Does creationism matter more because it’s connected with misogyny and homophobia?

It’s never a pleasure to criticize the views of someone I admire, especially if they’ve been active in the fight against creationism, like Jonny Scaramanga.  He started calling out creationism in the Guardian and Salon (and creationism’s vehicle, “Accelerated Christian Education”) when he was a student at London University; I’ve posted favorably about his activities several times before; and he runs a good, solid atheist website at Patheos, “Leaving fundamentalism.” (Scaramanga was raised as a fundamentalist.)

But I think that his two recent post on creationism, “Why creationism matters” and “Creationism is inherently homophobic and misogynistic” miss the mark. Scaramanga’s argument is simple: those people who are creationists also tend to hate gays and oppress women. That makes it all the more important to fight creationism.

Here are quotes from both of his posts:

It’s not some mystery why organisations that oppose women’s rights and trample on LGBTQ people also frequently happen to be creationists. The foundational texts of creationism, read literally, point to a world where men rule over women, where people who don’t fit into the gender binary don’t exist, and marriage is between one man and one woman. Creationism is evil because it encourages discrimination and oppression.

To avoid being anti-religious, organisations like the National Center for Science Education, which campaigns for evolution education in schools, usually insist that the argument is purely about science. Don’t get me wrong: it is partly about science. As science, creationism is junk. But most people are not professional scientists, and it’s possible to be creationist and also have an adequate understanding of science for many purposes.

Creationism matters, and not only because of science. It matters because it harms people in society who are already marginalised. Teaching creationism in school means teaching homophobia and misogyny. That’s why it needs to be opposed.

And of course the Bible is indeed full of references to the inferiority of women, and occasional references to the sinfulness of men lying with men. Raised as a Christian fundamentalist, Scaramanga knows and gives these quotes. And he’s right: the Bible certainly sees women as an inferior group and doesn’t have much truck with gay behavior, either.

Scaramanga makes a similar point in the “Why creationism matters” post:

In sum, here’s my argument about why creationism in schools is a major problem, leaving aside the scientific problems:

  • Creationism requires that the Bible is entirely and (for the most part) literally true

  • That means that creationism is inextricably linked with enthusiastic acceptance of the ugliest parts of the Bible: child abuse, wifely submission, hating gay people, eternal damnation for non-Christians, women submitting to men, and opposition to abortion, for starters.

  • Further, it means there is a huge body of received wisdom which cannot be challenged, because questioning it is questioning God. This is the opposite of education.

I think the problem with this logic is obvious.  Yes, of course the same people who accept creationism by and large favor a secondary role for women and promote discrimination against gays. But that doesn’t make creationism any worse than it already is; all that means is that it’s a symptom of a larger syndrome.

That syndrome is called religion, and its instantiation in this case is fundamentalist Christianity and much of Orthodox Judaism.  But just because creationism is linked to these other symptoms doesn’t make it matter more. It’s like saying that because nerve damage, frequent thirst, and slow healing of cuts are all symptoms of diabetes, the frequent thirst matters more than it did when we were unaware of the other symptoms.

What matters is the underlying cause of all three conditions, and that is religion. The Biblical connection between these three forms of bigotry and ignorance means that we should fight harder against religion, not fight harder against creationism. If we prohibit the teaching of creationism in schools, will that efface the homophobia and misogyny of its adherents? I don’t think so. Now Scaramanga would be right if by concentrating on creationism, rather than on religion in general or on homophobia and misogyny, we could get rid of religion faster. But I’m not sure that’s the case. You cure the disease by attacking the disease, not by treating one of its symptoms.

Why do I care about this logical fallacy? Because I see the evolution/creation battle as separate from the other battles about “social justice” that currently sunder the atheist “community” (if there is one). While I think all atheists are opposed to creationism, and most of us see religion as harmful, there are huge schisms in the movement about matters of social justice—more often about “misogyny” (a word sometimes applied to feminists who don’t agree with other feminists) than about homophobia, which all of us despise. I don’t want to have my battles against creationism subsumed into the “atheist wars”.

In fact, oppression of women and of gays are matters of greater import than is the teaching of creationism, and if I could wave a magic wand I’d make the first two disappear before the third. But it’s important to recognize that the bigger battle for social justice, however you define it, is the battle against religion, not against its symptoms. Those symptoms can and should be fought individually, but just as we can’t say that homophobia becomes more important because it’s philosophically linked to creationism, so we can’t say that creationism is more important because it’s philosophically linked to homophobia. There’s that unrecognized third variable in the mix!

 

59 Comments

  1. Grania Spingies
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. Creationism is a problem in schools because it is wrong, incorrect, fallacious and complete nonsense.

    The fact that many of its proponents are also professional douchenozzles is a plus in my opinion, because nothing alienates people like coming across as a backwards relic from a bygone era.

    • Blue
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      I had to quietly and calmly — and illegitimately legitimately womansplain to The Others out here in my general vicinity as to why the ‘ell “ … … is Blue just now guffawing her ass off, Boss ? !”

      I had to more or less choke / cough / a – hem o’er the “professional douchenozzles” – statement as one which entirely and aptly –– !Peter Principle – wise! –– describes The Others’ countenances, demeanors and behaviors — very, very (— !toooo! —) many of which Others are, indeed inside a university’s / higher educational WORKplace setting — ! ghastly !, … … creationists, either misogynistic and homophobic ones or those other “just – regular” ones !

      Blue

  2. Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    As presented the argument conflates correlation with causation. However, evolution (and the critical thinking it requires and fosters) is a gateway drug for undermining faith. So to the extent that fighting creationism exposes more students to real science and real critical, rational thinking, it will result in more of them subsequently applying that to their religious values and thereby rejecting them, ergo less homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, etc., at least to the extent that those can spring from religious views (although, sadly, there are also plenty of nonbelievers who are also homophobes, transphobes, misogynists, etc.).

    • Filippo
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      sub

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted February 20, 2015 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      There are such non believers but I wonder how much the pernicious influence of religious sentiment in general has colored and biased people.
      Such that, given a clear run at education and socialization without any religion (and hopefully no other irrational magical thinking) such traits would not manifest.
      That basic reasoning and an inclination to evaluate all sides of a discussion would
      prevail over any ‘received’ prejudices.

  3. steve oberski
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the link between creationism and misogyny and homophobia makes creationism any worse but it is important to publicly draw attention to this relationship.

    You see creationism and its bastard child intelligent design being touted as an alternative viewpoint to evolution but peel back the thin veneer of rationality and it’s all morals and ethics imported from goat herder snuff porn.

    I don’t think you can separate creationism from it’s tribal roots and a large part of the marketing effort that goes into presenting creationism as a viable alternative to real science does exactly that.

  4. eric
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    What matters is the underlying cause of all three conditions, and that is religion. The Biblical connection between these three forms of bigotry and ignorance means that we should fight harder against religion, not fight harder against creationism.

    I mildly disagree. Scaramanga seems to be arguing that creationism naturally or inevitably leads to misogyny and homophobia. I am not sure you can make as compelling an argument that religion naturally or inevitably leads to misogyny and homophobia. Its just too broad a concept. The kama sutra is homophobic? Wicca is misogynist? I think you will have a much higher percent of negative examples in your population that you need to explain, compared to Scaramanga.

    • Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think you can make ANY argument that creationism leads to misogyny and homophobia! They’re all imbibed simultaneously with the literalist religion taught to many people. But you can make a strong argument that Christianity, Judaism (and Islam) leads to those things, because it’s in their scriptures.

      Frankly, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Nobody is talking about Hindus and Wiccans here; Scaramanga is referring to Christianity (and, for the Old Testament), Judaism.

      • eric
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        I think it’s fine if you want to say that biblical literalism (in all three religions) leads to these nasty values and should be fought. I will join you in that fight. But if you’re going to say religion is the root evil you want to fight against, your argument should apply to religions beyond (the most literal versions of) those three.

      • Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        I have to disagree, Jerry — as it is usually proposed, Christian creationism argues for fixed genders, provided by a god, where one is made subservient to the other. If one is required to believe that there were created by god just two “kinds” of humans (as opposed to a spectrum of gender and sexual identity), and that one was made to serve the other (including as a sexual partner), then it seems that misogyny and homophobia can indeed fall out of creationism. After all, one of the rallying cries of religious homophobes is “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” That seems to me to be a very straightforward example of anti-gay sentiment as an ostensible conclusion of creationism.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          I agree.

        • trou
          Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          I agree also.
          The creation story promotes all types of assaults against reality that cause both social and scientific problems that then need to be addressed by reality lovers.
          You mentioned misogyny and homophobia but left out racism. You will remember that the mark of Ham was a curse of darker pigment that would identify Ham and his offspring to those around him as one who had sinned against God.
          I is important to attack the more pernicious aspects of the Bible rather than religion in general. I can accept the Unitarians, Jains, Quakers and their type. If they were all we had to deal with then we would have it pretty good.
          Fighting creationism is like triage. Treat the most serious health issues first. Don’t worry about the skin blemishes, unhealthy diet or the cavity in the patients teeth if they have an injury that will kill them. You can always address these later after you have stopped the bleeding and the wound has healed.
          Likewise, we need to fight against the promotion of creationism and hope to degrade religion in the process.

          • eric
            Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

            The ‘mark of Ham’ is an interesting example because it shows how even ‘obvious’ literal values can change over time. What was once the indisputable and clear interpretation of the Bible is now wholeheartedly rejected by the vast majority of Christians, even YEC literalists. Religion may impose values separate from culture, but when the two forces disagree, culture can win.

            I [sic] is important to attack the more pernicious aspects of the Bible rather than religion in general.

            I tend to agree. I think we will get a lot more bang for our activist buck by fighting against the notion that it is okay to resort to violence to promote ones’ ideology, rather than fighting superstition in general. The latter misses violent political extremists and wastes a lot of time and money trying to change the minds of peaceful citizens; the former avoids both types of “wasted effort.”

  5. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Also, there’s a danger of people thinking it’s only the extremists who are the problem when it comes to negative attitudes towards women and LGBT people. Both are still spread throughout society. I don’t want people thinking it’s only the extreme religious who need to examine their beliefs regarding equality issues.

    It’s the same with people thinking that because there’s been so much progress over the last 50 years with racism, that it’s no longer a problem.

  6. Alex Shuffell
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I think Scaramanga may have intentionally missed directly criticising religion. Most of his bloggerings are directly criticising ACE education and many of his allies against ACE are still religious people, I don’t think he wants to start criticising their beliefs too. Dropping his accommodationism may be make his case against ACE stronger but he may lose allies and have fewer people see that he is a lovely chap.

    • Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      But jeez, if you read his posts, it’s dead obvious that this connection comes through religion. Both of them are larded with quotes from the Bible that justify both homophobia and oppression of religion. You’d have to be blind not to see what the real cause is.

      • Alex Shuffell
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been subscribed to Leaving Fundamentalism since July 2012 (checked my emails for the date) and I don’t think he has ever directly criticised religion. He has a specific problem with religion; teaching children creationism and the crap that comes with it. I agree with everything you are saying but (unfortunately) I can’t see Scaramanga changing his tactics.

        Here’s a quote from two years ago which I’m pretty sure is still true for him:

        “Everybody who reads this blog knows I am an atheist, but I try to avoid attacking core Christian doctrines. Ultimately, I believe in co-operation. I would like to work with reasonable Christian people to build a model of education which is agreeable for everyone. I don’t (usually) see any benefit in attacking beliefs”

      • Alex Shuffell
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

        A better example of his accomodationism would be found here:
        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leavingfundamentalism/2012/05/02/moderate-christians-are-not-the-enemy/

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted February 20, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        I am in full agreement with you Jerry. Creationism is a subset of the real problem, religion and it is true that various interpretations of social justice issues have created problems in the atheist community, distracting and dividing our energies and directions.
        Take aim at the disease, not just some symptoms. Symptoms can reappear.

  7. Posted February 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    You wrote, “While I think all atheists are opposed to creationism . . .”. That is totally logical. And perhaps technically true. However, I have met occasional students who are atheists and are sure that evolution couldn’t have produced human beings. Sometimes they use arguments against evolution that come from ID, though often they are simply arguing from a strong feeling that normal processes aren’t able to produce us. Although they may disparage the idea of God creating living beings, they often argue that we (or perhaps the original living cells) were put here by technologically advanced alien races.

    Obviously, these thoughts don’t quite fit together. If we rule out God and evolution, how did earth’s species originate? If space aliens did it, did the space aliens evolve? If they were made by yet other space aliens, where did those beings originate? This combination of thoughts is out there, though.

    • eric
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      That’s interesting, though I’m not too suprised.

      I think disbelief that evolution could produce human beings is closely related to mathematical innumeracy and our inability to intuit answers to math problems such as the one in the wheat grain on chessboard story. Humans are, in general, very very bad at intuiting the extent of exponential growth or change. Evolution is an example of such a process: changes are made to changes. Compound interest is another example. The vast majority of people will, when asked, drastically underestimate how much money compound interest on savings can make them. Those same people, for the exact same reason, are likely to drastically underestimate how much complex structures can evolve in critters in a given time period.

      • Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        I hadn’t thought of that, but the ideas are probably related.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 20, 2015 at 2:01 am | Permalink

        That’s an interesting point. While the basic principles of evolution are fairly easily grasped, the details in any specific case often turn out to be incredibly complicated, to the point where a layman couldn’t easily grasp them. So in that sense I do take evolution ‘on faith’, faith that the biologists know what they’re talking about. Were I more sceptical and wanted convincing explanations I might find it difficult to follow them.

        So I can well believe that some non-religious people might still find it hard to credit that we are not the product of some sort of ‘intelligent design’.

  8. GBJames
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Here’s why I think I agree with what (I think) Scaramanga is getting at…

    If you teach Creationism in schools (especially in Science class) you legitimize faith and teach kids that believing in things in the Bible when there is no evidence for said things is valid. Along with that message goes the tag line: “And, of course, this means that those other things are validated, too.”

    I don’t see how Creationism can be viewed as somehow separate from the rest of the old sacred myth-book.

    • Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      J. B. S. Haldane, preface to Fact and Faith (that sounds oddly familiar):

      My real complaint [about religion] is much more serious. Scientific education and religious eduction are incompatible. The clergy have ceased to interfere with education at the advanced stage with which I am directly concerned, but they have still got control over that of children. This means that the children have to learn about Adam and Noah instead of about Evolution, about David who killed Goliath instead of Koch who killed cholera, about Christ’s ascent into heaven instead of Montgolfier’s and Wright’s. Worse than this, they are taught that it is a virtue to accept statements without adequate evidence, which leaves them prey to quacks of every kinds in later life, and makes it very difficult for them to accept the methods of thought which are successful in science.

      [my emphasis]

      /@

      • GBJames
        Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t have said it better myself! 😉

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 19, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Yes, a wonderful statement, but I wouldn’t say it bears directly on homophobia or misogyny.

          • Posted February 19, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

            Except that kids (and then adults) will equally well uncritically accept homophobic and misogynistic statements without evidence.

            /@

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 19, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

              Agree. I just think of the topic of this thread as dealing with the wisdom of being specific about those issues from the get go.

              Which probably wouldn’t always be wise; but OTOH, if we didn’t think this belief was deleterious, if we thought it was just a harmless fairytale with no connection to bigotry and the subjugation of half the population, would we feel the need to dispose of it so strongly?

              • Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

                I guess it’s to Jerry’s point; that it’s religion, or more specifically faith, which is behind the persistence of these bad ideas.

                At what point does the fairytale become harmless? Only when it no longer has enough force for believers to make a virtue of faith over critical thinking, specific bad ideas aside.

                /@

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 20, 2015 at 2:04 am | Permalink

      Agree entirely.

      🙂

      • GBJames
        Posted February 20, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Refreshing when that happens.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 21, 2015 at 1:30 am | Permalink

          Don’t get too complacent, it may never happen again. 😉

          Okay, all kidding aside, I thought you expressed that well.

  9. Nimesh Patel
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    My problem with religion is that I wished they left those who do not prescribe to their ideas alone. But that is the problem; religious folks won’t leave others alone. Whether it’s abortion, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc… they want to shove their version of morality down our throats. So it is time for the secularists to push back.

    • eric
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Or, as Ambrose Bierce put it:

      “CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor.”
      🙂

  10. Sastra
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Creationism matters, and not only because of science. It matters because it harms people in society who are already marginalised. Teaching creationism in school means teaching homophobia and misogyny. That’s why it needs to be opposed.

    If the main reason we oppose a pseudoscience is because it is linked to homophobia and misogyny, then what happens to all the New Agey versions of pseudoscience? As eric pointed out at #4, there are versions of religion or Spirituality which play nicey nicey with sloppy invocations of peace, harmony, love, and the “empowerment” of everyone — especially women! Should Deepak Chopra’s nonsense be seen as less wrong and more acceptable?

    A lot of people think so — especially advocates of quantum consciousness or healing energies. They’re genuinely puzzled that anyone would bother to fight or argue against them since they’re not doing all the bad things they hate about religion.

    • WT
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      I think you can definitely make the case that nicey nice New Agey religion is “less wrong,” and certainly less harmful, without granting it any actual acceptability or legitimacy.

      Many atheists have argued that Islam is more harmful than the other Abrahamic religions, and that Mormonism is more wrong than garden variety Christianity (since it adds new and improved dogma to be wrong about on top of the old). I see no reason why those argument cannot operate in reverse.

      “Less wrong” and “less harmful” is a relative bar. I would never admonish people for going after, say, Deepak Chopra’s nonsense just because X or Y religion is worse. Wrong is still wrong and harm is still harm. But I think it is clear that not all superstition/religion/faith is equally wrong or harmful.

      If Scaramanga’s entire argument was that creationists tend to be homophobia/misogynist, then I would be inclined to write it off as a case of correlation. However, the Abrahamic creation myth absolutely contains a foundation for those bigotries within it (see his breakdown of the scriptures involved).

      However, I would still side with Prof. Coyne in saying that (Abrahamic) religion is the root issue, not creationism, simply because even if someone believes in Genesis as a metaphor or allegory, it still contains the same bigoted message. The Genesis story still conveys bigotry even to non-creationists who interpret it allegorically.

      • Sastra
        Posted February 20, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Agree. But I’m not quite ready to grant that nicey-nice Spiritual religions are or would continue to be so nicey-nice if they had any real power, political or social. Beneath the smiling exterior often lurks a divisive, elitist, fundamentalist mindset which is the opposite of humanism. In my experience they are suspiciously quick to buy into conspiracy theories which demonize whole swaths of people on the flimsiest evidence — scientists, the medical establishment, capitalists, businesses, Republicans, skeptics.

        Because they’re usually “liberal” it’s easy to overlook that they’re often getting there by using a medieval mindset of magical thinking and intuitions, played out against a dramatic cosmic showdown of Us vs. Them.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 20, 2015 at 2:16 am | Permalink

      I would agree (but then I always see things as shades-of-grey rather than black-and-white).

      I must point out that much ‘woo’ can have bad consequences – for example ‘alternative medicine’ which leads people to neglect proper medicinal therapies, sometimes with fatal consequences – but it’s a sort of ‘passive badness’ rather than the active malevolence often exhibited by the Abrahamic religions. No ‘alternative medicine’ ever executed prisoners.

      So, yes, ‘less wrong’.

    • eric
      Posted February 20, 2015 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      They’re genuinely puzzled that anyone would bother to fight or argue against them since they’re not doing all the bad things they hate about religion.

      To be clear, I think it is perfectly okay to decide you want to spend your activist time and dollars fighting superstition (to include the peaceful woomeisters). It is also perfectly okay to decide you want to spend it fighting misogyny or violent terrorism. Everyone should support the causes that are highest priority to them, and I won’t say boo about it (well, I might, but comparing the worthiness of different social or charitable causes is a different discussion)

      The problem is when someone comes along and tries to tell me that these Venn circles overlap so much that a dollar spent fighting superstition will be a dollar spent reducing violent terrorism. THAT, I don’t buy. There’s some overlap, but also areas of non-overlap…and the latter circle does not sit inside the former. I don’t believe that if you want to reduce violent terrorism, the most effective use of your activist dollar is to spend it fighting superstition. If your concern is violent terrorism, then spend it promoting the notion that violence is unacceptable as a political tool – not just for superstitious groups like ISIS, but also for groups whose goals are envirnomentalism, or smaller government, or animal rights, or local rule. And in that case, do not spend your dollar trying to get people to stop using the local psychic, because he/she isn’t trying to kill anyone to promote mysticism.

      • Sastra
        Posted February 20, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        The problem with fighting against the idea of using violence as a means to an end is that supernatural world views allow violence to be understood as either necessary or even merciful. If the end is Perfection and the working assumption is that Nothing Bad is Allowed to Happen then all the reason and argument in the world won’t get through. The story line has been reframed into a Faith perspective where good and evil are shapeshifters.

        That article in the Atlantic showed Muslims extremists explaining that beheadings were merciful because they would lead to quicker submission and therefore less deaths and violence. The Big Picture lets us see that.

        I once had a debate with someone who advocated a Ken Wilber-ist paradigm shift in science so that Higher Consciousness was able to join into our scientific view of reality. I asked him “what would be the most significant change if this new understanding became the accepted mainstream?”

        He said “we would no longer think death was such a big deal. We’d know it wasn’t the end so we’d be comfortable taking all kinds of risks and doing all sorts of things we’re afraid to now. Fear would be a thing of the past.”

        Well, it seems to me that this love-and-peace view without fear could very well turn in to violent terrorism. Religious-inspired violence is perhaps a special breed, and requires a more focused attack at what makes it special — and therefore especially dangerous.

        • Posted February 26, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          The problem with fighting against the idea of using violence as a means to an end is that supernatural world views allow violence to be understood as either necessary or even merciful.

          It seems to me that a materialistic world view can also allow violence to be understood as either necessary or even merciful. Predators exist in nature. They use violence to kill their prey, which they must eat to survive. That makes their violence necessary. Quickly dispatching the prey through violence can be considered merciful relative to being eaten alive or dying a long slow painful death.

          There really isn’t any argument against violence that isn’t reliant on moral values, which are subject to change in a materialistic worldview.

          • Posted February 26, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            There is however no justification for the view that death is merciful because it is not the end and you will be rewarded (or the unchosen further punished) beyond the grave. An infinite eternity of consciousness justifies any behavior no matter the amount of finite pain. There is actually nothing illogical about this were we to have any certainty that these actions in life yield a dichotomy of either complete suffering or complete bliss. Of course, the elephant in the room is that there is no evidence for this type of afterlife or any of the other quite literally infinite possibilities for an afterlife.

            That also doesn’t even begin to address the nonsequitur you presented. The fact that you can find atheistic philosophies condoning violence provides no redeeming value to the unfounded assertions made by faith claims. But making the one life we all know we have infinitesimally less important than a supposed infinite future is a proven way to provide a fast track ticket out of life, often in a grotesquely painful manner.

          • Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

            One more thing, you’ve also made an Argument From Consequences with your claim about changing moral values. The fact that you don’t like the outcome that subjective morality may yield is not an argument against it any more than your dislike of being flattened like a pancake should you fall off a cliff is an argument against gravity.

  11. peepuk
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    if X encourages or promotes discrimination and oppression than I would be against it.

    X = religion, nationalism, fascism, communism, creationism …

    This disease is called ideology. I see no fallacy.

    • peepuk
      Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I have to disagree with myself 🙂

      Ideology is not a necessarily disease but it’s more a catalyst for bad things. It allows to scale up bad tendencies in society.

  12. Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I agree with JAC. I find that argument to be logically consistent. He is treating a symptom rather than the disease.
    But homophobia and misogyny are damnable and if this is the manner in which Scaramanga chooses to confront those issues, then have at it.

  13. Randy Schenck
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    JAC is certainly correct in this issue. To pick out any specific strain of Christianity and go after it because of how it interprets parts of the book and therefore should get special attention is faulty logic.

    Lets assume you somehow corrected that problem. Where do you go next? Seventh Day, Mormon, Southern Baptist, Amish ? You get lost in the weeds. Stick with the whole issue and let them breakdown whatever they like or don’t like. It is the whole thing that is rubbish. Give a read to – Christianity is not Great, how faith fails. It list all the things that are bad but does not attempt to apply them to specific branches. That is not our job.

  14. Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    🐾

  15. Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    I do wonder what fighting harder means? As a religious person myself, I wonder how I would be fought harder?

    Does that mean make stronger arguments? Be more inclined to ridicule and insult religious people?

    Does it mean that more people should be prone to call me delusional, or stupid for believing?

    I’m curious to know what this entails.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 20, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      How would you fight ideologically supported bigotry and mysogyny within your society? Or is your position that there is no need to fight against aspects of your society that you believe are detrimental?

      I smell a hint of something like persecution complex driven superiority in your comment, or something similar. But, since you seem to think that atheists would be challenged to figure out how to fight these kinds of things in ethically acceptable ways, I’d like to hear you answer your own question, and by all means change the details to suit.

      It would also be interesting to find out if you are mysogynist, bigoted or homophibic to any significant degree. And if so is it something you regret and work to control and change? Or do you justify it, and if so please explain your justification.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted February 22, 2015 at 12:36 am | Permalink

      One way to fight harder would entail removing the indoctrination of the youth.
      The arguments we have are suficient. That they fail is a product of the conditionabilty of young minds.
      See the Nth Koreans and their dear leader.
      Once a reasonable reason based education, devoid of propoganda, is achieved, the absurdityof belief will fade away as the deluded die off.
      We will have no need to bother with you and your believing ilk, as long as you stay out of other peoples buisness.

  16. Keith Cook or more
    Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    The true tragedy is that people suffer because of an out and out lie perpetuated by organised ignorence and delusion.
    No matter what flavour religion, belief system or doctrine they clearly promote on the whole, one in-group over another.
    Eliminating one silly belief (creationism) does not get to the root of human suffering by the hands of nonsensical believers.
    So I agree, one by one seems a long and tedious way to subdue and lose our religions, they all sit under one category and none should be spared in any shape or form.

  17. Posted February 20, 2015 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Rainbowman56's Blog.

  18. Posted February 24, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I’d have to say that there is no direct connection, but a corrolation coming through the epistemic and metaphysical aspects, particularly the former. If one accepts creationism, one has also adopted a very poor epistemology. Consequently that may play itself out elsewhere, including ethics.

  19. Posted March 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I am posting this same comment over at Johhny’s response.

    I think your posts are saying the same thing honestly, viz. religion is the root of evil. I agree there are dividing factos in the atheist community but they do not have to be as atheism has no tenants no matter what SJW’s try and link to atheism. As long as we have skepticism we can sort the lies from the truths.

  20. Posted March 3, 2015 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    What makes creationism especially important to combat is that it has a pedagogical agenda. The creationists aren’t just the regular opponents of reason. They’re people who want to get to unreason installed into the minds of children. Their agenda is theocratic in a sense that makes their project more dangerous than, say, mere opposition to gay marriage, or what have you. The creationists want their crazy dogmas forced upon the entire nation. They aren’t just asking for an end to gay marriage, they’re asking everyone in America to believe in and practice their religion.
    This shouldn’t be lost on we secularists. We have to strategically decide where to spend our energies. Creationisms pedagogical agenda – getting religious dogma taught in schools – is totalitarian in nature. What they want, in the end, is to have American schools be like those in Pakistan, where schooling, with the exception of the famed Karachi Grammar School, is extremely authoritarian in nature basically everywhere, and freedom of thought and questioning of authority is maximally discouraged.
    Pervez Hoodbhoy, the Pakistani theoretical physicist who is perhaps the greatest voice of reason, science, and secularism in the Muslim world, explains how problematic Pakistani schooling is here:

  21. Sciencefictionfan
    Posted March 5, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I have read about this post on Pharyngula, and OMG the commentators there as well as PZ seem to be very peeved off about Professor Ceiling Cat.
    He has hit a nerve, I think. 😅


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  1. […] like my recent posts about the link between creationism, sexism, and homophobia. In a recent post, he argues that I have made a logical fallacy and risk miring the battle against creationism […]

  2. […] like my recent posts about the link between creationism, sexism, and homophobia. In a recent post, he argues that I have made a logical fallacy and risk miring the battle against creationism […]

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