Not So Polite Dinner Conversation: why do they choose to make false claims? – next up, DP Monahan

Well, for a blog called “truth and tolerance”, DP doesn’t demonstrate either. I’ve seen this particular Christian around on other blogs.  He tries to be friendly to the atheists he contests with, but when you get him on his own blog, he has no problem in making a lot of false claims about others. It’s rather pathetic.

DP goes after a video where Dr. Michael Shermer is talking about why humans believe in gods and presenting the hypothesis where humans see “intent” in many things that are simply natural. This “offensively stupid thought experiment” is only that because DP presents his strawman version of the actual hypothesis. Nothing in the hypothesis indicates that humans were always running for their lives at the slightest noise. Humans developed to think that there is a cause and effect behind every noise and movement, and then may have attributed to a intelligent being these cause and effects.   It’s amazing on how a Christian evidently needs to lie so badly that he ignores his own supposedly holy book’s words that people should never lie, not even if they think it’s for their god’s benefit (Romans 3).   He also desperately tries to argue that all thought experiments somehow assume “everything” (whatever that means) and that they prove nothing, which is debatable and something a theist must try to claim since what we do know of our remote ancestors doesn’t match with their myths.

DP goes onto thrash his very own strawman and of course ignore the actual hypothesis and what it says. DP also has evidently not seen a antelope run from a cheetah or a zebra from a leopard. They don’t do what DP says : “they will run a few steps and then look back to make sure.” I’ve also personally walked through a woods and scared the crap out of deer, quail, etc. They did pretty much the same to me.

Humans were frequently victimized omnivores, who have offspring that need tending for a very long time. They have no natural weapons, and were at the mercy of predators. DP seems to think that humans always had weapons, which show his complete ignorance of anthropology. Of course, being a creationist, this type of Christian has to ignore reality to keep their religion.   Humans can be predators, but they are not always predators. And just because something travels, explores, and takes risks doesn’t mean it doesn’t attribute natural occurrences to magical beings. It seems we are built to assign meaning to occurrences and, again, expect an intellect behind occurrences.   Humans would not necessarily be afraid of the wind, but they may have assigned that wind to an intelligence source causing it.

DP presents this paper from the NIH: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689871/ and says it shows that they are “naïve skeptics”, but he does not admit that the paper also says that children have no problem in believing in Santa Claus and the reason why is “In fact, much of children’s apparent credulity, we propose, can be accounted for by their receptivity to the testimony of others; in fact, this receptivity may be precisely what makes children seem, to many, to possess a credulity bias.” The paper is actually quite good; it’s a shame that DP never seems to have read it but only assumed it supported him. It’s no surprise that he didn’t look up the original experiment and then tries to claim his presumptions have to be true. That can be found here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002209651100035X?via%3Dihub (I’ve not yet found it outside of a paywall)

The idea behind this hypothesis is that religion grew to be a way to make humans behave in a certain way for the benefit of the group e.g. “God will get you if you don’t do *this*”.   DP tries to make the claim that since not all religions have “abstract ethical content” (whatever that might actually mean) and an afterlife, this means that the hypothesis is wrong. He claims that “some traditional religions” make little reference to ethics, but does not indicate which of these do that. We also have him saying that the idea that a god watching one’s every move is a poor motivator for good behavior, “at least for those of us over three”. What he forgets is that is exactly the threat that Christianity makes, and yes, it is a very silly thing for adults to believe. These are a few verses from the bible that contradict what DP wants to have us believe:

20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.” – 1 John 3 (and hmmm that verse does present a problem for Christians who claim that god doesn’t give believers all they ask for)

“For my eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from my presence, nor is their iniquity concealed from my sight.” – Jeremiah 16

“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.” Hebrews 4

We also have DP saying that “no religion is self-evident”. Now, I’ve been told the exact opposite by Christians for years, namely with this bit of nonsense “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.” Romans 1 Indeed, this bit of scripture says exactly what DP says it doesn’t ““Good Principles Self-Evident to All Humans”

DP thinks that if he was a “high brow atheist”, he would believe that humans were fully able think like us from the start, which is a baseless claim dependent on a belief in creationist nonsense. Yes, right now, our brains are quite highly developed, and many of us can recognize complex patterns, are able to anticipate what reality is from observation. We’ve developed language, and we are still the apes that saw effect and may have assumed an intelligent cause e.g. gods. Yep, we are story-tellers too, and that shows that there is no reason to think that stories are reality; humans love to make up stuff.   Religions are no the story of the world, because they all differ. They are an indication that there is no one magical truth, that some certain god is in charge. Religion does show that humans act in certain ways, but they have no evidence that they themselves are true.

All DP wants is to pretend that a “real” atheists would agree with him; and we generally don’t. He wants to claim that there is nothing to replace his religion and implies his religion does no harm, but ignores all of the various philosophies that are out there that don’t need gods at all. He, like many Christians, wants to pretend that all atheist are no more than nihilists or “cold materialists”, and tries that old canard that without his version of his god, all human experience is “ultimately absurd”.   Again, all DP has is his attempts to appeal to fear and to expect ignorance to support his religion.

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Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Happy Fourth of July! Hobby Lobby is at it again with their 2018 ad

Unsurprisingly, we have a hobby lobby july 2018 ad (happily saved for posterity here), the folks that want to force their religion on their employees (and you) and who have no problem in depending on people working on the “Sabbath” whilst ever-so piously closing their stores on the same day. The people living under authoritarian governments who make the products that they sell and advertise on the Sabbath work on the Sabbath. The truckers and distribution center workers who work on the Sabbath, and the newspaper employees who work on the Sabbath. They certainly have their own shabbos goy so they can try to convince themselves and others how observant they are.  The Freedom From Religion Foundation has shown that all of their claims are wrong, and these TrueChristians continue to repeat lies.  In that the Green family supports a bible museum, they might actually want to read the thing to see that their god hates lies and liars.

This ad is a wonderful example on how so many conservative Christians have no problem in lying, despite their holy book repeatedly saying that lying is a no-no, even if a Christian is lying *for* their god (Romans 3). And it is a wonderful example of Christians who have nothing to refer to except for 17th, 18th and 19th quotes to support their bigoted and ignorant views and even in them they must quote mine to spread lies and misinformation.   They seem to feel that they have the right to remove the ability of humans to make informed decisions based on the facts.

The banner reads “Blessed is the nation whose God is Lord.” This is from Psalm 33, and from the Old Testament. Now compare how these Christians, the Greens, and so many others, follow their god. They support an adulterer, a liar, a cheat, and a self-admitted sexual abuser. It seems that the Greens forget that adulterers are to be stoned to death per the same divine commands that they follow to close their stores. Psalm 33 also says this “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.” But I guess that those laws are just too inconvenient for the Greens and Christians like them to care about as long as Trump promises them power.

The article goes onto quote presidents, founding fathers, SCOTUS rulings, SCOTUS justices, members of congress, words from Yale and Harvard from the 17th and 18th centuries, and “foreign opinion”.   Of course, they print all of the quotes that support their position and conveniently ignore the quotes, often from the same people, who don’t agree with them. Conservative Christians have no problem in cherry picking, as we can see from how they treat their own bible.

Now let’s look at a couple of these quotes that they gave.

They quote John Adams as saying “We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Now here is what is actually said

“While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while the continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep <gap in manuscript> simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by <gap in manuscript> morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition <deleted text “and”> Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

An Address so unanimous and firm from the officers commanding two thousand Eight hundred Men, consisting of such substantial Citizens as are able and willing at their own Expence, compleatly to arm, And cloath themselves in handsome Uniforms does honor to that Division of the Militia which has done so much honor to their Country. Oaths, in this Country, are as yet universally considered as Sacred Obligations. That which you have taken and so solemnly repeated on that venerable Spot is an ample Pledge of your sincerity, and devotion to your Country and its Government.”

No mention of Christianity, and most certainly not of the conservative Christian’s version of Christianity at all.

Of course they also ignore that he said “Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.” – Treaty of Tripoli, 1796

And a second:

“And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.” – Thomas Jefferson

As soon as I saw it claimed to be from Thomas Jefferson, I knew what happened. It is entirely unsurprising that they misquote this and they do so intentionally. Now, let’s see what the actual quote says, with the real punctuation and the context. This quote is from “Notes on the State of Virginia – Query 18: Manners

“Manners – It is difficult to determine on the standard by which the manners of a nation may be tried, whether catholic, or particular.  It is more difficult for a native to bring to that standard the manners of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit. There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us.  The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other.  Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal.  This quality is the germ of all education in him.  From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do.  If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present.  But generally it is not sufficient.  The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities.  The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances.  And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other.  For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavours to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him.  With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed.  For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour.  And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!  The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.  — But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil.  We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one’s mind.  I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution.  The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation. “

Why do such Christians find it necessary to lie about such things? Jefferson’s words do damn the actions of these Christians today, their turning into despots for their need for control. No wonder that they tried to pretend the rest of the quote didn’t exist.

The intent of the so tenderly placed Sabbath ad by our pious TrueChristians™ is to convince people that the United States is a “Christian Nation”. However, the Greens, and Christians like them, are certain that those Christians who don’t agree with them aren’t Christians at all. This shrinks the population of TrueChristians™ mightily and in this United States of ours, these Christians are a happily small fraction. By their ignorance and bigotry, the Greens and their ilk demonstrate themselves that we are not a “Christian Nation” and the majority are not in their theocratic image, wanting to force a Christian sharia law on everyone. The US is a nation of democracy and freedom, for everyone who wants to participate in those honorable institutions. Some Americans want to be hypocrites who will kneel to someone who ignores the laws they so piously claim to follow, in order to claw their way to power, so they might force everyone to agree with their version of one religion. The rest of us need to stand against such attempts to destroy what we have fought for.

Happy July 4th! Many thanks to those who fight for freedom, be they in our military or in our streets.

An addendum (7/2/18)

Our ostensible TrueChristians did the same as above regarding Alexander de Tocqueville.  They quote this:

““The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds that it is

impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.” – Alexis de Tocqueville: French observer

of America in 1831, author of Democracy in America”

The below is part and parcel of the same book, and we can now see the context of what he says:

” To each of these men I expressed my astonishment and explained my doubts. I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone, and that they all attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country mainly to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America I did not meet a single individual, of the clergy or the laity, who was not of the same opinion on this point.This led me to examine more attentively than I had hitherto done the station which the American clergy occupy in political society. I learned with surprise that they filled no public appointments; 4 I did not see one of them in the administration, and they are not even represented in the legislative assemblies. In several states 5 the law excludes them from political life; public opinion excludes them in all. And when I came to inquire into the prevailing spirit of the clergy, I found that most of its members seemed to retire of their own accord from the exercise of power, and that they made it the pride of their profession to abstain from politics.

I heard them inveigh against ambition and deceit, under whatever political opinions these vices might chance to lurk; but I learned from their discourses that men are not guilty in the eye of God for any opinions concerning political government which they may profess with sincerity, any more than they are for their mistakes in building a house or in driving a furrow. I perceived that these ministers of the Gospel eschewed all parties, with the anxiety attendant upon personal interest. These facts convinced me that what I had been told was true; and it then became my object to investigate their causes and to inquire how it happened that the real authority of religion was increased by a state of things which diminished its apparent force. These causes did not long escape my researches.

The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. Man alone, of all created beings, displays a natural contempt of existence, and yet a boundless desire to exist; he scorns life, but he dreads annihilation. These different feelings incessantly urge his soul to the contemplation of a future state, and religion directs his musings thither. Religion, then, is simply another form of hope, and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself. Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments. Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind. If we consider religious institutions merely in a human point of view, they may be said to derive an inexhaustible element of strength from man himself, since they belong to one of the constituent principles of human nature.

I am aware that at certain times religion may strengthen this influence, which originates in itself, by the artificial power of the laws and by the support of those temporal institutions that direct society. Religions intimately united with the governments of the earth have been known to exercise sovereign power founded on terror and faith; but when a religion contracts an alliance of this nature, I do not hesitate to affirm that it commits the same error as a man who should sacrifice his future to his present welfare; and in obtaining a power to which it has no claim, it risks that authority which is rightfully its own. When a religion founds its empire only upon the desire of immortality that lives in every human heart, it may aspire to universal dominion; but when it connects itself with a government, it must adopt maxims which are applicable only to certain nations. Thus, in forming an alliance with a political power, religion augments its authority over a few and forfeits the hope of reigning over all.

As long as a religion rests only upon those sentiments which are the consolation of all affliction, it may attract the affections of all mankind. But if it be mixed up with the bitter passions of the world, it may be constrained to defend allies whom its interests, and not the principle of love, have given to it; or to repel as antagonists men who are still attached to it, however opposed they may be to the powers with which it is allied. The church cannot share the temporal power of the state without being the object of a portion of that animosity which the latter excites.”

we can see that Tocqueville wasn’t supporting how religion was in the US, and certainly speaks against the type of religion that these TrueChristians want, supporting the separation of church and state.    And yep, he does insist that “unbelief” is an accident, being a good Catholic.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Hey, Sessions trotted out Romans 13

I hadn’t realized that AG Sessions cited Romans 13 for his excuses for his and Trump’s actions.

“Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

of course, this would mean that this god is responsible for Nazis and Confederates and despots all over.  And hmmm, where was this verse and calls for obedience when Obama and Clinton were president?  And those TrueChristians who try to avoid paying taxes?  Hmmmm…

Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.  2 Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval;  4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.  5 Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.  6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing.  7 Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

I’m curious on what my Christian followers have to say.