Congratulations, New Jersey!

As a born-and-raised New Yorker, I reserve the right to make fun of New Jersey every so often, but this week I have nothing but congratulations for my neighbors in the Garden State:

As couples across New Jersey began marrying on Monday after the stroke of midnight, Gov. Chris Christie abandoned his long fight against same-sex marriage, concluding that signals from the court and the march of history were against him.

His decision not to appeal a judge’s ruling that allowed the weddings removed the last hurdle to legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey, making it the 14th state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow gay couples to wed.

New Jersey has had civil unions since 2006, but a full marriage-equality bill has long been advancing through the legislative sausage-grinder. It passed the state legislature in 2012, but was vetoed by Republican governor Chris Christie. That proved to be a short-lived victory for homophobes, since in the aftermath of the DOMA decision, a state court held that it was a violation of equal protection to deny same-sex couples the federal benefits that come with marriage.

Christie appealed that ruling and asked the state supreme court to hear the case, but when they made it obvious that they would rule against him, he dropped his appeal, clearing the last obstacle and allowing same-sex marriage to begin in New Jersey. Naturally, the hardcore bigots were bitterly disappointed, accusing Christie of “abandoning” them by throwing in the towel once it was obvious he would lose. Apparently they’d have preferred him to waste time and energy in a futile fight as long as it was remotely possible – what might be dubbed the From-My-Cold-Dead-Hands theory of governing. (Incidentally, NOM’s scary-gay-juggernaut graphic needs updating again.)

With this latest puzzle piece in place, the entire Eastern Northeastern Seaboard and a full one-third of the U.S. population now lives in states that recognize the equality of same-sex couples. You have to wonder what the religious opponents of marriage equality think their endgame is. What do they imagine they’ll gain by continuing to fight the tide? Do they honestly believe they can keep same-sex marriage from spreading to any more states? Are they just hanging on for as long as big donors keep cutting them checks?

Or are they delusional enough to believe they can reverse this progress? Do they think they can turn back the clock and persuade the voters to support breaking up same-sex marriages? Actually, that just might be the case: for instance, they’re breathlessly telling each other that “marriage, family, decency and common sense are all collapsing” in Maine, which legalized same-sex marriage by popular vote last year, which I’m sure comes as a surprise to the rest of us. The right-wing bubble seems to be intact.

Image credit: catwalker / Shutterstock.com

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • GCT

    Did you mean the entire Northeastern Seaboard? The graphic indicates that Virginia and every state on the Eastern Seaboard south of there do not recognize equality for same-sex couples.

  • Bdole

    Obviously, this is a harbinger of the rapture.

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    Would it be such a bad thing if all the Christians pissed off to heaven? I feel like we could get some meaningful progressive and ethical legislation passed in the U.S. then…

  • Loren Petrich

    So far, it looks like mostly “blue states” that accept gay marriage. Some of them had passed anti-gay-marriage amendments to their state constitutions some years back, but I think that those amendments could be repealed. That’s what happened to the Prohibition amendment to the national constitution.

    Given how the political winds have been shifting, I expect:
    * Upgrade to gay marriage: Illinois
    * Possible advance: Pennsylvania
    * Repeal of anti-gay-marriage amendments in some states
    ** Most likely: Oregon
    ** Somewhat less likely: Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin
    ** Less likely: Michigan, Ohio, Virginia

  • Bdole

    Well, when you put it that way, I almost wanna join hands with Michelle Bachmann and cry “maranatha! Come lord Jesus!”

  • DavidMHart

    Upgrade to gay marriage: Illinois

    I like the way you phrase that: Buying a plane ticket to Illinois? Why not upgrade to a gay marriage ticket for just $30 extra?

  • Jason Wexler

    You forgot to include those states that have pending federal cases trying to overturn marriage bans, such as Hawaii and that may also be applicable to most of the states you mentioned. Additionally there is New Mexico with a state level court case pending.

  • Loren Petrich

    I was working from the map in the article and the states’ general political slants, though I concede that I ought to have included Hawaii. You could try working from Wikipedia’s articles on this issue — one of them has a list of states with legal status of gay marriage in each.

    Oregon is strongly Democratic with some domestic-partner laws, so I voted it most likely.

    The next states have domestic-partner laws but are not so strongly Democratic, so I voted them less likely.

    Finally, there were some states without domestic-partner laws that nevertheless lean Democratic.

  • Peter_J88

    Yep, the USA is going to hell… Oh wait, it doesn’t exist… Carry on…

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Yeah, that.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    And according to the story about the New Mexico case, the odds look pretty good! The judges definitely seemed skeptical of the arguments being made by bigots.

  • Jason Wexler

    Have you seen the info graphic Nate Silver did about a year ago showing his calculations for when a ballot initiative passing same-sex marriage can pass in each state up through 2020? Things are actually looking pretty good for the equality campaigns five year plan for national recognition even if the supreme court doesn’t eventually rule on the central issue instead of peripheral issues.

    On a related note, “The Advocate” in its op-ed pieces is claiming I believe 22 states have pending federal cases, but without going to Wikipedia I can only come up with the 8 states they are always talking about, mostly states that Loren mentioned as well as Hawaii and North Carolina. I am going to go check Wikipedia, but out of curiosity does anyone here know if their home state has a pending federal marriage equality case?

  • Jason Wexler

    I am actually skeptical that Illinois will pull it off this year. The promoters of the bill have been claiming that they have the votes and will put it up for a vote in the Illinois house and yet they keep backing down. The last I heard/read was that they aren’t even considering it anymore for the veto session.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    But where would you get your sense of ethics from if not God your Creator? If you remove God from the foundation do ethics become a willy nilly sort of man-made relative Utopia?

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    That sounds a bit bigoted?:)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    Hi Alice,

    I’ve written quite a lot about where atheists get their moral codes from. You could start reading here, for example.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    No, it’s not bigoted to call bigotry and prejudice what it is.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    But the point is if one calls Christians bigoted doesn’t that make you a bigot? If we are to be tolerant wouldn’t that be exclusive?

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Any chance you could sum it up for me here? I guess I just think it should be a short, succinct type of answer that would wet my appetite for more. I already know where I get my moral ethics from, but without God in the picture it would appear to be a relative type of ethics?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    No, because being tolerant doesn’t require tolerating intolerance.

    I will gladly be tolerant and accepting towards people who are willing to grant the same right to others in turn. I do not and will not tolerate people who think their beliefs give them the right to oppress others, such as those Christians who think that their particular religious beliefs about marriage should be written into law and all others should be excluded.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    No, I’m not here to spoonfeed you. Either you want to know what I think or you don’t.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Well they say that anyone who truly understands a topic can explain it to a ten year old. I know where you are going with this and prefer a short answer because it has the capacity to be a very interesting conversation.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    But that’s limited conditional tolerance, and not true tolerance. You are embracing a philosophy and screaming for tolerance and acceptance, yet unwilling to give it to Christians without some type of condition which isn’t practicing true tolerance.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Isn’t Nate Silver just a bit fascinating? Well…on a data level:) Data is useless if it spurns out prophetic bollocks, but Nate has hit some home runs which means he has credibility.

  • Jason Wexler

    Alice,

    It may be beneficial to be able to describe something so a ten year old can understand it, but that doesn’t mean that it is short and succinct. How often in the past have short succinct answers proven dangerously ineffective or wrong?

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Not often in my life. But remember I deal with cancer doctors, etc. and they have no problem summing up very emotional, technical types of “cures” and research. Are you sure it’s not the problem, but possibly the answer?

  • pagansister

    Excellent!

  • MumbleMumble

    If approving same-sex marriage is intolerant towards Christians, and denying same-sex marriage is intolerant towards homosexuals, what is true tolerance?

  • MumbleMumble

    I get my ethics by my perception of actions that will either cause harm to others (bad) or cause benefit to others (good). Obviously there are some difficult balances within this definition, as well as questions about my own perception, but I find it to be a good starting point. I think an effective ethical system is based around how we would wish to be treated if we were in someone else’s shoes. It is in this way we can best identify the balance between harm and good.

    For example, an opponent of same-sex marriage isn’t affected a great deal by the legalization of same-sex marriage (if I am mistaken here, please demonstrate how). A same-sex couple is affected by the legalization of same-sex marriage (by being granted access to rights that other married couples have). So, in this example, the legalization of same-sex marriage is good.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    That is a good starting point. And good on you for your willingness to discuss. Obviously, as a Christian I think there are questions that are not answered by atheism…but theism (i.e. our sense of social justice)…yet, I found the bad boy, Brit, Hitchens utterly fascinating, and miss his missives. While I did not agree with all he shared…I liked that I gained insight into places I would normally not enter. I appreciate your response because I think it’s often in disagreement, done well, we reach more understanding and the ever-valuable truth. I can’t imagine desiring ignorance over clarity, and with your willingness to share it helps me in that type of endeavor.

    I don’t know about same-sex marriage being “good” on a type of broad brush spectrum (and some days I struggle with my own marriage being “good”:). It simply hasn’t been around long enough to justify itself on that type of “research” level, and I feel certain any arguments from a Christian perspective have been investigated here:) Because at times I wonder about the meaning of “good” and how relative it can be. Deciphering it from so many vantage points via religion, the interest of the state, the children, and then the, ultimate, personal level would create a hodgepodge of perceptions about culture, worldviews, and emotions.

    I really love to discuss, so thank you for answering me. I was invited here by a friend who is a regular poster. They desired conversation beyond the usual….maybe a type of point-counter-point…realizing a meeting of the minds may not occur, but when done well friendships are formed beyond the norm…and that’s always a good thing…and quite ethical!:)

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I tend to think it’s not found in name-calling, but I struggle at times because labels are so convenient in conversation. Yet, labels are often (not always) seem appropriate or convenient (amidst Christians we often ask if one is a Calvinist or Arminian…etc.) as opposed to name calling. The point was about the word “bigot” being used as a weapon against another, when it is often our own intolerance about the individual’s belief system. It’s often like the usage of the scripture about not judging as a weapon and telling someone not to “judge”, while you are, indeed, judging that very person. I don’t know….at times it feels conundrumish:)

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    “True tolerance” in the sense you’re apparently using it is a contradiction in terms. I can’t be equally tolerant of a view and its opposite. I can’t be tolerant of black people and also of people who want to reinstitute Jim Crow laws; I can’t be tolerant of LGBT people and also of people who want to deny them equal civil rights. To admit the legitimacy of either view denies the other. Under the circumstances, I’m happy to say that my tolerance is conditional, as is yours, as is everyone’s.

  • GCT

    I can’t imagine desiring ignorance over clarity…

    So, why won’t you go to Adam’s link that he gave you?

    I don’t know about same-sex marriage being “good” on a type of broad brush spectrum… It simply hasn’t been around long enough to justify itself on that type of “research” level..

    Wait. Are you claiming that we can’t determine that granting equal rights to gays is good unless we can research it further? How much research do you need in order to determine that equal rights are a good thing? How much more research is needed for you to consider that there’s no reason to discriminate against gays?

    Because at times I wonder about the meaning of “good” and how relative it can be.

    You should, because claiming to follow ethics simply because god gives them to you is as relative as it gets.

  • GCT

    Pointing out bigotry does not make one a bigot. Would you claim that people who protest the KKK are bigots?

  • DavidMHart

    I think your tolerance problem can be solved in many cases:
    Is one group of people seeking to create or preserve a situation in which another group of people are treated as second class citizens? If so, it is not ‘intolerant’ to side with those who are threatened with, or subject to, such treatment in the course of discussing that particular issue.

    Gay people, by and large, are not trying to pass laws that relegate right-wing Christians to the status of untermensch; they are simply supporting laws that give gay people the same rights and protections as everyone else.

    Homophobic right-wing Christians, on the other hand, quite often are supporting laws that give gay people less freedom, less legal rights, than everyone else.

    If some of those homophobic right-wing Christians happen to be black, we can still happily side with them over white supremacists who wish to take away the equal rights of
    ethnic minorities, because in that case, it is the white supremacists who are seeking to impose second class citizenship on the homophobic black right-wing Christians … and so on.

    There is nothing about giving gay people equal rights that takes away the equal rights of homophobic rightwing Christians; all that is being taken away from them
    is the privilege of having their own particular
    prejudices reflected in the legal system.

    Does that make things clearer?

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Do you think the KKK is on the same level as a Christian with an opinion? I would consider them of a completely different fabric, and people who don’t just have an ideology, they took action to harm others. They were murderers. I thought we were discussing ideologies?

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Well I did go to Adam’s link…even tried to find his email address to write to him. But I do think you are assuming waaaayyy too much, so it’s good you wrote this out, so I can answer.

    You would need to clarify what parts of “gay rights” you think is good. I was very clear about the different levels. Painting with a broad brush means there really is not enough research (and the research that came out was clearly not “good”, so I want to wait-and-see).

    My point was that I think only God…with a type of signature in a cell….who I see as our Creator….can define true ethics. Does that make me a bigot? Just because I view our sense of “just” and “unjust” through the eyes of one who sees a type of intelligent design. It’s like asking who made the first living cell. The answers on that one often dictate our “ethics”.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I posted on another Atheist forum this weekend and it went really well. It was an article about a pastor who asked an atheist’s girlfriend if she felt safe with him (I know doctors have to ask those questions, but I am unsure if pastors have to?). The Atheist beat the pastor badly. The article was a plea not to lump all atheists in one barrel. I thought the writer did a good job and replied that at times there will be “Atheists behaving badly,” and “Christians behaving badly”. Basically it boils down to human beings behaving badly.

    The problem is each side has an ideology and each side wants respect. I really don’t understand how a Christian having an opinion makes them a “bigot” or harmful. Surely if we want respect for our own opinions, we should respect those of another. And, again, as I have shared the broad brush is rarely helpful. We can point to badly behaved Christians, or badly behaved homosexuals and use them as the poster person for bad behavior or use them in a stereotypical way that doesn’t help either side understand one another.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I appreciate your honesty…but how can one even consider marriage if they are intolerant of the opinions of another? And how does that make you a good humanist?

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    My e-mail address is ebonmusings@gmail.com, if you didn’t find it elsewhere on the site. I’m fine with continuing this discussion in private.

    As far as God defining true ethics, if the heavens opened up and a massive, glowing figure boomed out in a thunderous voice what he wanted us to do, I think we can all agree we’d be having a dramatically different debate. But nothing like that has ever happened in the real world. All the moral ideas we have to consider come from human beings, and some human beings claim that they’re speaking on behalf of a god and therefore their opinions should be granted special deference or privilege. Needless to say, atheists don’t recognize that claim as valid – if for no other reason, then because the people who claim they’re speaking on God’s behalf don’t even agree with each other.

  • GCT

    You would need to clarify what parts of “gay rights” you think is good.

    Equality.

    I was very clear about the different levels.

    No clue what you are on about here.

    Painting with a broad brush means there really is not enough research (and the research that came out was clearly not “good”, so I want to wait-and-see).

    Enough research for what? What research do you need to see more of? We already have research that shows that gays are indeed human and don’t choose being gay. We already have research that shows that gay families are just as real as hetero families and that children don’t suffer. We also know that marriage has nothing to do with children. Etc. Etc. Etc. But, beyond that, what else do you need in order to see fit to give equal rights to gays?

    My point was that I think only God…with a type of signature in a cell….who I see as our Creator….can define true ethics.

    Yeah, I got that. And, I pointed out that that’s subjective ethics. It’s not objective, nor is it universal. You run directly into Euthyphro’s Dilemma (look it up if you don’t already know it). Also, the method of delivery leaves quite a bit to be desired. Even if you could convince me that god’s ethics are universal and absolute, the only reference we have is the Bible (for Xianity at least, but this holds true for all other religions as well), which requires us to use our subjective interpretations.

    Does that make me a bigot?

    Not all Xians are bigots, just those who seek to deny rights to others. No one is claiming that all Xians are bigots. You are the one claiming that calling a bigot a bigot is bigotry in itself.

  • GCT

    Do you think the KKK is on the same level as a Christian with an opinion?

    That is a red herring. I never claimed that all Xians are bigots or in the KKK (although the KKK is a Xian organization). Nor does having an opinion automatically make one a bigot. When our hypothetical person has an opinion that dehumanizes a minority group and makes that minority group into second-class citizens (or seeks to do the same, or even doesn’t see the issue with that), then yes, that hypothetical person is a bigot.

    You seem to either not be grasping this or trying to avoid it. Unless you are one of the people that is seeking to make gays into second-class citizens (or really to simply keep them there) then you are not a bigot and no one is calling you one.

    I would consider them of a completely different fabric, and people who don’t just have an ideology, they took action to harm others.

    If a KKK member (or anyone) has a belief that blacks are inherently inferior, that person should be considered a bigot, even if they never act on that impulse and physically burn a cross in a tree or anything else. We may not ever know that they hold bigoted ideas without them telling us, but action is not a requirement.

    I thought we were discussing ideologies?

    We are. You got indignant that we would dare to call a bunch of Xians bigots what they really are, claiming that calling someone else a bigot is a form of bigotry. I made an analogy using the KKK to show that that idea is absurd. Calling someone else a bigot for engaging in bigotry is not bigotry in itself. Just as calling out KKK members for being racist does not constitute racism or bigotry.

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    Not at all. For a longer (but focused) exposition of the superiority of secular ethical systems see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDtxBNWhG6U

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Great! I think that would be best. I love discussion. I will write to you as soon as dinner is over. My real gist is that I worry that each side is portraying a type of moral superiority and I don’t see how that is helpful.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    No, not a red herring in the true sense. I ended it with a question mark, because I think assumptions need weeded out. The thing is having lived in the UK I sorta thought their civil marriage for gay couples worked out well.

    Now that said I tend to think that the financial aspect should be removed from the table of the state for marriage. I understand the case the state makes for marriage, but I think in the truest of libertarian leanings it’s just best to get the state out of my hair.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Thank you! I will watch this later, but as I shared with Adam I worry that the intolerance to ideologies has created a type of supremacy in ethics on each side that hasn’t been helpful. I can only speak for myself but I prefer to understand those who oppose my views. I think that hating them probably hurts me and my own human condition more than it helps. I, ultimately, think ideas can have consequences, but moreso I think the sharing of ideas is a bit magnificent when done well. I am addicted to light bulb moments.

  • MumbleMumble

    I think it is important to question whether or not something is good because it is good, or because we think it is good. The problem of relative morality is certainly something to keep in mind. With that being said, I do think it is possible to find objective good.

    In order to find an objective good, we need to consider all the types of harm. In the case of same-sex marriage, I don’t understand what the harm is. There has been quite a fair amount of research done on same-sex couples and same-sex parents, and it strongly suggests that there is not a whole lot of difference between same-sex parents and opposite-sex parents. In other words, we’re not preventing any harm by keeping same-sex couples from getting married. And there are specific, legal benefits that arise from a legally recognized marriage. So the legalization of same-sex marriage doesn’t cause harm, and it does lead to benefits.

    I think when Christian opponents of same-sex marriage approach the issue, they already have their minds made up. When your basis of ethics is an external source (in this case, the Bible), you approach the question already thinking you have the answer. In my mind, this is extremely problematic. There needs to be an objective reason beyond what an authority figure says.

  • GCT

    No, not a red herring in the true sense.

    Yes, it is, because it’s not related to the point I was making. IOW, you are trying to make the argument into something that it never was. This is very much into the territory of religious privilege, namely yours. You immediately jumped from the statement that Xians who hold position X are bigots to the idea that we are critical of all Xians and name-calling them simply for having Xian beliefs.

    I ended it with a question mark, because I think assumptions need weeded out.

    This is more red herring material. What assumptions? Your assumptions? Mine? There were no assumptions involved. You made a statement that was absurd. I countered it with an analogy that pointed out the absurdity.

    The thing is having lived in the UK I sorta thought their civil marriage for gay couples worked out well.

    Then why the resistance to gay marriage in the US?

    Now that said I tend to think that the financial aspect should be removed from the table of the state for marriage. I understand the case the state makes for marriage, but I think in the truest of libertarian leanings it’s just best to get the state out of my hair.

    Then you should seek to get rid of marriage altogether. Oh wait, you’re laboring under the idea that marriage is a religious thing and the state is the intruder, aren’t you? Marriage is a secular institution that should not be entangled with the church, not the other way round.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I still don’t think it’s a red herring because it was a question that does tie in. But I want to apologize for not responding. I haven’t checked into Disqus for two days now.

    The assumption I spoke of was that I was assuming most people in the atheistic realm (which is where I come from) would think Christians are blatantly against gay marriage. But I started my original comments with a dissection of levels and I do differentiate between a sanctity to God, and one to the state. Now we can argue until the cows come home (or the Lord returns:) about just how much power the state should have in our lives, or what a theocracy involves (and, no, I am not a theocrat), what libertarianism means….and we will usually end with a type of aesthetic preference?

    By getting rid of marriage you are denying those who want their marriage sanctified by God their own rights. That’s a bit intolerant I dare say!:)

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Again I apologize for not answering sooner. As I wrote to Adam I shared it’s terribly arrogant when people pull out the cyber-gavel to end a conversation. I simply lacked time to check Disqus.

    I like your posts because you are right it is good to question. The problem is while the gay lobby screams that the moral thought police are out to get them, it often appears the exact same way to Christians. It’s like asking someone to sear their conscience.

    I very much appreciate your calm demeanor and transparency about the way we think. Of course, as a Christian we believe our sense of social justice comes from God. We would deny that evolution created human beings because we believe science points to an intelligent design. Now we can’t mingle that with faith because that’s a separate topic. Yet, we would say that evolution is a violent act with no social justice involved, therefore, we again would point to ID…which usually means we believe God created man, and we take his opinion as utmost.

    I don’t see where having that type of opinion creates such animosity. I completely understand why gay people would want to get married, and obtain what they view as desirable benefits that come with state recognition. I tend to think marriage is almost in our DNA…like women desiring babies (again pointing to God…knowing few here will see that…and that’s okay)

    So, yes you are right Christians have their minds made up, just as the gay lobby had their own made up. There was no persuading either side. It just took a cultural shift.

    I like the olive branch approach if it’s possible, but with highly emotionally charged debates it’s often a given.

    There is some long-term research you probably haven’t seen. It’s at a science website. I clearly can’t debate the contents of it, but because I have a daughter with cancer I hang out at research sites and medical blogs (desperately trying to figure out this medicinal behemoth) I did see the research is at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000610

  • MumbleMumble

    No need to apologize.

    Obviously the two camps are at odds with one another, each claiming to be morally attacked. But only one group is actually having their rights restricted. You said you understand why gay people would want to get married – imagine how you would feel if you were told you couldn’t get married, because of someone else’s religious beliefs. This is particularly troubling in a country that claims religious freedom as a bedrock. It doesn’t matter whether or not people agree with same-sex marriage – they should be able to recognize that all people should have access to the same rights, regardless of beliefs.

    Basically, it’s not the opinion that creates animosity – it’s the restriction of equal rights. And the legalization of same-sex marriage would not restrict anyone else’s rights in any way.

    I am familiar with Dr. Regnerus’s study. The main problem I have with it (and this is something that many other academics have pointed as well) is the definition he uses for same-sex couple. If memory serves, he defined someone as a same-sex parent if they had had a same-sex encounter in the previous two(?) years. This is a very broad interpretation. In other words, he was not comparing stable same-sex couples to stable heterosexual couples. No social science study is perfect, and studies that have shown no differences in parenting based on sexual orientation suffer other types of methodological issues. However, Dr. Regnerus’s study is particularly troubling, in my view. Wikipedia is actually a helpful resource for research on this topic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_parenting), both for providing a summary of the work, but more importantly for providing links to primary sources.

  • tyler

    i hope you don’t mind me butting in for a moment, i just want to tack something on regarding the animosity bit.

    i think a big part of the frustration, at least on the less privileged side, is the immense difficulty in communicating with the more privileged. it might be my own sub-par communication skills, but there simply don’t seem to be words or concepts that can reliably communicate exactly what it feels like to be discriminated against. i mean, certainly, i can explain to someone about worrying for my safety whenever someone yells “faggot” on the street, but how on earth do you counter when someone says “oh yes i know exactly how you feel because someone called me an idiot once and that really upset me for like a minute!” or “i know a guy that’s gay and he doesn’t care if you say faggot!” i can build elaborate analogies that fall apart because the other person decides to focus on some completely irrelevant part of it.

    i often feel like we’re using different languages entirely, wherein discrimination on my end means “things that will make people feel better about beating me up” and on the other end it just means “this offends me a little bit.”

    i can say that that’s extremely frustrating for me, at least. idek about everyone else.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I think part of the problem is the state recognizing marriage as being good for the state. But if there is research against that it becomes troublesome beyond religious rights (it’s why I stated that the truth is we don’t know. We should always be skeptical of research, because as I will state money is really the driving force behind this conversation and most others in America).

    Let there be no monetary gain for the religious, or non-religious. I believe we will each stand before God someday, so for those who desire the moral high ground they can marry without the benefit of taxpayer money. I think the noise would die down if that happened, and yet I also know half the households in America rely on the government, so we created a government-led culture. Which leads to voting patterns, socialism and other peripherals that are not easily tackled. And now I have strayed into areas that create ear-piercing noise, so one wonders if morals or money are our true God. Just thinking aloud….but it’s a question for Christians to dwell upon as we tackle issues that we thought were resolved so long ago.

    .

  • GCT

    I still don’t think it’s a red herring because it was a question that does tie in.

    I can assure you that it doesn’t tie in.

    But I want to apologize for not responding. I haven’t checked into Disqus for two days now.

    NP.

    The assumption I spoke of was that I was assuming most people in the atheistic realm (which is where I come from) would think Christians are blatantly against gay marriage.

    I know not all Xians are against gay marriage. Many (probably a sizable majority) are against it, however. I don’t need to assume that, however, in speaking directly with you and responding to your arguments, especially since no one here has claimed that all Xians are bigots or against gay marriage.

    But I started my original comments with a dissection of levels and I do differentiate between a sanctity to God, and one to the state.

    I just went back through your comments and I still have no idea what you’re talking about with this “dissection of levels” business.

    Now we can argue until the cows come home (or the Lord returns:) about just how much power the state should have in our lives, or what a theocracy involves (and, no, I am not a theocrat), what libertarianism means….and we will usually end with a type of aesthetic preference?

    Or, we could use actual data of the effects of different policies on people’s lives, which is surely not simply an aesthetic preference.

    By getting rid of marriage you are denying those who want their marriage sanctified by God their own rights. That’s a bit intolerant I dare say!:)

    Wait, what? How is that intolerant? You were the one that claimed you wanted the state out of a secular institution, which would be tantamount to getting rid of marriage. Marriages are licensed by the state. If someone wants to go and have some so-called holy person tell them that god likes their marriage, then by all means, but marriage in itself is a secular institution, which is why the state regulates it. There’s no reason to exclude gays from the arrangement, especially since a secular state is not supposed to allow people to force their religious opinions upon others.

    Anyway, we started this because you were calling us intolerant for pointing out the intolerance of others. Are you still of the opinion that calling a bigot a bigot is intolerant?

  • GCT

    In regards to Regnerus’s study, it’s been thoroughly discredited.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witherspoon_Institute#Controversies

    Regnerus basically committed academic fraud in order to defend a bigoted position against gays.

    When we talk about Regnerus, I completely dismiss the study. It’s over. He has been disgraced. All of the prominent people in the field know what he did and why he did it. And most of them know that he knew better. Some of them think that he’s also stupid and an ideologue. I know better. I know that he’s a smart guy and that he did this on purpose, and that it was bad, and that it was substandard.

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    I think that some ethical systems ARE superior, and we have a moral obligation to communicate these superior systems, to follow these systems, and to work to make these systems better. I definitely don’t think all ethical systems have equal value, and I don’t respect inferior ones (if by respect we mean “refrain from improving”).

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I agree! I would tend to think just about everyone would agree with that abut their own ethics, but think that leaves us back at relative? Some people like to use a type of “Greater Good” ethics, some like to use a foundation of morality from God, and others like to use the “What’s good for me” type of ethics. One extreme example was a man on Facebook proclaiming to be a type of peace, love, and happiness pacifist (that word always catches my attention because I don’t believe there are many die-hard pacifists). By the next day he said he wanted to beat every Christian he knew in the face with a brick! Ha! I prefer honesty and clarity over agreement most of the time, but I understood his angst because it’s terribly hard to do disagreement well.

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    But this is precisely the sort of problem that Science has demonstrated itself so capable of handling. Before science we all had different opinions of what made up the Universe, and everyone thought their own was correct. So “physics” was “relative”. Science ended that. No there is little dispute about the core building blocks of the physical world.

    By applying the same scientific principles to ethics, we can cut away the poor ethical systems the same way that science cut away the poor physics systems. We all have opinions about what the best ethical systems are. Using the scientific principles of evidence and rationality we can quickly determine which ethical systems are abhorrent, and which are mostly-harmless, and which are superior. I think the evidence supports the ethical system I follow as being superior to most (I outline it in the video I linked above). I follow it with zeal.

    Fortunately, part of my ethical system is the acknowledgment that I might be wrong. It’s actually built in to several of the New 10 Commandments (written by Adam Lee himself!) I follow. I hope to be less wrong in the future.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Oh I just answered you and lost it. Now I will try to sum it up quickly. I need to take a child to the doctor and will try to remember what I shared.

    Yes, I still think it’s intolerance of the opinion’s of another. One of the best examples I have seen is the close friendship of Supreme Court Justices Ginsburg and Scalia. They go to lunch together and have learned the art of tolerance to the nth degree. I think that’s how it should be when two minds can see beyond the issue there is something gainful in it. I think the …my way or the highway…doesn’t help.

    The state can do whatever they like. The state views marriage between a man and a woman a good thing so they regulated and rewarded it (wasn’t that the gist of DOMA?).

    Is there a reason you use “X” instead of “Christ”? Intolerance?:) Facetious alert:)

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Science is so controversial even Phd’ers disagree over issues vehemently (I enjoy watching some of the scientific debates over creationism). Ever see the long list of highly educated creationists who signed the online statement? Do Hawkings and Dawkins agree on everything? Has Hawkings changed his mind in the past few years? That’s what using our emotions and science usually does for us. Have you read Darwin’s Doubt? Just the reviews at Amazon are fantastic reading (hint; it’s about the doubt Darwin expressed and science is able to answer now)

    So that puts us back at relative. I will say at this point science is creating closed minds. The reality is the book Frankenstein was written during a time when a scientific revolution was starting to happen and we did finally have science to enlighten us. But now we use faulty science in clinical trials, textbooks are filled with if’y science, we do research in a manner that spurns out predictable and profitable results…..etc.

    I did notice this site has a newer article about Frankenstein for those who find it interesting. I was going to post because I used to teach literature and this was the book the teens just loved. But I found the author’s take so out-of-line with what I studied about the author and book I realized I don’t have the time. But then again this weekend I may find some moments…..only God knows!:)

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    Science is not even remotely controversial. It has given us air travel, cell phones, vaccines, germ theory, electricity, and the modern age. Only people with a vested interest in it being wrong (i.e. Creationists) think that it is wrong (and only in the way the want it to be wrong. They’re fine with going to the doctor when they’re sick).

    There is no debate around Creationism. It has no evidence. Only in America, and only by devout Christians is it even considered viable. And for every “highly educated” Creationist willing to sign a document, there are thousands of highly educated scientists who will produce the evidence required to refute Creationism. In fact, someone did this not too long ago, and limited it only to scientists named “Steve”. The list was humbling (and, if I’m not mistaken, an order of magnitude longer than the similar “creation” list).

    But in truth, if you’re willing to state that the scientific method is fundamentally flawed, then there’s not much more to say. If you’re willing to reject the best tool for determining truth that humanity has ever created, we will always be talking past each other.

  • GCT

    Science is so controversial even Phd’ers disagree over issues vehemently (I enjoy watching some of the scientific debates over creationism).

    There’s a vast gulf of difference over disagreeing (however vehemently) over the minutia of details within a theory to the supposed controversy over ID and creationism with evolution. There is debate within evolution, but only on the details, not on whether evolution happened/is still happening. Creationism and ID don’t even rise to the level of wrong, are not science, and are nothing more than religious apologetics.

    I will say at this point science is creating closed minds.

    How do you come to that conclusion? Is it not closed-minded to consider disregard creationism, because creationism has been disproved and we have tons of evidence for evolution.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Creationism does have evidence. But as I shared a closed mind will not visit Discovery Institute ran by people educated to the nth degree, or this link of scientists who have signed up online and have research papers.

    A true scientist has an open mind, but now you have steered towards the scientific method which in itself is good, but not a way to base our ethics on.

    Please at least visit this link and the Discovery Institute because I would only quote from scientists who find science endlessly fascinating: The list of scientists: http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/

  • GCT

    Yes, I still think it’s intolerance of the opinion’s of another.

    That concept doesn’t make sense. You can be intolerant of people, but not of ideas. Even if one could be said to be intolerant of ideas, so what? Ideas are not people.

    The state can do whatever they like. The state views marriage between a man and a woman a good thing so they regulated and rewarded it (wasn’t that the gist of DOMA?).

    No, actually the state cannot simply do whatever it likes and no, that was not the gist of DOMA. The gist was that a bunch of Xian conservatives who are bigots wanted to shut down gay marriage because they don’t believe in equality for gay people. That’s the real gist of DOMA. The regulations and rewards of marriage are implicit in the benefits awarded to married couples when they get their marriage license. DOMA conferred no additional benefits, it only kept gay people out of the club.

    Is there a reason you use “X” instead of “Christ”? Intolerance?:) Facetious alert:)

    I know you are being facetious, as you said so, but historically it was Xians that used the “X” first.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Are you sure? The word “Christian” was a derogatory label the new converts embraced.

    And sure the state can do what they want….look at what the feds are doing with the NSA and we can’t do much about it. My city regulates everything from garage sales, to a policeman knocking on my door saying my trash cans were out front for over 24 hours, therefore, I face a $200 fine next time.

    Well you are entitled to your opinion about the ideas of those who adhere to religion that you may find yourself accused of bigotry. The rewards of marriage are monetary, and if we remove the money from the debate and benefits the passion will die down. It’s disingenuous to remove money from the conversation.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Are you saying intelligent design has no science? Please don’t mix faith with true science. And please at least visit The Discovery Institute before you answer. I am so rushed. I am sorry for these quick answers. And mobile is not the best way to answer.

  • GCT

    Are you saying intelligent design has no science?

    I’m saying it is not science. It is apologetics. The Wedge document is rather good evidence that ID is nothing but an attempt to evangelize.

    Please don’t mix faith with true science.

    LOL. That’s what they do. They start with a faith position and then try to justify that position with science-y sounding terms. It’s not how science works.

    And please at least visit The Discovery Institute before you answer.

    I’m well acquainted with them and their methods. They’ve been thoroughly debunked time after time. Dembski has never once come close to defining irreducible complexity or quantifying it, for instance. Wells has said that he pursued a PhD in biology so that he would have credibility when he argued against evolution. Plus, the previously mentioned Wedge document is from the Discovery Institute. They are frauds.

  • tyler

    there… aren’t actually scientific debates about creationism. like ever. i assume you are talking about the popular debates, which are hardly scientific.

    science is always settled in the laboratory, not on the stage. pseudoscientists just like to use the stage because the laboratory doesn’t work for them. to this day the discovery institute has yet to produce any sort of accredited research. heck, answers in genesis had to publish their own journal in order to get around scientific standards of research (and if you’ve read it you’ll know why). even those signatures you mentioned are misleading; very few actual biologists are represented in those collections (most signatures are from celebrities or scientists working outside their field, generally). and even with that there are always so, so few signatures (the fact you’re calling it a long list is… telling, to say the least).

    between this and the regnerus study below i suspect you may not have the most well-developed “bs detector.” it may do you good to study your sources more thoroughly before recommending them. skepticism regarding the current state of the scientific institution is all well and good but generally that skepticism should be justified if you want to be taken seriously.

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    If you find the Answers in Genesis list compelling, you should find this “List of Scientists Named Steve who Explicitly Endorse Evolution” mind-shattering: http://ncse.com/taking-action/project-steve

    Notice this is only scientists named Steve. There are tens of thousands of scientists with other names who would sign as well. If you’re trying to win a popularity contest, Creationists are drowned, like a cataclysmic flood of some sort. :)

    But both lists are irrelevant to the truth. We do not select what is true because of how many people think it is true. Rather, these lists simply show what ratio of people think the evidence for these two positions (evolution v. Creation) is stronger. Evolutionary theory is so far ahead it isn’t even in the same league.

    I did not say that the Scientific Method should be the basis of our ethics. I said it should be used to determine which of our ethical systems was “better”.

    Thank you for your chastisement to keep an open mind. I try to engage in the most honest inquiry for truth that I can, each and every day, but it’s often helpful to be reminded, even if just subtly.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    On my tortuous cell. I do find *some* evolutionists to be brilliant. When you watch those YouTube debates they are thought provoking. But, then again, I do not deny all evolution. The thing is evolutionists have not answered how the first living cell came into being. I have read a few theories that are so ridiculous…sheer conjecture….that evutionists embrace as a hard truth. You just think oh bloody hell what a load of bollocks. And they sneer at ID? Let us be blatantly honest here…there is a lot of guesswork on both sides of the aisle. The disagreements and theories amidst evolutionists is gobsmacking. And that is why we need to tolerate different sincere and truly studied beliefs. There is science and faith and conjecture amidst even the brilliant in academia. Demeaning the ID scientists like Frances Collins…a Christian evolutionist theist only maintains closed minds. We should value and seek truth despite our own agenda. That is true scientific thinkng…accepting results that disagree with our own ideological hypothesis.

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    How life started from non-life (abiogenesis) has nothing to do with evolutionary theory. Please do not confuse the two! :)

    To my knowledge, there is no solid scientific opinion on how life started on planet Earth. Scientists are currently working on the issue and I hope will, in time, provide us with some plausible explanations.

    I do not need to “tolerate different sincere and truly studied beliefs”. If you should, for example, have a sincere and truly studied belief that all red-heads should be killed, rest assured I will resist you to the last of my strength. And I’m not even a red-head!

    I tolerate other opinion to the extent that it can marshal evidence in its defense. Nothing less will do. You may be satisfied with the wish thinking of bronze-age shepherds, who didn’t know enough about the nature of reality to keep their excrement out of their food, but I am not.

  • GCT

    Demeaning the ID scientists like Frances Collins…a Christian evolutionist theist only maintains closed minds.

    Francis Collins rejects ID and creationism.

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

    In his book Collins rejects Young Earth creationism and intelligent design.

    We should value and seek truth despite our own agenda.

    Yes, we should, which is why creationism and ID are intellectually bankrupt. They start with their conclusions and then try desperately to fit the facts into their pre-chosen narrative. IOW, they have an agenda and then make sure they get there, just as Regnerus did. AiG is actually rather explicit about it claiming it in their mission statement. The Discovery Institute shows their hand in the wedge document.

  • GCT

    Are you sure?

    Yes, I’m sure. I’ve looked it up, because I’ve been attacked on my use of it before.

    And sure the state can do what they want….look at what the feds are doing with the NSA and we can’t do much about it.

    Who is “they” in that sentence. The state is not some sentient entity. The Constitution governs what is and is not allowed. I agree that the NSA surveillance goes over the line, and that it is unconstitutional, but that doesn’t mean that the state has some will and can enforce that will whenever.

    My city regulates everything from garage sales, to a policeman knocking on my door saying my trash cans were out front for over 24 hours, therefore, I face a $200 fine next time.

    We have regulations for reasons. Sometimes those reasons may seem or actually may be fanciful or inane, but there are good reasons for many of them, even if you don’t always agree.

    Well you are entitled to your opinion about the ideas of those who adhere to religion that you may find yourself accused of bigotry.

    If they accuse me of bigotry, I can point out that I’m not seeking to curtail the rights of Xians. Many Xians are seeking to curtail the rights of gays. The situations are not equal. I am not acting in a bigoted way for speaking out for the rights of all. Xians who seek to keep gays from enjoying equal rights are doing just that. The bigots in this example are quite clearly not me.

    The rewards of marriage are monetary, and if we remove the money from the debate and benefits the passion will die down.

    No one is asking for that, however, except maybe people who advocate removing marriage from the purview of the state. Most hetero couples (whether they support gay marriage or not) do not want to lose their monetary benefits. But, it goes well beyond that from hospital visitation rights to power of attorney to the ability to obtain health care. It’s not just monetary.

    It’s disingenuous to remove money from the conversation.

    No one is doing that. Are you reacting to my comment on DOMA? DOMA wasn’t about money, since those rights were already there for married couples. Again, DOMA was about keeping gays out of the marriage club and allowing states to reject the marriages performed in other states when it came to gay couples, so that states run by bigots could keep gays out of the marriage club.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I am still on a mobile device but I labeled him a theistic evolutionist and he is an ID person. He is a Christian. Read his book about his conversion and ID. There was a big hullabaloo when he was becoming the head of the NIH and many falsehoods. There is a YouTube video where he says he is ID. He does a great job.

    You are confusing your creationists and creationism. [Addendum} This device is horrible to view, but you are right there are some videos. I am clueless why he is saying that while saying something completely different elsewhere. That’s really interesting. Now I don’t trust him if he is switcherooing and saying whatever the flavor of the moment is. I will say some of what he said during the shutdown was highly bothersome. Doctors were going crazy and the letters were revealing, but so hard to read on this device. Hmm…I need a new hero:) But if you study deeper the word “theism” is no a relief to Christians:) Tons of flavors of theists.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Okay I looked it up and he did change his mind. There is actually a lot of buzz over “junk DNA” and it appears there is a fascinating new writing from a guy Craig Venter who is trying to recreate a living cell. But what he found is amazing. I was learning about it this week and the overload of articles on this and that with Francis Collins and the “junk DNA” part rattled my mind. Evolutionists are all stoked because they think Venter is going to finally answer the “first living cell” debate (which, by-the-way you haven’t answered….I thought Francis Collin’s discussed this in Language of God because the “junk DNA” was a big part of that). Now we know via these studies with Dr. Venter the junk DNA was not junky. If you read more than I did on my cell phone can you tell me where the first living cell came from? Because at this point something inanimate can’t achieve life.

    What Venter found was that his experiment was at first a complete flop. And his team (of, obviously, very intelligently designed people) had to go back and find the error. And they found an error in one base pair had been deleted and that was found to be in one protein. He found that a single letter deletion out of millions of DNA messed up the whole process and a functional cell needs absolutel meticulousness. Even with the tiniest missing element his experiment was a bust. But he continued on after finding his error. He traveled the oceans taking more samplings and he let himself be surprised. I love that! Instead of throwing out what didn’t agree him he allowed himself to learn beyond his own mental boundaries.

    He is trying to synthesize a life in a cell, but he did something I wish more scientists would keep at the heart. It is something to keep your eye on, but I think he used synthetic DNA? He will always need living DNA to duplicate the real thing.

    Anyhoo….when I get time on a real computer I am going to see what Francis is up too. He’s a good guy with some fascinating stuff, but I did see a youtube video with him on it and he was debating about ID. Must have been pre-NIH days? What people will do to keep their jobs!:)

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    Nope I rarely react. I still think you are wrong about the use of the word Christian. I ran a theology list for years, so I think it just reflects how you feel.

    I still think you are wrong about the state and regulation and just about everything you shared:) But I am glad I brought up Francis Collins, because I did learn (on the surface. I need time and a computer) he is saying different things about ID now. I do think the human genome project is brilliant though.

    I used to read more Dawkins than I do know. He even defended a religious aspect a year ago, so I thought..omgoodness is Dawkins going to get reasonable? You know how it is with those Brits like Dawkins and Hitchens…cheeky buggers. So I want to give you a Tweet Dawkins sent recently that amused me:

    “I’m not ‘intolerant’ of your belief in a virgin birth. Please be tolerant of my right to tolerate your belief but call it stupid.”

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I am not confusing the two as far as evolutionary theory, but there are so many evolutionary theories out there in academia sometimes your head spins. But you can’t just say you are “Evidence based” because as we know via research the methods are faulty, just as human emotion is. The truth is the vast majority of decisions we come to are from emotions, so we are drawn to what suits us. Academics debate “Evidence” all the time.

    But that said you may like the quote above I placed from Dawkins.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    See how confusing Collins is? And if I understand it right he differs with ID in some places and not in others? He is all over the place because to deny ID he has to deny Genesis, which most Christians and Jews will tell you is the crux. This is just a short excerpt found quickly at…um…I think discovery.org? You may find a site I like of interest. I do!:) They have a conversation with God and Darwin. And believe they are compatible. It’s a British apologist who I find very interesting.

    Anyhoo….about Collins….he is ID in certain areas, and not in others, so maybe he is a bit Homer Simpsonish with his tomacco invention:) The snippet:
    In The Language of God, Collins argues strongly for scientific evidence of intelligent design (though he doesn’t call it that) in cosmology and human psychology. He adduces the fine-tuning of the universe’s physical constants at the Big Bang, and human moral instincts, as features of physical existence that defy purely material explanations. “I cannot see how nature could have created itself,” he writes. And “In my view, DNA sequence alone…will never explain certain special human attributes, such as the knowledge of the Moral Law and the
    universal search for God.”

  • http://www.calgarysecularchurch.org/ Korey Peters

    There is only one, basic, evolutionary theory. Disagreement about the details is not the same as disagreement about the central tenants. Claiming it is otherwise is disingenuous.

    But we’re going in circles. Either it is possible to know something about the world, or it isn’t. The scientific method has proven enormously successful at determining truth about our universe, and so I trust it. To throw it out because some corner-case is yet to be resolved is willful ignorance.

    Christian ethics are inferior to secular ethics in every conceivable comparison. This brooks no serious discussion. Maybe it is not compelling to you, but all I can do is lead you to the water. I cannot make you drink.

  • GCT

    I’ll reply to all three of your comments in one comment…

    I am still on a mobile device but I labeled him a theistic evolutionist and he is an ID person. He is a Christian.

    Those are three separate categories. Not all theistic evolutionists are ID proponents, nor all they all Xians. Not all ID proponents are theistic evolutionists, nor all they all Xians (although they are all religious). Not all Xians are theistic evolutionists or ID proponents.

    You are confusing your creationists and creationism.

    Not sure what you mean by that. I will note, however, that I’ve brought up things like the wedge document and the AiG mission statement and how those contradict the scientific method (and the value of seeking data sans agenda that you continue to claim you support) without comment from you.

    Now I don’t trust him if he is switcherooing and saying whatever the flavor of the moment is.

    That may be the case. It may be that he’s changing his view as he gains more data, which is what you had advocated. I haven’t seen the vids that you are talking about, but if the DI is involved, I would be skeptical. They have a nasty habit of twisting facts, the words of scientists, etc in order to create the illusion of support for ID. They are rather notorious for this.

    Evolutionists are all stoked because they think Venter is going to finally answer the “first living cell” debate (which, by-the-way you haven’t answered…

    Didn’t know I was supposed to…koreypeters has already done a good job of that. Abiogenesis is not part of evolutionary theory. Also, there are many hypotheses in play, some of which have more support than others. We don’t currently know, but that doesn’t give license to jump to the conclusion that god did it. That’s logically fallacious.

    Because at this point something inanimate can’t achieve life.

    Miller-Urey created amino acids from non life simulating what they thought was a realistic simulation of the Earth’s early atmosphere (and it turns out they were overly conservative). Our cells are made up of inanimate objects. The idea that “something inanimate can’t achieve life” is incorrect no matter how you look at it. Also, this would be special pleading since you don’t use the same constraint on your god. Where did your god come from?

    Now we know via these studies with Dr. Venter the junk DNA was not junky.

    That’s simply not true. More below…

    He found that a single letter deletion out of millions of DNA messed up the whole process and a functional cell needs absolutel meticulousness. Even with the tiniest missing element his experiment was a bust.

    That there may be certain pieces that are necessary does not imply that every piece is necessary. In fact, we know that not every piece is necessary. Mutations can include additions, alterations, and deletions. None of those lead to instant death for the offspring necessarily. The DI is desperate to claim that there is no such thing as junk DNA because god would not be so wasteful, and they’re not above misrepresenting the work of other scientists in order to try and convince others.

    He is all over the place because to deny ID he has to deny Genesis, which most Christians and Jews will tell you is the crux.

    Thank you for this frank admission, something that the leaders of ID have been hush-hush about since its inception. They know that coming out and admitting that it’s all about the Bible is anti-scientific, so they lie about it themselves. If you don’t like what Collins is doing, then you should be unhappy with the DI and their subterfuge. The Wedge document (which you haven’t looked at I assume) was supposed to be kept a secret, but outlined their agenda quite clearly. So, if you really want scientists to pursue science without an agenda, shouldn’t you be chastising the DI for having one and trying to fit everything to it?

  • GCT

    I still think you are wrong about the use of the word Christian. I ran a theology list for years, so I think it just reflects how you feel.

    How I feel about what? And, if you still doubt using the “X” then you should actually look it up, as I did, instead of assuming that it’s wrong. You can start with this link:

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

    I still think you are wrong about the state and regulation and just about everything you shared:)

    Um, OK. It’s irrelevant to the discussion we were having, so I’m willing to drop it.

    The main point was that calling out bigotry is not bigoted in itself. Those who seek to keep gays from enjoying equal rights are bigots, and it is not intolerant of me to point that out.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    I do know what it means. The word is only a a few hundred years old, while the word “Christian” was coined thousands of years ago. I think you are using it as a form of denial, but we know that’s not possible because we know Christ was here and he has followers (the date on this website reflects, “In the year of our Lord….”. Now whether or not one wants to have him as their Savior is different, but I still think it’s a just a literary form of rebellion to show others how you feel..

    Definition: Bigot:
    a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

    By this definition we run the risk of being a bigot ourselves when we call people a “bigot” just for having an opinion. It shows our own intolerance…the word is almost a mirror.. It’s just the label game. You label someone a terrible label so others will find their opinion unworthy.

  • GCT

    I do know what it means. The word is only a a few hundred years old, while the word “Christian” was coined thousands of years ago.

    The use of X as an abbreviation for Christ is about 1000 years old and was done by Xians.

    …we know that’s not possible because we know Christ was here and he has followers…

    We know there are Xians, yes, and we know that historically Xians have used X as an abbreviation as I am doing. We don’t, however, know that Jesus existed, although we can be pretty sure that if he did exist, the accounts of him in the Bible are almost certainly fabricated.

    By this definition we run the risk of being a bigot ourselves when we call people a “bigot” just for having an opinion.

    No, we don’t. There is the definition, and then there is the actual meaning. Again, calling out a KKK member for being racist does not make you a racist or bigot in return. Do you think that it does? I doubt it, otherwise you would have said so before. The only difference here is that you are seeking to defend Xians and Xian beliefs from charges of bigotry.

    It shows our own intolerance…the word is almost a mirror.. It’s just the label game. You label someone a terrible label so others will find their opinion unworthy.

    Yes, I am intolerant towards intolerance, but if you call that bigotry, then you may as well stop using the word altogether, because it has lost all meaning at that point. The obvious difference is that I’m intolerant towards others being intolerant themselves. I’m intolerant of their ideas that others are lesser, deserving of unequal rights, etc. Under no sane definition does that make me a bigot. Nor does pointing out the bigotry of someone else make me a bigot.

    Secondly, hell yes I want people to feel that being labeled a bigot is a bad thing. And I do want others to find the opinion that gays are inferior to be untrustworthy and wrong. If pointing out homophobes’ bigotries and calling them out for it accomplishes that, then I’m all for it. Sometimes (most times? all times?) the best disinfectant is sunlight – meaning that exposing the hatred and bigotry of bigots can be a great way to cure society of bigotry. Sure, they will go underground and be more guarded about their hatred, but the end result means that we see people gain equal rights, we see a public eroding of support for homophobia and other bigotries. It’s no longer cool to be a racist, and I hope it’s soon no longer cool to be a misogynist or a homophobe.

  • Alex Harman

    It’s easy to be tolerant of a bigot when you’re not one of the bigot’s victims, but it’s a betrayal of those victims — it makes you an accomplice, or at least an accessory, to the bigot’s harmful actions. As Fred Clark wrote in his brilliant response to Halee Gray Scott’s clueless plea for tolerance of her bigotry,

    Scott is willing to treat me nicely and to respect my right to believe that she should stop beating that old woman with a crowbar. So shouldn’t I reciprocate by treating her nicely and respecting her right to continue doing so?

    That’s only fair. Or at least, it’s perfectly fair in Scott’s little
    world — a world in which the old woman being beaten doesn’t even register as a participant in the discussion. She’s invisible and unimportant. She doesn’t count.

    Or to put it another way, if a mugger points a gun at you and orders you to hand over all your valuables, and then I come up behind him and point a gun at him and order him to drop his gun, does that make me just as bad as he is? After all, we’re both pointing a gun at someone and demanding that they surrender their property, and that’s always bad, right?

    That’s exactly how ridiculous your “why won’t you tolerate my intolerance!” horse-hockey sounds to someone who isn’t willfully oblivious to the suffering your bigotry inflicts on other, innocent people. The Christian opponents of marriage equality pleading for “tolerance” (from their fellow straight people who support equality, of course) ring as hollow as a Southern slaveholder’s plea for “tolerance” from the white abolitionists he regards as the only other legitimate participants in the discussion.

  • smrnda

    Anyone who said that either has a very low standard for ‘explanations’ or didn’t have to explain very difficult things. I’ve spent an entire semester explaining a single math theorem before to a class of very competent students. Some things actually are hard.

    But I’ll try – people pass rules that increase their level of happiness and stability. It’s purely pragmatic. Even most religious people argue for or against things on the basis of consequences quite often.

  • smrnda

    If you struggle with your own marriage being ‘good’ then on what basis can you judge another marriage? Isn’t that admitting that marriages are not often always good, or that it’s hard to tell if a marriage is good, and if so, the question of whether gay marriage is ‘good’ becomes unanswerable.

  • smrnda

    I see no problem with people who pay taxes obtaining government services. So far, government, taxes, and various forms of government services have been pretty much universal. Somalia has no government and does not look like a place I’d like to emulate.

    The state does not recognize marriage because it is good for the state. That would be fascism, where the individual exists for the state. Marriage and the benefits are for the CITIZENS who marry as a perk of being a citizen. As a citizen, we get rights, like the right to voice opinions, vote, advocate for government projects we support and protest government actions we dislike.

  • smrnda

    I have an open mind to things for which there exists evidence. I do not believe that magic crystals will heal disease since it’s an absurd theory – rejecting that isn’t being close-minded, it’s applying what knowledge I have to rule out things that have no evidence.

    There is no debate within credible biologists about evolution, the way that there is no debate within the medical profession about whether magic crystals can heal you.

  • smrnda

    Debates are not how scientific questions are solved. In fact I think debates are a bad idea since it’s a way or performance and rhetoric to take prominence over thinking.

    I would learn more about biology, but I feel I can trust the extensive peer-review process to keep biologists from spouting BS. I only have so much time to handle so many fields of knowledge.

  • smrnda

    The problem is the word ‘tolerance’ isn’t adequately precise.

    Tolerance has to exclude viewpoints that would make certain people have less rights than others, or else it’s ‘tolerance’ for some and not others. Christians can believe gay marriage is bad, their churches can refuse to marry same sex couples the way churches can always refuse to marry anyone who isn’t a member in good standing, but once they’ve decided to define for others who do not share their religious views what a marriage is, they’ve decided that instead of tolerance, we get Christian hegemony.

  • smrnda

    I am very intolerant of racists, and I suspect it makes me a better humanist than if i accepted them. Regrettably, being moral requires taking sides, and some people are wrong.

  • smrnda

    I dunno, as a disabled person, state intervention with things like ADA, FMLA and such pretty much keep me from being homeless and dead.

  • smrnda

    I actually dislike the faux-friendship between Ginsburg and Scalia, at least as it seems to me. If someone is opposed to me, I will reject their ‘kindness’ since I’d rather a person was rude to me to my face but supported my rights than the other way around.

  • smrnda

    Without marriage, how will we handle insurance benefits for spouses? Or will my partner now have to get a new job with benefits since my civil union will be abolished under your plan?

  • Jason Wexler

    Mea Culpa, that will teach me to trust the Advocate for political news…

    http://www.advocate.com/node/321839

  • Alex Harman

    Interesting that the dictionary definition still focuses on intolerance of differing opinions; in modern usage, the word has come to mean something more along the lines of “a person who dislikes and seeks to harm some class of people defined by a shared, harmless trait such as race, nationality, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation (or lack thereof), or disability.” Harmless is the key word there; racism, homophobia, and religious intolerance are not harmless, and denying people the privilege of acting on those attitudes in ways that harm others is not a form of bigotry. “Acting in ways that harm others” can range from lynching, gay-bashing, and pogroms, to passing and enforcing discriminatory laws, to denying members of the disliked group equal access to businesses that serve the public, to verbal bullying and harassment.

  • https://www.facebook.com/arobert6 Alice Robertson

    But if you read through this thread and your own words and insert the word “Christian” where it says “gay” do you see the type of situation that is created? You were very thoughtful in your reply, but often that’s not the case. To dismiss Christian thought while proclaiming one’s own rights leads to more bigotry and intolerance. As a Christian I can understand the thought behind the gay rights movement…not that the whole movement has been well-behaved (and vica versa). It just seems odd to me to try to squelch out voices you simply can’t stand to hear just because they disagree with you…that’s true intolerance and it’s often practiced by those who dislike it the most. Witch hunts are rarely successful at doing anything but building an isolated realm of thinking.

  • Alex Harman

    But if you read through this thread and your own words and insert the word “Christian” where it says “gay” do you see the type of situation that is created?

    Yes; that would create a situation in which I was talking complete nonsense. It would be as stupidly dishonest and offensive as going through a discussion of the injustices of slavery and the Jim Crow legal system that succeeded it, and substituting the word “white” everywhere it said “black.” The references to the word “gay” in this thread are all related to gay people being denied civil rights; the right to marry is the focus here, but rights like not being fired from one’s job, evicted from one’s home, or refused service at a business serving the general public also factor in. No Christian anywhere in America is being denied the right to marry, fired, evicted, or refused service in stores or restaurants because he or she is a Christian, and nobody, in the gay rights movement, the atheist movement, the Democratic Party, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or any other organization that the Christian Right demonizes is arguing that the law should allow Christians to be mistreated in such fashion.

    You were very thoughtful in your reply, but often that’s not the case.

    Often the people replying to willfully ignorant Christians whining about how those mean gay rights activists won’t tolerate their intolerance are gay people who are directly harmed by Christian bigotry and are fed up with the nonsense Christians spout to defend it. It’s easier for me to stay thoughtful, rational and polite because I am not one of your victims, merely a bystander who sympathizes with them. (However, as you may notice from the sharper tone of this comment, I am running low on patience with your obtuse refusal to take your head out of your ass and see the truth.) I side with victims of bullying against the bullies, rather than either siding with the bullies or trying to pretend that being “neutral” between bullies and their victims is a stance of moral superiority, instead of the moral cowardice and bankruptcy it actually is.

    To dismiss Christian thought while proclaiming one’s own rights leads to more bigotry and intolerance.

    That depend on what you mean by “Christian thought.” To dismiss the Christian thought that gay people, atheists, Muslims, and other groups the Christian Right doesn’t like should be denied basic civil rights because some Christians don’t like them is a repudiation of bigotry and intolerance and therefore leads to less of it, not more.

    As a Christian I can understand the thought behind the gay rights movement…

    No, it’s extremely clear from your posts that you can’t understand it at all; nobody has ever persecuted Christians as a class in this country at all, in any way, shape, or form,* let alone in the vicious and pervasive ways that Christians have persecuted gay people through anti-sodomy laws, denial of marriage equality, discrimination in employment, housing, and access to public accommodations, and outright physical assault and murder.

    not that the whole movement has been well-behaved (and vica [sic] versa).

    Your false moral equivalency is incredibly offensive. Please tell me about the last time a Christian was tortured to death in America by gay people for being a Christian, the way Matthew Shepard and Brandon Teena were tortured to death by young men who, while they might not have met your No True Scotsman fallacious definition of Christians, were nevertheless raised by Christian parents, steeped in a Christian culture, and taught to devalue gay people’s lives by their exposure to the American conservative strain of Christianity. You can’t, because no such incident has ever actually happened. For that matter, you can’t even tell me about the last time some mean-spirited gay dickhead refused to tip a Christian waiter or waitress and left a nasty, condescending little note instead telling him or her to change his or her religion, the way a couple of mean-spirited Christian dickheads did to a waiter they believed was gay at a Carabba’s in Kansas last month, because that’s never happened either. In light of the non-existence of such incidents, please have the decency to shut your pie hole about whatever motes you may perceive in the eyes of the gay rights movement until you’ve removed the assorted beams, bricks, cinderblocks, and untidy heaps of spilled cement from the eyes of American Christianity.

    It just seems odd to me to try to squelch out voices you simply can’t stand to hear just because they disagree with you.

    That’s a particularly crude and flimsy straw man. Nobody is trying to “squelch out” the voices of Christians because we “can’t stand to hear them” or because “they disagree with us.” What we are doing is exposing Christian bigots who slander and libel gay people in order to promote laws that strip those people of their civil rights, and challenging those bigots to either back their claims up with facts (which they can’t, because the fact contradict them), or retract them and apologize for the harm they have done.

    Pointing out that the words spoken and written by Christian hatemongers like Peter LaBarbera, Mat Staver, Bryan Fischer, and The Liar Tony Perkins are lies told with malicious intent in the fervent hope of causing material harm to the people being lied about is not “squelching out” their voices; it’s merely correcting the record. Pointing out that the false equivalencies people like you draw between persecuting gay people, on the one hand, and vehemently contradicting those who slander and libel gay people, on the other, are in fact false, and deeply offensive to the victims of persecution being falsely equated with the perpetrators of that persecution, is not “squelching out” your voice, either; it’s merely diluting the pollution of our public discourse with falsehood by pouring more truth into it.

    that’s true intolerance and it’s often practiced by those who dislike it the most.

    There are different types of “true intolerance,” and there are vast moral gulfs between them. Here are the two at issue here:

    Type 1. “True intolerance” of some people’s race, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. Type 1 intolerance is expressed by telling malicious lies about the targeted group, verbally harassing them, denying them the right to marry the people they love, criminalizing their sexual relations with their consenting adult partners, criminalizing their public expression of their beliefs, firing them from their jobs or refusing to hire them in the first place without regard to their qualifications or performance, evicting them from their homes or refusing to rent or sell to them in the first place without regard to their ability to pay, denying them equal access to businesses that are open to the public, treating their testimony in courts of law as less trustworthy than that of others, beating them, raping them, and/or murdering them.

    Type 2. “True intolerance” of some people’s practice and/or advocacy of type 1 intolerance. Type 2 intolerance is expressed by demanding that those people cease and desist practicing or advocating type 1 intolerance, countering the lies they tell with the truths they want to deny, calling them out for their bigotry, and refusing to salve their hurt feelings by acceding to the lie that they are good, decent people despite their type 1 intolerant behavior.

    The difference between type 1 intolerance and type 2 intolerance is that type 1 is morally repugnant, and type 2 is morally obligatory, in any humanistic system of morals. To equivocate between them, speaking of them as if they were both the same bad thing, is to volunteer for, enlist in, don the uniform and wield the weapons of The Stupid Brigade.

    Witch hunts are rarely successful at doing anything but building an isolated realm of thinking.

    Telling the ugly truth about bigots’ ugly behavior is an activity that has nothing significant in common with witch-hunting. The fact that one has built a “realm of thinking” in which lies are recognized as lies, discounted, contradicted, and rejected does not mean that that “realm” is “isolated;” it just means that it has a sound set of filters for sorting fact from falsehood.

    *It is true that certain subsets of Christianity have been subjected to persecution — Mormons were persecuted for their polygamy in the 1800′s, Quakers and Jehovah’s Witnesses have been persecuted for their pacifism at times when a military draft was in effect, and Catholics have been persecuted by nativist Protestant gangs and by the Ku Klux Klan at various times. However, without exception these persecutions of minority Christian groups were perpetrated by other Christians, often in the name of Christianity, and otherwise in the name of patriotism, which most American Christians take to be a Christian virtue.

  • Alex Harman

    Ginsburg is not one of the people harmed by Scalia’s malignant jurisprudence on issues like gay rights, the right of condemned convicts who have acquired proof of their innocence to have their convictions or at least their death sentences overturned, and women’s ownership of their own bodies (she is a woman, of course, but she’s past child-bearing age and so not adversely affected by restrictions on abortion). As I implied in my post above, her friendship with Scalia is a betrayal of Scalia’s victims.


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