The Food Stamp President

It just keeps getting worse and worse:

Record Dow, record S&P, record debt, record plunge in gold, and now: record US households on foodstamps. What’s not to like. While today’s gold selloff may be confusing to everyone, one can scratch off some 23,087,886 US households, or the number that according to the USDA, were on foodstamps in January and just happen to be a fresh all time high, as the likely sellers, especially when one considers that the average monthly benefit to each household dropped to a record low of $274.04. This number probably ignores, for good reason, the once every four years fringe benefits of Obamaphones and other such made in China trinkets…

Serious question for those who voted for Obama – is this what you voted for?  Ever more people on welfare while the rich get richer and more Chinese garbage gets exported to the United States?  Did you consider the possibility – even for a moment – that just perhaps someone else might be able to do a better job at it?  Or was it always and ever going to be a vote for Obama?  If so, why?  Because you just wanted to stick it to us Republicans?  Because you were afraid to vote against our first black President?  Because you were actually worried that Romney was going to go after your birth control?  Tell us what motivated you last November…

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203 thoughts on “The Food Stamp President

  1. Cluster April 16, 2013 / 5:59 pm

    Tell us what motivated you last November…

    Great question, and one that I hope we get some answers to. I suspect though that one thing we will hear will be that they want the “rich” to pay their “fair share” – this despite the fact that the Obama’s just paid an 18% rate on an AGI of over $600,000. That’s acceptable with me, but I don’t know how liberals can be happy with that, nor consider it to be fair. If they blame the tax code, then they need to explain to me why Obama has not done one thing to change it, despite his own rhetoric that the rich don’t pay their fair share.

    Do you suppose that was just empty rhetoric and an emotional ploy on behalf of the POTUS?

    • neocon01 April 16, 2013 / 6:31 pm

      47% pay NO federal tax……..pure insanity!!

    • M. Noonan April 16, 2013 / 10:40 pm

      Cluster,

      I’m pretty sure 90%+ of Obama votes in 2008 and 2012 were emotion-based…whether you analyzed Obama from a right or left perspective, he comes up “failure”.

  2. 02casper April 16, 2013 / 10:58 pm

    “M. Noonan April 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Cluster,

    I’m pretty sure 90%+ of Obama votes in 2008 and 2012 were emotion-based”

    And what the heck does that mean? I could just as easily say that 95% of Romney votes were emotion-based. That doesn’t make it true.

    • M. Noonan April 16, 2013 / 11:43 pm

      Casper,

      We’ve been through this many times before – my contention is that you don’t think things all the way through. I hate to keep bringing it up – I really do – because it is just the sort of statement designed to get someone’s back up. I really don’t have a way to say it – but when you argue with me, the clearest thing about it from my point of view is that you don’t understand my point of view. You’ve never thought about it…in fact, a passage in an old book I’m reading kind of says it. The story is about a man who believes in God who comes across a man who doesn’t believe in God – as both men are gentlemen in the truest sense of the word, the natural desire of both once the dividing line is clear between them is that they should fight it out…with swords and to the death. Many amusing an interesting adventures result from this manly desire…here is the part which pretty much describes you and me:

      …At about half past one, under a strong blue sky, Turnbull got up out of the grass and fern in which he had been lying, and his still intermittent laughter ended in a kind of yawn.

      “I’m hungry,” he said shortly. “Are you?”

      “I have not noticed,” answered MacIan. “What are you going to do?”

      “There’s a village down the road, past the pool,” answered Turnbull. “I can see it from here. I can see the whitewashed walls of some cottages and a kind of corner of the church. How jolly it all looks. It looks so—I don’t know what the word is—so sensible. Don’t fancy I’m under any illusions about Arcadian virtue and the innocent villagers. Men make beasts of themselves there with drink, but they don’t deliberately make devils of themselves with mere talking. They kill wild animals in the wild woods, but they don’t kill cats to the God of Victory. They don’t——” He broke off and suddenly spat on the ground.

      “Excuse me,” he said; “it was ceremonial. One has to get the taste out of one’s mouth.”

      “The taste of what?” asked MacIan.

      “I don’t know the exact name for it,” replied Turnbull. “Perhaps it is the South Sea Islands, or it may be Magdalen College.”

      There was a long pause, and MacIan also lifted his large limbs off the ground—his eyes particularly dreamy.

      “I know what you mean, Turnbull,” he said, “but… I always thought you people agreed with all that.”

      “With all that about doing as one likes, and the individual, and Nature loving the strongest, and all the things which that cockroach talked about.”

      Turnbull’s big blue-grey eyes stood open with a grave astonishment.

      “Do you really mean to say, MacIan,” he said, “that you fancied that we, the Free-thinkers, that Bradlaugh, or Holyoake, or Ingersoll, believe all that dirty, immoral mysticism about Nature? Damn Nature!”

      “I supposed you did,” said MacIan calmly. “It seems to me your most conclusive position.”

      “And you mean to tell me,” rejoined the other, “that you broke my window, and challenged me to mortal combat, and tied a tradesman up with ropes, and chased an Oxford Fellow across five meadows—all under the impression that I am such an illiterate idiot as to believe in Nature!”

      “I supposed you did,” repeated MacIan with his usual mildness; “but I admit that I know little of the details of your belief—or disbelief.”

      Turnbull swung round quite suddenly, and set off towards the village.

      “Come along,” he cried. “Come down to the village. Come down to the nearest decent inhabitable pub. This is a case for beer.”

      “I do not quite follow you,” said the Highlander.

      “Yes, you do,” answered Turnbull. “You follow me slap into the inn-parlour. I repeat, this is a case for beer. We must have the whole of this matter out thoroughly before we go a step farther. Do you know that an idea has just struck me of great simplicity and of some cogency. Do not by any means let us drop our intentions of settling our differences with two steel swords. But do you not think that with two pewter pots we might do what we really have never thought of doing yet—discover what our difference is?”

      “It never occurred to me before,” answered MacIan with tranquillity. “It is a good suggestion.”

      And they set out at an easy swing down the steep road to the village of Grassley-in-the-Hole…

      … “MacIan,” said Turnbull, lifting his tankard, “the fool who wanted us to be friends made us want to go on fighting. It is only natural that the fool who wanted us to fight should make us friendly. MacIan, your health!”

      Dusk was already dropping, the rustics in the tavern were already lurching and lumbering out of it by twos and threes, crying clamorous good nights to a solitary old toper that remained, before MacIan and Turnbull had reached the really important part of their discussion.

      MacIan wore an expression of sad bewilderment not uncommon with him. “I am to understand, then,” he said, “that you don’t believe in nature.”

      “You may say so in a very special and emphatic sense,” said Turnbull. “I do not believe in nature, just as I do not believe in Odin. She is a myth. It is not merely that I do not believe that nature can guide us. It is that I do not believe that nature exists.”

      “Exists?” said MacIan in his monotonous way, settling his pewter pot on the table.

      “Yes, in a real sense nature does not exist. I mean that nobody can discover what the original nature of things would have been if things had not interfered with it. The first blade of grass began to tear up the earth and eat it; it was interfering with nature, if there is any nature. The first wild ox began to tear up the grass and eat it; he was interfering with nature, if there is any nature. In the same way,” continued Turnbull, “the human when it asserts its dominance over nature is just as natural as the thing which it destroys.”

      “And in the same way,” said MacIan almost dreamily, “the superhuman, the supernatural is just as natural as the nature which it destroys.”

      Turnbull took his head out of his pewter pot in some anger.

      “The supernatural, of course,” he said, “is quite another thing; the case of the supernatural is simple. The supernatural does not exist.”

      “Quite so,” said MacIan in a rather dull voice; “you said the same about the natural. If the natural does not exist the supernatural obviously can’t.” And he yawned a little over his ale.

      Turnbull turned for some reason a little red and remarked quickly, “That may be jolly clever, for all I know. But everyone does know that there is a division between the things that as a matter of fact do commonly happen and the things that don’t. Things that break the evident laws of nature——”

      “Which does not exist,” put in MacIan sleepily. Turnbull struck the table with a sudden hand.

      “Good Lord in heaven!” he cried——

      “Who does not exist,” murmured MacIan.

      “Good Lord in heaven!” thundered Turnbull, without regarding the interruption. “Do you really mean to sit there and say that you, like anybody else, would not recognize the difference between a natural occurrence and a supernatural one—if there could be such a thing? If I flew up to the ceiling——”

      “You would bump your head badly,” cried MacIan, suddenly starting up. “One can’t talk of this kind of thing under a ceiling at all. Come outside! Come outside and ascend into heaven!”

      He burst the door open on a blue abyss of evening and they stepped out into it: it was suddenly and strangely cool.

      “Turnbull,” said MacIan, “you have said some things so true and some so false that I want to talk; and I will try to talk so that you understand. For at present you do not understand at all. We don’t seem to mean the same things by the same words.”

      He stood silent for a second or two and then resumed.

      “A minute or two ago I caught you out in a real contradiction. At that moment logically I was right. And at that moment I knew I was wrong. Yes, there is a real difference between the natural and the supernatural: if you flew up into that blue sky this instant, I should think that you were moved by God—or the devil. But if you want to know what I really think…I must explain.”

      He stopped again, abstractedly boring the point of his sword into the earth, and went on:

      “I was born and bred and taught in a complete universe. The supernatural was not natural, but it was perfectly reasonable. Nay, the supernatural to me is more reasonable than the natural; for the supernatural is a direct message from God, who is reason. I was taught that some things are natural and some things divine. I mean that some things are mechanical and some things divine. But there is the great difficulty, Turnbull. The great difficulty is that, according to my teaching, you are divine.”

      “Me! Divine?” said Turnbull truculently. “What do you mean?”

      “That is just the difficulty,” continued MacIan thoughtfully. “I was told that there was a difference between the grass and a man’s will; and the difference was that a man’s will was special and divine. A man’s free will, I heard, was supernatural.”

      “Rubbish!” said Turnbull.

      “Oh,” said MacIan patiently, “then if a man’s free will isn’t supernatural, why do your materialists deny that it exists?”

      Turnbull was silent for a moment. Then he began to speak, but MacIan continued with the same steady voice and sad eyes:

      “So what I feel is this: Here is the great divine creation I was taught to believe in. I can understand your disbelieving in it, but why disbelieve in a part of it? It was all one thing to me. God had authority because he was God. Man had authority because he was man. You cannot prove that God is better than a man; nor can you prove that a man is better than a horse. Why permit any ordinary thing? Why do you let a horse be saddled?”

      “Some modern thinkers disapprove of it,” said Turnbull a little doubtfully.

      “I know,” said MacIan grimly; “that man who talked about love, for instance.”

      Turnbull made a humorous grimace; then he said: “We seem to be talking in a kind of shorthand; but I won’t pretend not to understand you. What you mean is this: that you learnt about all your saints and angels at the same time as you learnt about common morality, from the same people, in the same way. And you mean to say that if one may be disputed, so may the other. Well, let that pass for the moment. But let me ask you a question in turn. Did not this system of yours, which you swallowed whole, contain all sorts of things that were merely local, the respect for the chief of your clan, or such things; the village ghost, the family feud, or what not? Did you not take in those things, too, along with your theology?”

      MacIan stared along the dim village road, down which the last straggler from the inn was trailing his way.

      “What you say is not unreasonable,” he said. “But it is not quite true. The distinction between the chief and us did exist; but it was never anything like the distinction between the human and the divine, or the human and the animal. It was more like the distinction between one animal and another. But——”

      “Well?” said Turnbull.

      MacIan was silent…

      Do go on and read the book – the text is free here. It is an old book, as I’ve said, so its got some passages which the modern mind would mistakenly think offensive, but it well repays reading. And until you and I have it out (without swords) and get clear about what we each believe, there can be neither a meeting of the minds nor a duel in the field. You need to clarify – come down firmly on a side; pick it and fight for it. I can’t really argue with you if you’re going to go on pretending that you’re the reasonable one – I reason fairly well. I know what I believe and why I believe it…with you, I can tell what you believe but I haven’t the foggiest notion as to why because I’m certain that if you thought it through, you’d come to different beliefs. But, by all means, prove me wrong, if you can – and if you dare.

      • Retired Spook April 17, 2013 / 8:22 am

        You need to clarify – come down firmly on a side; pick it and fight for it.

        Just an observation from the sidelines, but I don’t think Casper is a deep enough thinker to pick a side, nor is he man enough to fight for it if he did. Casper is a weasel whose whole existence, at least in terms of politics and ideology, is to disagree with whatever is said. That has been his MO on this blog for as long as I can remember.

        with you, I can tell what you believe but I haven’t the foggiest notion as to why because I’m certain that if you thought it through, you’d come to different beliefs.

        I don’t think Casper is nearly that intellectually honest.

      • Cluster April 17, 2013 / 8:50 am

        Well lets examine our friend Casper for a moment. He admitted that one primary reason for switching allegiances from conservatism to liberalism was “torture” (water boarding). But lets take a closer look at this – Bill Clinton was the first President to initiate the practice of rendition, which is allowing other countries to torture and washing our hands of it. Truth be known, rendition allows for much harsher torture than anything our government would do, and Obama has continued the program. Secondly, democratic senators and house members were privately briefed on the THREE water boarding practices at the time, and did not object. Their only objection came when the lights were turned on and people like Casper were watching. So I believe that not only did Casper really not think that through, I think he was also a bit insincere.

      • rustybrown2012 April 17, 2013 / 10:18 am

        You’re kidding, right? You can “tell what you (Casper) believe”? Did you read and agree with spooks last post with its absurd list of 50 (!) ridiculous lefty caricatures? Straw men, every one.

      • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 11:41 am

        Rusty,

        Go over that passage I quoted – or, even better, go to the link and read the preceding chapter and then the quoted chapter to the end. Turnbull has his belief – but it is a belief, however honestly held, which has not been thought all the way through. He hasn’t realized, that is, that he cuts his own intellectual throat. MacIan points that out – once you think on it, it is a matter of either believing the whole thing, or denying the whole thing, but if everything is denied, then you can’t believe or do anything.

        The fundamental problem with you on the left is that you don’t do just that – think it through.

      • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 11:45 am

        Cluster,

        That is about it – there is no positive reason anyone can give for supporting Obama. Nothing he has done has produced the desired effect – even rating his actions based upon a supposition that liberal beliefs are true. Naturally, he has failed to be a good conservative – but he’s also failed to be a good liberal. Nothing has improved – a few artificial bullet points on economic data which are worthless as far as regular American lives is all anyone can point to, and for each “good” data point a half dozen can be placed in opposition to show that even the “good” is pretty darned bad. We on the right, of course, know that Obama’s failures on the liberal level are the direct result of the fact that liberalism is wrong – our liberal friends won’t admit that, but they also will not admit that Obama has failed. Which is strange and can only be based upon an emotional desire that Obama not be a failure and, most importantly, that his supporters not have to admit that they got it wrong.

      • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 11:49 am

        Spook,

        There does seem to be on the part of our liberals a desire that our fights be made on the pre-determined conclusion that liberalism wins. There’s another passage in that book in which the heroes land in a lunatic asylum and are confronted by two men – one of whom claims to be King Edward VII, the other claims to be God…they dispose of the two lunatics be taking them at their word…demanding of “God” answers to why there is cruelty in the world and of Edward VII the answer to why his ancestors usurped the throne from the Stuarts. Our liberals are like the lunatics fleeing the direct challenge – when confronted with clear, unmistakable evidence that they are wrong, they run away, shouting over their shoulder “racist!” or what not at their antagonist. They don’t actually stand and fight.

      • rustybrown2012 April 17, 2013 / 11:57 am

        Mark,

        You’re right about one thing – it is condescending to state you’re the only rational one who has thought things through. Seems to me that’s the claim of a man with bad ideas who fails to convince with his arguments. You’ve certainly failed to convince me in any of our discussions, yet I wouldn’t say you “haven’t thought things through”; I would say you’ve thought things through quite a bit and reached the wrong conclusions.

      • J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) April 17, 2013 / 12:18 pm

        Did you read and agree with spooks last post with its absurd list of 50 (!) ridiculous lefty caricatures? Straw men, every one.

        I think you have Spook’s list confused with your puny little list about sex, contraception and abortion. Get a grip, man. You’re really coming unraveled.

      • rustybrown2012 April 17, 2013 / 12:25 pm

        Mark,

        I’ll take Obama’s term in office over Bush’s any day. The death toll is much lower and O is on track to leave the country in better shape than when he took the reigns. Hillary will continue to mop-up the mess left by Republicans when she takes office.

      • rustybrown2012 April 17, 2013 / 12:28 pm

        JR,

        If my list is puny and comprised of straw men, it should be a snap for you to refute it. I’m waiting!

      • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 1:03 pm

        Rusty,

        By what measure? It black unemployment better? No. Female unemployment lower? No. Youth unemployment? No. Latino unemployment? No. Youth college debt lower? No. Cost of higher education lower? No. Cost of healthcare lower? No. Access to health care improved? No. Gitmo closed? No. Renditions ended? No. Afghanistan a success? No. Peace in the Middle East? No. America better respected in the world? No. Cost of necessities lower? No. Support for AIDS treatment in Africa better? No. Poverty rate lower? No. Fewer people on welfare? No. Labor force participation rate higher? No. Do retirees have better income security? No. Corporate CEO compensation reduced? No. Too Big to Fail Banks healthy? No. Prosecutions for gun crimes higher? No.

        What is your measure which allows you to say that Obama is doing even just as well as Bush did? Whether you rate Obama on a liberal or conservative scale of success, he is an abject and objective failure. I grant that as the co-author of the upcoming book, Worst, I have far more data on this at my fingertips than most…but give me something which anyone can point to and say, “success”.

      • Retired Spook April 17, 2013 / 1:08 pm

        Spook, There does seem to be on the part of our liberals a desire that our fights be made on the pre-determined conclusion that liberalism wins.

        Mark, I don’t believe the word “fight” is in the Left’s lexicon, at least not in the sense of actually risking something to defend a firmly held belief or anything of value for that matter. Over the years I’ve asked that question of dozens of Lefties who have visited this blog, and I’ve only ever gotten one response, and that was so long ago, I don’t remember who it was or what they said. I guess you could say that the average Liberal not only doesn’t have the courage of his/her convictions, they really don’t have convictions, or at least not ones that they can articulate.

      • neocon01 April 17, 2013 / 1:40 pm

        rustybrownshorts

        your snappy lil list is toilet paper we have already used and flushed, there is no further need required for it.

      • 02casper April 17, 2013 / 1:53 pm

        Mark,
        You and I live in different worlds. You live is a black and white world. Mine has many shades of grey. You have pretty much decided that you know everything important to know and you aren’t very comfortable in having any of your beliefs challenged. You write on a right wing blog where you have the power to delete comments or ban anyone who is too challenging to your worldview. Your comment a few days ago about not taking any history college courses because you don’t want to be propagandazed said a lot about you. You are afraid that you can’t defend your belief system in an environment you don’t control.

        “You need to clarify – come down firmly on a side; pick it and fight for it.”

        I believe I have on a number of issues, gay marriage for instance. The fact that you don’t agree with my positions don’t make them wrong or well thought out.

        “I can’t really argue with you if you’re going to go on pretending that you’re the reasonable one – I reason fairly well.”

        I’m not pretending. I am the reasonable one. You think you reason well because you only consider the facts you want and reject any knowledge that challenges your beliefs.

        “with you, I can tell what you believe but I haven’t the foggiest notion as to why because I’m certain that if you thought it through, you’d come to different beliefs.”

        I have thought things through. However, i am operating from a different knowledge base than you so it makes since that I come up with different conclusions.

        “But, by all means, prove me wrong, if you can – and if you dare.”

        It’s kind of hard to prove someone wrong when he has already made up his mind and will reject any evidence to the contrary.

        By the way, interesting read.

      • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 2:01 pm

        Casper,

        You’ve run away. Try me. Finish this sentence:

        “I believe gay marriage should be legalized because…”.

        Let’s see if you’ve thought it out and can defend your position.

      • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 2:02 pm

        Spook,

        Well, Casper has been given his second chance to do just that in this thread – state a position and why held and then defend it against the rejoinder. We’ll see if he’ll give it a go.

      • Amazona April 17, 2013 / 4:38 pm

        Hard to find much that is funnier, in a sad and pathetic way, than the claim that the nation is better off now than it was when Bush was president. Aside from his Freudian slip (using the word “reign” to describe the Imperial Presidency) it is an example of unbridled (going back to the effort to refer to “reins”) delusion and wishful thinking.

      • Amazona April 17, 2013 / 4:51 pm

        casper has made some of his positions quite clear.

        For example, he is quite clear in his belief that the use of a WORD is a “civil rights” issue. One has to wonder if he truly thinks marriage is no more than a word, but that is another topic. He is just adamant that the definition of a word which has stood for centuries should now be altered to meet the demands of a few who want it to suddenly mean something else, and then he trivializes true civil rights issues by comparing them to this demand.

        But that seems to be where his clarity ends.

        He states that comments are removed because they disagree with, or “challenge”, conservative ideas. No,or at least I have not seen this. Oh, I know it is a beloved excuse of those who violate blog rules, but it is simply false. If this were true, there would not be so many casper posts on the blog—unless they are left to provide the rest of us with something to laugh at.

        He claims to believe in the Constitution and support it, yet he supports a party which is all about the unlimited expansion of the size, scope and power of the federal government to undertake thing not allowed under Constitutional law. He understands it so poorly he has repeatedly stated that if you want to follow the Constitution you also want to reinstate slavery and deprive women of the vote.

        Yes, his life is a muddle of greys, with nothing very clear, all of it quite relative to emotional reactions to various things. He wants gay people to be able to redefine a word because he knows and likes some gay people and thinks it would be nice if they could pretend their unions are the same as those between one man and one woman. That’s where the emotion comes in, and rules. The delusion is that the use of the word would change anything.

        As I have said before, casper’s backbone would allow him to hide behind a spiral staircase.

      • rustybrown2012 April 17, 2013 / 11:55 pm

        When O took office we were in the midst of the greatest economic turmoil since the Great Depression, shedding 800,000+ jobs PER MONTH. O averted the depression and job growth, though still anemic, is in the black.

        In addition, O has extracted us from arguably the most serious foreign policy blunder in the history of this country, the Iraq war. A war I was firmly against. A war which I believe all members of this blog ruthlessly cheered. I guess we know who was wrong on that one, eh?

      • meursault1942 April 18, 2013 / 1:29 am

        You write on a right wing blog where you have the power to delete comments or ban anyone who is too challenging to your worldview. Your comment a few days ago about not taking any history college courses because you don’t want to be propagandazed said a lot about you. You are afraid that you can’t defend your belief system in an environment you don’t control.

        This is absolutely 100 percent spot on, though it’s hardly unique to Mark. It’s amusing that he said that liberals “when confronted with clear, unmistakable evidence that they are wrong, they run away, shouting over their shoulder “racist!” or what not at their antagonist.” This blog is riddled with conservatives who, when confronted with clear, unmistakable evidence that they are wrong, run away, shouting over their shoulder “off topic!” or what not [sic] at their antagonist as an excuse to delete posts and duck arguments.

        But as for Mark, his entire thesis–“Casper doesn’t believe what I think he should believe, so the only possibly explanation is that he didn’t think things through”–is not only blatantly flawed, but it in fact shows how stunted Mark’s own thinking skills are if that’s truly the only explanation he’s able to come up with. But as a doctrinaire Catholic, Mark is much more about obedience and recitation than thinking, and that shows clearly in this thread. If Mark would think things through, he might be able to break the shackles he’s placed himself in, but he doesn’t seem to have much inclination to do so.

      • M. Noonan April 18, 2013 / 8:03 am

        Meur,

        Well, that is at least a challenge! So, en garde!

        My contention is that the more deeply a person is an orthodox Catholic, the more thoroughly they have thought the matter through. It is a mere canard to assume that a Catholic is someone who just mindlessly recites information stuffed in to him – it is, indeed, far more likely that someone describing themselves as a freethinker is repeating what was learned by rote.

        Your turn.

        P.S.: Over the past 6 or 7 years I have only deleted comments which were either a statement of mere hate and/or contained obscene words. I am not a Moderator on this blog and I leave that office alone. I am defenseless here against a logical argument which proves me wrong – so have at it.

      • meursault1942 April 19, 2013 / 11:24 am

        I know what your contention is, Mark. The problem is you haven’t provided any evidence to back it up. What’s more, your own statements on this blog tend to run counter to your contention. You’ve outsourced thinking to Catholic dogma, so your manner of argument is to merely point to a particular piece of dogma and call it a day. As I said, that is recitation, not thinking.

        In your debates about gay marriage, for example, you merely point to the Catholic belief that gay sex is “disordered” because it will not result in conception, therefore gays should not be allowed to get married, and consider the argument won. Well, that Catholic belief has no particular sway over non-Catholics, who are not required to hold that belief. You need to prove that it is “disordered,” but you’ve been unable to do so because by your reckoning, that would also render heterosexual sex in which one person is sterile–or heterosexual sex in which the woman is menopausal–to be “disordered,” which by your logic, would mean those people should not be allowed to get married, too. But you didn’t think this through; you merely recited.

        And that’s not even getting into the fact that a marriage is about much more than conception, and the fact that marriage is not at all a requirement for conception, both of which rupture your argument as well.

        Also, the fact that Catholics are required to hold specific beliefs or else be kicked out is a serious flaw in your contention. If orthodox Catholicism is a state of deep thought, then why does orthodox Catholicism react so vehemently to thought that falls outside its orthodoxy? Why does thinking differently get you kicked out and branded a heretic? Because, again, it’s not thought; it’s obedience and recitation.

        Downthread, you claim that “their logic was flawed because it started with an a priori assumption that anything Christianity held true was wrong.” There are two important points to make regarding that statement.

        First of all, that’s not quite accurate; there is a difference between assuming anything Christianity held true was wrong and simply not assuming that anything Christianity held true was right. Perhaps the latter seems like the former to you because it will end up shooting down some of the dogma that you insist is true, but they are not the same, and the difference is very important.

        Second, you do begin with the a priori assumption that anything Christianity–specifically orthodox Catholicism–holds true is correct. This means your entire philosophy rests on the fallacy of begging the question. Not exactly a stable foundation.

      • M. Noonan April 19, 2013 / 1:47 pm

        Meur,

        My theological belief is that homosexual acts are inherently disordered; much as heterosexual sex acts outside of marriage are inherently disordered. But I don’t use theology in my arguments as to why we, the people of the United States, should not allow gay marriage. My arguments there are based entirely upon Nature and upon the practical aspects of marriage. Even if I weren’t a Catholic, I would believe the same thing about same sex marriage – it is illogical; it is in opposition to Nature; it is not marriage in any rational definition of the word.

        The thing about being a Catholic is that I can take in to consideration all things – I have not fenced myself off from parts of the world lest they controvert my beliefs. A Catholic believes that the whole world – every last thing in it – is explicable. A supposed freethinker is a person who has quite a lot of fenced off areas – he can think all the live, long day about sub-atomic particles but he’d best not for a moment try to consider how matter, itself, came to be…because there won’t be an answer outside of theology. You and I can both be astounded and pleased by a dedicated team of doctors and nurses who cure someone of cancer…but you are not free to even so much as notice the person who went to Lourdes and got precisely the same result because they asked Our Lady for it.

        Nothing can contradict truth – and therefor I am fearless in the pursuit of truth. Lots of things can contradicts a materialist/determinist world view, and thus people who hold to such a philosophy turn aside from any path which might question or correct a materialist assertion. Your challenge here is to find something which you think contradicts the truth I believe – bring it on, as it were. I’m ready for it.

      • rustybrown2012 April 19, 2013 / 3:45 pm

        “Your challenge here is to find something which you think contradicts the truth I believe – bring it on, as it were. I’m ready for it.

        I’ll bite. The problem of theodicy. I brought it up in a post gone by; nobody can answer this problem with anything more than some lame variation of “god works in mysterious ways”. What say you, oh fearless truth seeker?

        As to your assertion that lots of things contradict a materialistic/ deterministic worldview, can you give some examples? I’m not sure what you mean by the term “materialistic/deterministic”, but if you mean “scientific”, you’re way off base. In the long history of religion vs. science, religion has not won a single battle.

      • M. Noonan April 20, 2013 / 12:09 am

        Rusty,

        The answer to the question posed by theodicy has many different answers, mostly because Catholics have been answering the question for about 2,000 years…seems that each generation comes across the “why is their evil in a universe ruled by a good God?” question as if no one had ever asked it before.

        There are two different kinds of evil we can consider: natural and man-made. Natural is the evil which is, say, an earthquake, while man-made is things like cruelty and murder. The easiest to answer is the man-made: we are creatures of free will which means that we can choose to do evil. As for why God would permit such a thing – God called his creation “good” and so man, as a free-will being, is good – having a free will is in conformity with the will of God, even though a person might abuse their free will and choose to do wrong.

        As for the evil which comes from natural disasters, the world is also “good” per God’s statement and thus it must work the way it works – even though it can cause injury, death and deprivation to men living on the earth. The more we have delved in to the way our world functions, the more clear it is that it has to work the way it does in order to make life possible for us. But we, in our greed and silliness, have made it so that the natural workings of the world have a much worse effect on us than need be. Take, for instance, the Haitian quake a few years back – the massive loss of life was the result not so much of the earthquake, but the incompetence and greedy blindness of the people who run the place. Simple, inexpensive things would have kept the buildings from collapsing…while a more rational economy which had people living more spread out and not crammed in to noisome cities would have also greatly lessened the loss of life.

        But the ultimate answer to both forms of evil is Jesus – who promises us the life of the world to come. You might say, “well, but I don’t believe in Jesus”, and that is your right – but if you are asking me for a justification of my faith, then you have to take all of my faith as it is. My faith tells me that even if a person lives the most miserable three score years and ten here on earth, it is a mere blink of the eye in that person’s actual life and just a little faith in Jesus will provide an eternity of a world where no one is cruel and no natural disasters are possible. To me, the whole problem of evil in the world is a small issue – of course people can be cruel because they are people, and that causes almost all the problems in the world. If everyone would just adopt and rigidly adhere to the 10 commandments (or even Jesus’ sifting them down to 2), then 99.9% of the problems we have would vanish in the blink of an eye.

        Now, as for science supposedly winning all arguments – in what sense do you mean? I suspect it means that “science” wins a fight against straw men – in other words, that “science” will beat the heck out of things Christians don’t actually believe. But, please clarify – give me something which science says which proves an article of Christian dogma is untrue.

      • meursault1942 April 20, 2013 / 1:39 pm

        Well, you certainly moved those goalposts! Rather than belabor that point, though, I’ll simply accept the fact that you didn’t not even try to refute any of the several flaws I pointed out in your contention as an admission on your part that you cannot refute them, and I’ll move on to those recently relocated goalposts, which have come to rest around this point:

        “it is illogical; it is in opposition to Nature; it is not marriage in any rational definition of the word.”

        Why is it illogical? Why is it not marriage? You keep making this assertion, but you never provide any solid support for it. Now’s your chance to do so.

        Remember, though: No appeals to “because God says so,” as you stated above that this is not a theological issue. Also remember that the “because gay couples can’t conceive” argument has been shredded upthread, so that one is out, too. Appealing to tradition is a logical fallacy as well (not to mention factually deficient). So what have you got left?

        I’ll also note that you didn’t actually refute rusty’s points. You merely did what I initially pointed out that you do: You recited dogma and considered that “thinking.” For example: “if you are asking me for a justification of my faith, then you have to take all of my faith as it is.” Once again, you are begging the question.

        And as for this: “Now, as for science supposedly winning all arguments – in what sense do you mean?”

        Well, in the sense that science actually supports its arguments with things like concrete data and replicable results. And, more broadly, there’s the self-correcting nature of science, which is fully lacking in your religious tradition. Your religion merely references its dogma, provides no real support for its conclusions (“because the Bible says so” is not support, it’s just an attempt to shut down inquiry– more of that “obedience and recitation, not thinking things through” trait), and therefore loses when placed in direct conflict with science. Science properly argues; religion merely insists. Science says, “We believe this is correct, and here’s is all the evidence to support that conclusion.” Religion says, “We are correct because we say we are correct.”

      • M. Noonan April 20, 2013 / 3:31 pm

        Meur,

        Talk about goal post moving – you asserted that science wins the argument against religion and when I ask you to provide some thing in science which disproves a dogma I believe in, you go off in a rambling statement about how science is better because it holds to evidence where you allege that religion does not. Actually, religion does use evidence. I’m going to hold you to providing me something which you claims disproves Catholic dogma. Here is the Catechism of the Catholic Church – pick one item and disprove it from science, if you can.

      • rustybrown2012 April 20, 2013 / 5:05 pm

        Mark,

        Your answers are absolutely begging the question and entirely unconvincing to anyone who doesn’t swallow your brand of religious dogma. Your fall-back position is “god says it’s good, therefore it is good”, but surely you must recognize the paucity of this position. By this logic, you would have to accept Islamic terrorists as virtuous warriors, for they would use the exact same argument to justify their actions.

        These beliefs of yours come from the bible and you might have an argument if there were the slightest shred of evidence that the bible is of divine origin, but alas, there isn’t. There are no revelations in the bible that would not have been apparent to the iron-age mortals who wrote it. In fact, the bible contains many embarrassing errors that a bright, 21st. century schoolchild could correct.

        By my morals, any god or mortal who would call the unspeakable horrors that many sentient beings must endure in this world “good” is a monster. Seems like you’re advocating moral relativism, on a divine scale.

        Your appeal to an afterlife of eternal peace is equally unverifiable and unconvincing. This is tantamount to a serial wife abuser saying, in the midst of a beating, “don’t worry, tomorrow I will stop abusing you and we’ll live out our days in domestic bliss”. Should she believe him? By your logic yes, and smile as she awaits the next blow.

        Then you really go off the rails in saying:

        ” If everyone would just adopt and rigidly adhere to the 10 commandments (or even Jesus’ sifting them down to 2), then 99.9% of the problems we have would vanish in the blink of an eye.

        …would this solve devastating birth defects? Would this solve excruciating and debilitating diseases? Would this solve natural disasters that kill and maim innocents by the thousands? Who’s not thinking things through, Mark?

        As for religion vs. science, how about heliocentrism and evolution for starters?

      • M. Noonan April 21, 2013 / 9:49 pm

        Rusty,

        If you consider my answer to the question of why evil in the world to be weak then I can only say that at least it isn’t as weak as the evolutionist answer. Those who subscribe to unguided evolution – that things happened entirely on their own – cannot explain why, if fitness is the natural criteria, men should have evolved being capable of evil. Evil doesn’t work. Its stupid. Its counter productive. It doesn’t even serve properly passions of lust and greed. All human beings will always get more out of life by being kind and generous and honest – but we all of us are unkind, selfish and liars, at least at times. If evolution fully explains why we’re here then it must have an explanation for why we’re stupid enough to do evil – of course, it doesn’t have an answer, because the answer to evil is not to be found in biology. My answer is weak? At least it isn’t non-existent…and by its non-existence directly contravening my core belief.

        As for heliocentrism – it is clear from the very fact that you bring it up that you have not looked in to what happened regarding that debate. Once you have, you can ask me about it – but once you have, you’ll also not have anything to ask me about. Do keep in mind that a great deal of the criticism of Christianity in general – and Catholicism in particular – is based upon a false understanding of what Christians and Catholics have done and believed.

      • meursault1942 April 22, 2013 / 1:18 am

        No, Mark, you’re moving the goalposts yet again. Just look back over the thread: You made a contention that orthodox Catholicism indicated “thinking the matter through” and not recitation and obedience. I pointed out several glaring flaws with your contention, and you could not refute my points, so you conceded them as you moved the goalposts to a statement that gay marriage is “illogical.” Once again, when pressed, you could not respond, so you conceded that argument and moved the goalposts again to a claim that “religion uses evidence.”

        So I will once again ask: How so? Remember: Simply citing your dogma is not using evidence, so what evidence does religion use? In particular, what evidence does religion use that science does not? Please don’t move the goalposts again; you’ve already done that more than enough, especially for a person who claims to want debate.

        And as far as things you believe due to your religion that have been disproven, well, the three most obvious ones are:

        1) The virgin birth is not possible.

        2) Resurrection is not possible.

        3) There’s the matter of that story wherein:
        a) the entire world was flooded for 40 days (no evidence of this)
        b) a man built a moderately-sized boat that was somehow able to hold two of every type of animal in the world–not just those from his location, but from across the globe, which were somehow brought to him
        c) these animals all survived these conditions for 40 days
        d) none of the predatory animals ate their natural prey
        e) after 40 days, these animals exited the boat, went back from whence they came, and rebuilt their population.

        The irony here is that all your goalpost-moving to avoid having to face the truth merely proves my original contention that what you call “thinking things through” is really just rote recitation and obedience to dogma. When forced to think things through for real, you find yourself unable to refute proper arguments; you have to rely on fallacies, excuses, and goalpost-moving. So you did get one thing right based on your performance in this debate: You are indeed defenseless here against a logical argument which proves you wrong.

      • rustybrown2012 April 22, 2013 / 5:40 pm

        Mark,

        You have some misconceptions about the nature and scope of evolution. For one thing, fitness is indeed a criteria for a species survival, but this doesn’t mean that there can’t exist natural characteristics detrimental to a species well being. Our appendix appears to be one of them; an organ vestige of apparently little or no value, ruptures have killed incalculable numbers. Likewise, the proximity of our esophagus to our windpipe is an example of exceedingly bad design resulting in untold millions of choking deaths. Doesn’t have to be this way; dolphins for instance have evolved completely separate tubes for breathing and eating. Evolution in no way posits that all beings are PERFECTLY adapted, and nature is riddled with behavioral and design flaws, many of which are actually evidence FOR evolution. There are plenty of examples of evolutionary vestiges which serve no purpose, and can even be detrimental, yet persist because they pose no serious threat to reproductive success and the passing on of genes. The real nail in the coffin of your argument here is that in SPITE of evil, man has flourished into a dominant species of the planet, the global apex predator with booming populations! Nope, evil is not a problem for the theory of evolution.

        Secondly, evolution is traditionally much more concerned with the development of the physical rather than the behavioral characteristics of life. To be sure, the theory of evolution is extremely valuable in figuring out why creatures behave as they do, but this is most often addressed in the offshoot field of behavioral ecology. In any case, no natural science has claimed to have solved a human characteristic as broad as “evil”, nor is there any conflict with those sciences if they fail to do so. The term “evil” is so general, elusive, and open to interpretation that it’s answer traditionally falls to philosophy and religion. Which brings us full circle to the problem of theodicy. As I’ve explained above, “evil” presents no problem to the theory of evolution, yet poses insurmountable contradictions to the catholic belief of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenelovent divine being. Ball is in your court, and your return serve is very weak indeed.

        As for heliocentrism, my contention is that the bible and the church embraced the earth as the unmovable center of the universe, science corrected them, and after much initial pushback, the church
        cried uncle, and science wins. Same with evolution. Do you refute this?

      • rustybrown2012 April 22, 2013 / 5:55 pm

        Meursault,

        You make some excellent points and present them well. At least on this issue, we seem to be of the same mind. Cheers! For someone who cried “en garde!”, Mark’s sword seems to be quite dull!

      • meursault1942 April 24, 2013 / 1:15 am

        It’s a shame that Mark’s bluster turned out to be mere bravado, but it is rather humorous to note that while he kept accusing liberals of “running away from arguments” and such, the only ones who ran away from arguments in this thread were conservatives: Amazona, Retired Spook, and Mark himself with his endless goalpost-moving. So it goes.

      • M. Noonan April 24, 2013 / 10:13 pm

        Meur and Rusty,

        Sorry, have been working on other things and neglected this thread:

        Short answer – Rusty, evil is stupid and works gravely against human survival, and yet we have it. If we evolved to be fit to survive, we’d become less evil over time. I refer you to GULAG and Auschwitz. If anything, we do more evil these days than ever before – and as population is starting to decline, you can’t even hold that we’ve assured our dominance of the planet.

        As for the heliocentric thing – it wasn’t the Church holding the sun as the earth as the center, but Science. That was accepted science – consensus; settled science, if you will. Gallileo found some evidence that it was otherwise but couldn’t prove it and yet decided to print it as fact – and thus got himself in to trouble. Once it was established as a scientific fact that the sun was the center, the Church made no objections to it because what is true can never contravene Catholic teaching.

        Same thing with evolution – as a theory that says a certain positive thing can develope over time in to a different, positive thing, the Church raises no objection. It still isn’t a proven fact, but it is unimportant as far as Christian belief goes – 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. God may as well have done it that way as another. What the Church objected to – and still objects to – is any theory which says that God had no hand in creating life (or, indeed, matter) or those perversions of Darwinism fashionable in the last 19th and early 20th centuries which essentially held that only the strong may survive. The only people who think evolution crucial are those who laughably believe that evolution is in conflict with Church teaching.

      • rustybrown2012 April 25, 2013 / 1:22 pm

        I take exception to the notion that we have more evil these days than ever before, but that aside, you’re still displaying a misunderstanding of the process of evolution. As I explained above, a creature’s evolutionary “fitness” does not require perfection, merely a chance to pass on its genes. Read that last sentence again and if you have a problem with it, explain – because that concept is at the heart of this issue. As a SPECIES, evil simply does not work “gravely” against our survival.

        “If we evolved to be fit to survive, we’d become less evil over time.”

        No, we wouldn’t. If evil is not putting a crisis point strain on the human population, there is no reason for natural selection to weed it out, or even lessen it. I’m repeating myself, but natural selection admits all varieties of stressful traits and conditions on a species, as long as it doesn’t strain the species ability to propagate.

        Your examples of Auschwitz and Gulag actually prove this point. As horrible, evil and destructive those events were to human beings, did they in any way threaten our extinction as a species? Not by a million miles! Therefore, their evil was of no consequence to our evolutionary process. Human beings continued their global propagation with nary a blip. Do you understand now? If you respond, please respond to this and not just repeat “evil=bad”.

      • rustybrown2012 April 25, 2013 / 1:52 pm

        As for Galileo,

        Your should really read historical accounts that aren’t written by revisionist church apologists.

        “Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy,” namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the center of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to “abjure, curse, and detest” those opinions.[38]
        He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition.[39] On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.
        His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.[40]”

        …sure sounds like a whole lotta perecutin’ goin’ on! Unfortunate for Galileo and for science and human knowledge, for who knows what was lost to the world by having one of the most brilliant scientific minds of all time entrammelled for decades with defending himself against the ignorance of religion. But per my original point, science wins in the end, as it always has and will when in conflict with religion.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair#Modern_Catholic_Church_views

      • rustybrown2012 April 25, 2013 / 3:43 pm

        Concerning evolution,

        Well, although the church hasn’t shamed itself as thoroughly as it did with Galileo, it is accurate to say that the relationship between the church and the theory of evolution is a bit strained. That the theory hasn’t resulted in official condemnation is entirely the result of the churches endless ability to equivocate its holy book; when science proves a part of the bible nonsense the church cries “allegory!”. Science is continuously disproving the veracity of the bible and all the church can do to defend itself is cry “well it wasn’t meant to be taken literally!” Imagine what the world would be like if you could to do this in any other field of human inquiry –

        “Mr. Scientist, samples have proven that our moon is not made of Limburger as you’ve written.”

        Scientist: “Well, I didn’t mean that literally!”

        “Oh, OK then, you’re writings on the subject are still valid and important.”

        The main thing is, since the theory of evolution, science has been able to substantiate its claims and steadily continues to do so. As for any differences or exceptions the church has with the theory, they have not come close to proving a single one.

        I think it’s worthwhile to note the steady rejection of the proven tenets of evolution by the religious in our society, and currently on this very blog. Ama, and I’m sure others, doesn’t accept proven speciation and common ancestry. You yourself maintain that man is not an animal against irrefutable scientific evidence that we are.

      • M. Noonan April 25, 2013 / 10:49 pm

        Rusty,

        Ah, but evil is tipping us over in to a position where the survival of the species is in question. Take a look at Russia, for instance – suffering under evil the longest, it was also the first major nation to tip over to population decline in modern times. The Russian government is desperately trying to get Russians to breed – but the urge to do so has been burnt out of them…by GULAG, as it were. All around the world as people move away from Christianity – and thus towards more evil modes of living – fertility rates crater. Within a few decades, global population will start to decline. Already, many major, industrialized nations are in population decline…and the population experts don’t see a way out of it…that is, they don’t see how population can ever recover. I do, of course – as people return to Christ, they will start acting like rational, human beings, again. But the main thing for our argument here is that evil is causing us to kill ourselves off – after all this evolution, we are, as it turns out, unfit to survive and our unfitness comes from the fact that we have become WORSE as time has gone on.

        That aside, your fundamental problem as regards the Church is that you ask the enemies of the Church to teach you about the Church. Might as well as the Poles to tell you about the Russians – you might get some true bits of information, but you won’t get a true picture, overall, because the Poles are incapable of a dispassionate look at the Russians. Only people on the inside who have both great honesty and great love for the thing being described can tell you the full truth about it – unless and until you start asking orthodox Catholics about the Church, you’ll keep believing silly nonsense like the story of the Church being opposed to science.

      • rustybrown2012 April 26, 2013 / 12:05 pm

        Mark,

        I must admit to being a bit taken aback by the eccentricities of your opinions.

        First, you’ve shifted the goalposts. You seem to have conceded the point that there is no conflict between the theory of evolution and the existence of evil, for now you are saying that evil may be a problem for our species in the future rather than evil would not currently exist if the theory of evolution were true. These are, obviously, two radically different suppositions.

        As to your new supposition that evil will eventually eliminate our species – perhaps. I’ve often thought that some kind of man-induced calamity, whether it be plague, nuclear winter, or simply the irreversible destruction of our environment, will be our eventual downfall. And this would not contradict evolution in any way, if fact, it’s a major component of the theory: Traits or conditions which are harmful to a species will threaten a species survival if they reach a crisis point unless that species adapts. Examples include the many varieties of flightless birds which have gone extinct in closed environments such as islands. The lack of flight was of no consequence to these happy creatures for centuries, but introduce a population of weasels to the island and bye bye birdie.

        But are you seriously arguing that population decline is a hazard to our survival? That’s preposterous. For one thing, global population predictions are still rising, not falling. The fact that some countries are experiencing decline may be bad for those countries, but completely insignificant to our survival as a species. In fact, I would guess our population could withstand to lose many billions and our survival would not be threatened – the loss might even benifit our species. I am interested in your sources for hazardous population decline.

        Lastly, I am not getting my information from “enemies of the church”, I’m getting my information from history. My links and quotes were from Wikipedia, and those articles were thoroughly sourced from official church writings. So in essence, yeah, I’m getting my information from the church.

        Mark, I really don’t mean this as a slam, but I think you’re seriously misinformed on all of these issues we’re discussing. You just really don’t have any valid, or even compelling arguments to present. If you want to fall back on the strength of your personal faith and convictions, that’s fine – to each his own. But you constantly claim that facts and evidence are on your side, and that’s just not the case.

      • M. Noonan April 26, 2013 / 1:50 pm

        Rusty,

        You’re missing the point – and that is probably my fault as I’m not as good a writer as I should be. But to clarify, it is by your own terms that you can’t explain evil. By my terms, it is entirely understandable – the human soul is specially created by God for each, individual human being and this soul has free will…which includes the freedom to choose to do evil. By your standards – either no God or at least no God who intervenes in the course of actions – there is no explanation for the existence of evil. It should, in your world, be bred out as time goes on because evil always fails – 100% of the time, it never works. It destroys those who practice it. It in no way, shape or form assures itself of passing on to the next generation. And yet we have it – and, as I assert, have it even more now than we did before. Never in the most bizarre insanities of a Nero do we have rulers who have carried out the wickedness of rulers over the past century – on both large and small scales of wickedness. Nero never dreamed of arresting the homeless for not sleeping at home (to take as small instance of our modern insanity), nor did Nero ever contemplate exiling whole populations (to take a large example of our modern insanity). Nero, bad as he was, never even remotely approached the evil of either the pettifogging modern social reformer or the likes of a Stalin. I know where it comes from – from the Devil; you have no explanation for it, and by having no explanation for it, you destroy your own position that there is unguided evolution to explain why things are here.

        As for my opinions being odd, that is only because the truth is odd – you, like most people these days, have been fed on a steady diet of lies to the point where truth seems bizarre. I’m writing a book which will come out – hopefully – later this year (not Worst; that is a project I’m working on with Matt and comes out in May) which will start to set things straight. Don’t feel like I’m slighting you on this – even I have been warped by lies, but when the genesis of this book came to me, I started to look carefully over everything and started to pick out the falsehoods we labor under. Its why I’m Distributist; why I’m anti-Capitalist while still remaining anti-Socialist. Essentially, for several centuries now we’ve piled up lie upon lie to the point where hardly anyone can really weave their way through the minefield and come out to a rational point of view – we are unreasonable, in the fullest sense of the word. I am going back to reason – I have found the Truth and it is setting me free.

      • rustybrown2012 April 26, 2013 / 3:43 pm

        Mark,

        Well, we certainly do seem to be at loggerheads. I too, am willing to admit part of the blame may lie with my failings as a writer. Perhaps I’ll try answering point by point for a more conversational style:

        “it is by your own terms that you can’t explain evil. By my terms, it is entirely understandable – the human soul is specially created by God for each, individual human being and this soul has free will…which includes the freedom to choose to do evil. By your standards – either no God or at least no God who intervenes in the course of actions – there is no explanation for the existence of evil.”

        It is true, I can’t explain evil, nor did I ever claim that ability. In science, there are many things for which we have no explanation. Science is a self-refining process. But the beauty of it, unlike religion, is that it will not jump to conclusions without solid evidence. I’ll remind you that your talk of souls, god and free will is begging the original question of theodicy. You’ve only explained evil in terms of your own dogma, without a shred of evidence to back it up.

        As an aside, the term “evil” is a very broad and subjective concept, and for scientific exploration would have to be broken down into specifics. For instance, behavioral anthropologists might tackle the question of “why we lie”.

        (evil) should, in your world, be bred out as time goes on

        No, it should not. I’ve already explained how evil has not been a stress on our species survival up to this point, therefore should not have been bred out or even lessened. If you’re referring to your latest point that it will be a problem for us in down the road, then maybe you’re right – IN THE FUTURE it will either be bred out or we’ll adapt or we’ll go extinct, although not by population decline.

        “evil always fails – 100% of the time, it never works. It destroys those who practice it. It in no way, shape or form assures itself of passing on to the next generation”

        This is sort of an aside, because it’s not really what we’ve been talking about, but I disagree with this. To use your Aushwitz example: you had the innocent Jews in the camps and the evil nazi guards going home to their wives – which of these groups do you think passed on more genes? So seems like evil genes were the biological winners in 1940’s Germany. Now, taken to an extreme, as in a thought experiment, where you had only homicidal maniacs and nazies breeding with each other (I think I’ve got a screenplay!), then yeah, perhaps our time on this planet ends in a bloodbath. But to say that it always fails, never works – nope, not by a long stretch. Did Stalin have children?

        “I know where (evil) comes from – from the Devil; you have no explanation for it, and by having no explanation for it, you destroy your own position that there is unguided evolution to explain why things are here.”

        Well, I think I’ve already effectively rebutted this, but to repeat: there is absolutely zero evidence for the devil so you’re not gonna convince a lotta rational people with that one, and having no explanation for a philosophical concept as vague as “evil” in no way “destroys” or even slightly affects the theory of unguided evolution.

        As far as the consumption of lies, hey, as I said, history is there. Much of it referenced from official church documents. For one example, Galileo was persecuted by the chuch. If that’s a lie, the chuch is lying.

      • M. Noonan April 26, 2013 / 4:12 pm

        Rusty,

        Without a shred of evidence? Goodness, I’ve got all of human history – people can turn to evil, voluntarily, at any time. And they do. They can also turn back from evil and become good. I’m now in the position of Johnson refuting the man who said we can’t prove that anything exists – “I refute it thusly”, and he stamped his foot on the floor. Some times, things are plain as a pikestaff – you’ve allowed yourself to be wound tight in intellectual cobwebs because to unwind them is to see the world as it is.

        Getting back to the Auschwitz example – the German guards did, indeed, go home to their wives and the Jews were massacred…but here’s the thing: Israel has a fertility rate slightly higher than replacement, while Germany’s fertility rate is below replacement. Germany is a dying nation, Israel still lives. Evil did its work in Germany and it didn’t end when Hitler ate a bullet. Germany committed national suicide.

      • rustybrown2012 April 26, 2013 / 4:56 pm

        Mark,

        You’re being obtuse. Nobody is denying that bad things happen, there is ample evidence for that, but that “the devil” is behind it? Uh, ya want to point me in the direction that a fallen angel of god is behind bad events – because I’m open to it. You just can’t do it because the evidence is not there. Plain as a pike staff indeed.

        As far as Aushwitz, I’ve shown you that “evil” genes can sometimes win over bad genes when you said that was impossible. If you think that good will always win out in the end, as you seem to be implying by pointing to the current population rates of both countries, then what is your original problem with evil anyways? And how does that square with your assertion that evil is on the rise? And didn’t you state earlier that a return to Christ would restore flagging populations? Last I checked, isreal is not a Christian nation while christianity is the largest religion in Germany.

        I’m sorry Mark, you’re very confused and all over the map. I’ve tried to answer your assertions very specifically, I think you must admit that. But you simply ignore what is presented to you, change topics, and move goalposts. Sometimes I wonder if you even know your doing it.

      • M. Noonan April 26, 2013 / 5:40 pm

        Rusty,

        Probably not one in ten Germans are actually Christian – meaning they consciously subscribe to the dogmas expressed by the Apostles Creed. Europe ceased being predominantly Christian well more than a century ago. Even once-Catholic stalwarts like Spain and Italy have hardly any genuine Christians living there – though it might be as high as 25% in both those nations.

        If you can’t see the 20th century and understand that we engage in far more evil than ever before, then there’s really not much more for me to say. You’re just willfully blind to things which are plain as day.

      • tiredoflibbs April 26, 2013 / 6:16 pm

        Mark: “Rusty, You’re missing the point – and that is probably my fault as I’m not as good a writer as I should be.”

        No Mark, crusty has a proven, very poor track record at achieving a reading comprehension level to that of an elementary school student.

      • rustybrown2012 April 26, 2013 / 7:00 pm

        Mark,

        Alright, although 62% of Germans are Christian, they aren’t Christian ENOUGH. With almost 88% of Italians catholic, they aren’t catholic ENOUGH. Gotcha. Hard to argue with that logic. Really quite impossible quite frankly.

        And to the question of whether there is more evil now than ever before, well, that really wasn’t the main thing we were talking about is it? If there is more evil now does that solve the problem of theodicy for you? No, it just makes it worse? Not much more for me to say. You’re just willfully blind to the relevant points of our conversation.

      • rustybrown2012 April 26, 2013 / 7:03 pm

        Tired,

        And you have a proven, very good track record of being a deceptive quote miner and a forger.

      • tiredoflibbs April 26, 2013 / 7:27 pm

        Nice try crusty, if you have to lie, at least lie about something you have a shred of hope of proving.

        I did neither and you have not proved any of your accusations. You just can’t handle losing and being caught failing at reading comprehension again.

      • rustybrown2012 April 26, 2013 / 8:28 pm

        Il post this in two links so it doesn’t get stuck in moderation:

        Tired,

        I haven’t proved my accusations? Oh sure I have!

        In case anybody’s lost track, I showed how tired dishonestly quote mined after I questioned him about a quote he provided and he was super reluctant to provide a link in the thread:

        Equanimity, April 25, 2013 10:40 am

        https://blogs4victory.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/equanimity/#comment-71262

      • tiredoflibbs April 26, 2013 / 10:09 pm

        Again, crusty since you are going to lie at least tell one that isn’t so easily exposed as one.

        crusty: “I showed how tired dishonestly quote mined after I questioned him about a quote he provided and he was super reluctant to provide a link in the thread.”

        Uh, no. I told you exactly how to find the quote – if I wanted it kept secret I would not have given you the details. I wanted you to do your own homework.

        You posted exactly the same paragraph I did, with a few extra sentences that were irrelevant. You did not prove anything other than say “look at what I found” no explanation, no proof no nothing.

        And finally, one cannot forge a timestamp on this blog. The 9:12 post was a COPY AND PASTE of the post showing my link I provided to you so you would not have an excuse to cowardly dismiss my claims.

        Your piss poor reading comprehension and lack of attention to details have been your downfall when all this started couple of days ago.

        Now you are relying on pathetic little gotchas (at least you think they are) and bold faced lies to protect your dainty little ego.

        Pathetic, yet typical for a proggy mindless drone.

      • rustybrown2012 April 26, 2013 / 11:26 pm

        “I wanted you to do your own homework.”

        …yeah, like it’s my homework to hunt for your sources. People who have nothing to hide provide their sources upfront.

        I posted your mined quotes in their context which clearly showed that the thrust of the article was quite different from the misleading quotes you mined. It’s all there in black and white; I’m comfortable in people drawing their own conclusions. No explanation needed.

        “And finally, one cannot forge a timestamp on this blog. The 9:12 post was a COPY AND PASTE of the post showing my link I provided to you so you would not have an excuse to cowardly dismiss my claims.”

        Yeah, only the post you claimed to have posted was not posted! It only showed up within your 9:12 post claiming you had posted it. See, like this:

        “Hey guys, look at this time stamp!

        September 4, 3000 bc at 3:20 am
        I’m in ancient Egypt!”

        …see how easy that was? If you say you posted at the alleged time stamp, why didn’t it show up anywhere as a post with that time stamp, Einstein?

        Again, I’ll leave it to the discriminating reader to determine whether your a quote mining liar!

        No more name calling. Enough is enough. //Moderator

      • M. Noonan April 27, 2013 / 2:26 am

        Rusty,

        Well, that is just Biblical, as my Evangelical brothers and sisters would put it – not everyone who calls Jesus, Lord, will be found to be followers of Christ on the Last Day.

        I’d guess that only about half of the Catholics in the United States could be considered truly Catholic – subscribing not just to the Creed, but also understanding such things as the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and so forth. Its just a fact of life – a large number of people who are born Christian have not been well-instructed in the faith. In the practical, day to day living they are nearly as pagan as the out-and-out unbelievers in the world. They get divorced, use birth control, participate in abortion, don’t confess their sins – they might show up at Church from time to time and even pray a bit, but their attachment to what Christianity really teaches is nominal, at best. It is still to be hoped that salvation will be theirs – but to consider such people to be truly Christian is to assert that Christianity is meaningless. We really don’t get to decide for ourselves what being a Christian is – it is a set of hard and fast beliefs which are obligatory upon anyone who wishes to be a follower of Christ.

        Being baptized and attending Church from time to time is important, but not absolute the crucial identifiers for Christian belief. In a very real sense, I’ve only been making a genuine effort to take up my cross and follow Christ for about 7 or 8 years. I look at my past and stand amazed that a dozen years ago I considered myself Christian, when I hardly gave Our Lord a thought in the course of any given day. Its not at all easy to be Christian – as has been said, it hasn’t been tried and found wanting, its been found difficult and not tried.

      • tiredoflibbs April 27, 2013 / 7:34 am

        crusty: “If you say you posted at the alleged time stamp, why didn’t it show up anywhere as a post with that time stamp, Einstein?”

        It did fool. Did you look through the entire thread? Again, the requirement for attention to detail is a bar too high for you to even attempt to reach.

        crusty: “I’m comfortable in people drawing their own conclusions.”

        Sadly, for you, you cannot reach conclusions when empirical evidence is presented to you. There’s your weakness at reading comprehension, which has risen up to bite you on your @ss again! Plus, you cannot think outside of your little ideological box. You cannot even see the timestamp on a post, for when it proves you wrong, you have to go in full denial mode to protect your dainty little ego. Or is it just simple lying? How can anyone expect you to draw conclusions from several of my posts that prove your talking points wrong. You have locked on your “quote mining” theme (picking fly-sh!t out of pepper) and fail to grasp that other posts I presented back up each other. If you were comfortable with people drawing conclusions, you would not be flailing around posting little snippets from blogs and presenting faulty data.

        And you wondered why Spook accurately said that your posts make you the fool each and every time.

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 9:45 am

        crusty: “If you say you posted at the alleged time stamp, why didn’t it show up anywhere as a post with that time stamp, Einstein?”

        It did fool. Did you look through the entire thread? Again, the requirement for attention to detail is a bar too high for you to even attempt to reach.

        … OK, if it’s there then prove it – link to it. Past a link to that exact post. Hmmm, tired is reluctant to post a link to back up his claims. Haven’t we been down this road before? Yes we have, and we all know what it means – tired is lying AGAIN.

        Yes we have been down this road again and when your posts are nothing but attacks and insults they will be deleted. If you want to make rules for a blog then you can start your own blog but you have no authority here. // Moderator

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 9:54 am

        It has happened before and it will happen again. When the whole discussion has disintegrated into you doing nothing but attacking and insulting, you will be deleted. You have made your contempt for conservatives clear. You do not get to post posts that are nothing but insults about conservatives. If you have something to say you can say it but this blog is not just a place for you to exhibit your hatred. You also do not make the rules for the blog so you can stop acting like you do. //Moderator

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 10:04 am

        Mark,

        Well, I guess we’ve come full circle: the answer according to you is Christian fundamentalism.

        I was under the impression that this is what you set out to defend, not merely repeat. I remain unconvinced, and note that you’ve stopped addressing the specific arguments in my posts. A I said, to each his own.

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 10:19 am

        Moderator,

        Are you kidding me? Tired wasn’t even a part of the discussion before he jumped in out of nowhere and posted (in its entirety):

        Mark: “Rusty, You’re missing the point – and that is probably my fault as I’m not as good a writer as I should be.”

        No Mark, crusty has a proven, very poor track record at achieving a reading comprehension level to that of an elementary school student.

        …what was the point of that post? Seems like pure “attacking and insulting” to me, and to any fair minded reader. At least my deleted post had a point – that honest, confident debaters provide sources.

        You’ll note that the conversation was quite civil before tired showed up.

        No, the deleted post was full of name calling and insults. Like all other deleted posts, it was not removed because of disagreement with a point of view but because it was nothing but personal attacks and insults. You want to dictate the terms of the blog and decide what other people must and must not do but you have no authority here and this is not your call. Attacking others because they do not follow your personal set of rules is not allowed. //Moderator

      • tiredoflibbs April 27, 2013 / 10:41 am

        crusty: “Hmmm, tired is reluctant to post a link to back up his claims. Haven’t we been down this road before?”

        Yes we have and again you are too cowardly to do your own work for fear of being proven wrong again. If you would take the time and do your proper due diligence and pay attention to detail you would not look the fool that Spook accurately asserted.

        Now enjoy your crow:

        https://blogs4victory.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/equanimity/#comment-71285

        Not having the exact link gives you excuse (at least in your mind) to ignore anything you don’t like or agree with. Imagine if you had done your own homework, your dainty little ego would have been preserved.

      • tiredoflibbs April 27, 2013 / 10:54 am

        crusty: “Tired wasn’t even a part of the discussion before he jumped in out of nowhere…
        …what was the point of that post?”

        Not out of nowhere, following along an entire thread (something you lack). My post was directed to Mark and Mark alone.

        Let me explain it to you since you have a severe deficiency at reading comprehension. Mark was going in circles with you and your ever changing posts. Mark nails you on the topic and you predictably jump to something else. You know moving the goal posts. Mark assumes that he failed at communicating his ideas. But, of course, it was not his fault. It is the typical lefty tactic of the artful dodge. I was setting Mark straight and revealing your intentional tactics and flaws.

        It is a proven fact that you cannot comprehend the written word. You make claims as to what I, Amazona, Spook, Mark, etc. etc. have said that are simply not true. You lie about my posts and you don’t expect me to call you on it? Maybe in crusty’s land of make believe it works that way.

        Now in typical lefty fashion, you whine when you attack others. Remember you said that if one was to respond with attacks alone then one has lost the argument.

        By your own standards, you lost the argument. Get over it.

      • M. Noonan April 27, 2013 / 11:27 am

        Rusty,

        I figure I’ve done more answering – for you, your “answer” to why evolution allows increasing evil is to say “evolution isn’t about that”. Either we are fully the product of what went before or we’re not – I don’t believe we are while you appear to subscribe to such a view. I’m still waiting for lots of answers from you regarding points I’ve made.

      • tiredoflibbs April 27, 2013 / 12:15 pm

        Mark (to crusty): “I’m still waiting for lots of answers from you regarding points I’ve made.”

        Mark, don’t hold your breath. Sadly, when cornered, rusty’s tactic is to dodge, change the subject or pretend it was never said. I am surprised that he hasn’t pulled the “I’ll disregard claims to fact and quotes as pure fabrication if not accompanied with direct links.” ploy with you yet. He will do anything to avoid answering direct questions.

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 2:35 pm

        Mark,

        What answers are you waiting for? Aside from appealing to your own dogma, you’ve answered absolutely nothing. I’ve already described in detail how evolution tolerates flaws all the time and how evil (at least to this point in history) is far from a fatal flaw to our species, therefore evil presents no problem to the theory of evolution. What contention do you have with this? Here, I’ll post those points again and ask again what answer are you waiting for?

        “… a creature’s evolutionary “fitness” does not require perfection, merely a chance to pass on its genes. Read that last sentence again and if you have a problem with it, explain – because that concept is at the heart of this issue. As a SPECIES, evil simply does not work “gravely” against our survival.

        “If we evolved to be fit to survive, we’d become less evil over time.”

        No, we wouldn’t. If evil is not putting a crisis point strain on the human population, there is no reason for natural selection to weed it out, or even lessen it. I’m repeating myself, but natural selection admits all varieties of stressful traits and conditions on a species, as long as it doesn’t strain the species ability to propagate.

        Your examples of Auschwitz and Gulag actually prove this point. As horrible, evil and destructive those events were to human beings, did they in any way threaten our extinction as a species? Not by a million miles! Therefore, their evil was of no consequence to our evolutionary process. Human beings continued their global propagation with nary a blip. Do you understand now?”

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 2:50 pm

        Tired,

        So it would appear you did not forge the time stamp, I stand corrected. Though I’ll point out in my defense that when having a discussion with someone in a thread it’s customary to post to that person, uh, IN THAT THREAD. What’s next, you post on another blog and I’m supposed to “do my homework” and find it?

        This of course does nothing to change the fact that you deceptively quote mined:

        https://blogs4victory.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/equanimity/#comment-71262

        …and to your constant bleats of “I win”, “you’ve been proven wrong”, “you lose” and like puffery – when someone repeatedly makes such empty boasts they betray a distinct lack of confidence in their own arguments or, at the very least, a massive inferiority complex.

        For my part, I’m comfortable letting my arguments stand for themselves.

      • tiredoflibbs April 27, 2013 / 2:58 pm

        crusty: “when someone repeatedly makes such empty boasts they betray a distinct lack of confidence in their own arguments or, at the very least, a massive inferiority complex.”

        Oh the irony! Empty boasts? Lying again there crusty. My “boasts” were backed up with empirical evidence. You just had simple denials and disregarded my posts that proved you wrong. You only pointed to something you thought gave you a “gotcha” moment. You failed each and every time.

        crusty: “For my part, I’m comfortable letting my arguments stand for themselves.”

        Oh, just like the “you are a time stamp forger” argument?

        You should quit while you are ahead before you make yourself a bigger fool than before.

      • M. Noonan April 27, 2013 / 3:01 pm

        Rusty,

        So, your answer is “evolution explains everything that I say it explains and it certainly knocks religion in to a cocked hat; whatever it doesn’t explain is irrelevant, so please stop bringing it up”.

      • tiredoflibbs April 27, 2013 / 3:04 pm

        crusty: “So it would appear you did not forge the time stamp, I stand corrected. Though I’ll point out in my defense that when having a discussion with someone in a thread it’s customary to post to that person, uh, IN THAT THREAD.”

        It would appear? It is a fact, a fact your lack of reading comprehension failed to grasp.

        “Though I’ll point out in my defense..” you have no defense. The reason goes back to my previous sentence. How many times have you posted here and the post appears at the bottom of the thread?

        Again, attention to details and being thorough in reading and searching are your downfalls.

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 3:41 pm

        So, your answer is “evolution explains everything that I say it explains and it certainly knocks religion in to a cocked hat; whatever it doesn’t explain is irrelevant, so please stop bringing it up”.

        Well, I stand by my explanation for how evolution works. When in conflict with religios tenets, yes evolution wins every time. But I never said what it doesn’t explain is irrelevant, just that it’s not in the purview of evolution to explain it. I’ve shown how the problem of evil and evolution are in no conflict, and apparently you have no further rebuttal that it is. Theodicy is YOUR problem, because you insist there is a omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenelovent creator; the theory of evolution makes no such grandiose and unsubstantiated claims.

      • M. Noonan April 27, 2013 / 5:01 pm

        Rusty,

        Let me put it to you this way – if evolution only explains how our bodies developed, then that pre-supposes God and the guidance of evolution. You’re trying to have it both ways – that evolution denies God but also leaves massive gaps in the explanation for why we are as we are. It either covers all contingencies, or it doesn’t – and if it doesn’t, then God.

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 5:59 pm

        Mark,

        No, evolution certainly does not deny god. There’s just no evidence for god in the theory. There’s no evidence of Allah, Zeus or unicorns in the theory of evolution either. It simply doesn’t have anything to say about god, Allah, Zeus or unicorns. Why is this so hard for you to understand?

        I mentioned it the first time you brought up evolution: I think you have a serious misunderstanding of the scope and nature of evolution.

        “It either covers all contingencies, or it doesn’t – and if it doesn’t, then God.”

        That’s ridiculous. That is exactly the classic “god in the gaps” argument: “if you can’t explain every single detail of our existence, god must have done it!” – I’m sure if you give that a few moments thought you will realize the paucity of that “logic”.

      • M. Noonan April 27, 2013 / 6:21 pm

        Rusty,

        It is you who say that evolution beats God – in the sense of there being a claim, on your part, that believers have said X and then evolution came along and proved Y. I say no such thing has ever happened – not only has evolution not disproved a single iota of Christian doctrine but, indeed, that it doesn’t even cover some of the basic aspects of life on earth. I’ve merely pointed out to you one of the massive holes in the theory of evolution and your response to that is to pretend the hole isn’t there.

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 6:28 pm

        Mark,

        By the way, your invoking the logical fallacy of the “god in the gaps” argument is also a prime example of how science triumphs over religion. Throughout history, what hasn’t been explained by science has been attributed to god. This would be fine for religion if not for the fact that scientific knowledge is constantly advancing and providing us with real understanding of ourselves and our world and how it all works, while religion is stagnant. Thus, we have many examples of phenomena which use to be attributed to god replaced with rational, natural explanations by way of scientific discovery. Thanks science!

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 6:44 pm

        It is you who say that evolution beats God – in the sense of there being a claim, on your part, that believers have said X and then evolution came along and proved Y. I say no such thing has ever happened – not only has evolution not disproved a single iota of Christian doctrine but, indeed, that it doesn’t even cover some of the basic aspects of life on earth. I’ve merely pointed out to you one of the massive holes in the theory of evolution and your response to that is to pretend the hole isn’t there.
        Mark,

        We posted at the same time, so some of this was covered in my last post but there are plenty of religious assumptions science has disproved. Take evolution, the theory contradicted the bible on the points that man was specially created in god’s image and the Adam and Eve myth, to name just two. Before the theory, Christians took the bible at its word and assumed man was created *poof* just as is – now we know we are descended from common ancestry with primates. Likewise, Adam and Eve becomes an allegory. As I mentioned before, official conflict between evolution and the church is entirely avoided by the churches endless ability to equivocate its foundational holy book.

      • rustybrown2012 April 27, 2013 / 6:45 pm

        Mark,

        I forgot to ask, what exactly is this alleged “massive hole” in evolution?

      • M. Noonan April 27, 2013 / 10:31 pm

        Rusty,

        You must never had read any of St. Thomas Aquinas. There never was a “if we can’t explain it, then its the action of God”, and then retreated from that assertion when people found out how a particular effect was caused. Now that I think about it, you might be getting – rather second hand – a garbled understanding of what Christians believe are “mysteries” of God. We do admit – as any rational being must – that we can’t know the entirety of God nor even the inner essence of something outside of ourselves (I can study a rock to exhaustion but I’ll never know what it is like to be a rock, eg). We also do say that “God works in mysterious ways”, but not in the sense of inexplicable, but in the sense that we don’t know all the varied ramifications of what just happened. I don’t use a “God of the gaps” argument – I doubt that any Christian theologian does, either (I’m not such, but I am familiar with the discipline).

        You see, everything is ultimately under God’s control – whether I can explain it by applying human reason and the scientific method or not. Nothing happens without God either willing it to be, or allowing it to happen. Nothing exists save that God continually wills it in to existence. Getting back to St. Thomas, he knew full well that (a) he didn’t know how everything works, (b) that all visible effects came from some cause which in almost every case could be identified if studied long enough and properly and (c) that all effects ultimately go back to a First Cause which must exist because there can’t be an infinite regression of causes.

        Perhaps you are thinking that science has, say, proved that the Virgin Birth could not be because these days we have detailed knowledge of how pregnancy comes about? Well, St. Joseph didn’t have our detailed knowledge, but he knew how pregnancy came about – a man gets with a woman. But it has been reliably reported to us that in one, particular case there was no sexual act leading to pregnancy. This is what is called a miracle. You say that miracles don’t occur? That science has proven them impossible? If that is the cause, then just imagine me laughing very loudly – not in scorn, but in actual amusement that anyone can believe that science has proved that the super-natural doesn’t exist…how could it? Science can only concern itself with the natural because only the natural can be studied by science. The only way you could prove that the Virgin Birth didn’t happen is to conduct a scientific study of our Blessed Mother – whom I doubt will be available for such scrutiny You lack any evidence that it didn’t happen – you can only assert that it didn’t because it is highly improbable, but then you’re caught on the fact that things which are highly improbable happen all the time.

        Ah, well, it is what it is. You, at this juncture in your life, don’t want to believe – and so you’ll cling to your rags and bones of thought which is absurdly called “rationalist”.

      • Retired Spook April 28, 2013 / 8:12 am

        You, at this juncture in your life, don’t want to believe – and so you’ll cling to your rags and bones of thought which is absurdly called “rationalist”.

        I can’t recall a 10-day-old thread having several dozen new comments as this one has, but I’ve been following it intently. I’m not nearly the student of religion that Mark is, and haven’t felt qualified to join the conversation, but it sounds to me as though it isn’t so much that Rusty doesn’t want to believe as that he doesn’t want to question or challenge WHAT he does believe and finds it easier to merely berate what someone else believes. I’m reminded of a famous quote from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to a nephew:

        Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

      • rustybrown2012 April 28, 2013 / 12:38 pm

        Mark,

        I’ll start by noting that you have not explained the “massive holes” in the theory of evolution that you claim are there. I think I have adequately proved that there is no contradiction between human evolution and the existence of “evil”.

        “There never was a “if we can’t explain it, then its the action of God”, and then retreated from that assertion when people found out how a particular effect was caused. “

        Well, yes there has been. Religious folk don’t come out and say it that way, but what appeared to be mysteries to them has historically been attributed to the work of god – that’s simply a fact. Newton couldn’t explain certain origins and motions of the planets and incorrectly attributed them to the workings of god. Science disproved his hypothesis. I’ve mentioned the fallacious beliefs in Adam and Eve and man specially created in his present form – both were religious assumptions shattered by the theory of evolution.

        “I don’t use a “God of the gaps” argument”

        I must say this reveals a rather astounding lack of self-awareness on your part, for a mere two posts up you did exactly that:

        “(evolution) either covers all contingencies, or it doesn’t – and if it doesn’t, then God.”

        Holy smokes, I could not imagine a more textbook example of “god in the gaps”!

        As far as the virgin birth is concerned, you are being far too generous as to its veracity. I, and many scholars and historians dismiss the outlandish claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, or even just evidence, and the testimony of two ancient religious authors doesn’t cut it. To be sure, I don’t claim that miracles can’t occur or that science has disproven them, I merely require evidence for them. There is no solid evidence that a miracle has ever occurred. There are plenty of things we can’t explain, but no need to attribute our ignorance to the workings of god – that would be a leap unsupported by evidence (god of the gaps fallacy). Really, it’s up to people making extraordinary claims to prove their contentions, not for others to disprove them.

        As I’ve said, you’re entitled to beliefs. But your claims that logic, science, evidence, and critical thinking support your beliefs are untenable. Yours is a belief supported by faith alone and as such must always yield to the objective truths of the actual world, which the scientific method is constantly revealing.

      • rustybrown2012 April 28, 2013 / 12:53 pm

        ” it sounds to me as though it isn’t so much that Rusty doesn’t want to believe as that he doesn’t want to question or challenge WHAT he does believe and finds it easier to merely berate what someone else believes.”

        Spook, I’m open to any claim that can be supported with evidence, how does that make me close-minded? I simply will not accept things on faith. And I’m not “berating” anyone; it was mark’s contention that he could defend his faith from rational arguments. I think he has failed. Pointing out glaring weaknesses in someone’s belief is not berating, it’s pointing out glaring weaknesses in someone’s belief.

        And don’t you think it’s a tad foolish to accuse me of an unwillingness to “question or challenge” my beliefs when in my very last post I specifically ask Mark to challenge me on my beliefs?:

        “Mark,

        I forgot to ask, what exactly is this alleged “massive hole” in evolution?”

        Sheesh!

      • M. Noonan April 28, 2013 / 9:54 pm

        Rusty,

        The massive hole for this argument is that it doesn’t cover all the contingencies of life on earth. We’ll leave aside other glaring holes such as it not explaining how life can rise from lifelessness or how random mutations can possibly be beneficial. Evolution as a concept designed to explain how a positive thing called an ape may over time slowly change in to a positive thing called a man is fine – but it does zero else for explaining things…and it can’t even prove that an ape changed in to a man.

        I don’t claim that God covers the gaps in evolution – I claim that God covers everything. Only God can possibly explain existence, itself. How God decided existence shall function in its natural course of events is something of only passing interest to me – it is mostly unimportant as a matter of study because it doesn’t actually lead anywhere. How a planet formed, for instance, is just about useless knowledge – its not like we’re going to go out and start forming planets. Part of the problem of people these days it that they consider trivialities to be vital – I try to keep things in perspective. More important than discovering another planet is discovering how to alleviate the suffering of one individual here on earth.

        As for miracles – they happen all the time. They are attested to by witnesses, often people of solid scientific background. If you say you won’t believe them because they can’t be replicated, then once again I am laughing with delight – of course you can’t replicate them; only God can. If you won’t take the testimony of thousands of people spread out over thousands of years that things entirely inexplicable by science – even in theory – occur, then that is just a bit of pigheadedness on your part. You want it to be so, and so you’ll hold firm to not believing in them.

      • rustybrown2012 April 29, 2013 / 2:25 pm

        Mark,

        “The massive hole for this argument is that it doesn’t cover all the contingencies of life on earth.”

        …so because it doesn’t explain everything, the theory is fatally flawed. This assumption is absurd; a ridiculously high bar which should not be applied to any science or field of inquiry. Imagine your standard in other sciences: “astronomy cannot give a thorough account for dark matter – to hell with this heliocentrism nonsense!” Earth science fails to explain precisely what happens at the center of the earth – ignore their specious theories of plate tectonics!”

        No Mark, a scientific theory should be judged by what it purports, not by what it doesn’t. So yes, let’s set abiogenesis aside, for evolution makes no definitive claims in that area.

        But beneficial random mutations, ah, that’s in evolutions wheelhouse. First, it’s important to remember that the term “mutation” is neutral, neither good nor bad, but simply refers to changes within an organism. However, the effects of mutations can be detrimental or benificial to an organism. Biologist Jerry Coyne gives a succinct description applied to the polar bear:

        “Suppose, for instance, that the brown-colored ancestors of the polar bear included some carrying mutations in “pigment genes” that gave them lighter coats. These mutant bears would have an advantage: being more camouflaged in the snow than their darker confreres, they’d be able to sneak up on seals more easily and so get more to eat. Because well-fed individuals leave more offspring, over time the bear gene pool would become increasingly enriched in light-color genes. Eventually the species would evolve the familiar white polar bear coat.”

        I’ll add: …and have the ability to expand their hunting territory to colder, snowier regions.

        Now, of course we were not around to thoroughly document the polar bears evolution and migration. But hair color can change with genetic mutation, and we have solid examples of smaller organisms thriving with beneficial mutations in the lab.

        Do we have ironclad proof that man descended from the primate lineage exactly as current evolutionary theory describes? No. What we do have is overwhelming evidence from multiple scientific disciplines that we did. It’s important to remember that evolution is eminently falsifiable (the ability to be proven false is an important quality of a valid scientific theory, a quality religion lacks). Finding a fossilized human in the Cambrian era is one of thousands of examples of discoveries that would turn the theory on its head. Yet for all the advancements in every relevant scientific field over the last century and a half, the theory of evolution has only been strengthened, and mightily so. Take human evolution – we used to only have the fossil record as evidence, until genetics came along. Now, it doesn’t take much imagination to understand how genetics, the study of heredity, could theoretically topple the theory of evolution. But what did we find? Our closest biological cousin by far is the chimpanzee, exactly as evolutionary theory predicted prior to the advent of genetics (the ability to make accurate predictions is also a strong indicator of a theory’s merit, an ability religion lacks). In fact, chimps are more closely related to humans genetically than they are to other apes!

        Let me put it this way: if there is a god, he wants us to believe in evolution. He would be the one who gave us our powerful brains, our ability to reason, and the mountains of evidence which point to only one conclusion – man has evolved from earlier species.

      • rustybrown2012 April 29, 2013 / 3:17 pm

        Mark,

        “I don’t claim that God covers the gaps in evolution – I claim that God covers everything.”

        So you claim that god covers the gaps+everything else, gotcha.

        “Only God can possibly explain existence, itself.”

        Not true. Science may someday explain existence. In the meantime, there is a humble alternative open to everyone : saying “I don’t know”.

        As to miracles, I don’t primarily disbelieve in them because they can’t be replicated (so you can stop laughing), I disbelieve in them because there is no convincing evidence for them. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously prone to error. It’s my opinion that sometime in the future, as forensics and technology advance, we’ll look back on the days of convicting people of grave crimes based on eyewitness testimony as barbaric. Regardless, it’s curious to me that “miracles” always seem to be strange, vague happenings which are unverifiable to modern standards of testing and verification. Seems to me if a supreme, all-powerful being wished to intercede on our humble day-to-day happenings, he would do it in a grand, incontrovertible way, or else why bother making miracles at all? And what’s up with all the parlor tricks? Sun dancing in the sky? Weeping statues? Here’s an idea: how about performing a miracle that truly defies rational explanation, like having all human amputees spontaneously grow back their limbs? Or how about the sudden, spontaneous sprouting of robust, drought-resistant fruit-bearing trees in arid regions with starving populations? Such miracles would rack up scores of converts while alleviating some of the suffering said creator has already bestowed upon us. Those are miracles I could get behind!

      • rustybrown2012 April 29, 2013 / 4:23 pm

        One more thought about miracles, I assume among the multitude of miracles you allege occur are the occasional accounts of sudden healing from a severe illness; such as sudden, unexpected remission from cancer. This has always struck me as an exceedingly odd, actually cruel and fickle form of miracle.

        To wit, the natural analogy of the god to man relationship is the relationship between parent and child (this psychological bond is largely responsible for the whole god concept, I believe). So imagine a father with say, four children, each of whom has a horribly disfiguring cleft palate. The father is very rich with unlimited means and chooses one child to undergo surgery which transforms a once hideous face into that of an angel while leaving the remaining three to their lifelong disfigurements with no explanation. What would you think of such a man?

      • M. Noonan April 29, 2013 / 10:13 pm

        Rusty,

        The bear analogy breaks down at this – a brown bear with one or two white hairs is not going to be any more successful at seal hunting in the snow than a brown bear with no white hairs, at all. For a bear to be better at hunting seals in the snow, he’d have to be white – or at least mostly white – to begin with. To me, the explanation that God wanted some bears to be white and thus ensured (a) they’d be white and (b) could successfully feed makes more sense than supposing a brown bear not only got lucky enough to turn white by random mutation but then got doubly lucky to turn white when it was snowing. To me, if evolution proves anything, it proves God – because the chances of it happening in an unguided fashion are so incredibly small as to be non-existent.

        Now, as for miracles – if God becoming man is not a grand and stunning enough miracle for you, then I don’t know what is. And this leaves aside raising Lazarus from the dead. What you are really saying is that you want a grand and stunning miracle just for you. Well, sorry, God doesn’t work that way – he’s not an on-demand conjurer for your amusement. But plenty of miracles have happened – large and small – and they are happening to this day. Including, of course, the miraculous cures. Your point that God – who can cure everyone immediately if he so willed – doesn’t cure everyone is answered by pointing out that God could, indeed, have created a universe where nothing could ever go wrong…but that would also be a universe without creatures of free will. Your question is that of Job – and you’ll get Job’s answer: where were you when the foundations of the world were laid? You didn’t create the universe and it is not for you – who can only know a tiny amount – to judge whether it is good or bad. Do you see some evil in the world? Then that is supposed to move you to pity and action – to pray for a cure, but also to roll up your sleeves and start working for a cure. What have you done to help a suffering child before you condemn God for not helping? Especially when, after this sparrow flight from the cradle to the grave, we’ll rest in God’s arms – free from all illness and worry?

      • rustybrown2012 April 30, 2013 / 12:26 pm

        Well, you’re displaying some misunderstanding with the polar bear example; 1. we’re not talking about just a few hairs being lighter, but the entire coat. 2. The bears don’t just turn white, but the coat gets progressively lighter over thousands of years. 3. Even if not completely white, a lighter colored bear would indeed have an advantage over a dark bear in a snowy environment; as any military camouflage expert will tell you, camo doesn’t have to be perfect in order to be effective, especially compared to something sticking out like a sore thumb. Picture a black bear next to a light coffee-cream grizzly in the snow + a seal’s poor eyesight. Advantage, grizzly.

        But nevertheless, the polar bear example is far from the most definitive case of mutation and natural selection; it was just an example that came to mind that I thought might spark your imagination – no such luck. Getting back to your original beef, advantageous mutation, there are much firmer examples to study:

        “A well-known example of natural selection in action is the development of antibiotic resistance in microorganisms. Since the discovery of penicillin in 1928, antibiotics have been used to fight bacterial diseases. Natural populations of bacteria contain, among their vast numbers of individual members, considerable variation in their genetic material, primarily as the result of mutations. When exposed to antibiotics, most bacteria die quickly, but some may have mutations that make them slightly less susceptible. If the exposure to antibiotics is short, these individuals will survive the treatment. This selective elimination of maladapted individuals from a population is natural selection.”

        As you can see, those mutations are very advantageous to the bacteria. This next example involves coloration, much like our polar bears:

        “the peppered moth exists in both light and dark colors in the United Kingdom, but during the industrial revolution, many of the trees on which the moths rested became blackened by soot, giving the dark-colored moths an advantage in hiding from predators. This gave dark-colored moths a better chance of surviving to produce dark-colored offspring, and in just fifty years from the first dark moth being caught, nearly all of the moths in industrial Manchester were dark. The balance was reversed by the effect of the Clean Air Act 1956, and the dark moths became rare again, demonstrating the influence of natural selection on peppered moth evolution.”

        There are many other examples. Plants and insects developing resistance to poisons is another prime illustration of natural selection happening in real time. Both of the above come from the excellent Wikipedia page on natural selection:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection#Examples_of_natural_selection

        Your insistence on inserting god into every equation strikes me as antediluvian and quite boring – a classic example of why I and many others find religion so unsatisfying. Rather than follow evidence and utilize your reasoning skills to discover the beautiful and amazing truths of our natural world, the simple phrase “god did it” suffices. This lack of inquisitiveness is depressing, and contrary to what I imagine a creator who supplied us with such powers of reasoning would desire.

      • rustybrown2012 April 30, 2013 / 2:19 pm

        Mark,

        If you are citing Jesus’ divinity and Lazarus’ awakening as proof of miracles then, wow, your standards of evidence are extremely low. I feel confident in saying that most people outside of your faith reject these occurrences as religious superstition just as you reject Hindu mythology. As a rule, it’s a weak and lazy argument that must cite its own sources for evidence, yet you constantly do this. When asked for evidence, you refer to your holy text. When an evolutionary biologist is asked for evidence, he refers not only to “Origin Of Species”, but to every independent scientific discipline which might have a say in the matter.

        And I believe you’re giving scant thought to the theological implications of a god who is selectively interfering with the workings of the world. Many troubling questions are raised: why is god deciding to do miracles? Why has he decided to do this particular miracle instead of others (or: “why did he cure that man and not my child”)? If god is performing miracles, why doesn’t he present ones (just one!) that would be impossible to refute?

        You’ve mentioned Fatima as a miracle before. Picture this scenario: a religious mother watching her all powerful god put on a David Copperfield-esque light show with the sun while her child is suffering from an incurable fatal disease. This makes sense to you? Why?

        Personally, I think you’re on firmer ground sticking with free will and the inscrutable nature of god, for when you admit a god who selectively helps Aunt Bessie with her arthritis while an innocent child is being tortured to death down the block, I think you run into some logical problems.

      • M. Noonan April 30, 2013 / 2:22 pm

        Rusty,

        You’re missing the point – unless the bear spontaneously mutates to be all or mostly white in a climate which advantages such things, the mutation is entirely worthless and, indeed, will work to the bear’s disadvantage. Not only does the bear have to spontaneously mutate to all or mostly white, it has to happen to at least two bears of opposite sex at the same time and in the same location. Now, the fact that we have white and brown bears does indicate the change occurred at some point – but the chances of it happening by purely random chance are so small as to be non-existent. And, so, the only rational position to take is that God willed it to be so.

      • M. Noonan April 30, 2013 / 2:29 pm

        Rusty,

        Nothing is impossible to refute – the Fatima miracle was witnessed by thousands and it is yet refuted. Cures happen at Lourdes all the time, and yet they are refuted. Of course, some refutations are better than others and none of the refutations of Fatima are more rational than just accepting what thousands of people say they saw. But you are determined to believe it didn’t happen.

      • rustybrown2012 April 30, 2013 / 5:10 pm

        You’re missing the point – unless the bear spontaneously mutates to be all or mostly white in a climate which advantages such things, the mutation is entirely worthless and, indeed, will work to the bear’s disadvantage. Not only does the bear have to spontaneously mutate to all or mostly white, it has to happen to at least two bears of opposite sex at the same time and in the same location. Now, the fact that we have white and brown bears does indicate the change occurred at some point – but the chances of it happening by purely random chance are so small as to be non-existent. And, so, the only rational position to take is that God willed it to be so.

        Mark,

        Your still have fundamental misunderstandings; this mutation from brown to white is happening very slowly from one generation to the next. You willfully ignore my point that some camouflage is better than no camouflage in a seal hunt. Those with lighter fur are better able to sup on seals. Thus, they are more successful at breeding and passing on their light colored genes. This process is repeated in the next generation only everybody’s just a tad lighter this time. The process is repeated again and all progeny is even lighter still. And so on until you get all white. While all of this is happening the bear line is either ever moving toward snowier, arctic climates, where there are new, fat seal populations, or the brown bear line was somehow cut off from the forest climate and forced to adapt in its new, white realm. You seem to be stuck in imagining all of this has to happen quite suddenly and only when it’s snowing. No. Climates gradually change; creatures gradually change to adapt. Those that don’t adapt go extinct or are weeded out of the gene pool (in this case, darker bears from our migrating, seal-hunting lineage).

        But forget about bears! I already said this was a relatively speculative example. Any thoughts on those antibiotic-resistant bacteria? They certainly seem to prove advantageous mutation.

      • rustybrown2012 April 30, 2013 / 5:48 pm

        Mark,

        Fatima is a silly hoax/misapprehension. Read about the critical evaluations on the Wikipedia page. Absolutely unreliable evidence. Your bar seems to be quite low for religious miracles yet quite high for accepting scientific facts.

        I notice you’ve sidestepped the question of “why”? And I notice you’ve sidestepped the theological concerns I brought up about a magician god who is tolerant of atrocities and evil.

        And “nothing is impossible to refute”? What nonsense. The number of assertions that can be refuted is endless, or else we wouldn’t be able to exist in our day to day living. I’ll remind you that the biblical assertion of the earth being the unmovable center of the universe was quite easy to refute – with a heapin’ helpin’ of scientific knowledge!

      • M. Noonan May 1, 2013 / 12:38 am

        Rusty,

        And you aren’t understanding that a half brown, half white bear would be at a disadvantage compared to an all brown bear in hunting seals…at least the all brown bear might be mistaken for a rock, or a harmless creature. The half brown, half white bear would stand out way too much. The bear, to be advantaged by white, would have to become immediately all or mostly white, or not advantage, at all, and thus no advantage in passing on white genes.

        As for Fatima – I’ve read the refutations. They are nonsense. Too many people saw the apparitions and too many accurate prophecies were given for it to be a fake. For goodness sakes, the prophecies were given to peasant boys and girls who could not have in any way made them up…think of it; there were various prophecies about the then-infant USSR which the kids had probably never heard of, at all, or had only vaguely heard of.

        And I’ve answered why God doesn’t make everything perfect all at once – he could well do so, but then he’d have made a world of no free will. God wants free will – he wants us to voluntarily turn towards him as he voluntarily made us and loves us. You can say that is bad, I say take it up with God when you meet him – but you’re likely, as I pointed out, to get Job’s answer: where were you when the foundations of the world were laid? It is not for you to complain, but just to do the best you can with what you’re given.

      • meursault1942 May 1, 2013 / 11:09 am

        Well, it appears that saying Mark is using the God of the Gaps argument is giving him too much credit: His argument is God, period, end of story, one gigantic begging of the question, and when he’s reduced to citing alleged “miracles” as proof of his position, it’s safe to say his argument has reached its nadir. Which would also explain his grave misunderstanding of what evolution is and how natural selection works. (Hint, Mark: A mutation does not have to be immediately 100 percent advantageous in order to be passed on to future generations.)

        Your statement that Mark’s bar seems to be quite low for religious miracles yet quite high for accepting scientific facts is correct, Rusty. And let’s not forget that the original contentions–the one Mark seemed so eager to argue but has since run so far from–are that Mark thinks his orthodox Catholicism is “thinking things through,” whereas I claim that it is recitation and obedience. All we’ve seen in this thread from Mark is recitation and obedience. At every juncture where he might be forced to think things through, or merely do something other than blindly accept (and recite) dogma, he turns away and says, “Nope, it just has to be God.” It’s a shame Mark’s initial en garde has turned out to be more of a Count Tyrone Rugen-style turn-and-run.

      • rustybrown2012 May 1, 2013 / 5:04 pm

        Mark,

        You’re either very confused or deliberately pulling my chain. Half brown, half white bear? You do understand we’re talking about gradual change to the entire coat of the bear, right? And you still childishly refuse to recognize the fact that some camouflage is better that no camouflage for hunting; you’re stuck in a simplistic all- or-nothing mode which seems to characterize your thought process in general. Half brown, half white. That’s funny.

        Sill no comment on the antibiotic resistant bacteria? That’s not a surprise, since it knocked down one of your main contentions against evolution.

        Concerning Fatima, you display great gullibility in regards to the predictions. Nothing was revealed but the imagination of a religious zealot. The amount of retrofitting and contorting you have to go through to make the “prophesies” match reality is laughable.

        And finally, I see from your last several posts that you are retreating to the comfortable sanctuary of your faith – the only true refuge you have in a debate such as this one, and you’re welcome to it. It’s a far cry from mounting a defense resting on logic and reasoning, but as I said before, to each his own.

      • rustybrown2012 May 1, 2013 / 5:10 pm

        Meursault,

        Of course, you’re absolutely right. I don’t know if I’ve ever argued with somebody so close-minded before (aside from the other Rhodes Scholars on this blog). Certainy Mark’s way of thinking is the exact opposite of “thinking things through”.

      • M. Noonan May 1, 2013 / 11:04 pm

        Rusty,

        And what you’re not gathering is that a small change in bear’s fur is useless – one or two hairs changing from brown to white would not in any way help a bear, and thus provide no advantage in passing on the start of the brown-to-white mutation. To be worthwhile – and to ensure better chances of gene-passing – it would have to be a massive change. A small mutation is almost certain to be lost in a generation or two as it proves not useful enough in ensuring survival. This is why unguided evolution is such a laughable crock.

      • M. Noonan May 1, 2013 / 11:11 pm

        Meur,

        Yes, it does have to be massive – for the reasons I’ve given. Mutation is supposed to advantage a creature in passing on its genes…but if it isn’t a massive mutation, it would provide no particular advantage. Longer beaked birds can better feed in certain circumstances. Gotcha. Makes all kinds of sense. But it is highly unlikely that unguided evolution would, say, change a beak fro
        m 1 inch to 1.5 inches in one generation, and just at the right time for having the longer beak become useful. Meanwhile, changing it from 1 inch to 1.001 inch wouldn’t be particularly advantageous.

        Trust me on this one, guys, I’m highly familiar with the theory of evolution. I grew up around it. My mother wrote a whole book about it. I’ve no problem with species changing in to different species – but statistically its just about impossible for it to happen unguided even once – but even supposing you get that once, the chances of it happening a second time become vastly more improbable than it happening the first time. That a single celled organism changed over time in to me typing on a computer and a whale swimming in the ocean is just a trillionth of a hair away from impossible – far more improbable than, say, God having a virgin give birth.

      • meursault1942 May 2, 2013 / 10:38 am

        “Trust me on this one, guys, I’m highly familiar with the theory of evolution.”

        Actually, your comments in this thread indicate that you are not familiar with the theory of evolution at all and, even worse, that you don’t want to be familiar with it because then you would have to confront the frailty of your own argument. Your arguments against evolution belie a profound lack of understanding of what it is, what it does and does not say, how the process of natural selection works, etc. (Please re-read the hint I gave you above; it’s an important concept you don’t seem to understand…but perhaps that’s intentional on your part, as I mention below.) Instead, you construct straw men that clearly demonstrate this lack of understanding, then go after those straw men with weak arguments.

        Some of that is understandable. Evolution can be fairly complicated, and you are one who prefers the easy route: Just shrug, say, “God,” and consider the matter done.

        But some of it is also just lack of thinking. And that intellectual laziness, as you’ll recall, is the original argument here, and no matter how much you try to run from it, there it is, undermining you at every turn. So you’re left making wildly off-base claims about natural selection on the one hand, and on the other hand claiming that alleged “miracles” are iron-clad proof that your dogma is correct.

      • rustybrown2012 May 2, 2013 / 2:35 pm

        Mark,

        Meursault is correct, you don’t have a clue about the process of evolution and given your obstinance, this seems unlikely to change. You’re mulishly repeating the same misunderstandings that I clearly corrected you on earlier.

        Your understanding of evolution is simply laughable, and your insistence that only “massive” change can confer an advantage to a species is ridiculous. Take your beak example: you seem to be implying that somehow, a new generation of birds with longer beaks will emerge at just the right time to take advantage of a new food source which would have been unreachable with the old, shorter beak. Do I have that right? This is a child’s view of evolution. Have you ever read a book about evolution?

        Not only are you proudly displaying your ignorance about evolution, you also reveal a fundamental misunderstanding of the scientific process by constantly inserting god into the equation. Here’s a clue: in scientific (or even just logical) reasoning, you never come closer to the truth by inserting an unknown, untestable variable into the equation (in this case, the variable you’re inserting is unknowable as well!). That’s why your declaration “the only rational position to take is that god willed it to be so” is so misguided. For Pete’s sake, you don’t even have a grip on what “rational” means! Reminds me of this cartoon (back to the drawing board for you!):

        http://star.psy.ohio-state.edu/coglab/Miracle.html

      • tiredoflibbs May 2, 2013 / 6:47 pm

        “…you don’t have a clue about the process of evolution…”

        Process? I wasn’t aware that it was a PROVEN and observed process! I missed the scientific journal expounding on the principles of the LAW OF EVOLUTION.

        So, they have traced man or animal or insect all the way back to the early microbes? Millions of years of documented observations into the law of evolution! No gaping holes?

        Amazing!

      • M. Noonan May 2, 2013 / 8:16 pm

        Rusty and Meur,

        I think your largest problem here – other than an obstinate desire that God not be involved – is that you don’t know what “probability” means. Given what we know of genetics it is entirely plausible that the genes of a particular creature – mixed oddly in the joining of the parents – could be changed. They could mutate, as it were. What you’re missing is that the chances of it happening are extraordinarily small. Vastly smaller than that is the change being noticeable (first, though, realizing that it has to be a change which doesn’t kill the creature). Vastly smaller than that is the change being usable. And vastly smallest of all is the chance that this change will be of a nature to advantage the creature over others of the same species. And this calculation of probability only accounts for it happening once. For the second such event, the chances become gigantically smaller. For unguided evolution to be true, this stupendously improbable series of events – which have to work just right – has to have happened billions of times; perhaps even trillions (it would take a mathematician and a lot of computing power to figure it out). And all of this pre-supposes self-replicating life and, indeed, matter, itself; neither of which can be even remotely explained by science.

        I know God exists for the simple, rational reason that there has to be a source for everything and yet we cannot have an infinite regression of sources. There has to be an ultimate source – and given the nature of things, it has to be a source which is outside the universe (this is another concept you materialists don’t understand – God doesn’t live inside his creation – true, he is everywhere present, but he is not contained within the creation, nor limited by it). The problem here is not an argument between two questioning liberals and one dogmatic Catholic, but between a Catholic who has dared to ask the fundamental questions and two liberals who resolutely refuse to believe a question even exists.

      • rustybrown2012 May 2, 2013 / 11:04 pm

        Mark,

        It’s quite apparent you don’t know what you’re talking about – you certainly don’t understand the fundamentals. Let me ask you this: you seem quite certain of your notions about mutations, probability and the like – from where are you drawing your knowledge? Are there any particular well-respected tomes of evolutionary biology that you draw your conclusions from?

        You’ll notice I often supply links which back up my claims with credible sources. Indeed, all of my assertions about the theory of evolution can be readily verified by cracking open a quality biology textbook. In the spirit of scholarly discourse, please share some citations which support your opinions.

        “this is another concept you materialists don’t understand – God doesn’t live inside his creation – true, he is everywhere present, but he is not contained within the creation, nor limited by it.”

        Ooooo! Strong assertions! Yeah, we materialists just don’t understand such things. Such certitude. But let me ask you, how do you know this? What objective source backs up this claim? Could it be….the bible? But we all know the bible is riddled with factual errors a modern child would be embarrassed to make – why should we trust it with our most pressing questions of existence?

        “The problem here is not an argument between two questioning liberals and one dogmatic Catholic, but between a Catholic who has dared to ask the fundamental questions and two liberals who resolutely refuse to believe a question even exists.”

        No Mark, we’re asking the same questions. We’re just not willing to sacrifice our reasoning to iron-age mythologies. Unlike the insecure religious, we have the humility to say “I don’t know”.

      • M. Noonan May 2, 2013 / 11:56 pm

        ROFL – “iron age mythologies”!!! Tell you what, I’ve cracked open “Uncommon Dissent” and “From Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again”, and I dare say you never have…and I won’t even challenge you to take a stab at the Summa. I’ll bet money you have never opened a book which actually questions assumptions in your life.

      • rustybrown2012 May 3, 2013 / 1:33 am

        Mark,

        I’ve read Aquinas so you would lose that bet. As for the other titles on your reading list, they explain a lot. I’m familiar with Dembski, he’s a notorious intelligent design proponent and an intellectual quack. I’m not as familiar with “From Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again”, but a brief glance seems to indicate that it does not challenge the theory of evolution head-on, but rather rails against overreaching scientists who speculate about a godless universe. Yawn. I’m sure you’re much more comfortable shifting the discussion from scientific fact to the speculative and philosophical. Though it’s interesting you’ve sidestepped my speculative philosophical queries on this very thread.

        But more to the point, theologians and philosophers aside, I was much more interested in your specific claims of probability; you seemed quite convinced of your statistics, which should be measurable. Do you have any biologists to back up your skepticism? Or are your opinions straight out of the Dembski playbook?

      • M. Noonan May 3, 2013 / 10:16 am

        Read Aquinas, again – you clearly missed the point.

      • rustybrown2012 May 3, 2013 / 11:28 am

        Sure Mark, as soon as you read a book about basic biology.

        I must say, you’re getting increasingly adept at ignoring or sidestepping facts and queries which are fatal to your arguments. To wit, I ask you where you’re getting your strong opinions on biology and you refer me to Aquinas.

        There’s been a few developments in the natural sciences since Aquinas’ time – you should look into them.

      • M. Noonan May 3, 2013 / 11:38 am

        Rusty,

        You presume I don’t have a scientific background because I disagree with you. Well, guess what? I have a scientific background. I just followed where the data lead. You haven’t.

      • rustybrown2012 May 3, 2013 / 12:05 pm

        Mark,

        So you have a scientific background yet are extremely secretive of your sources. You know, one of the backbones of science is its transparency. Citing your sources when asked is also standard practice in adult debate. I ask you for the source of your strongly held opinions on genetic probability, and you refer me to a 13th century theologian. ‘Nuff said.

      • meursault1942 May 3, 2013 / 12:07 pm

        “I have a scientific background.”

        And what would this “scientific background” of yours be, exactly? Just reading Dembski and Aquinas?

        Again, it’s quite clear from your postings that you do not have a scientific background. Given the fact that you continue to make the same mistakes (reciting dogma is not thinking, as you’ve conclusively, if unintentionally, proven in this thread), commit the same fallacies (you’ve been begging the question since the beginning), and insist on the same falsehoods (no, Mark, natural selection does not demand that mutations be both massive and immediately 100 percent beneficial in order to be passed on; please stop insisting on lies to the contrary) even after being corrected on them multiple times, one can only conclude that you are remaining ignorant on purpose. You don’t understand how natural selection works because you don’t want to understand how natural selection works; that understanding would only undermine your beliefs. Better to retreat behind comfortable falsehoods.

        So we’re now at the rhetorical version of Upton Sinclair’s quip: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” It is difficult to get you to understand something, Mark, when your entire world view depends on you not understanding it. If you are determined to remain ignorant, nobody can do anything about that. But your determined ignorance will lose you a great many arguments–as you’ve lost this one–because you won’t be able to do much other than, in your own parlance, run away. It’s a pity: For a moment there, I thought you were going to be that rare conservative who actually provides real debate. Unfortunately, such is not the case.

      • M. Noonan May 3, 2013 / 1:09 pm

        I’ve read up on it – heck, it was dinner-table conversation when I was growing up. I know the ins and outs of evolution and a lot of other things scientific, as well. I just never had the discipline to become an actual scientist, such as mom and dad were. I gravitated towards philosophy fairly early on in my adult life and have stuck with it – because it asks the final questions and tries to provide actual answers. Science can only describe how things work, not why they work or why they are here, at all. By cutting yourself off from the philosophical side of it, you’re cutting yourself off from half of the life of the mind. You’re essentially saying that a theory of evolution proves the non-existence of God – sorry, but that intellectual position was demolished more than a century ago. You might want to get with modern thinking, a bit.

      • rustybrown2012 May 3, 2013 / 2:21 pm

        “By cutting yourself off from the philosophical side of it, you’re cutting yourself off from half of the life of the mind”

        I’m not cutting myself of from the philosophical side, I’m recognizing that science and philosophy are two distinct things. You’re the one who’s crossing disciplines to the detriment of both. And, yet again, you’re simply wrong about science not being able to describe why things work and why they are here. You seem to be saying that since science cannot explain everything, it is unreliable for explaining anything.

        “You’re essentially saying that a theory of evolution proves the non-existence of God”

        Sigh. Another one of your dreary straw men. It’s as if you just joined the conversation. Of course, no one has said any such thing. Pity you can’t understand what we’re really saying.

      • M. Noonan May 3, 2013 / 3:11 pm

        They are two distinct things, but the philosophical side allows us to give context and meaning to the bare bones, mechanical, science side. You appear to think science superior because it has given us nuclear weapons. I don’t. I think philosophy superior because it has given us, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”

      • meursault1942 May 3, 2013 / 10:55 pm

        “I know the ins and outs of evolution and a lot of other things scientific, as well.”

        You keep insisting this, but on the rare occasion that you actually try to discuss evolution (instead of trying to steer the conversation elsewhere, which is your usual tactic), you end up making very basic errors that completely undermine your claim of “knowing the ins and outs” of it. And again, those errors can’t be anything other than an aspect of intentional ignorance at this point, as you’ve been corrected on them repeatedly.

        Meanwhile, I enjoy your charge that I’m “cutting myself off” from the philosophical side when in fact, philosophy was one of my biggest areas of study–multiple disciplines, independent studies, the works. I would wager that most of your philosophical work is merely reading Aquinas and adoring commentary on Aquinas, and with that in mind, I would further wager that just as I understand evolution better than you do, I understand philosophy better than you do.

        And finally, I am truly savoring the fact that a man whose thinking is fully mired in the 13th century telling people who actually understand the subjects at hand they need to “modernize” their thinking.

    • meursault1942 April 27, 2013 / 12:44 pm

      “But you simply ignore what is presented to you, change topics, and move goalposts. Sometimes I wonder if you even know your doing it.”

      It would appear that he doesn’t know he’s doing it. Even after I laid out just how far he’s “run away” (in his terms) from the original topic, I’m left waiting for him to answer the myriad points from which he’s run. He moves the goalposts, I point this out and shoot down his new contention, he moves the goalposts again, rather like it’s second nature to him.

      But he did helpfully, if unintentionally, loop back to the original set of contentions (his: “an orthodox Catholic, the more thoroughly they have thought the matter through” mine: what he calls “thinking the matter through” is merely rote recitation and obedience to dogma in lieu of actual thought) with this:

      “it is a set of hard and fast beliefs which are obligatory upon anyone who wishes to be a follower of Christ.”

      Which, again, goes to my original contention. After all, how can it be “thoroughly thinking the matter through” if it punishes independent thought? It can’t. But Mark didn’t think this through–he just recited. Similarly, he insisted that the Catholic church is the only acceptable source of information about the Catholic church (everything else is “enemies of the church” doing whatever it is enemies of the church do), which is essentially insisting that PR spin is the only acceptable source of information.

  3. 02casper April 17, 2013 / 2:13 pm

    I believe gay marriage should be legalized because Gays should have the same opportunities for happiness as straight people. Gay marriage is not a threat to anyone else’s marriage. Gays should be able to marry those they love just as anyone else can.

    • 02casper April 17, 2013 / 3:41 pm

      I also believe that homosexual behavior is natural in the since that it is a behavior that has been observed across a number of species.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior

      If it is a natural condition and homosexuals have no control over who they are, then denying them the opportunity to marriage (the chance to marry those they love) is a civil rights issue.

      • neocon01 April 17, 2013 / 4:25 pm

        catspuke

        dogs eat poop, and monkeys throw it, so it is ok for you and your family?
        did you get your “education” from a matchbook cover mail order?

      • Amazona April 17, 2013 / 4:35 pm

        No, casper, what you are claiming is that the right to redefine a WORD is a “civil rights issue”. I notice that you steadfastly refuse to address the reality of the argument that gay couples ought to have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as married couples do, but you just skip right over that and constantly bleat the same thing over and over again—which is that they should be able to use a certain specific WORD to describe their unions.

        You link the entire concept of “equality” to the use of one single WORD. And that is simply silly.

      • 02casper April 17, 2013 / 5:24 pm

        Amazona,
        Words change meaning all the time. The word gay itself has a much different meaning now than it did 50 years ago. English is a living language and as such changes as people use it. If you want a language that never changes I suggest you learn Latin.
        Yes I consider this a civil rights issue as do many other people, including many of my students and my gay friends and relatives. Any time a group is denied the same opportunities as the population at large, it is a civil rights issue. Mark asked that I state my reasoning and I have.

      • Retired Spook April 17, 2013 / 7:49 pm

        Words change meaning all the time. The word gay itself has a much different meaning now than it did 50 years ago.

        That’s an excellent point, Casper, but, as usual, you don’t explain how or why, because, as Mark noted, you don’t seem to have the capacity to think things through. So why don’t you come back and explain why words change meaning, particularly the word “gay”.

      • 02casper April 17, 2013 / 8:01 pm

        Spook,
        There are a number of books on the subject but here is a quick article about why words change meaning.

        “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_change”

      • Amazona April 18, 2013 / 5:56 pm

        Did applying the word “gay” to homosexuality offend large groups of people? Did it fly in the face of deeply held cultural and religious history and belief?

        Things go both ways. Until recently (and even now for all I know) “fag” meant a cigarette in the UK. Evelyn and Shirley were once male names. The list of changing of word meanings is pretty long.

        But this is an organized hijacking of a word with such deep significance, in religion, culture and history, that it cannot reasonably be compared to the gradual shift of “gay” from “happy” to “homosexual”.

        And the reasoning is quite shallow—“because we WANT to”.

        The underlying reason is not hard to understand—it reflects a deep-down shame for homosexuality, and a desire to camouflage it by grafting on a word which has the connotation of normalcy.

        Even many gay people find it imitative of straight relationships, when they know they are different.

        If gay people are truly proud of their orientation, find it normal and good, then why do they need to pretend it is something it is not? If they really do not harbor feelings of shame, why don’t they come up with a phrase or word that defines and celebrates the difference in a positive way?

        And no matter how often casper denies it, the use of a word is not a right. And the trivialization of the brutality of true discrimination by applying the term “civil rights” to a temper tantrum over the use of a WORD is despicable.

      • 02casper April 18, 2013 / 6:16 pm

        “M. Noonan April 18, 2013 at 10:10 am #

        Casper,

        You ran away, again. A pity – a good argument is a fun thing. Maybe one day you’ll give us one.”

        Except I didn’t run away. I posted at 8:51, then I went to work. I’m not going to post from work during the workday on a work computer.

        The main question at this point is is this about civil rights or is it about a word? I can understand why conservatives don’t want this to be about civil rights. That puts you on the wrong side of history. Hence the argument that gays are trying to hijack the word marriage.
        Let me explain first why I think this is a civil rights issue.

        1. Homosexuality is a natural condition. As I posted above, homosexual behavior has been observed among hundreds of animal species. It also has existed for thousands of years and thousands of human cultures. I’ve seen estimates that anywhere from 2 to 10% of our population are homosexuals or bisexuals.

        2. If Homosexuality is a natural condition then Homosexuals should have the rights and opportunities as heterosexuals. That includes marriage, joining the military, etc.

        3. Homosexuals don’t chose to be homosexuals. The life of a gay person in most societies is not that great. Gay teenagers are four times more likely to commit suicide than non gays. Coming out can mean loss of relationships with both friends and family members.

        Why I don’t think it’s about a word.

        1. As mentioned before, words change meaning over time. The word marriage itself has had different meanings in different cultures over the years. There are a number of countries today that allow polygamy. A hundred years ago it was legal to marry a thirteen year old. Fifty years ago people of different races were not allowed to marry in many states. Marriage has become more restrictive in some ways and more open in others.

        2. Allowing gay marriage does nothing to the relationships of those of us who are married to members of the opposite sex. It doesn’t cause divorce nor does it hurt us in any way.

        3. Expanding the definition of marriage to include gays will make the institution of marriage stronger not weaker. There will be more married couples.

        4. Expanding the definition of marriage will help the economy. More weddings means more receptions, wedding planers, wedding cakes, honeymoons, etc.

        So Mark there are a few of my arguments.

      • M. Noonan April 18, 2013 / 11:32 pm

        Casper,

        You already gave sufficient answer to the question, “why should gay people be allowed to marry?”. You’re merely being redundant in the sense that you are just answering the same question over and over again. I’ve asked a different question which is designed to elicit some pondering over how you came about your belief that same sex couples should be allowed to marry – that is how we have an argument, as opposed to just endlessly re-stating our positions. My counter-point to your assertion that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry is that a same-sex couple cannot of nature do what a heterosexual couple does in the state of marriage; you are welcome to ask me why I believe that – that, too, would be an argument…but I think I’m owed by you, first, that you answer my second question – is what same-sex and heterosexual couples do the same?

        This is important because your whole view hangs essentially upon your assertion that same-sex couples have a right to pursue the exact same sort of happiness currently possible for heterosexual couples. If you cannot actually defend your view in argument, then it is wrong – or at least so unproven that we’d be worse than mad to go along with you. So, please, answer the second question.

      • 02casper April 19, 2013 / 8:54 am

        “My counter-point to your assertion that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry is that a same-sex couple cannot of nature do what a heterosexual couple does in the state of marriage; you are welcome to ask me why I believe that – that, too, would be an argument…but I think I’m owed by you, first, that you answer my second question – is what same-sex and heterosexual couples do the same?”

        If you are referring to having babies, then to a certain extent they can, granted not naturally. My wife’s cousin has two children which were conceived through the miracle of modern science. They are her children and she and her partner are doing a great job of raising them.
        If one of the the prime purposes of marriage is to raise children, then I would say that gay couples can do that and do it very well. Kenneth Faried, one of my favorite Nuggets players was raised by two moms and seem fairly well grounded. There are other examples I could provide. I would suggest that allowing gay marriage that there would be more gay couples either using medical science to have children or adopting children, thus giving children the advantage of a two parent household.

        Do you feel the main purpose of marriage is to have and raise children? If so, does mean that only those capable of producing children should be allowed to marry? Is there any reason to stay married after the children have left the house?

      • M. Noonan April 19, 2013 / 1:33 pm

        Casper,

        What you appear to be saying is that same-sex and hetero couples are the same because the “miracle of modern science” can allow same-sex to produce children…so, you are making, in effect, the following statement:

        “Even though the mere mechanics of it – let alone the actuality – are vastly different, because in some aspects it might be partially alike, they are therefor the same and must both be allowed.”

        The “miracle of modern science” can also allow an a-cup woman to get 36 dd’s, or a man to change his appearance in to that of a woman…but that doesn’t make the silicone boobs or the new-minted “woman” the same as natural boobs or a born-woman. If “the miracle of modern science” would allow us the power to breed a race of contented slaves, would that be the same as people breeding by normal action men and women who wish to be free? Additionally, no miracle of modern science will allow a same-sex male couple to breed…unless you can work out a way to change the way the male abdomen works and implant a womb in there and birth canal in there. Is that the kind of “miracle of modern science” you’re looking forward to?

        The reason I brought the issue up was because I think it important to illustrate that whatever else a same-sex marriage would be, it wouldn’t be the same thing as a heterosexual marriage. That is my next contention here – that in spite of the fact that a same-sex couple may have or obtain children, it is not the same sort of institution which comes of a hetero couple which can of nature produce children on their own. Given that the only purpose of marriage – the only reason to have it, at all – is to join two people together for the production and raising of the next generation, the fact that a same-sex couple cannot of nature do what is necessary destroys the argument in favor of allowing such a thing to happen. That you can find odd cases where by use of artificial means some same-sex couples have obtained children doesn’t change the basic thing: hetero couples are equipped by nature to do the job of marriage, same-sex couples are not. Human nature is not a thing to be trifled with – the family is already under siege and birth rates around the world are collapsing; this is not the time to embark on strange, new experiments…especially when hardly any gay people wish to be married.

      • 02casper April 19, 2013 / 4:58 pm

        “in spite of the fact that a same-sex couple may have or obtain children, it is not the same sort of institution which comes of a hetero couple which can of nature produce children on their own.”

        My late in-laws were not able to have children by natural means. They adopted both my wife and her brother and were fantastic parents. By your logic they shouldn’t have been allowed to marry or raise children.

        “Given that the only purpose of marriage – the only reason to have it, at all – is to join two people together for the production and raising of the next generation, the fact that a same-sex couple cannot of nature do what is necessary destroys the argument in favor of allowing such a thing to happen.”

        If the only purpose of marriage is to produce children, then why do we allow people who are past the age to reproduce to marry? Why do we allow people to stay married after their children have moved on. If something were to happen to my wife, I would like to think I would be allowed to marry someone else without the expectation of having to produce more children.
        On the other hand, children can and are produced outside of marriage. In fact it happens all the time. Many of these children are put up for adoption. By allowing gay marriage, many of these children would have the chance of being adopted.

        Human nature is not a thing to be trifled with – the family is already under siege and birth rates around the world are collapsing; this is not the time to embark on strange, new experiments…

        Gay marriage would strengthen families rather than hurt them. More children would have the opportunity to be raised by two caring adults

        “especially when hardly any gay people wish to be married.”

        Where did that come from? I know a number of gay couples that would love to get married if it were legal.

      • M. Noonan April 20, 2013 / 12:16 am

        Casper,

        The normal run of hetero couples – marrying at the normal time of their lives – is fully capable of having natural children. Almost all such couples do, in the event, produce children. That a sterile or elderly couple doesn’t measure up to the purpose of marriage is rather besides the point – all your argument does is really provide a reason for banning marriage for persons beyond their 40th year. But we’re not here to place new, onerous burdens on people – we’re here to figure out the best way to do things, over all. In that, gay marriage does not fit the bill.

        As we have now disposed of the assertion that same-sex couples are doing the same thing as hetero couples – and we long ago disposed of the absurd assertion that marriage is a right – what, then, remains of your argument to have gay marriage? It isn’t the same and it isn’t a right. Furthermore, in those jurisdictions which allow gay marriage, hardly any homosexuals avail themselves of the privilege. Not the same. Not a right. Not wanted by most people affected. Why have it? Why re-define something as vital to the functioning of our society? Why give in to this whim?

      • 02casper April 20, 2013 / 11:05 am

        M. Noonan April 20, 2013 at 12:16 am #

        Casper,

        “The normal run of hetero couples – marrying at the normal time of their lives – is fully capable of having natural children. Almost all such couples do, in the event, produce children. That a sterile or elderly couple doesn’t measure up to the purpose of marriage is rather besides the point – all your argument does is really provide a reason for banning marriage for persons beyond their 40th year.”

        I’m not arguing that we ban marriage for persons beyond their 40th year. That would be the natural consequence if marriage was only for producing children. Obviously it isn’t. I don’t know of any society that restricts marriage to only couples able to have children, do you? That blows your argument that marriage is only for reproduction. Anyone, past a certain age, can get married whether they are capable of producing children or not. Why not extend that to gay couples?

        “Furthermore, in those jurisdictions which allow gay marriage, hardly any homosexuals avail themselves of the privilege.”

        In the 142 days that gay marriage was legal in California about 18,000 gay couples got married. If it’s not wanted, then why are so many people pushing for it?

        ” Why give in to this whim?”

        It’s certainly not a whim or we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I would guess that within the next ten years it will be the law of the land. Twenty years form now people will look back at this issue the way people look back at interracial marriage.

    • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 8:27 pm

      Casper,

      The “same” opportunities for happiness. Ok. A fair statement. But is what a gay man does with another gay man the same as what a straight man does with a straight woman?

      • 02casper April 17, 2013 / 8:34 pm

        Mark,
        Are you suggesting that all straight couples do things the same way? I’m guessing that all relationships have some things in common, but also differences. Can’t speak from experience though as I’ve only had one partner for the last 38 years.

      • Cluster April 17, 2013 / 8:43 pm

        Casper,

        As many of us have repeatedly pointed out, this is a battle over a word, which is not at all a civil rights issue. The “rights” are not being battled over. My main objection to the use of the word “marriage” is that it will offend tens of millions of people of Faith across all cultures and societies. Liberals usually care about not offending people, but in this case, are not at all objectionable to trouncing over other people to impose their will.

        Why do you suppose that is?

      • 02casper April 17, 2013 / 8:48 pm

        cluster,
        Millions of people were and are offended when by interracial marriage. Should we make that illegal again so as not to hurt their feelings? You see this as a battle over a word, I see it as a civil rights issue.

      • rustybrown2012 April 17, 2013 / 11:26 pm

        Mark,

        ” is what a gay man does with another gay man the same as what a straight man does with a straight woman?”

        Depends on exactly what you’re referring to but yes, it is essentially the same. Ideally they love one another and nurture a family in a stable environment. What’s your point?

      • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 11:42 pm

        Casper,

        You said that gay marriage should be legalized because gay people have the right to pursue the same happiness as straight people. As regards marriage, this implies that you believe what happens between a gay couple and a straight couple is the same – alike; two peas in a pod. Is this what you are saying?

      • M. Noonan April 17, 2013 / 11:43 pm

        Rusty,

        The point will be seen if Casper has it in him to have a genuine debate. I don’t mean to cut you out, but this particular sword fight is between me and him. You can I can cut and thrust over a different issue, if you like.

      • meursault1942 April 18, 2013 / 1:33 am

        “What’s your point?”

        He wants somebody to say that gay sex and straight sex are the same so that he can protest that according to the Catholic church, they aren’t the same, and that’s all the thought he’s put into the matter. That’s his point.

        Of course, if he would think things through instead of merely reciting, he might realize how wrong he is.

      • 02casper April 18, 2013 / 8:51 am

        Mark,
        My wife and I have a couple of good friends that have been together over 25 years. I would say the love they have for each other is equivalent to the love my wife and I have for each other. My wife’s cousin and her partner are raising two children. The two kids are a couple of the smartest, best behaved kids I’ve been around. I would say the cousin and her partner have as good or better parenting skills as anyone else I know.

      • M. Noonan April 18, 2013 / 10:10 am

        Casper,

        You ran away, again. A pity – a good argument is a fun thing. Maybe one day you’ll give us one.

    • 02casper April 18, 2013 / 6:25 pm

      Amazona,

      “And the reasoning is quite shallow—”because we WANT to”.”

      Actually, the reasoning goes a little further than that. Gays want the right to marry because marriage is an important part of our society and they would like to share in it. They aren’t trying to steal the word, only to use it the way the rest of us do.

  4. Amazona April 17, 2013 / 4:58 pm

    casper “..operates from a different knowledge base..” in which, evidently, there are no absolutes but everything is mutable and subject to change and the interpretation of the moment. The major pain complains that conservatives don’t understand “….the reality of the New Age…” which of course is another way of saying reality changes according to the age.

    These two fellow travelers are examples of the bonelessness of the Left, in its refusal to believe in or commit to anything of substance. I am convinced this is the core of their support for Obama—they are frightened, or at least turned off by, conviction, and drawn irresistibly to the vague and amorphous and infinitely variable, the emotionally appealing rather than the intellectually demanding.

    So they are charmed and convinced by platitudes, like “Hope and Change”. They suck up and regurgitate meaningless nonsense such as “1 %”. They emote.

    • M. Noonan April 18, 2013 / 8:08 am

      Amazona,

      Logic hasn’t commended itself to the left since Rousseau – and even before then, their logic was flawed because it started with an a priori assumption that anything Christianity held true was wrong. But, we’ll see if we can drag an actual argument out of our resident liberals here.

      • Retired Spook April 18, 2013 / 8:49 am

        I wouldn’t hold your breath, Mark. I’ve been coming here since early 2004, and I have yet to see any of our resident, or even drive-by Liberals make a convincing and logical argument for what the modern Left stands for. They’re caught in a unique conundrum in which, if they actually admit to who they are and what they believe, they’ve lost the argument before it starts. I stand by my statement at the end of my “Not All Democrats” post:

        “You ultimately risk being tied by interests you cannot or will not admit to arguments you cannot defend.”

      • tiredoflibbs April 18, 2013 / 9:21 am

        ““You ultimately risk being tied by interests you cannot or will not admit to arguments you cannot defend.”

        The latest vote in the Senate on gun control is a prime example. In the end, somewhat reasonable Democrats could not follow the leadership in their unconstitutional pursuits – logic won over raw emotion and blind ideology.

      • Retired Spook April 18, 2013 / 9:38 am

        logic won over raw emotion and blind ideology.

        Tired, logic still has to be based on facts or at least an informed opinion. So, for example, when the Left launched the global warming hoax back in the late 80’s, the first thing they did was say, “the debate is over.” For all the useful idiots not paying much attention, it then became illogical for anyone to debate or even question science that was settled. This is how the Left operates. I keep thinking I will eventually find common ground with a Leftist, some Leftist — somewhere. I’m beginning to think it’s a fools errand. I think the only thing left is to just shoot them all – heh.

      • M. Noonan April 18, 2013 / 10:12 am

        Spook,

        Not holding my breath – but hoping that one of these days one of our liberals will actually argue a point. Perhaps, though, you are too right on this – for our liberals, an argument supposes that one may be wrong, and liberals do seem to have an inability to even consider the possibility of being wrong.

      • Retired Spook April 18, 2013 / 10:39 am

        and liberals do seem to have an inability to even consider the possibility of being wrong.

        Which is one of the ultimate ironies in that Leftist policies and ideas have been failures over and over and over, and when they double down on them, the failures become even more catastrophic. I guess I can see why they wouldn’t want to admit that.

    • rustybrown2012 April 18, 2013 / 10:28 am

      Ama,

      Your post betrays the paucity of your reasoning skills.
      Just because Casper says he operates “from a different knowledge base” (a perfectly reasonable statement) that in no way implies

      ” there are no absolutes but everything is mutable and subject to change and the interpretation of the moment.”

      I mean, how do you even get there? Your interpretation is obviously malicious or ignorant. Casper is correct, they do operate from different knowledge bases and further, one of them is demonstrably wrong, i.e. Marks certainty that human bearings are not part of the animal kingdom.

      Regarding your assumed contention that reality doesn’t change to the age, I would like to interest you in a substantial portion of my buggy whip startup. Sure to be a hit! They once sold like hot cakes! Also, stop washing your hands – we haven’t discovered germ theory yet.

      • rustybrown2012 April 18, 2013 / 10:35 am

        Ahem, “beings”

      • Amazona April 18, 2013 / 6:10 pm

        rusty, you need to have a chat with Spook about the Rule of Holes.

        Your buggy whip analogy is ridiculous. A buggy whip is, was, and always has been a tool used by drivers of horse drawn vehicles. I can buy a buggy whip today and it will have the same reality it had hundreds of years ago.

        And I could refer to it in a different language, but the reality of what it is and its purpose would not have changed.

        Germs existed before we knew about them. You seem to be saying that if we didn’t know they were there, they weren’t. Hmmmm. Does that mean “humours in the blood” really WERE the cause of disease until someone discovered magnifying lenses?

        Reality is. What people know of reality changes, but that does not alter the objective reality. It is the relative nature of the squishy that needs to have an infinitely mutable “reality” that can be molded to accommodate the needs and agendas of any given time or situation.

        This is seen in the desire to have a Constitution that is a “living document”, that means one thing one time and something else the next.

        This is seen in people like you who define your political position not by its objective reality as a political system but how you feel, about ISSUES, at any given time.

        Interesting to see you snap to your default position of hateful insult, though

  5. Retired Spook April 18, 2013 / 11:22 am

    In the “Not All Democrats” thread, meursault1942 asked if I could name any Democrats who advocate “turning over a substantial portion of our national security to the United Nations. Didn’t have to look very hard. The 46 Senators who voted to approve the U.N. Small Arms Treaty were:

    Baldwin (D-WI) Baucus (D-MT) Bennet (D-CO) Blumenthal (D-CT) Boxer (D-CA) Brown (D-OH) Cantwell (D-WA) Cardin (D-MD) Carper (D-DE) Casey (D-PA) Coons (D-DE) Cowan (D-MA) Durbin (D-IL) Feinstein (D-CA) Franken (D-MN) Gillibrand (D-NY) Harkin (D-IA) Hirono (D-HI) Johnson (D-SD) Kaine (D-VA) King (I-ME) Klobuchar (D-MN) Landrieu (D-LA) Leahy (D-VT) Levin (D-MI) McCaskill (D-MO) Menendez (D-NJ) Merkley (D-OR) Mikulski (D-MD) Murphy (D-CT) Murray (D-WA)Nelson (D-FL) Reed (D-RI) Reid (D-NV) Rockefeller (D-WV) Sanders (I-VT) Schatz (D-HI) Schumer (D-NY) Shaheen (D-NH) Stabenow (D-MI) Udall (D-CO) Udall (D-NM) Warner (D-VA) Warren (D-MA) Whitehouse (D-RI) Wyden (D-OR)

    ALL DEMOCRATS

    • neocon01 April 18, 2013 / 12:59 pm

      the LIAR in chief resurrects alinsky

      >i>Obama Calls 2nd Amendment Supporters Liars, Vows to Defeat Them
      A visibly infuriated President Barack Obama surrounded himself with tear-stained parents of Connecticut school shooting victims Wednesday after the Senate voted down a measure designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and declared it a “pretty shameful day for Washington.”

      NO mr kenyan usurper- we have had FOUR shameful days in washington, two when KKKlintoon and two when YOU were “sworn in” both stains (no pun) on the presidency and our nation.

    • rustybrown2012 April 18, 2013 / 3:09 pm

      Wow spook, you would have an excellent point if the Small Arms Treaty would actually “turn over a substantial portion of our national security to the United Nations.”…but it wouldn’t! Another straw man up in flames!

      • rustybrown2012 April 18, 2013 / 3:10 pm

        No wonder that wasn’t very hard for you – ain’t hard when you make things up!

      • neocon01 April 18, 2013 / 3:23 pm

        ditto brownshorts….

      • Amazona April 18, 2013 / 6:12 pm

        Gee, rusty, tell us what the Small Arms Treaty IS, will ya?

      • Amazona April 18, 2013 / 6:13 pm

        Oh, that’s right—the right to bear arms isn’t about national defense or security, just about hunting and skeet shooting.

        More of the infinite flexibility of Leftist reality…………

      • rustybrown2012 April 18, 2013 / 7:03 pm

        No, ama, that’s not how it works. Anyone can look up what the SAT is. I’m more interested in the explanation for the paranoid claim that it would “turn over a substantial portion of our national security to the United Nations.” How exactly does that work?

      • rustybrown2012 April 19, 2013 / 12:00 am

        Crickets…

      • neocon01 April 19, 2013 / 2:34 pm

        rustybrownshorts

        same rules and restrictions for voting? AGAIN??? = crickets!!

      • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 10:22 am

        rusty, are you denying that the Small Arms Treaty would extend to “end users” and thereby exert control over individual gun owners in the United States?

        Are you asserting that individual gun ownership has nothing to do with national security?

        Are you denying that granting international control over internal, American, laws, including control that could override our own Constitution, should be a matter of objection?

        Your pattern of simply lurking till someone says something and then lurching out of the weeds to attack it is quite annoying.

        If you have something to say, say it. If you have an argument to make, make it. Or is your entire ability to participate in a discussion limited to the verbal equivalent of shoving a stick through the spokes of a passing bike, without ever getting on one of your own?

      • meursault1942 April 20, 2013 / 1:47 pm

        Please take a few minutes to learn what the Small Arms Treaty does and does not do.

        Now that you’ve had some cold water thrown on your paranoia, please explain how the Small Arms Treaty would “turn over a substantial portion of our national security to the United Nations.” For bonus points, please explain how it has come to be that the only ones opposing the treaty are Iran, Syria, North Korea, and now U.S. conservatives.

        Also, Retired Spook, you’re wrong in more ways than one on this. Not just about the content of the Small Arms Treaty, but also what those 46 senators were actually voting on:

        However, the measure voted upon was not the treaty itself, but a non-binding test amendment expressing opposition to the ATT which was tacked onto an unrelated congressional budget resolution.

      • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 8:28 pm

        Going to Snopes for information makes as much sense as asking you, wino.

        But here’s an idea—-instead of just lurking and then lurching out to yap at what a conservative says, try taking a position.

        Do you support the Small Arms Treaty? If so, why?

        Do you find any problems in allowing an international organization to assume legal power in our country?

      • Retired Spook April 21, 2013 / 10:47 am

        Also, Retired Spook, you’re wrong in more ways than one on this. Not just about the content of the Small Arms Treaty, but also what those 46 senators were actually voting on:

        I clearly did not do due diligence on the SAT before commenting, and I’m not ashamed to admit when I’m wrong. Politifact also has an excellent summary of the SAT.

        Back to my original contention that it’s mostly Democrats would want to turn over a substantial portion of our national security to the U.N., one only has to look at statements like that of the 2004 Democrat Presidential nominee and current Secretary of State, John Kerry (our foreign policy must pass a global test) to see that my contention was correct.

      • meursault1942 April 22, 2013 / 1:24 am

        One step forward, one step back for you, Retired Spook. One the one hand, you admitted you were wrong about the Small Arms Treaty (in contrast to Amazona, who seems determined to go down with that ship), and that honesty is to be applauded.

        But on the other hand, you then followed up that progress by saying, “Yeah, well, I’m right anyway, just because.”

        It doesn’t work that way. You claimed that Democrats want to “turn over a substantial portion of our national security to the United Nations.” You were asked to substantiate your claim, and you offered up the Small Arms Treaty, which you admit you were wrong about, so now you’re back to square one: Provide evidence to substantiate your claim.

      • Retired Spook April 22, 2013 / 8:01 am

        You were asked to substantiate your claim, and you offered up the Small Arms Treaty, which you admit you were wrong about, so now you’re back to square one: Provide evidence to substantiate your claim.

        If the man who was the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2004 and current Secretary of State saying that our foreign policy must have international approval before we can proceed isn’t proof, I don’t know what is. Here’s a man who came within a whisker of becoming President, and who received the vote of every Democrat in the Senate in his SOS confirmation. expressing the belief that our foreign policy must pass a global test. Again, if that isn’t relinquishing sovereignty, I don’t know what is, and it was a policy statement put forth by someone who is supported by the vast majority of Democrats.

        Again keep in mind, I wrote this 8-1/2 years ago when Kerry’s statement reflected the desire of many Democrats that we cede much of our sovereignty over to the U.N.

      • Amazona April 22, 2013 / 10:21 am

        I see that the whiny winey is illustrating the Leftist dependence on merely misstating fact (what we call ‘lying’). Nothing new there.

        No one proved that allowing foreign law to override our own laws and Constitution falls short of a danger to our national security.

        It might make sense to the wino (not that making sense seems to be a high priority) to look at nations which hate the US and then say “Hey, guys, why don’t YOU make the rules about what we can and cannot do”. After all, what could go wrong?

        My opinion? Not a good idea.

        And I come back to my challenge, which is that you drop the ambush posts and actually engage in political discourse, which would include explaining your political philosophy and then why you think it would be the best way to govern the nation.

      • Retired Spook April 22, 2013 / 12:39 pm

        And I come back to my challenge, which is that you drop the ambush posts and actually engage in political discourse

        Amazona,

        I don’t believe any of our current Lefties have either the desire or the knowledge to engage in anything other than ankle-biting and snarky nit-picking. I’m inclined to not waste any more time on them.

  6. GMB April 18, 2013 / 8:48 pm

    Did anyone else see barkys hissyfit on video after the vote yesterday? Classic! Hope Thomas didn’t throw a shoe at his monitor! Or do I? Lol

    The Constitution won, for the time being. Eternal Vigilance. Remember the price of Freedom.

  7. rustybrown2012 April 18, 2013 / 10:15 pm

    Mark,

    For all your bold talk of liberals running away from debate, there sure seem to be a lot of unanswered liberal questions on this blog.

    • neocon01 April 19, 2013 / 2:36 pm

      crustybrownshorts

      you cant answer stupid, and ignorance.

    • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 8:37 pm

      The so-called “unanswered Liberal questions on this blog” are not serious questions, nor are they part of serious discourse about politics or even current events.

      They are feeble, transparent, efforts at “gotchas” hurled by ankle-biting pseudo-posters who come here solely for the purpose of sniping at conservatives.

      I find these “questions” stupid and ludicrous. For example, there is the coy query about science vs religion. How about science vs science, as in “humors in the blood” vs “bacteria”?

      What our resident Libs show is is pettiness, snottiness, and arrogance, and then when they are deleted for name calling or profanity they claim it is just because of disagreement with their “positions” and when they are ignored they strut as if this is proof that they have prevailed.

      As far as I can see, once one of them has proved himself to be nothing but a blog vandal wannabe, he should be removed, and if not removed should be ignored, as all he is contributing is snot.

      Want to be taken seriously? Define your POLITICAL philosophy (not a wish list of wistful “wouldn’t-it-be-special-if… bleatings but a blueprint for governance that you think would be better than the Constitutional model) and then defend this preference in reasoned discourse.

      Or you can stick to personality, scandal, lies, sniping, and the comfort zone of these characteristics that you have staked out.

  8. 02casper April 18, 2013 / 11:24 pm

    Mark,
    You asked me to take a position and I did. You asked two questions about my positions which I answered. Other than that the only comments you have made it that I ran away (I didn’t). I’m guessing that you will post some kind of response tonight and I look forward to reading it. If you do, I will be happy to respond to any points you make, but please understand that I will only have about a 10 minute window in the morning to respond and I may not have a chance to give you a complete response until the afternoon. I won’t be running away, I will be working.

    • Retired Spook April 19, 2013 / 7:50 am

      Rusty,

      You two deserve each other and deserve to revel in each other’s perceived glory. You really mopped up the floor with the “old timers” at B4V. I actually got a message that I had broken Google trying to refute your brilliance. So what’s next? Maybe you should see if Matt will let you write an entire post. Oh, wait; that would mean you’d actually have to posit some ideas — never mind.

      • J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) April 19, 2013 / 12:36 pm

        I agree, Spook. I’ve never been so intellectually humiliated as I have by Rusty and Casper in the last couple threads. I think we should just turn the blog over to them and their vastly superior intellect.

      • neocon01 April 19, 2013 / 2:37 pm

        JR

        LOL

      • 02casper April 19, 2013 / 5:05 pm

        Spook,
        I’m not trying to mop the floor with anyone. I’m enjoying a debate with a person who has a different viewpoint. As for the “old timers” at B4V, I’m older than most of the posters here.

      • Retired Spook April 19, 2013 / 5:16 pm

        Spook, I’m not trying to mop the floor with anyone.

        Casper, are you really so dense that you’re unable to recognize sarcasm — really blatant sarcasm?

      • Amazona April 19, 2013 / 6:04 pm

        You had me at “Casper, are you really so dense…..?”

      • 02casper April 19, 2013 / 6:36 pm

        Spook, Knew it was sarcasm, just trying to be nice.

      • Retired Spook April 19, 2013 / 8:33 pm

        Yeah, right.

      • Amazona April 28, 2013 / 11:14 am

        It’s been interesting to sit back and watch poor rusty carry on—like of like a Clif Notes on the pathology of the Left, which of course if I cared to ponder on it could lead to the famous chicken/egg conundrum—does one become a Leftist because of his distorted thought patterns and personal pathology, or does being immersed in these distortions change the way the person thinks?

        I find rusty tiresome and don’t feel like feeding his pathology. I have given him plenty of opportunities to respond as a sane person would, and have come to the conclusion that what he needs/craves is conflict.

        And that is just plain sick.

        Many years ago an employee and I went to repossess two horses that had not only been taken out of state but starved nearly to death. The woman who had defaulted on her loan and then abused the animals tried to attack me, and I grabbed her wrists to hold her off till the sheriff could get there. She stared into my face with an expression of joy, and kept saying “Hit me! Go ahead, hit me!” and I realized that being hit is what got her off, to put it crudely. It totally creeped me out, because she was trying to taunt me into becoming part of her twisted sexuality.

        (When she was arrested, conversations with the local law enforcement people confirmed this observation. She had quite a history and after getting out of jail was sent to the state mental hospital. The horses, by the way, recovered and are still doing well though I never sold them again, knowing what they went through.)

        Now I’m not saying that rusty wants to entice me into endless pointless arguments for his own sexual pleasure—just that when I sit back and read his posts, one after another, the one thing that stands out is his singleminded focus on trying to get people—-strangers—to engage him in some sort of conflict. His joy at being so engaged is quite obvious.

        And his tactics are transparent. He lurks till someone posts something that indicates a strong belief, and then attacks the belief, knowing that this will elicit conflict. Then he escalates his oppositional commentary, getting into personal insults and really hostile attacks on the core of the opposing belief. His whole purpose is not to exchange ideas but to goad people into more and more passionate conflict with him, making it clear that it is the conflict itself which is his motivation.

        I’m sure that if he thought that anyone would get really emotional and oppositional about Ford vs Chevy he would take the oppositional side to any preference staked out here, and then once he got the initial gratification of disagreement he would escalate, in his proven pattern, trying to stretch the argument out as long as possible, feeding off the emotions he generated.

        When you stand back and look at the whole pattern, it is quite clear. He searches out the things that are likely to elicit the most passionate arguments, so he can feed off the emotion and the conflict.

        I have also noticed the new buzzword—“quote mining”—-and the new spin the defensive Left has put on it. (I guess “racist” and “empirical proof” got worn out by such relentless use.) Now their tactic is to sneeringly dismiss an actual quote which disproves a beloved Lefty belief by just calling it “quote mining” and then defining “quote mining” as the selective use of quotes out of context to try to mean something contradictory to the actual meaning of the entire quote.

        I’ll say this for the Left—they have no peers when it comes to semantic manipulation. So now when someone quotes Obama, for example, from one of his books, the Left merely sneers “quote mining”, which lets the lemmings believe that the quote is of no consequence. Or, better yet, that its real meaning is the opposite of what it says.

        It is so much easier than addressing what was actually said. After all, we can’t expect the lemmings to do actual research, much less to open their carefully hardened minds to anything like real facts.

        Obama puts, in the press release for his books, that he was born in Kenya, and leaves this out there as part of his official biography for 16 years. But mentioning this is merely “quote mining” and therefore dismissed. Michelle says he was born in Kenya? Ditto. Normal people would take these things and weigh them against other information, but the lemmings need an instant EASY button to push to spare them the brain damage, and the Left obligingly provides it.

        “Quote mining”.

        And of course there is the egomaniac aspect of poor rusty’s squalling, which indicates that when his Junior Blog Police badge did not appear (hey, it’s in the mail, rusty…) he just made his own out of leftover tinfoil. Just look at him instructing the blog management on how to run the blog, Anyone else get the impression that rusty was the annoying little weasel who was always running to the teacher to tattle on someone?

        Just remember, the more you play his game and get sucked into it, the longer he will be here.

      • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 7:52 pm

        Gee, cappy, I remember when you would not engage in a “debate” unless it was a rigid, formal, affair run by middle school debate club standards.

        Now you are defining it as your incessant repetition of the same emotion-based assertions.

        Guess this is just more of your relativity, eh? You would be crippled in any discussion if deprived of the assumed ability to just define words any old way you want to.

      • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 9:55 am

        Nah, rusty is a sniper, a wannabe blog vandal without an actual idea. He has to lurk in the weeds until someone defined by him as an Other says something, and then he darts out to yap and nip at ankles.

  9. Amazona April 19, 2013 / 6:02 pm

    The basic reason for defending the idea that a union of two people of the same gender can be called “marriage” is the conviction that by slapping on words like “equality” and then bellowing support based on this notion of “equality” one has achieved the Higher Moral Ground.

    It is all about feeling, all about feeling good about yourself because you identified something in a way that lets your support for it be a shortcut to that Higher Moral Ground.

    Reason plays no role.

    We have often noted here that the effort to be on the side of “fairness” means being quite unfair to millions of people, their beliefs and their culture and their religion. But “fairness”, like any other concept on the Left, is infinitely mutable, and entirely dependent on the politics of the issue and on whose ox is being gored.

    So “fairness” means being unfair, “tolerance” means being intolerant of long-held beliefs and standards that predate this latest kerfluffle by centuries, and “equality” no longer means “equal” but “the same”.

    Orwell is proved, again, to have been a prophet.

    • 02casper April 19, 2013 / 6:55 pm

      Amazona,
      The basic reason for minimizing gay marriage by making it about a word is to make what to many is a civil rights issue into an argument over semantics. You certainly can’t admit that it is a civil rights issue because that puts you on the wrong side of history. And while millions of people may be uncomfortable with the idea of gay marriage, millions more well welcome it.
      You have mentioned on a couple of occasions that you have a couple of gay friends. If they someday invite you to their wedding will you go?

      • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 9:53 am

        The gay people I know are in a long term committed relationship and make it clear they are not part of the so-called “gay community”. They have no interest in pretending they are not gay, and so have no interest in trying to adopt a word that is associated with man/woman relationships. They are two homosexual men in a homosexual relationship which, in its commitment, is analogous to marriage but which they fully understand is not marriage because it is two men and not a man and a woman. They get this.

        You don’t.

        The reason it IS about a WORD is that your argument ignores the “equality” issue of making sure gay couples can have the same privileges, rights, protections and responsibilities of married couples, and focuses exclusively on—-you guessed it—–the WORD “marriage”.

        You trivialize equality by linking it only to the use of a WORD. Imagine if feminists fighting for gender equality had demanded that they be allowed to be called “men” to prove their status. Imagine if the people of color fighting for true civil rights had also demanded that they be allowed to call themselves “white”. The silliness would have been obvious—just as it is here.

        True civil rights issues have not been centered on the application of a single word. True civil rights warriors knew they were fighting for equality under the law, not for the ability to assume characteristics of those who already had rights and privileges they did not have. No black man fighting for equal treatment under the law had a wall-kicking screeching temper tantrum because even after the same rights, privileges and responsibilities enjoyed by a white man were accorded to him he also wanted to be called “white”.

        I often think you trivialize things because you need to simplify them down to a level with which you can relate, which can be summed up by a catch-phrase or word, so you are not faced with the difficulties of analysis and comprehension of anything too complex. So you just stick with your little platitudes like “civil rights” because that is your speed. You can leave the actual thinking to those qualified for the job.

    • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 10:02 am

      I notice that casper just ignores the reality that his form of “tolerance” is really intolerance for the deeply held cultural and religious traditions of centuries, which for millions define the most significant aspect of their lives.

      He is really comfortable with his own form of intolerance, his own form of insensitivity, his own form of fairness—because it is his.

      Gay couples have every right to want to be treated the same as married couples. They did not, and do not, have the right to demand that they be called the same thing, and once the issue of equal protections, privileges and responsibilities has been addressed the only remaining issue is the one that they are still squealing about—-the use of a WORD.

      To hell with the feelings of others, the religious beliefs of others, the traditions of others. The “others” don’t matter. This is the message of the caspers, who then have the temerity to preen about their self-perceived Moral Superiority. Their entire position is completely dependent on redefining terms, from “marriage” to “equal” to “fair” to “tolerant”—which they feel justified in doing only because of their arrogant conviction that they are the only people who count.

      • 02casper April 20, 2013 / 11:21 am

        amazona,
        It’s not just about a word and it’s not just about marriage. It is about civil rights. Last week a long time teacher was fired from her job because she is gay. Until recently, gays were kicked out of the military just for being gay. Every year people are beaten up or killed just because they are gay. This isn’t just about marriage, it’s about accepting people for who they are and giving them the same opportunities and respect the rest of us get.

      • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 8:02 pm

        “Last week a long time teacher was fired from her job because she is gay.

        Really? You sure about that? Because I thought there were laws about that kind of discrimination.

        Do you think if she had been involved in a “marriage” ceremony that would have conveyed a kind of protection against getting fired?

        As for the “….because she is gay…” claim, Tina Fey, of all people, took on this kind of ritualized victimhood in a recent “30 Rock”. She went out with a good looking sophisticated-seeming black guy who was so stunningly, amazingly, atrociously boring it was really funny—and when she said she wouldn’t go out with him again his response was “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?” The rest of the show had her trying to convince him that she really didn’t like him, and no matter what she said his default response was always “It’s just because I’m black”.

        I think it’s pretty safe to believe that this gay teacher was also a bad teacher—or, because even that is not a good enough excuse to fire teachers these days, because she did something that made her unacceptable as a teacher.

        “…because she is gay…” Pshaw. Fiddlesticks. Recycled bovine forage.

      • Amazona April 20, 2013 / 8:09 pm

        “…Until recently, gays were kicked out of the military just for being gay…”

        Actually, under DADT, gays were only kicked out of the military for overt homosexual activity. Those who did not advertise their orientation were not “kicked out”.

        “Every year people are beaten up or killed just because they are gay.”

        Yep. And every year people are beaten up or killed just because they are women, or black, or Latino, or shop clerks, or bad drunks, or for wearing the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood. Just how will making millions resent gay people for being so crude and insensitive and intolerant of their deeply held religious and cultural values change the fact that some gays are targeted for violence?

      • 02casper April 20, 2013 / 11:27 pm

        “Amazona April 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

        “Last week a long time teacher was fired from her job because she is gay. ”

        Really? You sure about that? Because I thought there were laws about that kind of discrimination.

        Do you think if she had been involved in a “marriage” ceremony that would have conveyed a kind of protection against getting fired?”

        No. I’m pretty sure she was fired because she is gay.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/18/carla-hale-gay-fired-teacher-catholic-high-school_n_3103853.html

        “…Until recently, gays were kicked out of the military just for being gay…”

        Actually, under DADT, gays were only kicked out of the military for overt homosexual activity. Those who did not advertise their orientation were not “kicked out”.”

        In reality, if you were caught being gay you were kicked out. Do a google search on it it. My daughter could give you a number of examples.

        “Yep. And every year people are beaten up or killed just because they are women, or black, or Latino, or shop clerks, or bad drunks, or for wearing the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.”

        Which makes it ok to beat up or kill gays, right? Personally, I’m against anyone being beat up because they are different. I believe everyone should be respected.

        “Just how will making millions resent gay people for being so crude and insensitive and intolerant of their deeply held religious and cultural values change the fact that some gays are targeted for violence?”

        If gays are given the same rights and protections as the rest of us perhaps they wont be as much of a target. There are millions of people who already hate gays. Read the comments on this blog. They don’t hate gays because they are trying to obtain rights. They hate gays because they are gay.

      • Amazona April 21, 2013 / 9:19 am

        Thank you for explaining the matter of the fired teacher. Now we know she was not fired for being gay, but for a violation of a school policy. As a religious school, it had the right (and this is really all about RIGHTS, isn’t it??) to make its own rules based on its own religious teachings. This teacher had to know of this rule, just as the fluttery woman-child of last year’s trumped-up hysteria had to know of other rules of Catholic organizations, yet she made the CHOICE (and isn’t “choice” a big deal, too?) to commit a lie of omission by not telling the school officials that she was in violation of their policy.

        As far as that goes, the school may have known of her orientation, but not known she had a partner—-being attracted to people of the same gender is not a sin, but engaging in homosexual behavior is—and it was not the homosexuality that got her fired but the discovery that she had an active gay sex life.

        As far as DADT goes, if you think people don’t know when someone is gay, you are delusional. While some may “pass” those who know people well, as you do in barracks for example, know when a man is not straight. Merely knowing of homosexual orientation was not enough to get kicked out of the military—–homosexual behavior was.

        Orientation may not be a decision, but behavior is.

        And then you, quite predictably, lurch all the way into the bizarre world of casper-think, when you bleat, in response to my comment that all sorts of people (not just gay people) are targeted for violence, “……Which makes it ok to beat up or kill gays, right?”

        It is this twisted “thought” process which accounts for the total lack of respect you have here, and in other places as well.

        It is my opinion that you are kept here as an exhibit of the strange and convoluted emotionally overwrought irrational meanderings of the human mind that account for so much of Leftist support.

        The idea that anyone with at least a room temperature IQ could get from what I said to your response is pretty hard to believe. The fact that a teacher, a man supposedly intelligent enough and educated enough and sane enough to be trusted with the education of our young, could even GET there is bad enough, but that you are willing to proudly produce this aberration of reason for all to see drags in questions of your judgment as well as your intellect.

        This whole post of yours is an example of your skewed reasoning—from either the inability to understand that the teacher was fired for purposely violating a religious school’s rules (or the willingness to lie about it) to the misstatement about DADT (and your daughter’s “proofs” are suspect due to genetics, as a starter) to the asinine comment I just quoted, it is just one example after another of a seriously distorted ability to reason.

      • Amazona April 21, 2013 / 9:26 am

        “There are millions of people who already hate gays. Read the comments on this blog. They don’t hate gays because they are trying to obtain rights. They hate gays because they are gay.”

        And here is more of your bizarrely twisted perception being presented as reality.

        I have found no one here who “hates gays”. I have found a couple of people who are pretty negative about homosexualITY, which you seem to have muddled up, in that muddled-up mess of a mind of yours, with HATING the PEOPLE who are gay.

        You are either seriously deranged or a liar, though you have proved to us in the past that with you the two are hardly mutually exclusive.

        Oh, I don’t doubt that this is the way you see the world. I am just pointing out that you see the world through filters that are based on hate, distrust, and disregard for the truth.

  10. GMB April 21, 2013 / 10:24 am

    ““…Until recently, gays were kicked out of the military just for being gay…”

    Casper. That is an outright baldfaced lie. Homosexuals have never been kicked out for being homosexual since my military career began in 1982. Homosexuals were kicked out for either admitting to their behavior to a superior or for being caught in homosexual behavior.

    They had a choice to make. They could either be a soldier or they could be a homosexual. They made the choice what was more important.

  11. americaforus April 24, 2013 / 11:28 pm

    Look around it seems that ever since the crash of 208 when people lost their jobs Americans got lazier and just didn’t go back to work. And under this administration getting welfare, and free cell phones for welfare recipients have gotten easier. It is a shame that people would rather use the system than work. Plus look at those same people buying Lobsters, T-Bone steaks and even in most cases selling their food stamps for cash.

    • Tom Montz April 24, 2013 / 11:31 pm

      Sorry people I meant to say 2008

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