July 01, 2006

Religion: The TRUTH At Last! (Again)

Well, that was an unfun week! While the Significant Other was gone catering, I helped her mother move from Vancouver to Victoria over two days. This involved me driving a 25' truck, which I only drive about once a year, through unfamiliar streets in a city which I visit about once a year, being directed by someone who let her license expire ten years ago. Then I heard that the SO had dropped Clover again, so I had to visit her for a morale boost. I need a little break.

So for my own morale boost, I'm going to pick apart a full page ad that will be appearing in the Washington Times (national edition) on July 3rd. It's written by Doctor Dennis Jarrard, who starts the letter (read: ad) with "Dear Concerned Friend," and signs off with "Yours for the children," which always sets off warning bells. His doctorate is in education, meaning he's been taught how to teach, though with the assembled falacies in the ad he wrote, you have to wonder how well...

First, a checklist:

Nazi references: Yes (twice)
Stalnist reference: Yes (once)
Professors are lefties, far lefties, or extreme lefties: Yes (seven times)
Professors are athiests or secularists: Yes (three times)
Hollywood/Liberal Media Elite: Yes (once)
Sex education = pedophilia: Yes (the point of the ad)
That "Left" and "Right" science exist: Yes (constant theme)
The courts are eliminating morality: Yes (twice)

I'm not going to bother reprinting the entire ad here: if you want to check it out, just follow the link above. What you'll get from me is the gist of the argument, the ironic mistakes pointed out, and a quick smack upside the head for the folks who think the argument is legitimate. Even limiting myself to that, this could well end up longer than the original ad.

And on with the show!

Section One
Much like politicos on the right just can't seem to let go of Clinton's penis, the religious folk of the right can't get past their personal persecution complex. The opening is all about the unfairness of it all, "it" being that Senator Kerry insulted President Bush's religious followers (including, we are assured, "Christians and many Jews"). Note that it's not "many Christians", as if the writer could not concieve of anyone who considered themselves Christian supporting anyone but Bush. (Fallacy #1) No other religion seems to warrant mentioning.

There is a reminder that Kerry "is a product of Yale", and that "The left-wing professors’ twisted “science” comes from schools such as Harvard and Indiana University." This bemuses me no end, as the supposed avatar that the good doctor has already felt was unjustly smeared attended both Yale and Harvard. I'll guess that Bush's attendance at that school is considered acceptable since it seemed to have so little effect.

Can't leave without a dig at those horrible courts! Dr. Jerrard complains bitterly that morality is being replaced by science, as if the two were incompatible. This is a constant theme, except when it's decided that science shows what the religious folks want: then it's okay.

Then comes the best blurb: that the liberal media elites supress vital information from the public! Need proof? Doctor Georges Lemaitre isn't as famous as Albert Einstien! Don't you see? Don't you see!? They refuted athiests, and nobody knows it! Gosh!

This leads to the oddest declaration of the piece: "Our future decision-makers think it was Einstein who explained the universe and its origin." Save the Children!

Um, actually, no, they don't. Einstein's biggest revelations, and what he's most famous for, is the understanding of perception (how the universe may work) rather than it's origin. He's also famous for being a celebrity at a time when science, and scientists, were looked at with some awe by the general public: he became more so with the detonations over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Anyhow, that's the leader line to...

Section Two
It's all about the conspiracy, baby! You see, Einstein attended a conference at which Lemaitre was speaking, and became convinced that the Big Bang was real. This, of course, would prove Christianity (and hence the Ten Commandments) correct, but as Lemaitre was a Catholic the scientific world shunned him. Or something.

It's actually quite difficult to follow the madly leaping logic here, but apparently Dr. Jerrard thinks that (a) any scientists who are religious are derided by all other scientists; and (b) only scientists who are religious can see the world clearly: he calls Lemaitre "the Belgian priest-scientist", for instance. These are tremendously odd beliefs to hold, as most scientists are religious, and if Gregor Mendel, a monk, was ignored then evolution wouldn't be taught in schools as there wouldn't have been enough evidence for it.

The other assertion made here, that the Big Bang proves the Ten Commendments, is just weird. First, of course, is the claim that all life starting from a constantly-expanding point is somehow a strictly Judeo-Christian belief (and an "ancient" one, yet!): no where in the Bible is this statement ever made. Now, apparently, it's only Christians that ever held this belief. Hm.

The last paragraph or this section goes from play-science to play-mathematics. It's asserted that mathematicians showed biologists that life couldn't have happened by random events - ever. The sneaky biologists, however, "simply assumed the math must be wrong." First, the assumption is made that biologists are all a pack of athiests or other deliberate God-deniers to ignore such powerful "facts" that the mathematicians presented to them. Second, trying to apply probablility to something for which we have no scale makes as much sense as sticking a Band-Aid to the ocean: it just doesn't apply. I have in my collection of apocalypse books (for instance) one that asserts the mathematical odds of Mikhail Gorbachev NOT being the Anti-Christ was over 100,000,000,000 to one. That's against his being the Anti-Christ.

I guess we got awfully lucky there, eh?

Section Three
Sex, sex, and more sex! Mostly, it's bad for you. Well, not you, but your children. (The children! Won't somebody think of the children!) This is a favorite bugbear of moralists, and always has been, so there's nothing new here. Kinsey was evil, sex education is corrupting, and pornography creates rapists. If you think this sounds simplistic, you're right. Oh, plus all this immorality has happened in the past fifty years because "secular universities have [also] twisted our children's view of sexuality." Two points: how'd my kid get into university without knowing anything about sex; and second my education consisted in telling me what the various bit were called and how they worked. But I suppose that's information, so it was probably bad for me.

(Side note: if you want to give your kids some actual, practical, no-bullshit information, try Scarletteen.)

Plus, as we all know, nothing sexually perverse EVER happened more than fifty years ago, right? Kinsey must have invented sexual deviation, because it never would have happened otherwise!

Section Four
More victims, all children (of course). The good doctor notes that there are many more venerial diseases around nowadays that had never been known before - or at least, were never dealt with before. This, clearly, is the fault of secularists. After all, where else could AIDS have come from? Or Human Papilloma Virus, a disease which causes cervical cancer, claiming over 200,000 lives every year? (An effective vaccine to which, by the way, many sexual abolitionists are trying to ban.) Also pointed out is that "illicit sex is [aso] a leading cause of self-hatred and suicide among young people." Neglecting that it's guilt that causes the feelings of "self-hatred" - but that might strike a little close to home, so let's just not go there, okay? Not mentioned is that new diseases crop up in human history constantly, sexually transmitted or otherwise, and sexuality is actually talked about now, whereas fifty years ago it was actually rather difficult to find a specialist in human sexual diseases. Good luck talking to your GP about them!

Then abortion comes up (as we all knew it would!), and with it an extremely limited statistic about 15-18 year old girls having abortions. Amusingly, the physical risks involved are mentioned without explaining that those risks are eliminated if the abortions are performed by trained staff, and the emotional risks are tremendously reduced with the counselling that is provided at EVERY CLINIC IN NOTRH AMERICA. To sum up: the risks mentioned are all amplified when abortion is illegal and fer more dangerous, not when they are performed legally. Best ban them then, I suppose...

This section has a great end line: "Most of America’s sexual pathologies, plus abortion and homosexual “marriage,” come from university-trained “sexologists.” WOW! Those guys must be working some kind of overtime to get around to all those pathologies! Quick! Sent the Mounties! After all, they always get their man, don't they?

Section Five
First thing we do: ban all the teachers. Or at least the ones we want banned. Because they're, you know, evil and stuff. Besides, they "train thousands in the immoral Kinsey lifestyle", whatever the hell that means.

Added Bonus Section!
Remember, they don't want your money (it's about saving children, after all), but if you happen to donate $30 or more (tax deductable, naturally) then they'll send you for FREE a whole quarter-hour DVD about Kinsey and his Amazing Nazi Pedophiles!

How exactly you gather little enough information to produce a 15 minute DVD is currently unknown.

Ah, that was refreshing! It's summer, and the blogging is quieter: a slower pace as befits the weather. Just picked up this summers Scientific American Special Edition, and it's all about evolution, mutation, and the rise of intelligence in humans. Well worth picking up.


posted by Thursday at 5:35 pm


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amusing, in a frightening way. But as you say, when people Believe they don't choose to Think.

10:50 am  
Blogger Thursday said...

My favorite aspect of this ad is that it's... well... an AD! The entire salacious thing is written to wind up thier fans and devotees until they send in the $30 for a 15-minute DVD.

Not that it's about the money, of course...

11:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't "Dr. Judith Reisman’s Institute for Media Education" be reported to the IRS?. The following quote from the ad makes it clear that they are SELLING this DVD, under the guise of a "tax-deductible gift of $30 or more".

"Mail the coupon today, plus your tax-deductible gift of $30 or more, to Dr. Judith Reisman’s Institute for Media Education, 11445 East Via Linda, Suite 2/224, Scottsdale, AZ 85259. You’ll receive your FREE copy of this shocking DVD as her thank-you gift."

3:13 am  
Blogger ChapiNation386 said...

Nah thats covered under basic nonprofit stuff -- PBS does it all the time during their pledge drives.

But yeah after reading the 'advertisement' I just shook my head and thought "Wow... These people sure are stupid."

5:12 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lemaitre would have slapped this Judith Reisman silly if he was still alive today for writing this garbage.

The notion at the time was that the universe was static. It was so normal to suppose it was static that it lead Einstein to invent a universal constant to keep his theory in line with the idea of the universe at the time.

Lemaitre did entertain the expanding universe theory as one of the first scientists (note this man was both a priest and a scientist) of the time but certainly not the only one. It was the data from Hubbles research that showed most objects outside our own galaxy were speeding away from us. It was only after a meeting with Lemaitre AND Hubble that Einstein was convinced that he made a blunder trying to fumble the possibility of a non-static universe away by inventing a constant for it in his theories.

Lemaitre played an important role in science, everyone that studies the work of that timeperiod will know and acknowledge that. But the reason why people don't know his name as well as Einsteins is the same reason why everyone knows who set foot on the moon first but nobody can recall who set foot on the moon last.

Lemaitre was a man of dignity that knew the line between religion and science very well and took care not to confuse the two. Unlike some "scholars" of today. Smearing the reputation of Lemaitre by insinuating religious motives for his scientific work is really as low as one can go.

6:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A belief in god does not necessarily displace you ability to reason…but it does increase your ability to suspend reality.

6:56 am  
Anonymous Bob the Snob said...

Just thinking about the stupidity of the people behind this makes me sort of wonder about evolution: how does stupidity get selected for? What survival benefit is there in being so freakin' dumb? And when a whole bunch of these wingnuts take over the government, it begins to collapse. I suppose the upcoming midterm elections will show us a little evolution in action, as Homo Republicanus gets booted out of the gene pool...

7:06 am  
Anonymous anonymus of the 1st comment said...

I really hope (but don't think)
that Dr. Reisman has overestimated the market for his blatherings, since such an ad is expensive.

Bob, on explaining human irrationality I can only refer you to the works of Michael Shermer.

10:12 am  
Blogger Thursday said...

Bob -

Stupidity can lead to discovery, but that's about it. It's why nature made guys (mostly) expendable: so some one would ask "I wonder if this is edible?"


10:30 am  
Blogger SoonerThought said...

Ther guy who wrote that ad REALLY needs to read The Demon-Haunted World (one of my favorite books also). Of course, he probably wouldn't even consider doing such a thing.

12:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your "About Me" U write: The only religion that's could even be considered close to by personal philosophy is Taoism."

There is a typo U might want to correct. "by personal" to "my personal.

Timothy Travis

7:47 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

TT -

Thanks for the note, but for the sake of your own sanity don't consider proof reading the rest of this blog! The sheer volume of typos still makes me cringe when I check the old posts...

8:01 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home