“life has no meaning” if you don’t read Genesis literally April 21, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Morality, News and politics, wingnuts.
1 comment so far
McMurty explains that when the biblical account of creation is taken out of the public arena, human life has no meaning. In contrast, creation teaches that there is a purpose, he says.
And you know what? In a way, he’s right. Life does have a purpose in his worldview. Why, let’s see what the Apostle Paul had to say about, say, the reasons for the deaths of all the first-born in Egypt, not to mention every non-Christian ever:
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”[f] 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
But remember, folks, it’s atheists who don’t care for the dead.*
* If you think this is an unfair characterization of Christianity, I’d would simply point out that that it is a completely legitimate critique of the kind of Christianist hate-filled rhetoric spewing from people like McMurty, the kind of people who think science kills kids but God selects people to be “prepared for destruction.”
Poetry: The Dover Bitch April 20, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging, Poetry.
1 comment so far
Best read in companion with Dover Beach.
The Dover Bitch
So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, ‘Try to be true to me,
And I’ll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc.’
Well now, I knew this girl. It’s true she had read
Sophocles in a fairly good translation
And caught that bitter allusion to the sea,
But all the time he was talking she had in mind
The notion of what his whiskers would feel like
On the back of her neck. She told me later on
That after a while she got to looking out
At the lights across the channel, and really felt sad,
Thinking of all the wine and enormous beds
And blandishments in French and the perfumes.
And then she got really angry. To have been brought
All the way down from London, and then be addressed
As a sort of mournful cosmic last resort
Is really tough on a girl, and she was pretty.
Anyway, she watched him pace the room
And finger his watch-chain and seem to sweat a bit,
And then she said one or two unprintable things.
But you mustn’t judge her by that. What I mean to say is,
She’s really all right. I still see her once in a while
And she always treats me right. We have a drink
And I give her a good time, and perhaps it’s a year
Before I see her again, but there she is,
Running to fat, but dependable as they come.
And sometimes I bring her a bottle of Nuit d’ Amour.
Tagged! Why I blog. April 20, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in Blogging.
I can’t say no to a Reverend, at least not one who is also a chimp, so I’ll finally post a bit about why I blog.
I’ll start by linking to my first post. There I laid out my reasons for blogging, especially my desire to be a voice for reason and to deal with real issues in all their complexity, not to simply be the blogging version of a talking head.
This blog has evolved since then, and not just through pictures of men kissing men. It has taken on a more outspoken, confrontational tone, a tone I feel is necessary when responding to particularly egregious claims and actions. I started blogging to combat bad argument, and I continue to do so. And I feel strongly that particularly offensive acts require strong responses, and that there is no room to shy away from confrontation with those who would like, misuse logic and manipulate others to get what they want.
I hope this blog is substantive, but I make no apologies for its tone or its views.
I’ll add that this blog has suffered in recent months from a lack of updates, something I hope is on the mend. In the meantime, though, it’s those who read this blog and occasionally indicate that they find it valuable who keep me going. Melissa over at Shakesville, the Reverend, the Lizard Queen, lauphacim, Sera, little.hoot.owl, Radical Vixen, and Gye Nyame, among many others–all of whom are in my blog roll–have helped keep me going when it’s felt like no one is reading and no one cares.
This blog isn’t going anywhere. As long as people read it and care about it, I’ll do my damnedest to make it worth the read.
Also, I’ll keep posting poetry, but since half my hits appear to be related to men kissing, don’t expect more of that for a while.
Open Thread with remembrance of those passed on April 20, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in arts and culture, language and lit, Science.
With the death of Kurt Vonnegut still hanging over me, and added to that the continuing tragedy of the Iraq war and of the Virginia Tech shootings, I can’t help but reflect on another luminary taken from us not so long ago: Douglas Adams. By way of opening a discussion, I’ll quote him:
Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology, particularly in the form of Richard Dawkins�s books The Selfish Gene and then The Blind Watchmaker and suddenly (on, I think the second reading of The Selfish Gene) it all fell into place. It was a concept of such stunning simplicity, but it gave rise, naturally, to all of the infinite and baffling complexity of life. The awe it inspired in me made the awe that people talk about in respect of religious experience seem, frankly, silly beside it. I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
What’s on your mind, folks?
Before you go painting us as baby-killing monsters April 19, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Morality, reproductive rights.
1 comment so far
…please go read this. Difficult decisions made by those who know the situation best: patients and their doctors.
This isn’t about right decisions or wrong decisions: no doubt each decision about abortion is gut-wrenching in a way I hope I never need experience. We must let women, in consultation with their families, doctors and loved ones, make these choices. We cannot in good conscience pretend we are qualified to make the decisions for them.
3,315 April 19, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics.
Today I drove down the highway, watching the flags toss in the wind, all at half mast. As well they should be, given the Virginia Tech tragedy. But I have to join others who are asking similar questions, and question why we don’t see flags continually at half-mast due to the 3,315 American Soldiers killed in Iraq? And Afghanistan? And the British soldiers? And the 500,000 Iraqis?
Why is a crazed shooter killing 32 a tragedy when hundreds of thousands dead over a lie not one?
What happened Sunday is beyond tragic. But another tragedy is unfolding halfway across the world.
War is avoidable. This war in particular should have been easily avoided, for there was no threat, no good reason to go to war. Each person killed in Iraq is, like each murdered student, a tragedy beyond our ability to comprehend.
I’ll be damned if I’ll forget that.
Kiss your bodily rights goodbye: SCOTUS edition April 19, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Morality, News and politics, reproductive rights, wingnuts.
Feministing has a roundup of responses to yesterday’s SCOTUS decision in favor of the government’s “right” to tell women and their doctors which medical procedures they can undertake. What it comes down to, for me, is that SCOTUS, for the first time since Row, has upheld a law that makes no exception for the health of the mother. How can ruling out a medical procedure that medical professionals say is often the best choice and doing so without exception for the health of the mother not be a violation of a woman’s right to choose?
If anti-choice folks really cared about peoples’ health instead of about controlling others’ bodies, then surely they would oppose any band without health exceptions. Never mind that other late-term abortions are still legal, but dangerous or even completely impossible in some cases. Never mind that women who have late-term abortions generally do so because of medical reasons or because they have been unable to obtain one (or pressured not to obtain one) earlier. Never mind that no one, all things being equal, would rather have a late-term abortion: according to the anti-choice crowd, this is all about women killing babies, not about human beings making difficult decisions about their own bodies.
I will say it again: anti-choicers are working hard to prevent women from making choices about their bodies. And men, don’t think you’re in the clear. The far right ascribes better judgment to you, but the best judgment is always attributed to The Man.
Don’t believe me? Then why is the Federal Government tracking what medication you take?
Our bodies are our own. End of story. The State has no right to make medical decisions for us. We have the right to choose how we live, to choose our medication, our doctors, which procedures we will use. When the time comes, we have the right to choose when it is time to go.
Our bodies, ourselves. That is all.
Please refer to this post when I turn out to be oh-so-right.
“The law need not give abortion doctors unfettered choice in the course of their medical practice” April 18, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, reproductive rights, Science.
1 comment so far
That’s the opinion of the Supreme Court. And you know, it’s perfectly reasonable. What we need are more fetters on what procedures doctors and their patients decide is the best medical course of action. After all, who would you trust to make medical decisions for you, your doctor or Congress?
Jesus Fucking Christ. The next time someone tells me this is a “free country,” I’ll just laugh at them. When the state denies us the right to make medical decisions about our own bodies, we lose the right to pretend we’re really free.
Dinesh D’Souza: this man is supposed to be a thinker? April 18, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, language and lit, News and politics, wingnuts.
PZ has pointed out that D’Souza couldn’t wait to explain how the Virginia Tech shootings must be connected to atheists in some way. And what did he figure out? Those atheists just aren’t very nice! Why, they probably don’t even care that people died. Materialism!!!1!
Aside from his complete stupidity (which PZ points out well) and his utter lack of logic and argument, I want to point out one other problem with his piece, one that, unlike the rest of it, is at least an error that can be instructive. D’Souza writes:
The reason is that in a purely materialist universe, immaterial things like good and evil and souls simply do not exist. For scientific atheists like Dawkins, Cho’s shooting of all those people can be understood in this way–molecules acting upon molecules.
Besides the fact that the central claim–that atheists just don’t care about others–is patently obvious, there’s something interesting going on here. D’Souza–supposedly a great thinker–can’t distinguish between things which have a physical reality, and those things which have none, or at least no direct reality.
In short, D’Souza is committing the fallacy of reification, for he believes that for something to have a kind of reality it must be physical. Or more appropriately, he is incorrectly ascribing the reification fallacy to scientists (make no mistake, it is the methodology of materialism he objects to, not simply to atheists), to set up a straw man.
Emotions aren’t made of matter, D’Souza is practically screamed, so atheists don’t think they’re real. And emotions aren’t particles, so they don’t exist for atheists either!
But many concepts which are useful or even essential in understanding the world do not have a physical correspondence, as every atheist knows but D’Souza apparently does not. Emotions are influenced by our bodies, but that doesn’t mean there is an “emotion gene” or the like, a physical object with a one-to-one correspondence to “love” or “fear.”
Likewise, larger concepts, like “society” or “law” do not have a strictly material meaning–they are not, of course, merely “molecules acting upon molecules”–but they do not violate the methodology of materialism because they can be explained–despite their lack of a physical existence–without any appeal to the supernatural.
D’Souza probably knows this. I suspect he must realize that no atheist truly denies the reality of emotion, of sympathy for murder victims. But that won’t stop him from making these dishonest and ignorant claims.
I wonder if the higher power D’Souza claims to believe in would approve of his claim, or of the contempt it shows the dead.
Let me spell it out for you, Mr. D’Souza: you can claim atheists don’t care about others all you want, but that doesn’t make it so. But the obviously disdain you show for others when you make arguments like this one makes a strong case that you are the one who is incapable of human response to this tragedy.