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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Location: Surreality, Have Fun Will Travel, Past Midnight before a Workday

Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thank You, Michael Shermer

Okay, I was watching television last night. Yes, I had finished my homework as I have been telling everyone I need to do. My boyfriend was flipping around the channels and then went to bed, and I saw that Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic Magazine who is on tour promoting his new book, was being interviewed regarding the conspiracy theories surrounding September 11.

What can I say? Shermer lays it all out clearly and rationally: the idea that George W. Bush, whatever you think of the man (and I think that he should be impeached), deliberately ordered the deaths of over 3000 innocent people that day, or (even more ridiculous) waited around and left the nation unprotected on the off-chance that Osama Bin Laden would "strike inside the U.S." so that the President could sell an Iraq invasion to the people of America, is just nonsense.

Shermer took phone calls and replied easily and calmly to the genuine questions put to him. He does think that perhaps Timothy McVeigh had accomplices, even Iraqi ones, which was news to me. But on the subject of September 11, he brooked no nonsense. I will not sum up what he said here; follow the link above to Mole's article.

But I must say that, as someone who did not vote for George W. Bush and who does not support him, who believes that he lied to the American people and claims too much power for himself, and who would like to see him and the Vice-President legally removed from office, I must say that the idea that September 11 was a murderous conspiracy deliberately perpetrated by him and/or his administration, is the most vicious, heartless slander to be leveled against any sitting American President.

I said it before, and I repeat it now: 9/11 conspiracy theories are just Intelligent Design with a "I Love My Co-op" sticker. Now, Bush can claim to be even more of a victim than Bill Clinton. Bleh. I hope those conspiracy theorists are proud of themselves. Accusing a President of the United States, even an asshole like George W. Bush, is a very serious, and frightening, charge! When they were interviewed on Democracy Now! the directors of Loose Change, that pseudo-documentary on September 11, seemed to enjoy their ideas. It seems like fun to them.

Well, I am not amused.


Blogger MarcoConley said...

Yes, the Bush 9/11 conspiracy theories are beyond ridiculous.

I don't know why the conspiracy nuts stick to them. Haven't they heard about all the insane, evil Bush conspiracies that are actually true? The "tap every phone in America" conspiracy theory, the "torture people to death" conspiracy theory, etc.

There's plenty of conspiratorial atrocity to go around without having to invent preposterous ones like Bush masterminding 9/11.

September 16, 2006 11:14 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

Bravo for standing up to the far left extremist nut cases who unfortunately seemed to have taken over the Democratic Party.

Michael Shermer... interesting guy. Have you seen "The Question of God?" It was a pbs special that was aired a number of times last year, in which a number of people with a variety of worldviews all got together and examined and discussed Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis. Fascinating series. Shermer was the scientific atheist (although, I think he now leans more towards agnosticism, which makes a whole lot more sense than atheism). There was a Christian doctor (someone who was educated about science and believed the Bible). And then there were all sorts of people in between. Fascinating discussion.

I'm sure you know that Shermer was, at one point, a "born again Christian," before becoming a "born again atheist." But the last I heard, he had crawled his way back to agnosticism... which is, of course, a step in the right direction.

September 17, 2006 5:08 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Sure, the 9/11 conspiracy theories, like nearly all conspiracy theories, are ridiculous. In practical terms, though, there's not a terribly significant difference between conspiracy and plain old run-of-the-mill incompetence.

September 17, 2006 2:21 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

There's not a terribly significant difference between conspiracy and plain old run-of-the-mill incompetence.

Dan, I see your point (things are going so badly in Iraq there may as well have been a conspiracy), but I think that the Bush Administration's incompetence is beyond even other famous failures of groupthink (like the Bay of Pigs, etc.)--maybe even unique in history.

Which brings me to the Democrats...[groan]

Concerned Engineer, I wasn't aware that far left extremists had taken over the Democratic Party. Who are they? I'd like to see a little rabble-rousing from them, instead of the whining and hem-hawings that has me totally disgusted with them.

The Green Party in my state barely has a pulse...which, considering the behavior of two recently ousted candidates (one of them a friend just convicted of a crime, and with whom I bitterly disagreed over PRT), and the fact that they're arguing whether or not to unendorse one of their candidates (leaving them with, once again, nobody left to run), may be a good thing. Sigh...

Atheism makes sense to me, man.

I agree, Marco. There's plenty of bad to go around about Bush without inventing things. I even wondered, in my most cynical moment, if this conspiracy idea was another brainstorm of Karl Rove! Which is probably just as ridiculous as anything.

September 17, 2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

"Bravo for standing up to the far left extremist nut cases who unfortunately seemed to have taken over the Democratic Party."




September 18, 2006 8:29 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

On the influence of the far left...

Imagine a graph. Truth and justice is the center of the graph. Some people error to the right and some to the left. But truth and justice (being absolute) does not move. People move to the right and to the left.

But some people try very hard to stay right on top of truth and justice, and other people shamelessly move in either direction. Thus, the party that plays most unfairly tilts the graph to one side.

Then the "center" is redefined. You have some nut cases going extremely hard right and others going extremely hard left. To assume that "truth and justice" is in the center is a really bad assumption. The center has been pulled off of truth and justice.

And so is the case. The influence of the far left, blame Bush for everything (even, in their zeal, making up conspiracy theories about Bush being the mastermind of 9/11) has pulled the center and even the right so far left, that those of us who are left here contending for truth and justice look like wacked extremists.

Take the issue of abortion for example. Truth and justice says that the unborn child is ... A CHILD ... and therefore has the same rights as any of the rest of us. But the far left has taken over the Democratic Party (and to a large degree the Republican Party), and have made those who stand for the rights of the unborn look like Nazis. We are just standing against infanticide. Does that make us extremists?

Here is a very thought provoking essay - by an ex-feminist. She explains very well how "extremists" have taken over the Democratic Party. Check it out:

September 18, 2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

"Take the issue of abortion for example. Truth and justice says that the unborn child is ... A CHILD ..."

Prove that. Truth and Justice says no such thing. My assertion is as good as yours. Only your fundy extrapolation off some dust-covered anthology of ancient superstitions ripped off from various surrounding cultures and edited for content by a bunch of masogynistic power grabbers says any such thing. In fact, I don't even believe your dust-covered book of woo has anything to say on the matter. The conmen swindling you for 10% of your hard-earned cash seem to be your only authorities with anything at all to say about it.

Seems to me you define the word "rube" quite nicely.

Now, I've made quite a few statements, none of which I've backed up with a shred of evidence. Exactly as you've done.

I'm cuter, I win.

"Here is a very thought provoking essay - by an ex-feminist. She explains very well how "extremists" have taken over the Democratic Party. Check it out:

Here is a very thought provoking essay - by an ex-fundy. I explain very well how "extremists" have taken over the Republican Party. Check it out:

If you ever decide to shell out your tithes to something worthwhile, I'll email you my address. Send cash, I don't take checks.

September 18, 2006 2:36 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...


Are you against the murder of infants who are at least 6 weeks old? How about those just 2 weeks old? Are against the murder of newborns less than a day old? How about 2 minutes out of the womb?

How about as the baby is proceeding out of the womb? How about during the mother's contractions but prior to the head sticking out? How about a week prior to that?

You want "proof?" Is murder ever wrong? What? It is? Prove that.

That you don't recognize that the unborn child is a person just like you and me and therefore deserves the same dignity as you and me simply makes you an evil heretic - regardless of cute you are.

September 18, 2006 2:47 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I have a hectic day at work, leave for a while, and all hell breaks loose.

Well, now that we’ve straightened out who’s an evil heretic (me, too) and who isn’t, let’s quote some Dawkins:

“Recently, after giving a public lecture, I was cross-examined by a lawyer in the audience. He brought the full weight of his legal acumen to bear on a nice point of evolution. If species A evolves into a later species B, he reasoned closely, there must come a point when a mother belongs to the old species A and her child belongs to the new species B. Members of different species cannot interbreed with one another. I put it to you, he went on, that a child could hardly be so different from its parents that it could not interbreed with their kind. So, he wound up triumphantly, isn't this a fatal flaw in the theory of evolution?

”But it is we that choose to divide animals up into discontinuous species. On the evolutionary view of life there must have been intermediates, even though, conveniently for our naming rituals, they are usually extinct: usually, but not always. The lawyer would be surprised and, I hope, intrigued by so-called 'ring species'. The best-known case is herring gull versus lesser black-backed gull. In Britain these are clearly distinct species, quite different in colour. Anybody can tell them apart. But if you follow the population of herring gulls westward round the North Pole to North America, then via Alaska across Siberia and back to Europe again, you will notice a curious fact. The 'herring gulls' gradually become less and less like herring gulls and more and more like lesser black-backed gulls until it turns out that our European lesser black-backed gulls actually are the other end of a ring that started out as herring gulls. At every stage around the ring, the birds are sufficiently similar to their neighbours to interbreed with them. Until, that is, the ends of the continuum are reached, in Europe. At this point the herring gull and the lesser black-backed gull never interbreed, although they are linked by a continuous series of interbreeding colleagues all the way round the world. The only thing that is special about ring species like these gulls is that the intermediates are still alive. All pairs of related species are potentially ring species. The intermediates must have lived once. It is just that in most cases they are now dead. The lawyer, with his trained discontinuous mind, insists on placing individuals firmly in this species or that. He does not allow for the possibility that an individual might lie half-way between two species, or a tenth of the way from species A to species B. Self-styled 'pro-lifers', and others that indulge in footling debates about exactly when in its development a foetus 'becomes human', exhibit the same discontinuous mentality. It is no use telling these people that, depending upon the human characteristics that interest you, a foetus can be 'half human' or 'a hundredth human'. 'Human', to the discontinuous mind, is an absolute concept. There can be no half measures. And from this flows much evil.”

September 18, 2006 3:19 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

Woe to those who call evil, good; and good, evil.

Rhetoric does not determine reality, but it is very often used to put spin on reality. You can use rhetoric to make a case that the unborn child is not a child, but that doesn't affect the truth that the unborn child (though not fully developed) is just a much a human person as you and I are. We have the same value.

What is scary about your rhetoric (besides that fact that it paints a bulls-eye on the helpless and defenseless unborn babies) is that it could also paint a bulls-eye on anyone who hasn't gone through puberty yet. You might argue that such a "person" isn't fully developed yet, and you would be right! So, then you can argue that since they are not fully developed, they don't deserve the same right to life that you and I enjoy. You can make that assertion, but that doesn't change the truth. Such an assertion is evil.

What this comes down to is this: You ultimately place full trust and faith and value on your own opinion. But you are a depraved sinner. I say this with compassion. Without Christ, I also am a depraved sinner.

Don't harden your heart. The unborn child has as much value as you and me. Don't deny it.

September 18, 2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Every living creature has as much value as you or me--just not to you and me.

It is we who see value differentials, as all species must. We have to survive.

If we are to ban abortion, will we also ban the false stratification that values one child of lower-class parents less than one child of higher-class parents?

As the United States becomes more anti-abortion, it is ironically becoming more class-hardened. There is less movement among social classes than before.

One-fifth of all children live in poverty. Increasingly more are homeless. What about the abortion of their hopes and dreams? Don't they then have rights beyond merely the "right" to be born?

To be born into what? By the way, we have the highest infant mortality rate of the industrialized nations. Is that murder, as well?

September 18, 2006 5:07 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...


One issue at a time. You can point to all kinds of social injustices, and those should be discussed and debated, and we should seek to establish justice in those areas. I'm with you on that.

But that has nothing to do with whether or not we should condone infanticide in this country.

I would really rather we get along... but I will never apologize for defending the rights of the unborn.

By the way... that article about Christian fundamentalists taking over the Republican party... you really should be truthful. You didn't write that; I did. ;)

"Every living creature has as much value as you or me--just not to you and me."

If you believe this, then how do you eat in good conscience? Are carrots and potatoes included in "living creature?" Or just animals? Are you a vegetarian.

No, ma'am. We, being created in God's image, are more valuable than the animals. Killing and eating a pig is not wrong.

Killing human babies is.

I should also say that God is merciful and loving and forgiving and kind. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness." God loves sinners. He is in the business of forgiveness. So, if anyone has held to an evil heretical idea, God is ready and willing to forgive you. You just have 'fess up. Call your sin what it is. This is really hard to do. It is easy to point out the sin in others (seriously, how often do people in the middle of an argument go, "Hold up. I'm wrong. You're right." And then the other person go... "no, no, no, really, I'm the one that's wrong.") We should be like that - when we really are wrong. But people are proud and deceived, so they're not.

But the point is that God has lots of mercy and grace for those who have had abortions. God is a forgiving God. And that is some really good news.

Kristine, by the way, do you ever have a problem using the word "creature?" Since creature implies the existence of a Creator. Just curious.

September 18, 2006 5:39 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

Crap, I had a really good rant all typed out and ready to go, and you go and get all "we are the world" on me.

Oh well.

Last things first... the word creature only implies a prior belief in a creator sometime in the history of the English language. Use of the word now implies nothing of the sort. Similar to how the expression "God Bless You" once meant a blessing for sneezing out evil demons or some such ridiculous superstition, but now only implies good manners. You might check with Arden Chatfield on that, he'd know better than I, but I'll bet a nickel that that's the general gist of things. Anyways, Arden is the resident linguist over at AtBC. Nice guy.

Just for the record, the conversation is on abortion, not infanticide. Big difference, ask the Supreme Court.

Alack and alas,

I am become an evil heretic. Tragedy, that. Musta happened long about the time I began to think for myself.

Kristine, I don't know that I'd classify this as "all hell breaking loose" but perhaps just a minor chuckling at the lack of logic of yet another fundy. Nevertheless, I apologize if I've caused an issue. For a peek at “all hell breaking loose” SEE HERE


As for EngineeredSwordOfHolyRighteousnessAndComedy, I simply intended to point out that "I said so, and so does this website that agrees with me" isn't really a valid argument.

Ok, you've given lovely arguments based on the bible. Very medieval of you. However, your assumption that your holy book of superstition has anything whatever to do with reality is misplaced.

If you're going to base arguments on an old book, may I suggest "Stranger in a Strange Land"? Or perhaps "The Cat In The Hat"?

At least they don't involve an invisible 5 year old, throwing tantrums and destroying the world whenever he doesn't get his way.

Which leads us on to my next question.

How can you, with a straight face, be arguing about rights of "unborn children" and basing your arguments on a book that's all about god committing genocide and repeatedly commanding "his people" to do the same? That doesn't sound even a little bit sane to me. Mercy? How 'bout a little mercy for the children of the earth during your fanciful flood? What did they do to deserve to be viciously drowned? What about the children murdered by god when he told the Israelites to wipe out the people already living on the "promised land"? What? So abortion is murder, but killing an entire race of people because they live on a hunk of land you covet is godly? If you're going to argue from a postion of moral high ground, the bible is hardly the place to stand. Your god is evil. He is a genocidal maniac. Fortunately for all of us, he is also fictitious, as is virtually all of your dusty book.

Which leads us to the heart of the matter. When does a fetus become "human"? When YOU say so? When I say so? It's an interesting question, but not one about which I value your opinion. You’ll forgive me, I hope, if I don’t really care what your invisible friend has to say on the matter. When he shows up at the table, then he can have a say so.

Which leads on to my next question… Why is my body such an obsession with you fundies? You really should get laid more. It'd do wonders for your outlook on life if you weren't so sexually repressed. If you spent more time getting laid yourselves, you might ease up on obsessing about who else is getting laid, and how and by whom. Also, you might consider decaf.

Anyways, if you have such a problem with abortions, then I suggest you don't get one. Meanwhile, leave me and Kate and our seven hundred screaming (and willing adult) male, female, and other sex slaves and our anal strap-on vibrators alone. We ain't botherin' you.

Keep your hands off my uterus, thank you very much. And off me in general, now that I think about it.

(Sorry Kristine, there’s something about poking a fundy in the eye that I can’t resist. It’s either cathartic or sadistic, I’m not sure which.)

September 18, 2006 7:24 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Gesundheit, everyone.

I just had another grad school orientation and am almost brain dead. Good thing it was a library orientation, so I could look up the etymology of the word "creature." "Anything created," also "living beings." Okay. But if I start excising words from my vocabulary, what do I replace them with?

A similar issue is the phrase "evolved to" which implies design where there is none, or the even more suspect bit of semantic shorthand "was designed to." Holy Toledo [aha! I used the word "holy!"], let's start crossing out those phrases from all of Dawkins' and Gould's books. Good luck.

I had a point here but I lost it. I need to eat something, people.

September 18, 2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Are carrots and potatoes included in "living creature?" Or just animals? Are you a vegetarian.

I want some french fries! No, I'm not a vegetarian. But I am serious when I say that everything has equal value. But not to us, and nevertheless, everyone has to eat. Animals eat each other, and they eat plants. It's not fair, but that's how it works. It has nothing to do with the value of life. Bacteria will have the last laugh anyway.

September 18, 2006 7:43 PM  
Anonymous Arden Chatfield said...

Bravo for standing up to the far left extremist nut cases who unfortunately seemed to have taken over the Democratic Party.

Horseshit. Like many Republicans, CE calls everyone to the left of John McCain a 'far left extremist nut case', including anyone who points out any of Bush's myriad failures. It's a cheesy strategy that's served Rush Limbaugh well for years.

It's also telling that CE actually can't name any of these 'far left extremist nut cases' who've supposedly taken over the Democratic party.

Kristine, by the way, do you ever have a problem using the word "creature?" Since creature implies the existence of a Creator.

Again, bullshit. Janie is right -- 'creature' in English simply means a living thing, an organism. In modern English it makes no statement about a 'creator', regardless of the original etymology it had centuries ago. The etymology of a word and its actual meaning are not one and the same thing.

September 18, 2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

Well, thank you, Arden.

Gee, do I feel smug now.



September 18, 2006 9:04 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

"But I am serious when I say that everything has equal value. But not to us, and nevertheless, everyone has to eat. Animals eat each other, and they eat plants. It's not fair, but that's how it works. It has nothing to do with the value of life."

It's the Circle Of Life.

[cue the Elton John music...]


September 18, 2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

"I had a point here but I lost it. I need to eat something, people."

Then get yourself something to eat, young lady. We don't want to stress you out on an empty stomache. That'd be bad. You could pass out and be ravished by some studly boyfriend. The bad part is that you'd be unconcious, and miss all the fun.


September 18, 2006 9:12 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Kristine, I don't know that I'd classify this as "all hell breaking loose"

I was being facetious--by all means, have at it. But your "SEE HERE" linky didn't work, and now I'm curious!

Yeah, I don't want to have an empty stomach and be unconscious when I kidnap a notorious bespectacled creationist, tie him to a tree, and apply the feather-tickle strategy...oops! I didn't say that, everyone.

See what a hornet's nest you've stumbled into, Concerned Engineer? Enter at your own risk!

September 18, 2006 11:12 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

"I was being facetious--by all means, have at it."

Okee Dokee, just didn't want to upset ya'.

"But your "SEE HERE" linky didn't work, and now I'm curious!"

Blogger's been a little wiggy lately, and I've had that happen a couple times with commenters at my blog. Here's the full url...

It's really just a link to one of my more memorable rants. Kate coined the expression "Hurricane Jane just blew in" wrt my temper just before that rant. Boy, was she right. This storm blew in July 18, when I found out Dumbski had banned me. If the link still doesn't work, it's the post called "Mom - Please Don't Read This One". It was also the genesis of O'Weirdo's nickname, "MorphoDyke".

I see that you've also stumbled over to CE's blog. Man, those are the scariest bunch o' people. "Theocracy" this and "god's will" that.

Here's a gem for ya'...

"First of all, I would suggest that Thomas Jefferson knew nothing about freedom. Neither did many of our Founding Fathers. Many of them were deceived by the Enlightenment (which really ought to be called the Endarkenment). They bought into the deceitful religion of secularism, and so became slaves."

From this page...

(Ironically, it's from September 11, and it's called "Defining Freedom".)

What do you even say to that?


What's the difference between the Taliban and folks like ConcernedEngineer?


'bout three or four thousand miles.

September 19, 2006 6:56 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

I think it is a common misperception that the real reason why fundamentalists are against abortion is because we hate all of you for all the sex you have.

There may be people like that; I don't know any. Actually, I think I knew one. This one person I knew was very angry that so many people get drunk so often. It was kinda pathetic. It is worth noting that Jesus turned water into wine.

See God came to make us alive. The goal of Christianity is not so much to avoid extra-marital sex and drunkeness,etc. The goal is to know God and to make Him known. Admittedly, some people have this really backwards. I heard a joke the other day - the one about how Southern Baptists are against sexual immorality. Yeah... it looks too much like dancing.

So, the point is that people often miss the point. Its not about a bunch of rules; its about a personal relationship with Jesus. Check out John 4 - where Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman at the well. That story is so effective in breaking stereotypes. Here is Jesus (a Jewish man, a rabbi) associating Himself with an immoral Samaritan woman. The religious community of the day was shocked - SHOCKED - by this rabbi. Not kosher.

So, you might be happy to know that Jesus was very tender and loving and merciful and kind with the sinners, but the most harsh with the religious people.

There are some people like that in many churches today. But as for me and most of the Christians I know, we don't hate you. Furthermore, we think sex is pretty awesome - a wonderful gift that God has given us to celebrate in the context of a covenant relationship between a responsible man and a responsible woman. Have you ever read the Song of Solomon? Maybe some fundamentalist Baptists are completely anti-pleasure and anti-sex for any reason except reproduction, but that is not a Biblical view. Seriously, check out the Song of Solomon. This sex idea is God's idea.

And I am happy to be celebrating that.

But like many good things, the devil perverts what is good, and then destroys lives. Adultery / homosexuality / prostitution - these are all perversions of a very beautiful gift that God has given us. Families suffer. Marriages are destroyed.

But even so, we don't hate you. As forgiven sinners, we are eager to share God's love with you. And if you want to be mean to us, we will be patient. God loves you.

But the whole sex issue has nothing to do with our commitment to the unborn. You see the unborn as part of your body. That is so wack. The unborn may be in your body, but he is a separate individual person - a helpless and defenseless person who doesn't have the capacity to speak for himself.

And I care about that individual. They are just as human as an infant. Thus the discussion of whether or not we should allow the murder of the unborn is the same as the discussion of whether or not we should allow infanticide.

Again Janie, in spite of our differences, I would rather that we be friendly.

Far left extremist nut cases: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Ned Lamont (the guy who beat Lieberman - perhaps the only democrat who is not a far left nutcase - actually Alan Colmes is okay sometimes), Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, Al Franken, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy (too bad about Mary Jo Kepechne, huh?), Chuck Schumer - just to name a few.

All of these are pro-give-mothers-the-choice-to-murder-her-unborn-baby. I think they all support this "choice" right up to and including partial birth abortions; but I'm not positive about that. It may be that some of these nutcases are a little less nutty than others. And as for the war on terrorism, I have no confidence in any of these individuals to lead our nation in this war - this fight for our survival (cause that's really what it is - if you haven't been clued in to that yet). And of course, they are completely secular. They don't make decisions based on the idea that life is sacred, but that life is secular.

By the way, this is not a defense or a promotion for the Republican Party. It is only an attack on the Democratic Party. I'm not crazy about Republicans either. I don't think I will ever vote for anyone in my lifetime - but only against the particularly bad candidate in order to avoid giving that guy half a vote (which is kinda what would happen, if I didn't vote at all).

On the Bible...
The Bible is the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God. It is not so, because I say it. I am merely recognizing what is the case. God is holy and just and merciful and compassionate. He is a God of just wrath and punishes sin. He often used Israel to bring judgment against the idolatry and sin of surrounding nations (and when Israel sinned, He used other nations to bring judgment on Israel).

You are attacking the foundation of my faith - trying to discredit my argument. But to no avail. The Bible stands as the Word of God. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit also testifies to the truth.

But allow me to reverse the argument. How do you know that anything is wrong? You have attacked the foundation of my faith. But how do you know anything about epistemology? Do you just put blind faith in the Constitution (which at one point called black men 3/5 of a man and also allowed for slavery)? Do you put full faith in the Supreme Court - a court that is often divided 5-4? How do you know anything?

You attack the basis of my faith, but the basis for your "faith" (in the sense of your basis for discerning between right and wrong) is nothing other than your own opinion. Well, what if you are wrong? Is that possible?

Shalom, people.

September 19, 2006 7:20 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

Unlike so many Americans, I don't put blind faith in Thomas Jefferson or the Founding Fathers. I would ask before people make a judgment on that quote that you read it in its context. After all, the Bible says, "There is no God." But in context, it says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Context is pretty important.

As for comparing me to the Taliban. I've never killed anyone - you'll be happy to know.

September 19, 2006 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Far left extremist nut cases: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Ned Lamont (the guy who beat Lieberman - perhaps the only democrat who is not a far left nutcase - actually Alan Colmes is okay sometimes), Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, Al Franken, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy (too bad about Mary Jo Kepechne, huh?), Chuck Schumer - just to name a few.

My point is proven. CD's definiton of a 'far left extremist nut case': Any Democrat. You've listened to too much Rush Limbaugh, little man.

Hilary Clinton has supported the Iraq War most of the last several years. Funny how that still makes her a 'Far left extremist nut case'.

The Bible is the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God. It is not so, because I say it. I am merely recognizing what is the case.

No, you have no evidence whatsoever, so you're offering nothing except "because I say so".

But to no avail. The Bible stands as the Word of God.

Got proof? Didn't think so. Yawn.

September 19, 2006 9:24 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

"Ok, you've given lovely arguments based on the bible. Very medieval of you."

Ya know... the people who lived in medieval times did not always get everything wrong. They were not brain dead people. Some were. but so are some (many) moderns. I think it is very typical and arrogant for the modern and postmodern generation to look back on medieval times with prejudiced arrogant smugness. As if we are so much smarter and better than they were.

Without having the technology we have today, those people built some pretty amazing castles and cathedrals. They had some beautiful art. They accomplished this through intelligence, hard work, ingenuity, and creativity.

And their ideas about education were pretty good. Have you ever read Dorothy Sayer's "The Lost Tools of Learning"? She examines the Trivium, an educational scheme that was very often used in medeival times, and this essay essentially called for modern educators to humble themselves and learn from the wisdom of the ideas of the Trivium. She is much less combative (and therefore probably much more winsome) than me. Check it out:

It is a sad state of affairs that most modern high school graduates don't know what a syllogism is, much less how he can discern a valid syllogism from an invalid syllogism. I didn't even know this until after I graduated from college. And I was an engineering major!

I agree with Sayers. We could learn something if we humbled ourselves and acknowledged that the people who lived in medeival times had some good ideas.

Not to say that all medeival ideas are good nor that all modern ideas are bad. The truth is some modern ideas are good; some are bad. And the same goes with medeival ideas.

In spite of all our technological advances, there is really nothing new under the sun. People are still fighting over the same things that they have fought over for thousands of years. People still have the same problems, the same needs, the same struggles, the same joys and pleasures. There is wisdom that can be learned from the medeival times.

It is interesting that moderns are so against prejudice - against racism, sexism, etc. And yet, they think that they are so much smarter, better, more civilized, more sophisticated than the people of medieval times. Might we call this "Age-ism" - prejudice against those who lived in a different age?

September 19, 2006 10:00 AM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

Everything Hillary Clinton does is calculated. I doubt very much that she has any real convictions, on which she stands. She is making herself look like a "centrist" because she wants to get into the White House in '08.

She is pro-choice; therefore, she doesn't stand for truth and justice.

I do listen to Rush sometimes. I agree with him about 75% of the time. Certainly, he has caused many brainwashed liberals to reconsider everything that they were trained to accept growing up in public schools.

He does seem to give Republicans and George Bush a free pass, and that is definately annoying. Same with Sean Hannity. The right is as partisan as the left in this country; and I am unrepresented - a voice crying out in the wilderness. So, for the record, while I often agree with Hannity/Limbaugh/Coulter, I sometimes disagree with them. And I always disagree with the way they treat people who disagree with them. Hannity drives me nuts whenever he shouts someone down or plays that clip, "Get off the phone, ya big dope!"

By attacking the Democratic Party, I am not defending the Republican Party.

I hate socialism, because it is institutionalized envy. But I am no fan of capitalism, because it is institutionalized greed and encourages the injustice of monopolies.

I am not a partisan. I am no disciple of Rush Limbaugh.

September 19, 2006 10:11 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Far left extremist nut cases: Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Howard Dean, Ned Lamont (the guy who beat Lieberman - perhaps the only democrat who is not a far left nutcase - actually Alan Colmes is okay sometimes), Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, Al Franken, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy (too bad about Mary Jo Kepechne, huh?), Chuck Schumer - just to name a few.

All these people ascribe to the conspiracy theories to which this posting refers? I doubt it.

Anyway, the original topic was about Shermer, so here he is.

September 19, 2006 1:07 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...


I did not mean to suggest that all of those people believe in "Bush Masterminded 9/11" conspiracy theories. (Although, I do seem recall Dean hinting at that, if my memory is serving me well).

What I did mean is that all of these people have pulled the Democratic party to the "left" of Truth and Justice." I also am not confident that they would serve us well and lead us well in the fight against terrorism. And I think that many of them have bought into radical feminism ideas (see that essay by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese that I pointed out earlier). Many of them often play the "race card" (like our friends Al Sharpton and Michael Moore) - accusing anyone conservative, Republican, and/or Christian of being prejudiced, racist, and bigoted.

But let me reiterate. I do not believe that these people all believe that Bush was the mastermind of 9/11.

September 19, 2006 1:20 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

I just typed up a reply and lost it.

Anyway... quick summary.

I did not intend to say that all of the people I mentioned believe that Bush was the mastermind of 9/11.

However, I do believe that in many different ways and to differing degrees, all of them have played a role in pulling the "center" left of Truth and Justice.

September 19, 2006 1:22 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

I guess it did go through... Sorry about that.

September 19, 2006 1:23 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

Funny that Jimmy Carter, one of the most decent human beings on the planet is on your list of people dragging the country away from Truth and Justice, but W, proven liar, warmonger, and war criminal remains unindicted in your eyes.

You seem like a civil enough guy, C.E., but you really need to come on back to reality.

Just sayin'.

September 19, 2006 2:43 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

Yeah, C.E.,

Blogger's been especially wiggy lately. There's a scheduled outage today around 4, where they're going to attempt to fix stuff.

You might want to back up your entire blog.

September 19, 2006 2:47 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

I think Jimmy Carter is a "nice" guy, and that is all good and well. But I think he was somewhat incompetent in how he dealt with the Iranian hostage crisis. And I think that he is unwise in his present support for the Democratic Party.

Again, by saying this, I am not endorsing the white Republican capitalistic party. I'm merely pointing out flaws with Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party. And I'm not saying it to be mean and cause division, but to bring these issues to attention, so that people will vote wisely in future elections.

As for W... I haven't endorsed him. Nor have I condemned him. I am not convinced that he is a liar; although, he might be. I think we did need to go to war, but we could have done so in a much smarter way. All in all, I give him about a C-.

I don't know that he is a war criminal. And I don't believe he is warmonger. We are in war. That is reality. Crying "warmonger" is easy to do. But thinking about how you would handle the situation if you were the President is a good deal more challenging.

I have no problem with the left criticizing Bush fairly. But I do have a problem with the left not offering a real plan on how to win this war on terrorism.

Again, attacking Democrats does not equate with endorsing Republicans.

September 19, 2006 3:25 PM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

You give W a C-? I give him an F in geography. OBL wasn't anywhere near Iraq. I also give him an F in diplomacy. We set up the UN to settle international disputes. W prefers to do end runs around them when it suits him, but cries foul when someone else does. I give him an F in citizenship. Bypassing courts with the power to grant him warrants to tap domestic phones and such is illegal. Don't cry about how time is of the essence, blah blah blah. He has three days AFTER the tap has begun to present a case, and the court is a rubber stamp anyway. It doesn't even have the power to say "no". I give him an F- in common human decency. Outing a covert operative because her husband called him on his warmongering and lying is waaaayyyy out of bounds. That's a death penalty offence, in case you weren't paying attention.

Yes, we are in a war. Two, in fact. One over revenge and justice, which is largely being ignored, and another over oil and the control thereof. One has some justification. One is a war crime for which the instigator (W) should be handed over to The Hague.

"I don't know that he is a war criminal. And I don't believe he is warmonger."

Well what do you call it when you use an attack by group A as an excuse to attack groub B, and lie about intelligence, and illegally spy on your own people, and illegally "detain" people without benefit of Truth and Justice, and deliberately endanger the life of a CIA operative because her husband disagrees with your policy, and illegally hand out all the civilian contracts to your buddy's company, and keep secret torture facilities in foreign countries, and .... eh...

Nevermind, I'm wasting my virtual breath.

September 19, 2006 6:03 PM  
Anonymous ConcernedEngineer said...

To see a great fight on the issue of abortion, check out Janiebelle's blog.

September 20, 2006 12:51 PM  
Blogger Corporal Kate said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 21, 2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger Corporal Kate said...


She ain't even warmed up yet, fundy boy.

September 21, 2006 8:38 AM  

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