Let’s play spot the fallacies (sports fan edition) May 30, 2007Posted by Evil Bender in constiutional issues, Religion, wingnuts.
I’m still on the road, but a local internet cafe has given me a chance to bring you this (with thanks to PZ for pointing it out). Steve Deace, sports fan and rabid fundie, has his panties in a twist that an atheist (gasp!) would dare to suggest that forcing a chaplain down the throats of students might be a bad idea. I won’t reprint the whole article here, but we’ll hit the highlights:
Those of you that pride yourselves on being more “tolerant” and more “enlightened” than you fellow upright vat of primordial ooze should stop reading now, or face the implosion of your frontal lobe.
When the article’s disclaimer takes a shot at tolerance, you know you’re in for a long ride. But it gets worse. Oh-so-much worse.
This week’s Deace Blog seeks to answer one, and only one, question. That question is simply this: who is really in charge at Iowa State University? Seriously, who is the chief of the Cyclone tribe? I know that officially Dr. Gregory Geoffroy, nice chap by the way, is listed on the roster as university president. However, I’m beginning to think that the most powerful man on the ISU campus is actually Dr. Hector Avalos.
That’s right, folks, one faculty member–not even a department chair–is more powerful than the president of the university. Why? Because he is part of a group that objects to a plan to hire a team chaplain to indoctrinate the players. But before Deace can get to anything resembling an argument, he has to go into crazy-right-wing-conspiracy mode.
Who is Dr. Avalos? Dr. Avalos is the militant and activist atheist professor within ISU’s religious studies department. That’s right. ISU has a militant and activist atheist teaching in its religious studies department. Better yet, if you’re a taxpayer here in the state of Iowa you’re actually paying for it. Congratulations on participating in the fleecing of America.
Deace thinks only religious people study religion, apparently. Actually, as we’ll see, he really thinks that only Christians should be allowed to do much of anything. How any of this adds up to “fleecing” (ohmigod he’s an atheist and a professor) is never made clear–shocker!
I know what you’re thinking, cause it’s the same thing I was thinking when I first heard about this. You’re thinking, “Dude, why would an angry atheist (and is there any other kind) want to be teaching in the religious studies department? What interest in religion does he have if he doesn’t believe in God?”
I know what you’re thinking! You’re thinking “who could be so dumb as to not understand why religion might be a compelling subject even for those who aren’t religious.” Could it be because he finds religion to be interesting? Heaven forbid!
Why would an atheist, and an activist one at that, want to teach in the religious studies department?
For the same reason a rooster wants into the hen house.
It’s tempting to say that Dr. Avalos, considering what he says and writes outside the classroom, is using our tax money to proselytize atheism to college students. But I’m sure a Harvard grad is too smart to be caught doing so overtly, and that he instead uses sledgehammer-like subtlety to debunk and demagogue belief in God to what he views as gullible college students.
Naturally no evidence of this “debunk and demogogu[ing]“* is ever presented. Nor is any evidence that Avalos is attempting to “convert” anyone to atheism ever mentioned. But Deace assumes it because it is–as we shall see–exactly what he would do, only he’d convert everyone to loving Dear Sweet Baby Jesus.
See, Mr. Potter…err…I mean Mr. Avalos, is a man with a warped worldview living in a sad denial of reality. He is the embodiment of what St. Paul once said about educated scoffers: “While professing themselves to be wise they became utter fools.”
And Deace concedes the argument by shifting the topic from “is it right to hire a chaplain to proselytize?” to “are atheists wrong?” By refusing to address the first point, he makes the other one meaningless. Yea! Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize this and keeps writing.
Mr. Avalos is trying to live his life contrary to what the owner’s manual says about how it works. He’s trying to suppress the truth about the owner’s manual, or even that there is an owner altogether.
It’s time for the “rethink your metaphor award”! We’d like to thank our last winner, D. James Kennedy, but it’s time to crown a new champion! I wonder how Deace readers like being compared to a piece of property. I think people of color will find that a very persuasive argument for a deity, don’t you?
People like Mr. Avalos describe victory as getting a few fellow fools in black robes or on mindless public school boards to go along with the scam. And that seemingly works for a little while. Heck, they’ve even convinced an entire generation of Americans that the words “separation of church and state” are actually written in the Constitution. They’re not, but the Constitution does end with the words, “…in the year of our Lord.”
Um, what? No one describes victory that way, and what does the naming convention of our dates have to do with anything? While people like Deace use lies and deception to cloak the truth, we still do have a 1st Amendment, and it does have the effect of erecting a wall of separation between church and state.” Get over it, Deace: you don’t get to force us to follow your twisted brand of Christianity.
The new man in charge of Iowa State football strives to live his life with eternity in mind. Gene Chizik is a man with a strong Christian faith and Judeo-Christian value system, which puts him squarely at odds with Mr. Avalos. He didn’t pick this fight, he didn’t even want to. But living out your Christian faith has a tendency to attract folks like Hector Avalos in this world, like a dog returns to its own vomit.
Now we’re getting there! What do Gene Chizik do to attract the Evil Atheist?
Coach Chizik understands that the only way to ultimately live a meaningful life, and there’s nothing a man craves more than a legacy, is to have a healthy relationship with the Maker.
He’s welcome to his opinion, of course, an I don’t see what Avalos has to be–ohnolookoutit’sabaitandswitch!
It’s also why Coach Chizik wants a team chaplain to be a full-time staff position within the football program.
So Deace is arguing that Chizik wants to use a chaplain to explain to his team how to be a good Christian? And Deace doesn’t see how that might be at odds with his position as a paid faculty member of a major public institution? Well, stupid question, of course not. Because while Deace can’t find evidence that Avalos is teaching atheism, he has just admited that Chizik wants to proseletize his own team in his capacity as a coach.
* Demogogue, in case you were wondering, is not generally used as a verb. But even if you accept that as a valid usage, then it means “to demogogue” and I’m not at all sure how an atheist can be emotionally appealing to a wide audience in a very religious nation. But I suspect Deace has never thought of that; I’d be surprised if he knows what the word means. After all, if you’re going to argue for how great Jesus is, maybe you shouldn’t say an atheist has “debunked” religion.
What Mr. Avalos, and others like him, really fear is that Coach Chizik’s plan for a team chaplain may inspire a generation of young men wearing the Cyclone uniform to reconsider their eternal destiny, which will cause them to reconsider how to live their temporal lives on this planet. If they do that they may not vote the way folks like Mr. Avalos prefer, nor will they likely live the way folks like Mr. Avalos do. And when you’re of the mindset of a Mr. Avalos and are convinced that this life is all there is, you will fight to the grave for it.
No, Avalos objects to a man in power forcing religion on those who he controls. And it’s odd that Deace would accuse Avalos at one point of believing life has no meaning and then note that he’s willing to fight for what he believes is right. But we wouldn’t expect consistency out of Deace now, would we?
At ISU, the atheists have become the theocrats, it’s just that their god is their stomachs.
My irony meter just exploded. After arguing that he wants to stop atheists from separating “Christ and state,” Deace turns right around and accuses atheists of being theocrats. The level of stupidity boggles the mind.
Perhaps Deace would be more persuasive if he actually understood his own argument. But that would just get in the way: when it’s an atheist versus a Good Christian, little things like “the idols of science and reason” shouldn’t get in the way of a good ultraconservative rant.