Friday, May 25, 2012

Believer

To me, the worst part about this clip is that this alleged human being has almost-certainly already reproduced...

92 comments:

A. Ivan said...

But Bob, can't you see the fact that I choose to identify with all the same labels as this person, defensively lash out at people who criticise her and deflect the issues this raises with insane false equivalency doesn't mean I should be tarred with the same brush?! YOU ARE SO FUCKING BIASED.

Anon1 said...

The way that this woman just ignores questions is just infuriating. I also like how she believes that if you don't like this pastor, you should just move on and don't have to listen to it. Yet she refuses to acknowledge that gay people have a right to simply exist. It is amazing how you can say the most hateful things, but as long as you are a "man of god" it is an okay and reasonable thing to say.

James said...

Bob, you're not a thinker, you're just a believer whose ego is so big you assume you're a thinker. You're as biased and hateful as this woman.

Taylor said...

Bob, the problem here is not thinkers or believers, it's homophobia and encouraging violence. THAT is the problem. The whole "Thinker/Believer" dichotomy is just an attempt to rephrase the issue. Why is the problem that she's a believer? If she was a "Believer" that violence is always wrong and that anyone who encourages it is wrong despite her opinion on homosexuality, that would be good. Also, what if she is a "thinker", what if this all came about because she is willing to think, and justify, and reinterpret as necessary to make these opinion work.

@James: You are so tiresome. Every single time, you just post the same variation on "Bob, you're biased and hateful and a hypocrite" with no relation to what's actually said. You're not even really a troll anymore, just a noisemaker, a predictable robot doing the same thing over and over again until it just blends into vaguely trollish static.

Anonymous said...

No, there are many kinds of people in this world. Some who think a lot, and believe a little, some who believe a lot, think a little, and some who follow just one path.

I'm sorry Bob, but your tweet just sounded so black and white. You claim yourself a thinker, so it should only be rational for you to realize that life is more complex than "you're either this, or that".

Ralphael said...

I think its real fucking cute how the left are so desperate for a conservative version of Jeremiah Wright that they went as far as North Carolina to find some random pastor. Keep trying Obama.

Taylor said...

James, I wanted to apologize for my previous comment.

I'm actually very biased towards conservatives because my ex boyfriend was conservative. He and I would have the most incredible sex 2 times a day.. nobody could satisfy me like him.

So i'm sorry for taking out my problems on you James. You keep fighting the good fight.

James said...

Taylor: I'm a libertarian, not a conservative.

Taylor said...

I didn't actually write the previous comment, James did, as should be obvious.

James, you are a troll, I don't care if you insult me any more than I would if a 2 year old said I had a poopy face.

However, I'm going to tell you very clearly, don't try to insult people by implying they're homosexual. It's homophobic and hurtful to people who actually are homosexual or bisexual. Considering that someone just recently came out on this blog, it should demonstrate to you why trying to express homosexuality as a pejorative would be psychologically harmful to someone who is having difficulty reconciling their sexuality with society.

It's really loathsome behavior, and you should correct it.

J_Tracey said...

Wow. Wow. Seriously?! I mean... Ugh.. Wow. This is person is REALLY, REALLY DUMB. Does she not understand what she's saying?

I think the point where I lost it was when she said "Jews wouldn't ever be put behind electric fences"

Does she not think before she opens her mouth? The thought didn't cross her mind that this was televised nationally and internationally?

I know these kind of people exist, but it's just baffling to watch them try to justify their beliefs. She really is just a horrible person.

James said...

Dude, I didn't imply anyone was homosexual.

Anonymous said...

It's getting to be that golden period of the fall of a civilization where the abject stubbornness and ignorant of a large part of the population, lovingly nurtured by shysters willing to make a living hate-mongering, reaches critical mass.

Believing in something never means that you ascribe to the absolute worst case scenario. Believing Carl Marx had a point about efficiency devaluing work doesn't mean you believe in the horrors Russia put up with. However if you refuse to acknowledge the harm that can come with such beliefs then it's tantamount to assisting in those evils come to pass.

Ex: Many people claim to be shocked that a neighbor killed someone, often saying they are surprised and it was so unexpected, however more times than not the person will have a history of behavioral problems or lashing out, but their 'friends' dismiss this as 'oh that's just the way he is' or 'he's just joking'. People at large need to start being taught that admitting a fault and condoning that fault are two separate things. A faulty system, even a faulty belief can hold up if the faults are know, admitted and guarded against. At least such a system can hold up better compared to any that ignores problems and lets them fester.

Taylor said...

Also, @Ralphael: What do you mean "as far as North Carolina", is North Carolina somehow an obscure state? I've always thought it was pretty well-known.

And 'the left' didn't search out this guy, he made news entirely on his own. He made a big point of his beliefs and said them loud so everyone could hear them.

Jeremy Pierce said...

What really makes this clip hilarious is how any rational person can see how this lady is constantly trying to fill the holes in her logic by repeating the mantra "It's the gays and gayness is wrong."

These types of people always astound me. They can never justify their horrible ideas with logic and instead keep repeating to themselves that "It's okay that I want to round up and exterminate gay people because God said it was alright!"

One can only hope that these are the last, desperate thralls of a dying state of mind in America.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

Ofcourse she's reproduced, Bob. Liberals believe in contraception, abortion, and population control.

Who do you think is having families in this country? It's not liberals. It certainly isn't you. It's us. And we outnumber you to an extent that I hope makes you lose sleep at night.

ANImaniac said...

I don't know Bob she doesn't seem to have a firm grasp on how human reproduction and human sexuality work.
Also her voice my God that voice, its like nails on a chalkboard.

Anonymous said...

So...her central argument is:

"Well, he did say that but he didnt MEAN it, he just felt it...let me put it another way, being gay is wrong, so he is actually right, but he wouldnt actually put gays behind bars, but you know...i totally agree that that would be the right thing to do."

Errrrr, was this supposed to be in the pastors defence? Me is are confused by her logics...

Daniel R said...

You should probably add a link to the original Pastor Worley video, some people don't have context. ;)

Here's the link;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2n7vSPwhSU&feature=player_embedded

now then,
I feel like I'm betraying my own values here. I want to get angry, I really do. But yeah, this video had me in stitches. I know I should know better, I know its no laughing matter, it can cause damage, people like her are the very reason for my current predicament blah blah and its a shame a person can be so, so... that.

But I just can't help but snicker. Cooper verbally destroys her argument without even trying, she continually contradicts herself every other sentence, and she seems to think homosexuals are a species unto themselves. I refuse to believe this isn't some elaborate skit masterminded by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Best part;
2:04 when Cooper lays his hand on his face, like he's just so utterly fascinated by her stupidity. I could frame that.

Taylor said...

James, after taking some time to cool down, I've reflected on some of my truly juvenile actions such as calling you a troll, and making it seem like you posted a comment apologizing when it was really me who tried to make it seem like you wrote that comment.

I feel that i should just come clean and admit that I suffer from DID (Discoidal personality disorder). Before some rude asshole like Raphael calls me a bi-polar bitch or something like that.

Anyways, later on I'll probably say that this comment was written by you James, but you will know that that is a lie because you know what you did and did not do.

For what its worth, i'm so sorry. Please keep fighting the good fight.

Ralphael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralphael said...

@Taylor I would probably never call you a bi-polar bitch. Sometimes I lose my temper when groups of people are bullied by name calling, and lash out against the bully (Bob) by calling him names. And the reason I said "as far as North Carolina" is because the left wing trolls do most of their snooping around down south, and I thought it was funny when they found nothing, they decided to look up north in desperation.

counterpoint said...

bob,

i understand now why you temporarily ceased to allow comments on your posts....

there's some weird stuff going on here in the comments., for sure.

OT: I'm not sure this woman knows what "out of context" really means.
I will say, though, that I'm not certain this woman represents any large group. I'm sure many a conservative is face-palming watching her

PS, what does it say about me that I find the "prove you're not a robot" things on these pages a bit too hard....

Taylor said...

Won't even bother explaining James' bs further, just going to point out that "Discoidal personality disorder" isn't a thing. And since "Discoidal" means 'disk-shaped' I'm not even sure what that's supposed to imply.

Thorbs said...

This is why - as an atheist - I laugh when Christians talk about ethics and morals. Any type of behaviour, no matter how loathesome, is okay if God wills it. Several serial-killers thought that way too...

And yes, I know Christians are not all like that, but it'd sure be nice if the NALTs would make their presence known every now and then. We see far too much of the nutjobs, and not enough of the rest.

Think I'll stick with being good for good's sake anyhow.


@James
If Bob wants to pick and choose what he cares about, that's his choice. He is not obligated to give equal status to both sides of an arguement... especially when doing so usually gives an equal spotlight to views so fucking ridiculous they should never see the light of day.

Also, equating Bob's choice of posts with inciting child abuse and genocide is so totally idiotic and childish, you turn yourself into a caricature.

Please be quiet and leave the discussion to those fluent in grown-up.

@Counterpoint
You're obviously part robot, like I appear to be :-(

McKinney said...

@Taylor:

I think she meant Dissassociative Identity Disorder, which is a real thing.

biomechanical923 said...

This clip is pure comedy. You could tell Cooper wanted to facepalm so bad.

Good job, Bob. You made a blog post addressing someone's stupidity without loosely attributing it to a political party. I'm impressed, keep it up.

biomechanical923 said...

@ Thorbs

The problem with Divine Command Theory is that it can't be falsified.

Is something good just because God commands it, or does God command it because it is inherently good?

biomechanical923 said...

Sorry for triple posting, I just wanted to share that there are idiotic, indoctrinated "believers" on both sides of the aisle.

Case in point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE2M7g_IWSE

David (The Pants) said...

Her timbre disagrees with me.

Saarai'ari said...

Being from North Carolina myself, the people there at that church have something seriously wrong with them and just shame my state more since the stupid Amendment One passed. Problem with my state is while on it's eastern side toward the coast is far more willing to make progress in society and economics such as in the Research Triangle area and the counties pass that, the western side closer to the mountains is full of people who wish the country and state was much more like the Andy Griffith show. Granted I love that show myself, but they never got the memo that if you love nostalgia, you should just watch the shows on tv or on DVD, not drag civilization with you since you fear living in the present or don't want to live in the future.

Joey said...

Although I like you Bob, I think that this whole thinker/believer philosophy is WAY too subjective and situational to become a finite rule of life.

HOWEVER, I agree with you in that this woman's statements are outrageous. I could go on about how denying a person's right to marry is morally WRONG, but we would be here all night.

dr. Pibb said...

Frankly, I'm almost glad that this interview occurred on national news. Anything that makes homophobes like her look as moronic as that interview did is a net gain in my book.

Redd the Sock said...

I really shouldn't find that funny. I mean, watching her trip over how cherry picked people are with the bible is old material, but she didn't even seem to have an idea straight about if the comments made were to be taken litterally or are just a fire and brimstone serman. One minute yes we should, the next no one's going to do that.

First One Million Mom's tries to protect the world from gay superheroes (over 20 years late to that party) now this. As much as I hate their bile, I'd miss the cheap lauhs.

Thorbs said...

@biomechanical923

"The problem with Divine Command Theory is that it can't be falsified.

Is something good just because God commands it, or does God command it because it is inherently good?"


You might want to add the more important question: How would Christians know what God commands anyhow?

Literal interpretation of the Bible? Why aren't Christians stoning unruly children, and people who mow their lawn on the sabbath?

Cherry-picked version of the Bible? How do Christians know they picked the right bits? Maybe God loves homosexuals, but really does think you shouldn't touch the skin of a dead pig?

The Religious Leaders know? How? Does he speak to them? How do you know they're not mentally unbalanced, or lying for personal gain?

Typical rule of thumb is that when a premise is unfalsifiable, it's false.

Christians do much better when they ditch the divine command schtick, and just go with being good according to societies current definition of good.

Anonymous said...

Oh look, James thinks he's actually arguing. An argument is a collective series of statements to establish a definite proposition. It isn't just contradiction. You want to argue a point, fine - but actually back your arguments up instead of just ranting about bias (which is a stupid thing to do as everybody has their own biases, and many are either not aware of them or lack the integrity to admit to them).

Back to the topic of the video, the woman's defense of the indefensible is piss weak. She really does make two wooden planks look like a computer. I almost feel sorry for her.

Taylor said...

Sometimes, when nobody is looking, I like to shove a buttery corn cob up my ass with one hand while aiming a nerf gun to my head with the other.

TheDVDGrouch said...

Wow this lady reminds me of my High school religion teacher in the worst way possible.

Anonymous said...

Also Bob, you should really just renamed your Thinker and Believer philosophy to "I really F**king hate religion."

Consider sending your hate to a religion that's worth the trouble. Maybe that intolerant, woman-hating, gay-killing religion that still acts like we're living in the 13th century and takes up that whole Middleish-Easternish part of the world.

Oh thats right. Christians don't threaten your life. Might as well pick on them.

Anonymous said...

I think Bob's whole thinker/believer dichotomy is a concise way about talking about a huge problem with humanity, and I'm a little amazed how people keep responding to it with "Stop bashing religion". Bob has repeatedly said that believer does not equal religious person.

It seems pretty clear to me what he means. A person who holds things to be true because he's thought about them and finds evidence in their favor is a thinker. A person who holds things to be true for any other reason (eg. they were raised to believe it, they want it to be true) is a believer.

Thus, a Christian who, after much consideration and reasoning (including considering alternatives), thinks that following Jesus' teachings is the best way to life his/her life is a thinker. An atheist who insists God doesn't exist just because his/her parents told him is a believer.

Also, discussions like the one in the video are really pretty pointless. AC can reason with this woman all she wants, but it won't do any good, because she's a believer, she won't listen to reason. She obviously doesn't think homosexuality is wrong because she has logical arguments to support that claim, but because its considered wrong in the culture she was brought up in. We can force her into a logical discussion and then pick apart her arguments, but its not worth our time because her arguments are just things she pulls out of her ass to justify her per-existing beliefs.

Anonymous said...

@James

You have been here for several months shouting the same shit in the same pissy voice with absolutely no attempt at anything resembling a discussion. The only thing you've convinced Bob about is that he needs to moderate the comments section better. Everybody else here mocks and hates you not because of your viewpoints, but because YOU ARE THE MOST GODDAMN FUCKING ANNOYING THING ABOUT THIS WEBSITE. Every bit of carbon dioxide coming out of your screaming lungs is a waste of energy on the part of the trees to recycle. There is bacteria of greater significance than you that could be feasting on your corpse right now and they'd also be more likely to convince Bob to do... whatever the fuck you're trying to get him to do than you ever will.

@Bob

There has to be a way to contact Google and get James IP banned from this blog. It might take half an hour or so to find it, but it's worth every second.

Thorbs said...

@Anonymous

"...intolerant, woman-hating, gay-killing..."

Funny, I could say the same of Christianity.

"Oh thats right. Christians don't threaten your life. Might as well pick on them."

Again, Christians do the same. Christianity has it's fair share of nutjobs, the same as Islam.

In terms of teachings, there is little difference between Islam and Christianity. The real difference tends to be Theocracy vs Democracy. When your laws are dictated by your religion, things go to shit very quickly.

Maybe Bob is worried that America will go the same way if the Christian-Right get their way and turn America into a Theocracy too?

Anyhow, fallacious arguement. His point is not lessoned by the fact there are worse things happening out there. Also, I'm sure most Christians would find your apparant delight in the thought of Bob being killed for expressing his views abhorrent.

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous
"There has to be a way to contact Google and get James IP banned from this blog. It might take half an hour or so to find it, but it's worth every second."
It's kind of funny that someone posting anonymously is attempting to outright silence a person who is willing to attach a name to his opinions. You can marginalize him as much as you want, but he's still more of a part of this "community" than you, sir.
also:
"Every bit of carbon dioxide coming out of your screaming lungs is a waste of energy on the part of the trees to recycle. There is bacteria of greater significance...."
That makes no sense at all. Do you think his fingers are screaming while he types or something?

@Thorbs
I do enjoy a good ethics discussion. If you think that morality is not based on divine command, then where does it come from? How do you know what is good?

Anonymous said...

It depresses me that the comment threads on these kinds of posts so quickly dissolve into "Bob-Is-Biased-Let's-All-Talk-About-Whether-Or-Not-He's-Secretly-Trying-To-Eradicate-Religion" or something equally absurd. Yes, I agree that dividing the world into the two distinct classes of "thinker/believer" is somewhat limiting, but I don't necessarily think it's *wrong*. I think it's been made clear that "believer" doesn't necessarily mean "religious-believer", it just refers to the kind of person who accepts dogma - of any kind - without truly analysing the information available and it's inherent meaning. But, in the end, this is one man's blog. And if that's how he chooses to view things, then, right or wrong, you've no right to tell him NOT to. If you feel differently, go start your own blog and tell people all about how this one guy has a site and how much he irritates you. I'm sure it will be very popular.

But I digress. The point here is that there are people making legitimate and repeated proposals to discriminate against a minority group in such a way that would, in their own words, see them "die out". Irrespective of Bob's "ulterior motives" or whatever it is you're all complaining about, there is a real world issue going on here and it's hurting real people. Regardless of religious belief or political alignment, or whether or not you believe homosexuality is wrong, if you can't see something wrong with the suggestion that they be placed in some sort of concentration camp to die out is wrong, then I don't think there's any hope for you. This isn't a question of belief, it's a question of humanity. Of empathy. Of right and wrong, regardless of what belief system you draw your opinions from.

That people have taken this issue and made it into some sort of pissing contest between pseudo-intellectuals belies the seriousness of the matter at hand and makes mockery of any attempt to fix the things that are so desperately, horribly wrong with the world.

Trevor Machismo said...

If I didn't know any better, I would say you may have a slight bias towards the left Bob.

Anonymous said...

Haven't been here in awhile. I think Bob was right to ban anonymous posting; the level of debate seems pretty weak and ad hominem. I mean, what can anyone really say about this woman other than that her existence is sad and grotesque? Her position is indefensible and her way of supporting it is creepy and pathetic. I think she specifically isn't so much an example for an argument against religion as she is an example of the need for more robust education and some kind of useful language for talking about the difference between religious people and idiots. Thinker/Believer seems ok, but only if you're willing to concede that some religious belief counts as thinking...which I'm not sure everyone is willing to do.

Thorbs said...

@biomechanical923

Society determines what is good. Ethics and Morals are social constructs, they allow cooperation and collaboration. And as society grows and changes, so too do it's ethics.

Don't forget, many of the ethics that people would ascribe to Christianity were around before monotheism was even a thing.

The reason we get such a disconnect now is because the ethics discussed in the Bible are massively outdated in comparison to societal views. Religious leaders are fearful of losing their grip on the masses, so they are slow to follow society's lead. Hence we get unthinking Christians advocating things the rest of us believe to be loathsome and absurd.

biomechanical923 said...

@Thorbs
Epistemologically speaking, saying something is good or bad is not the same thing as it being good or bad. If that were true then it would never be possible for a majority to be in the wrong.
You really don't believe that any part of morality is objective?
If that were true, wouldn't it be possible for anybody to justify anything as long as they tried to rationalize it?

Anonymous said...

@ Bio

Morality is objective or there is no morality. If we say right and wrong are subjective (as opposed to being experienced subjectively) there's no way to talk meaningfully about moral progress like (for example) moving from a world that oppresses gay people to a world that doesn't.

But morality also can't be divinely inspired. If God created the rules, did He do it because the rules are right or are the rules right because He did it? If he did it because they're right, He's not really in control of what the rules ought to be, and if they're right because he made them, that means that morality is essentially arbitrary, and since we have no way of knowing for sure if a given religious authority actually has the line to God he or she claims, we're back to relativism, which is just a waste of time.

Therefore, empirical observation is the only possible basis for moral knowledge (just like it's the only possible basis for all other kinds of knowledge). Moral knowledge is simply knowledge about what does or does not cause people to be healthy, happy, etc. Most people learn pretty rapidly that a good rule of thumb for moral behavior on an individual level is to treat people with empathy - that is, imagine what it's like to be that person and try to treat them the way you imagine they'd want to be treated while still respecting your own personal interests and boundaries.

The way you can tell that this woman is an immoral person - despite her adherence to religion - is that she can't seem to do anything with the idea of homosexuals other than turn them into an all-pervasive "other" she has to destroy. The way you can tell that religion is potentially dangerous is that without religion, she would have a harder time rationalizing her batshit position. Note that none of this means religion is immoral or evil or even wrong, just that right and wrong are not so hard to figure out, they are objective, and religion can be an impediment to working that out when applied by a moron.

Paul said...

Bob, I love this clip! It does more to boost gay rights than anything I've seen in a while by making the anti-gay stance look really stupid.

My personal favorite bit is when she suggests that putting all the gay men in one fence and all the gay women in another will stop them reproducing. Chris Morris couldn't make that up!

People like her should be on TV more often as it can only encourage people to revisit their own views.

B.L.C. Agnew said...

@Anonymous

"Consider sending your hate to a religion that's worth the trouble. Maybe that intolerant, woman-hating, gay-killing religion that still acts like we're living in the 13th century and takes up that whole Middleish-Easternish part of the world.

Oh thats right. Christians don't threaten your life. Might as well pick on them."

Really? Do people actually still try to push this crap? Because I live in Oklahoma, the state which - to remind those with memories comparable to a goldfish - is the site of the SECOND-LARGEST ATTACK ON AMERICAN SOIL. An atrocity committed by. . . oh, that's right, a couple WHITE, ANTI-GOVERNMENT FUNDAMENTALISTS.

This sort of selective reading/hearing disgusts me. Are Muslims the ones bombing abortion clinics in this country? Are they dragging homosexual high-school kids behind trucks? Assaulting and forcibly shaving kids who they believe are too effeminate and MIGHT be gay?

Fundamentalists exist in all religions, and Christianity has more than its share of gay-hating, society-repressing, progress-squashing, women-persecuting mass-murdering asshats in this country, as well as many others.

As others have said, Bob's "Thinkers vs. Believers" mantra IS NOT ABOUT RELIGION. It's about how blindly people follow ANYTHING just for the sake of something to follow or to justify their own heinous actions.

It's about the route of introspection and self-assessment vs. the quick and easy path of "because someone told me so."

And that latter attitude is something that I will fight against tooth and nail as long as I draw breath. No matter what flag or book it carries.

B.L.C. Agnew said...

Second-largest TERRORIST attack, obviously. On a building containing a day care center, no less.

Uncle Tim said...

I do say without reservation that any thinking (and I'll get back to that term in a moment) person can see this woman's arguments and hateful convictions are ludicrous, I don't think piling scorn on people who believe this way isn't the total answer, certainly not in terms of changing views of LGBT culture. Attacks can be fun, sure, but they only tend to make people defensive and dig in further.

I mean, anyone can post a video to point at and say 'Isn't this person stupid?' So why don't we see the other side of the equation? By that I don't mean representing the other side of the argument, which is indefensible, but to focus on positive aspects of LGBT lifestyle in popular culture. Show how ridiculous this is by highlighting truly great people that this homophobia opposes.

For example, a post spotlighting some of the best, most positive representations of LGBT people in films or television or video games, or a profile of how those representations have changed (or not changed enough) over time. How about more often spotlighting gay and lesbian performers and politicians who are making a positive difference in the fight?
I think this would much better demonstrate that you're committed to supporting the cause rather than fueling the impression some get that you're just using it as an excuse to go after people you have an axe to grind against.

Regarding the thinkers/believers dichotomy, which I believe is way too simplistic as I've often said, several people here have quite recently insisted that a negative view of belief or religious faith in general isn't actually what you're intending to say, which would seem to indicate that this slogan is misleading at the very least. As I suggested to you recently, why not refine it to something more specific such as thinkers/dogmatics, which I think would be more appropriate to indicating that your opposition isn't to belief itself (well... officially at any rate. I still say it's a perfectly good word) but to belief taken as fact without evidence. And yes, I still think that looks fine on a bumper sticker.

Anonymous said...

"Thinkers vs. Belivers," how Nietzchean of you, Bob.

Link_Shady said...

You know Bob, I agree with a lot of things you say, form the escape to the movies, to some political things. We have similar tastes and a movie critic your opinion is some kind of shortcut.

In another topics I find you smart and a lot of what you say helps me to expand my mind seeing things in another way.

However, in doing so, is hard for me to reply to everything thing you post with a "cool" or "I agree", that would be silly; the down part of this is that the comment section can be filled with hatred and such. When people disagree they are more vocal I guess.

The whole point is that don't feel down because of this, there's a lot of lurkers like me that in certain instances we just don't have anything to say in the matter that would bring something to the conversation or debacle. When we have something to say, we say it, you rock and keep going

Omorka said...

Does . . . does she understand that she's saying this to a man who is quite probably not a Kinsey 0 himself?

I mean, honestly, I suspect that she thinks she doesn't know any GLBT folks, that an electrified gulag of a few hundred acres would be enough, rather than, oh, let's see, 9 million Americans or more. I wonder how many people in her circles of friends and relations are GLBT and simply know better than to come out to her? More tragically, I wonder if it would make a difference if they did?

@Ralphael: North Carolina is part of Dixie, though - check out her accent, that's Atlantic South all the way.

@Anonymous: Anyone who can say "Christians don't threaten your life" has never been a non-Christian in a small town in the Bible belt. I can give you three personal anecdotes of such just off the top of my head (while the worst I've ever gotten from a Muslim was publicly slut-shamed, and that only once). The one where the FCA jocks were threatening to burn me on a tire pile was particularly upsetting.

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous
"Moral knowledge is simply knowledge about what does or does not cause people to be healthy, happy, etc. Most people learn pretty rapidly that a good rule of thumb for moral behavior on an individual level is to treat people with empathy - that is, imagine what it's like to be that person and try to treat them the way you imagine they'd want to be treated while still respecting your own personal interests and boundaries."
But then you get back to epistemology.
How do you know that happiness and health are objectively good things? Maybe they're just things that we arbitrarily attached value to.
If you derive an objective morality from doing whatever you think will make people happy, or treating people how you would like to be treated, dont you risk falling into the realm of hedonistic utilitarianism?

Anonymous said...

@biomechanical
Different Anon here. Do you mind explaining why hedonistic utilitarianism is something to avoid? From what I can read of it online, it looks like a perfectly valid value system.

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous
"Do you mind explaining why hedonistic utilitarianism is something to avoid?"
Because on an individualistic level, it allows anybody to justify any action as long as it makes them happy.

Anonymous said...

Asking if health, happiness, etc. are really good or just arbitrarily good is making the mistake of imagining that goodness is somehow metaphysical or immaterial when it isn't. Goodness isn't magic, it's exactly what we think it is. Asking if what we "think" is good is arbitrary is like asking if what we "think" is a Koala is arbitrary. The precise problem with religious understandings of morality is that they try to take something that is grounded in the material world and make it numenal, mysterious, etc...and the purpose of that is to create a monopoly on moral truth that discounts people's ability to subjectively reason about goodness. The reason we can discount hedonistic utilitarianism is that it prioritizes happiness over other goods like health, and that it's selfish rather than communitarian.

Goodness generally has to do with our responsibilities to *other* people rather than fulfilling our desires. There's a neat section of Kant where he talks about how doing what you WANT to do all the time isn't really freedom, since you're not actually in control of your desires, but that's actually not relevant to this argument, I just thought I'd mention it to forestall the objections from Libertarians that having to care about other people is oppressive.

The other important element to moral behavior is to recognize that there are probably multiple right answers to how to be a good person, some of which work better than others, but all of which work WAY better than the wrong answers, such as "be a Fundamentalist Christian w/o regard to the people you make miserable".

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous
"Asking if health, happiness, etc. are really good or just arbitrarily good is making the mistake of imagining that goodness is somehow metaphysical or immaterial when it isn't. Goodness isn't magic, it's exactly what we think it is. Asking if what we "think" is good is arbitrary is like asking if what we "think" is a Koala is arbitrary"


I don't know if your analogy applies here. First of all, a koala is a thing, and goodness is an attribute of a thing. Those are two different categories of abstraction, unless you're counting "being a koala" as an attribute.
Second, a Koala has observable physical and genetic characteristics that can be described and agreed upon whether it fits that criteria.

There isn't an agreed criteria for what makes something good. Sure, there's Virtue Theory, which basically says that something is good if it does a good job at being what it already is. But I think that's kind of retroactive because it's already based upon a pre-conceived definition of goodness. If it's hard to objectively describe what's good, then it's probably even harder to describe what it means to be good at being good.

biomechanical923 said...

(Note: double-posting because this thought was kind of off-topic)

At this point, a follower of evolutionary psychology / biological psychology might step in and say a human is virtuous if it carries out the biological imperative to preserve it's own life and the well-being of the species as a whole.

The problem with that idea is that evo-psych carries a ton of baggage with it. It fails to explain why people might do things that don't promote the health and happiness of the individual, or the group. Well, more specifically it does explain them, by rationalizing that they are due to some physical,functional, or genetic flaw. This reasoning leads to a downward spiral into Naturalistic Fallacies, creating convenient apologetic excuses for why things like rape will always exist.

Nobody here is arguing that homosexuality (or any morality) is good or bad based only on the word of some god. But I think we really dont want to explain the source of morality as Evo-Psych, which would say that homosexuality isn't immoral because of god, but that's just because it's a genetic/psychological flaw.

Thorbs said...

@Bio

I'd say you're over-complicating the whole issue of ethics. It pretty much comes down to what promotes health/happiness for the majority as Anon has been stating. And this makes it subject to interpretation at times.

If there was always a criteria by which something could be judged good or bad, we wouldn't see the constant changing of laws, discussion of issues like gay marriage and so on. Some issues will always be morally grey. It's easy to judge issues that adversely effect others, such as Theft, Murder, Rape... when you get to more personal matters like gay marriage, banning smoking/drugs, privacy laws etc, it gets much harder.

InnerPartisan said...

Jesus Christ, this comment section is fucked up. Seriously, Bob, isn't it possible to implement som halfway decent system, like disquus or something? As things stand, you'd be better off just shutting the whole thing down. The ammounts of trolling and sheer dipshitery around here are staggering.

Anyway, Uncle Jim had a good idea further up: Don't just ridicule (as much as such... people might deserve it), emphasise the positive. There's a wonderfull Australian add from a while back that comes to mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj09lWcz0yk

Skynet said...

Ugh. Please tell me it's not a coincidence I was listening to Siegfried's Funeral March while reading all of these posts by Last Men who expostulate that morality is obvious, inherent in nature, and unquestionably the interest of the group.

What's up with all of these pinko communist sympathizers who spend their lives trying to tear down the nuclear-powered hyper-capitalist ubermenschen?

PAX AMERICANA

biomechanical923 said...

@Thorbs
"I'd say you're over-complicating the whole issue of ethics. It pretty much comes down to what promotes health/happiness for the majority as Anon has been stating."
First of all, that mindset sounds an awful lot like communism.
Second, if collectivist utilitarianism were a viable method of of examining ethical questions, then there would be no complaints when a majority votes to ban gay marriage, because the group as a whole has chosen what would best promote their own happiness (e.g. Prop 8 in California).

Anonymous said...

@Bio

First of all, "that sounds like Communism" is a guilt-by-association logical fallacy and it's beneath you.

Second of all, rights should never be voted on, obviously majorities will tend to hold down minority rights.

Third of all, groups don't "choose" what will best promote the good of society...there are observable right answers to those questions about which people can be wrong in big numbers, and Prop 8 is a great example of that. As is, for example, the Taliban. If you allow a vote among religious extremists about whether or not women should have to wear Burqas or risk stoning, they'll vote for the oppression of women, but they'll be wrong.

Also, please stop putting labels on the ideas I espouse. It doesn't make you smart, it's just a way of not listening. I believe you know something about whatever you think "evolutionary psychology" or "collectivist utilitarianism" are, but since I don't know what you know, you can't respond to me by naming the stuff that I say in ways that allow you to argue with straw men.

Good can be a noun or an adjective, in the same way "Koala-ness" and "Koala" are. It's just whatever promotes the well-being of conscious creatures. It's very easy for me to state and explain.

And actually, I don't think the right answer is hard to find in the case of sexuality and gay marriage - some of these issues are really easy, which is why people quoting the Bible at me to explain their faulty reasoning seems to me just more evidence that logic always beats authority as a basis for moral reasoning.

Anonymous said...

...okay, and a couple of things about evolutionary psychology:

1) There is no such thing as a "flaw" in evolution - evolution has no moral component, and no goal. People constantly make the mistake of thinking that evolutionary traits are designed to help the individual organism survive, but evolution actually just causes species and organisms to change. Death, for example, is an evolutionary trait. The human lifespan could be longer, or shorter, but we've adapted to around 60 - 80 years because that's how long the bacteria that live inside us feel like keeping us around. There's no evolutionary problem with living people who can't reproduce, because individual organisms aren't the direct beneficiaries of evolution...and actually even to talk about "beneficiaries" is to anthropomorphize a process that in fact has no goals at all and doesn't care about anything. Evolution is just a process. It cares about its products exactly as much as the engine in your car cares where you go. There is no such thing as an evolutionary flaw. The concept makes no sense.

2) Since I define good as "whatever tends to increase the well-being of conscious creatures", it should be clear that people's moral instincts are, at best, convenient for creating good, but they have no necessary connection to it. If we were all sociopaths, good would still mean the same thing, it would just be hard to convince people to do it.
And, in fact, there's lots of evidence that moral instincts are somewhat biological, since there are universal patterns throughout humanity...but...and this is important...our moral instincts often steer us towards behavior that does NOT benefit people in the way we want it to - for example, people generally have an instinct around the idea of "purity" which is adaptive in that it makes us resistant to interacting with what seems strange to us, but which also can make people (especially people from certain types of sheltered background) irrationally afraid of interracial coupling, gay people, oyster bars, marijuana, and other fantastic (but possibly strange-seeming) things. Thus, we actually have to use reason to overcome our own instincts in order to behave in a way that is ACTUALLY good instead of in a way that seems by instinct to be good.

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous

I never said anything about "evolutionary flaws"

Cado said...

"If she was a "Believer" that violence is always wrong and that anyone who encourages it is wrong despite her opinion on homosexuality, that would be good. Also, what if she is a "thinker", what if this all came about because she is willing to think, and justify, and reinterpret as necessary to make these opinion work."

This was said way back near the beginning and it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how believers work. Believers begin with their conclusion and then look for ways to back it up. This raises a host of issues I can't even begin to delve into here; my main point is that everybody thinks. It's not a question of if, it's a question of how. Thinkers can believe in things that don't have scientific backing but they are always willing to hear and adapt to new information and they never place beliefs beyond criticism.

A thinker can believe there is a god but a believer thinks being gay is wrong because a really old book says so.

There's a lot that we simply don't know, and while I think we can safely write off any religious deities as they're described it doesn't mean there aren't things that are both unexplained and forever beyond the realm of science. In saying that I acknowledge that little, if any, of what I come to believe outside of testable scientific theories can rightfully be considered fact, and I think that anyone who wants to delve into that stuff needs to be extra careful about questioning their own perceptions so that their unconscious biases don't render them delusional. Faith, as in blind belief, is a problem, it was fatally flawed from the outset, and if we want to advance as a species without losing touch with what we'd consider spiritual then belief needs to evolve into something that encompasses sound intellectual practices instead of making critical thought the enemy.

Cado said...

I also want to add, when it comes to conservatives, what has the conservative party actually done for the United States in the last few decades? What have conservatives as a whole done for our culture? People like the woman in this video are not a minority and it's delusional to try and portray them as if they are when the entire right-wing party is catering to them. The crowd cheered at one of the republican debates where the question, "so you'd just let him die?" was posed by Wolf Blitzer. There is no reason for any reasonable or moral person to align themselves with conservatives anymore, and while there are sane people who identify with that label it's ultimately up to them to separate themselves from the pack. I'm willing to judge an individual on their own merits and I make it a point to do so, but if all I know about someone is that they're republican I'm going to assume the worst. (In no small part because of the fact that if it's all I know they're probably really obnoxious about it.)

There's an argument for fiscal conservatism and that isn't something I take issue with. What I take issue with is the fact that the so-called conservative party in the US is anything but; they spend more than liberals, they want to control people's lives on the basis of their religion, they give handouts to the rich and cry foul when anyone else gets help from the government, and they insist on keeping us embroiled in pointless wars. There is nothing redeeming about them at this point, and while I'd be willing to say the exact same thing about the democrats at least they aren't so callously and bluntly evil. The Republican party is basically a group of real-life supervillains. They can't get much more mustache-twirlingly evil than they already are, and regarding those who are sane and who want to vote Republican because of what their platform is supposed to be, I sympathize. You guys don't have any representation right now, just like Obama doesn't represent people like me due to his weakness on issues like civil liberties. He's less evil but that's not much of a comfort when our entire political system has been bought by the financial sector. The real issues we face as a country go beyond which party wields the most power and who becomes the next president. Until we get the money out of politics we won't have true democracy.

Jake said...

@Cado
That example you gave where during the debate you said every one cheered at the "so you'd let them die?" part, only two people cheered, and everyone else there (Tea partiers) condemned them like the sociopaths they were.

Jake said...

@Cado
You also might enjoy these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_4PSgFjtvI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcH_5Iecu5s&feature=plcp

Zeno said...

@Anonymous:
"Since I define good as "whatever tends to increase the well-being of conscious creatures","

Define "well-being".

@Cado:
"I also want to add, when it comes to conservatives, what has the conservative party actually done for the United States in the last few decades?"

Not been liberals.

"Until we get the money out of politics we won't have true democracy."

You can't get the money out of politics until you get politics out of money.

Anonymous said...

Man, I need to go to work, but...

1) You said evo-psych saw homosexuality as an evolutionary flaw, which makes no sense.

2) Well-Being is a difficult concept to define, but basically it means some complex combination of emotional satisfaction (confidence, security, happiness) and physical health.

However, it's important to recognize that it's possible for a concept like "good" or "well-being" to be vaguely defined at yet meaningful; anybody can see that the well-being of, say, you and me is more secure than that of many people living in Syria right now, or, you know, is better than dead people, but the fact that when you get down to fine-grained distinctions it can be tougher to distinguish doesn't render the concept meaningless.

The important thing to remember is that "what is good to do?" is a question that always admits of many right answers but also many, many wrong ones. So of course the challenge to Define Well-Being sounds like a devastating argument until you realize that there are lots of concepts (health, happiness, love, potential, etc.) that are difficult to define in some permanent, careful way but which are nonetheless meaningful.

biomechanical923 said...

@anonymous
"1) You said evo-psych saw homosexuality as an evolutionary flaw, which makes no sense.
"
I never said that. I never mentioned anything about "evolutionary flaws". I fully agree with you that there is no such thing as an "evolutionary flaw" and evolution has no goal or end...

....which is why I never said any of those things.

Please quote to me where I said that if you think otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"But I think we really dont want to explain the source of morality as Evo-Psych, which would say that homosexuality isn't immoral because of god, but that's just because it's a genetic/psychological flaw."

biomechanical923 said...

A genetic flaw is not the same thing as an evolutionary flaw.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_disorder
Some anti-gay apologists try to use biology or evo-psych to say that homosexuality is basically a genetic defect, or a defect in some other biological or psychological functioning. Some others try to use the reasoning that a person who has as intrinsic characteristic which causes them to remove themselves from the gene pool must be genetically defective in some way. This flawed reasoning fails to take into account the large number of gay/trans/bi people who do in fact procreate.

I do not subscribe to those arguments, but they exists, and it is why you cannot use biology / psychology to derive what is ethical.

Anonymous said...

So...your argument is that some people use science in a nonsensical way (biology can't have flaws, nor can psychology, neither of those things has intentions either), therefore no one is allowed to use biology and/or psychology and/or the evolutionary process, all of which have useful things to say about the origins and functions of human morality?

That seems pretty wildly illogical to me, like saying that just because some Christians are homophobic idiots, no one is allowed to argue that religion can be a source of morality.

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous
"So...your argument is that some people use science in a nonsensical way (biology can't have flaws, nor can psychology, neither of those things has intentions either), therefore no one is allowed to use biology and/or psychology and/or the evolutionary process, all of which have useful things to say about the origins and functions of human morality? "
No that's not my argument at all, and I don't see how you could have gleaned that from what I wrote.

Anonymous:
"That seems pretty wildly illogical to me"
Again, I agree, which is why I never said anything like that.

As to the matter of your comment that "biology can't have flaws, nor can psychology, neither of those things has intentions either" I disagree.
Just because something doesn't have an intention, doesn't mean that it doesn't function in a certain way (e.g. things like Cell Theory and the definition of Life). If living thing function in a way, regardless of whether or not they function with a "purpose", we can still observe whether they are not functioning normally, or are dysfunctional. For example, if you told a person with a heart defect "your heart is really not defective at all, because hearts don't have intentions", that wouldn't change the fact that their heart was not behaving in a manner conducive to maintaining their life.

I do not disagree that biology and psychology have things to say about the origin of morality, just like anthropology and biology also have things to say about the origin of abstractions like language and writing. However, while psychology and biology can (and do) explain the genetic benefits of supposedly "moral" behaviors like altruism (preserving the genome of the species taking precedence over preserving the genome of the individual, due to increased likelihood of the survival and propagation of that population) that only explains why people are wired to think that certain actions are moral. It doesn't explain if our actions are actually as moral as we think they are, or whether things like the preservation of life, and of the species in particular, actually are moral or not.

This brings me back to my actual argument: You cannot use biology / psychology to derive what is ethical.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I clearly misunderstood. You're in fact saying that because we sometimes confuse our own intentions with nature having a purpose, people make that attribution error when they talk about "flawed" hearts, genes, evolutionary traits, etc., not realizing that a heart can only be flawed if you think there's something it's *supposed* to do, which in fact there only is if you're a person who wants something, not if you're nature, which doesn't give a damn.

Therefore, you say, we can't use biology or evolutionary psychology to get ourselves a basis for morality...we can only get a basis for what we THINK is moral, which actually we can demonstrate pretty easily goes awry under certain experimental conditions (see the Milgram experiment).

But we CAN use the knowledge we have about psychology and biology to make judgments about what produces happiness and health, and in that sense, not in the sense of trying to analyze our moral instincts, we can in fact use science to help us answer moral questions.

biomechanical923 said...

@Anonymous
"Therefore, you say, we can't use biology or evolutionary psychology to get ourselves a basis for morality...we can only get a basis for what we THINK is moral, which actually we can demonstrate pretty easily goes awry under certain experimental conditions (see the Milgram experiment). "
I'm not entirely sure whether you were being sarcastic or not, but yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to say.

Anonymous:
"But we CAN use the knowledge we have about psychology and biology to make judgments about what produces happiness and health, and in that sense, not in the sense of trying to analyze our moral instincts, we can in fact use science to help us answer moral questions."
This is where I think we're just gonna need to agree to disagree. If I understand you correctly, you (and most people) have agreed that, for practical purposes, the proliferation of increased health and happiness is an intrinsic good.
For some reason, I am caught up in the epistemological question of whether health and happiness are good, and if so, why they are good. Perhaps ironically, I do admit to being in a position of relative privilege (the fact that I have an internet connection, and am in a state of at least moderate physical health (the mental health thing I'm not so sure about sometimes) which allows me the time to consider such things). Maybe it's a case of over-complication due to overthinking, but at this time, It's something that I just can't figure out.
For what it's worth, I can assure you that it has caused me considerable cognitive dissonance (if anybody cares).

Andrew H said...

I'm sorry but I have to laugh about a few posts claiming that children born into a household that expresses a certain idea will always be inclined to believe that. Every human, properly functioning and even many who aren't, is capable of thinking objectively and making up their own minds.

Anonymous said...

@Bio

Nope, no sarcasm, I don't understand why anybody would doubt that physical and psychological health are good (one way to think about it...imagine what could possibly be worse than the largest number of conscious beings suffering the greatest amount of pain possible for the longest possible amount of time...nothing, right? Now imagine that good is whatever steps us away from that), but I think your reasoning is perfectly sound. I just think that given the choice between your position, in which there is no such thing as good, and my position, in which I always have a pretty clear road to figuring out the right thing to do without relying on superstition, my position leads to less mental angst and is therefore better.

Skynet said...

"Nope, no sarcasm, I don't understand why anybody would doubt that physical and psychological health are good (one way to think about it...imagine what could possibly be worse than the largest number of conscious beings suffering the greatest amount of pain possible for the longest possible amount of time...nothing, right? Now imagine that good is whatever steps us away from that),"

Such bourgeois decadence.

Nathan said...

Oh, I lol'd. When he asked her about other passages in the bible about people being put to death and her look was, "is that really in there". It hurt to laugh so much.

Zeno said...

"imagine what could possibly be worse than the largest number of conscious beings suffering the greatest amount of pain possible for the longest possible amount of time...nothing, right"

A hollow existence without even the capacity for pain.

"my position leads to less mental angst and is therefore better."

Only if you can have no angst about holding beliefs on faith.

Much of that was just ad baculum.

Anonymous said...

@ Zeno and Skynet

I don't think either of you know what ad baculum or bourgeois mean.

Now stop arguing with me or I won't invite you to my beach house.

Anonymous said...

....but seriously, Zeno, you're absolutely right to call me out...a "hollow existence without pain"...that would be the same thing as, for example, being an inanimate object. I guess I sort of agree that would be worse, but it seems like that's the same as being dead, and dead things don't get moral consideration from me. And it's totally absurd to say that I'm holding beliefs on faith, since by definition health and happiness are subjective experiences that I can use as evidence for my thinking about what good is. At a certain point, saying "this duck that looks, feels, and behaves like a duck SEEMS like a duck, but I could be radically deceived" becomes mental illness rather than useful skepticism.

Zeno said...

"I don't think either of you know what ad baculum or bourgeois mean."

You think this is pretentious? This is me being vulgar. If you want pretentious, just ask. You have no idea of the full extent of my power level.

"And it's totally absurd to say that I'm holding beliefs on faith, since by definition health and happiness are subjective experiences that I can use as evidence for my thinking about what good is."

So your good isn't objective, isn't it?

"At a certain point, saying "this duck that looks, feels, and behaves like a duck SEEMS like a duck, but I could be radically deceived" becomes mental illness rather than useful skepticism."

And look at the implied judgments here: "mental illness", "useful". Ad hominem. What false idols would you have logical rigour kowtow too?

Anonymous said...

Come ON, Zeno...all of everyone's experiences are subjective. The one allowable leap of faith you sort of HAVE to make as a human being is that your perceptions are basically trustworthy. Otherwise there is no way to be objective about anything, ever.

If you think "of use" is a false idol when talking about moral reasoning, I have to assume you don't care very much about this issue except intellectually. Morality isn't Sudoku to me, it's a question about how people ought to live their lives. Without "of use" it's all academic.

As for "mentally ill"...one of the most tiresome ideas wandering around the net is that there's no such thing as dysfunctional thinking. There is. I wasn't calling you a name, though; I was just pointing out that at a certain point "question everything" becomes a waste of time.

Zeno said...

"Come ON, Zeno...all of everyone's experiences are subjective. The one allowable leap of faith you sort of HAVE to make as a human being is that your perceptions are basically trustworthy. Otherwise there is no way to be objective about anything, ever."

Is/Ought Fallacy.

"If you think "of use" is a false idol when talking about moral reasoning, I have to assume you don't care very much about this issue except intellectually. Morality isn't Sudoku to me, it's a question about how people ought to live their lives. Without "of use" it's all academic."

Except "of use" already assumes some OTHER morality, some goal that the morality we're formulating is supposed to be useful for. Using "usefulness" to justify morality is inherently duplicitous; "do what I say not what I do".

Anonymous said...

First of all, the is/ought fallacy isn't a fallacy...of course is can imply ought. A train IS barreling down the tracks at you, therefore you ought to move. Herman Cain IS profoundly ignorant, therefore he ought not be elected President. This table IS made out of would, therefore it OUGHT to burn if I pour gasoline on it and drop a lit match on top.

People who reference the supposed is/ought fallacy are fare more guilty of unexamined assumptions than I am.
David Hume did a number on common sense with that one, and the damage keeps coming.

The central problem with "is/ought" is that it mistakes "ought" for some cosmic necessity rather than simply an expression of strategy.

I chomp down wholeheartedly on the bullet of admitting that I think the goals of morality are't the same as morality. The goal is to contribute to the general health and happiness of the world of yourself. Moral behavior is the behavior that gets you there. When I say you "ought" to behave morally, I mean it the same way I mean it when I give someone advice on how to win at chess.

The difference is, I care much more about the goal of moral behavior than I do about a chess game. What I really wonder is why you don't.