Monday, April 19, 2010

This Isn't About Religion

Imagine there's an organization that gives children something to do after school, like sports, games, school tutoring, and so on, so that they'll be in a safe place until their parents come home. Imagine one of the staff ends up raping one of the youths, and when the higher-ups hear about it, they start trying to cover it up and move the offending member to another district where no one knows about the incident. Imagine that they've been doing this sort of thing for decades in an effort to maintain their good reputation. Imagine that they've been caught. They belittle the crime as "gossip" or a coordinated attack by one of their competitors.

Would you consider it wrong to investigate the cover up, even if it leads all the way to the head of the organization?

Now change the organization to the Roman Catholic Church, and the head of the organization to the Pope. Suddenly, what should be absolutely clear to anyone with even a vestigial sense of morality gets muddled with people claiming that the organization is above mortal law, or that the organization's reputation is more important than preventing rape.

I only want some rapists and their co-conspirators brought to justice. There is no religion involved in that sentiment. It is the religious anarchists who want their group to be above the law who bring religion into it. They want the governments of the world to be accommodating and deferential to their group. They want special privileges. They don't want equal enforcement of the law. They want all this because their religion says their leaders can do whatever they want: The only restriction is whether or not they need to cover it up to maintain a facade of morality.

Religion deserves absolutely no special privileges. Everyone must be equally subject to the law.

31 comments:

Ryan W. said...

Agreed 100% BD. It sickened me that this fatuous asshole decided it was a "Christian" problem, and not a "raping children" problem.

James K said...

Unfortunately since Benedict XVI is a sitting head of state, he isn't subject to the same laws as the rest of us. As much as it might pain me, there is little to no chance he will ever have to face justice for the role he has played in this abomination.

Valhar2000 said...

It sounds to me like the Vatican is ripe for a regime change: we should move in, apply pressure, and install a democracy.

Bet the wing-nuts don't like to have their own rhetoric thrown back at them.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps more than being just a comforting meme, religion is the perfect excuse to do whatever you like and hide behind a magic sky daddy when it is time to take responsiblity for your actions. That would explain the actions of the papist rapists and the actions of people like Kent Hovind.
And credophiles have the arrogance to say that atheists have no morals...


Hypatia:)

DwellerinDarkness said...

I'd say that religion can be a convenient cover, but there's little about it that means that it must be a cover. I'd also argue that most, if not all moral systems operate the same way.

Dark Jaguar said...

If you mean that using religion as an excuse is not just true of religion, then it's true, you can use a lot of things as an excuse. The difference is that in this case you're ignoring reality, and as a general rule when you ignore reality, odds are eventually you are going to stop accomplishing the specific changes TO reality you aim for, and some of that's probably going to hurt innocent people. Not the most emotionally tugging way to put it, but I think that's the most accurate.

I think that's where it's all coming from, at least for me. It's true that people can make up excuses that ignore reality to defend themselves all the time, but that just means it's important to call all of them out when they are seen. This is just another good example.

I also think that while the pope IS effectively a head of state, and while it's reasonable to doubt too much will happen to him, I am of the school of thought that doing what's right is worth it even if failure is staring you right in the face. I guess I watch too much Naruto. After all, the excuse "that's just the way the world is" (when describing human behavior) is such a hollow excuse when human behavior is about the only thing we DO have the ability to control, and so just by one person changing how they act, the world has been changed a little bit. Cheesy, but that's how I see things. Even if I knew that there was absolutely no chance of anything happening to the Pope at all, and even if I also knew not a single person would be affected, I'd still want this action to be taken. Really though, what upsets me most is that the Italian government doesn't appear to be taking ANY action. It's not that it's surprising, it's just that it's really disheartening.

James K said...

Dark Jaguar:
I am of the school of thought that doing what's right is worth it even if failure is staring you right in the face.

There are many things we can do to make the world a better place. Why not put our effort into something that can work?

After all, the excuse "that's just the way the world is" (when describing human behavior) is such a hollow excuse when human behavior is about the only thing we DO have the ability to control.

We can change a person's behaviour: ours. And barring a few rare exceptions one persona really doesn't make much of a difference in the world.

I would like to see more countries refuse to extend diplomatic courtesies to the Pope, and then arrest him if he were foolish enough to visit anyway. It would pen him in a little bit.

But apart from that, the most we can do is point out this black mark on the Church's honour at every appropriate juncture (like every time they claim any form of moral legitimacy).

Jimmy Blue said...

The Pope as head of state might be immune to the jurisdiction of the courts of other countries, but he is not immune to international tribunals. You could argue that what the church has done and covered up are crimes against humanity, and he was involved in the cover up at the very least.

The legal status of the Holy See is also debatable anyway, and it is as the head of the Holy See that the US Justice Department ruled he was immune.

Vatican City is merely an arrangement between Italy and the Catholic Church, and was signed by Mussolini - the Holy See is the international body and it is considered so merely because it is considered so - if governments stopped taking it seriously it wouldn't be necessary to consider it a state since it doesn't really meet international requirements to be considered so.

James K said...

Jimmy Blue:
if governments stopped taking it seriously it wouldn't be necessary to consider it a state since it doesn't really meet international requirements to be considered so.

This is true, of course since one becomes a country by being generally accepted as a country, this is a bit of a tautology.

While theoretically international tribunals could prosecute Benedict, I really doubt that will happen either. The thing is, a Pope in an Important Person, and no world leader wants to establish a precedent that Important People are actually subject to the same rules as the rest of us.

A beaten and defeated leader that has been cast down or conquered is one thing, but a sitting head of state, or one that stepped down recently and peacefully? Why would they want that?

The kind of people who become politicians aren't the sort of people who willingly diminish the majesty of their office. I suspect this is the main reason Obama hasn't investigated Bush's misdeeds.

Jimmy Blue said...

James K:

This is true, of course since one becomes a country by being generally accepted as a country, this is a bit of a tautology.

Not really - you don't become a country simply because someone says you are - that was my point. Defining a state is problematic at best, and as the previous link I gave points out the Holy See is given special exemption since it has no permanent population, defined territory etc.

It is entirely possible to be a country without being formally recognised as such by other countries - however then you run into all kinds of problems under international law etc.

As to whether or not the Pope would be punished - I am not naive enough to think that he would be - I was merely pointing out that he is not immune from the law simply because he is a head of state - and the ICC has issued warrants for sitting heads of state, whilst there are also examples of former leaders (not beaten ones) being arrested and tried.

James K said...

As to whether or not the Pope would be punished - I am not naive enough to think that he would be - I was merely pointing out that he is not immune from the law simply because he is a head of state - and the ICC has issued warrants for sitting heads of state, whilst there are also examples of former leaders (not beaten ones) being arrested and tried.

I don't think we're actually disagreeing. If I'm reading you right, you're focussing on de jure law and I'm focussing on de facto law.

I'm sure the Pope is bound by international law in theory, just not in practice since from a practical standpoint sitting heads of state are pretty much untouchable unless defeated by war or revolution.

Since I don't think we disagree, there probably isn't much point in continuing this :)

Anonymous said...

I just been watching a movie called Schindlers List, it is a propaganda movie about how we should feel sorry for filthy jews in MNazi Germany, its bull*hit but one scene gave tears into my eyes.

A German soldier killed a jews and the only thing I could think one less jew, a better world, it was wonderful.

Another thing I noticed was ofcourse how much MATERIA was important for jews, their GOLD was very very important, gold gold gold, just like the dwarfs in various fantasy stories, letds sing about GOLD jews, lets, because GOLDand STUFF is more important then a good world.

It is disgusting how these vile jews are potrayed as something we should feel SORRY for, seriously, the world would be a better place without them. I can only pray that we will Return to our Christian roots and get rid of the evils of the world instead of the secular stupidity today having jews destroying our wonderful world.

But no doubt none of you brainwashed sheep would agree nor understand, you got "educated" by Dr Silverstein in school dsaying white man is evil.

MWchase said...

Hello, Gabe.

Funnily enough, I had a thought yesterday that seemed relevant to your crazed rantings. One difference between memes and genes is that memes are open to evaluation by intelligence. This tends to have a disruptive effect, so many memes discourage it, and, to an extent, it's naturally discouraged by the desire to fit into a community.

In other words, the capability to change memes requires the confidence to go against the dominant memes, and a support infrastructure to back up that confidence. This is something that I'm guessing you take for granted, because you grew up with it. (As demonstrated by your demented racism.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, When you say something true, something that does not "fit" with the dogma, you are an "evil racist", Truth is irrelevant.

Someday, in the future, when truth gets ahold, then you will see it.. Or will you? No, because you will lie to yourself and to the world.

You fear truth and you lived in your fantasy world, just like our DCreationist and Muslim fanatics.

Bronze Dog said...

Wow. New levels of inanity.

1. Some people DON'T live up to their ethnic stereotypes. Yes, there is a strong grain of being frugal to the point of miserly in chunks of Jewish culture. Strong enough to be depicted as greed in popular culture. But popular culture depictions are not laws. I may have watched too much television as a kid, but I at least knew that it wasn't real.

2. Even if the Jews were all miserly, the sorts of things done to them in Germany were STILL inexcusable. A lot of that stuff I wouldn't wish on hardened criminals.

3. Yes, Schindler's List is propaganda. The problem you're having is that you're looking through the filter of specific races and thus completely missing the point: Eugenics, concentration camps, racism, etcetera are WRONG. The fact that the victims are Jews really isn't that relevant. If the Nazis instead focused their eugenics efforts on a different group, they'd still be able to make something like Schindler's List, only focused on that group. I had a discussion thread a while back about the ethics of using propaganda tactics for good causes. I'm still uncomfortable with the idea.

4. I was raised to treat people according to their character, not their race. You know, the opposite of racism. But you don't care what I actually believe, Gabe. You just want to spout your nonsense and try to depict fairness and equality as somehow magically anti-white.

[sarcasm]

Yeah, it's anti-white to give equal pay for equal work.

Yeah, it's anti-white to not care about someone's race for their societal contributions.

Yeah, it's anti-white to ask a troll for genetic data to support his assertions. Because, you know, evidence-based science is sooooo racist in its most fundamental premises.

Because rejecting the method of anecdotalism, which was used to support all sorts of voodoo, bloodletting, traditional Chinese "medicine", and snake oil is so anti-white.

[/sarcasm]

When Gabe is up against skeptics who ask for evidence, he whines about how science is a religion. Just like the acupuncturists, the homeopaths, the Creationist, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Gabe, try this: Figure out why I and other skeptics reject homeopathy. Then you'll understand why I reject any conclusions based on your piss poor "evidence."

Anonymous said...

Dog, try this: Figure out why I and others reject your anti-white pro-jew stance. Then you may understand why I reject any "conclusions" based on Your piss poor "evidence."

Bronze Dog said...

What anti-white pro-jew stance?

Dark Jaguar said...

I've got nothing much to contribute here. Gabe's making the same old fallacies again and I've said everything worth saying to him. When he ever chooses to respond to what I've argued, THEN I'll have something to say to him again.

However, I'll note one thing. He's been slowly ramping up his racism as time goes on. In the past, he argued that different races were simply "inferior" and those races would be happier "learning their place". I thought he was trying for some "kinder gentler" biggoted nonsense. Now, he's flat out and out saying he wishes all the jews were dead and that the holocaust was a good thing. That's certainly a change in his arguments, a change for the worse in that it reveals the sheer depths of his racism (the end goal of all of it seems to be extermination of "the other") whereas before he at least kept his hatred restricted to judging others inferior as opposed to thinking them out and out evil and without any human rights, worthy only of extermination.

Gabe, what little "respect" I had for you, and bear in mind that sliver of respect was ONLY to the fact that I percieved your hatred to at least have limits and that you "at least weren't advocating senseless violence", has dissolved to nothing. The only piece of "respect" I have left is that at the VERY VERY minimum, for all your bluster, you've never acted on your genocidal beliefs. Do not ever betray that final limit. At that point you'll be nothing but worthless scum to me (and the rest of civilised society) and I won't care what happens to you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you are truly amazing, you simple pretend that your opinions do not exist if you get questioned.

I thought we spoke Schindlers List / Jewsish propaganda here, I think it would be defined as anti-white/pro jew to claim that we should feel sorry for jews and blame innocent people for the death of any jews at the same time as the jews are destroying the society from the inside out.

But live in your world, you couldn't deal with looking at it from the outside, like you wanted ME to do, which I have, instead, you pretend you do not know what I am talking about, you are pathetic.

Bronze Dog said...

You're just making up shit. Read what I wrote.

I don't look at Schindler's list as a pity party for Jews. It's about the evils of eugenics and racism. Their Jewishness is irrelevant, just as the whiteness of the Nazis is irrelevant.

Of course, you've been making up shit about my beliefs since you got here. Straw man fallacy writ large. You don't even know what I believe about Jews or whites, do you?

Anonymous said...

Every single sentence show you are pro jew, you DEFEND jews, you excuse jews, you pity jews and you blame the "evils of others" on NONE-jews as "they" (white) have harmed the "innocent jew".

But sure, now you will do a 180 and say the opposite, right? suddenly you will admit the wonders the white race have created and see the evils of the jews, the killers of Christ, but i suspect you do not read history very well.

djfav said...

Gabe, I don't want to live in a world without juice.

Bronze Dog said...

Every single sentence? If that's the case, what's "pro-Jew" about:

"Their Jewishness is irrelevant, just as the whiteness of the Nazis is irrelevant."

Only a racist would find those things relevant to the horror of the atrocities. A non-racist would consider the acts the Nazis did to be horrifying, no matter who they did them to.

What's "pro-Jew" about being opposed to concentration camps? Is the general moral guideline of "don't hurt people" racist?

---

Gabe, if you're going to continue making up transparent shit like you've always done, comment moderation will be going up. Try doing something new and interesting if you don't want the ban hammer to be reapplied.

Anonymous said...

Ofcourse, someone questioning you demands prevention, its SCARY having someone jump up showing you are wrong, LETS MODERATE.

Do not worry, I wont disturb your fantasy world, you shown clearly now you are afraid of being questioned, the only ones here are "yes Bronze, you are right bronze" people, and the only time there is any debate here is when I come by to point out your faults, perhaps worth thinking about, bronzie.

Bronze Dog said...

Get a clue, Gabe: I banned you for getting boring. People can only take so much "Ha, ha! You believe things you never said or even hinted at! Even if they're in direct contradiction to what you've been saying this whole time!"

Even when we directly challenged you to provide evidence, you whined about how statistical mathematics are racist, along with all sorts of alternative medicine-inspired arguments about how indirect anecdotes are superior to carefully gathered data.

You can get unbanned by providing genetic data. Of course, you'll just instinctively declare discrete genetics to be capitalist pseudoscience and go on about some mystical, magical continuous method of heredity.

Bronze Dog said...

Might as well try making everything doubly clear for future people stopping by, who aren't acquainted with Gabriel's history:

Putting anyone into a concentration camp is evil.

Trying to exterminate any large group of people based off some detail they can't change is evil. Doing it over particularly trivial details is even more evil.

Totalitarian regimes are evil.

"The triumph of evil requires only that the good do nothing." Therefore you should try to do something if you see an evil being perpetuated.

These are very simple lessons. The Holocaust was one example of a government and ideological movement disregarding them and otherwise decent people being too afraid or in denial to oppose them.

---

"Race," if it exists in at all in a physical way, is a trivial detail that should be ignored by everyone.

The nonexistent, non-genetic ideological definitions of "race" are completely meaningless and useless. They should be put in a bin with other meaningless ideas like "square circles" and "supernatural effects."

Gabe apparently subscribes to that sort of thing, given his earlier rejections of discrete genetics: If race is in your DNA, it can't be "diluted" like Gabe asserts, hence it's reasonable to infer that "race" as Gabe describes it, would be a continuous property, rather than a discrete one.

This is on par with germ theory denialism, unless Gabe intends to win a Nobel Prize or something for proving the existence of a currently unknown method of heredity. Got any peer-reviewed scientific journal articles you'd like to cite, Gabe?

The stuff I'm asserting about biology is supposed to be high school knowledge. Heck, I learned most of these fundamentals from having an excellent 7th grade biology teacher. You can't have, for example, half of a cytosine molecule for base pair or half of a gene for brown eyes. If you break one of those in half, it either doesn't work, or it becomes a different gene.

---

Something that popped in my head, since I've been Netflixing Babylon 5:

There was a rather anvilicious (and in my opinion, rather crappy) first season episode that involved an alien species who made some biotech weapons programmed to kill anyone who wasn't a "pure" member of their particular ethnic group: They'd kill other species as well as "impure" members of their species.

Bronze Dog said...

(continued)

Naturally, for the standard sci-fi trope...

Yes, Gabe, it's a trope. A literary device, technique, or shorthand. Given a lot of your comments, you don't seem to understand the difference between literature/television/general fiction and the cold, hard facts of the real world. I at least know enough to acknowledge such devices when I read or watch fiction. Heck, recognizing when they're used is useful for dissecting propaganda.

---

Moving back to that Babylon 5 episode: Naturally, for the standard sci-fi trope, it turns out the weapons' creators were all killed off by their own creation and their planet had been dead for thousands of years after the weapons wiped out every living thing on it. The cause of this destruction: the definition of "pure" the weapon's Artificial Intelligence was given was based off of ideology, not on the science of genetics. No one lived up to the impossible standards when they'd scan and measure the cold hard facts of a living organism.

---

By the way, isn't it funny how Gabe doesn't provide us with any sort of definition for the "races" he describes, even when we directly ask for it? He even ridicules us for asking for stuff like genetic data. It's been an open challenge since late August 2009, and he's still avoiding answering the question.

Oh, and Gabe, do you even know what a logical fallacy is, and the role of logical fallacies in propaganda?

Here's the answer: Pretty much all propaganda is based on logical fallacies. There is a LOT of overlap between lists of propaganda tactics and lists of logical fallacies. The straw man is on both lists.

One thing that should be noted, and is consistent with all my comments: My conscious position on race is pretty much as neutral than on whether that girl from Twilight should get together with the vampire or the werewolf: I don't see any reason to care. I don't read Twilight, and I don't make decisions based on race.

I confess that I most likely have unconscious biases like everyone, but as a science-minded person, I acknowledge that I am NOT purely objective. That's why I want the objectifying influence of the scientific method.

What you need to do, Gabe, is give me a solid, scientific reason to care about race, backed with quantitative evidence.

Right now, everything you've been doing is analogous to a Scientologist screaming about how my "Thetans" will be my downfall. At least the Scientologists pretend to try to quantify it with a skin galvanometer they call an "E-meter." Of course, they can't seem to connect how sweaty your palms are with dead alien ghosts, which is why they fail in direct evidence.

So, Gabe, can you tell me how you measure a person's race, or should I just put you in my refuse stockpile alongside all the shrill homeopaths, psychics, and ufologists?

Dark Jaguar said...

We've said a lot about the raw science of Gabe' position, namely that he doesn't have anything. No point in drudging that up again until he addresses what we've said.

However, now's the time to look at the raw ethics. Gabe is directly stating that the nazis were right to kill all those jewish people.

I'd like him to justify that morally.

Gabe, here is your task. List the specific crimes of each and every jewish person killed that justified their death. When you claim it was "just" for them to do that, THAT is the enormity of the task that lies before you. Don't bother listing some crime any single jewish person did, as I reject the notion that anyone should be punished for someone else's crimes.

So do you.

Imagine this scenario. Your father commits murder, has been charged and the evidence is clearly against him. However, he remains at large and dies of natural causes before he can be apprehended and his sentence determined. The police go to your door and arrest you. You've never killed anyone in your life, and you assert this, but at every turn their response is "we can demonstrate clearly that your father murdered someone". They have decided that in the name of justice, you will serve your father's sentence for his crime.

Do you accept this as justice? Do you consider this a failure of justice? If so, why? I submit that it's because you realize how irrational it is to find someone, no matter how closely related they may be, responsible for someone else's actions.

Is there any particular reason this breaks down at all for ethnic groups? If you see one philipino person rob a store, would you submit that, failing to apprehend that person, you should instead simply arrest and punish any random philipino to satisfy justice?

By extension, is it right to kill hundreds of thousands of jewish people who clearly are not guilty of any crimes other than just trying to live their lives, however shallow you may consider them to be (I don't by the way, for all the scientific reasons we've talked about before). Or, just as in the case of you being put in jail for your father's murder, is it not clearly wrong to kill people just because they share common ancestry?

Let's further point out that the common ancestry "breaking off point" is, by necessity, arbitrary. Why not declare the cut off point for that ethnic group by 5 generations, instead of 50, 500, or 500,000 (extend enough and you include all of humanity as a guilty party, and extend further and chimps get caught up in it).

Does it not seem far more reasonable to only consider the one who actually commits a crime as the one deserving of punishment, and all those who never committed any crimes to have every right to be left alone as they've done nothing? Heck, when I put it like that, it makes the very concept of racism seem silly doesn't it?

Tom Foss said...

BD: 1. Some people DON'T live up to their ethnic stereotypes. Yes, there is a strong grain of being frugal to the point of miserly in chunks of Jewish culture.

Brief note: this isn't intrinsic to Judaism necessarily, but a relic of Christian religious laws. For centuries, Jews throughout Europe were barred from most trades and guilds, and in many places were confined to ghettos, forced to wear identifying clothing (sound familiar?), and forced to pay excessive fines and fees to the ghetto guards and the Christian authorities. Christian religious law, at the time, forbade Christians from lending money to one another and charging interest; the consequence of these two factors led many Jews to take up moneylending and banking as a profession (among other undesirable professions, like tax collecting). Jews took the only advantage left open to them byh oppressive European law, and ever since have been labeled as greedy and money-obsessed.

Gabe: I and others reject your anti-white pro-jew stance.

To phrase an old question in a new way, Gabe, I ask you this: What makes Jews non-"white"? Last I checked, "Judaism" was a religion, not a color, and even just going by famous Jews (Adam Sandler, Natalie Portman, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, David Lee Roth, James Caan, Kirk Douglas, etc.) I'm hard-pressed to see what marks them as non-"white." If I didn't already know that they were Jewish, I wouldn't be able to guess just by looking at them. It's not like, say, when I look at Sidney Poitier and know that he's not white.

So obviously your definition of "white" is not just "light-skinned" or even "of European descent." Apparently there's a religious component as well. So, if a "white" person converts to Judaism, do they stop being white? If a pale-skinned European-descended Jew converts to another religion (say, Jerry Seinfeld converting to Scientology, or Robert Novak converting to Christianity), do they become "white"?

And if European-descended pale-skinned Jews don't qualify as "white," then what about swarthy Italians? What about Yugoslavian Muslims? What about Greek Orthodox churchgoers?

Once again, Gabe, and with feeling: What do you mean when you say "white"?

Tom Foss said...

On to other concerns:

Gabe: suddenly you will admit the wonders the white race have created and see the evils of the jews, the killers of Christ, but i suspect you do not read history very well.

I'm sure he reads history better than you do, Gabe, or you'd realize that if Jesus existed, he would have been a middle eastern Jew. But, since we have no good evidence whatsoever to suggest that he existed or that any event of his purported life actually occurred, it's pretty premature to ascribe any ethnicity to him or to those who called for his death.

You're condemning an entire group of people based on something their distant ancestors probably didn't do to a heavily fictionalized if not totally fabricated character. This is dumber than getting angry at someone for something they did in your dream.

You're barking up several wrong trees here, Gabe: not only are you not going to find any sympathy for your blatant, ill-informed, ignorant racism here, but you're also not going to get anywhere by assuming the truth of Christianity and history as told through a millennia-old book of fairy tales.

Ofcourse, someone questioning you demands prevention, its SCARY having someone jump up showing you are wrong, LETS MODERATE.

No, Gabe, you're not showing anything except your own bare ass. You continue to ignore every substantive question and comment thrown at you, instead barking forth the same frothy idiocy that you were offering months ago, with (still) no evidence whatsoever to back it up. If you want to stick around here, you're going to need more substance than ranting about fictional characters like Dr. Silverstein and Jesus Christ.

We've asked you a number of simple questions here, and to date you've chosen to insult and ignore rather than try to answer them. If you want us to look at you as anything more than a rabid buffoon in a tinfoil hat, then your best bet is to start answering those questions. Chief among them: What do you mean when you say "white"?

Chakat Firepaw said...

Once again, Gabe, and with feeling: What do you mean when you say "white"?

That's what I get for getting busy and not paying attention to the blog: Other people ask my question.