Questionable Motives

December 29, 2013

Speaking of why justifying action based on faith-based belief matters…

Filed under: faith-based beliefs,murder,vaccination — tildeb @ 11:26 am

From the Guardian:

Five female health workers vaccinating children against polio have been shot dead in Pakistan in a series of attacks blamed on Islamist militants. One victim was a 17-year-old schoolgirl volunteer.

Belief that vaccinations are equivalently dangerous to the diseases themselves is simply not justified.



If faith-based belief – even by otherwise intelligent people – can so easily relegate reality to a distant consideration, imagine how easily we can use the same methodology to justify imposing our beliefs on others… because we believe we are right and reality isn’t allowed to arbitrate the claim. The Pakistani murders are just one more example of faith-based belief in action. It looks to me just like delusional thinking and then acting on the crazy to cause real harm to real people in real life no different in methodology than believing Jesus was the Christ and was raised from the dead to redeem us from our inherent sin. Crazy is as crazy does. Believers of all stripes, please welcome to your tribe your murderous brethren-in-empowering-faith-just-like-you.

(H/T to Open Parachute)


  1. O come now! How are we causing “real harm to real people in real life” by “believing Jesus was the Christ and was raised from the dead to redeem us from our inherent sin”? First of all, I’m not sure what the connection is between vaccinations and Islamic theology, and second of all the medical profession is in the position of having to treat desperately ill patients before the scientific research as reached a definite conclusion. This means that sometimes the doctor is in the position of having to rely on guesswork, and sometimes subsequent research proves him wrong. Unfortunately that is sometimes an unavoidable consequence of real life.
    Have you ever thought of becoming a personal injury lawyer? You’d be great at it!

    Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 1, 2014 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

    • Personal injury? That was funny.

      Correlation does not prove causation. And as remote as the examples are from each other, wouldn’t different DNA and different culture have as much or more to do with correlation than someone believing in Jesus rising from the dead and someone who absolutely does not believe Jesus rose from the dead?


      Comment by Wayne — January 11, 2014 @ 7:32 am | Reply

  2. Hey, Bob; Happy New Year!

    Yeah, I didn’t make the connection very clear; the assassins believed these people were US spies. In fact the entire polio vaccination campaign is believed by many islamists to be a US mission. That polio has made a comeback in only two countries – both Stone Age islamic – is the reason why they are currently subject to this UN sponsored campaign to eradicate this terrible disease. My point was that these actions – including murdering a 17 year old girl – are empowered not by reason, not by evidence adduced from reality, but from belief that is identical in all ways to ignorance and stupidity. THIS is what faith-based action – action based on beliefs immune from reality’s arbitration of them – really does continue to cause real people real harm in real life.

    The sooner we hold faith-based belief in contempt – as the driving force for ignorance and stupidity played out in reality it really is – the sooner we can bring about a massive reduction in this kind of harm by teaching the next generation that faith-based belief doesn’t work to bring about any lasting improvement in human well-being that isn’t immediately negated by actions of stupidity and ignorance.

    As for the efficacy of vaccinations, that’s why I posted the chart, to let people see just how skewed is the idea that there is an equivalence of evidence for and against them. Not true. The evidence overwhelmingly shows us that vaccinations work.

    Comment by tildeb — January 1, 2014 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

    • But you’re defining “faith-based belief” as “action based on beliefs immune from reality’s arbitration of them,” and then equating that with “believing Jesus was the Christ and was raised from the dead to redeem us from our inherent sin.” The apostles would never had said that faith in Christ was “immune from reality’s arbitration,” and they offered evidence to support their belief.
      The point, in fact, is critical for monotheism. If we say that there is only one God, then everything else that claims to be god must be rejected as false. And we have been warned that the world is full of imposters. But how is one supposed to know which God is the true One? You cannot afford to just pick one arbitrarily and say “I believe.” That’s a bit like playing Russian roulette with your eternal destiny. So one must weigh the evidence.
      There are, of course, people who profess religion for all kinds of reasons, some of them admittedly not very good. But a sane, rational person has to ask himself at some point in his life, “how do I know that this is true? How do I know that anything is true?”

      Happy New Year to you too!

      Comment by Bob Wheeler — January 1, 2014 @ 6:04 pm | Reply

      • Evidence? Let’s review, shall we?

        No genetic evidence that should be there for a founding couple, no evidence that should be there for a global flood, no evidence that should be there for a mass exodus, no historical records worthy of the name that should be there for this astounding evidence that “Jesus was the Christ and was raised from the dead to redeem us from our inherent sin.” Not a peep about manuscripts by local historians that should have documented this extraordinary fellow, that should have documented these extraordinary events, yet a hundred years later, we have what looks exactly like a Just so story by the gospel writers writing crap (because it doesn’t fit what we do know) to fit the a priori needs to establish a prophecy-filling miracle-inducing, crowd-pleasing virgin-birthed prophet. Those of us who recognize the overwhelming evidence against the claim you make, well, we’re the ones supposedly practicing a faith-based belief, donchaknow; you believers, in stunning contrast, use compelling evidence (of the negative kind, meaning its absence where it should reasonably be found).

        You’re right to ask the all-important question, “How do I know if this is true?” This is where your method determines the result, and this is where you have no means to answer the question except by making a faith claim about Jesus, a faith claim that he did what you believe he did, and did so for reasons you believe make sense when there is zero compelling evidence to justify making the claim equivalent to an “I don’t know”. But you don;t that, Bob; you insist you do know and then falsely present this belief as if it originated from reality rather than a conscious decision to empower the belief from you and you alone. Your epistemology is broken and that’s why you are doing what you warn against doing: simply and arbitrarily picking a belief and sticking with it when you have no good reason arbitrated by reality to do so. Reality didn’t present compelling evidence that allowed you to adduce your faith-based beliefs; someone had to teach them to you and then you made the decision to believe it in spite of compelling evidence I’ve listed above why you should doubt such a claim’s veracity that you accept about Jesus. As for what the apostles actually said and did, you don’t know. You’re willing to trust third hand reports even when the claims found within are contradictory and stand against how you know reality operates. That takes faith. And that kind of faith doesn’t allow reality to have any weighted say in the matter.

        Comment by tildeb — January 1, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

      • Bob, speaking of evidence, I urge you to check out this fascinating post by John Zande, who has been corresponding with Jewish biblical scholars about the historical validity of the OT (Pentateurch) and keeping us informed as he goes along. In a nutshell, it’s modern day imaginings pasted as a self-validating history, and you’ve bought it hook, line, and sinker relying not on evidence adduced from reality but a prior set of beliefs you’ve decided to empower as a substitute for what’s true.

        Comment by tildeb — January 2, 2014 @ 9:01 am

  3. Hi Tildeb,

    After reading your comments on Rana’s blog, I decided to check out yours. Your topics are of great interest to me so I’ll be checking your blog out on a regular basis. This particular topic of vaccines is very important in my opinion. I read a yahoo article about the measles outbreak that was traced back to a mega church in texas and if I’m not mistaken something like 85+% of the people who got infected hadn’t been vaccinated. I entered into a very long back and forth with a couple of very adamant anti-vaxxers. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I would point out the simple fact that prior to the vaccines introduction in 1963 roughly 500 000 Americans would get infected with measles on a yearly basis. Based on stats from the WHO, (I believe the year was 2011) there was less than 200 cases of measles. Apparently that is “irrelevant”. Donchaknow? Measles was “on the decline” and it’s all a “big pharma” conspiracy.

    Comment by Ashley — January 8, 2014 @ 9:13 am | Reply

    • Hi Ashley. Thanks for popping by and commenting because the topic is very important for many reasons.

      Some people assume that holding faith-based beliefs is fine (and I agree) but forget that acting on them can cause great harm. If people believe that vaccinations can cause an equivalent amount of harm to the diseases they can prevent, then they’re denying reality. But what many people fail to understand is that vaccinations only work by herd immunity (a rather unfortunate and unattractive bovine term, I’ll grant). What this means is that if the inoculated population falls below a certain threshold (very often below what appears to be a high percentage of 90 or 85 or 80%), then the entire population (and not just the ones who haven’t been vaccinated) is once again exposed to the constantly evolving pathogen. This is why we continue to try to eradicate certain diseases by global vaccination programs. Opting out as many parents do in concern for the health of their kids from the dangers of adverse reactions puts ALL of us in danger of contracting the common diseases themselves… and the much greater damage to our health these diseases cause. And that’s why I am a proponent of allowing parents to opt their children out of these programs… as long they understand that by doing so they also bar their children from receiving any public services whatsoever – like education, passports, health services, and so on. Why should we put an entire population at much greater risk to public safety to satisfy the voluntary participation of those who cannot evaluate risks rationally?

      Comment by tildeb — January 8, 2014 @ 11:07 am | Reply

  4. Tildeb, This is more for your readers than for you.

    Yes, there is DNA evidence in a single father and single mother of all humans … ironically, Science believes they lived 250,000 years apart from each other ….

    Yes, there is evidence of a flood event world-wide.

    Yes, there are contemporary historians who mention Jesus. And the Emperor when Saint John’s disciple Polycarp was executed repented and ordered the executions of the ‘heretics’, as Christians were then known, to be stopped.

    Why would 13 men choose death as their testimony, many forget Judas and his replacement. John was not believed to have been executed.


    Comment by Wayne — January 11, 2014 @ 7:42 am | Reply

    • Science doesn’t ‘believe’ anything, Wayne. You have great difficulty grasping this fact, don’t you? And you try to sneak your way around recognizing the claim for a founding couple is flat out wrong by then allowing a common mother and a common father separated not by 250,000 years but between 50-70 thousand years according to population genetics (the link is here).

      Please provide us access to your special evidence for this global flood. Mining and extraction and drilling companies will benefit from this new geology you tell us is true.

      Contemporary historians were rather silent about Jesus… for about a hundred years after the fellow supposedly lived and died. Funny, that.

      Sixteen men chose death on 9/11 as their testimony to the peaceful nature of islam. The claim, therefore, must be true because there is simply no other possible explanation for it.

      Good grief.

      Comment by tildeb — January 11, 2014 @ 8:10 am | Reply

      • You grasp at straw men, over and over.

        Yes, there are differing dates, the one I read was 250k separation. But, you were already aware of your discrepancy when you wrote …. a true straw man.

        There is evidence of flooding globally, no one has tied the floods together in a coherent manner. Again, I think you already know that, but choose to mislead your readers with a straw man argument.

        Negative, you know Josephus was a contemporary – and that is off the top of my head from reading him over 20 years ago. Burned another straw man.

        Your sixteen men were motivated by anger and hatred.

        My thirteen apostles were motivated by Truth, and like Polycarp, all they had to do was deny that they had seen the risen Savior …. If they had not seen Jesus risen from the dead, then why not make that LITTLE change for survival?


        Comment by Wayne — January 11, 2014 @ 8:21 am

      • Here, Wayne. Go learn something.

        No, there isn’t geological evidence of a GLOBAL flood, Wayne. This claim is factually wrong. There has never been a global flood that flooded the globe. That doesn’t mean there isn’t evidence of local flooding to be found around the globe (at different times, to different levels, for different durations); it means the claim of a global flood is not supported by the reality we share.

        Learn what a straw man is, please, before slinging your understand around as if it were true. This might help understand why you engage in it all the time… just look at the flood example above for a demonstration of your tactics, the claim of a founding couple, using the Josephus forgery, dieing as evidence for truthfulness, and so on. I counter them with compelling evidence that you then besmirch by claiming them to be ‘straw men’ and then changing the claim. And then when I point out the willingness of exercising such dishonesty repeatedly, you then claim vicitmhood of an ad homenum attack and practitioners of hate.

        You’re a real piece of work, Wayne. You’re lucky that I love you as deeply as I do and am only thinking of your temporal salvation from your immoral delusions.

        Comment by tildeb — January 11, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

    • So much stupid, so little time.

      Comment by Cedric Katesby — January 11, 2014 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  5. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:

    I doubt this is a good argument against belief, much less against faith-based belief.

    But, there are some out there who believe correlation proves causation.

    If that was the case, then the increase of abuse in America from 5% to over 30% of our women would be KNOWN to have been caused by the liberal progressive agenda …..

    I think that correlation is much tighter to causation in America than it would be in Pakistan as compared to America, don’t you agree?


    Comment by Wayne — January 11, 2014 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  6. Howdy tildeb, been admiring and reading your comments on other blogs and finally have gotten around to following yours. Thanks for being such a calm voice of reason in a world filled with far too much Faith held bullshit.

    Comment by inspiredbythedivine1 — January 17, 2014 @ 4:14 am | Reply

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