn’t really matter where I get the impetus for my hypothesis from, does it? As long as it can be proven? This is public policy we are talking about not a scientific paper.

    You’re right to say that you can disagree with the policy conclusions. That is what politics is about.

    Don’t call my views bigoted. Not because I don’t like the title (though I don’t), but because it’s just a misuse of the word. The policy proposal does not include hate.

    Apropos, politics isnt about absolutes. Its also almost never completely consistent, unless there is a 100% conlcusion. Laws as writen cannot cover everything. That is why we have courts that arbitrate in cases.

    I never said that Children who grow up in one parent homes are damaged goods, far from it. Research shows that these kids do have to suffer (in general) more hurdles in life. That is all. My local Tory candidate is from a single parent household. He would agree with the CSJ conclusions and has spoken to me in support of them.

    I also said that not all marriages are perfect. I was generalising. Don’t ignore what I said please.

    As for marriage: What you have is a civil partnership. The definition is important from a faith perspective because a marital union between two people is made before God and the church. The relationship is different and certainly none of your business. If religion is something consenting adults should do behind closed doors, back off and leave what belongs to the church to the church.

    What you have, and I grant you I support it whole heartedly (as a principled pluralist) was not a covenant made before the church and God. So for you the difference might be in semantics, but for Christians marraige is a sacrament, akin to baptism, or communion and has nothing to do with the state. The way the state and the church relate to each other on the issue of marriage or civil partnerships are contingent on historical developments, constitutional settlements and cultural differences. I don’t know how the law in Canada works. Here in the UK civil partnerships are not marriages. The first is a state institution the second is a church institution recognized by the state.

    So back to my previous points which you wilfully seem to be ignoring. For clarity I am quoting what I said, which you didn’t respond to.

    “You said that enjoying sex needs boundaries. That is the political debate which our polis is constantly defining and redefining. And it requires nuance, mature adults making well informed decisions and elements of personal responsibility.

    What I have a problem with in relation to your definition of knowledge is the lack of acknowledgement of time as a factor in which the scientific process takes place. Yes, it is self correcting, just as the free market is self correcting. But the time between the corrections might see a whole host of people loose their jobs, dignity and sometimes family, while they are retraining or until the job market opens up again.”

    This leads me to the point about the illusion of neutrality within the “Secular” political decision making. I am for a principled pluralism rather than secularism. This means that evidence is required to make public policy decisions, and by evidence I don’t just mean that the bible can be used as evidence. It also assumes the separation between church and state (as in America). But as you know, the concept of liberty of the individual is a philosophical one. There is a very good argument to be made (at least in Locke, though not in Hume) that the concept was derived from a certain way of interpreting the bible. Even if it was not, it is still a way, not THE way, of understanding political freedom. You seem to bow to a philosophical concept which is a moral standpoint; therefore your claimed neutrality as a secularist is bunk. Rawlsian secularism defeats itself, because it asumes plurality of voices, but by beging for neutrality in discource, it anialates all possibility for plurality in act, leading to a totalising “state,” in which those who define the “neutrality” of the language become the arbiters of justice. It a nuanced argument which has been made in academic papers, but thats the just of it.

    By the way, I dont know what you as a Canadian are complaing about. You have some of the most liberal secularist laws in the world. In other words, you have it good from your own perspective.

    Finally on the failure of the church to develop good public policy: You completely ignore the good stuff. (Perhaps thats because you hate religion, an irational stance hinted at in my first sentance this post). Public schooling, public health, health and safety regulations, the abolition of the slave trade, peace movements, women’s suffrage, racial equality and justice in Europe and the US, radical protest against Vietnam and the list goes on… The first two of this list used to be the exclusive domain of the Church, nobody else would do it! The rest where significantly a matter which where brought about by people of faith motivated toward social change through public policy, or civil disobediance, based on the principles found in the bible and interpreted from the perspective of Christian Humanism, which assumes the dignity of all people. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted by Christians, was lobbied for by Christians and was passed because of Christians. GW Bush spent more on education than any other President before him, because he wanted to make sure that kids get a better deal. He quadrupled US funding for foreign aid and developed a strategic partnership (which was headed up by a Gay Democrat no less, who Hilary Clinton fired the first day in office) to combat AIDS in Africa. The ABC program has seen a significant reduction in HIV/AIDS cases in Uganda and Kenya. All of these things are largely down to the ideological commitments made by Christians for the bettering of the common good.

    Sure, you can be an atheist and do good. You can be a Christian and have some horrible ideas. But don’t tell me that Christianity has not brought about immense social good, especially but not exclusively since the reformation.

    A very good argument can also be made, which was articulated by Marilynne Robinson (a Pulitzer Prize winner) in her book The Death of Adam, that Hitler’s policy on the Jews, was based on a type of Social Darwinism prevalent amongst the atheistic intelligence all around the world at that time. “Time” (as mentioned beforehand) really matters in science and in scientific development and its application to public policy.

  25. Lauri, I’m curious to know your response to my comment about HIV transmission rates. You might havem missed my comment, I made the same mistake that you did in placing the comment in the wrong place. Do you condone black sexual behaviour? On what grounds?

    • adoubtersramblings
    • Posted February 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm
    • Permalink
    • Reply

    Wow…I’ve read this whole discourse today and, although my head hurts now :), i’ve enjoyed the back and forth. While I’m going to refrain from getting into too many of the details here (I heavily lack the tools to completely understand these arguments, let alone combat them 😉 ) I did notice one statement that I thought was rather telling…

    Lauri Said: “If religion is something consenting adults should do behind closed doors, back off and leave what belongs to the church to the church.”

    I would counter that with “If homosexual acts are somthing consenting adults should do behind closed doors, back off and leave what belongs to humanity to humanity”

    • I think the big problem is that unlike sex in the bedroom, things in the church don’t necessarily stay there. When a religious group is trying to place a monument of the ten commandments in a public courthouse and we speak up, we are accused of violating their rights. The irony would be delicious if it weren’t so serious. Religious people in general have a tendency to start making their whole environment and everyone in it as if it were in their church. I would have absolutely no problem with keeping out of church affairs so long as church-goers leave it there when they leave. But they rarely do (with some notable exceptions).

      Of course, this does not apply to predatory priests or popes lying about condoms spreading aids.

  26. Sorry it took me long to get back to you. Again, it all depends on what you think I am advocating for and against. I am saying that simply condoning the liberal idea that what happens behind closed doors is non of anybodies buisness is wrong. So, I am not trying to say that we should legislate against homosexuals. Your quite right to say that AIDS and HIV is a problem amongs black people. But the problem from my argument has never been homosexuality or Black or White or whatever label. Promiscuity is the problem and promiscuity combined with a higher rate of anal sex is the problem. Hence, the legitimisation of what happens between two consenting adults, matters. Thats all.

    • I am saying that simply condoning the liberal idea that what happens behind closed doors is non of anybodies buisness is wrong.

      Bullshit. You have an agenda and are simply using what falls under public health to impose your morality on everyone else. Instead of slandering it, you could do with some liberalization. By your logic, since gonnorrhea is spread by vaginal sex, let’s criminalize it while we’re at it. History has proven that prohibition laws, whether they are related to alcohol, sex, or anything else the religious try to control for everyone else, not only don’t work, but significantly harm society. If you want to screw with my freedoms, you’re gonna get a fight that you can’t win. So, sod off.

      I am going to make this perfectly clear: You have no right, no business, whatsoever in dictating your morality to anyone else. Dressing them up in a fake concern for public health isn’t fooling anyone. Public health policies do not involve criminalization of behavior (and yes, Lauri, that IS what you are talking about). If you don’t want sex outside of marriage, then don’t do it. But you do not get to tell anyone else that.

      We have effectively dealt with venereal disease through public health policy (as we have with HIV) without need of resorting micromanaging behavior. Your case is prima facie nonsense.

      Please take your bigotry elsewhere. Your penchant for interfering unnecessarily with individual freedoms just because it offends your tender sensibilities disturbs and offends me greatly.

    • “Again, it all depends on what you think I am advocating for and against.”

      What are you advocating? You have never been clear on that. All you have done is make veiled statements about homosexuals and HIV transmission rates, without getting to the point. I fail to see what your subtle insinuations about homosexuals have to do with the topic at hand.

      You say that promiscuity is the problem, but that’s not what you implied in your arguments initially – you started right in with the homosexuals. Why is that? I realize SA brought up homosexuality as an example of dangerous attitudes based on scripture. My issue and my interest in the discussion picks up on your response to that, when you immediately began pointing out that homosexuality was once considered a disorder and that homosexuals have high rates of HIV infection. What were you implying with those statements if not that there is something inherently wrong with homosexuality?

      “the legitimisation of what happens between two consenting adults, matters.”

      Ok, nobody said anything about legitimizing anything. I don’t mean to be pedantic, but it seems that you are repeatedly misrepresenting my stance and I want to be perfectly clear. Your question was “do you condone homosexual behaviour”, which means ‘allow to happen’. Technically you condone homosexual behaviour also (unless you are actively preventing homosexuals from acting the way they do). Do I support the state condoning homosexual behaviour (which I presume is what you meant)? Sure, for the same reasons. As former Canadian premier Pierre Trudeau famously said, “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”. Do I support legitimization of homosexual behaviour? No, no such legitimization should be necessary, any more than heterosexuality should be declared to be the official national sexual orientation.

      “I am saying that simply condoning the liberal idea that what happens behind closed doors is non of anybodies buisness is wrong.”

      This is not exactly what I said – more misrepresentation. I said that what happens between consenting adults behind closed doors is nobody’s business as long as they are not doing anyone else SPECIFIC HARM. Where we disagree is in what constitutes harmful behaviour, and whether or not anyone has any business interfering when someone is engaging in behaviour that is harmful to themselves. You seem to equate homosexual = harmful. You have failed miserably to prove that one implies the other. Certain sexual acts are arguably more harmful than others, but considering those sexual acts to be exclusively within the domain of one sexual orientation or vice versa is not valid. Many different types of sexual contact can be considered harmful to varying degrees. Where do we draw the line? Suppose a successful safe sex campaign were to be conducted among high-risk categories of people, and suddenly heterosexual vaginal sex became the high-risk category. What would your opinion be then? Should we interfere with straight couples who are engaging in “harmful behaviour”?

      You said earlier “If religion is something consenting adults should do behind closed doors, back off and leave what belongs to the church to the church.” I would agree with this except that as it has been stated elsewhere, the church rarely keeps their business to themselves, and religious dogma does harm to others in many different ways. I have absolutely no problem with people being religious, attending church etc. even though I consider religion to be inherently harmful. However I do NOT think it is my right to “help” these people or to interfere in what is their business.

      So let’s suppose that you really did mean that your problem was with promiscuity and not homosexuality (which I doubt – your statements about homosexuality say otherwise). So what is the solution to dealing with promiscuity? Should we make adultery and pre-marital sex illegal (for all sexual orientations, not just homosexuals)? Should we reinstate sodomy laws (which historically have only been enforced against homosexuals)? I know you never suggested any of this, however your discussion seems to be insinuating at something so I am asking your opinion. If you object to my accusation, please humour me by telling me what you REALLY think. No more beating around the bush please.

      Frankly I’m getting tired of having to deal with strawmen and your evasiveness. I’ve asked you many times to clarify your position and prove you are not bigoted but you have failed to do so.

  27. I refer you to the reply Posted February 8, 2010 at 8:37 am. Beyond that I cannot yet say, given that I have not yet made my mind up. But please Shameless, remember what this debate was originally about (epistemology).

    Finally I recomend you check this very short debate out. Please remember, it is a conversation that is internatl to the church and so it cannot be “neutral”, but I think its worth it. http://qideas.org/video/homosexuality.aspx

  28. I refer you to the reply Posted February 8, 2010 at 8:37 am. Beyond that I cannot yet say, given that I have not yet made my mind up. But please Shameless, remember what this debate was originally about (epistemology).

    Finally I recomend you check this very short debate out. Please remember, it is a conversation that is internatl to the church and so it cannot be “neutral”, but I think its worth it. http://qideas.org/video/homosexuality.aspx

    • You’re the only one who thought that this was still about epistemology.

      As for the video, a number of points. First, one of the speakers said exactly what I said about separating the “sin” from the “sinner”. How does one tweak out that which – more than anything else – defines someone who is a homosexual? You can’t. That is the long and the short of it. Homosexual men and women describe themselves as gay or lesbian. There is no separating the sin from the sinner. But Jeebus loves them anyway. Wow. What a great message.

      Not.

      Second, what the hell are these guys doing trying to reconcile Christianity with homosexuality? The bible is very specific in Leviticus and other places – homosexuality is a sin against the Abrahamic god. That’s it. And it does so without justification. If this is to be rejected, then it can not be done from within a Christian framework. There is no wiggle room in there. So, it must be from outside of that framework. They have thus necessarily rejected a part of their religion. Some of us have gone just a little farther.

  29. But I have repeatedly said that the discussion I want to have is about epistemology, from which you have repeatedly tried to digress. (Why I dont know.) What about going back and looking at that post which I recomended that you look today. Its very clear where I stand, but is unclear about policy recomendations. The CSJ document is a good recomendation, but its periphar, since it relates the the 2M kids in the UK who are growing up in poos households because of government policies which will not put two parent families on the same footing as single parent families as they are in most of the EU.

    Go back and look at what I have been saying contiunously. Then evelaute what you have said most recently about my points, which I think are to some extent unfair. I said very specifically that I have a liberal possition on sexual ethics to the extent that the possition needs to be evaluated in relation to the safty and health of other people as well as the persons involved.

    I have said that health issues should be dealt with in relation to issues of promiscuity. You have not talked about that at all.

    I have articualted a caring position, which you have willfully chosen to intepret in a way which alinges your understanding of my possition with bigotry, to prove your own point. You have been arguing with somebody who I am not. That, if you will be honest with yourself, shows something about you and your haterted, which I have pointed to a couple of times.

    As a scientist, I hope you dont do these things in your work. As a debator I am sorry that you cant take a step back from what I actually said.

    • I have digressed because you have not offered anything which even comes close to challenging how I define knowledge. Speaking of which, you have not answered my own challenge. If you do not consider homosexuality a sin, or that women are chattel, or that people should be stoned, or any of a number of things that you may or may not reject that are clearly spelled out within the set of books we call the bible, how do you justify anything which it contains as being “wisdom”? How do you choose what is or is not wisdom within it? I’ve asked this several times and all I hear are crickets.

      You have been arguing with somebody who I am not.

      Your own fault. You haven’t bothered to tell me your views at all.

      I have articualted a caring position…

      The hell you have. I honestly haven’t seen you articulate any position yet. All you say is that you think promiscuity is a problem without offering solutions.

      I have said that health issues should be dealt with in relation to issues of promiscuity. You have not talked about that at all.

      I think the fight against sexually transmitted diseases should take a multi-pronged approach: prevention (that is, inform people about sexually transmitted diseases and safe sex) and treatment options (HIV clinics, etc.).

      I am vehemently opposed to abstinence-only programs for the following reasons: multiple studies have demonstrated their complete and utter failure and they succeed only in withholding vital information. Such programs exist for the sole purpose of making its creators feel good while making children victims of ignorance. A teenage girl in the US is FOUR TIMES more likely to get a venereal disease than in France. That’s how well such programs work, and such programs are promoted ONLY by the religious. And I certainly wouldn’t tell AIDS-stricken Africa that condoms help spread HIV. I am passionately opposed (the word “hate” is misnomer in describing me, actually) to anything that can only result in tens of millions of deaths.

      Telling people not to have sex works as well as telling them not to breathe. That’s just the way it is. Deal. Accepting this is the first step (and a necessary one) to developing sound public health policies that can measurably do good. Go the Nancy Reagan route and things inevitably get worse. And do.

      I have told you my prejudices, but I have also justified them. I’ve pointed out some of yours, but all I heard were excuses. I have no doubt that being religious can feel good on a personal level, but when it is applied at the societal level, we get things like abstinence-only programs. So, yeah. I have a problem with that. BUT SO SHOULD YOU! Do you?

        • Lauri
        • Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:22 am
        • Permalink

        I support the ABC program (as I have already said!). I don’t support what the Pope has said, its dameging. I work for a charity that (among other things) runs this sort of program: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/feb/02/abstinence-sex-education-us-study

        It is informative, though the emphasis is on relationships rather than sex. The birds and bees are talked about specifically, but the overall tone of the program is about waiting and weighing the options.

        I advocate a possition in relationt to public policy which is based on evidence. It has to be, but there are some choices in relation to policy which cannot or have not yet been proven one way or the other.

        Or that have been proven to work in one culture but not the other.

        Your US comparison to France is a correlational reference, which as you know means nothing. In France Divorce happens less often than in the US. Perhaps that is a factor in all this?

        Did you check out that Nagal book?

        I am more than happy to sod off. If thats what you want.

      • An interesting study, but it doesn’t address some crucial questions like STD incidence, e.g. And it is only a single study, with not that much of an effect even if it may be statistically significant. Whoda thunk that moralizing about abstinence would be a barrier to getting through to kids?

        However, I am always concerned about standards and oversight with such programs. Religious organizations that run these things tend to think they have carte blanche. The ten baptist morons in Haiti are a case in point. You’ll have to excuse my suspicion, but we’ve had our share of faith-based disasters in Canada, tragedies that could have been prevented with proper oversight. The Catholic Church in Canada is essentially bankrupt (I would say both financially and morally) because of a whole suite of law suits. And if you lean towards abstinence-only, that study should show you the slippery slope that such a bias is on.

        And you did indeed wear out my brother’s welcome. And now you’ve worn out mine. I have REPEATEDLY asked on what basis so-called ‘moderate’ Christians (as you seem to be) choose what bits of “biblical wisdom” they take or reject. It’s a valid question and an honest one. I simply don’t understand it, and it’s probably something that such people don’t like to think about because of the implication that maybe we get our ethics outside of religion.

        Instead of answering, you have steadfastly ignored the question. For someone that purports to want to talk about epistemology, not to answer that question – one that goes right to the heart of your epistemology, Lauri – is downright hypocritical. I’m no longer interested in playing a game on my blog under your rules.

  30. What he said. Sod off.


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