Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mormon Cult got 14-year-olds pregnant

News out of Texas confirms that 31 of the 53 girls between the ages of 14 and 17, who were taken into protective custody by Texas law enforcement officials, from the Yearning For Zion Mormon Cult compound, had either given birth before, or were pregnant at the time of the raid. One 15-year-old girl gave birth while in custody, just the other day.

Religious pundits, including Ben Stein wrote scathing articles about how these poor religious people's rights were being violated, or how they were being treated unfairly.

With this new evidence, combined with the information from the girls that most of them were married to men who were old enough to be their grandfathers (the average age of their husbands was 53 or older) is quite damning evidence, as it proves that the practice of marrying teenage girls to older men was pervaisive. They have been marrying young girls off in this manner for decades -- and that violates both the statutory rape laws of Texas, as well as the marriage laws, which prohibit people under 18 from consenting to marriage.

These are really sick-ass people!

So here's a good question, though...

Should "First Amendment Protected Religious Freedom" include the right to marry off your kids off and get them pregnant at 12, 13, and 14 years of age?

Should it include the right to create a closed-off religious compound-type environment, where all information about the outside world is controlled by the leaders?

Should it include the right to home-school kids with a curriculum that essentially leaves them unable to function outside of the cult environment, and which does not meet any education standards of the state or federal government?

Should it include the right to have agencies within the religious organization whose job is to spy on members and critics, and take action against them?

Should it include the right of these organizaitons to accumulate stockpiles of weapons and to tell their members that soon they will need to take up arms against outsiders?

Consider this something to think about. The Texas cult raises many issues pertaining to age of consent and religious freedom. Unfortunately, I don't think that anyone could seriously argue that we should have just left them alone to keep practicing their sick society. In my opinion, no religion should have the right to do what they did. It's not religious freedom. It's old men using religion to have sex with kids, period.

Friday, April 25, 2008

How the Mormons control Utah

I was asked about how the Mormon church controls politics in Utah, and after collecting my info together, I decided to write this brief littany of incidents to describe briefly what the Mormons do that should piss you off.

If you do a bit of digging, you'll get stories about how the Mormon Church has persuaded Mormons who were elected into public office to give preference to the Church when it wanted to acquire lands. There are plenty of political corruption cases where the Church bought parts of Salt Lake City that were once public parks, and turned them into church-owned parks with Mormon secutiy guards who would kick out anyone wearing the wrong clothes, tatoos, smokers, etc. Some may argue that this is no worse than cities that ban smoking, or that it's the same kind of stuff that happens in other states, but think about the fact that it's not a private favor here -- the favor is taxpayer's money going to a powerful church.

The Mormon-dominated legislature successfully passed laws which water-down alcoholic beverages, and limit the size of a beer to this dinky half-pint bottle that costs the same as a full pint outside of Utah.

After the faith-based initiatives went into effect, Utah's social services became an extension of the church -- the church gets government money for faith-based rehab programs, and those programs get favored selection by the state.

The church owns a tons of Utah's real estate. In fact, Motels, hotels, malls, and various department stores are all owned by prominant Church officials, who give their profits to the church.

Remember Footloose with Kevin Bacon? It was based on a real town in Utah, where mormon politicians literally banned dancing! Utah also has the most "dry towns" in the country -- meaning many towns have banned the possession and sale of alcoholic beverages. IN fact, people often have to drive outside of the state to buy alcohol, and when they return, they have to hide their liquor the way drug dealers hide pot, because some cops will pull you over and check for it -- like In Massachusetts, where fireworks are banned, and during summer months, State Troopers pull over people coming off of various highways from New Hampshire to check for fireworks.

Last Year, anthropologists working on a dig of Mountain Meadows were shut down by mormon governor Mike Leavitt, because they were uncovering the bones of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, where, in 1848, Mormons killed a group of immigrants. The Mormon dominated radio, TV, and newspapers did not mention a thing about it, and the secular non-Mormon news sources were the only places where you could find out about it. They also banned PBS from showing a documentary on the Mountain Meadows Massacre on Utah PBS stations.

The Salt Lake Tribune was the only newspaper that printed articles following the above events, and the church tried to buy them out in a hostile takeover with help from Mormon politicians.

Other stories involve Jewish families moving into Mormon-dominated towns, and then having their businesses mysteriously burned down, and law enforcement seemed unwilling to investigate (Of course, these are merely accusations).

The most insidious thing is that the Mormon Church has it's greedy little hands on the Public School system. All junior high and high schools in the state of Utah are arranged so that there is a Mormon seminary building either right next door or across the street. Essentially, the Mormon kids receive extra religious instruction in these buildings during the school day. What happens, is that the public schools literally empty out at one point, leaving only a handful of non-Mormon kids to just sit around and twiddle their thumbs for an hour or two. Many kids get sick of being alone, or sick of being part of the "other kids", and end up going with the Mormon kids.

Like many Evangelical towns in the American Bible Belt, many public school systems are run by administrators and staff who are Mormon church officials, and they use every opportunity to indoctrinate kids to the faith -- in public schools. Non-Mormons are daily subjected to religious instructions, just like Jewish kids used to get lectured on Christian doctrine before 1964. Music classes in public school use a lot of Mormon religious music, too. Also -- until recently, many public schools celebrated "missionary week", a Mormon holiday commemorating young boys becoming missionaries. The public schools actively help them celebrate it.

The Mormons have also tried to ban pornography on many occaisions, over the years. The Internet made this extremely difficult, since it meant that people could get porn without anyone knowing. The church actually has it's own spy network, which spies on citizens (usually on church members) suspected of being involved with liquor, porn, or other legal-but-church-prohibited activities. The CIA regularly recruits people who served in this network, too. The legislature also tried to make it a serious crime (with high fines and prison time) to let underaged kids into R-rated movies.

Oh, and they don't like porn in video stores. Movie Buffs, inc. was cited for 15 misdemeanor violations, because it did not have specially edited-for-cable versions of patently adult videos! Despite the fact that adult films are not outlawed, the state tried to prosecute them, and almost ran them out of business, before they were acquitted.

In Salt Lake City's East High School, a group of gay and lesbian students tried to form a support group. The school disallowed it, so they sued the school board. The courts agreed that the students deserved the right to form their group, but the Mormon-dominated school board decided to ban all extra-curricular groups from schools, rather than let the gay students have a group of their own.

This is just the tip of the iceburg. If you delve into these things, you'll see more and more testimonies from various people, both non-Mormons and ex-Mormons, who had experiences like the ones here, or where various events made the news reports.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Yearning For Zion Cult

Okay, this is America, and we're supposed to allow for people to follow whatever religion they want -- but does that include the right to belong to a cult that brainwashes you and treats you like property, or like a slave?

I have seen interviews with these Mormon Fundamentalists on TV, and they are very obviously brainwashed and under the control of the church's leaders. First of all, the women all wear identical pioneer-style dresses, identical hairstyles, and bonnets. The fact that their clothing is so uniform, with very little color variation, makes them look like a cult.

The true litmus test was when these women opened their mouths to speak on camera for the news reporters. They actually finished each others' sentences -- like everything was so scripted as to what they would say, that each of them knew each other's lines in the script. They kept talking in a monotone, too. How can you take people seriously when they say "Our way of life is so happy and fullfilling, and trully joyful" when they say it like Ben Stein discusses economics in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"?

Worst of all, the cult is still not cooperating with the police. The women keep giving different names for the children, and the relationships between different family members is explained inconsistantly, so as to deliberately stimey Law Enforcement officials.

Some have argued that the government has gone too far in taking the children into custody. I say that the government hasn't gone far enough. Cults that control their members to the point where they will not cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation of a crime do not deserve being treated any better than an individual who behaves the same way. If you do not cooperate with law enforcement, I dont' care if you're the Pope of the Catholic Church -- you should be dealt with the same way.

I think that more media exposure for this cult will only damage the public's perception of them. After all, seeing a bunch of identical anachronistically-dressesd women speaking in monotone voices, finishing each other's sentences, looking just like what most people expect brainwashed people to behave like, will only secure the notion that they're just another mind-control cult that has ill-intentions for their women and children.

Cults are intimate terrorists. They terrorize each other, in their own homes, with the threat of hellfire and banishment from heaven. They are the terrorists who terrorize each other as a way of life -- by re-enforcing group-notions of external-persecution, fear of the end times, fear of hell, fear of not doing enough to get to heaven, fear of ostracism, fear of the outside world, fear of demons, and fear of anyone not like them. Any group that lives with a fear of outsiders, and an built-in antagonism towards non-members, ceases being a legitimate religion, and endangers themselves, as well as their neighbors.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It gets better...

Ray Comfort, after not really reading my post, and accusing me of trying to "justify pedophilia", got a little tongue lashing from his own fellow Christians, who read my reply as well, and called him on it! They asked him where I tried to justify Pedophilia, told him that I said no such thing, and even that he owed me an apology.

So he wrote me a sort of half-way apology, and apparently still does not understand what I wrote. My guess is that he still hasn't actually read it.

Here it is, with my response.

Ray Comfort wrote:
"My apologies David. I was too quick in my response."

Apology accepted, but from what you write, I still don't know if you understand what I wrote.

You wrote:
"You are saying that you believe that time forgives serious crime, when these men violated the law, and their positions of trust, and many of them are still in positions of great authority. That is wrong. If it isn't, then why storm the Texas compunds now? Simply leave the issue for 20 years, and everything will be okay."

No, that's not what I said at all. It's not even remotely what I wrote by a long shot. I don't know if you read what I wrote.

I wrote that the abuse scandals of the Catholic Church were not about people who were in the process of being abused when the issue was raised. The victims lived silently with their memories, and never reported the crimes, so police and other law enforcement officials were not even aware of the crimes. Some of them waited for 30 years before they spoke out and told their story. When they told their stories, they named specific individual priests who abused them. After an investigation, and after more people came forward to add their names to the list of victims, Those individuals were then charged with their crimes, and eventually went on to serve prison terms.

There were no children being held hostage in a compound, which is why there was no need for a raid.

This Church cooperated with the police, and gave them information on the history of transfers of the priests, along with internal church documents, and the Church agreed to pay compensation to the victims (which forced them to sell a lot of their properties in the USA) as part of civil lawsuits rising from the matter. I will tell you that there is no excuse what what happened -- I think that the Catholic Church made a lot of negligent decisions in how they handled their affairs internally -- and that more individuals will go to prison, eventually.

This is in stark contrast to the situation in Texas, where a small criminal enterprise was being run (They were running a welfare scam, and marrying off girls to men so that they could fraudulently file for child support welfare, which the men would collect and use for themselves). When the FBI came investigating the accusation by the girl who tipped them off, they realized that this would blow the cover off the whole scam they were running, and THEY REFUSED TO COOPERATE. Refusing to cooperate was why the raid was neccesary. If they cooperated, and went peacefully, the raid would not have been.

There is no double standard here, Ray -- these are two completely different cases, with completely different sets of circumstances, and completely different requirements under the law. I don't know if you will still understand it after reading this, but you clearly did not understand what I wrote before. I don't know if it's because you read too fast, or if it's because you're all worked up over it. So please, let me know if you now understand why I don't consider there to be a double standard, and if you acknowledge that these two cases are radically different from each other.

Ray Comfort defends Mormon Fundamentalists, accuses me of justifying pedophilia!

Well, it looks like Ray Comfort is engaging in a little bit of Catholic Bashing in his blog. He's saying that there is a double standard with reguards to the way the Catholic Church is being treated by the FBI with reguards to past sexual abuse scandals, and the way the Mormon Fundamentalists in Texas are being dealt with currently with their sex abuse scandal. Appartently Ray is ignoring the details, as usual. There is a huge difference between the two scandals, and Ray doesn't seem to understand what the difference is.

I Responded:

Oh, dear, I don't know where to begin, Ray, but you are so misinformed that it's not funny!

I live in Boston Mass, which is the epicenter of the clergy abuse scandal. The difference between what happened in Texas and what happened here with reguards to the Catholic church is that the abuse in Texas was CURRENTLY HAPPENING, and the victim called up and said "I'm being abused right now, and so aren't others."

In Boston, it wasn't until 20 and sometimes 30 years after the abuse happened that the victims came forth and accused people of molesting them. Almost no people in Boston called the cops and said "help, I'm being sexually abused right now". They kept it to themselves, and some had to go to years of therapy before they were able to come forth.

That's a pretty big difference right there.

The Church did not inform authorities when the abuse was discovered. They dealt with it in their own way -- and it was indeed a stupid way -- by moving the offending priests to different parts of the country, and tried to forget about it, then the abuse started up again, and the cycle continued. The church, in many cases, payed the families of the victims to remain silent and gave them what therapy they could, with the understanding that this would be kept within the church.

When individual priests were named and given to the authorities, and charges pressed, some priests were extridited back to Massachusetts to stand trial. Several of them went to prison.

No large FBI raid was neccesary, because no people were currently in the process of being abused. It was all about things that occurred 20 years ago or more. Furthermore, the church authorities totally cooperated with the police when they asked.

In Texas, by contrast, like I said, the abuse was current, and someone asked for help now. Since over 40 alleged victims were involved, the police by law, needed to protect them. When the police went to the Texas cult compound (I don't think you believe they were a legitimate church, Ray, but correct me if I'm wrong), they did not cooperate. They resisted told the cops to go away.

That is when the FBI had to come and get the kids out of there.

Don't try to bring up memories of Waco, either. The CULT in Waco (please do not argue that the Branch Davidians were not a cult) was raided for the exact same reasons. Former members who left tipped off the FBI that children were being raped by David Koresh himself.

See, former members of the Branch Davidians, even members who still believe in David Koresh, admitted to police that David Koresh had all the married couples split up within the cult, and that David Koresh had sex with pretty much all the women, and that no other men in the cult could have sex. Then he started taking 12-year-olds to bed with him, and some surviving cult members still believe that that was okay -- because they believed he was Jesus, and that anything he did was okay.

There simply is no comparison between what happened in Texas and what happend with the Catholic Church in their sexual abuse scandal. The Catholic abuse was in the past with no victims needing to be rescued, and the church cooperated with authorities. In Texas, the Mormon Fundamentalists did not cooperate, and the abuse was going in currently, with people asking for help now.

How you can claim there is a double standard, and that Catholics are somehow being given better treatment is simply your own disreguard for the details, which seems to be the main issue you have with many things -- those annoying, pesky, and boring details.

But get this,

Ray's response was to accuse me of "justifying pedophilia"!!!! Can you beleive it?

Read it yourself...

Ray Comfort wrote:
"David...I shouldn't be amazed that you would attempt to justify pedophilia. Unbelievable."

Ray, Are you trying to be funny?

I don't understand how anyone who can read and write the English language would interpret what I wrote as "justifying pedophilia". If you actually read what I wrote, it is clear that I was trying to tell you that there is no double standard, because the DETAILS of each crime are so completely different that they had to be handled differently -- and were.

I find it unbelievable that anyone with at least a 6th grade understanding of English would read what I wrote and conclude what you thought. I really think you need to read the whole post, and not "skim" though it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

An Email reply from Christian Worldview Network

I saw that Ray posted his "Letter to Michael Shermer" on the Christian Worldview website. I quickly copied and pasted my response to it, which you should see below in my blog here, and posted it to their feedback section. After a couple of hours, I got an email back from someone at the Christian Worldview Network named Brannon. Here is what they wrote back to me:"
1:20 pm (15 minutes ago)
date Apr 15, 2008 1:20 PM
subject your feedback

your feedback was rejected because it was soooo lame.

If you really think there is even one transitional fossil then you should go find it and put it on E-bay because the leading evolutionist have admitted they do not have even one. I could send you their quotes and the books in which they wrote this if you really wanted to be educated...but I don't think you are interested in being educated but in repeating lies so you can keep believing lies.

Very sad.

Next time you offer feedback try not to write fairy tales and it might get accepted.

Thank you.

That's hardly the kind of polite, proper, and business-like response to get from a website that allegedly is run by professionals. Perhaps Brannon is a young intern who is very passionate about his faith, and just got carried away. Nonetheless, it does seem that his reply was most likely baiting me for a flame war or something.

I wrote to the management bringing this email to their attention. Hopefully he'll at least get a talking to about proper email etiquette.

I will report more on this, if I hear back from anyone. If it turns out that Brannon is also the person who is in charge of getting the complaint mail, then it may get interesting. I will post all of his feedback here, without alteration, for your amusement.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ray Comfort's post to Michael Shermer

Ray wrote:

They say that all the animals we have now were not as we see them. They were radically different. Dinosaurs, over millions of years, became birds, fish became lizards, dogs were something else, primates evolved into human beings, etc. So, when they tell you this, ask why there are no species-to-species transitional forms in the fossil record.

There are, Ray, but you don't want to look at the evidence. There are so many transitional fossils in the fossil record that there are entire categories devoted to them.

Therapsids are creatures that have both exclusively-mammal and exclusively-reptilian characteristics -- exactly what one would expect if reptiles evolved into mammals. No living creatures alive today mix "exclusively mammalian" and "exclusively reptilian" features (When we say a feature is "Exclusively reptilian" it means that it is only found in reptiles, and not in mammals). Yet, we have thousands of fossils of therapsids, which clearly have mixed mammal and reptile features. Imagine a mammalian jaw on a creature that is clearly not warm-blooded (warm bloodedness is determined by the prescence of small channels in the bones where blood vessels go. Reptiles don't have them. Mammals do). Imagine a reptile with more than one type of tooth in it's mouth (All modern reptiles have only one type of tooth in their mouth, where mammals have several types).

Seymoromorphs are fossils that have both reptilian and amphibian features, and are found in a similar variety to Therapsids.

Ichtyosetigids are fossils that have both fish and amphibian characteristics. Again, there are thousands of examples on record.

Anyone who asks a scientist this question is just totally ignorant of the subject.

Go to the "talkorigins" website, and look for the "transitional vertebrate faq" for more info.

Ray wrote:
Why is there no evidence anywhere (in the billions of bones of dead animals) of any species becoming another species?

There are -- thousands of examples -- creationists simply discount the whole fossil record and say that a creature with, for example, the mixed features of a mammal and a reptile, is either 100% mammal or 100% reptile, since they have already decided that no transitionals exist, they cannot acknowledge these clear examples.

If you wish, I can supply an ample supply of links to transitional fossil information, with plenty of pictures for those with reading issues.

Ray wrote:
When they maintain that there are masses of fossils that prove this, don’t take their word for it. Press the issue. Blind faith is another word for ignorance. Say you want facts. Ask for specific scientific evidence of species-to-species transitional forms in the fossil record. When they say that museums are full of them, don’t just believe it as they do. Press the issue again. They will talk about variation (evolution) between species. That's not Darwinian evolution. It's a rabbit trail. Ask again for just one example of species-to-species evolution.

Well, Ray, unfortunately, you said yourself that science just "BORES YOU TO TEARS". It seems here that you're asking a scientist to just whip the right fossil our of his butt, on demand. what you described is the Lazy-man's way of demanding proof by bullying.

The real way to find answers is actually a lot easier -- but it will bore you to tears, because it is full of those boring scientific facts that you don't like to bother with when you write trash about science. You have to RESEARCH. All the fossils that have been entered into the fossil record have been documented in scientific peer-reviewed journals. Peer-reviewed journals are the cornerstone of science. without them, scientists' experiments and test results don't get known by anyone. Creationists avoid peer-review like the plague -- they never publish experimental results or discoveries in peer reviewed journals. If they just did that, then they would qualify as real scientists.

Of course, in order to write stuff in peer-reviewed journals, one needs to actually be collecting data, performing experiments, documenting finds, and doing complex things like math. Creationists do nto do these things, either!

So now that I've bored you to tears with simple facts, let me tell you how to find out where all these transitional fossils are:

Go to ww dot talkorigins dot org (You can also use wikipedia dot org). Click on search the archive. Look for "Transitional vertebrate faq". Read it. If you are not convinced that the information is valid, simply go to the footnotes (all 4 pages of them) at the end of it, and search for those journals and books. I know it's hard work to go to the library and do lexis-nexis searches -- almost like being in college (which is where scientists go to learn how to perform science) -- and it will bore you to tears, because it takes a lot of reading, but eventually, you will see that following the information, instead of whining about not having it handed to you on a silver platter, will lead you to real hard facts.

While you're at it, you can take your favorite creationist book(s) to the library with you. FOllow the footnotes that they have in their books -- especially when they quote non-creationsts or science journals. See how often you find that the source material does not say what the footnotes do. See how often, for example, non-creationists are mis-quoted. Then you can try explaining to me what dishonesty is.

Ray wrote:
They will try and sidetrack you by talking about moths being stuck to trees, vestigial organs, mutations, bipedalism and mitochondrial DNA.

Yeah, those pesky details... Creationists hate dealing with those annoying facts and details...

Ray wrote:
Or they will maintain that there is something called "observed speciation," or try and dazzle you with names like Sinosauropteryx and Ambulocetur and other pseudo-intellectualisms. Then they will say that they aren’t experts, and use words like “maybe, possibly, perhaps, probably.” When they say that science has the proof, somewhere, push it. Demand evidence like your life depended on it. Tell them that you want to use your God-given brain to make a rational decision regarding evolution. You want to know if it's true. Stay open-minded. If it is true, then embrace it. If it's not, reject it.

You know, I think Mike has done that already, but instead of badgering someone like a spoiled adolescent, he actually read books, took college courses, and did lab work. He does have a Master's degree in psychology and a PhD in the History of Science. He started out majoring in Theology at Pepperdyne University, if you didnt' already know that.

Ray -- 30 years ago, when I was 13, I decided to ask all those questions. I started out by asking my teachers lots of questions in class about science, evolution, astronomy. I ended up taking high school and college courses that helped me find the answers, and I read Scientific American, and various other science mags, watched a lot of documentaries, and always pursued the facts, took notes, and I even traveled to a few cities to see museum collections. Have you even done anything resembling that? I realized that badgering is not the right thing back when I was 13, and teachers had 30 other kids in the class to teach.

Your approach to science... well... to be blunt, it's pathetic. If we were talking about calculus, and you wanted to see proof of Newton's revolving orbit theorem. So I show you a bunch of calculations, and you go, don't bore me to tears with that mumbo-jumbo, just give me the answer. So I start explaining the mathematical symbols to you, and try to teach you math, and you just say "this is just a wild goose chase! Just give me the answer, don't bore me with these details!" So I give you the answer in numbers, and you complain "so how do you know this is the correct number?" and the spiral goes downward and downward from there.

Expelled and Antisemitism

In "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed", as we've found out already, much is said about an alleged link between Darwin's theory of Evolution and Nazi Germany. Ben Stein goes all around to various death camps, with Nazi footage interspliced so that viewers can't mistake what the film is suggesting, and he cries crocodile tears.

But then Ben Stein interviews a Polish professor of dendrology, Maciej Giertych, who denies evolution.

What Ben Stein and the producers of "Expelled" either didn't know, or casually ignored, is that this professor harbors some very ignorant and rather antisemitic beliefs.

Professor Giertych had written and/or said the following:

"By their own will, [Jews] prefer to live a separate life, in apartheid from the surrounding communities. They form their own communes (kahals), they govern themselves by their own rules and they take care to maintain also a spatial separateness. They form the ghettos themselves, as districts in which they live together, comparable to the Chinatowns in the USA. It was only Hitler’s Germany that created the concept of forced separation, of a closed ghetto from which Jews were not allowed to leave.

Jews are not pioneers. They do not go conquering the wild world or overpowering the hazards of nature. They settle among other civilisations, preferably among the rich. They tend to migrate from poorer to richer lands.They do so always as a group, immediately forming their own separate community. (source)

In our civilisation, a righteous person living honestly will not get in conflict with the law, even not knowing it. On the other hand, living in agreement with the letter of the law but dishonestly, derives from the pharisaic attachment to rules but not to ethics. The exploitation of rules, of imprecisely written laws, of gaps in them, of their multitude and inconsistencies, activities on the verge of legality, tax evasion techniques, all formally within the law but unethical, derive from the rabbinical casuistry, from the mentality of deriving ethics from the written law. Yet, such a swindler, acting within the law, has in fact no moral respect for any law. He cannot be compared to the Sabbath traveller sitting on a water bottle, who is also using a convenient interpretation of the Law, but he is doing this in order to fulfil the Law and therefore in full respect for it.

In our civilisation, a righteous person living honestly will not get in conflict with the law, even not knowing it. On the other hand, living in agreement with the letter of the law but dishonestly, derives from the pharisaic attachment to rules but not to ethics. The exploitation of rules, of imprecisely written laws, of gaps in them, of their multitude and inconsistencies, activities on the verge of legality, tax evasion techniques, all formally within the law but unethical, derive from the rabbinical casuistry, from the mentality of deriving ethics from the written law. Yet, such a swindler, acting within the law, has in fact no moral respect for any law. He cannot be compared to the Sabbath traveller sitting on a water bottle, who is also using a convenient interpretation of the Law, but he is doing this in order to fulfil the Law and therefore in full respect for it.

And all of this occurs because the Jews didn’t recognize "Jesus Christ as the awaited Messiah":

What we consider as the Jewish people today refers to a tragic community, a people that has not recognised the time of its visitation. It is those who did not recognise Jesus Christ as the awaited Messiah. Those Jews who followed Christ merged within the Christian universality. Those who rejected Him became wanderers throughout the world, among believers of other religions, jealously nurturing their chosenness, this messianic consciousness,which gives a defining mark to their civilisation.

I can tell you right now that many Evangelical Fundamentalists who absorb and believe the crap that "Expelled" promotes, will read the professor's comments and simply say "Yeah, so? What wrong with that?"

They will not recognize the blatant antisemitic tone of Giertych, because they probably think the same thing about Jews themselves. They probably consider the Professor's comments to be "commonly known facts". I'll be so bold as to affirm the theme behind some research I did on antisemitism and the Evangelical Christian movement; The Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian movement as a whole, harbors a lot of antisemitism. I document this in my "Fundamentalist Deceit" blog, which has a who's who of big-time Evangelism, with quotes of theirs.

There is a common idea among Fundamentalists that the Jews are a "flawed" people -- that their biggest mistake as a group was rejecting Christ. This leads many Fundamentalists to presume the following:

(1) The Jews (who never convert) will go to Hell.
(2) That Israel will be inherited only by "true Christians (c) (tm)"
(3) That Jews will be included among those who help Satan in the end times
(4) Most importantly, that a powerful conspiracy of Jews exist who wage war against Christianity.
(5) Jews "control all the banks and the media".

I've actually had prolonged discussions with various Chrsitians who took it upon themselves to tell me these things, and then write me all sorts of rationalizations and alleged proofs of it.

Jewish Conspiracy theories abound in Evangelical circles, and it's largely due to a combination of ignorance and blind trust for their leaders who often utter incredibly antisemitic statements.

The link between Christianity and antisemitism goes back to the founding of the Christian Church, and finds itself traced through Martin Luther, John Calvin, the Puritans, and southern Baptists in America. It's too bad that so many Evangelicals can turn a blind eye to this very obvious and well-documented fact, and continue pandering to "Expelled". Darwin's theory had zero influence on antisemitism in Nazi Germany. It was the much stronger and more obvious ties between Christianity and Antisemitism that is to blame.

What Irony that Ben Stein, a Jew, can help to promote the propaganda of a movement of people who share a much closer and more intimate set of links to Nazi Death Camps than Darwin!

Friday, April 11, 2008

This cartoon really says it all.

I found this little cartoon on the web, at another atheist's website. I forgot exactly where, so if you know, just tell me and I'll credit it.

It pretty much says it all. Nothing more really needs to be said.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Street preachers

You know, I once pondered what makes street preachers tick, but I came to the conclusion that no matter what, they will never be convinced that street preaching is (a) Annoying to most people, (b) ineffective as a form of converting people, and (c) just makes the preachers look like idiots, most of the time.

For about 10 years, every saturday night, in Harvard Square, cambridge, a local group of evangelicals decided to preach in what they considered the den if iniquity. Harvard Square, in Cambridge, MA, is the center of Harvard University, and is a thriving shop and restaurant district. At night, street performers of all types show up. When the preachers showed up, and started screaming at everyone, most people considered them an annoyance. At first, they were ignored.

Then they began to use personal tactics -- singling out people from passersby, and yelling rude things at them -- suggesting one woman was a whore, or that a boy in a leather jacket was a satanist. This would start shouting matches, and occaisionally caused people to walk over and sock them in the face. One young man, after hearing his girlfriend referred to as a whore (because she was apparently dressed like one), walked up to the preacher, and asked "Did you just call my girlfriend a whore?" The preacher started to explain that "if she dresses like a whore, then the Bible says..." but was interrupted when the young man pushed him and cussed him out.

Then the preachers decided to start using a bullhorn because apparently, screaming volume wasn't loud enough -- they wanted people a block away to hear them. They didn't just use the bullhorn to save their throats from going hoarse from yelling; they actually yelled into the microphone at the same volume, which made their voices irritatingly piercing, and difficult to understand. It was at this time that many of the local people had enough of them. Shop-owners and restaurant owners complained that people in their establishments complained about the noise, and asked them to please stop. The response from the preachers was to whine about having a right to be there and that they were warning everyone about Hell, which was far more important than listening to music and making money.

This is how I see street preachers. They are attention-seekers. They want people to notice them, and they get off on being the center of attention. When a street preacher perceives that he's not attracting the attention he seeks, he gets louder and more obnoxious until people simply cannot politely ignore him. They become disruptive because they need attention, and normal everyday people do not want to give them attention. They believe that their message is so important that no amount of reality checking will make them stop. If ignored, they will just say that the Bible says that people won't listen because they don't want to hear the truth. If heckled, they will say that the Bible predicts that people will heckle you. If shoved, spat on, struck, or otherwise assaulted, the bible tells them that that will happen to -- obviously whoever wrote those parts of the Bible had those types of experiences!

Every negative aspect of their preaching will just be spun into a self-fulfilling prophecy, and they will just say "I guess we're doing the right thing!" Sometimes they even count assaults like merit badges, and even point out bruises and scars received while annoying people, the way old soldiers display their battle scars to young people. They are proud of being a public nuisance. The more public disruption they cause, the more their own beliefs are justified.

None of them ever considers that being a public nuisance is a negative thing. None of them ever consider that constantly hearing loud, angry, screaming voices amplified, for long periods of time can actually have a negative effect on people. None of them ever consider that perhaps it's a better idea to avoid violent confrontations, and avoid getting personal and making people angry. None of them ever consider that young kids seeing this awful display of anger and verbal abuse might be negatively affected.

The bottom line is that these types of street preachers are lousy neighbors, plain and simple. Nobody minds their message, in fact, many people are probably of the same faith. If your neighbor and his family stood on their porch every day, and screamed at everyone that walked by, and generally was loud and disruptive all the time, even when people were trying to sleep, neighbors would not like it, and if calling the cops didn't work, people would move away.

An interesting side not to this is that I am a street musician myself on occaision. I play a loud instrument -- bagpipes. Bagpipes are very loud, and they can be heard from several blocks away sometimes. When I perform, I try to pick an area that is in the middle of a public park, far enough away from shops, homes, and places where people have to be for long periods of time. I do this out of consideration for others. If there are other performers nearby, like guitarists or people playing soft instruments, I usually warn them, play a few toots from my spot, and then go over and ask them if I was far enough away to not interrupt their performance.

I've never seen street preachers show even that much courtesy towards others. Do they think that anyone who is not with them is just another hell-bound person who doesnt' deserve common courtesy? I don't know. All I know is what happened one day when I was playing. The city has a first-come, first served rule for performers. This means that if you arrive and start playing, other people who want your spot have to move, or wait for you to leave. The street preachers know this, because they have to apply for permits just like musicians. So I was playing my pipes, and a small number of street preachers started gathering nearby. When all were present, they started their preaching. I couldn't really hear them, since my pipes were loud enough to cover their screaming.

Then one of them walked over to me and asked me to talk. He asked if I'd stop playing my pipes, because they couldn't be heard with their bullhorn. I asked him if he knew what the city's policy was on street performances. He said no. I asked him if he had a performance permit, and he said yes. I asked him if he recalls the first-com-first-served clause from the rules. He tried to say that they were different from street performers, and that theirs was a special case. I asked him what was wrong with moving further away, after all, I moved to the spot that I was in so that I wouldn't disrupt a juggler a hundred yards away. He then said that the spot they chose was chosen because they wanted the best traffic. I told him that I'd like to get a lot of traffic by me, too, but I had to walk a quarter-mile away from the spot I wanted, because I didn't want to interrupt the juggler, or the guitar players. I attempted to compromise, by suggesting that they simply wait for my act to end in helf-an-hour, since I can only play for about an hour before I get tired, and my instrument gets too damp to work. He refused, and I said I'm sorry. So he walked away, and they continued their show. While I was packing up to go, the preacher who was speaking at the time noticed me, and commented over his bull horn "It's about time you stopped! Ladies and gentlemen, some people think they can drown the word of the Lord from being heard!" I even heard someone call me a tool of Satan. Interestingly, most of the music I play is actually religious music from the middle ages and the renaissance era!

Oh, the irony. but man, what a bunch of priggish jerks street preachers can be.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Persecution of Creationists

Is Intelligent Design getting persecuted by mainstream science?

IN short, no.

What is happening, though, is that creationists, and their intelligent design hypothesis, are not conducting actual science. If they were out there conducting actual scientific experiments, doing surveys, studying the data collected from their experiments, and having it peer-reviewed, they would be conducting science properly, and would not have to feel left out.

Unfortunately, they simply are not doing anything that resembles science. They are merely squawking and writing books that promote their opinions about evolution.

If we were talking about math, and there was a group of people crusading against algebra, or saying that calculus is a faulty field, and that their new math should be included in public school, math professors, worldwide, would treat them the same way that scientists treat creationists.

What creationists are mad about is not discrimination. They are mad that nobody is taking them seriously, but they don't want to participate in science, which is how you get inclusion in the first place.

Suppose a person walked into a police station, and said "Okay, give me a badge and a gun, I'm going to be a cop!" The police officer at the desk would most likely say "Sir, you'll first have to pass a civil service test, and then for better results, you may want to take some courses in law enforcement from a reputable institution." Creationists are the same way. They want their voices heard in science classrooms, but most of them don't even want to bother with getting a science diploma (some have, but most creationist authors don't, or have resorted to diploma mills), a job as a researcher, or even submit a paper for peer review.

So here's a hint: If you want to have your "theory" taught in public school classrooms, you should first properly formulate your hypothesis, research the facts, perform tests, then build your theory THE LEGITIMATE WAY, like any other scientist has to do for their theories. You don't just start griping and demanding inclusion. That is not how science is properly done.

We then come to the phenomenon of the creationists who feel that science is too flawed -- that because it doesnt' consider subjective or supernatural claims, that it's lacking in it's ability to trully see the whole picture. These creationists are working on trying to re-write science altogether. Peer reviews -- Poppycock! They have the Bible! Experiments? Pshaw! We have divine revelations from spiritually adept people! Empirical evidence? Nonsense! we have direct communication from God, and that should be good enough to settle any issue!

All in all, there is no persecution of creationists going on. There is legitimate science, and legitimate avenues to go from a hypothesis like Intelligent Design to theory, to peer review, to inclusion. Creationists are simply not participating in the scientific community, and deliberately making up excuses for it, rather than just going ahead and doing it. Just as you have to pass certain tests to get your driver's license, a theory in science needs to pass certain tests to be considered legitimate. If you do not pass your driving test, you do not get a driver's license, and you cannot drive a car, or get a job driving a car.
If you do not submit hypothesis and theories for peer review, your theories do not get the proper scientific backing from other scientists, and you don't get consulted by textbook writers.

All creationists need to do is conduct science properly. They have had almost 100 years to do it, and have not done so yet. Instead, they whine and gripe about persecution. They get what they deserve; they persecute themselves.