There has been a noticeable uproar at the thought of potentially letting child molesters into our public restrooms. It’s difficult, as a non-parent, to comprehend the fear of knowing my own child is endangered in such a common and otherwise harmless place. Having to watch out vigilantly to avoid the endangerment of a child must be stressful, and my heart goes out to these poor parents and of course any past or future child victims.
I think we all can agree that public facilities should be available to people of any stripe no matter their differences. Just because a “man wears a dress” doesn’t mean such a person is not entitled to the same accommodations as we non-dress-wearing folk. I have a suggestion that might be able to set these parents at ease while maintaining equality for all. Separate restrooms for Catholic priests.
With separate restrooms, parents could be at ease knowing that their children are safe from potential predators. Catholic priests would have the same public facilities as the rest of us such as restrooms, locker rooms, showers, etc, but without the added social tension of being forced to accept them in close proximity to ourselves and our children.
It would certainly be a relief to know that a man couldn’t just put on a dress and walk into the little boys or girls’ room and hurt our children. Separate restrooms is the only option. We certainly cannot allow them to use the restroom of their choice!
Some of you may be wondering if it is ethical to segregate them like this, well of course. There is no reason for us to sacrifice our comfort for the sake of “equality.” Punishing only the offenders if they offend is too tedious. Child molestation is already illegal to be sure, but it should be just as illegal for a Catholic priest to enter an undesignated public restroom.
Controlling for the entire group is the only way I can envision our children as safe. Besides, we are talking about the “rights” of a very small segment of the population to which we needn’t cater. The goal cannot be to punish crimes if and when they occur. That will be too late. No, we have to single them out.
Catholic priests being uncomfortable and segregated is a small price to pay. Making them feel uncomfortable labeling them as an “other” is insignificant compared to the damage that will be avoided. Allowing them to use separate public facilities protects my rights and comfort, and lets Catholic priests have access to public facilities as well. Problem solved.
This article is satirical and is not intended to be an accurate representation of my view of Catholic priests or LGBT issues.
It is my observation that we are headed toward a single party system, and I don’t mean the usual rubbish about the parties being essentially the same. No, in my view the Republican Party has adopted positions that will starve its ranks and render it obsolete. It has become the Party of God.
Marco Rubio went all Jesus on us in a new ad. Huckabee considers the Ten Commandments and prayer the best solution for America (link contains language and antitheism). As though a union between church and state and wishful thinking were solutions of any kind. Huckabee has also aligned with the likes of Kim Davis, an anti-gay bigot.
The “Cruz Commander,” in a blatantly sycophantic endorsement, associated himself with Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. Phil Robertson is well known for anti-gay remarks and claims that black people were better off pre-civil rights. According to him, “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.” Of course they were singing the blues which is perhaps my favorite genre.
I don’t suspect it is necessary I provide further examples to make my point. The Republican Party has associated itself with homophobia, atheophobia (the fear of disbelief in a god or gods), transphobia, and fascistic anti-First Amendment sentiments. The party is known for preventing freedom of choice in bodily autonomy concerning drugs and abortion, preventing adequate sexual education, being anti-contraception, anti-evolution and other aspects of science, etc.
I don’t mean to assert for a second that all Republicans share these sentiments. They don’t. This is the party’s unfortunately repugnant face because the aforementioned antipathies and stances are not rejected by a majority of party leadership.
This is a problem, because Republican leaders lack the perspicacity to see the change in their constituents. Religious “nones” are at the highest rate recorded in the United States with a third of millennials rejecting any religious affiliation. This is due in large part to the power of the internet to challenge our ideas and expose us to more information which breaks the chokehold of forbidden knowledge in the home, church, or school. Another factor is the fact that older generations are dying out to be replaced by millennials.
This does not mean that all of these people are atheists. Many of them are and simply don’t identify with that word i.e. a person may euphemistically identify as a humanist, secularist, or unbeliever. Additionally, there are those who call themselves agnostic not realizing that agnosticism and atheism address different questions, or they may prefer agnostic to atheist due to stigma. Others in this group may be deists, others may believe in spiritual woo woo, etc.
A fact remains to be gleaned from this information. The number of religious “nones” and open atheists will only continue to grow in the same fashion as Europe. David Silverman, President of American Atheists, with whom I spoke at CPAC 2015 argues that the number of atheists is much higher than polls indicate and it’s a matter of coming out and unification.
In discussion with David Silverman, he speculated that the number of atheists and religious “nones” who would vote Republican or Conservative is roughly equivalent to that of the general population. However, the Republican Party drives away people who favor small government, free markets, and are pro-Second Amendment because those same people often favor separation of church and state, legal marijuana, women’s rights, gay liberation, death with dignity, and other “liberal” ideas.
I am one of those people for whom the Republican Party will not make room. How many millions turn to Democratic politicians with whom they disagree on economic and governmental issues because they can’t find a Republican who isn’t looney on social issues with a chance at the nomination? By how many millions will this number grow in the next 30 years? 50 years?
The Republican Party is associating itself with a brand of Christianity that doesn’t even represent the majority of Christians. Evangelicals are the largest single religious demographic, yet they only account for about 25 percent of the country. Guess which religious demographic is soon to eclipse them. The “nones,” at about 23 percent.
If the Republican Party is to stay relevant, it will have to keep its message secular. Independents have reached a record high of 42 percent while Republicans have fallen to 25 percent, according to Gallup. Republicans are failing to provide a message that interests their changing constituents, and if they continue to do so they will become obsolete.
When I got home from work on the night of the terrorist attacks in France my heart sank to see the news. My family was confused as to how any person could be motivated to deliberately perpetrate such evil, and I felt such compassion for and solidarity with the French people.
It’s time to have a conversation. A conversation the “regressive left” doesn’t want to have and a conversation conservatives have in many ways derailed. We have to talk about Islamism.
Maajid Nawaz in a talk with Sam Harris at the Harvard Institute of Politics defines Islamism as the forcing of Islamic beliefs on others. Islamism should be separated from fundamentalism and Islam as a whole.
This linguistic distinction is very central to Nawaz and Harris’ new book “Islam and the Future of Tolerance” Any time someone attempts to talk about the important issues concerning Islam with the left they are not only denied a lexicon by which to have the conversation; they are degraded as bigots and Islamophobes. This includes members of the left and Muslims trying to have this conversation. This is a perversion of what could be called liberal principles such as tolerance and pluralism.
The conservative conversation seems to largely be, “Ya’ll people need Jesus. We need to just stomp them into the dirt.” Conservatives aren’t afraid to call radical Islam what it is, but conservatives are not, in my view, providing an adequate linguistic distinction for anyone to have a meaningful conversation. Nor are conservatives offering any viable long-term solutions.
I’m not sure what’s worse – no conversation or a bad one.
Nawaz has coined the refusal to name Islamism the “Voldemort Effect.” Others see an “us versus them” dilemma and consider war and conversion the solution. I’d call that the “Darth Vader Effect.” We know you have good intentions, but your priorities are out of order.
In order to have a productive conversation we have to recognize the role of religion. Islam is not a religion of peace or of war. It is a religion, and you can find harmful, benign and positive aspects in all of them. This isn’t to say all religions are equally good or bad in the slightest, but I won’t get in to that today.
It is important not to construct apologetics for the toxic bits of religion. Strongly held beliefs such as the oppression of women, martyrdom, certainty in paradise, violent jihad (as distinguished from the internal struggle) and philosophical certainty must be as Harris puts it, “…destroyed intellectually.” The solution is not apologetics but reform.
We have to find some method by which to lift the Middle East out of its Dark Age. Nawaz describes the Islamists as a disproportionately powerful and vocal minority. The flipside of that coin is that the majority is disproportionately powerless and silent, and we aren’t helping. Many on the left refuse to talk about the problems in Islam, and in denying the usage of criticism even by Muslims, they disempower those who need the most support.
The Muslim reformers, feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, minority religious groups, secularists, atheists, apostates etc are shut down before they can even mention the need for reform and the need to ideologically combat Islamists who pretend to speak for the whole of Islam and all those residing in nations they control. Then we complain at not hearing moderate voices coming from the Middle East.
This conversation is subverted and these people are abandoned when we allow words like “Islamophobia” to carry any weight. There’s no doubt in my mind that there are people racist against Arabs, Semites, Persians, Indians, Africans etc, but criticism of ideas does not constitute racism. Furthermore, a person is not racially defined by their religion even though there are people bigoted against religions.
There is a difference between criticizing or even mocking ideas and degrading people. As Nawaz put it, “No idea is above scrutiny, and no individual is beneath dignity.” There is a difference between scrutiny or satire and bigotry.
Normalizing this scrutiny is challenging. Religion has the anomalous ability to construct ideas, even patently bad ideas, without the usual criticism due to some taboo on scrutinizing faith-based beliefs. But this scrutiny has to happen in the West and in the East for reform to be an option.
We have to promote the most benign interpretation of the Quran possible, or these victimized people will continue to be lorded over by madmen with anachronous ideas.
Separating Islam from Islamism prevents blurring the lines between the two making it less likely for Muslims to be blamed as a whole, and it allows conversation about those aspects of Islam that require reform. We want to see the rise of nations of law, equality and democracy in the Middle East, but this will not happen without reform.
Reform will not occur without standing in solidarity with the most vulnerable reformists and victims in the Middle East who need all the support they can get. The least the West could do and perhaps the most is entertain a conversation.
You can find Presley at his facebook page.
Finally, after what amounts to 64 years of legal battles the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled bans on gay marriage unconstitutional while upholding the rights of people to dissent. This evening, I will be celebrating this wonderful advance toward a more perfect union with whiskey, cigars, and good company. I hope others can have chance to celebrate, but not everyone will be (as I’m sure you know, dear Reader).
I decided to frolic about the internet to see what others are thinking. I came across lines like “everything has changed,” “the floodgates will be opened,” “it’s only going to get worse,” “we’ll be forced to perform gay weddings.” These are the wails of the defeated. The sighs of the oppressed. The cries against the impending doom. (If only you could see my eyes rolling.)
These worried folk have nothing to fear. Homosexuals have attained their goal — equality. They aren’t striving for anything more, and if they did attempt to infringe upon the rights of others I would be among the first to criticize them.
I hope that this successful push for equality leads to the removal of government from marriage altogether, but that’s a point I won’t address at this time.
You’ve nothing to worry about in terms of the degradation of heterosexual marriage, the forced compliance of religious groups in gay wedding ceremonies, or any other widely propagated anti-gay meme. I can tell you exactly what’s going to come of this.
All these complaints from the faithful and religious institutions are going to vanish of their own accord. Right now, a majority of Americans support gay marriage including a growing number of religious people. In a few years, it will be necessary for religious institutions to reverse their opinion on homosexuality (among other issues) to remain relevant.
They will claim, “A few Christians were misguided in the past. It has always been the belief of Christians that God loves all, and we should be treated equally for love is not a sin.” Like something right out of The Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s “1984” the evidence to the contrary will be denied, and their stance will be reversed while pretending nothing has changed.
But for now, let’s cast aside our worries and knowledge of the battles to come in favor of celebration. Congratulations to my gay fellow Americans and those who have stood beside them. This is a momentous achievement. A historic victory in the fight for liberty for all.
Not long ago, someone very close to me witnessed domestic abuse. It was rattling. Police were called, threats were issued to her by one of the abusers, and she was thoroughly depressed by the experience. This has hit me close to home for it has affected one about whom I care deeply. Being of a sympathetic and caring nature she was very wounded by the experience, and she was very sorrowful on behalf of humanity.
Where is the love in a relationship like that? I was once asked by my partner, “What is love?” Love is the kind of friendship that is the most mature. It’s where the relationship isn’t about a personal or mutual gain, but the relationship is about the other person. You care more deeply about their happiness and suffering than your own. That is love. To which she replied, “Say that again. That was beautiful, and I want to remember it.”
When you tell someone you love them do you really mean it? Are you willing to sacrifice for them? Are you willing to put their needs before your own? Because that is love, and I’m seeing it far too sparsely. We have a problem of people void of love abusing those with whom they are in a relationship.
A few facts on domestic violence:
• Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
• Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
• Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
• Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.
• Nearly 1 in 5 teenage girls who have been in a relationship said a boyfriend threatened violence or self-harm if presented with a breakup.
• Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
• Ninety-two percent of women surveyed listed reducing domestic violence and sexual assault as their top concern.
• Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the US alone—the equivalent of 32,000 full-time jobs.
• Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
• The costs of intimate partner violence in the US alone exceed $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.
• Men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents.
To anyone who cares about suffering, these figures are troubling. I truly believe these figures are a result of a lack of love, a failure to care sufficiently for your fellow human.
It isn’t any secret that this is a problem in the U.S., and it isn’t any secret that the primary perpetrators are those who grew up abused, those who observed abuse and religious fundamentalists.
Spousal abuse is a global problem caused by a lack of love and inequality. Official figures from India’s National Crime Records Bureau reveal that 8,233 young women, many of them new brides, were killed in so-called ‘dowry deaths’ in 2012. The Dowry System has led to the deaths of many women who are married for material gain. Not only does it often lead to the murder and abuse of women who could not supply a sufficient dowry or did not satisfy their husbands, but dowry creates poverty for parents of daughters reducing the female population since they are unwanted. Many infant girls are murdered by their parents for this reason. The “It’s a Girl” documentary is enlightening on this issue.
I’d be shocked if I had to inform you of the abuses against women in the Middle East. When painting your nails, exposing your hair, exposing too much skin, sex out-of-wedlock and other victimless crimes can lead to the most brutal punishment or death, you do not live in a society friendly to women.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali   has been an advocate for women’s rights, and she considers Islam and aspects of the current culture in the Islamic world to be diametrically opposed to the prosperity, equality and happiness of women (and men by that same token). In her book Infidel she wrote, “Most unmarried Somali girls who got pregnant committed suicide. I knew of one girl in Mogadishu who poured a can of gasoline over herself in the living room, with everyone there, and burned herself alive. Of course, if she hadn’t done this, her father and brothers would probably have killed her anyway.” She also writes, “The Quran mandates these punishments. It gives a legitimate basis for abuse, so that the perpetrators feel no shame and are not hounded by their conscience of their community. I wanted my art exhibit to make it difficult for people to look away from this problem. I wanted secular, non-Muslim people to stop kidding themselves that ‘Islam is peace and tolerance.’”
The United States faces problems as well. Things aren’t as terrible here as where women are murdered or tormented regularly due to arranged marriages for dowry or where they are the right-less property of their father until they are the property of their husbands, but this is no excuse for treating our problems with a lesser degree of seriousness.
Complementarianism is an evil directly opposed to the equality of women, and it provides biblical warrant for the unequal and even harsh treatment of women. There are men who consider themselves the head of the household only in a linguistic or symbolic sense. I still think it’s ridiculous, but at least some only perceive it in that manner.
However, it’s disgusting that the idiocy of actually considering yourself superior and in charge can be present in modern-day America. Complementarianism holds that men and women have complimentary predefined roles, and the dominance of the husband, the head of the household, is ordained by god. Not only does this often foster abusive relationships between partners, it teaches sheltered and brainwashed children to do it as well. An article written by a woman who deserted complementarianism with her husband attests that equality dramatically improved their marriage.
I can’t claim to really know the solution to all of these problems, but I suspect it is rooted in love. Men, if you really love your spouse or partner you won’t make her submit to you through brainwashing or force. If you really love her, you will esteem her as your equal. Fathers, your daughter and her virginity are not your property. If you truly love her, you can recognize that her thoughts and her body are hers. They do not belong to you or her future partner. And if you REALLY love someone you could never intentionally hurt them.
October 11 was National Coming Out Day, and on October 23 Talon Talks hosted a debate on the University of Texas at Tyler campus between Professor Lopez and Father Key concerning the issue of gay marriage.
Lopez, my Constitutional Development professor from last semester, went about the argument by separating his Catholicism from his ideas about how to form a civil society.
He recognized that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution ensures equal treatment under the law. It doesn’t matter if the religious recognize their marriage, but the government is required by the text of the Bill of Rights to do so.
Key insisted God condemns homosexuality, and as we are, according to him, a Christian nation we must condemn it in kind. He claimed no society has ever accepted homosexuality (untrue by the way), and that all societies that have accepted it have been destroyed — an interesting contradiction.
Why is this even such a big deal in our culture? You have to go back a few thousand years to the founding of the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
I’ll focus on Christian scriptures since Christianity is dominant here in the U.S. The Abrahamic religions are not particularly fond of sex.
Matter of fact, there is quite a lot distaste towards it, as if it were something about which you should be ashamed.
In particular there is animus toward female sexuality and just as much animus toward anything other than heterosexuality.
These ideas are born of an era of ignorance in one of the most illiterate and backward parts of the world.
Women were coveted property; hence the injunctions against their sexuality where a woman was stoned if found not to be a virgin by her husband on their wedding night (Deuteronomy 22:20).
Additionally, there was the law that, if a woman was raped, the father must be paid, and she must marry her rapist who may never divorce her (Deuteronomy 22:29).
Just as well, there was the command supposedly handed down by God that, after you committed mass murder, keep the virgins for yourselves (Numbers 31:18).
The Bible doesn’t expressly say what they did with them, but I think I know what they had in mind. I doubt it was for moral purposes.
I mention all this to give a context. This is where we are supposed to derive our morality concerning sex? That is an obscene suggestion.
Why would we treat a verse condemning homosexuality as a capital crime any more seriously than the rest? I have yet to see a single Christian father stoning his daughter for her “crimes”.
Tea Party candidate from Oklahoma Scott Esk said,”I never said I would author legislation to put homosexuals to death, but I didn’t have a problem with it.” (We all know these aren’t the principles of the Tea Party. That’s just how he ran.)
It’s obvious that the majority of Christians do not call for the death of homosexuals. Some merely want their rights limited, and others are very accepting.
Those accepting, forward-thinking Christians receive my commendation.
As to the rest who spout hate, fear and guilt, terrifying people, worst of all children, with the thought of Hell (a wicked falsification), you should be thankful that place does not exist for you.
Why would we go to a verse like Leviticus 20:13 to determine what is moral on the subject of homosexuality when we can use our own internal moral sense?
It defies our civil republic to concern ourselves with the private lives of others. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their home that causes no physical or fiscal harm to others ought not be the concern of anyone else.
Take a moment to separate morality from religion. What is moral? A moral action is an action that promotes the well-being of conscious creatures, and an immoral action does the opposite. This can be determined by reading The Republic, the works of Aristotle (quote number two sums it up nicely), and the works of Sam Harris.
How can we lash out at our fellow human beings solely for their nature? Does that maximize well-being? How can we tell them that they can’t be a member of the church because of the “sin” with which they were born?
Homosexuals are not being condemned for what they do but what they are. “We’re all children made in the image of God, and we should all love one another. Well except you.” They are told they are not welcome in church, and they can’t go to heaven.
This hatred disgusts me.
It is after all in their nature.
According to an article in Yale Scientific, homosexual behavior has been observed “…in more than 10% of prevailing species throughout the world.”
The New Mexico Whiptail Lizard is very interesting. It is a species entirely consisting of females. They survive by parthenogenesis. Basically, it’s a lesbian lizard that can reproduce, and you want to tell me that an occasional, naturally occurring abnormal sexual attraction in humans is out of the question?
“Homosexuality is not just a form of sex; it is a form of love, and it deserves our respect for that reason,” said author Christopher Hitchens. Why is it that we can’t look past something truly as trivial as a person’s sexual preference and simply accept them?
In actress Raven Symone’s recent interview with Oprah she expressed that she didn’t want to be labeled gay or much of anything else for that matter. She considers herself human and American.
That is beautiful. Someone willing to say, “I am a human who loves humans…” That is how we all should be, and we should stop looking to our ancient barbarian ancestors and instead look in our hearts and to our reason for what is moral.
You can find Presley on Facebook.
A version of this article first appeared on Patriot Talon.
My local party elected me as a delegate to the Texas Republican State Convention, and after watching what went on at the convention I became outraged.
I have observed this nonsense before, but now I am thoroughly irritated. There is a war being fought in the Republican party, but it’s more than that. It is a war being fought in both parties for the future of our nation.
Texas is the battle ground for the future of the United States. Texas is the business, growth, technology, and freedom center of the United States. There is a reason Battleground Texas is standing on my doorstep.
Texas is a bastion for freedom, but forces internal and extraneous conspire to change that. We are under threat from a plague infesting BOTH parties.
The infestation I’m talking about is fascism. This disease of fascism plagues our political system, and there are two strains of fascism. One strain says God is the government, and the other strain says the government is God
I get outraged when I see people defining themselves as republican, pro-freedom, pro-American, or conservative when they are NOT.
The Republican party has a history of advocating equality and freedom, but now we are suffering the plague of progressive fascist crackpots and “republican” theo-fascist crackpots.
The Texas Republican State Convention was where we would decide our platform, and where we would set the stage for the legislation we would advocate. How are we going to turn Texas into the political “burial ground” of the left, as Rick Perry put it, if we suffer a fascist infestation ourselves?
The RPT platform reads, “We believe in: Self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage of one natural man and one natural woman,” and the platform calls for legislation to prevent gay marriage. What is this crap?!
If you consider yourself a Conservative Republican, you cannot hold this view. I conversed about this issue at C-pac.
“Gent: Sir, would you like a flier? Me: Sure, may as well. I see you are discussing gay marriage. What is your stance? Gent: Well, I am against it, sir! Our nation was founded on Christian principles, and we have to uphold them. We see that this is the decline of our society. Me: Interesting. I was just discussing this issue with my friend. Tell me, do you consider yourself a conservative? Gent: Yes, of course. Me: So, as a conservative, you hold the belief that the government possesses in no way the authority to command the way you live your life? Gent: *long pause* Yes, I suppose. Me: Well then, I should ask, what is the origin of government, or rather what are the origins of governmental power? Gent: I assume you mean the “social contract”? Me: Yes, sir. Exactly. We the people have formed a contract or constitution, and we elected representatives to sign this contract that defines how we agree to be governed. Ergo the origin of governmental power is the people. Gent: True. Me: So, by extension of what was previously admitted, if the government does not hold the authority to command your life, and government authority comes from the people, no individual or group possess that authority either. Gent: *long pause and some pointless chin wagging* Yes, I suppose that is true. Me: So, under what authority can you, the government, or anyone else tell homosexuals they cannot wed? That power is not vested in the government, and governmental power comes from you and me. So I should also ask, where does your authority to control them come from? Gent: You’re a libertarian aren’t you? Me: Yes, sir.”
Can someone explain to me why the party that is supposedly pro-freedom is writing in its platform that people don’t have freedom to choose their lifestyle? Besides the logical inconsistency, denying homosexuals (or anyone else for that matter) equal protection and rights is illegal per the 5th and 14th Amendments.
Just as hypocritically, there was a knockdown drag out over medical cannabis in the platform.
A few people spoke in favor, and a few people spoke against medical cannabis. Right as the pro-freedom individuals started gaining traction, the chairman called for a vote to cease debate after only five people spoke. The vote was to close to call, and after several more votes he claimed we would have to do a roll call vote from about 5,000 people. That vote lost, and the majority successful silenced the minority.
The Republican Party vehemently objects to The Affordable Care Act because it tells we the people what health care we can and cannot have, and it is government coercion through penalties in the form of fines and taxes. How can we object to this and not favor the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE what medical care you will receive?
I am sick and tired of this nonsense. These Republicans are not pro-freedom. They are theo-fascist crackpots. These are people who do not realize that their interpretation of divine law has no place in the state.
The second strain gives the government godlike powers. In their minds morality comes not from God or self-evidence in nature, but it comes from the government. They see the government as the provider, the aid to the poor, the enforcer of some twisted view of equality, et cetera.
The rest of us normal and sane people have to combat fascism whether we are on the left or right. These people want to order our lives, and we cannot let them.
We can say that things are looking up. A frequent attendee told me that the previous year there wouldn’t even have been a debate. The Tea Party and Libertarian Party never failed or dissolved. We just went under the radar, and we are quitely taking over.
We must win the war on fascism, and it seems to me the best inoculation we have against the disease of fascism is ridicule. These idiotic, totalitarian, fascistic, crackpots need ridiculing for what they are.
I have noticed in watching and participating in debates, listening to lectures, and in conversing with my friends and colleagues that there is a lot of confusion in this great debate of evolution versus creationism.
What I mean to say is, often people present the wrong inquiries against evolution, in some cases, the questions do have uncommonly known answers, the question is on the wrong subject, or because there is a lack of scientific knowledge there is misunderstanding.
This confusion prevents any real and substantive discussion taking place. Often, evolutionists and creationists are debating different things. They approach the debate with different pools of knowledge and research, so they will not conceded anything or understand one another.
If we are going to have this debate, and we are, we should have it on issues where there are actual scientific questions and flaws rather than areas of misunderstanding.
A movie is coming out in Sept. 2014 called “A Matter of Faith“. The trailer very clearly demonstrates what I am talking about. In real life, the two parties seem to argue different things, and the few arguments heard in the trailer do not do the debate justice. There is misunderstanding. If you see the video you may even feel the need to ask, “What does evolution have to do with a chicken and an egg? That doesn’t make sense.”
I’d like to begin by telling you a little something about myself and from where my knowledge of this subject originates.
When I was 16, I was going through something of an intellectual crisis. It suddenly came to my attention that everything I believed up to that point I took on from instruction or acceptance. I hadn’t acquired knowledge myself. I was taking it from others I trusted without further question.
So, I sat down in front of the whiteboard in my room, and for three days I did my best to discard all bias while I read books, scoured the internet, contemplated, and decided what I believed. I lived on coffee those few days. I hardly slept, and when I tried my mind would race.
I studied and contemplated matters of science, religion, morality, and politics. After those few days, I made my decisions and came to my beliefs. Naturally, I have continued this process of seeking truth, the true definition of a philosopher as Socrates put it in “The Republic”.
Now, I know my clientele. I don’t likely have to explain creationism to you. We all are aware of its position, and it is likely a position held by a number of you.
For that reason, I will focus on clarifying and explaining the evolutionist’s argument. I will expose its true assertions as well as its flaws, and hopefully, for some of you, I will remove misinformation.
Firstly, I notice people do not always know what the theory of evolution is. Evolution attempts to explain the origin of the species. Take note of that.
I often hear it said that the theory of evolution does not provide a reasonable argument for the origin of life. Well, of course not. That’s not the argument.
Many scientist speculate how life began, but they do not yet know. Evolution does not address biogenesis. It attempts to explain how life changed after it began, the origin of the species.
One theory presently being tested is the idea that life began when a molecule developed the ability to self-replicate, and it became more complex over time.
Scientists have found molecules that self-replicate, and now they are on a quest to study self-replicatingRNA, the precursor of DNA, but this is biogenesis not evolution.
Darwin was suggesting a theory concerning how we arrived at all the different species from a common ancestor.
Darwin, like other observers of natural order such as Adam Smith in his economic theories and David Hume in his philosophy of a world without miracles, asserted that you can have order in nature without mandating or manipulating it.
Acceptance of evolution does not in any way rule out God. Darwin himself was a Deist. He believed there is a necessity for an uncaused first cause known as God, but God must not go around intervening in nature. This is the belief that there is order and law in nature that allows life to arise without God intervening.
I have often heard it said that evolution is only a theory, but that doesn’t mean anything when you know thedefinition of the word theory. Perhaps what this argument means to say is, “It’s just an idea. You can’t prove it.”
Contrary to popular belief there is solid evidence, but there are a few problems. We have a genetic record that clearly demonstrates all life has a common ancestor. In short, all life is one family tree. This discovery demonstrates we are distantly related to all life, plants and animals. For a more detailed explanation of this I recommend you watch a few minutes of this Cosmos Episode.
I have heard as well that missing links prove there are flaws. If you can’t find the animal with fins walking on land or the almost human creature that is walking up-right but cannot speak, then the theory must fail.
However, this is absolutely false. There are problems I will address, but that’s not one of them. We have found missing links, and if you don’t care much for fossils, there are living species in the transitional phase from one kind to another as well species making simpler adaptations.
The mudskipper is a fish that possesses the ability to walk on land and breathe air. Not a mammal like a dolphin or whale breathing air, but a fish. Additionally, there are a great many animals that are in different stages of evolving eyes. You can see these animals in this video.
Further, we can see remnants of past features. The laryngeal nerve, that evolutionists say first evolved in fish, makes quite a detour in mammals. Evolutionists claim that instead of a major re-wiring or alteration, evolution simply modifies and works with what it has. A great video of a giraffe dissection demonstrates this.
We can observe animals in these transitional phases. One becoming a land animal, another developing better eyes, and there are more examples. Bears migrating to the north and becoming polar bears, humans doing the same and turning white, wolves becoming dogs, the differences between a domestic pig and a feral hog, elephants loosing tusks in response to overhunting and poaching, and even corn.
We domesticated corn thousands of years ago in Mexico back when it was gross and small, about the size of your thumb. Natives discovered seed selection, and by choosing the seeds of the plants that grew larger, tasted better, etc. they made modern-day corn.
Now to the flaws. While science can prove and observe much of evolution in action, scientists still don’t know how life began. So much is known and provable, but this is not yet known.
Many argue that cells are “irreducibly complex” as Michael Behe puts it. Meaning every organ within a cell is necessary for the cell to perform any function.
It was the theory of irreducible complexity that led Antony Flew to become a Deist. However, many believe irreducible complexity cannot hold in that well-known science refutes all of its claims, but this argument is perhaps worth continuing and actually studying further before dropping it so quickly. This concept certainly needs more research conducted since its proponents, in a number of persons’ opinions, did so little research.
“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Said by Darwin himself.
Further, evolution cannot fully account for, at least so far, the experiences we would call spiritual or transcendent. In my case, I have these moments when listening to blues such as Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Tin Pan Alley” or classical music such as Franz Liszt’s “La Campanella”, when I see incredible feats of architecture such as the Washington Monument or the Jefferson Memorial, or when I hold an infant.
Evolutionists retort the human brain is the most complex structure we have discovered, and they claim that not understanding certain parts of it is not a reason for declaring God responsible.
In short, the claim is that we know evolution took place. Yet, we don’t know all the details, or how it all got started. If it can ever be demonstrated that life evolved from non-biological material (best idea so far is RNA), then evolutionary theory will do more than address how the species arose but how life itself arose, and they believe research will unveil the answers to questions about the details such as spiritual experiences.
Lastly, I have heard the argument that if God did not directly intervene by way of a miracle in creating humans, then from where do we derive morality? Isn’t the phrase “survival of the fittest”? That would be a terrible way to live.
Actually, no. Survival of the fittest is not the phrase. Darwin never said it. It’s survival of those most able to adapt, and I should also address miraculous creation. Which is more likely, that the laws of nature suspended in your favor by some miracle, or that you are under a misapprehension? David Hume treated us to ask this of ourselves.
T-rex was very fit, and look where it got him. The ability to adapt and problem solve is most important.
Apes have been known to make adaptations in the same manner evolutionists say early human ancestors did. They have been found fashioning spears to hunt smaller mammals in Africa, and we can observe other primates using tools as well. Interestingly, an orangutan learned to make tools for spear fishing.
If the evolutionists are right, it makes you wonder how much longer we will be the only humans. There were other human species in existence relatively recently such as Neanderthals who buried their dead, built homes, made tools, etc, but I digress.
I expect it is very plainly accepted that a social animal cannot exist without morality, and an animal is usually less successful if it does not work in a group.
If we accept this as true, how could a very succesful civilization evolve without morality? It is necessary, else we’d all die off.
Humans are not the only “moral” animals. Elephants protect their young and mourn their dead versus the less social animal that will eat their young or abandon them. Apes have been known to adopt lost ape children, and there are other examples.
We observe apes feeling empathy, wonder, amusement, and, funnily enough, anger when the, “I scratch your back, you scratch mine,” trust or concept is not followed. It would seem the ape feels wronged or morally outraged.
Morality’s evolution does not, however, as many lefties suggest, mean that morals are subjective. There is an assumption that all evolutionists are hardcore and militant leftists who think morals don’t really exist, and many of them assume all creationists are theo-fascists. These things simply are not true. Sam Harris has written “The Moral Landscape” concerning this issue of evolved morality and morality derived from science.
You have one group of people who say morals are, by necessity, handed down by God, and the alternative group suggests we evolved and there are no morals. Meaning they believe morals are subjective tools of control. No action is really moral or immoral.
I think that is patently false.
The evolutionist who’s not a nut believes, as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, or Pagan philosophy, there is no such thing as Christian, Muslim, or Pagan morality (or any other faith for that matter.) Physics, algebra, and philosophy (philosophy defined as the pursuit of truth) are true and consistent no matter where or who you are. The same is true of morality by this line of reasoning.
Morals have to transcend religion and culture, and this is something some evolutionists suggest science can do. Through all facets of science ie. economics, biology, psychology, physics, etc. we can determine objective morality as Harris and Dawkins assert in this discussion.
Sam Harris suggests answers to moral questions are discoverable by determining how an action will influence the “wellbeing of conscious creatures”.
If we know that an action increases human suffering in some form, then we can consider that action immoral objectively, and the opposite in improving wellbeing is true.
So, I hope I have cleared the air. Evolutionists are not subscribing to an idea that is far-flung and absurd. Evolutionists don’t claim to know how life began (at least not the honest ones), and evolution does not rule out God.
Evolutionists don’t claim we came from apes but a common ancestor. We have fossils of “missing links” and can show you living ones.
Sensible evolutionist don’t believe there are no fixed morals, but recognize they are necessary and objective.
The questions that have not yet been answered are how did life begin, and from where do spiritual or transcendent experiences come? It is here the debate should reside, and not in areas of confusion, settled science, or where there is really agreement.
The Huffington Post put out a story on May 17, 2014 concerning female genital mutilation. I sincerely recommend you watch the video and read this article, and I recommend you read or view all my sources.
Miss Jaha is requesting statistics be renewed, and she states government action needs taking to make this barbaric act cease.
Unfortunately, female genital mutilation is no longer isolated to backward parts of the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. It is spreading with fundamentalist Islam.
This terrible practice threatens at least 150,000 to 200,000 girls in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Some of you may wonder: “What exactly is this? I get what genital mutilation means, but what is the actual process?”
I am a bit reserved in describing it. Let me just say this article isn’t child friendly.
Female genital mutilation is usually performed when the victim is younger than 15. A female relative or perhaps her father rips off her underwear and, with either a knife or sharp stone, saws off his daughter’s clitoris and labia.
After he has finished cutting, he stitches the vagina shut with twine only forcefully removed on her wedding night to maintain her “purity.”
I can hardly bear imagining such an act.
According to the abhorred men in the cultures that commit this act, women are the sexually promiscuous ones who need controlling to the point of SEWING THEIR GENITALS SHUT which is, as some believe, on divine command.
However, we’re leaving out someone. Young boys. What I just told you was barbaric and depraved.
Wait ’til you hear this. I am telling you this because, if you’re a college student like me, then you are probably going to have children some years from now, or you have them already and may have more.
I’m about to ask you to picture something incredibly disturbing, but only to illustrate a point and the truth you deserve.
Fundamentalist Hasidic Jews even in New York are still performing traditional male genital mutilations.
Picture, if you will, an old man… sucking on the penis of an eight-day old child. Disturbing enough? Now imagine he is doing it to remove the foreskin after he mutilated the child. He spits out the foreskin and blood while the baby boy screams in agony.
This is disgusting, and it is STILL going on in 21st century New York. There are a few stories on this unbelievable act. Exhibit A: Babies are contracting herpes from the pedophile rabbis mutilating them. Exhibit B: A rabbi calls not performing this deplorable act heresy.
Granted, I have perhaps given the worst possible example of male genital mutilation. So, I’ll bring your attention around to the “normal” stuff.
Around 60 percent of male babies born in the U.S. have their genitals mutilated, without their consent, obviously. Thankfully, that number appears on the decline, but let’s put a few more nails in the coffin of genital mutilation.
For those who believe this mutilation is a necessary act performed because God commands it, I cannot comprehend how you can do such a thing. How is it that you can hold your baby boy in your arms, a newborn child, the most beautiful thing you will see… How can you look at your newborn son and say, “OK, doc. Get the scalpel and do the Lord’s work on my son’s genitalia.”
The acts of male and female genital mutilation are only possible when people believe God commands it, or if misled parents think they are doing well. A supposed divine command can make a morally normal person do horrible, insane, immoral, and disgusting things.
These religions that promote genital mutilation, in particular of women, I cannot understand. Why is there this fear of female sexuality? Or the fear of menstrual blood in Judaism? Why are the female genitals detested in that way? I have to say, I don’t share their views.
However, many of you were possibly convinced by doctors that the penis needs mutilating to promote health. Does that even make sense to you, really?
Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller put together a show called B.S. where they addressed this issue. I highly recommend watching it, but I’m giving you a content warning. There is language and nudity in this episode (as in most… Don’t worry, Penn’s not the naked one).
We can argue ’til we’re blue in the face over male genital mutilation’s false benefits and obvious detriments. This is a great debate that briefly focused on this issue in this clip.
I’ll give you several resources on this, and you can see what you think. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. I am clearly biased in that the sources here agree with me. This article reports there are approximately 229 deaths in the U.S. every year due to complications from mutilation.
Just my opinion, but these numbers, I would guess, are quite higher, given the way the deaths are often attributed to something else (as mentioned in a sourced article). Which makes sense when you consider that male genital mutilation is a $400 million industry.
Further, there are the multi-million dollar industries where foreskin is, without parental consent or the poor infant victim’s consent, used to make products such as insulin, products for treating burn victims, and making cosmetics. All unnecessarily as materials other than the penis skin of baby boys is useable.
Think about that, ladies. How many mutilated baby penises found their utility in making your new makeup without you knowing it?
If you want to saw off the end of your penis or vagina as an adult, you’re welcome to do so, but don’t dare do it to a child who didn’t ask for it.
The only reason the terrible act of male genital mutilation made an arrival in general American society is because Mr. Kellogg (yes the cereal guy) and Mr. Graham (yes the cracker guy) were activists in having Christians partake in mutilating their children with the all the other cool barbarians. Why? They believed it would curtail masturbation by making the penis less sensitive, and my how that’s worked out.
Even if you want to believe the word of the people who benefit from the practice, that this mutilation is helpful, do we chop off women’s breasts because they might get cancer? Of course not, and for that same reason, please, take your baby home intact.
This practice of stealing choice and sexual pleasure from children, male and female, is criminal and it needs recognizing and punishment in the future.
Imagine if we lived in a world where this was not the norm. What would we think of people who mutilated a baby’s genitalia without consent?
What would we do to people who only downloaded pictures of this terrible act?
This is a “medical procedure” that is by definition mutilation or amputation, and it is unwarrantable.
I often hear it said that without religion there is no basis for morality.
As a proponent of the Secular Constitutional Representative Republic we live in, I have to protest. We are a country with a multitude of people with varying belief systems and backgrounds. To base our society’s moral code on a revelation granted to only one culture is ineffective. It raises the question then, from where should morality and law come?
The Classical thinkers, such as Socrates, labored their minds with, as Plato put it in “The Republic,“ the development of the “more perfect society” or union. That might sound a bit familiar. Socrates argued that justice is more beneficial to society than injustice.
One such example is the rationale that a just man will not wrong another just man, a just man will seek an advantage over an unjust man, and an unjust man will do wrong unto all. A successful society cannot form or be composed of only unjust men. Unjust men may ally so that they might do wrong unto others, but they will also harm one another. Morality must be inherent in us for society to exist. Without morality, the community would never have formed, the division of labor would not have kicked in, and the human species would be destitute if not extinct.
Most estimates put the modern human species at about 250,000 years old, but few scientists say less than a 100,000. I do not even need a 100,000 years to make this point, but let’s run with it.
Are we to believe that man was created or came into existence, and for 98,000 years humans had no moral sense? Under this premise, we murdered one another, we fought bloody turf wars, we fought over women, we raped, we stole, and God looked on indifferently. When finally, 2,000 years ago God said, “Well, that’s enough of that. I should teach them how to behave.”
This doesn’t make any sense.
Morality is necessary for human survival. Mankind could not have survived the wait for someone to teach us morality. Socrates put forth the idea that justice is to do “…what is a man’s, own and belongs to him.” He concluded that a man, “…may neither take what is another’s, nor be deprived of what is his own.” This passage from “The Republic” is particularly interesting.
“Will a just man ever be guilty of sacrilege or theft, or treachery either to his friends or to his country?
Neither will he ever break faith where there have been oaths or agreement?
No one will be less likely to commit adultery, or to dishonor his father and mother, or to fail in his religious duties?
And the reason is that each part of him is doing its own business, whether in ruling or being ruled.”
Morality was defined by the Classics as minding your own business. A man’s personal business that does not affect you physically or fiscally is none of your concern. Further, Socrates said something I find incredibly profound.
“What I mean may be put into the form of a question. Are dogs divided into he’s and she’s, or do they share the work equally in hunting, keeping watch, and in the other duties of dogs? Or do we entrust to males the entire and exclusive care of the flocks, while we leave the females at home, under the idea that the bearing and suckling of their puppies is labor enough for them?
No. They share alike; the only difference between them is that the male is stronger and the female weaker.
But you can use different animals for the same purpose, unless they are bred and fed in the same way?
Then if women are to have the same duties as men, they must have the same nurture and education.”
Later in the dialogue…
“And if the male and female sexes appear to differ in their fitness for any pursuit, we should see that such a pursuit or art ought to be assigned to one or the other of them; but if the difference consists only in women bearing and men begetting children, this does not constitute proof that a woman differs from a man in respect of the sort of education she should receive; and we shall therefore continue to maintain that our guardians [armed forces and politicians] and their wives ought to have the same pursuits.”
This is a man 2,500 years ago calling for women to have equal education, labor participation, military service alongside men, and political involvement. This was reasoning that brought a man to the conclusions that have taken those 2,500 years for us to figure out, and we STILL do not do some of them thanks to prejudice. This is prejudice that horrible men will protect unjustly with religion.
Contrary to the assertion I mentioned earlier, morality can be judged using reason and science.
Our reason and knowledge pertaining to economics, biology, psychology, sociology, etc., is essential in defining morality that can apply to all irrespective of religion.
Take the example of Afghanistan. Afghanistan has a per capita GDP of $575. That is lower than the global average in the year 1820. I think all of my readers have the sense to know that the most moral response to this problem is not to throw battery acid in the faces of little girls for the unspeakable crime of learning to read. It is completely rational to claim on the basis of science and secular reasoning that this is immoral. As a matter of fact, we have to say this if we claim to know anything about human wellbeing. An action that deviates from promoting human wellbeing and instead promotes suffering is evil, and this kind of act is unjust. Which, by the Classical definition, is to concern yourself with the business of others, and to attempt to make them conform to your will.
Religion addresses matters about which there are many discrepancies. Matters like who you worship and when, what days you celebrate, when you fast and why, what clothes you can wear, what foods are inedible, what ceremonies you should perform, whom you can have sex with and in what position, what contraceptives if any can be used, societal roles for men and women, and a plethora of other matters. Those who claim their religion is total, are making a rather large claim. I believe it is important to point out the the word “total” is the root word in “totalitarian”.
To base your own morals upon religion is fine, obviously. That is, so long as you do not violate the rights of others. However, the morals or laws of a free society must be based upon what can be deduced by reason alone. Laws set up by religion are bound to be inconsistent. Ask one Christian what God thinks about abortion, and another will disagree. Ask a Muslim what Allah thinks about drugs, and another will disagree. Some will claim that women are subservient, others will claim they are equal. All kinds of discord can be found here. As soon you make the admission that law must be based upon religion, you have to select a religion upon which to base said laws. Naturally, you will select your own, and this is to force your revelation and interpretation on others. That is Theo-fascism, and none of us should stand for it. Freedom of religion can only exist when law does not involve religion. There must be a wall of separation between the church and state. On this matter, I have found a slogan I really like, “Mr. Jefferson, build up that wall.”