Freethinking for Dummies

Skepticism, secular humanism, social issues

Its All About (warped) Proirites

PZ Myers had a blog post about a terrible Mississippi proposed law that would declare a fertilized human egg a person.  The consequences are dire for mother’s and babies.  I am not going to try to speak to this since PZ does it much better than I can.  Please go read it.  Comment there and/or here.

 

October 26, 2011 Posted by | Religion, Science, Social Justice | , , , , | 3 Comments

Fuck Nature! So Saith the Lord Our God

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting that a group of local tea partiers are fighting a U.S. Fish and Wildlife plan to restrict boating and other human activity in Kings Bay in Florida.  While there is reasonable opposition from other local groups such as The Crystal River City Council and Citrus County Commission due to concerns over the potential negative financial impact of the proposed regulation on the local economy, the Citrus County tea party group is claiming the Bible as their reason for opposing it.

“We cannot elevate nature above people,” explained Edna Mattos, 63, leader of the Citrus County Tea Party Patriots, in an interview. “That’s against the Bible and the Bill of Rights.”

Federal officials “want to restrict the entire bay,” she contended. “They don’t want people here.”

Mattos then went on to tie the regulations into a conspiracy by the U.N.  According to the Times she said:

“We believe that (federal regulators’) aim is to control the fish and wildlife, in addition to the use of the land that surrounds this area, and the people that live here and visit. … As most of us know, this all ties in to the United Nations’ Agenda 21 and Sustainability.”

Agenda 21 is a program, adopted by the U.N. in 1992, to encourage countries around the world to promote only development that does not harm nature. Pundit Glenn Beck and other conservatives have attacked it as an attempt to impose world government’s rules on every aspect of American lives. The Citrus County tea party group’s website says Agenda 21 is “designed to make humans into livestock.”

This is just one more example of the tea party’s efforts to use the Bible and their religious beliefs  to influence how government operates and is an insidious attempt to move our country toward a theocracy based on the Bible and the idea that the U.S. is a Christian nation.   Their crazy idea of a worldwide U.N. conspiracy, “designed to make humans into livestock”, shows just how delusional these people can be.

As for it being against the Bill of Rights, I think she needs to go and actually read that document.  Like many tea partiers, she loves to wave the constitution in everyone’s faces, but has no idea what it really says or means.  The Bill of Rights does not guarantee the right to boat or swim or do whatever we want to do in Kings Bay.  While the rights of private land owners are certainly protected by the constitution, that same document also provides the ability of the U.S. and state governmenst to set aside land for “public use”.  The laws protecting the manatees have been in place since the 1980′s and much of the land in and around Kings Bay have been designated a U.S. Wildlife Refuge since that time.  The Supreme Court has held that the federal government and each state has the power of eminent domain—the power to take private property for “public use”, based upon the “taking” clause of the fifth amendment.  In fact, there were public hearings just last week on the proposed restrictions, which the tea partiers picketed, as is their right.  It would seem that the U.S. government is following the constitution, while the tea party, ignorant of that document that they love to constantly mention, would attempt to strip us of many of the rights that it guarantees, especially the establishment clause that outlines the separation of church and state.

Normally, I’d just sluff this off as the mad ravings of a bunch of crack pots.  The scary thing here is that the tea party has already put members into public offices all across the country.  The fact that Michelle Bachman won a straw poll in Iowa, making her the current leading candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination is frightening beyond belief.  I thought that George W. Bush was bad, but Bachman would be a greater disaster for this country than he could ever have been.  There is good reason they are often referred to as the “American Taliban”.   A Christian theocracy would stifle our ability to innovate scientifically and technologically, leave millions of poor and middle class Americans with no health care and no safety net, and allow capitalism to run rampant and unregulated, exalting the greed of corporations and the rich to the detriment of the majority of poor, working class, and middle class Americans.  Those of other faiths (or of no faith at all) could likely become second class citizens in their own country.

This issue in Florida may seem to be just a local concern, but it is an example of what is happening all across the country as the religious zealots of the tea party attempt to foist their religious inspired beliefs and delusional conspiracy theories upon the rest of us.  They have openly stated their intent to make the U.S. a Christian nation governed by the laws of the Bible.  The threat from these know nothings goes far beyond the Patriot Act ever could and raises the specter of another age of McCarthyism, but one that could have far more lasting impact.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Religion | , , , , | 2 Comments

Another WFT Moment, Brought to You by Religion

“A Jerusalem rabbinical court condemned to death by stoning a dog it suspects is the reincarnation of a secular lawyer who insulted the court’s judges 20 years ago, Ynet website reported Friday.”

Yes, you read that right.  A group of religious men, scholars of their Holy book, leaders in their religious communities, sentenced a dog to death because they are delusional idiots.  Basically, this dog entered the court area, refused to leave, and was deemed to contain the spirit of some dead lawyer who pissed off some judges two decades ago.  I know, it sounds insane, and it is, but not as insane as this:

Their preferred divine retribution was for the lawyer’s spirit to move into the body of a dog, an animal considered impure by traditional Judaism.

Clearly still offended, one of the judges sentenced the animal to death by stoning by local children.

Yeah, that’s right: let little kids viciously kill a innocent, harmless animal for no reason other than that you are a heartless moron.  He didn’t even have the balls to stone the dog himself.  Maybe he didn’t want to have “blood on his hands”.  Wait.  Where have I head that phrase before? [Matthew 27:24]

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Religion | , , | 2 Comments

It’s Rapture Day!

It is May 21st, 2011.  According to Harold Camping, the Christian fundgelical wingnut, the rapture will occur today at 6:00pm, local time.  Considering it is now 11:42pm, May 21st, in Australia and no reports of Australian Christians being raptured have surfaced, I’m guessing the rapture isn’t going off quite as planned.  Either that or there are no worthy Christians in Australia (maybe it is just American Christians who are worthy?).  Either way, I’m planning a fun day of lunch, shopping, and spending time with my sweetie.  Since neither of us are religious, I know we will still be there come 6:01pm, so the movie is still on for tonight.

There have been so many failed prophecies over the past 2000 years that it is amazing that anyone can take this one seriously, but hundreds have, selling everything they own and traveling the country trying to get others to do the same.  History shows that once tomorrow comes, and these true believers are still here, dismay will hit.  Don’t think that this will snap them out of their belief in the second coming of their savior, once again, history tells us that within days they will rationalize away the failure and their faith will become even stronger.  (Festinger, et al. 1956)

This is cognitive dissonance at work.  I have written a lot about cognitive dissonance before, but we see this kind of thing so often that I think I need to cover it again here.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when a thought or idea conflicts with other thoughts, ideas, or beliefs in our mind. A typical example of cognitive dissonance would be someone who continues to smoke even though they know that it is bad for them. People will often make excuses for their continued smoking in the face to overwhelming evidence that it can kill you. They will either dismiss the evidence as inconclusive (these days this borders on delusional), marginalize it, or ignore it. Even when they try to do this, there is always a part of their mind that knows it is bad and with creates discomfort that they will try to resolve by basically lying to themselves.

You can read my other post about cognitive dissonance at these links:

Here

Here

Here

Here

Here

You can also read my article on the JREF blog about it.

So, enjoy the rapture day!  Go about your business as usual, or better yet, throw a party!

***

Festinger, L., Riecken, H.W., Schachter, S. , Aronson, E. 1956. When prophecy fails. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

May 21, 2011 Posted by | Religion | , , | 5 Comments

   

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