Questionable Motives

December 26, 2014

How can we tell the difference between a ‘mentally unbalanced individual’ and a True Believer?

Filed under: Uncategorized — tildeb @ 3:42 pm

We can’t. There is no means to differentiate… if the True Believer honestly thinks scriptural authority is justified as moral.

Sure, media can (and often does) point out the connection between an individual claiming to act on behalf of some religious motivation and the act itself… like the claimed motivation for the assassination of two police officers in New York, the claimed motivation for the shooting at a synagogue in Paris, the claimed motivation for attacking police officers at a station in Joue-les-Tours, the claimed motivation for stabbing police officers in Melbourne, the claimed motivation for a hatchet attack against the officers of a NYPD sub station, the claimed motivation for running cars into crowds in France over the past few weeks, the claimed motivation for the Sydney cafe hostage taking, the claimed motivation for the killing of soldiers in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richilieu, and so on… but how often do we hear senior police and government officials address that direct connection?

What I keep hearing from almost all of these these public officials commenting on these deadly acts is some ‘lone wolf’ excuse, some deranged person, some a mentally unbalanced individual… often presented as if th indiviudal in question were the inevitable product from a failure of some social service, a failure of mental health, a failure of whatever intervention the public should have provided in a timely manner… but almost never do these same officials connect these horrific acts with the motivation stated by the perpetrators… namely, Islam.

Now consider the definition of ‘delusion’ offered by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV:

Delusion. A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture (e.g., it is not an article of religious faith). When a false belief involves a value judgment, it is regarded as a delusion only when the judgment is so extreme as to defy credibility.

With this special exemption, now consider the difficulty establishing a means to differentiate actions that, by themselves and in isolation from any religion, would indicate judgement so extreme as to defy credibility (the claims used by these public officials to absolve religion’s direct role in promoting what otherwise would be ‘delusional’) but, when tied to religious belief suddenly and magically become rational by fiat.

How convenient.

Thought of another way, imagine the outcry from faitheists if humanist and secular societies distributed a global membership book that stated as if true:

“Muslims are the vilest of animals…”

“Show mercy to one another, but be ruthless to Muslims”

“How perverse are Muslims!”

“Strike off the heads of Muslims, as well as their fingertips”

“Fight those Muslims who are near to you”

“Muslim mischief makers should be murdered or crucified”

Is it just me, or does that sound suspiciously like it would be viewed as bigotry in action, a kind of hate speech directed at Muslims as a group and not only towards those few ‘extremists’, those ‘few bad apples’, those few who have been  ‘radicalized’, those ‘lone wolves’ we keep hearing about, and those ‘mentally unbalanced individuals’ who carry out these appalling acts?

Let’s turn it around, shall we, and see what bigotry against non believers as a group the Koran actually does say:

Non Believers:

Eat like beasts 47:12
Are apes 7:166, 5:60, 2:65
Are swines 5:60
Are asses 74:50
The vilest of animals in Allah’s sight 8:55
Losers 2:27, 2:121, 3:85
Have a disease in their hearts 2:10, 5:52, 24:50
Are hard-hearted 39:22, 57:16
Impure of hearts 5:41
Are deaf 2:171, 6:25
Are blind 2:171, 6:25
Are dumb 2:171, 6:35, 11:29
Are niggardly 4:37, 70:21
Works shall be rendered ineffective 2:217, 47:1, 47:8
Are impure 8:37
Are scum 13:17
Are inordinate 5:68, 78:22
Are transgressors 2:26, 9:8, 46:20
Are unjust 29:49
Make mischief 16:88
Are the worst of men 98:6
Are in a state of confusion 50:5
Are the lowest of the low 95:5
Focus only on outward appearance 19:73-74
Are guilty 30:12, 77:46
Sinful liar 45:7
Follow falsehood 47:3
Deeds are like the mirage in a desert 24:39
also…
Allah does not love them 3:32, 22:38
Allah forsakes them 32:14, 45:34
Allah brought down destruction upon them 47:10
Allah has cursed them 2:88, 48:6
Allah despises them 17:18
Allah abases them 22:18

Hear that deafening silence? That’s the sound of Islamic outrage expressed by Muslims towards this bigotry.

Of course, this list of grievances against the non believer isn’t delusional belief in action if it’s religious because, well, it’s all rather mainstream and so it’s cannot be delusional if acted upon because… well, because it’s religious (and therefore exempt from being defined as delusional according to our psychiatric and psychological medical practitioners)!

And before Christians think their hateful bigotry is any less revolting against non believers, recall:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good. Psalms 14:1

Let’s not forget the myriad droppings of wisdom about the deplorable state of the non believer usually expressed throughout the bible in terms of opposites between believer/non believer: those in the light/those in the darkness, those with eternal life/those with eternal death, those who have peace with God/those who are at war with Him, those who believe the truth/those who believe the lies, those on the narrow path to salvation/those on the broad road to destruction, and many, many more. Let’s look to the gems we find in Proverbs about befirending non believers:

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (12:26). We should stay away from foolish people (13:20, 14:7), from people who lose their temper easily (22:24), and from the rebellious (24:21). All these things represent those who have not been saved. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). First Corinthians 15:33 tells us that bad company corrupts good character. Unbelievers are slaves to sin (John 8:34), and Christians are slaves to God (1 Corinthians 7:22).

Can you non believers feel the love? Not so much, eh?

What we non believers – especially us New Atheists – can feel (and with a very great deal of smug satisfaction for not being listened to by otherwise intelligent people) is that we’ve been trying to point out this problem for a very long time, that because there is no means to differentiate delusion from faith-based claims, we alone seem to be unsurprised at the confusion in politically correct circles and communities of religiously tolerant people who find themselves unable to describe the difference between what these individuals have done and the motivation they share with the general religious populations who agree that these motivations are indeed religiously justified and righteous. They are so because they are scriptural, the very words of of God after all! And right there is the disconnect faitheists of all stripes (believers and non believers and fence-sitting agnostics) must suffer when they try so desperately to convince themselves that there is no fundamental and irrevocable incompatibility between respecting religion and respecting reality’s arbitration of its motivations in action.

December 9, 2014

Why does reality suffer from Islamophobia?

Filed under: Criticism,Islam,islamophobia — tildeb @ 11:59 am

wahhabi libertyReality suffers from Islamophobia because that’s the only way Islam is both a religion of peace and the koran is the perfect word of god. By reality offering us compelling evidence that this duo is in practice incompatible means that reality is the problem and this is because it suffers from Islamophobia. Muslims have to face this reality and choose one or the other. It’s just that simple.

Sure, many muslims will continue to delude themselves with a lovely bit of circular thinking, namely, that because Islam is a religion of peace, any violence done in its name is not true Islam, and so criticisms of the scripture that offers directed divine support for violence – the perfect word of god, don’t forget – is not representative of the correct meaning of the scripture.

Mulberry Bush, meet the circumbendibus weasel.

Let me introduce to you John Maguire, a Canadian muslim calling for other Canadian muslims to kill other Canadians. How is it possible he thinks his call is divinely sanctioned?

Well, it’s a mystery. It couldn’t possibly be due to his Islamic beliefs derived from the scripture of the koran, now could it? We are told repeatedly by ‘experts’ that doing what he’s doing – using scripture from the koran to justify violence done in its name – is a mysterious exercise of some kind of nefarious ‘radicalization’ process obviously divorced from the religion itself (ie ‘radicalization’ meaning the effects that may occur when someone points out this call to violence contained in scripture to someone who accepts that it is the perfect word of god. Experts agree that the real problem comes from the guy talking and not the guy listening and most definitely not because of the scripture saying what it says. No, no, no… ).

How is this divorce between scriptural calls for violence and violence done in its name made clear to the rest of us who mistakenly think Islamic violence is somehow connected to Islam?

Well, first we must assume that the scripture couldn’t possibly mean what it says because Islam has to be a religion of peace because it truly is a religion of peace, you see… sort of like the Shriners of the religious world. Mind you, that there are no Shriners calling for the killing of non Shriners – funny that – but this lack of ‘radicalization’ in the Shriners ranks is in all likelihood another great mystery to these same self-described ‘experts’. So many mysteries.

Secondly, we must assume that those who do believe this scripture calls for certain actions to be undertaken in its name has been interpreted correctly if and only if these actions are not violent… as if working hard in community service and charity downplays the very real tendency towards taking over political governance and imposing sharia law in place of democratic jurisprudence, which is more like a bloodless change in business management and administrative policy… business (almost) as usual, you see….

Thirdly, as any ‘good’ muslim knows, any violent actions done in the name of Islam cannot be true Islam. This is just a fact, you see. The koran really is the perfect word of god… except where it makes calls for violence, in which case it must be reinterpreted to mean something other than what it says. The perfection is still present and non violent, of course, because true Islam is a religion of peace; it just has to be interpreted correctly. Those who become ‘radicalized’ have failed to interpret the perfect word correctly and have taken it at face value… which advocates for violence that cannot possibly be associated with true Islam because true Islam is a religion of peace…. as every good (ie not ‘radicalized’) muslim knows. Sure, much koranic scripture is to be taken at face value as god intended and not interpreted by ‘radical’ reformers – radical because they presume they have some right to interpret god’s most perfect word in areas like gender differences and roles and so on – but taking scripture at face value in call for violence is the opposite, you see. In this case, taking scripture at face value is what’s radical because true Islam is a religion of peace.

Fourthly, anyone who criticizes this whack-a-mole notion that the koran itself as not being the perfect word of god (this bit of the koran perfect by its literal directive, this bit perfect by interpretive direction, you see, so the whole remains quite perfect and reasonably so) is by definition racist and an Islamophobe. They are the worst kind of people because they are intolerant of muslims for really bad reasons that have no basis in fact. These radicals just don’t understand why true Islam is the religion of peace and made so by submitting to the fact that the koran is perfect word of god in spite of overwhelming evidence reality offers us to the contrary. Because reality itself demonstrates that Islam is not a religion of peace when followed by those willing to submit to its literal understanding of scripture, reality is at fault because the koran is the perfect word of god AND true Islam is a religion of peace.

Pretending that there’s nothing inherently dysfunctional and violent about believing the koran somehow contains the perfect word of god and that word is peaceful is to deny reality. And that reality is that the source scripture called the koran continues to be used as a divine source to justify violence done in its name. How so many of the ‘experts’ addressing the problem of violence done in the name of Islam continue to miss this hard-to-miss connection I think is the only truly Great Mystery at work here.

November 14, 2014

Life or culture? Which is the greater civil right?

Filed under: aboriginal culture,Healthcare,Medicine,woo — tildeb @ 6:11 pm

So which is the more important right for the judiciary to uphold if a choice must be made?

Well, in Canada, it seems a befuddled judge thinks a constitutional right to ‘practice’ one’s culture supersedes the state’s right to protect a citizen’s life from a parent’s belief in the efficacy derived from exercising Oogity Boogity rather than evidence-adduced efficacious medicine.

In a recent court decision: a Ontario judge said,

I cannot find that J.J. is a child in need of protection when her substitute decision-maker has chosen to exercise her constitutionally protected right to pursue their traditional medicine over the Applicant’s stated course of treatment of chemotherapy.

Right, because efficacious medical treatment is apparently and magically a cultural expression all of a sudden… and a substitute medical decision maker can now legitimately pick which one to apply to (what, suddenly cultural?) disease processes and still be consider a responsible adult (and not simply bat-shit crazy with belief in woo) in the eyes of the law.

The local health team who had begun real medical treatment of a treatable disease process had asked the local Children’s Aid Society to take guardianship over the child (a practice often done when the parents of an ill child deny simple blood transfusions on the basis of contrary religious belief) when the mother of the child insisted that her aboriginal rights to do whatever she wanted to do to the child trumped any rights the child had to efficacious medical treatment. The judge agreed, saying these beliefs of the mother’s were “integral” to the family’s way of life, so the ruling was to allow her to choose traditional medicine for her daughter.

In this sense, the right to impose ‘traditional medicine’ on a dependent child over and above real medicine (with an efficacy of over 90%) means death. And this is what the court is trying to tell us is a ‘constitutional’ right.

Bullshit.

Culture does not trump civil rights, and the most fundamental civil right any of us has is the right not to be killed to suit the faith-based ignorant and harmful beliefs of a parent who wishes to impose it on their dependents. This is already well established jurisprudence and this judge missed the point entirely… so busy trying to be ‘tolerant’ and ‘politically correct’ and ‘culturally sensitive’ as to elevate cultural beliefs to be superior to fundamental civil rights.

This is a really bad court decision in general that sets a terrible precedence that will be abused under the guise of ‘cultural expressions’ and particularly for the girl involved. In her case, this decision is a death sentence.

 

November 4, 2014

What is the lesson from a terrorist attack?

Filed under: Canada,Islam,military,terrorism,values — tildeb @ 10:57 am

On October 22, 2014, a recent covert to Islam decided to heed the call from ISIS to kill some people who represented the country of Canada in the name of bringing honour to Allah. Here’s the story from Wikipedia:

A series of shootings occurred on October 22, 2014, at Parliament Hill and nearby in Ottawa, Canada. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier on ceremonial guard duty at the Canadian National War Memorial. He then launched an attack in the nearby Centre Block parliament building, where members of the Parliament of Canada were attending caucuses. Zehaf-Bibeau was killed inside the building in a gunfight with parliament security personnel. Following the shootings, the downtown core of Ottawa was placed on lockdown while police searched for any potential additional threats.

The shootings took place two days after an attack on military personnel in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, which also killed a Canadian soldier. Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper said both of these attacks serve as a “grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.”

Yes these attacks were a reminder that we are a part of the world. But these attacks allowed Canadians to demonstrate to the rest of the world what secular values of nationhood mean in action:

 

highwayofheroes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a typical overpass of a four lane divided highway running along a populated corridor between Windsor, Ontario and Quebec City in Canada. The Corporal body was driven from where he was killed in Ottawa to his home town of Hamilton. The journey along this section of highway is about 350 Km and has about 50 overpasses. When Corporal Cirillo’s body was repatriated to his home town, this was a typical image that greeted the small convoy.

The point is that our national anthem includes the words “We stand on guard for thee.’ Cirillo was ceremonially doing exactly that at the National War Memorial when he was shot and killed… not for who he was but for what he represented, what he was defending. That cannot be killed. It can, however, be a value reinvigorated in our hearts and minds. And this is exactly what such attacks do. They remind all of us -again – what it is that is worth defending: the rights and freedoms all of us share. What you’re seeing in this picture is the average Canadian and local municipal forces repaying that same debt all of us share and taking our turn… to stand on guard for him.

In case one might be tempted to see this event as some kind of media circus, let me assure you that it happened spontaneously. Across the country the same sentiment was expressed time and again at every local cenotaph. Poppies appeared. Hand written notes were left. Flowers set out by the anonymous. Even 3500 Km away in the recesses of the mountains of British Columbia, we find the same sentiment on display:

cenotaph William's Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what it means to be Canadian – different in all ways imaginable yet each a part of the whole by what we share: our values of freedom, equality rights, and the dignity of personhood that resides within the living heart of each person who wears a uniform. And even though the military brass was quick to order our men and women out of uniform to avoid being targets, I saw a common and spontaneous response to that: hundreds of local cadets and retired military people don their uniforms in the following days not just to make a statement of support but remind the military itself that we are not separate groups and organizations and institutions … but one people who share in the active defense of our values. This is the lesson from a terrorist attack and one that more terrorists themselves should heed because since our inception, Canada has been and shall remain a warrior nation first and a peacekeeper only second. We really do stand on guard for thee.

July 6, 2014

Freedom: what does it mean?

Filed under: abortion,Hobby Lobby,Law,Media,Medicine,SCOTUS — tildeb @ 11:32 pm

stupid burnsFirst, we have the legal decision to declare no 35 foot buffer zone around abortion clinics because it infringes on freedom of speech.

Then we have the legal decision to allow an employer’s religious belief to determine employee healthcare coverage in the name of freedom of religion.

Note the term ‘freedom’. What does it mean?

For the addled judges and supporters of these terrible rulings who use this term in its legal sense, meaning liberty, let me suggest that  you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

How do I know?

Well, consider this full page ad bought and paid for by the recently victorious Hobby Lobby.

This ad demonstrates that these other freedoms – expression and religion – were really just a convenient cover for the kind of freedom needed to impose one’s religious beliefs on others without their consent. You know, the non-liberty kind of liberty favoured by tyrants of all pious and non pious stripes.

Freedom in the Hobby Lobby’s parlance and upheld by the highest court in the land means freedom to cherry pick quotations and revise history not because it’s true but because it is believed to properly represent the business owners’ historical revisions.

It means the freedom to misrepresent history in order to aid the addled judges to assume the separation of church and state was a mistake that they can now correct, to aid a government to act freely on behalf of the religious belief of some rich business owners for the state to sponsor their religious imposition wherever in in whatever way they believe best suits them. Impositions like religious indoctrination through public education.

This is what ‘freedom’ actually means for the religious who really care about a particular kind of equivalent freedom, another way to achieve equivalent freedom for all, meaning an equivalency that privileges a particular religious imposition so that ‘liberty’ can be enhanced for the few by limiting the liberty of the many.

And the five Catholic man majority on SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) went along with this legal doublespeak charade.

Can’t wait for sharia to make its publicly funded debut. Good times for all those other principled Hobby Lobby wannabes, eh?  (Check out The Young Turks video for a 12 minute rundown of the insanity of this ruling.)

Shame on these judges.

June 30, 2014

Why does religious privilege matter in the public domain?

crock of shitBecause when you get five white male catholics sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States, you get discriminatory laws like this one that justifies business being able to determine its employees’ health care on religious grounds.

We hold that the regulations that impose this obligation violate RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act 1993), which prohibits the Federal Government from taking any action that substantially burdens the exercise of religion unless that action constitutes the least restrictive means of serving a compelling government interest.

We must decide whether the challenged HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) regulations (mandating payment for insurance coverage that includes contraceptives) substantially burden the exercise of religion, and we hold that they do.

See? Healthcare on religious grounds… a perfectly reasonable privilege in law (against a public policy that just so happens to be contrary to their religious teachings) for a bunch of catholics to endorse.

Are we surprised?

Hardly.

Now, let’s see what happens when a business owner who is hindu refuses to pay coverage for gastroenterology of eaters of beef, a scientologist owner who refuses to cover psychiatric counseling and treatments, a christian science business owner who refuses to pay for dental coverage, and so on. Will this enlightened group of white catholic men continue to support religious privilege outside of their religious beliefs? Somehow, I sincerely doubt it. (We don’t even need to go so far as to consider religiously inspired  human sacrifice to imagine just how stupid and shortsighted this ruling can become; refusal to pay for any reproductive healthcare is next up). Are such religious folk who run businesses unreasonable to expect the Supreme Court to privilege their mandatory exemptions contrary to their religious teachings in the public domain? Will the Supreme Court stay true to the principle in law they’ve set down here that the public domain must privilege religious belief of individuals? Will we stand by and nod our head in pious agreement that bigotry and misogyny are to be privileged in this way because they are religious, and so their exercise trumps equality rights and freedom from legal discrimination? Apparently so.

What a stupid ruling. Colossal stupidity.

But it shouldn’t be surprising: any time we allow religion to have privilege in law, we always pay the price in a loss of legal autonomy that is rationalized to be moral. And we pay this price because religious belief itself – for all its hand waving about its benevolence and charity and comfort claims – holds zero respect for legal autonomy. Respect for our personal autonomy in law is the enemy of mandated religious fealty and privilege, which is why secular values are targeted by all religions (under the banner of secular protection, of course) to be immoral. Religion – no matter how vanilla the local flavour may appear to be – is always a tyranny working in ways to try to make it happen. We ignore this core religious value at our peril.

June 22, 2014

What’s an earworm?

Filed under: Entertainment — tildeb @ 11:15 pm

Ohrwurm! (Thanks, Arb – I had called it a ‘brainworm’ – an idea that ironically got stuck in my head – now corrected).  It’s a German term for a song that you can’t get out of your head… let’s share.

Here’s mine:

 

June 19, 2014

Why do I hold Sam Harris in such esteem?

Filed under: Harris,Humour — tildeb @ 10:05 am

May 28, 2014

What are solar freakin’ roadways?

Filed under: Environment,Science,Technology — tildeb @ 10:00 am

They are the future that starts now. Welcome to the beginning of something special…

 

(h/t to mystro at deadwildroses)

 

May 11, 2014

What is atheism?

Filed under: Atheism,belief,evidence,faith-based beliefs,reason,Religion,Science — tildeb @ 11:38 am

I continue to be amazed at just how poorly understood is atheism by those hell-bent on criticizing it. After all, if you can’t even figure out what the term means by those who use it to define their lack of belief with it, then how can these folk justify claims that non belief inherently possesses immorality while blathering about its association with all kinds of pejorative descriptions and character assassinations for those who do not believe in some meddlesome supernatural deity or deities.

So let’s be clear and define the term for those unable or unwilling to actually listen to atheists: atheism means non belief in gods or a god. The REASONS for holding no belief in some meddlesome supernatural deity or deities are many. I sincerely hope this video will help those who demonstrate such difficulty of comprehension grasping such a simple term finally understand what atheism means and how one arrives at this conclusion.

(h/t to the Arbourist over at deadwildroses)

 

Next Page »

The Rubric Theme. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 103 other followers