Sunday, May 1, 2016

Do SJWs always lie? Two considerations.

I've been talking with Malcolm the Cynic about how true the claim is that SJWs Always Lie. My view is that SJWs comprise a large number of people, in a variety of situations, and that there's two things to keep in mind.

One is that a good number of SJWs are, God bless 'em, stupid. And I mean stupid - people who are not just ignorant of various facts and ideas and understandings, but who have considerable trouble trying to understand complicated topics that more intelligent people will grasp with greater ease. And the intelligent ones? They may honestly, truly believe this or that aspect of SJW dogma with their hearts and souls, but wholeheartedly investing oneself in a cause does not mean that they don't lie in the service of it.

By the way, it's not just SJWs. A lot of people, period, are low on the intelligence totem pole. That's just the way it is.

Malcolm and I see things differently there, but - in a completely unrelated way - good ol' Mike Gene at Shadow to Light provided a great working example of the sort of thing I'm talking about.

Most people who hit this blog have run into this claim before: atheism is not a belief, it is the lack of a belief. An atheist doesn't believe, much less claim, that God does not exist. They simply lack belief in God! They make no claims at all.

Mike points out, in an interview, that this is stressed - this 'atheism is a lack of belief' move - only to be immediately, blatantly countered by one of the atheists on the panel. This atheist says that everyone is godless because there are no gods, period. God doesn't exist, and he (the atheist) is just aware of this.

They later roll into some attempted damage control, going so far as to say that when atheists says that God doesn't exist, what they -really- mean is that they lack belief in God's existence. Atheists make no claims! This is the core, central mantra of the internet atheist: the plea that they're not making any claims, and thus they can't be expected to provide an argument. Only theists make claims on this topic!

That's a load of shit, of course. They couldn't even keep this charade up on Rubin's show. I'd go so far as to say that, for pretty well every atheist who insists that they just 'lack belief about God', you only have to interact with them about God once to see them contradict themselves on this point. You can point out their contradiction to them, and at most you're just going to get them to flail around and try to recast their words on the spot - or more commonly, switch topics altogether. But wait a week and drop in on a conversation they're having with someone else, and they'll be right back to 'atheism is a lack of belief', like clockwork.

Because even if it's not true, the image and narrative is dearly important to them. They do not want to have a burden of proof. They'll do anything to avoid it, because that burden terrifies them. It would screw up their attacks on Christianity, and that is paramount. Honesty isn't terribly important in comparison.

By the way: I'm not saying those atheists are SJWs. In fact, there's an atheist, even New Atheist, reaction against SJWs going on right now - largely because that whole 'Atheism+' thing has spiraled out of control, and an intellectual fatwa has been issued against all atheists who aren't on board with SJWdom. Rubin's part of that milieu, I believe. But it serves as a good example of how complete and obvious bullshit is nevertheless maintained by people, even rather intelligent people, even when it's been exposed. People lie, people bullshit, and...

..That leads me into the second consideration. The smarter someone is, the trickier it is to catch them in an out and out lie. Those atheists Mike is referring to? They can deflect like mad if you corner them. They said that atheism is a lack of belief and not a claim, and then one of them says that there are no gods, period? Well, by 'there are no gods' they just mean 'I lack belief'. They'll go back, rework, rephrase their arguments, cast them in a new light, and obfuscate until they're forced to do otherwise.

So let me use another example: good ol' BDK. Folks around here remember BDK - long-standing atheist commenter at Dangerous Idea. Neuroscientist, I believe. God, what a well-spoken individual. Thoughtful and polite. Great reputation, praised by various theists, and...

Oh, right. Liar. And I mean full-blown, actually-outdid-Loftus liar, complete with a fake identity charade of pretending to be a Christian so he could 'sympathetically' attack Christians and anti-atheist/materialist arguments. A guy who got exposed because he had a timely fuck-up where his double life happened to be caught on the internet equivalent of film, and whose -immediate- reaction to that was to try and completely scrub all evidence of his alternate persona from the internet.

None of this is controversial. But consider this: BDK had a good reputation. Most theists I know (wrongly, I thought at the time, for other reasons) praised BDK as a good, decent interlocutor. He was systematically lying to people on a daily basis for freaking months, even beyond a year. If he didn't screw up, if someone wasn't checking out the page at just the right time, his cover never would have been decisively blown.

Because BDK was smart. And smart people tend to make better liars.

My point is this: I'm more cynical than Malcolm the Cynic. If we come across an intelligent SJW who repeatedly peddles what is easily shown to be a lie, I suspect Malcolm will tend to take their labyrinthine justifications at face value. He will, perhaps by default, believe they're being honest, but they're confused. My default is different: I tend to suspect they are, if not completely full of shit, at the very least far less confident in their interpretation of things than they let on. Their confusion is not an explanation - it is an excuse.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Trump and Christianity

A lot can be said about the topic. But here's one thought.

A substantial amount of the political left has long wanted Christianity - and religion in general - to wither, eager to pick up some changes that aren't possible when the religion is heavily integrated into the social fabric. Just think of what we'll get if we don't have those stuffy (nay, patriarchal!) rules about sex and gender holding us back!

It's true, you really widen the range of possibilities once Christianity is beaten back. What people may just be starting to realize is that the range is wider than 'more textbook liberals'. If Trump wins in November, it's going to happen while a lot of liberals - professing atheists, even - look at many of his voters, fists clenched while they scream 'BUT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE CHRISTIAN! CHRISTIANS DON'T VOTE FOR MEN LIKE THIS!'

Maybe not, once upon a time. But who's been spending all that time trying to unweave the Christian threads in the social fabric? Did they really think the only thing that religion was restraining was more left-wing sentiment?

Christian culture wasn't just restraining people from fucking, gents.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The unintentional grimness (and humor) of Sanders' campaign

Sanders is poised to lose his bid for the presidency.

Here's some stats on how much money he's raised and spent to date.

The great socialist hope made much about how his donations were largely from individuals. Poorer sorts, the unemployed, the deeply indebted, and so on.

He's raised close to 200 million so far. Call it 100 million raised from individuals, just for the hell of it.

Now remember: Sanders is, in all likelihood, going to lose this thing. Which makes Sanders personally responsible for taking a hundred million dollars out of the hands of the working poor, and giving them pretty well nothing in exchange. Nothing but a very fleeting thrill and defeat.

Which makes Sanders personally responsible for ripping off more poor people than far and away most of the other individuals he rails against.

Bonus question: do you think he's aware of this, and if he is, that he even feels responsible for what he's done?

Behold, ladies and gentlemen: your saviors, hard at work.

An unfortunate thought

One of the oft-repeated complaints right now among American Christians is that, ugh, the choices are just so -rotten- for the devout during this presidential election. We have Cruz, who's kind of creepy even if you like him. There's Trump, a blowhard who says *gasp* offensive things (quite unlike the character of Christ). There's Sanders, an irreligious jew who's conveniently found God in his heart recently. And Hillary, who's had a Saul on the road to Sodom experience, declaring that religious people need to update their beliefs to be more in line with the Democratic party.

Not exactly 'devout', this bunch, no matter how crazy Beck gets on stage with Cruz. I grant this.

However, I seem to recall W was very devout - and he's been directly responsible for Christians being all but completely wiped out in the Middle East. Didn't do much on the abortion front either.

For Catholics, our own Pope is responding to ISIS-provoked slaughter by washing muslims' feet and whisking muslims off to safety while betraying Christian refugees. I've been told, by numerous people, that this is about as Christian as you can get, short of unlocking your doors and inviting terrorists in to enjoy your hospitality before, during, and after they rape and murder you.

Our pro-life leadership has announced, in no uncertain terms, that anyone who holds women responsible for their abortions is some kind of alt right monster, completely out of touch with the pro-life movement who regards them all as victims.

And we've got no shortage of clergy and leaders portraying Christianity as a religion where, if a muslim breaks into your house and starts killing and raping your family, it's better to die than kill him in self defense, because a Christian's job is to save souls and never harm a hair on a poor soul's head - after all that little lost lamb may have a conversion experience someday.

What I'm getting at is: what if our likeliest 'devout' leadership are so screwed up on average that it would be better for Christians to have a cultural Christian (God-believing, Christian-friendly, but not exactly trying to be a saint) at the reins than to pick some pontificating jackass for the same role?

Put another way: if I had to choose between Donald 'Forgiveness? Why? All my ex-wives think I'm great' Trump and a laicized Pope Francis for the presidency, Trump would win in a heartbeat.

Because Christian leadership has proven itself to be so inept that so many of them are no longer worth looking to for much of anything.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

What drives some women to abortion

To believe this site, it's the desire to get some plastic surgery on a proper schedule.
One such story was about a healthy woman, with whom sidewalk counselors had spoken, who came to Tiller’s to abort a healthy baby so as not to ruin her “tummy tuck.” That woman went through with her abortion in Wichita despite having no risk of suffering a “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” [which was the given criteria for a late term abortion in Kansas]. Women were getting late-term abortions of viable babies on a regular basis for appallingly frivolous reasons. Tiller and his staff were thumbing their noses at Kansas law.”
Now, this is from Operation Rescue. Maybe they'll full of crap. But considering how women will many times procure abortions for reasons like 'Bad timing', 'I have enough kids, and by enough I mean 2' and otherwise, this is in the realm of possibility.

When situations like this arise, I think the reaction of many in the pro-life movement is to say (paraphrainge Futurama): "I dearly wish I could believe this wasn't true. So, I will."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Corrected by Malcolm

The previous post involved a long exchange with Malcolm. In it I had to defend my view of the Pope's document, and I think what Malcolm's accomplished is sufficient to warrant me correcting what I've said.

I do not think that the vagueness of the Pope here changes doctrine - it simply cannot, on this question. And I do think there was good in the document. I maintain that traditionalists very often are wrong in their estimation of the damage this document can do, or what clarity could accomplish. As far as that goes, I maintain what I've said; trying to deal with liberals by fool-proofing your writings is impossible. They will ignore, rewrite or reinterpret you to their heart's content.

But I think I can explain a legitimate concern, a valid and real concern, that traditionalists have - and put it into words that give it some teeth.

Insofar as this document is vague - and vague about one of (and only one of) the central concerns that was had about this document - it undermines the morale of people who need support the most. A lack of clarity from the Pope himself on this topic has the effect of making strong priests a bit disheartened, and weary priests even more weary. When you're harangued by a culture on all sides already - and often, people in your own pews or (God forbid) your own clergy - then the Pope's decision to go wishy-washy and vague does not give you the support you need. It makes it easier to turn a blind eye, to give communion to the person who by God's law should be denied it. It's corrosive. It is, in fact, a pastoral failure - just as Vatican II ultimately was.

That is a legitimate complaint.

However, I also believe that this is the best way of framing the traditionalist complaint - and, framed that way, this document also lends *support* to many priests, who frankly are more beaten up over other issues. Let's face it: the divorced of the world aren't currently engaged in an outright media and legal campaign against the Church. Feminists and LGBT organizations, are. Those, the pope did shut down more forcefully, with more clarity. Morale improves on those fronts, and the culture is repaired a bit more (though oddly enough, the lack of realization of this by many traditionalists just ends up doing harm on that front by blunting that message.)

That is how I see this situation.