"It seems to me that to organize on the basis of feeding people or righting social injustice and all that is very valuable. But to rally people around the idea of modernism, modernity, or something is simply silly. I mean, I don't know what kind of a cause that is, to be up to date. I think it ultimately leads to fashion and snobbery and I'm against it."
Jack Levine: January 3, 1915 – November 8, 2010
A New Year present, if you hadn't heard it before. I don't expect the kewl kiddies will be able to follow the first five two minutes but I'm not posting it for them. I especially like his comments about capitalism and the new atheism, though it isn't the best of what was in this lecture and answer session. His comments on the incoherence of naturalism are some of the best I've heard.
And then there is what he says about prayer being radically subversive of capitalist consumerism.
In traditional French Quebec culture New Years was the big day for partying and celebrating, Christmas being a religious holiday. As it happens, it was also the big day for my Irish family because it was easier to get that many people together on New Years than on Christmas day. I always think of the music of La Bolduc around this time of year.
Bien vite c’est le jour de l’An qui nous r’vient à tous les ans (bis)
Parlons donc de l’ancien temps tout l’monde s’amusait gaiement
On rassemblait les parents on avait plus d’agrément (bis)
On souhaitera la bonne année pareil comme dans l’temps passé (bis)
On commencera par les vieux car ils sont les plus précieux
On demand’ra la bénédiction au grand-père de la maison (bis)
Pendant qu’les enfants joueront la parenté s’embrass’ront (bis)
Avec une grande tendresse et fait avec politesse
Sur les deux joues sur le front mais tout ça sans permission (bis)
C’est bien beau de s’amuser il faut penser à manger (bis)
On mang’ra des bonnes tartes à la farlouche et aux dattes
Et aussi de bonnes tourtières faites par notre bonne grand-mère (bis)
Après l’repas terminé qu’on a dit l’bénédicité (bis)
Le père pousse sa chanson et tout le monde répond
Tout chacun de leur manière y a des grosses voix pis des claires (bis)
J’oubliais d’vous mentionner des cadeaux faut emporter (bis)
Des beaux patins à Réal, à Lucienne une traîne sauvage
Et comme Fernande c’est le bébé on lui donnera une poupée (bis)
Quand la journée terminée que tout l’monde s’est amusé (bis)
Mais chacun prend leurs guenilles et retourne dans leur famille
Répétant en s’embrassant bien à l’autre jour de l’An (bis). Le Jour de L'An
As luck would have it, I've already pointed out the answer to your whiny insult in an answer to another whiny atheist. Where do these rights humanists purport to support come from? Do atoms have rights, molecules? How do combinations and conglomerations of molecules start to have rights? When in the line of evolution did that start? Do bacteria have rights? Do flat worms? Where did their rights come from and do we have a moral obligation to respect them? Where in the history of life on Earth does our obligation to respect rights begin? It would seem to me that in order for rights and the moral obligations to respect rights to be real under atheist-materialism, they would require some moment like the Genesis moment of God creating Adam, instilling such qualities within him and, as an afterthought, Eve. I remember way, way back in an early Catechism class, Sr. Jean saying that God must have chosen a species in the evolution of people to put a soul into them. I can't see how any "Humanist" (read "atheist") who wants to pretend to believe in equal rights can avoid locating some similar point in the development of life to have NO ONE endow our ancestors with equal rights. At least dear old Sr. Jean had some coherent proposed mechanism of how that happened. And she'd trained as an elementary school teacher, not a sci-guy or a philosopher. As it is, atheism has no coherent account of where rights come from and no coherent reason that would keep anyone, atheist or not, from merely choosing to violate rights as they figure they can get away with it. Update: "Religion likewise has no enforcement mechanisms (except ones you like to whitewash, like inquisitions) and in any case its track record has, historically, been less than stellar." If religion had the power to compel people to respect the rights of other people, you'd be the first one to whine about theocracy. I'll put the checkered history of moral integrity of the Christian religion against the 100% record of atheist amorality when they have the kind of power to enforce behavior any day. As it is, I didn't expect you'd be the one to understand the point made in those posts. Hey, Stevie, you going to slam Duncan for saying what you jumped all over me for saying about your idea of a cool cat, not mine, Bill Cosby? Update 2: Nah, I'm not bothered with the jr. high mockery of Simps and Boy Thunder. I figured years ago that if Duncan wants to sponsor that instead of something serious then his blog would not turn out to have any kind of positive effect on much of anything. Like I said, once I realized it was just a means of making money for him....
and it was time to move on. Update 3: It is kind of surprising for me to say it but any evidence I've seen would lead me to believe that Boy Thunder is even stupider than Simps. Is there anyone with a narrower mind than someone who had the equivalent of a voc-ed education in some narrow scientific specialty? Apparently it's news to Simp's sidekick that you've got to read something before you know what it said. Lots of that going on at the ol' Brain Trust.
Update 4: Yeah, I blame Duncan Black for letting his blog be a place where dishonest and superficial schmucks trash talk other people who don't go there. It's his blog, he could have done something about it years ago and he's too much of a self-absorbed narcissist to take the responsibility to stop that. I noticed last week that his regulars were trashing a former regular who showed up to beg for money, Jurassic Pork, calling him a grifter, etc. How that differs from Duncan whining that they aren't supporting him by buying stuff from Amazon.com, using Adblock software, not donating to him must be some kind of Masonic secret among them because I can't see any difference. Duncan Black has been living off of his former promise as asserted by his mentor, The Horse of Media Whores Online and a few things he got recognition from before c. 2007. His blog has been a drag on the discourse since about that time.
OH MY WORD! Duncan Black has said exactly what his commenting community has been slamming me over for more than a year, that Bill Cosby hasn't been convicted of anything and that there is a presumption of innocence that is the right of all of those who have not been convicted of crimes they're accused of. Will any of them notice? Simps? Thunder Boy? Your man, the A-man himself, has said exactly what I said all along.
No deep thoughts, but if pattern of allegations is true then the guy was a serial predator for decades. (Innocent until proven guilty under our legal system. The court of public opinion is not our legal system.)
Oh come on, Duncan, make an effort, have a deep thought about something other than the parking in Philly.
Apparently some of his commentators still don't get the whole presumption of innocence, cross examination, establishment of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (I assume that's the standard the prosecution will have to meet) and jury system. One of them has the current demand that
I think one should always believe the victim not blame them. If they are all lying we look stupid....
Well, if you want to not appear stupid, then it's best to begin by not assuming that someone making an accusation is stating the facts as they happened BEFORE ANYONE HAS A CHANCE TO EVEN HEAR THEIR ACCOUNT NEVER MIND TEST IT UNDER QUESTIONING. As it is you've already rendered a summary judgement by assuming that there is a victim of a crime without that having been established in court. The misconception that makes the victim of a cad a victim of a crime abounds in online discourse. They aren't necessarily the same thing, victims of crimes may be victims of cads but not all victims of cads are victims of crimes.
It's amazing that these people who believe themselves to be the enlightened cream of American society don't get the most basic of principles under which any kind of fair legal system works.
As a number of us said when the campaign to get Cosby started in those most lofty of precincts, statements by stand up comedians and on web-loids like Salon, if there's enough evidence to bring an indictment and put him on trial, let's hear it. If there is enough evidence to convict him of an actual crime, an actual crime on the books in the locations they are alleged to have happened, not the ad hoc expressions of rage and, frankly, racism, that have proliferated online and in tabloids, then the place to convict him of that is in a court of law, not of online rumor and salacious scandal.
Really, for a group of people who are, no doubt, going to flock to see the movie, Trumbo, if they haven't already, who are such ardent haters of McCarthyism, they've come to comprise something not anything unlike Red Channels and the other organs of extra-judicial accusation, conviction and punishment.
I think Duncan, considering the content you've supported on your blog, you really owe us more than your terse, twitter style non-comment.
Update: Simps, if you're not going to read something and comment on what was said instead of what you, in your stupidity, would like to have been said, I'm not going to post the comment. These are words, You have to read all of them to know what they say. They don't work if you don't work.
Given the choice of listening to Carmen Lombardo or whatever brainless andenoidal twit they've selected to intone the smart mopheads dreary atheist dirge at Time Square tonight, I'd take Carmen, he has historical interest and almost certainly a better back up band. Listening to those early Guy Lombardo arrangements, I can sort of hear what Louis Armstrong said he did. “I haven’t heard no band that plays more perfect music than Guy Lombardo yet.” Unlike Simps and the Tots I figure that someone who created the continual and perpetually inspiring musical genius that Louis Armstrong did, if they hear something in music that I haven't noticed, there must be something there that I'm not hearing and it might be worth the effort to hear it. I also figure anyone who wouldn't rather take instruction from Louis Armstrong than from a washed-up c-list pop music reviewer from the equivalent of an ad flyer is a dolt.
Longtime readers will know that one of my sources of pride is the one and only time I got the atheist ideologue and ideological cosmologist, Sean Carroll, to admit that there is not a single object in the universe, not an atom, not a proton, neutron, electron, quark, no, not even the current star of the reductionist pantheon, the Higgs Boson which physics knows comprehensively and exhaustively. He was reluctant to admit that - as I counted, it took 17 days of repeatedly asking that he answer the question to get him to admit to the obvious - because there is nothing that more conclusively shows the pretension of his ideological brand of cosmology that it will soon or not quite so soon have a theory of everything, a TOE, which will explain the entirety of the physical universe and, so, according to them, put the final nail in the coffin of God and religion.
The idea that particle physics or quantum physics would be necessary to discern the tiniest basic component of physical reality and to, as they think, come up with the most general of all possible theories of the forces those exist or, really, move under,and so explain everything is the materialist and atheist faith tradition of reductionism. It is the ideological conceit that everything is reducible to its smallest and simplest components which contains the ultimate reality of everything at every resolution of perception. It is, to say the least, fervently believed in by most atheists with the intellectual capacity to either follow the incredible contortions of thought necessary or the many, many more who depend on the oracular statements of that priesthood. The lower levels of that laity depend on the Discover channel, PBS and, Planck help us, Youtubes. The even lower level of that laity relies on repeating mantras and mysterious phrases harvested from other commentators. They're the same folk who like to argue whether they're chimps or bonobos on some of the sillier of the pretentious blogs.
Such folk are the ones who believe that anything that is real must be reducible to the nature and qualities of tiny fundamental particles and the most general of humanly construced physical law*.
All of that precedes my challenges surrounding the reality of equal rights and the moral obligations to respect those. It's an atheist faith that without them being present at that level of resolution in the physical universe that they are not really real or are illusory or have ephemeral and transient existence and. so. can be disposed of and which no one needs to observe if they can get away with not considering them. If rights are real then subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, the combinations of molecules enclosed in structures made of such groupings of molecules that comprise our bodies must all, at every level, have those qualities of rights and moral obligations. I don't have any problem with pushing people who believe such reductionism is the key to all reality to account for the existence of their rights, of demanding that they tell us where their rights come from and why we should take them as being really real and that we are morally obligated to respect them.
It's your faith, not mine, I gave you the logical foundation of rights and moral obligations according to mine. That you don't like it changes nothing about me having an absolute foundation by which I am morally obligated to respect your rights even when I really don't want to and I know I could get away with it in every day life. I know that there is a consequence to not doing that, you don't. That it's an argument that's longer form than you seem to like to think in doesn't mean much. It's simple compare to what the guys like Sean Carroll have to present to try to do what they obviously can't.
* Sorry, bunky, even physicists aware enough to be aware of it freely admit that physical law is a creation of human imagination. The stupider ones believe they are not mitigated by the minds in which their only locus in the universe is known.
Update: Oh, Neil Diamond. Not even Neil D.T. but Neil Diamond. I'll bet you thought he was real boss back in the day. Or did you still say "gear"? Well, we can't all be as groovy as you.
As we come to that great holiday which is no more significant than taking down an old calendar and putting up a new one, as the chosen crooner of modest Time Square talent is warming up to intone John Lennon's dopey, insipid atheist anthem which would make anyone who has any musical taste long for the days of Guy and the Royal Canadians oozing out Auld Lang Syne, I'm going to reissue my several challenges to atheists that I've been making most of this year with a new spin on one of them.
The first is to explain how the currently fashionable materialist's "brain only" mind in which all ideas are the epiphenomenona of physical structures made by our body chemistry acted on by physics would create a new idea. The brain, to create a new idea, would have to make exactly the right physical structure to embody that idea before the idea existed within the brain that was to make it. That would go for all ideas, those coming in from the outside and those which arise within the mind. How would the brain know what to make, exactly, before the information contained in the idea could exist as a physical structure in the brain?
How would the brain know it had made the right structure since it would have nothing to judge what it had made on except what it had produced?
Remember, anything you come up with for a proposed mechanism to create these idea-structures will have to work in real time, matching the real-life experience of thought and creation of new ideas. And it will have to work for every, single idea that we come up with in the course of our life, those which are "correct" and those which we accept as accurate. If you propose some kind of "trial and error method" which would have to work at incredible speed and largely unconsciously, it would have to account for the myriad of "bad ideas" which our brains end up accepting and maintaining, that is if you can even account for such cumbersome, clunky "brain-only" minds being able to distinguish the good from the bad.
The few proposals that came in exposed nothing more than the superficial thinking that sustains the materialist "brain-only" dogma, either coming up with a vague, illogical and baseless Just-so story of evo-psy style natural selection or some even sillier assertions. My past decade of seriously looking at materialism has led me to the same conclusion that David Bentley Hart has that materialism is one of if not the most logically incoherent ideologies that have ever gained currency among the allegedly educated. That any trained philosopher could hold with it is simply amazing, certainly a defect in their educations and the logical rigor required by contemporary academic philosophy. That scientists could, in such large numbers, hold with it probably shows a great deal about the down side of the time required to devote a life to a narrow scientific specialty and the downside of allowing them to opt out of prerequisites in training in logical rigor in favor of nothing but their narrow vocational training.
I also posed the similar question of the materialist-atheist location of equal rights and, as important, the equal endowment with moral obligations to respect those rights. I will assert that since scientistic materialism is a program holding that all reality is reducible to the smallest physical objects and forces and their movements and arrangement, in order for their conception of people as physical objects to have rights, those rights would have to be an embodied aspect of those smallest and most general of objects and physical forces. In order for us to have rights which were real, subatomic particles, atoms, molecules, physical structures, the most primitive of life forms would have to have rights and moral obligations to other physical objects, those rights and obligations would have to be a generally held physical condition extending throughout the entire scale of physical existence. They would have to be true in any of the imaginary universe such as is fashionable with today's insane cosmologists.
I would like an explanation of where atheists imagine rights come from, taking into account what they require by way of explanation of origins such as the incoherent question "who made God, then". Such a demand that they account for where rights come from, where the moral obligation to respect rights from under their monistic materialism is far more coherent as, in theistic belief, our status as created beings would require such an explanation. Far more than their demand to account for the creation of God. The God of monotheism is not a created being, the God of monotheism is not a thing in the created universe, to ask where God came from is an incoherent misconception of what thinking theists believe about God. And the monotheistic religions also have a coherent explanation of the origin of equal rights and moral obligations because those are endowments of all people, perhaps all sentient beings, from the uncreated God who created the universe. You might not like that answer but it is a logically coherent assertion from which assertions of rights and moral obligations come from, the foundations of egalitarian democracy. Atheism provides nothing to make those from, the best they seem to be able to do is to either skirt the issue or to deny the reality of those things, so real in the experience of human beings but which they can't fit into their ideologically girdled minds.
Update: I'm old enough so I remember when Matt Groening was still mildly amusing. Though just barely. "Genius" yeah, just like ol' Gert Stein, huh?
Ok, here's his cartoon:
You tell me how that differs from your typical member of the rump Eschaton community. I suspect in Matt's case, it was a self-parody from his Life is Hell period, back when I used to read him in In These Times, before I started to think he was kind of boring and obvious. A "genius"? Compared to who?
El sueño de la razón produce monstruos, c. 1797-99
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Salon Magazine's premier hate monger, Jeffrey Tayler recently dipped into the common received cultural lore of atheism to use Francisco Goya's print as a condemnation of religion. Goya's print was part of his great series Los Caprichos, condemning the corruption of the Royal-religious establishment in late 18th century Spain. Meanwhile, just north of the border, reason was deified by the French revolutionaries, reason was turned into a replacement for God and its promotion turned into everything from a popular cult (erecting an idol of "Reason" in the Cathedral of Notre Dame) to a political ruse and, in that most typical of French ways, a fashion statement. And that continues down to today among atheists, "free thinkers*, and barroom blowhards of whom a large number spout ignorantly in Salon magazine, Alternet, even in such better venues as The Nation and In Theses Times.
But the test of reality that reason as a replacement for God was given during the time that Goya was making his series of etchings. As compared to such often cited and, admittedly evil evils as the Spanish Inquisition were restrained in their violence as compared to the cult of reason in France during the Revolution and in its aftermath as such secular "reason" continued. The estimate for all of those who were executed after being condemned by the Inquisition are between 3,000 and 5,000 people over the course of centuries. The overwhelming majority of those brought before The Inquisition were either found not guilty or were allowed to repent and reenter into society without harm, as compared to the various courts under secular authorities, The Inquisition was far less likely to end up killing you or torturing you as they killed you. The goal of The Inquisition was to save souls, not kill people who endangered worldly powers. You can compare that to the French revolutionary courts and the not infrequent resort to summary execution in which even the most ardent of worshipers of "reason" in the French Revolutionary manner found themselves in the tumbrel to that most emblematic machine of such reason, the Guillotine. A number I've seen estimates the toll of those who died by guillotine as 16,594 with as many as 25-30,000 killed through summary execution, and that's only for the months of the "official" Reign of Terror. The figures for the entire term of the revolution are far higher, higher still if you include the aftermath of the glorious French Revolution in the military despotism and imperial adventures of Napoleon** which Goya documented in his later series of etchings, c. 1810-1820.
For my purpose it is interesting to consider this less often cited Con razon ó sin ella, with reason or without her.
Which was in his great and terrible series about the fate of the Spanish people under the benefits of Napoleon's liberation from the old Spanish regime the depravity of which Goya's previous series documented. It is noteworthy how many of those hideously killed by the French in Goya's later series informed by his witness of the benefits of such "reason" were priests and Franciscan friars. Such as in his famous painting The Third of May
Reason, as presented by the anti-religious cult of reason in France and as is still admired in ignorance by secularists-atheists today, turned out to be the falsest of gods, racking up a body count far higher in far less time than the Church's Inquisition and even more than under the often mentioned Spanish Inquisition which was administered by the crown, not the Church.
It is important to consider what place The Inquisition holds today in the official words of The Catholic Church as compared to the secularist-atheist presentation of the horrific violence under the regime of "reason" and, later science as seen in governments controlled by committed atheists. You can compare the public confession made in 2000 by Pope John Paul II and the future Pope Benedict XVI (two of my least favorite of recent popes, by the way) in which they admitted the crimes of the Inquisition and other such events in the history of the Catholic Church. I don't know of any well respected member of the Catholic Church who would defend the actions of the Inquisition today and there have been many in the past who condemned those sins.
I don't see that atheists are about to admit the role that atheism played in historical horrors or those that continue today. I don't see them even admitting what's obvious about that to anyone who wants to look at what happened after Monsieur Arouet, the sleazy watch peddler and lottery gamer, sycophantic swindler of what was probably the greatest slave holder of his time, Catherine The Great and other fans of Enlightenment reason, died. Christianity holds that moral reflection, examination of conscience, confession of sin and sinning no more is one of the highest uses of reason. Materialism doesn't hold any of those requirements, atheism doesn't.
* For newcomers, I've gone over and over again how materialism, the almost universal basic belief of atheists, makes "free thought" impossible, everything under it being a matter of material causation and, in its most radical form, consciousness being nothing but an illusion, which would, inescapably, include reason. Though atheists almost never want to consider what is necessarily the result of reasoning through their faith.
** Napoleon's position as a liberator and a figure of reasoned enlightenment is one of the most bizarre instances of refusing to see what is right in front of you and the falseness of slogans that modern history provides. It is recapitulated in the cults of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, etc.
So we're supposed to just make believe there's a God even if we know it's not true.
Luckily, the majority of people don't pretend to know that God isn't real and a lot of them believe that God endowed people with equal rights. The majority of the world isn't emotionally opposed to God like so many atheists are. And a lot of people are quite prepared to at least consider the idea that other people, even ones they don't know and aren't attached to have rights that are equal to the ones they believe they have.
You explain to me where rights come from if they are not an endowment of God, I mean your rights as well as the rights of anyone else. I've been through that with an atheist before and, as I find generally happens when you work through atheist assertions of these things, their ideas fall to pieces that they can't put back together. Here, from almost two years ago, you see if you can do what another atheist couldn't.
I know that I said yesterday was going to be the end of this exchange, but the questions and issues it raises are important as atheists claim that they will soon or eventually "rule the world". Just what would happen to rights and equality under the atheist framing of them. I will point out that "kogwonton" deals with the points and questions raised by either distorting them or clipping them, "cherry picking" if you will, the least salient aspects of them. That prevents him from really dealing with the problems his framing poses for rights and the moral responsibilities that constitute the foundation of democracy and a decent, egalitarian society. You will remember we left off last night on the point that Lincoln raised about a black woman's right to eat the bread that she earns without needing the permission of any man. A right that was denied by the slave power that the Dred Scott decision had just upheld, which was what Lincoln was addressing. The social consensus had not "created" that right, under the atheist framing of rights. The Taney court had used that as a fact to deny that black people had the rights set out in the Constitution.
These are real questions and they have real life consequences as dramatic as any in our history. Whether or not governments respect rights, equally held is the most dramatic and powerful issue in the exercise of the moral obligation to respect those rights possible. The brutal dictatorships of the past three centuries, since the articulation of those rights became common place and an aspiration of hundreds of millions, then billions of people around the world, are the real life example to study to find out what variou framings of those issues lead to. The results of those put into practice in the past are what people should learn from as they are our only real-life evidence of what you can expect from those different framings. Just as the "founding fathers" based their secular framing of the United States governments on the lessons of recent European history, making all religious viewpoints politically equal, we should learn from subsequent history to show what different religious understandings of reality can lead to, so we can make an informed choice in which to put our faith in.
kogwonton Anthony_McCarthy • 14 hours ago So, then, morality and human rights are as real as your opinion, and become more potent when others agree with you? Excellent. Now we're getting somewhere. The fact that a black woman in 1857 could be prohibited from eating bread she earned with her own hands proves that her 'right' to do so was not an objective reality, but that others agreed and fought to make it real felt that it SHOULD be a reality. It became such when enough people believed it, and forced it to become real. What is and what should be are not the same thing. I would agree with you that all humans should be regarded as equals, at least in terms of the law is concerned. The facts on the ground show that this is not the case, and I don't see gods coming down here to make it so. If they did I would celebrate.
Anthony_McCarthy kogwonton • 12 hours ago It proves that the society you give the power to "create" a right deprived her of her natural right, as Lincoln put it, the people who did that and the country that allowed it were in a state of sin. They deprived her of what was rightfully hers.
If, since the polls that atheists are always whining about show that a majority of Americans don't trust atheists enough to vote for them, do atheists have a right to run for public office? If an atheist, managing to avoid answering the question of their atheism, won an election with the votes of people who don't believe an atheist should hold office, does that atheist have a right to hold the office? If your answer is yes, where did that right come from?
kogwonton Anthony_McCarthy • 11 hours ago Atheists have a right to make noise, make their arguments, and convince society that equal rights means equal rights for them also - that is, if society claims to believe in equal rights. If society doesn't really believe its own bullshit, then it won't change, and ultimately will have to resort to force to sustain the status quo. As it always has. You let me know the next time you see God come down here and lay down the law. Ok?
Anthony_McCarthy kogwonton • 9 hours ago Don't dodge the questions, answer them.
Do atheists have a right to run for office if the majority of the voters don't trust atheists enough to vote for them?
If an atheist is elected while concealing their atheism from voters who don't believe an atheist should hold public office does the atheist have a right to occupy the office?
If they do, where does that right come from?
Don't screw around with stuff irrelevant to the questions, if your theory is right, that societies create rights you should be able to answer these questions.
kogwonton Anthony_McCarthy • 9 hours ago Read your question dipshit. "Do atheists have a right to run for office if the majority doesn't trust them enough to vote for them?". Of course they do, you idiot. They have a constitutional right - which was created as an obstacle to consensus being a matter of whim. It is built into our constitutional democratic republican system. If the majority doesn't vote for them, they don't win. Their right to run for office comes from a constitution that was ratified by people, not god. The point is, while I may agree that rights SHOULD exist, I don't agree that they actually DO as an objective fact, apart from the will of people. This does not mean I have no right to appeal to my constitutional rights, since 'rights' is the default position (at least in theory) of the system of government we live in. If you want to point to a document that established rights, Magna Carta actually conferred human rights. You could argue that the bible influenced them, but it was the decision of people that made it happen.
Anthony_McCarthy kogwonton • a minute ago You don't want to deal with the question, the questions. If, as you frame their existence, the reality of rights, they depend on social consensus. I did not specify any particular society we were talking generally as to whether or not atheists had equal rights in any society that hadn't done for atheists what you insist is necessary for those rights to exist and be real.
Under the atheist framing of rights, if the majority don't trust atheists with public office, they don't even possess a right to run for office, win or lose. The favorite whine of atheists that a majority of Americans poll as not being willing to vote for an atheist for president is baseless under atheist framing. In the United States the law and the constitution could be changed to deny the exercise of the right to run for office to atheists and, under your framing, that would not constitute a violation of rights because those rights wouldn't exist.
Though we didn't go into it, specifically, if the existence of rights depends on social consensus, then a changing social consensus could make rights go extinct. If The People of the country, by vote, and then their representatives, by changing the constitution, said that atheists were untrustworty, due to their their lack of a belief in sin, unworthy of having a right to hold public office, give testimony in a court of law, serve on a jury, sign contracts, etc. your atheist framing of rights would force you to admit that atheists in that country did not have those rights. The social consensus they depend on would not exist so the rights couldn't exist.
Which is why I asked the second question that if an atheist managed to win election while concealing their atheism with the votes of people who would not vote for them if they knew they were an atheist, does that atheist have a right to hold the office.
I knew you wouldn't answer those questions honestly because if you say no, you just denied the validity of the rights of atheists in societies that don't hold atheists have rights. If you answered yes you would be at a loss to explain where those rights, not "created" by that society came from .
See what your atheism forces you to do. It forces you to deny the reality of the rights of atheists. I look at this and I look at the history of atheists with control of governments, which have been, in each and every case a violent, oppressive dictatorship, often the result of a brutal power struggle among competing atheists and think that may well be the real life evidence of what happens under the atheist framing of rights. There has to be a reason for that uniform characteristic of atheist governments in the past.
That atheists as brilliant as Karl Marx held the most deluded, view of the French Revolution, in which revolutionaries, atheist materialist parties spouting the phrases of liberty, equality and fraternity, turned on each other and chopped each others heads off, is testimony to the ability of materialism to make its adherents as blind to the most potent of reality. The mockery that the revolutionaries in France made of their motto in that fratricidal bloodshed should have made even someone less impressed with the questions of equal rights as Marx claimed to be, notice the lapse between profession and act. Yet, even today, alleged radicals, in just about every case I can remember, atheists hold up that first experiment with government by "rational materialists" in some absurdly romanticized historical fiction. Perhaps they don't notice the blood so much for their rose colored glasses, but they should be able to see the heads all over the place. And that was just the first experiment with a :"rational, scientific, materialistic, enlightened," atheist regime. The subsequent examples confirm the lessons of that one.
I really do think it makes all the difference in the world whether or not you believe rights are the equally distributed gift of God's grace which everyone is morally required to respect on that basis. It has in real life, allegedly the scientific acid test of all theories. In the absence of that belief held with sufficient strength by sufficient numbers in a society, all hell breaks lose. And even atheists suffer the consequences, except those who are the most ruthless who climb to the top of the mountain of bodies.
Someone is pissed off that what I said this morning would disqualify the glorious, so-called Athenian democracy of the classical period. Well, you tell me. Only men who were citizens of Athens- based largely on ethnic considerations, who owned land could vote and not all of them could, for example, any man who was accused of having been anally penetrated during sex would lose their rights of citizenship*. There were other disqualifications. Though the greatest number of people who were not allowed to participate in the vaunted Athenian democracy were slaves and women who had no political rights and, in the case of slaves, hardly had any rights at all. So, Athenian democracy was pretty much like the worst of American democracy at the end of the 18th and the early 19th century, only a lot worse. It makes America under Jim Crow look, by comparison, quite liberal. The word used to describe that ancient regime of rule by men of certain families who owned property while the vast majority of people living under their rule were deprived of any rights, is the same one we use for a government of universal suffrage and equal rights but they're not the same thing, at all. You tell me if you would like to live under classical Athenian democracy and I'll tell you your gender, your economic status and your ethnicity without having to think too hard about it. I will also tell you your politics. Same for democracy before the great reform movements of the 19th century which were all based in the teachings of the Bible, the ones which succeeded here instead of producing what atheists sold as workers paradises in various places. They called those "democracy" too. You want to live under the rules of the "German Democratic Republic?" * In ancient Greece there is one particular adult male who is identified with homosexual behavior. The Greeks had a name for this individual, “kinaidos’. This individual was the one who took the passive receptive role in the male homosexual behavior of anal intercourse. In doing so by being willing to take the passive, submissive role he was seen as unworthy to be a free man, and more like a male prostitute. As a result forfeited his right as a citizen to hold office. The man who would allow himself to be anally penetrated it was thought would also subject himself to the abuse of alcohol, eating, money, or power. “An adult male was not supposed to take the receptive role. According to Plutarch, “Those who enjoy playing the passive role we treat as the lowest of the low, and we have not the slightest degree of respect for them.” The passive role was the role played by a woman, a youth, or a slave; it was shameful for an adult man-though not for a youth or a slave. A youth’s subordination to an older man was “natural” and temporary, and a slave by definition subordinate to his master.” Greenberg,Transformations of Homosexuality-Based Classifications, p. 181 in The Gender/Sexuality Reader Culture, History, Politico Economy, editors Roger N. Lancaster and Micaela di Leonardo Screwed up kind of "democracy", huh? Update: I have always and will remain a political blogger, it's just that my studies of the problems of politics in the past decade have clarified a lot of these issues in ways I didn't suspect they would when I started. Update 2: Really, how seriously should I take the insults of anyone who takes what Steve Simels says at two-faced value?
Escape of Harriet's Three Brothers In 1854, Harriet Tubman received news that Eliza Brodess planned to sell her brothers over the Christmas holiday. Harriet, who could not read or write, had a friend in Philadelphia write a letter to Jacob Jackson, a free black man who lived near her brothers in Dorchester County. Fearing authorities might read her letter, Harriet included a carefully coded message to Jackson to alert her brothers of her pending arrival: “tell my brothers to be always watching unto prayer, and when the good old ship of Zion comes along, to be ready to step aboard.” She arrived Christmas Eve at her parents’ cabin on Dr. Thompson’s plantation at Poplar Neck in Caroline County. Robert, Ben and Henry, and several other friends joined her during that night and the following morning. They hid in a nearby corncrib, where they could wait until dark and begin their journey north. Only their father knew of their presence, because they were afraid their mother, distraught that she might never see them again, might detain them. At nightfall on Christmas Day, Harriet safely led them on their journey towards freedom, traveling through Delaware, Philadelphia and across upstate New York to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
As the name of the group would suggest, this piece has some interesting use of chromaticism -"dissonance" in it.
The Slaughter of The Innocents Here And Now
The present day understanding of the story in the Gospel according to Matthew of the slaughter of baby boys in Bethlehem considers it to be, likely, an invented narrative. For anyone who might not be familiar with it, Herod, the Roman puppet ruler being informed by the Magi that a baby boy who is to be "king of the Jews" has been born consults his own experts as to where such a boy would have been born. When they told him in the tiny little town Bethlehem, he ordered all baby boys there to be killed so as to not present a rival for the succession to his line.
I remember, when first hearing the story as a little boy, I imagined, in the horrific imagination of childhood, a huge number of babies being cut up with swords over a large area of land, considering that the estimates for the population of Bethleham at the time are believed to be anywhere from 300 to 1000 some of the modern writers who argue for the plausibility of the story put their estimate at the number of baby boys killed in such as slaughter at a maximum of 25. Given what he know of the complete lack of value the Romans would have put on the lives of babies born to the peasants under their rule, I don't find the idea that such a slaughter was ordered unthinkable. That it was unrecorded, otherwise, would, also, not shock me. Even if such a slaughter did happen it wouldn't have been documented on the equivalent of the inside stories of the New York Times where contemporary slaughters of larger numbers might, might appear. The Romans and their puppets were every bit as willing to use the most appalling acts of violent terror to assert their control of populations as Americans or Brits or Belgians or Nazis or any other large military-economic power.
The fact is we don't know if what Matthew recorded refers to an actual event of actual people being murdered or if it is some kind of rumor or myth. I think that instead of thinking about the slaughter of children by an imperial power which we don't know about, we should think about and do something about the slaughters of children and their families which go on today, committee by our governments and armies and corporations. The slaughter of innocents didn't end back then, it's a daily fact of life. We don't have to imagine it, the images of it, the accounts of it, even buried in the middle of newspapers, has attained the terrible status of the sin of complete and habitual indifference. Even policy as discussed by academics.
It is rather funny, some of the things that atheists use as an excuse for hating religion, especially Christianity. In an online brawl this weekend one of them thought they'd come up with a solid reason for their hatred because Christians believe they are made in the image of God, as it says in Genesis. But the same Christians hold that all people are made in God's image, including the atheists who use that as a reason to hate Christianity. Of course atheists don't hold that all human beings are made in God's image, which led to another point in the weekend's brawls - it happens when I'm too busy to do any research.
Another atheist got really steamed when I said that liberalism was not the product of the Enlightenment, that it was a development of Jewish egalitarian justice as conveyed to a wider population through the Christian ethic of universal love, pretty much what Jurgen Habermas said. If there's a way to get an atheist, especially a Britatheist steamed it will be to note that the Enlightenment, embodied in the writers and philosophers of the Enlightenment, was hardly enlightened. Many if not all of the major figures of the Enlightenment were racists who held that people of African and other non-European ancestry were inferior to white people, many of them either held slaves, themselves, or supported slavery. Voltaire was a pretty repulsive racist whose writings on the subject could be used intact in white supremacy pamphlets today. John Locke, in writing up his constitution for the Carolinas included slavery within his unequal stratification of society.
David Hume was a racist who is credited mightily with abolitionism which, in his case, was about as weak as a cup of tea brewed from one leaf. He was, as well, a racist whose writings wouldn't give an advocate of slavery any problems and contained much to make hay out of.
I am apt to suspect the negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four orfive different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white, nor even any individual eminent either in action or speculation. No ingenious manufactures amongst them, no arts, no sciences…. [T]here are NEGROE slaves dispersed all over EUROPE, of which none ever discovered any symptoms of ingenuity; tho' low people, without education, will start up amongst us, and distinguish themselves in every profession. In JAMAICA, indeed, they talk of one negroe as a man of parts and learning; but 'tis likely he is admired for very slender accomplishments, like a parrot, who speaks a few words plainly. As I noted in the argument, when the escaped slave and abolitionist author David Walker was arguing rather brilliantly against almost exactly the same argument made by Thomas Jefferson, it was The Bible that he used, not David Hume. Though if he had Jefferson might have been surprised, Thomas Jefferson, despite making almost identical arguments for the inferiority and subjugation of black people, hated Hume's writing for other reasons. Hume was hardly a liberal democrat even in his own time and on contemporary terms. He was roundly rejected by most of the founding generation of American democracy, from the few anti-slavery figures such as John Adams to the slave holding Jefferson.
The much touted Enlighenment, as adored by intellectual atheists of the left as those vulgar materialists on the right is one of the most ridiculously overrated intellectual movements in history. Its promotion has shadowed the actual history of liberalism in the Christian writers such as the earliest advocates for the abolition of slavery and other forms of oppressive inequality. I remember the atheist fury when that movie about the British effort to abolish slavery came out ten or more years ago when it noted that the effort was distinctly a Christian one but that is, in fact, the case as it was with the American abolition movement. As was largely the case with the effort for women to achieve equality and for the rights of workers. Most of those efforts were informed by The Bible they knew and not by the Enlightenment writers who they either didn't know or would have found weren't supportive of their causes. It's been my observation that the citation of John Locke, William Blackstone, David Hume and other figures of the Enlightenment is more apt to be in favor of restoring the inequality of the late 18th century than it is in any effort to establish equal justice and an equal distribution of material wealth and such good as equality of education. In so far as atheists try to suppress the influence of the teachings of Jesus and the radical egalitarian economic justice of the Jewish scriptures in favor of some atheist line of thinking, they are destroying the basis of liberalism in the American sense of the word in favor of the late 18th century "liberalism" which merely frees those with more power to do as they want without any regulation.
I have come to suspect that unless a society is primarily influenced by some absolute metaphysical holding that is the equivalent to the egalitarian economic and justice teachings founded in the Mosaic Law and the teachings of the Jewish prophets, they will not either achieve or sustain democracy. I don't think anything but a holding that equality is the endowment of our Creator will be sufficient to overcome the depravity of natural selfishness. Any society in which a majority of people do not have that sense which governs their choices and actions will be an oppressive, unequal society. What people think leads to what they do and what they do is the substance of which a society and its character are made. The extent to which people can deny or wiggle out of or ignore that inequality is wrong, that it is evil, that to participate in it is a sin which produces pain and disaster is the extent to which egalitarian democracy is made impossible or is destroyed. I think that is the reason we are losing everything gained in the past two-hundred years in the United States and reverting to the country which produced the evils that liberalism exists to abolish and stop.
The proposed atheist replacements of morality, such as the current one based on an idiotic and self-contradicting evolution of morals under natural selection exacerbates instead of inhibits assumptions of inequality and all of the evils that inequality gives birth to. The notion that natural selection, BASED ENTIRELY IN NOTIONS OF INEQUALITY could be turned around to create equality is proof that you have to be wiling to be dishonest to try to replace morality with that. The earliest proponents of natural selection were notable for being opposed to the idea that all people were equal, using natural selection to argue for inequality and advocating the "goodness" of even the most obviously evil practices arising from that. I have mentioned their almost immediate assertions for the benefits of infanticide, murder of those deemed unfit, allowing them to starve and die of disease and everything up to and including imperialist genocide. All of which I've documented in the very words of those who invented natural selection. And the same is true for any other atheist or secular replacement for the Jewish conception of morality contained in The Law and the prophets. There are things that could be cited, such as the morality taught by The Buddha, though it presupposes that in any generation there will be inequality as people and other beings work out their fate under karmic forces. The same is true for various Hindu schools of thought. While, under some of Buddhism and Hinduism there is a very high degree of morality asserted, unless there is also a call for equality within every generation then those will not produce a durable and truly egalitarian democratic government. Such a government begins as an ideal which we will find it almost impossible to even approximate and even coming to that approximation will take enormous self-denial and self-restraint, of people doing what they would rather not do, of sacrificing their own self-interest when they could, easily, treat other people as they would not want to be treated in both small and large ways. I think such an effort to achieve what can be takes enormous effort and anything that hampers it will be an enormous danger to it.
If there is any other proposal for producing the equivalent of the Jewish-Christian basis for egalitarian democracy, I'd very much like to know it and would support its morality as equal to it. I suspect that it is quite possible to do so under Islam though I am not a scholar of Islam to any great extent. Some writers calling for a society governed by the ideal equality of conduct of those making the Hajj seem to me to be calling for something like that. Any previous faith that I had that that could be done in secular and non-theistic terms is dead.
It is a serious question among them whether [the Africans] are descended from monkeys or whether the monkeys come from them. Our wise men have said that man was created in the image of God. Now here is a lovely image of the Divine Maker: a flat and black nose with little or hardly any intelligence. A time will doubtless come when these animals will know how to cultivate the land well, beautify their houses and gardens, and know the paths of the stars: one needs time for everything.
Voltaire, Lettres d'Annabed
All the rest of this vast continent [of America] was shared, and still is, by small societies to whom the arts are unknown. All these peoples live in huts; they wear the skin of animals in cold climates, and go nearly naked in the temperate ones. Some feed from hunting, others on roots that they knead. They have not seeked another way of life, because one does not desire that which one does not know. Their industry has been unable to go beyond their urgent needs. Samoyèdes, Lapps, habitants of the north of Siberia, those of Kamtschatka, are even less advanced than the people of the America. Most of the Negroes, all Kaffirs, are plunged in the same stupidity, and they will stagnate a long time.
Voltaire, Essai sur les mœurs
[The Jewish people] dares spread an irreconcilable hatred against all nations; it revolts against all its masters. Always superstitious, always avid of the well-being enjoyed by others, always barbarous, crawling in misfortune, and insolent in prosperity. Here are what were the Jews in the eyes of the Greeks and the Romans who could read their books.
Voltaire, Essai sur les mœurs
If you like, I could go on. I'm rather pressed for time as my brother is semi-conscous and I want to see him or I'd find them in the original instead of online translations. Your Voltaire is an imaginary product of atheist propaganda, he was a total and absolute pig and a petty crook in real life, pretty much like your Charles Darwin is totally imaginary.
David and I that summer cut trails on the Survey,
All week in the valley for wages, in air that was steeped
In the wail of mosquitoes, but over the sunalive weekends
We climbed, to get from the ruck of the camp, the surly
Poker, the wrangling, the snoring under the fetid
Tents, and because we had joy in our lengthening coltish
Muscles, and mountains for David were made to see over,
Stairs from the valleys and steps to the sun's retreats.
Our first was Mount Gleam. We hiked in the long afternoon
To a curling lake and lost the lure of the faceted
Cone in the swell of its sprawling shoulders. Past
The inlet we grilled our bacon, the strips festooned
On a poplar prong, in the hurrying slant of the sunset.
Then the two of us rolled in the blanket while round us the cold
Pines thrust at the stars. The dawn was a floating
Of mists till we reached to the slopes above timber, and won
To snow like fire in the sunlight. The peak was upthrust
Like a fist in a frozen ocean of rock that swirled
Into valleys the moon could be rolled in. Remotely unfurling
Eastward the alien prairie glittered. Down through the dusty
Skree on the west we descended, and David showed me
How to use the give of shale for giant incredible
Strides. I remember, before the larches' edge,
That I jumped a long green surf of juniper flowing
Away from the wind, and landed in gentian and saxifrage
Spilled on the moss. Then the darkening firs
And the sudden whirring of water that knifed down a fern-hidden
Cliff and splashed unseen into mist in the shadows.....
Tell Stupie Stevie that I studied the Canada Health System AND MOST OF ITS FUNDING COMES FROM INCOME TAXES. The Canadian taxes on liquor, cigarettes and other such health destroying items are, as I recall, set at a level that offsets the cost to their health care system from the consumption of those, I'm not sure exactly where the money from those is allocated but they, obviously, wouldn't be enough to fund the great Canadian health care system. Clearly the Canadians have more sense and, more importantly, a sense of justice in such matters than the United States. The extent to which they benefitted from adopting their constitution two centuries after the one the United States is insanely saddled with and, so, could learn from our many and massive mistakes which we have yet to learn from, is worth considering as to why we're stuck whereas they haven't been. Though the disease of corporatism is catching and if Canadians aren't careful they'll get duped out of their health care system, "free speech" and, especially "free press" will be the means of talking them out of it. Update: I was curious to see what I could find out about how the liquor taxes in Canada are allocated. While I have yet to find a succinct account of that, I did come across this interesting and informative pamphlet, Reducing Alcohol -Related Harm in Canada, which pretty much supports a lot of what I said, especially about the role the media plays in promoting alcohol abuse and the use of taxation to change behavior and, obviously, as a means of funding the many educational proposals in it.
Update 2: If Goebbels had been Simels "All those lies, they were jokes. It's not my fault you guys didn't get them. "
I don't know how true it is but in a 15 stupidest things said about LGBT people this year, Huffington Post claims that the idiotic Steve King told people that you could marry your lawn mower in 2015. There are some attractions to the idea. I can imagine there would be tax advantages if you could claim your lawn mower as a dependent - you wouldn't even have to put gas in it, I'd guess or even cut grass with it. Though the consummation would be a dicey prospect.
Do read the list, but consider that the incredibly stupid things said in it are no more stupid than any other list of bigoted statements made about Muslims, religious folk in general, Christians, women, black people, etc. Bigots all come from the same place and speak the same language of lies.
I am tired. It's been an exhausting month for my family. I'm tempted to just say I'll see you in the new year but you know me better than that. Another thing I got from my family is a big mouth.
The good news is that my brother didn't die on Christmas day, what we'd all figured he was ornery enough to pull on us. If he had any sense of what's happening around him. He still hasn't regained consciousness. I don't know what it is that makes drunks so ornery around Christmas but it seems to go with the territory. I'll have to go in today or tomorrow and talk to him, try to rouse him. It's hopeless but it's got to be done. It's hard, too, to see your younger sibling look like the oldest person you've ever seen and worse because of the jaundice and lesions where his skin is breaking down, I assume due to his dying liver. We all agreed that we weren't going to sugar coat this, not after seeing it a second time. I don't know if people saw how horrific end-stage alcoholism is if more of them would stop drinking but it's led most of us to give it up as my mother seeing her uncle die of alcoholism kept her from ever being tempted to take it up.
I've mentioned before the time during Ken Burn's series on prohibition being on TV I outrage some of the purveyors of the common received wisdom by saying the only thing wrong with prohibition was that it didn't work. Right thinking people are not supposed to think there was anything to recommend prohibition but, even with all of the problems of smuggling, organized crime, people getting pinched for brewing beer at home, etc. it's not as if having free and easy access to alcohol isn't without its own problems. But if it had succeeded and no one drank alcohol I don't see that it would be any worse than a world in which no one smoked tobacco or any number of other health ruining habits. Neither alcohol nor nicotine are things you need to live, you're more likely to die or suffer ill health if you use them. Both of them are bad for those who are close to those who use them. Imagine a world in which there were no drunks having accidents on the roads, no drunks getting violent with other people, no one getting drunk and raped, etc.
I'd like to see a stiff national tax put on liquor with the proceeds used for grass roots alcohol prevention programs and a ban on movies and TV shows presenting drinking as glamorous and sophisticated. Product placement in those are the diseducation that has sold us out to some of the more destructive industries allowed to operate openly around us. The schools don't have a chance of changing that, as I mentioned last week, they are swamped by the competition for the time and minds of students, they should not be required to try things like that when they are already at a disadvantage in doing what they are supposed to be doing now.
Christmas is a day to thank God for salvation of life from the confines of the physical universe. It is a day to be thankful for consciousness, the very core of our being and that it is not the slave of physical causation and that it extends past the bounds of physical being. It is a day to be grateful for the possibility of escaping the pain of evil through the Jewish prophetic tradition. It is a day to thank God for the way to do that, foremost as taught by Jesus, one of those prophets and more. Much more, the fulfillment of justice though love, the motive of the Law and the only secure means of transcending its possible harshness. It took me a life time to see that and I'm thankful that I did. Who needs superfluous presents after that? It's everything.