Four Years After Obergefell: Has the Sky Fallen?

Four Years After Obergefell: Has the Sky Fallen? July 5, 2019

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges passed its four-year anniversary a few days ago. Let’s check in with a conservative Christian declaration published just before the case was decided. How well do their warnings hold up four years after the decision?

Their “Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage” outlines an inept argument against such a ruling and threatens unspecified consequences if the Supreme Court makes them mad. Let’s explore that jeremiad pledge and an advertisement that went along with it.

(Time hasn’t been kind to this argument when we notice that the original links are no longer valid. Perhaps these conservatives realize that this project isn’t something they want to be reminded of. Let’s shove their faces in their dirty laundry.)

God has spoken!

First, the ad wants to make clear who’s the boss.

We will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.

Is there a “clear biblical understanding of marriage”? Not really. Not only do you disagree on same-sex marriage within your own religion, the Bible says much about all sorts of embarrassing marriage customs and prohibitions sanctioned by God: a prohibition on interracial marriage, concubine sex, sanctioned rape, genocide while keeping the virgin girls, slave marriage, levirate marriage, and of course polygamy. You still want to go with “clear biblical understanding”?

You can believe whatever you want, just don’t imagine that your beliefs will be taken into account when making laws. You need a secular argument in a land governed by a secular constitution.

What Would MLK Do?

From the ad:

We affirm that any judicial opinion which purports to redefine marriage will constitute an unjust law, as Martin Luther King Jr. described such laws in his [1963] letter from the Birmingham Jail.

Not quite. Let’s look at what Dr. King actually wrote about just and unjust laws in that letter. He said, “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.” King’s work was exclusively aimed at expanding rights and privileges for those who had been discriminated against. You want to follow his advice? Then in the debate over same-sex marriage, look to what ruling would “[uplift] human personality” and what would degrade it.

There’s not love enough in your heart to expand the institution of marriage so that other loving couples can share it? You complain about easy divorce and raising families outside of marriage, and yet you snub a group that wants to embrace marriage? Rethink your position.

Dr. King added, “An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself.” Here again, the “defense of marriage” faction that hopes to repurpose Dr. King finds that he isn’t cooperating. Law that restricts marriage to two straight people suits these Christian conservatives just fine. They can marry whomever they love, though it doesn’t work that way for homosexuals. The majority seeks a law that it “does not make binding on itself.”

To take this further, some conservative Christians say that their church would embrace homosexuals, as long as they’re celibate. This sounds like an enormous burden they thoughtlessly impose on others with no concern for the cost. What I want to see is such a Christian walking the walk. That is, I want to see a 20-something straight Christian who commits to a celibate life to demonstrate that it’s a reasonable request. They declare how much they love their homosexual brothers and sisters. Surely there are thousands of Christian men eager to make this pledge—no?

Apparently, marriage is all about the sex. Who knew?

The Pledge says:

Conferring a moral and legal equivalency to any relationship other than marriage between a man and a woman, by legislative or judicial fiat, sends the message that children do not need a mother and a father. As a policy matter, such unions convey the message that moms and dads are completely irrelevant to the well-being of children.

Flailing around for an argument, these conservative Christians want to imagine that marriage is about nothing but children. But of course there’s nothing in the traditional marriage vows about making babies: “To have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” Nor is there an obligation in a state’s marriage license about making babies. Nor are married couples ever penalized for not having the correct number of babies (more).

That they’re forced to shoehorn marriage into this “making babies” mold proves that playing politics is their goal, not guarding the sanctity of marriage.

What fraction of the population is homosexual? What fraction of that will get married? And what fraction of that will bring new children into the marriage? This is a very small percentage of all children. If caring for children were actually a goal, they’d focus on helping the millions of children in imperfect homes—those with just one parent or poor medical care or a dangerous neighborhood or not enough income. A mixed-gender couple isn’t mandatory for children; rather, a healthy family environment is what’s important.

This is not their focus, and caring for children is obviously not their goal.

The Court had better know its place

Back to the ad:

No civil institution, including the United States Supreme Court or any court, has authority to redefine marriage.

That ship has already sailed. There’s Davis v. Beason (1890), which stomped on the Mormons’ biblically based right to polygamy. There’s Loving v. Virginia (1973) that threw the Bible in the garbage by declaring that mixed-race marriage was legal in every state. Divorce has been made easier. Adultery has been largely decriminalized. Marital rape is now a crime. “Head and Master” laws, which put the man in charge of a household’s assets, are gone.

You do know that the Bible doesn’t call the shots in a country with a secular constitution, right?

The sky is falling! Marriage will be destroyed!

No kidding—that’s what they really claim will happen.

We will not stand by while the destruction of the institution of marriage unfolds in this nation we love.

My, aren’t we dramatic! I think someone needs some pearls to clutch.

It’s been four years for the country and fifteen years for the first state, Massachusetts. Same-sex marriage is legal in about 30 countries. Has marriage been destroyed? It seems to me that this fight has only enhanced the reputation of marriage as a desirable and valuable institution at a time when it’s seen as optional to many.

Punch line: don’t infringe my right to discriminate

This will bring about an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights.

Yep, just like before. And the state will prevail over religious prejudice, just like before. The Mormons lost their fight for polygamy. Racists against mixed-race marriage lost their fight for racial purity. I’m all for people’s right to their religious beliefs, regardless of what I think of those beliefs, but that right ends when society declares that it infringes on something more important.

As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the State directly conflicts with higher law. We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross this line.

In the U.S., the Constitution runs the country, not the Bible. If that’s a problem for you, I can help you find the door.

We stand united together in defense of marriage. Make no mistake about our resolve.

Seriously? This is the hill you want to die on—the right to discriminate? To restrict rights? You worship a god whose prejudices mirror your own?

Remember that Martin Luther King was universally trying to expand rights. Don’t you get tired of always being in the same bin as the KKK? Can’t you pick an important issue to focus on?

Go ahead—hold your breath to try to get your way. Your view is becoming more extreme. It will look even more so tomorrow.

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie—
deliberate, contrived and dishonest—
but the myth—persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears.
We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations.

We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
— John F. Kennedy

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(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 6/17/15.)

Image from James Dobson’s Family Talk
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  • NS Alito

    You complain about easy divorce and raising families outside of marriage, and yet you snub a group that wants to embrace marriage?

    That whole “defense of the sanctity of marriage” play would have been a little easier to stomach if they’d complained as much beforehand about drive-thru chapels and high Bible Belt divorce* rates.

    ___
    *<cough>kimdavis<cough>

  • Aram

    This reminds me – though rather less dramatically – of the outcry in BC when Safeway started opening its doors on Sundays. (This would’ve been in the early Eighties, I think.) Oh my, the boycott was on! The Devil would not catch them dead buying goods on the Lords Day of Rest! The Sabbath was sacred, damn it!
    Fast-forward six months at best: “Just gonna pop by the shop for some bread and milk after church. So convenient!”

    • epicurus

      And some nowadays like to go to a Saturday evening service if their mega church has one, so they can freeup Sundays for shopping.

    • epicurus

      I was a Christian during those times and didn’t think Sunday opening was a good idea. I got together with some like minded people in church and instead of the usual going out for brunch after church we had a potluck. This lasted for a few months but we were swimming against the tide. Convenience eventually won out.

      • Aram

        My mother did something similar for a short spell, but yeah, it did not last. It’s funny as now I live in Germany, a far more secular country than Canada or the States, yet almost nothing is open here on Sundays. It takes some getting used to, but to be honest a day where everything’s closed is actually kind of nice – though one must plan ahead with the milk, bread, beer, etc 😉

        • epicurus

          Yeah, I worried about people in church that couldn’t go on Sunday because they had to work, but I also felt, and I still do now, many years after leaving xianity, that a common day off is generally good for the cohesion of society. I’m thinking it makes it easier for people to get together physically, as opposed to the online social stuff which we are discovering doesn’t really give us the proper social interaction we evolved to need.

        • Aram

          Oh absolutely, nothing to do with religion, but it actually is quite nice to have one day a week where everything slows down a bit. And not to be wasting it in church, of course 😀

        • At least here in Australia, I think a lot of students like weekend work because it’s higher paid than weekday work and doesn’t interfere with their studies as much. I’m OK with it being more convenient for me being open on weekends and better for them as well…

        • epicurus

          I’m old enough to remember when many of thoses places didn’t open late during the week except one night. So if you worked 9-5 Monday -Friday that left you Thursday night or Saturday to get groceries or clothes, shoes, etc. And good luck getting to the bank to cash your paycheck.

    • jkcmsal

      Another example. The US Post Office starting to work on Sundays in the 1860s. Many churches protested. The POs were not open but delivery work from and to POs still goes on.

  • Zetopan

    “children do not need a mother and a father.”

    So now those virgin births (lacking a father) don’t even have to include a mother! Progress?

  • Lex Lata

    “We will not stand by while the destruction of the institution of marriage unfolds in this nation we love.” Rather, to preserve the sacred union of man and woman, we’ll provide unquestioning support to a thrice-wedded, unrepentant serial adulterer and accused sexual predator who’s made paid hush money to porn stars and bragged on tape about grabbing women’s crotches.

    (Incidentally, Peter Wehner, a committed conservative who served under Reagan and both Bushes, just published a solid diagnosis of the moral corruption and hypocrisy of evangelicals who refuse to leave the Trump train: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/07/evangelical-christians-face-deepening-crisis/593353/ )

    • NS Alito

      One porn star. One.
      Why do you people always lie about Our Dear Leader?

      • Lex Lata

        In my defense, I also had the payments to Karen McDougal in mind when I elected to go with the plural. But I’d agree that, strictly speaking, a centerfold model is not a “porn star” in the Queen’s English.

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        Well, one that we know of. It could be he’s usually better at paying hush money

    • epicurus

      Good Atlantic article. Even if Evangelical Trump supporters win their battle, they are going to lose their war, as the upcoming generation see’s their hypocrisy. I can’t see his solution in the last few paragraphs ever actually happening. It basically needs Evangelicals to become “liberal” Christians – and their churches are dying. There’s far too much satisfaction gained from the need to be outraged and feel under attack, and to feel morally superior. Of course, if there actually were a Holy Spirit dwelling in their hearts, guiding them to see a world of abundant possibilities and promise, then, sure.

      • There must be studies of the ebb and flow of conditions within societies. That might inform our current conditions. Is Trump the dying gasp of conservative assholery?

        • BertB

          Is Trump the dying gasp of conservative assholery?

          It’s a nice fantasy. I hope it proves true. At the moment, I don’t see the light at the end of the long tunnel of ignorance, bigotry and self-righteousness.

        • Your skepticism is well placed. Our current conditions could be either a sharp, semi-permanent regression or a last gasp of our hateful side (that is, an aberration of an ongoing and unstoppable progressive trend).

          (Sorry if that’s just a repeat.)

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I thought that for a while, but considering that his supporters are something like one third of the population… now I’m thinking no.

          I do hope that enough of them are old fucks that will be dying soon so that at least they may not have enough power in the voting booth to affect us as much after 2024.

    • skl

      (Incidentally, Peter Wehner, a committed
      conservative who served under Reagan and both Bushes, just published a solid
      diagnosis of the moral corruption and hypocrisy of evangelicals who refuse to
      leave the Trump train: https://www.theatlantic.com
      )

      Perhaps it’s a little bit like why the Jews refused to leave the train of the murderous, adulterous King
      David.

  • Michael Neville

    One reason why fundamentalist evangelicals hate and fear same-sex marriage is it puts the doctrine of complementarianism into question. Complementarianism is the concept that each spouse has a specific role in marriage, this is what evangelicals refer to as “Biblical marriage”. The man is the head of the household, his word is law, he goes out and earns the income, and he can demand sex at any time. The woman is to bear and raise the children, maintain the house, and give the man sex whenever he wants it. But in a same-sex marriage who has the man’s and woman’s roles? If a same-sex marriage is successful, then complementrianism isn’t necessary. Since much of evangelicalism is about power, then if complementarianism is weakened or demolished then men would lose power.

    • NS Alito

      “Complementarianism” is just a churchified term for patriarchy.

      • Michael Neville

        Misogyny is another good term.

        • BertB

          What constantly amazes me is that women put up with this. And yet I have read that women are more religious than men statistically. I think that is changing in younger generations. I sure hope so.

      • Andy Robinson

        If that’s true, it’s definitely a meaningless, garbage term like “patriarchy;” A self-referential argument that, because one can point to statistical disparities, there must be some underlying intention or disposition that causes the disparities.

        • NS Alito

          Of course I use the term patriarchy to describe any society that enforces the model of men heading households and having authority over women. In order to maintain that structure, women are restricted to domestic tasks or deferential positions, and those who deviate from its required sex identity model, like same-sex couples having families, are discouraged.

          It isn’t just a simple matter of “women’s lib”. Ditching patriarchy has been a benefit to many of the men I’ve known and worked with. I’m old enough to remember when the idea of men changing diapers or spending regular time with young children was an oddity. I love the now-common sight of proud fathers with babies strapped to their chests, which, sadly, annoys the hell out of [desk-riding] commentators that decry the unmanliness of it all.

        • Andy Robinson

          Conceded.

    • Let’s first correct those situations where the wife earns more than the husband. I mean, Jesus Christ, are we living in the twenty-first century??

      • Maltnothops

        I keep urging my wife to earn more than me!

        • Yeah–sounds like a pretty nice “problem” to have. My buddies can say whatever they want behind my back, or in front of it. I’ll take the money, thanks.

    • This is the fundie concept of marriage:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7c0a2aab7b550539566929ce392408be47ec3a697be8304cec103ede7e76ebc3.jpg

      My wife would never put up with this.

      • BertB

        Hoo boy! Neither would mine.

      • Greg G.

        Looks like the umbrella with “DOG” spelled backwards only does imaginary things.

        • Andy Robinson

          If you’re having a bad day, remember, Dog Loves You.

      • Pofarmer

        My wife actually kinda tried that, but when it was clear that my ideas weren’t the same as Catholic ideas that shit got jettisoned in a heartbeat.

      • Andy Robinson

        The atheists’s conception simply eliminates the husband and substitutes Big Bother [sic] for God 😉

    • Lark62

      Remember how people would say things like “who wears the pants in that family?” It was a huge insult to men to imply that he wasn’t in charge.

      Learning tennis in high school, we (the girls) had a serious discussion on when to let guys win, so as not to hurt their ego and the girl’s chance at a date.

      • Maltnothops

        Huh, I have always imagined you as male. I don’t know why I thought that. (When I first read To Kill A Mockingbird as a child, I didn’t realize Scout was a girl until 30-40 pages in. I had to start the book over.)

        • It’s like when you see a voice-over artist. They’re never what your mind imagined.

        • Andy Robinson

          Well, except for Hiccup/Jay Baruchel.

      • Michael Neville

        I didn’t see this until just now.

        My wife was a much better tennis player than me. I’d be lucky to win one game in a set (6-0 6-1 6-0 were our usual match scores). I remember one man who had been playing at the court next to my wife and me asking me: “Don’t you get frustrated that a woman continually beat you?” I replied that playing against a better player helped me improve my game and he should ask my wife if she found it frustrating to play against a weaker player.

        • Greg G.

          I learned the maxim “Let defeat make you better, not bitter.” I always enjoyed the challenge of playing basketball against better opponents. I could anticipate how a play would turn out if I made a certain move against better players than against less talented players.

      • Andy Robinson

        Remember when? It is still in use today.

        Ironically, women have always controlled men. It is a theme running through art and history as far back as we have records, certainly into the thousands of years BCE.

        Which makes invocation of a “patriarchy” all the more ironic 😉

        Men have an advantage, physical strength, that has been legislated and litigated out of Western culture, and for good reason: if “might makes right,” we are all in trouble.

        But the idea that men now or ever “controlled” women is an inversion of biological, historical, and empirical evidence.

    • Andy Robinson

      “Complementarianism is the concept that each spouse has a specific role in the marriage.”

      It is also based on the observation that all higher animals, including humans, have exactly two sexes, each of which is physically and intellectually suited for different things. Men cannot have children, but are 50% stronger per pound of lean muscle mass than women, on average.

      I should also note that in many if not most homosexual unions, there is a clear distinction between the roles of the two partners, with one fulfilling the more “female” role and the other fulfilling the more “male” role. We can argue how much of this is socialized (nurture, versus nature), but you haven’t provided such evidence here.

      Thus “if a same sex marriage is successful, then complementarianism isn’t necessary” is fallacious in two ways. First, homosexual unions would have to statistically equal or outperform marriages in all respects, both as the foundation for a couple’s personal development, and as a platform for child rearing. Homosexual unions and single-parent households do not fulfill either of these conditions, with “traditional” heterosexual monogamous marriages being — in the general case — the best and safest environment for men, women, and children.

      Second, even if homosexual unions could pass the statistical test, that would not obviate the nature of specific roles in relationships in general, and marriages (heterosexual) in particular.

      My impression is that you are grinding an axe against religion. Certain religions and creeds try to circumscribe sex roles, for sure, but given that Christianity and Judaism were the foundational creeds of secular humanism and liberalism (by which I mean the founding philosophy of the US and other Western representative democracies), one cannot sustain the claim that religion as a concept is hostile to identity-based rights, homosexual or otherwise.

      • Pofarmer

        It is also based on the observation that all higher animals, including humans, have exactly two sexes,

        Hermaphrodites.

        https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&channel=tus&q=hermaphrodites

        • Andy Robinson

          Special pleading. There are some horses born with more or less than four legs, but the generalizing “horses are four legged mammals” still applies, exceptions not withstanding.

          Disorders of sexual development (which include all genetic and physical variations on the sex/gender binary) account for less than .01% of the human population, so they can safely be ignored as disproving the binary generalization.

        • Pofarmer

          In human births it’s about 1 in 60. Or just under 2%.

          Blackless, Fausto-Sterling et al., said in two articles in 2000 that 1.7 percent of human births (1 in 60) might be intersex, including variations that may not become apparent until, for example, puberty, or until attempting to conceive.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

          So, if we know there’s about 2% natural variation in physcial sexuality, is it really all that radical to think that there might be higher levels in differences of sexuality that are non-physically presenting? If I remember right, percentage of homosexuals runs at around 6%. This seems totally plausible and fits the current evidence.

        • Andy Robinson

          Still falls into the category of outlier 😉

        • Pofarmer

          Certainly much higher then .01%. It’s a higher percentage than those with “Light Blue” or “Grey” eye color, for instance.

      • Greg G.

        First, homosexual unions would have to statistically equal or outperform marriages in all respects, both as the foundation for a couple’s personal development, and as a platform for child rearing.

        The child rearing should not be included. My wife and I got married in our forties because we wanted to be together, not to start a family. Two people who had sworn off marriage spontaneously told me that they had changed their minds after spending time with us. One was the son of parents who divorced and the other was a middle-aged divorcee.

        If we use the divorce rate as a proxy measurement for success in a marriage, The divorce rate of homosexual marriage is 15% while heterosexual marriages end in divorce in 18% of the cases (at a specific time frame which escapes me.) From the same study, lesbian marriages, on the other hand, ended in divorce in 30% of the cases.

        • Andy Robinson

          Excellent and correct use of statistics, by the way. We often hear “half of all marriages end in divorce” comparing the number of marriages in a given year to the number of divorces. You provided the correct numbers (or at least numbers that conform to my recollection of the correct numbers–I have faith in you 😉

          Certainly there are people who marry without the intent of having children, but those are still a minority of marriages. But if you simply follow the social, physical, and economic health of only those who are part of such a family, that is sufficient. There is no reason to exclude children where they exist.

      • Michael Neville

        I should also note that in many if not most homosexual unions, there is a clear distinction between the roles of the two partners, with one fulfilling the more “female” role and the other fulfilling the more “male” role. We can argue how much of this is socialized (nurture, versus nature), but you haven’t provided such evidence here.

        I didn’t provide evidence for an argument that I didn’t make? How remiss of me.

        First, homosexual unions would have to statistically equal or outperform marriages in all respects, both as the foundation for a couple’s personal development, and as a platform for child rearing. Homosexual unions and single-parent households do not fulfill either of these conditions, with “traditional” heterosexual monogamous marriages being– in the general case — the best and safest environment for men, women, and children.

        I’ll ignore the red herring of single-parent households. You claim that same-sex marriages (SSM) are not equal to opposite-sex marriages (OSM) in “personal development”. How do you know this? It’s rather hypocritical for you to complain that I didn’t provide evidence when you neglect to do so. Furthermore, you haven’t defined what “personal development” is. Until I know what you’re talking about, I can hardly comment on whether or not SSM equal or outperform OSM in this regard.

        The old, well-worn argument that a gay or lesbian couple cannot rise children as well as OSM can has often been refuted. A megastudy at Cornell University [LINK] says:

        We identified 79 scholarly studies that met our criteria for adding to knowledge about the well-being of children with gay or lesbian parents. Of those studies, 75 concluded that children of gay or lesbian parents fare no worse than other children.

        A 2010 study by Stanford researcher Michael Rosenfeld used census data to examine the school advancement of 3,500 children with same-sex parents, finding no significant differences between households headed by same-sex and opposite-sex parents when controlling for family background. Another study drew on nationally representative, longitudinal data using a sampling pool of over 20,000 children, of which 158 lived in a same-sex parent household. Controlling for family disruptions, those children showed no significant differences from their peers in school outcomes.

        It appears that you’re wrong about SSM and children. But then bigots (yes, you’re a bigot and don’t whine that I’m calling you one, it’s not my fault that you’re a bigot). usually are.

        Second, even if homosexual unions could pass the statistical test, that would not obviate the nature of specific roles in relationships in general, and marriages (heterosexual) in particular.

        Again you don’t define what the “specific roles in relationships” are. I assume, and this is just a guess on my part, you’re claiming that, as I said previously “[t]he man is the head of the household, his word is law, he goes out and earns the income, and he can demand sex at any time. The woman is to bear and raise the children, maintain the house, and give the man sex whenever he wants it.”

        Complementarianism is a misogynist view which has the sole purpose of giving power to men and denying it to women. If you want to discuss this further we can but I should warn you that I know, from having been married to the same woman for over 45 years, that there are other valid ways to conduct a marriage.

        My impression is that you are grinding an axe against religion.

        Your impression is wrong. I was talking about a particular dogma found in many fundamentalist, evangelical Christian sects. Most Western religious people do not hold with that dogma.

  • epicurus

    Marriage was one of the sacraments Protestants dropped after the Reformation. So I guess it’s not as sacred as they would make it out to be.

  • Jack the Sandwichmaker

    sends the message that children do not need a mother and a father.

    I’ve never gotten any one to tell me what a mother or a father specifically bring to the relationship.
    What does a father do (other than contribute sperm) that a second mother could not have done instead? After the child is born and off breast milk, what does the mother do that a second father couldn’t do?

    • Take a same-sex marriage that provides merely a satisfactory environment for a child. Now compare that to the worst environments that kids are raised in. If fundamentalists actually cared about conditions for raising children, that’s where they should focus. But of course they don’t. This is just a talking point to bolster a fundamentally weak argument.

      • DavidBehar

        Hi, Bob. Here is a summary, written by a feminist, of the consequences of not growing up in an intact patriarchal family. Black people who did grow up in an intact patriarchal family? No poverty. They outperformed whites economically, in the 2010 Census.

        Your advocacy of freaks and bullies is misleading and irresponsible. What was the family arrangement at your house? Were you raised by degenerate, orgiastic perverts? Why would you advocate other children be? The studies showing normal outcomes are lying leftist, garbage science propaganda, covering up the devastating effects on children from those arrangements.

        http://civitas.org.uk/pdf/Experiments.pdf

        • Are you trying to disagree with me? I think you’re failing.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          He’s demonstrating his agility in the First Law of Holes.

        • Lady Alexandra

          I am a degenerate orgiastic pervert, and pagan to boot. I raised two sons in a two parent household.

          One’s in the military working on tanks and happy. One’s in college studying math and thinking about doing it for a career. They’re both happy and healthy and normal. One’s vaguely spiritual-but-not-religious; one’s a liberal Christian. One’s straight, one’s bi-leans-gay. Both are on the autistic spectrum, as I am.

          My sons told me they could tell me anything and felt safe around me because they had never heard me raise my voice in anger. They said they knew whatever happened there would be food on the table and a safe place to sleep, and that I was right, it would all be better in the morning. They learned to respect other people’s personal space, consent, and possessions. I think more kids should be raised like that.

        • Sounds like a wholesome home. Who could imagine that a non-Christian could perform such black magic?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am a degenerate orgiastic pervert,…

          A wish…am such a bore.

      • Andy Robinson

        So when it suits, you will resort to statistical arguments, and when it doesn’t you will resort to special pleading?

        The monogamous heterosexual family (MHF) is the best environment for child rearing in the general case. Each deviation from that standard results in statistical worse outcomes in the general case.

        None argue that a gay union (“same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron, which is one major exception I take to Obergefell, even though I offered same-sex benefits to my employees a decade before it was legal in my state) cannot produce a “satisfactory” environment, or even a better environment than the MHF average.

        But that is special pleading, treating extraordinary cases as if they should stand for the group.

        • There’s a criticism in there somewhere, but I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps you could highlight where you think we disagree.

        • Andy Robinson

          Sorry Bob, I took your argument to be that “fundamentalists should be concerned about specific negative MHFs rather than homosexual unions as a group” with respect to child rearing.

          Since homosexual unions as a group are worse (as in HU < MHF, not implying the degree of the difference) environments in the general case for both the adults and the children involved, this seems like special pleading.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Such love they have for all the kids who have lost a parent through accident/disease/violence etc. “Hey kid, you may THINK you are sad… But since having only one parent makes you less than human , your feelings really don’t count…”

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        I obviously can’t comprehend this properly because I am permanenty damaged, having lived half my childhood in a single parent home (even if I did have monthly visits with my father and stepmother)

        • Cozmo the Magician

          IKR. I can’t even count* the number of times I have cried myself to sleep at night wishing that my mom had not left my alcoholic and abusive father. How sad that I missed out all the ‘love’ and ‘attention’ his drunken fists might have given me.

          * you can’t count TO ZERO since all counting starts at one (at least the way I was tought maffs).

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Obviously, you’re not a programmer 🙂

          My father wasn’t abusive, but I think we were all better off once Mom and Dad separated.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Believe it or not I have done a lot of programing. But i was talking about MAFFS not technosatanic computir stufz.

        • sweeks

          Counting items, entities, objects, what-have-you, starts at “one”. That’s why the new millennium started on 1/1/2001, not 1/1/2000!
          PS: I don’t know math from a hole in the ground. 😉

        • Cozmo the Magician

          If it takes 12 men 12 hours to dig 12 holes.. how long does it take one man to dig 1/2 a hole (; /s

        • sweeks

          I’d guess 6 hours, but that’s probably wrong. I don’t do well with those tricky problems.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          It WAS a trick question… The men are all Lazy Mexicans… so they actually get the job done in 2hrs.

        • sweeks

          Ooooh… there’s more than a little political incorrectness there!

        • Cozmo the Magician

          if you find my /snark tag please hand it over…

      • Ignorant Amos

        That must be why both my kids became atheists. Their mother died when 4, and the other 18 months old.

        Or maybe they were just raised to think for themselves and question stuff that sounded too whacky to stand the test of scrutiny.

    • BertB

      Most women don’t breast feed these days, and anybody can hold a bottle with a nipple.

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        Yes, but I wanted to acknowledge the obvious physical differences before someone smugly pointed them out.

    • DavidBehar

      This statement is evidence of the popular anti-family culture. If you do not know what the patriarchal family does, I invite you to drive around Detroit after dark. Those great people you will encounter were fatherless.

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        This is what I mean. They make these claims, but cannot actually say WHAT only a father can bring to the raising of a child, or what only a mother.

        • DavidBehar

          This summary was written by a feminist. Devastation from the rising bastardy rate.

          It may explain your inappropriate behavior. You must have also learned your rhetoric in a worthless government owned school.

          http://civitas.org.uk/pdf/Experiments.pdf

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          As I said, you can’t explain why “One mother and One father” would be superior to “Two mothers” or “Two fathers”. What qualities, abilities do mothers specifically have that fathers do not have? And vice versa?
          Conservatives simply refuse to answer the question. Because they can’t.

        • Lark62

          Those children are fatherless because the criminal “justice” system destroys families by imprisoning blacks at a much higher rate than whites. They’ll will send a blacj man to prison for 20 years and give a white man probation for the same crime.

          If something is destroying families, that’s it.

      • Hmm. Good point. A stable and loving homosexual marriage as a good foundation for raising children is sounding better all the time.

      • Carol Lynn

        Gnatpucky – I’m *in* Detroit and you are full of … something that is censored. How come all the famous, nice, white, forced-intercourse-and-molestation boys are from male & female parent, Christian families? Does the name “Brock Turner” sound familiar? David Becker? Josh Duggar? (whose mother famously said, it’s no big deal, every family has sons who molest their sisters) Real nice morality those regular Christian families have. /sarcasm

  • skl

    Go ahead—hold your breath to try to get
    your way. Your view is becoming more extreme. It will look even more so tomorrow.

    In the words of the gay author whose article is below, what’s
    actually becoming more extreme are today’s pro-LGBTQ protesters. They’re making
    mountains of mole hills, inventing bizarre boogeymen, because they’re “Starved
    of real enemies”
    .

    He makes many interesting points. I’m not gay, but I think I
    agree with him.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/06/battle-gay-rights-over/592645/

    • Michael Neville

      After Roe v. Wade made abortion legal many pro-abortion groups disbanded, thinking their job was finished. Now many states with legislatures dominated by evangelicals and Catholics are doing their utmost to make legal abortions impossible to get and some states are even trying to make abortion illegal. It doesn’t surprise me that LGBTQ+ organizations are making sure that evangelical and other human-hating Christians don’t do the same to the gains made by LGBTQ+s. I doubt you realize how much evangelicals and conservative Catholics hate LGBTQ+s.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      YOUR KIND’s Francis Fukuyama also wrote about ‘The End of History’…just before the world got serious and dangerously exciting.

      Combining that with YOUR KIND’s tendency to cherry-pick, I have a heuristic that informs me you’re likely full of ho oey.

    • DavidBehar

      Oberfell is a denial of reality. At some point, reality will return.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        SO close…

        *denial* of Obergefell is an avoidance of an unpleasant reality: The reality that YOUR KIND tried to demonize gay people to steal power by denying rights…and it’s BACKFIRING on you….

        Soooooooo delicious!

  • JustAnotherAtheist2

    It seems to me that this fight has only enhanced the reputation of marriage as a desirable and valuable institution at a time when it’s seen as optional to many.

    Well said, Bob. This is a great point.

  • JBSchmidt

    1) Government should get out of the marriage business. Problem solved. Live as you choose. It is obviously good policy to change centuries of tradition for 5% of the population.

    2) “Remember that Martin Luther King was universally trying to expand rights.”

    I love white people finding anyway possible to use MKL to fight for their cause.

    3) Real world consequences are; A) It have been used as a tool to destroy private business the left has a problem with. B) Religious agencies that were working to get children out of foster care and into homes have shut down, putting the burden on the state. C) It has morphed from being allowed to get married, into forcing the nation to believe as the proponents of gay marriage do. D) It has become the religious test of the left for nominations.

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      1) Government marriage benefits are very popular. Why discontinue them? So you can shoot yourself in the foot out of spite?
      Giving rights to 5% of the population is not equivalent to taking away rights from 100% out of spite.

      2) Do you have an example of MLK arguing to curtail rights for a group he didn’t like?

      3) No businesses have been destroyed because of same sex marriage. Some businesses have been destroyed because their owners or employees were discriminated against homosexuals. Legal marriage for same sex couples was not necessary for these bigots to destroy their business, it was just as illegal for them to refuse to sell wedding cakes if the marriage was not legally recognized.

    • Greg G.

      1) Government should get out of the marriage business. Problem solved. Live as you choose. It is obviously good policy to change centuries of tradition for 5% of the population.

      Marriage, as far as government is concerned, is for tax purposes, end of life decisions, who can be compelled to testify against a person, and stuff like that. A document when a marriage starts makes it easier to decide divorce cases which is when the government is forced to intercede in a marriage. A couple needn’t involve the government in their relationship if those issues are not an issue.

      I love white people finding anyway possible to use MKL to fight for their cause.

      You think MLK was only against racial bigotry but not against bigotry in general?

      3) We get it. You are a bigot.

      A) It have been used as a tool to destroy private business the left has a problem with.

      Nobody has a problem with a county issuing marriage licenses but there is a problem when the clerk decides who can get a marriage license based on religious convictions. Nobody has a problem with bakers unless they are bigots.

      B) Religious agencies that were working to get children out of foster care and into homes have shut down, putting the burden on the state.

      It wasn’t because of their religious affiliation but their religious affiliation’s bigotry.

      C) It has morphed from being allowed to get married, into forcing the nation to believe as the proponents of gay marriage do.

      It is like minding your own business and keeping your bigotry to yourself.

      D) It has become the religious test of the left for nominations.

      No, it is not a religious test. It is a bigotry test.

      Why do religious people justify their bigotry with their religion? It is a matter of buying into a religion that supports one’s bigotry.

      • BertB

        Why do religious people justify their bigotry with their religion? It is a matter of buying into a religion that supports one’s bigotry.

        It’s a chicken-and-egg problem. Are they bigoted because of their religion, or did they accept the religion because it supported their bigotry? My guess is that most anti-gay religionists were raised from childhood in an atmosphere that taught them bigotry, immersed them in it. Religious faith is inherently self-righteous, and therefore intolerant of others with different beliefs or lifestyles.
        To be fair, many moderate Christians are willing to live-and-let-live. It’s the hard-over folks who are the problem.

        • BertB

          HAHA. Good one. I sent it to my grandson who is a bacon lover…and also nonreligious.

        • Greg G.

          The question you should ask before joining a religion is whether you can eat a bacon cheeseburger on a Friday between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

        • sweeks

          What about the United Church of Bacon? https://unitedchurchofbacon.org/
          “Bacon is our God because Bacon is Real!”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YEAH, Yeah, yeah….ham it up…

          😉

        • Greg G.

          There are many anti-LBGTQ preachers and politicians getting caught having same-sex sex. Those who are most vehemently opposed seem to be fighting their own nature.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Those who are most vehemently opposed seem to be fighting their own nature.

          Which is why they’re *also* so insistent that people are naturally depraved from birth…gives them yet ANOTHER excuse.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      1) I doubt that you felt this way when YOUR KIND were in firm control.

      The rest? More but thu rt whining from privilege distress.

      • Greg G.

        I give up. What does “thu rt” mean?

        • sweeks

          You must read it in context: “but thu rt”… move the first space one letter to the right and eliminate the second space.
          A clever way to avoid mode rat ion.
          Does that help? 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Doh! Now I got it.

          Another way to do it is: but&zwnj;thurt

          It comes out but‌thurt. The “zw” is for “zero width” so it looks the same to the reader but the “nj” stands for “non-joiner” which makes it look like different words to the filter.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’ve seen that, thank you…but they’re going after the ZW characters, I’d heard.

        • BertB

          My guess: “thou art”
          Ooops wrong. See below. Veddy clevah.

    • Michael Neville

      Religious agencies that were working to get children out of foster care and into homes have shut down

      Those agencies had to make a choice between helping children and bigotry and, being the good Christians they were, bigotry won.

    • Otto

      C) It has morphed from being allowed to get married, into forcing the nation to believe as the proponents of gay marriage do.

      You are still allowed to be as bigoted and you want, you just don’t get to do it with the help of the gov’t. Must be awful for you.

      • Greg G.

        Gay marriage became an issue when a certain party made it an issue to get bigots to go to the polls to vote for their candidates to keep gay marriage from happening. Nobody had actually been arguing for gay marriage before that. But when the religious right said gay people couldn’t get married, it triggered the movement when people decided they didn’t want them telling them what they couldn’t do.

        • MR

          The great irony of gay marriage is that it was manufactured by the Republicans.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          I like it that National Organization for Marriage would SEEM to be incorrectly named since their main effort has been to fight AGAINST the spread of marriage, but in actuality, their efforts helped to spread acceptance of same sex marriage throughout the country. By associating opposition to same sex marriage with such obvious hateful bigotry, they lived up to their name.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I think the phrase is ‘hoist by their own petard’?

    • C_Alan_Nault

      “I love white people finding anyway possible to use MKL to fight for their cause.”

      A good idea/point is a good idea/point no matter who the source is.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Yep.

        And JBS mudslings and maligns at the drop of a hat, trying to make the good into evil by his deceptions.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Of course there was all the ‘slippery slope’ arguments too. That it would lead to FORCED gay marriage. That people would be able to marry their pets/toasters/children.

    I have to admit that I am happy in my gay marriage to my toaster. We are expecting a bouncy baby blender as a new member of our family real soon.

    • BertB

      bouncy baby blender

      Looooove it!

    • Maltnothops

      And that clergy would be forced by govt to perform gay weddings.

      • al kimeea

        to me, the clergy is just another kind of shop, but they’re a quasi-private club which grants an underserved pass

    • Lark62

      So that’s how one gets a baby blender. I always thought one had to mash them by hand.

  • towercam

    It pisses me off that the author didn’t care enough to fully answer the question asked in the title of the article.
    He/she/it should have ended with “NO, the sky isn’t falling, in fact things are better now!”
    Phooey.

    • Thanks for clarifying.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Subtext is a thing…

  • Tervuren

    I did just remind my wife of 42 years that our marriage is over now that her brother married his husband. She said “Oh, who is making dinner tonight?”

  • Polytropos

    How, exactly, does same-s&#8203ex marriage invalidate or in any way affect the marriages of heterose&#8203xual Christians? The only way I can see is that it removes one of the ways Christian big&#8203ots liked to feel superior to people they had designated as an out-group. They had a special privilege the out-group didn’t have, and now they don’t, and they don’t like it. Poor wee snowf&#8203lakes.

  • Rennyrij

    IMN-S-HO, Christians SHOULD be asked or even forced to choose. You are EITHER an American who goes to church and exercises compassion (“Love your neighbor [that is, anyone who is not you] as much as you love yourself”; also, believes it is meet and right to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, or it’s alternate, “do not do unto others anything that you would not want done unto you [a.k.a. “The Ethic of Reciprocity”, which predates Christianity by hundreds of years.]) above all else – OR, you are a Christian who has no consideration for the opinions of your neighbors, and who does not consider your neighbors as important as yourself or as your religion.

    After all, isn’t that what religion is about? Choices? Wouldn’t making Christianity into the Default position make Christianity meaningless? Who would the Christians gossip about, then? They’d have to reinvent themselves into some OTHER elitist group. Oh, fun and frolic!

  • ThaneOfDrones

    The sky has fallen. Just a few years after gay marriage was made legal, my conservative (and ignorant) Christian brother is in prison for child molesting.
    QED
    /s

    • C_Alan_Nault

      But it’s OK because although god did nothing ( again) to prevent the child molestation,god will forgive your brother if your brother says he’s sorry and asks god to forgive him. The important thing here is that your brother worships god.

      • Pofarmer

        That’s-sad.

        But unfortunately true.

        To them.

  • Mythblaster
    • Mr. James Parson

      About that Russia thing. It could be argued…

      • Mythblaster

        Touché, James!

    • RoverSerton

      Ice caps are melting…. due in large part to gay marriage. This isn’t my opinion, but “some people say” it is the reason.

      • BertB

        Ah…Hellfire is approaching. The end is near! Get ready! :>)

  • Kendra

    The sky has not fallen. I don’t think anyone seriously expected it to. There is no debate over same-sex marriage anymore. Opponents have given up. There are no groups trying to get marriage policies changed the way that some groups are trying to get abortion policies changed. Abortion is a live debate in society. Same-sex marriage is not.

  • DavidBehar

    Seidensticker is a hate filled denier. Here are some points he left out intentionally, to mislead, from his hate filled, false propaganda.

    Nothing the state does will ever elevate what will always be a friendship to the privileged status of marriage. The privileges are to promote family formation. Homosexuals are disabled from that ability.

    The lawyer profession destroyed marriage. Only a suicidal fool would get married if a productive male. The legal system, is an engine of mass destruction of and transfer of male assets to the lawyer profession. So, much fewer people were getting married. The family law business was moribund. They, not homosexuals, concocted this scheme.

    Homosexuals have markedly above average incomes. They are not stupid. Very few of them have fallen for this lawyer trap. Those that did came to regret it, as they lost everything to the lawyers in a very high rate of divorce. Almost no homosexuals are getting married, even in countries with decades old legalization.

    Anyone who hates homosexuals will strongly support homosexual marriage, to see homosexuals suffer at the hands of the lawyer profession.

    Judicial review is prohibited by Article I Section 1, granting “all” lawmaking powers to the Congress. Oberfell repealed the Marriage Protection Act, in violation of that section of the constitution. I strongly support the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices, not for some collateral corruption, but for their lawless and unconstitutional decisions. Oberfell justifies impeachment of all the Justices. The dissenters failed to stop the insurrectionists on the Court. The dissenters are accomplices to insurrection against the constitution. They should all be impeached. If you geniuses support judicial review, pass an amendment. Until you do, it is illegal.

    • Jamie_Johnson

      I want some of whatever you’re smoking because it must be good!

      • DavidBehar

        That is just a stupid, personal insult. Try making an argument of fact or logic.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          In fairness, Jamie included the same amount of logic as you did, s/he was more concise.

        • DavidBehar

          Yet, another stupid insult. That is all you Democrats have, personal attack. Where did you Democrats attend school? Your English teachers need to be beaten with a stick.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I didn’t insult you, I just pointed out that your own post was as bereft of facts. If you don’t like hearing that, then make better arguments.

        • BertB

          As Christopher Hitchens said, you deserve respect, but you ideas do not.

        • Phil

          That sentiment is wearing a bit thin with this one!

        • BertB

          It depends on what you mean by “respect,” I suppose. What Hitchens meant is that personal attacks are pointless and destructive, but idiotic ideas should be labeled as such…with evidence or logic to back up that position.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What Hitchens meant is that personal attacks are pointless and destructive, but idiotic ideas should be labeled as such…with evidence or logic to back up that position.

          Is this the same Christopher Hitchens that so despised Mother Teresa he wrote a whole book on assassinating her character?

          And made a TV documentary doing the same?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJG-lgmPvYA

          A really don’t think the Hitch had any respect for MT as a person OR her idiotic ideas.

        • BertB

          Oh yeah, the same Hitch. Sadly, he died of Pancreatic cancer a couple years ago. He wrote many good books. I didn’t agree with him on everything. He was very anti-Muslim, as I recall. But he was a killer in debates. Very quick. He didn’t suffer fools at all. Despite his abrasiveness, I admired him a lot, and have read many of his books. If you haven’t, try God Is Not Great.
          https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43369.God_Is_Not_Great

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh am well versed on the work of Christopher Hitchens and his place in the Four Horsemen, and yes, am looking at “God is Not Great” on my bookshelf.

          My point is, I don’t think Christopher Hitchens had any respect for MT as a person.

          A couple of other things the Hitch said about respecting others.

          “I respect those who say that the United States should simply withdraw from the Middle East, but I don’t respect them for anything but their honesty.”

          “I don’t envy or much respect people who are completely politicised.

          So I think there definitely were people that CH had no respect for, and not only their ideas, but because of them.

          Dawkins calls it “undeserved respect” because of certain ideas.

          No one automatically deserves my respect as a given. Which is…

          a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

          due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.

          At the very least, I start from a neutral position. It’s just the way I am.

        • BertB

          I think what HItch meant by “respect” is that attacking them personally is wrong…but he was a ferocious attacker of ideas. Many people would consider that disrespectful to the individual espousing the ideas. I think he was trying to make that distinction.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think what HItch meant by “respect” is that attacking them personally is wrong…but he was a ferocious attacker of ideas.

          Personally attacking someone or their ideas, and having respect for them, are mutually exclusive concepts. Though an attack/defence on/of the person and/or their ideas, can be markers of disrespect/respect. They are not synonymous.

          Christopher hitchens didn’t respect MT as a person, or her ideas. He labelled her “a bat from hell”. He readily admitted he attacked MT.

          Many people would consider that disrespectful to the individual espousing the ideas. I think he was trying to make that distinction.

          I can respect a person, but not some of their ideas. I can respect someones ideas but not the person. I can respect a person because of their ideas, I can have no respect for a person, because of their ideas.

          Christopher Hitchens took all those positions. Whatever distinction he was trying to make, he was not declaring it an exclusive position.

          Since there is no citation in support “Christopher Hitchens said, you deserve respect, but you ideas do not.”, I have no context.

          It’s a fact that no one “deserves” personal respect as the starting point, given the definition of the word “respect”. If that’s what Hitchens said and meant, he was wrong.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I can respect someone’s ideas but not the person

          This is the one that I reckon most folks (on any side of any aisle) never quite wrap their heads around – which confusion seems more pronounced in the fundie hard-on for overblown dichotomy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There’s also the flip side….you’re ideas are idiotic…..but that doesn’t make you a…….

        • TheNuszAbides

          That one’s a doddle for the less high-strung, possibly more patronizing strain.

        • Cancer of the esophagus, I believe.

        • BertB

          Ah, yes. Sorry. You’re right.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Are you a fellow Bill Hicks fan as well? That’s usually the only prominent loss to pancreatic cancer I come up with off the top of my head.

        • Greg G.

          I would have been if I had heard of him while he was alive.

        • BertB

          No, we are talking about Christopher Hitchens. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay different from Bill Hicks.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I wasn’t confused (though I admit that my barging in two months late to the party likely contributed to any further misunderstanding!). I only wondered whether your [hypothetical] familiarity with both deaths explained your initially recalling Hicks’s form of cancer instead of Hitch’s.

        • BertB

          I don’t know anything about Bill Hicks cancer.

        • TheNuszAbides

          We lost him at 32 and Mississippi gained some worm food.

        • Phil

          Er, I think you’ll find that the pancreas is somewhere in the abdomen, not on top of your head! :o)

        • Greg G.

          If his scalp identifies as a pancreas, who are we to disagree?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Where did you [whatever it is that you are] attend school? Your civics teacher needs to be beaten with a stick.

        • MR

          [whatever it is that you are]

          …whackaloon, russian troll, paid provacteur…, (rubs hands together), so many options!

        • al kimeea

          I’m guessin teach was a parent, because “we” went to government schools…

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Dunno if I’d blame the teacher…this kind of venom comes in with mother’s milk.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          When you believe logic showing your position’s incoherence is an insult…well, time to reevaluate both your position and your life decisions to date.

        • Greg G.

          You are just trolling in order to take offense when somebody insults you back.

        • gimpi1

          I would recommend against criticism of someone else’s grammar. I’m something of a grammar NAZI, and I counted seven errors in grammar and punctuation in your post without looking hard.

          Challenge everyone! See if you can find them!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Wrong as usual.

          That reply is all your hateful, disjointed rant deserves in reply: mockery and derision.

      • gimpi1

        From the “lawyer” aspects of this rant, I’m guessing David’s wife left him. I can’t imagine why 🙂

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      Seidensticker is a hate filled denier. Here are some points he left out intentionally, to mislead, from his hate filled, false propaganda.

      What hate? And why should he include your hate filled false propaganda?

      Nothing the state does will ever elevate what will always be a friendship to the privileged status of marriage. The privileges are to promote family formation. Homosexuals are disabled from that ability.

      Who are you to say what marriage is? Do you consider a childless man and woman living together with a marriage certificate to be married? If they’re a family (they are), why aren’t two men or two women living together a family? If two men or two women raise children (whether from adoption, surrogates or children from another relationship) why isn’t that a family?

      [reads more]
      Ah, an MRA asshole. That explains it.

      • DavidBehar

        What is an MRA asshole? Sounds like a personal insult.

        Nothing you say changes the reality of the privileges of marriages as existing solely to promote patriarchal family formation. Your examples are rare and prove the rule by their rarity. Homosexuals themselves have avoided this idiotic lawyer trap, and almost none are getting married, compared to their number in the population.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          You make unsupported claims about the purpose of marriage. Family is family. and two married men or two married women are family, whether they have children or not.

          Then you get in to your whole “Marriage is a bad deal for men” spiel, which is classic MRA assholitry.

        • DavidBehar

          Jack, did not you not reveal you grew up a fatherless bastard? Homosexual marriage is less stable than alcoholic marriage. Why on earth do you support inflicting the suffering you know more than anyone here on other children?

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          No. I didn’t. I guess they didn’t teach you to read in school.

          Do you have stats for your claim?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOUR KIND are losing, and you’re going to *continue* to lose, be you some authoritarian deplorable or an Ivan from the IRA.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Okay, I’m not calling Poe any more…I’m calling Ivan, sh*t-talking to try to foment disunity.

        • BertB

          How about just plain troll?

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          My childless, 50 year, heterosexual marriage disagrees with you. Not that you care. Always being right seems to be really important to you. Too bad so much of what you think you know, is just wrong.

        • gimpi1

          Childless, 20 year marriage here. It’s a second marriage for my husband, too. I was over 40 when we married, had had my tubes tied, and hadn’t been a virgin for 20 years. I’m just an inveterate rule-breaker!

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Don’t you just love it when other people tell you how you are not doing things the right way,…IOW, their way?

        • BertB

          That’s what the followers of organized religions do. It’s called self-righteousness.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        OOOooo, I missed the MRA angle.

        Think DB is an in cel, too?

      • gimpi1

        Apparently, Sandwichmaker, David is also a racist. Note all the references to white women not having enough children.

        He appears to dislike, well, pretty much everyone and everything. Not an attractive package, is it?

    • Otto

      The family law business was moribund. They, not homosexuals, concocted this scheme.

      This is really funny, I do contract work for family lawyers and they were doing just fine with child custody and divorce cases…never once heard one of them say they needed gay marriage to stay afloat.

      Oberfell repealed the Marriage Protection Act, in violation of that section of the constitution.

      The law was repealed because it was ruled that the Marriage Protection Act violated the constitution. You need to re-take basic high school civics. You have no clue what you are talking about.

      • DavidBehar

        Baseless ipse dixits by a lawyer dependent person. You have zero credibility. I should not even be talking to you. You are a denier.

        Lawyer unemployment was twice that of high school dropouts. They were desperate.

        Read the plain language of Article I Section 1. The repeal of a law is lawmaking.

        • BertB

          They did not “repeal” the law. They struck it down because they found it to be unconstitutional. You may differ with their opinion…I differ with lots of their opinions, like the Citizens United decision which is turning our country into an oligarchy…or rather more of one that it was. But they did not “make law”

        • DavidBehar

          is repeal of a law lawmaking? If it is, the Supreme Court may not do it.

        • BertB

          I’m sorry, I guess you did not understand what I said. Please go back and re-read it.

        • DavidBehar

          What is the difference between striking down Marriage Protection Act and repealing it?

        • BertB

          A big difference. When the Court decides a law is in violation of the Constitution, it declares it null and void. The law is still there, but any attempts to enforce it will be reversed by the judicial system. When a law repealed, it is gone.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But you’re claiming there was a law?

          Where?

          What law?

          Quote me THE EXACT LAW in the Federal lawbooks.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Dialoging with DavidBehar is kinda like trying to push a wet noodle through a soda straw, huh?

          I remember 50 years ago when I was as sure about things as he is. Hopefully, he’ll grow out of it.

        • Otto

          Read the plain language of Article I Section 1. The repeal of a law is lawmaking.

          It was ruled unconstitutional…ruling it unconstitutional does not repeal it. You are a special one aren’t you…lol

        • DavidBehar

          Homosexuals got married against a law because it was repealed, along with dozens of the laws in the states. Whzt is the difference between striking down and repealing? Those are synonymous.

        • Otto

          Reading comprehension is not your thing is it. Those laws are still on the books, they just are not enforceable because they are not constitutional. And determining what is, and what is not constitutional is literally the job of the Supreme Court…which you would know if you had paid more attention in High School.

        • DavidBehar

          Hi, Otto. You are denying the ordinary definition of English words.

        • Otto

          You are under the delusion that the legislature can literally make any law they want and it cannot be challenged, and you are thereby demonstrating you do not have even a basic understanding of how our gov’t is organized.

        • DavidBehar

          If you want judicial review by unelected Ivy America haters on the Supreme Court, enact an amendment. Congress answers to the voter for any bad laws.

        • Otto

          You are too ignorant of the Constitution to even discuss this matter reasonably.

          Look up the Bill of Rights and learn how they are applied and how the legislature cannot abridge those rights by making laws…and how it is the Supreme Courts job to determine when such laws do so, and to strike them down as unconstitutional. Then come back and talk about this with a modicum of intelligence.

        • DavidBehar

          There is no judicial review in the constitution.

        • Otto

          Let me guess…you are a flat Earth-er

        • DavidBehar

          Your personal insults make you sound frustrated and stupid.

        • Otto

          You are a breathing insult

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Your pathetic bald assertions demonstrate that you’re frustrated and incompetent.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          So?

          Judicial review is the power of a court to decide whether a law or decision by the government is constitutional. This power was established in the United States in the Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison.

          Marbury v. Madison was a legal case in which, on February 24, 1803, the U.S. Supreme Court first declared an act of Congress unconstitutional, thus establishing the doctrine of judicial review. The court’s opinion, written by Chief Justice John Marshall, is considered one of the foundations of U.S. constitutional law.

          The three principles of judicial review are as follows: The Constitution is the supreme law of the country. The Supreme Court has the ultimate authority in ruling on constitutional matters. The judiciary must rule against any law that conflicts with the Constitution.

        • DavidBehar

          That case is replete with so many illegalities as to be void. It lay dormant for 50 years. Its first application was, of course, the Dred Scot case. Your cited decision set off the Civil War.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          You say that like it was a bad thing. However, upon retrospect in today’s climate, perhaps we should have let the South permanently secede as it would have made an interesting Draconian parallel to a more advanced perspective.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So your opinion is that freedom from slavery for an easily identified segment of the population is NOT worth fighting a war to achieve?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nor is there a Social Security Administration, a National Institute of Health, nor many other good things that progressive government has brought.

        • DavidBehar

          Hi, Hairy. Had you placed the payments of you and of your employer in an Index Fund, with no decision making allowed, your SSA payments would be triple those of today. Government stinks.

          Had the $billions wasted on the NIH and its lazy, worthless scientists, Ivy trained idiots, health care would be 100 years ahead.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If it weren’t for the SEC, which ALSO isn’t in the Constitution, that would be unlikely to be so.

          And I notice you also decided to change the subject rather than admit that there are good government programs not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.

          That’s really weak, changing the subject rather than admitting being wrong.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’d be better off to go back and tell off John Marshall, the original Supreme Court justice who took up judicial review, as the Constitution PROVIDES for.

          YOUR KIND sound like Andrew Jackson lovers, who will flout the law if it suits their preferences.

        • DavidBehar

          That decision violated multiple rules of that day. It was terrible, and led to the Civil War. It is not valid except by acceptance of lies, and by denial of the word “all”.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Repealing slavery, repealing Prohibition, and granting women and black people their deserved rights as adult humans ALSO ‘violated’ the rules of the day.

          Face it, YOUR KIND don’t have the unearned and unDESERVED privilege to lord your sneering incompetence over those more capable than yourselves merely because you were born with a certain set of facial features and a melanin deficiency any more.

        • Congress answers to the voter for any bad laws.

          Yeah, that’s a shame, isn’t it? But don’t worry. The GOP will gerrymander to get around that liberal idea of “fairness” soon enough.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Every accusation from you is a *confession*, isn’t it, DB?

          Unconstitutional state laws are unenforceable, regardless of how benighted the authoritarians who try to ram them through.

        • Greg G.

          You are denying the ordinary definition of English words.

          No, he isn’t. “Struck down” refers to what the Judicial branch does when it finds a law to be unconstitutional. “Repeal” is what the Congressional branch does to remove a law. You can ignore a law that is declared unconstitutional but you cannot ignore a law that is repealed because it is no longer in existence.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Maybe his inability to grasp that exact definitions of words are important in the law (not just “the ordinary definition of English words”) is why he hates lawyers so much.

        • Pofarmer

          Teachermom.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You keep *claiming* that, but refusing to specify which exact law and HOW it was ‘broken’.

          Try again.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

          And YOUR KIND’s pouting, sulking, yelling, and fouling yourselves is NOT going to change that.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        “Na zis…invaded Pearl Harbor?”

        “Forget it…he’s on a roll…”

    • Oberfell repealed the Marriage Protection Act, in violation of that section of the constitution.

      What section of the Constitution? The Marriage Protection Act was never a law. It was a bill that attempted to support the Defense of Marriage Act (which was a law but not part of the Constitution). DoMA was then dismissed by Obergefell.

      • DavidBehar

        Article I Section 1 gives “all” lawmaking power to Congress. All judicial review, all executive regulation is insurrection against that Section. The Justices should all be impeached for their insurrection against our constitution.

        The reason the sky has not fallen is that homosexuals are not stupid. They are not falling for your lawyer trap. Around the world, only the smallest fraction of homosexuals have been stupid enough to get married. Those that have paid a heavy price for their idiocy. Gold digging parasites have gotten the crumbs. They learned they had to pay the fees of the lawyer of the parasitic spouse. You failed to mention this idea was a lawyer scheme to reach the assets of productive homosexuals. The latter are far richer than hets. Bob, you don’t seem to know shit.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So then tRump isn’t able to roll back ObamaCare, can’t reallocate money for a border wall, can’t set up special rules for immigrants entering the country, can’t grant pardons? tRump has done ALL THAT and more via executive regulation.

          And you’re even MORE of an i dio t because the US Federal government was *set up* with 3 independent branches, all to check each others’ power.

          YOUR KIND of authoritarian can’t understand that, in your greed to arrogate all power to yourselves out of fear of the retaliation you imagine you’ll receive for the purposeful degradation you’ve imposed on your self-imposed ‘enemies’ and ‘inferiors’.

          We don’t want anything but for you to live in equality with the rest of us, as you’ve demonstrated YOUR KIND are *not* to be trusted with power.

        • DavidBehar

          Executive regs by Trump violate that Section. You can read a 700 page book reviewing why. It won a legal writing prize.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I call monkeyshines.

          IF you could *cite* the book, and it wasn’t immediately disdained by all reputable Constitutional scholars, you’d have done so.

          That is what is meant by an Argument from Authority fallacy: claiming authority while not demonstrating the validity of your assertion.

        • DavidBehar

          Ok. See Is Administrative Law Unlawful? It won the Hayek Book Prize. Go to Amazon to get it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you’re too lazy to even provide a link, why should I exert myself to look?

          And anything ‘earning’ a ‘Hayek Book Prize’ is almost *guaranteed* to advocate authoritarian conservative abuse.

        • Michael Neville

          In other words it’s a book written by a libertarian and liked by other libertarians. When libertarianism becomes even slightly respectable then you might have an argument. But now libertarian whining about the Constitution is just that, ineffective whining.

          Come back when you’ve got real evidence instead of vague hand waving at a “700 page book” which won a prize named after a right wing economist. You haven’t even given the name and author of your precious “700 page book”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s because it’s funny-hilarious.

          Hamburger.

          Like the contents of the book…a loada mince.

        • Ignorant Amos
    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      YOUR KIND were able to peddle that hateful drivel for generations.

      By trying to force the rest of us GOOD people to live by your hateful, fearful lies, you overplayed your hand, and are now losing everywhere.

      The evidence is that you’re spitting venom in private commercial spaces while wh inin g about 1st Amendment ‘violations’, showing that you either don’t understand the 1st Amendment or are martyrbating about how ‘oppressed’ you are now that your unearned, unDESERVED privilege is finally being taken away.

      • DavidBehar

        Facebook is now a utility. It should not be allowed to suppress conservatives speech. Facebook should be seized in civil forfeiture for the billions of crimes on its platform. The Trump DOJ should do so immediately.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Facebook is STILL a private company.

          YOUR KIND, by joining forces with business authoritarian conservatives, allowed it to gain so much power without being broken up by progressives for anti-trust reasons.

          Hoist by your own petard, you wa nke r…and you’re also a wh inin g weakling, as evidenced by you frittering your time away here since you recognize your imp oten ce to change the real world to reduce freedom for those you fearfully abhor.

        • DavidBehar

          Anti trust is lawyer employment for decades. Civil forfeiture takes minutes. The FBI arrests Zuckerberg, changes the locks on corporate offices. Auction it off like the Ferrari of a drug dealer. They took Chapo’s $12 billion. They can use that to build a wall. Iam not discussing real world legal activity here. Iam here to relax.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You seem to hate lawyers…but your incompetence is NOT my problem, any more than your apparent inability to land a mate and your anguish concerning that.

          Try improving yourself rather than slinging mud (with pitifully weak ‘arms’) at those who HAVE bettered themselves.

          And it’s LAWYERS who would be making the antitrust case…*progressive* lawyers, who YOUR KIND hate most especially because they make sure that *everybody* has rights, which disallows your attempts at disdain and abuse.

    • Greg G.

      Almost no homosexuals are getting married, even in countries with decades old legalization.

      From https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/24/same-sex-marriage/

      Same-sex marriages are on the rise. Surveys conducted by Gallup in 2017 find that about one-in-ten LGBT Americans (10.2%) are married to a same-sex partner, up from the months before the high court decision (7.9%). As a result, a majority (61%) of same-sex cohabiting couples were married as of 2017, up from 38% before the ruling.

      As I said elsewhere in this comment section, gay marriage became an issue when a certain party made it an issue to get bigots to go to the polls to vote for their candidates to keep gay marriage from happening. Nobody had actually been arguing for gay marriage before that. But when the religious right said gay people couldn’t get married, it triggered the movement when people decided they didn’t want anybody telling them what they couldn’t do.

      It was fake news from the Republicans that was responsible for stirring up gay marriage in this country. Think about that the next time they yank your chain to manipulate you with hate.

      • DavidBehar

        Greg. Thanks for the reference. Of those rare people getting married, what is the divorce rate?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you’re so interested, DB, why not go look it up for yourself?

          Lazy authoritarian prole.

        • DavidBehar

          Personal insult. I already know the answer, and have looked it up.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So?

          Why not feed you back the diarrhea you peddle?

          The Paradox of Tolerance explains *very* well why we need not feel under any compunction to treat YOUR KIND gently…so don’t count on it.

          Treatment won’t be brutal, simply dismissive of your invalid demands upon other peoples’ personal lives.

        • Otto

          You go around insulting people here and then complain when you are insulted…? My aren’t you the special one…

        • Greg G.

          Divorce of same-sex couples – Wikipedia
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_of_same-sex_couples

          A study tracking married couples over a 10 year span found lesbian marriages were most likely to end in divorce. Of the 580 lesbian couples who were married in 2005, 30% were divorced ten years later compared to 18% for heterosexual couples and 15% for gay male couples.

          DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SAME-SEX DIVORCE AND STRAIGHT DIVORCE, BY THE NUMBERS
          https://www.brownlawoffices.com/blog/statistics/

          Straight Versus Same-Sex Divorce Rates

          Reported divorce rates among straight couples vary considerably from one source to the next. According to a CBS survey, 36.3 percent of all couples—both gay and straight—eventually divorce. A Williams Institute survey suggests that two percent of straight couples divorce each year, compared to just one percent of same-sex couples.

          Gay Versus Lesbian Divorce Rates

          Divorce rates can vary greatly not only between straight and same-sex couples, but also between gay and lesbian spouses. Results from multiple studies indicate that lesbian couples are more likely to split than their gay counterparts. For example, a Statistics Netherland study examining same-sex relationships since 2001 concluded that while more lesbian marriages were registered, 30 percent ended in divorce within ten years. Conversely, only 15 percent of gay couples divorced after a decade.

          LGBT divorce statistics are bound to shift as time goes on and same-sex couples deal with many of the circumstances (finances, infidelity, and so on) that prompt divorce among straight spouses. In general, however, the outlook is promising for same-sex partners who exercise their recently established right to marriage. What’s more, those who pursue divorce can now obtain legal protections previously not available to LGBT couples.

          Your contention that “Those that did came to regret it, as they lost everything to the lawyers in a very high rate of divorce” is not supported by the facts.

      • Pofarmer

        In Missouri we had civil unions for teh gays before folks started making an issue of the whole thing.

        • gimpi1

          Those state-only civil unions didn’t provide for right-of-survivorship for pensions, assure wills would be honored across state lines, prevent expensive challenges to wills and often were disregarded by medical staff in visitation. Only federal recognition of same-sex marriage ended these problems.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          And of course Christians whined and stamped their feet about even granting those, until actual marriage started gaining traction and they went back and started asking to roll those back and replace them with civil unions….

      • Andy Robinson

        I love the ascription of motives of which you have no knowledge: “a certain party made it an issue to get bigots to go to the polls.”

        Those who support the oxymoron of “gay marriage” have pure motives based on love and good, collectivist principles–but those who oppose “gay marriage” are either bigots or opportunists who hope to get the bigots to vote for them.

        Perhaps you should refresh yourself on the meaning of “bigot,” which is “a person intolerant toward those with different opinions,” then look in the mirror, and recognize you are in a pot-kettle-black situation.

        • Greg G.

          I love the ascription of motives of which you have no knowledge: “a certain party made it an issue to get bigots to go to the polls.”

          They are still doing it. Trump just told four congresswomen to go back to their country and three of them were born here. This is part of his campaign. It is his way of getting “fine people” out to vote.

          Perhaps you should refresh yourself on the meaning of “bigot,” which is “a person intolerant toward those with different opinions,” then look in the mirror, and recognize you are in a pot-kettle-black situation.

          There is a huge difference between being intolerant of a person and being intolerant of their ideas. There are people who cannot distinguish between themselves and whatever ideas they may hold may not be able to understand.

        • Andy Robinson

          Oh, that’s a bit of a misrepresentation, isn’t it? That’s not what Trump tweeted, nor is it even an implication. I am descended of Levantine Arab immigrants, most of whom are Democrats, and they’re with Trump on this issue. Indeed, far more “fine people” who actually are fine people are tired of the neo-Marxian rhetoric of “the squad” than you credit.

          And if 2016 is any indication, far more than the opinion polls credit.

          America is NOT for everyone. America is for the people who want to assimilate with the [classical] liberal values of the US constitution, which are sacrosanct individual liberties, strictly circumscribed government authority, and a lightly regulated–not “planned” or “organized” economy. We have already deviated far from those values in the name of a new “liberalism” that is actually leftist/collectivist, starting in 1934, accelerating in 1964, and, Insh’Allah, ending in 2020.

          One will never hear anyone telling him to go back to his country as long as his focus is to be an American, rather than clinging to a false victimization narrative or trying to impose his sexual mores or his ancestral racial or ethnic sensibilities on everyone else.

          America is a melting pot, not a salad bowl.

        • Andy Robinson

          PS – Don’t mistake my tone. This banter is fun for me. I appreciate your willingness to engage.

        • Greg G.

          I understand. That’s what we are all here for.

          I have defended you a couple of times. I don’t know what the he‌ll got into me.

    • Andy Robinson

      D00d, while I agree with some of your basic points, that rhetoric is not going to change any minds. You read like Marx, and that should bother you.

  • BeamMeUp

    The Defending Marriage site is https://defendingmarriage.com/. The postings under Breaking News and Opinion are over 2 years old. Looks like they’ve quit updating the site.

    The “National Organization for Marriage” used to have a “March for Marriage” every year for a while. Before the Obergefell decision, it drew a few thousand. In 2016 though, a year after the decision, it drew barely 250. In 2017, less than 50 showed up.

    • Rudy R

      I’m thinking as soon as the Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, we’ll see an insurgence for overthrowing Obergefell.

  • DavidBehar

    I cannot believe how stupid the people in this group are. Stop your personal insults. All personal remarks are fallacies of irrelevance, you morons. All of you were obviously educated in government owned schools. You do not know shit. That is obvious about the author of the article, too.

    I am going to help you. The sole purpose of life is… reproduction. Our Creator, DNA, does not care if you are a cockroach or a dinosaur. Its purpose is to reproduce. Marriage has a set of legal privileges to promote and immunize family formation, for the purpose of reproduction. You are in denial, as are all lawyers supporting homosexual bullying and imposition on Christians.

    A guy with MR, cerebral palsy, in a wheel chair, who needs total care, but likes girls and flirts with them vs a homosexual billionaire who wrote the novel of the century, and is a much loved celebrity, much loved by all people, including heterosexuals. Who is more impaired? Who is a biological dead end, and worthless to DNA, our real and sole, true Creator? No amount of denial on your part will change what is a friendship into a real marriage. No amount of your denial will change the reality of who is more crippled between those two characters.

    • eric

      So…to start off, this is one giant paean to the naturalistic fallacy. Look it up.

      Marriage has a set of legal privileges to promote and immunize family formation, for the purpose of reproduction

      Uh, nope. The state promotes marriage to get people to settle down and happily work. That’s why there’s a huge break for home ownership, which has nothing at all to do with having kids (or even getting married); because homeowners are personally invested in making their community better. Yes, the state likes it when people raise little future workers to contribute to the state too. But that isn’t it’s main priority, because the state knows something you’ve clearly forgotten; you don’t need to incentivize people to fuck. They’ll do that without any incentive whatsoever.

      Who is more impaired? Who is a biological dead end, and worthless to DNA

      Given that you’ve elevated DNA reproduction to such a high moral status, perhaps you can tell me which of these two individuals reproduces more of their DNA: the straight guy who successfully helps raise one kid to adulthood, or the gay guy who successfully helps raise 3 nieces/nephews to adulthood.

    • Damien Priestly

      Poe’s law…Is this serious? You are supposed to mark sarcasm to be clear !!

      Also the “Laughing in Disbelief” Patheos blog may be more appropriate for you.

      • DavidBehar

        More stupid insults. Fallacy of irrelevance, you moron.

        • Damien Priestly

          Still say you are a Poe. Actually a pretty lame one.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Actually, fairly witty observations.

          YOUR KIND don’t do well when mocked, now do you?

          (Hint: Get used to it…)

      • C_Alan_Nault

        I have said for years that the internet needs a font that is recognized as and reserved for sarcasm.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Yep.

    • BertB

      Oh, thanks for helping me understand that we need to continue to overpopulate the planet. Has it occurred to you that gay marriage does not contribute to this? Do you know about the fruit flies in the bell jar?
      The planet you live on is the same one I live on, and you are a threat to my survival…and the survival of my children and theirs.

    • you morons.

      Huh? You’re telling us to stop personal insults?

      • DavidBehar

        When I called you names, were you persuaded of anything? It does not work in rhetoric. It causes resistance and pushback. I suggest you morons stop your personal insults and attacks.

        • stop your personal insults and attacks.

          Show us how it’s done. Stop calling us morons.

          Moron.

        • BertB

          I suggest you morons stop your personal insults and attacks.

          This is too good. This is a classic.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So you’re whi ning about being hit BACK first?

          That’s almost impressively hateful AND oblivious…did you have to work to attain that?

        • Re: “I suggest you morons stop your personal insults and attacks.” 

          So, you’re doubling down on a tactic you admit doesn’t work? Really!? 

          Are we supposed to conclude you’re sane, or something? Hmm? More like, the opposite … ! 

        • Ignorant Amos

          Just ta let ya know, DB has been sent to internet jail by the moderator.

        • Good to know! Gracias. 

        • Greg G.

          DB was actually banned at his own request.

    • Phil Rimmer

      This poe is almost perfect.

      biological dead end

      is excellent. Gay folk are thriving. How come they aren’t self extinguishing? Great catch.

      The barely suppressed fantasy

      imposition on Christians

      They wish! amirite?

      And

      All personal remarks are fallacies of irrelevance, you morons.

      near genius. You seem to be checking off all of them, but, you do need to work a little harder on juxtaposing “family formation” with an attack say on gay adoption and surrogacy. Also its best not to give away the wheelchair use so early.

      • DavidBehar

        Phil. No idea what uou are saying. Can you rewrite your comment on a simple declarative sentence with small words. I think upu are trying to onsult me, in your comment. The reply would be the same, fallacy of Irrelevance. O

        • Phil Rimmer

          Sorry. Schtumm!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Looked it up…LOL.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Your incompetence is NOT our problem here.

          Try bettering yourself rather than tearing others down…the world will benefit, and YOU will, likely, be personally happier.

          Or go away…no skin off my nose either way.

    • Lark62

      I cannot believe how stupid the people in this group are. Stop your personal insults.

      Thanks. This alone will keep me chuckling all day.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Hint, DB: When you seem to think you’re surrounded by as shol es…YOU’RE THE AS SHOL E!!!!

      • DavidBehar

        More idiotic personal insults.

    • Thanks4AllTheFish

      Hysterical! You’ve got to either be from the Bible Belt or a poe. I’m hoping for the latter.

      Thanks Obama.

      • DavidBehar

        What is a poe? You are now using personal insults no one knows.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “What is a poe? You are now using personal insults no one knows.”

          I’m so sorry. What with your grasp of all things intellectual, and being an accomplished divisive internet warrior, I would have thought you had heard of Poe’s Law. Most of us here, have.

          Poe’s Law

          “Similar to Murphy’s Law, Poe’s Law concerns internet debates, particularly regarding religion or politics.

          “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.”

          In other words, No matter how bizzare, outrageous, or just plain idiotic a parody of a Fundamentalist may seem, there will always be someone who cannot tell that it is a parody, having seen similar REAL ideas from real religious/political Fundamentalists.

          The following is an actual Internet post to Biblically defend a flat Earth:

          “All I was saying was that either the earth is flat, and the bible is correct, or the earth is round, and the bible is incorect, (sic) i’m going to study the issue more and deside (sic) for myself which route I want to take. Either Atheist evolutionist, who agrees with all of mainstream sciences, or flat earth litteral (sic) bible believer.
          I’m leaning toward being an atheist, because if I can’t believe the bible to be completly (sic) litteraly (sic) true, then I can’t believe Jesus when he speaks about heaven, etc..
          That would make the moon landing a fake, and pretty much all of modern science false…”

          Now as for calling you a Bible Belter or a poe and you considering that as an insult, I’m going to have to plead guilty. Hopefully, your psyche is strong enough to weather such a savage onslaught.

    • Max Doubt

      “I cannot believe how stupid the people in this group are. Stop your personal insults. All personal remarks are fallacies of irrelevance, you morons.”

      You win a merit badge…

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9cc5bddda2075cd5c43b26d4e35668d60d160e5dbcb6940948b8422966b3cdb9.gif

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        Hypocritical tone troll.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Tone DEAF Tone Troll…

      • DavidBehar

        What is a tone troll? You are all just vicious deniers.

    • Max Doubt

      “I cannot believe how stupid the people in this group are. Stop your personal insults. All personal remarks are fallacies of irrelevance, you morons. All of you were obviously educated in government owned schools. You do not know shit. That is obvious about the author of the article, too.”

      Stop the personal insults? You mean like describing you as stupid or a moron?

      “I am going to help you. The sole purpose of life is… reproduction. Our Creator, DNA, does not care if you are a cockroach or a dinosaur. Its purpose is to reproduce.”

      Sorry to hear that the purpose of your life is so confined and that you have so little self worth. Let us know what community you’re in or near, and I’m pretty sure many of us will work with you to find qualified mental health professionals who can help you with that problem.

      “Marriage has a set of legal privileges to promote and immunize family formation, for the purpose of reproduction.”

      On that point you are simply incorrect.

      “You are in denial, as are all lawyers supporting homosexual bullying and imposition on Christians.”

      The only imposition on Christians that I see is the tantrums they’re throwing because other people are being legally protected from the Christians’ bigotry. Have any other examples?

      “A guy with MR, cerebral palsy, in a wheel chair, who needs total care, but likes girls and flirts with them vs a homosexual billionaire who wrote the novel of the century, and is a much loved celebrity, much loved by all people, including heterosexuals. Who is more impaired?”

      Who is more impaired? That’s easy: The bigot who believes there should be a fundamental difference between the rights given to a wheelchair bound heterosexual and a homosexual billionaire.

      “Who is a biological dead end, and worthless to DNA, our real and sole, true Creator?”

      When you talk of entities as if they’re real, it’s your responsibility to objectively demonstrate that they are. Since you apparently can’t demonstrate those god things exist outside your imagination, your comments about them will be summarily dismissed here.

      “No amount of denial on your part will change what is a friendship into a real marriage.”

      Any couple who has filed the proper paperwork with their county clerk or other appropriate agency of the state is in a real marriage. Really. Truly. And no amount of foot stomping denial on your part will change that. If it makes you feel bad that pairs of consenting adults are getting married without your consent, consider discussing those feelings with a professional mental health counselor.

      “No amount of your denial will change the reality of who is more crippled between those two characters.”

      The crippling I’m seeing here is rooted in your own bigotry. The problem with same sex marriage exists only in the imaginations of anti-LGBTQ bigots. You look like a self righteous prick when you suggest other people should change their lives to accommodate your mental health issues. Again, we’re here to help. Let us know what city you’re near and we’ll get you connected with organizations that can direct you to some qualified counseling.

      • DavidBehar

        Those are just personal insults.

        Here is a screening test for deniers. Was 9/11 a CIA/Mossad operation? Were the outbuildings destroyed by sequenced explosives as in a scheduled demolition?

        Answer the questions, denier.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Are those goalposts you just shifted powered by V-8’s?

          Take Max Doubt’s wonderful suggestions and get some help. You’ll thank us later when we can all get together for milk and cookies.

        • BertB

          Ah, you are a conspiracy theorist too. Figures. I suppose you also think that that the Apollo moon landing was a NASA hoax, and that our evil government is trying to kill us all with chemtrails and the HAARP antenna array.

    • Polytropos

      If the only meaning you can find in life is to replicate your genetic material, you have a very limited existence.

      • DavidBehar

        I told Otto, this. DNA, Our Creator, is saying reproduction is the sole purpose of life.
        I am a utilitarian. I believe, happiness is the sole purpose of life. DNA has sent you morons to me, to make my life miserable.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          YOUR KIND still lose.

          Until you can *demonstrate* this so-called ‘god’ of yours, it’s all martyrbation to a Walter Mitty-ese glory fantasy.

        • DavidBehar

          You want me to review the evidence that DNA is the material of heredity, and of evolution?

          You can start here.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA

        • Ignorant Amos

          Demonstrating that a little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing.

        • Polytropos

          Yes, you sure seem like a happy, fun loving type. DNA isn’t forcing you to hang around here.

    • Otto

      The sole purpose of life is… reproduction.

      You don’t get to tell me what my sole purpose in life is.

      • DavidBehar

        Hi, Otto. I did not say that. Your DNA said that.

        I am a utilitarian. I think the sole purpose of life is happiness. DNA jut had other ideas. It sent you nasty people to make my life miserable.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          DB, you are so pathetically self-involved and amoral that you’re an object lesson in how NOT to be a useful, compassionate member of society.

        • DavidBehar

          Talk to your DNA, not me. It is a molecule, and does not hear you, nor care about your self deluding aspirations.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Correct, which is why DNA makes no claims as to the purpose of anyone’s life.

          Isn’t it great when you can point out the problems in your own argument?

        • Otto

          No my DNA did not say that

      • Ignorant Amos

        I think someone needs to read “The Selfish Gene”, don’t you?

    • Ignorant Amos

      When dealing with an imbecile that knows nothing and refuses to learn something, sometimes, ridicule, mockery, and name-calling is the only out.

    • Re: “Stop your personal insults. All personal remarks are fallacies of irrelevance, you morons.” 

      Pot, kettle, black. Hypocrite much? 

  • DavidBehar

    Cross Examined is censoring my replies to the vicious personal attack by the leftists in this group.

    • Damien Priestly

      Snowflake !!

      • DavidBehar

        Subhuman, leftist, denier scum.

        • Denier of what?

        • DavidBehar

          Bob, I have several messages outlining denial. To review, homosexuals have friendships. Their marriages will never be real. Homosexuals are more disabled than a heterosexual person with MR, CP, but who likes girls, as far as the sole purpose of life. Homosexual marriage is a family lawyer scheme, not a homosexual scheme. You did not know that, and fell for it. Homosexuals have rejected marriage, being too smart to fall for that lawyer trap. It is a marginal and ineffective attack on the family, and on religion. It failed. You missed those points in your 4 year review.

        • Their marriages will never be real.

          They are now.

          Homosexual marriage is a family lawyer scheme, not a homosexual scheme.

          No idea what this means. You don’t like lawyers? Please don’t explain it to me.

          I’ve got an idea: let’s send you to charm school. I have no idea what philosophy you’re supposed to be espousing, but let’s just get you less hateful for starters. Add thoughtful comments or questions to the conversation. If that doesn’t work for you, you will be banned.

        • Otto

          No idea what this means.

          He thinks family court lawyers are behind the gay marriage push because they need the work….too many lawyers are unemployed and gay marriage will artificially produce extra work for them and require homosexuals to go through the courts for their relationships.

          ….yes really

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          But he’s also said only a tiny fraction of homosexuals get married, so I don’t know how that’s supposed to create a huge windfall of work for these lawyers….

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Schrodinger’s Opponent: Simultaneously overwhelming and diabolically clever while still only a microscopic fraction of society that DB thinks HIS KIND should be allowed to persecute.

        • Perhaps DB marches to the sound of a special drummer than only he can hear.

        • Otto

          I can only hope he is marched right out.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Alban Berg’s drummer…arythmic and atonal…

        • BertB

          Oh please! Don’t insult Berg by conflating him with this guy! He wrote a beautiful violin concerto subtitled “in memory of an angel,” something like that. A tribute to a young girl who died tragically.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I was thinking of his opera ‘Wozzeck’, the only piece of classical music that ever put me to sleep during the day from boredom.

        • DavidBehar

          More insulting name calling, like the KGB.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower
        • DavidBehar

          Otto. You are correct. It is already happening with a rate of divorce double that of hets. Rich homosexuals deserve what happens to them, given their insensitive assault on the American family.

        • Otto

          Yes I am correct you are a delusional idiot.

        • BertB

          Add thoughtful comments or questions to the conversation. If that doesn’t work for you, you will be banned.

          I hope not. Some people here have outraged me but this guy is amusing. He is a caricature. Don’t let him upset you. Just listen to him and laugh. Especially when he insults us and insists that we stop insulting him. He could pretending to be a nutcase..to show how crazy they are.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You detect Eau de Poe??

        • BertB

          Indeed. A sock puppet. If not, I feel sorry for him. It may be time to block him, though. He is taking up too much of our time with his nonsense.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Much like my two kitties, I enjoy batting around things and watching others do the same.

        • DavidBehar

          Those are all insults. The intellectual level of the regulars here is elementary school.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          As usual, every one of your accusations is a confession.

          Why waste our time, and your own?

        • BertB

          He won’t any more. He has been banned.

        • DavidBehar

          Go ahead ban me.

        • Max Doubt

          “Go ahead ban me.”

          I’ll go out on a limb and make a prediction here… Your request will be honored.

        • BertB

          I’m not sure. Jonathan is very tolerant of trolls. Figures we are big boys and girls and ought to be just able to ignore them. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be happening here. I think he really WANTS to be banned, so he can polish his martyrdom medal.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Probably a good thing Jonathan doesn’t hold the reins of power here then, a suppose. }8O)~

        • BertB

          When I wrote that four days ago, I was thinking I was on a different Patheos blog, A Tippling Philosopher, run by Jonathan Pearce. Sorry.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sorry.

          No need.

          When I wrote that, I was thinking I was on a different Patheos blog, A Tippling Philosopher, run by Jonathan Pearce.

          Anno that friend, I read in another comment that that’s where ya mostly hang out. A was just being a tad facetious…hence the “smilie” at the end.

        • BertB

          Ah, that was a smilie. It’s the weirdest one I have ever seen. :>)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Look again…tilt the head to the left…see the horns and goatee beard of devilment?

          https://image.shutterstock.com/image-vector/devils-face-260nw-324279095.jpg

        • BertB

          I like that one better!

        • Greg G.

          When the dude asks to be banned, a moderator shouldn’t hesitate.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Awwww…oh, and clean up with a paper towel from your martyrbation, you useless oxygen thief.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re allowed to believe that, misguided and smallminded as the idea is.

          However, RIGHTS are not negotiable, and YOUR KIND have lost a lot, and are rapidly losing the rest, of your unearned, unDESERVED privilege to affect others lives with hateful insertions of your wicked beliefs into law.

          Which, of course, is why you invade spaces like this to spew your venom…it’s one of the only ways YOUR KIND has left to attempt to inflict pain, even if it’s only emotional pain.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          And WHY should we give YOUR KIND of hateful braindead a forum or even the time of day?

          Again, look up The Paradox of Tolerance.

    • Jack the Sandwichmaker

      It is likely Patheos, not Cross Examined specifically. There’s a somewhat excessive filter site-wide that’s been irritating the locals lately.

      • DavidBehar

        Thank you, Jack. I reciprocate the feeling. I support the purge of all leftists from all responsible policy positions, and from all institution. The government should defund all schools that allow the slightest leftist propaganda. Trump should have fired the entire FBI, and replaced them all by police from patriotic areas of the nation. Trump is a weak leader who has not returned the lawfare against him. Pelosi’s net worth went from $80 million to $140 million after her election as Speaker. Yes, her husband is a talented businessman. He was just as talented in 2018 as in 2019. She should have been arrested and explained the difference from federal prison.

        • What the hell are you? I’m trying to find a bin to put you in so that I can interpret your comments. So far, Deranged is the best I’ve got.

          Maybe just a few sentences about where you’re coming from.

        • Otto

          About a mile right of Alex Jones both in politics and conspiracies.

        • His shit is all over the place. I can’t get anything in focus. He hates a lot of stuff–that’s about as far as I’ve gotten.

          But yeah–politically far right is part of it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          NAUTICAL mile, at least…

          I’d be tempted to measure it in light-seconds, though.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          You should measure in Kilometers like a good leftist globalist.

        • DavidBehar

          Are you two together?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why?

          Do you want to cut in or something?

          It *might* help to just lurk and listen for a while before bursting in with comments that are obviously intended to be rude and crass.

        • DavidBehar

          Hi, Bob. I am banned from Facebook for 30 days. I have time to talk to the people here. I asked who killed more people, Hitler/Mao/Stalin or the homosexual activists who criminalized partner tracing by doctors, thus killing tens of millions of people by spreading AIDS for their sexual selfishness. After review, it was found that question did not violate Community Standards. Yet, my account was not restored. I may get banned permanently in the near future. I will then have a lot more time for this group.

          When you use the word, deranged, that is from the KGB Handbook, you must have found in the garbage. They called dissenters from their leftist views, deranged. Leftist only have personal attack. That includes the violence advocated by Marx. He acknowledged, Communism was not natural, and would require violence to impose on the population.

        • I will then have a lot more time for this group.

          My cup sloppeth over.

          When you use the word, deranged, that is from the KGB Handbook,

          Yeah, now that you mention it, I see that “deranged” was never used in English before being used in the KGB Handbook. Who knew?

        • Phil

          I am a bit confused. Do people in the US now use the word ‘leftist’ to mean common sense, rational thinking etc. Is it a left brain thing?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nahhh, the authoritarian followers use it as a shibboleth for ‘bad’, along with ‘socialist’, ‘liberal’, ‘cooperation’, and a few other good concepts they’re trying to NewSpeak into having bad connotations.

        • DavidBehar

          Bob, your rhetoric stinks. Your article is just silly.

        • Whew! That was a both-barrels kind of argument!

          Load some ammunition next time.

        • BertB

          He’s just trying to antagonize everybody. I think it is time to start ignoring him. There is nothing more infuriating to a troll than being ignored.

        • That’s a little easier now. He’s been banned.

        • BertB

          I think he wanted to be banned….as I said elsewhere in this thread…so that he could polish his martyr medallion.
          I must say I have never seen anyone here work harder to get themselves banned.

        • Yes, he’s perhaps returned under his rock to brag to his friends that, as he suspected, his arguments are too hot for us to handle.

        • BertB

          I spend most of my time over on A Tippling Philosopher, run by Jonathan Pearce, who has become a friend.
          We have had some trolls over there, but this guy is the worst I have seen. Complete waste of time, just provocative insults.
          What I would like to see happen to guys like this is for everybody to just ignore them. I tried to convince people to do that, but some are either so angry that they can’t, or maybe they enjoy exposing the nonsense that is being pushed by the troll. I think that would be a better solution than banning them, but this guy was disrupting any kind of meaningful or intelligent discussion, turning it all into a personal insult contest. You can’t win an insult contest with guys like this. They are masters of that trade.

        • And this guy’s superpower was insulting people … and then getting mad about being insulted.

          Around here, we’ve had other disruptive people. Yes, I’d like for everyone just ignore them, but that never happens. Some of us like a chew toy, I guess.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          There’s ‘shadowbanning’, where the troll is the only one who can see their own posts?

        • BertB

          Not to my knowledge. Of course when a troll is blocked, you don’t see their posts.
          Banning means they cannot post at all.
          I was recommending just ignoring them.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          As they say here in Phoenix, DB is “all hat and no cattle”.

        • BertB

          I have always like that comment…a perfect description of a blowhard pretender…which this guy apparently is…if he’s not a sock puppet toy of somebody just havin’ some fun.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So?

          Read and understand, you pathetic whi ner:

          https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/free_speech_2x.png

        • DavidBehar

          What are you, in 4th grade? Your rhetoric stinks.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          My rhetoric is designed to bypass the NewSpeakNanny filters at Patheos / Disqus.

          And you are here whining because you can’t wield and power in the real world, obviously.

        • Phil

          ” I asked who killed more people” Apparantly, your god.

        • C_Alan_Nault

          God definitely killed more people than Satan. According to the Bible,Satan only killed 10 people ( after getting permission from god to kill them).

        • DavidBehar

          You gays killed 40 million to protect your sexual selfishness. You are among the greatest mass murderers in history.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You gays killed 40 million to protect your sexual selfishness.

          https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/wikipedian_protester.png

        • Phil

          Who are these gays that killed 40 million. Missed that in history classes. Would have thought it was important. Oh and why do you think I am gay? What sexual selfishness are you talking about? Are you saying I should have multiple wives and spread it about a bit? Who have I murdered?

          Your comments don’t make the slightest bit of sense. Just random words strung together.

        • You gays killed 40 million to protect your sexual selfishness

          Perhaps it’s “you guys” and the 40 million refers to abortions. Just a guess.

          But it is amusing to imagine the Gay Army rampaging across some continent and killing 40 million.

        • Phil
        • BertB

          He’s gone, Phil. Banned. Fuggitabouthim.

        • epeeist

          “[Marx] acknowledged, Communism was not natural, and would require violence to impose on the population”

          So where in Marx’s writings does he say this?

        • DavidBehar

          Marx and Engels both advocated that many times, in the form of the proletariat revolution, as a necessity. Commies killed 100 million people, and still failed to persuade anyone. Commies have the greatest income inequality of all. Cubans have nothing. Castro has $billion in Swiss banks. Venezuelans have to pick through garbage. Maduro’s sister has $5 billion. That is why you leftists must be stopped, non-violently, of course.

        • BertB

          Just got back from Cuba. Fortunately we went before Trump shut down travel there. The people seem to be doing just fine. The countryside has prosperous farms, the cities have bustling crowds of well-dressed people, restaurants shops, bars. Residential neighborhoods looked clean and well-kept.

        • epeeist

          “Marx and Engels both advocated that many times”

          I will repeat the question, where in their writings do they advocate this. Surely you can provide a reference fromThe Communist Manifesto,Kapital, orTheses on Feurbach? You have read Marx I presume?

        • gimpi1

          “Deranged” is all you need. Why ask for more?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So you’re a fas cist.

          Tell us again why Patheos, a private company, and Disqus, a private company, should even give you the time of day?

          If YOUR KIND were to win, their business model of (relatively) free-flowing discussion would be wrecked, and they’d be out a lot of money.

          Also, st upid, weak ideas like what YOUR KIND espouse wouldn’t be able to be challenged, defeated, and discarded.

          You may get what you want…but The Paradox Of Tolerance states that there’s no reason for us to assist you.

      • Nope–DavidBehar has no comments in the Pending queue. Everything’s been approved.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          Perhaps then it was an internet hiccup that swallowed his comments.
          A leftist internet conspiracy hiccup!

        • No, DB’s comments are getting wa-a-ay too close to the truth. He knows too much, he’s eager to say it, and the Dark Lord wants him stopped.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          /Church Lady voice

          “…could it beeee….MARTYRBATION??!!…”

    • I am? Make it all public–tell everyone what I’m doing.

      I’m curious to find out. I didn’t know I was that devious.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Would you like some cheese to go with that wh ine?

  • So when your kid is fussy, Big Government will come in and take over for a while? That sounds pretty nice for an overworked family.

    • DavidBehar

      Rent seekers dependent on government will. The fecundity of white middle clas females has been suppressed to make our nation a permanent one party, Democrat state.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Wrong.

        You’re an in cel, too, apparently.

        White middle class women, among others, simply don’t have to put up with your s hit merely to be able to afford to live, so they’re kicking YOUR KIND’s worthless as sses to the curb.

      • The stories you can weave when facts aren’t an issue, amirite?? I bet it’s saltpeter in white wine.

        The fact that white women predominantly vote Democratic isn’t a worry when you can just make shit up.

  • Grimlock

    Bob, a question that is totally unrelated to the topic.

    A couple of bloggers at the Catholic channel have mentioned roughly how many views their posts get. (Ballpark 400-3000 views.)

    So, obviously I’m a bit curious about the number of views a typical post of yours get. No worries if that’s a subject that you don’t want to discuss. Not sure if I’d share that if I were in your shoes.

    • Yeah, that’s the range for mine as well.

      I’m actually not sure why it’s secret (perhaps why salaries are secret?). Anyway, even internally to Patheos, we’ve been told the ranking of posts but not the #hits/day.

      As for Catholic bloggers, the only one I remember anything about in this category was Dave Armstrong bragging that he was #2 or something in his category–is that right?

      • Otto

        He is #2 alright…

        • al kimeea

          but, who does he work for?

      • Grimlock

        Cool, thanks!

        Maybe too much information about the hits (and corresponding monetary reward) might lead to a hierarchical ranking, and with it some negative consequences? (Secret wages is, I admit, one of my pet peeves. It’s eternally frustrating. Though fortunately my labor union has some pretty neat statistics on the subject, even if they’re a bit more aggregated than I would’ve preferred.)

        I have no idea how Armstrong ranks, but him bragging about something like that sounds familiar. I’ve been reading and commenting a bit at another Catholic blog recently (Steel Magnificat), and that’s where the subject came up. It’s interesting to expose oneself to a different perspective, and the blogger has a bit of different approach than the other Catholic bloggers that I’ve encountered. It’s refreshing.

        • Michael Neville

          the blogger has a bit of different approach than the other Catholic bloggers

          You mean he doesn’t automatically ban you if you disagree with him (Armstrong) and does allow comments (Longnecker)?

        • Grimlock

          Indeed. She doesn’t focus on apologetics, which might make the blog less inclined toward conflicts.

          It’s an interesting perspective.

        • Ficino

          The ones that do focus on apologetics are in my experience always dude-bro fanboy echo chambers.

        • I would’ve thought that if any organization would make salaries public, it would be a union. (But I haven’t had much experience there.)

          I’ll look at that blog, thanks.

        • Grimlock

          Ah, well, the union still has to take care of the privacy of the members. If the granularity is big enough, I expect one would be able to identify some individuals based on year of graduation, industry, and perhaps company. (It’s a cross-company labor union.) Not to mention that a full disclosure might lead to fewer members being willing to reveal their wage, and so that statistics would end up being less reliable.

          It’s a balancing act, ain’t it.

          I get the impression that labor unions is not that common in the US. A quick look at Wikipedia seems to confirm that – only 10 % of the workforce, compared to 50 % in Norway. Interesting to note some differences even within the (supposedly?) homogenous Western sphere.

        • Yes, unions were strong and important maybe 50 years ago in the US. Not so much anymore. Some people think wistfully back on the good ol’ days when unions were strong (car companies, steel companies), but so much has changed that they may simply not make sense in the current economy. But then the Norwegian example makes one wonder.

          My point about salaries is that I wonder why they’re secret. Everyone’s job title is public. If you’re my boss, I expect that you get paid more, so if I knew your salary, what would that tell me? Does secret salaries benefit the company or the workers? Perhaps it just benefits the executives … but then in a public company, isn’t that public information?

          Of course, I’ve done my entire career with secret salaries being obvious, but when I think about it, it’s not clear why. I believe there are a few maverick companies where all salaries are public. (e.g., Ben and Jerry’s once had a 5:1 rule that stated that the highest paid worker can only get 5x what the lowest paid worker got. So if the executives wanted more salary, that was OK as long as the bottom was raised as well.)

          But this is just my rambling.

        • Grimlock

          I suspect it still makes sense, but that a lot of corporations have great incentives to work against unionization. Unless the government creates incentives, and work to make it easy to unionize, the self interest of corporations can lead to some pretty crappy work conditions.

          We technically have access to everyone else’s tax results. That doesn’t give the full and detailed picture (e.g. tax deductions are not shown), but it can be useful. The downside is that a recent change made it so that if someone checks your tax results, you’ll be notified about who it is.

        • Jack the Sandwichmaker

          I remember laughing reading the company handbook at the claim that the company would be “materially harmed” if we were to share our salary numbers with each number. Good, I guess, that they’re honest about wanting to restrict information so they can underpay some of us.

        • Grimlock

          Honesty is a virtue, I guess.

          It’s always struck me as a bit shortsighted to underpay people. It seems like that’s something that’ll come back to bite you in the behind at some point.

  • Silverwolf13

    Funny, I haven’t heard of any major earthquakes or hurricanes hitting Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, since their decision. Here in the SFBay Area, we get minor earthquakes all the time, but nothing really major since Obergfell. On the other hand, a couple of hurricanes have caused some damage in Virginia Beach, VA, home of the Pat Robertson ministry and his Regents University. Is god trying to send a message to the Rev. Robertson?

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      You left out the terrible floods / tornadoes that have been ravaging the Bible Belt. But then, self-awareness was never their strong point.

      • Silverwolf13

        Yes indeed. Believers should note just who it is that God appears to be angry with. Note that that big earthquake in California was in the southeastern, very Republican part of the state.

        • BertB

          Right. We live in Orange County, south of LA. We have lived here for almost 60 years, and have felt maybe a dozen little tremors. We have suffered zero damage…not even a broken glass. I guess the Almighty is protecting us, even though I am a lifelong atheist.

      • Freodin

        Come on! You are using reason. That’s not a valid approach.
        You have to use the Christian Truth That God Uses To Confound The Wisdom Of the Wise.

        See: all these deviants and perverts and lukewarm Christians in the atheistic-secular-liberal parts of the country… they are already lost. They will reap their just punishment, so speaketh the Lord! So there is no need to send them earthquakes and hurricanes.

        But the True Believers, the Real God Fearing Christians… they are obviously not stringent enough in their devotion to the Divine Law, not striving hard enough towards the Godly Goal of Eradicating the Sin of Sodomy. So they need a little reminded once in a while.

        See… it all becomes crystal (christal) clear, if only you use your Faith instead of your intelligence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Careful…without the “//s” icon, you’ll have some taking you seriously.

        • al kimeea

          he’s not? 🙁

  • James

    I’m a little uncomfortable with the (probably inadvertent) implication that homes with “with just one parent” are automatically “imperfect homes.” Otherwise, great post.

    • I would say that a perfect home has two parents, no financial worries, no mental illness in the family, safe environment, good schools, little social push into drugs or gangs, and so on. I’m sure we could make the list longer. If there is a perfect home, then I suppose any deviation would make that home less perfect. No?

      I suppose you could point out some changes that would be different but not inferior. Are you arguing that going from 2 parents to 1 is such an example?

      Perhaps you’re simply saying that there are some 1-parent households that are better than some 2-parent households. I agree.

      • Ignorant Amos

        I can certainly support the position that my single parent household would’ve been far superior and better off with two parents. But I can also support the position that my children had better upbringing and a happier home life than many of their peers who had households with both parents at home.

        • I’m concocting the imaginary perfect family, and it would have two perfect parents. Any change to the perfect family would either be a neutral change (the mom has blonde hair now instead of brown) or a negative change. I would argue that going from two perfect parents to just one is a change for the worse.

          Of course in practice, it’s trivial to imagine a terrible 2-parent situation which is improved when the worse parent leaves. The last thing I’m saying is that 2 parents are always better than 1 or that all 2-parent situations are better than all 1-parent situations. Obviously, there are loads of single parents doing fantastic work.

        • epicurus

          And in the old days many fathers saw no problem with being away working long hours and only significant interaction once home was simply for punishment purposes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…by the time my da got home from work, there wasn’t much time before I was shipped off ta bed.

          My da’s involvement with my discipline was the threat, “wait til yer da gets home”…but my ma bet the feck outta me at the drop of the hat.

          Many fathers I served with, including maself, spent weeks and months away from their kids on exercise or tour.

      • Grimlock

        I would say that a perfect home has two parents […]

        Why not three or more?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I suppose the number is less important than a positive and safe group dynamic.

          One good is better than two bad, or even one good and one bad. Two good is better than one good. Three good is better than three bad, or two good and one bad, or two bad and one good, or two good, or two bad, or one bad and one good, or one bad, or just one good, And so on a guess.

          A wonder has a study been done to produce the optimum set-up?

        • Grimlock

          I’m not sure that we could perform such a study, because it’d be tricky to avoid confounding social factors. Like, the parents might be awesome, but the kids might suffer due social prejudices against their family structure.

          That being said, does a family require kids? What if N adults decide to be a family without any kids?

          I suppose the number is less important than a positive and safe group dynamic.

          That sounds reasonable to me. Not that I’m particularly qualified on the subject.

      • Andy Robinson

        Do you have any insight on the effect in the black community of social policies pushing single-parent households from 14% in 1960 to over 70% today, and a slew of social pathologies that APPEAR to correlate to this increase–including a murder rate that was 90% of the national average rate in 1960, and is today more than 250% of the national average rate (fbi.gov/ucr)?

        • What’s your point?

        • Andy Robinson

          I’ve asking a question.

        • Andy Robinson

          I’m asking a question…. Freaking Siri

        • Direct answer: no, I didn’t have all those stats in my head.

          Which doesn’t answer why you’re bringing this up. Are you celebrating the fact that we agree that single-parent households can be more difficult raisers of children?

        • Andy Robinson

          Celebrating? We do agree, I was just wondering what you think of that situation.

        • Yes, celebrating agreement. Like I said.

          I have no interest in discussing social policies.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Didn’t ya know the world has changed since 1960?

          Apparently in the interim, a man stood on the moon, even walked, some say. //s

        • I still say: sound stage. How gullible do you think I am??

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was a happily married man. Then my wife died. Then I was no longer a happily married man. Long story short. Some single parent households can be a hell off a lot better or less off than two or more parent families. I can lay out the detail if there are eejits that need the minutiae explained. But only fuckwits would need explaining.

        • Some single parent households can be a hell off a lot better or less off than two or more parent families.

          Strong agree.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya do know what Andy Robinson is, right?

        • I don’t think I do …

        • Ignorant Amos

          A disingenuous interlocutor that is not interacting in good faith. I had something more colourful in mind 8 hours ago, but then a was overly impaired and had just watched two Joe Rogan stand up routines, so no doubt a had something more colourful in mind,

        • You could have worse muses!

        • Pofarmer

          At this point it looks like a racist troll.

        • MR

          Nobody listens to me.

        • Is your middle name “Cassandra”?

        • Ignorant Amos
  • Ficino

    The opening visual:

    We ask you not to force us to choose between the state and the Laws of God

    So, if you’re a dude, don’t marry a dude. The state isn’t forcing you to marry a dude.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Translation: “Don’t make us choose between the secular law that allows us to express ourselves and the venom / hatred we want to inflict for superstitious reasons *using* that freedom.”

    • Michael Murray

      It might force you to bake a rainbow layer cake though. Nasty people those Obama loving leftists.

    • epicurus

      Laws of God are against divorce as well, Don’t see any Christians worked up over state allowing that.

      • Jack the Sandwichmaker

        Or having any problems heaping praise on people who take advantage of those laws.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    Fostering children requires MORE background checking than a marriage license, so thank you for making @eric ‘s point for him.

    YOUR KIND have been reduced in power to the point where all you can do is invade private spaces to vom it venom for lack of any other power to harm.

  • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

    No.

    YOUR KIND are a degradation of society, ungrateful wretches attempting to pull down the fruits of science, cooperation, and compassion because all such goods threaten your authoritarian privilege.

    Get over yourself.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the State directly conflicts with higher law.”

    Apparently these people of faith aren’t familiar with a book called the Bible. According to the Bible, the State’s laws ARE god’s law.

    Romans 13:1-4 and 1 Peter 2:13-14.

    • Rudy R

      Silly you to think the Bible could be used against Christian reasoning.

      • C_Alan_Nault

        Naw, I just like pointing out how non-believers generally know more about what the Bible says than most self-proclaimed Christians.

        Or how the same people who often bleat that the Bible is the word of god are very quick to decide which of god’s words to follow and which to ignore… and lucky for them,the ones they decide to follow are the ones they like & the ones they decide they can ignore are the ones they don’t like.

        • BertB

          Or how the same people who often bleat that the Bible is the word of god are very quick to decide which of god’s words to follow and which to ignore…

          There’s even a term for that: “Selective Literalism.”

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “”As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the State directly conflicts with higher law.”

    If they really believed that,they would have no problem with buying,selling,and owning slaves.

    How many of them go out for lunch after their Sunday service? They are forcing the people working at the restaurant to work on the Sabbath…I hope after their meal they kill the staff in the restaurant as ordered by god’s law.

  • eric

    Ah, a particular concern for white women. Looks like we’ve got a white supremacist here. Worried about miscenegenation, are we? Feel like you don’t, um, ‘measure up’ in comparison to some big black man?

    But you didn’t answer my question: given your insistence on DNA propagation as your one metric of worth, which strategy for DNA propagation is better: being a straight parent of one child, or being a gay aunt/uncle to three nieces/nephews? C’mon man, this is a very simple calculation.

  • Jim Olsson

    While I agree with the sentiments of the article wholly and completeIy, I nevertheless love how you close your defense of marriage retort with a quote by the philandering boy-president Jack Kennedy. Yeah, kudos to him for his PT-boat work, but what a JACK-ass around pretty women 😉

    • schpadoinkle

      philandering,makes it sound so innocent.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        128. “Shpadoinkle” is not a real word.

        Skippy’s List: http://skippyslist.com/list/

        (in jest, of course…)

        • Greg G.

          Those are hilarious. I was once told to go to supply and ask for three yards of #153. I didn’t. I did ask the Boy Scout leader for a tent stretcher once, though.

        • BertB

          When I was a kid, I worked as a box boy at a local grocery store, bagging and boxing customers’ purchases, and then carrying them out to their car if they were not able. One Saturday, the big shopping day for that rural town, when all the farmers came to town, we were running low on boxes. The owner came up to me, very seriously, and asked me to go in the back of the store and get the “box stretcher.” Not wanting to fail, but not understanding, I went to one of the older employees and asked him what a box stretcher was. Others overheard me, and there was hilarity all around, and I finally realized what was going on. It was a trick they played on all new employees.

        • Ignorant Amos

          We had loads of them when I was in. Left-handed screwdriver, bubble for a spirit level, striped paint, go ask the sergeant-major for a long weight (wait), can’t get the Stihl saw to start then try bump starting, the list was a long one.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          5 gallons of prop wash, a kilometer of flight line, etc…

          😉

          Also blinker fluid and winter air for tires.

        • Michael Neville

          Okay, boys and girls, it’s time for The Old Mariner to tell a sea story.

          When I checked into my last command I met with the department head who told me that (1) the Master Chief I was relieving wasn’t going anywhere for a month, (b) the small boat shop’s Chief was on emergency leave and the First Class Petty Officer had his appendix out the night before so (iii) the small boat shop needed a Chief to run it until the regular Chief returned from leave. Tag, I was it.

          So I went down to the small boat shop, gathered all the people and explained to them that I would be running the shop despite the fact that I was an admin & personnel specialist. After I’d been there an hour or so a Second Class PO came to me and told me that he needed my help with a problem. He took me to a boat and said: “As you can see, this boat has a bent propeller shaft. To pull it we need to take the propeller off but the propeller is held on with a left-handed nut and we don’t have any left-handed wrenches. What should we do?”

          I smiled at him and said: “This is kind of delicate so I want you to do it personally. Walk up to that propeller, drop your trousers, shove the shaft about a foot up your arse, and spin counter-clockwise.” I then walked away.

          They didn’t try that sort of thing on me any more.

        • A popular Boy Scout one for when I was in: a left-handed smoke shifter. The typical response to the request, “Uh, I think we’ve only got right-handed ones. Ask at the next tent.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          A had to Google that word…never heard of it before.

          https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/shpadoinkle

        • schpadoinkle

          all words are made up 😉

  • sandy

    The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie—

    deliberate, contrived and dishonest—

    but the myth—persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.

    Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears.

    We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations.

    We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

    — John F. Kennedy

    The enemy of faith is logic and reason. We especially have the discomfort of thought when it is pointed out that your opinion and belief is wrong which ultimately brings cognitive dissonance to the rescue. Off topic a bit but what a quote and what a mind! Admittedly sexist but what woman would have had a chance once introduced to the charisma and intellect of JFK?

    • Michael Murray

      Admittedly sexist but what woman would have had a chance once introduced to the charisma and intellect of JFK?

      Any woman who didn’t like married men who sleep around ?

      • sandy

        Yes, absolutely.

    • Andy Robinson

      This fallacy is the argument from ignorance, I’m afraid: the belief that all questions resolve to true or false. It turns out there are at least three other logical states, including unknown, unknown within a set or continuum, and can’t know. And no, the default is never “false.”

      “Can’t know” addresses questions of faith. It turns out that faith and logic address two different problem spaces, and neither can decompose the other.

      If you need proof of this, consider the Christian concept of God: omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Now devise an empirical test for such a being. You cannot. Therefore, the existence of God, gods, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster if you prefer, is outside the problem space of “logic and reason,” yet those questions still exist, and are pervasive. They are the realm of faith.

      As far as JFK goes, many who today call themselves “liberal” tend to enjoy iconoclasm for its own sake. But it turns out that “the cliches of our forebears” represent the accumulated experiences and wisdom of billions of humans over hundreds or thousands of years. They are often wrong or at least inaccurate, but they are not wrong simply because they are cliches, or because they are from the past.

      • Paul

        Well said.
        I would only add that social processes and the outcomes of their evolution do not operate on the same timescale individuals inhabit. 4 years isn’t even long enough to complete the first breath of this new paradigm. Rarely are the outcomes from societal manipulation seen until multiple generations have passed. So, it really is a “Can’t know”, at least during the period of interest of those considering it today. This will always be so until someone invents instant history.

        We will always be making sweeping judgements on things the judge-rs will never be able to evaluate results on.

      • Greg G.

        This fallacy is the argument from ignorance, I’m afraid: the belief that all questions resolve to true or false.

        No, it doesn’t. It begins with “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie—.” It is not making a universal blanket statement about all propositions, so you should allow that it applies only to those that do “resolve to true or false.”

        • MR

          There’s quite a lot wrong with his statement. It’s so obvious that they come in with these apologetic arguments that they picked up somewhere but never really think through to obvious conclusions.

        • Andy Robinson

          Who is “they?”

          Where is the “apology?”

          What are the “obvious conclusions?”

          By “arguments they picked up somewhere” I gather “somewhere” is the body of scholarship with respect to syllogistic reasoning?

          What’s interesting is that those who offer meaningless substitutions for arguments such as yours never have an actual argument in rebuttal: you have not addressed any premise or the conclusion, but instead offered generalized, irrelevant platitudes.

        • MR

          Yes, we’ve seen, rehashed and rebutted this stuff a thousand times. My comment was to Greg, it wasn’t meant as a rebuttal to you.

        • Andy Robinson

          This is a public forum, there are no private conversations.

          In your eagerness to avoid using your thinking muscle, you goofed. You cannot have rebutted “this stuff” even once, since my claim is a logical truism. You might as well argue that TRUE = FALSE.

          I suspect you are projecting meaning onto the comments that isn’t there, for instance that I am “apologizing” for religion (I am not). I am pointing out the intrinsic logical error in the claim “faith is the enemy of [reason].”

          No matter how much one might wish this to be true, it is not. Faith may be entirely irrational, but irrationality is neither necessary nor sufficient to define faith, nor is even irrational faith intrinsically wrong.

          A reasoning person recognizes the existence of logical states other than “true” and “false,” and accepts that many questions cannot be reduced to “true” or “false.”

          But I will give you a chance to demonstrate your irrationality and intolerance by offering my actual opinion on this issue:

          When applied to the homosexual union debate, religion is irrelevant, particularly Christianity, which is canonically tolerant (anyone who quotes Leviticus, for example, does not understand Christian canon, where the Old Testament was abrogated by the New).

          What is relevant is the judicial redefinition of language: even Kennedy in his opinion made clear that “for thousands of years […] marriage has referred to the union of a man and a woman.” Language and social mores evolve, but a court ruling that a word with one meaning now means something else, and that something not mentioned in the constitution at all is now a positive right, is not evolution — it is coercion.

          In the case of profound immoralities such as slavery, denial of female suffrage, etc., such coercion is justified and merely corrects a situation that should never have existed to begin with.

          But in the case of the oxymoron “gay marriage,” there is no justification for such coercion. It is simply pandering to a tiny demographic that is not only not systemically discriminated against or denied civil rights, it has better social and economic outcomes as a group than straight people as a group.

          I offered same-sex benefits to my employees a decade before it was legal in my state, so this is not an issue of animus against homosexuals or any other group. Rather, it is an example of overreach by identity groups, and one that has triggered enough people who support gay unions but object to the usurpation of marriage that Trump got elected and 2018 saw the “blue seep” (the smallest gain by an opposition party in midterms in 40 years).

        • MR

          And with a little thought it’s obviously just a way to hide behind the curtain of “faith.” It provides a screen to believe anything even lies, imaginary and your “irrational” things. It becomes meaningless. It essentially becomes the fallacy of proving a negative. “Ha, ha, you can’t prove it’s not true!” Whatever. I didn’t bother reading the rest since you seem to be going off on some tangent.

        • Andy Robinson

          “And with a little thought it’s obviously just a way to hide behind a curtain of ‘faith'”

          No, it is the reality of empirical analysis.

          If you believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) for example, that is a believe in something that has not been proved and CANNOT be proved. It is an inductive conclusion (based on the preponderance of evidence you accept).

          Yet in a worst case, 3% of climate scientists disagree with this conclusion (and the number is much greater than that). It takes exactly one such heretic to be right when everyone else is wrong to render void what many claim is “settled science.”

          For example, Robert Bakker was that lone heretic (or one of a tiny number) in the 1960s and 1970s, who ultimately produced a consensus shift on the metabolism of dinosaurs (from cold blooded to warm blooded), and their evolutionary successors (birds, rather than reptiles). But even the modern consensus is not universal.

          And we can’t know which is correct. Short of finding a full slate of living dinosaurs (or being able to reproduce them from a DNA sample at least 250 million years old), we will never KNOW which belief is correct. It is a matter of faith, whether you wish to cloak it as a deduction from the evidence you accept or otherwise.

        • MR

          It doesn’t change my point. It’s just a way to hide behind a curtain of “faith.” It allows a way to believe even lies and imaginary things (as you yourself pointed out) and it becomes meaningless.

        • Andy Robinson

          You aren’t bringing it home to the argument, which is that somehow religion produces intolerance, whether against homosexuals or others. It doesn’t, and certainly not in the case of Christianity, where a literal reading of its “owners manual” states very clearly that toleration is a moral obligation of Christians.

          Therefore, we have to look somewhere other than Christianity and faith in general for the reasons some people are intolerant and others are not. I should note that intolerance among the irreligious (and I am one of them) is at least as pervasive as that among the religious. Indeed, based on history the explicitly atheistic ideologies such as state socialism and national socialism have, between them, murdered 100 million people over the last 100 years.

          The entire history of Christianity doesn’t even come close to that toll, even when you factor in the Crusades and the rest of the Dark Ages.

        • MR

          I brought it exactly to my point, which you yourself have supported: Faith is simply a curtain to hide behind and is meaningless when you can use it to justify any lie or imaginary thing. Your tangents don’t interest me.

        • Andy Robinson

          “Faith […] is meaningless.”

          No, I have not supported any aspect of this claim. But the entire context of this argument is the effect of religious faith, and specifically Christian religion, with respect to Obergefell. The answer is that it has had no effect whatsoever.

        • MR

          My comments have had nothing to do with Obergefell. My comments are that your comments on faith render it meaningless. If faith (and yes, we’re talking religious faith) can be used to justify, anything, it becomes meaningless. A “prove the negative” fallacy. It’s just so much mental &#8203masturbation.

        • Greg G.

          The entire history of Christianity doesn’t even come close to that toll, even when you factor in the Crusades and the rest of the Dark Ages.

          If you break it down to percentages of the population, the deaths caused by those practicing Christianity exceeded the population percentages of the last 100 years. It is quite fortunate that Dark Ages Christianity didn’t have 20th century technology.

        • Andy Robinson

          No, they don’t.

          Consider Solzhenitsyn’s famous sequence:

          “17 a year; 10 a month; 1,000 a month; 40,000 a month.”

          These are the political murder rates under the White Russians, the Spanish Inquisition, Lenin and the Cheka, and Stalin, respectively. These are historically attested rates, and Stalin’s was actually almost triple that rate according to KGB and NKVD archives to which the West gained access after the fall of the USSR.

          Please note also that “death” and “murder” are not the same thing. Murder is a subset of death, and implies no lawful or moral context to the death. Thus, the 100 million murdered by atheist nations in the 20th century were outright murders, not incidental deaths brought about during warfare, or through the rule of law such as it existed in those nations at that time, or through process of diseases (the Europeans did not have a widely understood germ theory of disease until the 19th century, and thus none of the Native peoples who died in the Americas from disease can be counted as “murdered”).

          There is no analog to that anywhere in history, and no evidence there would have been. The Muslims murdered 240 million non-believers between the 7th and 15th centuries and dhimmified a billion, at a time when the total population of the planet was in the low hundreds of millions. That is a murder rate of 300,000 a year. You cannot find ANY period in Christian or Jewish history with a toll that comes anywhere close to that number.

          What’s more, you cannot ascribe murders committed by Christians to “Christian murders.” They would have to be explicitly sanctioned and executed by the controlling body of whatever religious body was committing them.

          I’m not claiming any innate superiority for Christianity, simply that there are no empirical data supporting your claim.

        • Greg G.

          https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-was-population-europe-1600s-what-significant-468026

          There is no definitive data available on Europe’s population during the 17th Century. Different countries and regions had different methods for counting populations, and the question of whether and how to include Russia and Turkey, the latter then the seat of the Ottoman Empire, complicates efforts at providing a solid accounting. That said, most sources conclude that Europe’s population during the 1600s peaked at about 78 million during the middle of the century, when it leveled off after a period of increase following the end of the periods of plague that had earlier ravaged the continent’s population.

          The main event that affected Europe’s population during the 1600s was the Thirty Years War, lasting from 1618 to 1648. Combined with the continued effects from the spread of the plague and famine resulting from war and disease, the Thirty Years War cost potentially tens of millions of lives among the combatants fighting on each side of the Roman Catholic-Protestant divide. As with data on the continent’s population, data on casualties associated with the war is imprecise. Estimates of the effects of the war on size of population, however, range as high as 40 percent for Germany and similarly high numbers for other regions.

          If the population was 78 million after the Thirty Years War, the death toll could be as high as 50 million. It started as a war between Catholics and Protestants, then brought politics into it.

          The Muslims were killing in the name of religion, too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If the population was 78 million after the Thirty Years War, the death toll could be as high as 50 million. It started as a war between Catholics and Protestants, then brought politics into it.

          Which is about 1.66 million a year. And that’s a lot more than 0.3 million a year for his estimated Muslim figures.

        • You forgot the Thirty Years War and the Crusades.

        • Andy Robinson

          I don’t. There is nothing within even an order of magnitude in Christian or capitalist history that compares to state and national socialism, or to the Islamic caliphate through the 15th century.

        • I’ve read that both the Thirty Years War and the Crusades killed 2% of the world’s population.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Consider Solzhenitsyn’s famous sequence:

          Where did he get his data points from?

          These are the political murder rates under the White Russians, the Spanish Inquisition, Lenin and the Cheka, and Stalin, respectively.

          Only one was done on religious grounds, Christianity. The others were not done because of lack of belief in gods.

          These are historically attested rates,…

          Wise up. No they’re not. Because the rates are estimates and they vary…by wide margins depending on the sources.

          White (terror) Russian. Estimates for those killed in the White Terror vary, from between 20,000 and 100,000 people over a 6 year period. That’s about 1,389 per month.

          Spanish inquisition. 30,000 to 300,000. Some historians are convinced that millions died. Modern estimates put the figure at between 3,000 and 5,000 over abot 3 centuries. Which works out at an average of 1.38 a month taking the upper figure of the lower estimates.

          Lenin and the Cheka. The estimates given are from at least 10,000 to 100,000 or more, some as much as 200,000 over a 5 year period. Some suggest it could be as high as 1.3 million.

          Stalin. We just don’t know. But one source claims he was responsible for at least 6 million, and as many as 9 million if “foreseeable” deaths caused by deportation, starvation, and incarceration in concentration camps are included.

          …and Stalin’s was actually almost triple that rate according to KGB and NKVD archives to which the West gained access after the fall of the USSR.

          Wait, didn’t you just claim Solzhenitsyn’s figures were “historically accurate”?

          Stalin’s murder rate was not because he was an atheist. The inquisitions murder rate was because of religion, Christian intolerance particularly.

        • BertB

          If you believe in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) for example, that is a believe in something that has not been proved and CANNOT be proved.

          No scientific theory can be proven. But some theories…like evolution come to be accepted as fact, at least tentatively based on accumulation of supporting evidence and lack of falsifying evidence. The same holds for climate change and its causes.

        • Andy Robinson

          You are repeating what I said

        • BertB

          Evidence, evidence, evidence conforms the process of natural selection. As far as predicting evolutionary outcomes, since it is based on random mutations and natural selection, predictions are not really possible. That does not refute evolution. Climate change is the same. Prediction is, once again, horrendously difficult. The global climatic system is complex, and difficult to model. Nevertheless some models have been tested against historical records with some success. And there is certainly evidence in the current changes observed on the planet…icecaps melting, droughts and violent storms increasing. Of course, all of that is dismissed by the deniers, who only accept current data when we have a cold snap in the winter…and then…TADA!!! SEE?? Global warming refuted!!!

        • Andy Robinson

          As I said, no evidence of natural selection has been observed. This is not remarkable, since evolution dates to the 19th century and takes place over timeframes of at least thousands of years.

          You are arguing a point I have not made, or more accurately your projection of my “real agenda.” That is irrational. Your arguments are indeed fundamentally religious, which is why I call the arguments of those who worship the forms of science without its substance, the Church of Science.

        • BertB

          https://globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/selection/selection.html
          Scroll down to “Evidence of Natural Selection.”
          Of course, Darwin also noted it in his research long ago.
          On second thought, maybe you should read the whole piece that I linked. You seem to be a bit ignorant.

        • Andy Robinson

          One of us is a bit ignorant, it’s just not me 😉

          The examples in your “gotcha” article are of local adaptations, NOT the global process of evolution.

        • BertB

          Local Adaptations Definition: Local adaptation is when a population of organisms has evolved to be more well-suited to its environment than other members of the same species. This occurs due to differential pressures of natural selection on populations from different environments.

        • Greg G.

          Adaptations are the result of natural selection. Creatures don’t decide to evolve more fur for their offspring.

        • Andy Robinson

          Again, this is not evidence of the global process of evolution, which is not adaptations within species (known for thousands of years, and attested by several ancient civilizations), but the arising of new species.

          I marvel that there is so much pedantry around these discussions, as if accepting the way science actually works, as opposed to the effectively religious worship of scientific forms rather than substance, would somehow void the empirical method.

        • Rudy R

          Evidence for natural selection has been observed, but your world view prevents you from understanding what the majority of biologists believe.

        • Andy Robinson

          That must be it 😉

        • Greg G.

          As I said, no evidence of natural selection has been observed. This is not remarkable, since evolution dates to the 19th century and takes place over timeframes of at least thousands of years.

          The population of peppered moths were observed to change over time when the trees became covered with soot way back in the 19th century.

          A type of bacteria that feeds only on nylon was discovered near a nylon producing production plant. Nylon was invented in the 20th century. It took three simultaneous mutations to enable that ability but it also disabled the ability to break down anything else. Who knows how many times that trio of mutations occurred in the past 2 billion years where the mutations were naturally selected against but one time it was naturally selected for.

          Italian wall lizards escaped from a lab when war broke out. When the scientists returned about 30 years later, IIRC, the lizards had shorter legs, were eating plants, and had evolved cecal valves to help digest the plant material. DNA testing showed that they were descended from the population that the lab had.

          Experiments have been performed on single-celled microbes by introducing a larger microbe to their environment. The smaller microbes began to stick together. This made it harder for the other microbe to consume them but it reduced their own ability to feed. They had bodies of up to twelve in a group. After time, natural selection honed them down to groups of four which was too big to eat but allowed the most available surface area to feed themselves.

          MRSA have evolved from the more resistant strains of bacteria that infect humans until such infections are hard to cure. That is natural selection.

          I saw a seventeen year cicada fly across the yard and a bird came out of a tree, hit it and flew on while the cicada fell to the ground without an abdomen. That’s natural selection.

          The antelope that gets away and the one that feeds the lion pride. Both are cases of natural selection.

          Natural Selection has been observed. Microevolution has been observed. Even macroevolution has been observed.

        • BertB

          Even speciation has been, if not observed, validated. Intermediate forms have been found between species, showing how the process happened. That has been the creationists “go to” ever since Darwin wrote his book. Evolution can’t cause speciation! That assertion has been obliterated as new historical evidence is found.
          Creationists have been backed into a tiny corner from which there is no escape. But guys like this will never admit it.

        • Greg G.

          Agriculture might be an example of microevolution through natural selection and artificial selection.

        • Andy Robinson

          Yes, moths adapted. This is not evolution. Selection was attested in the first millennia BC. The same is true of all your other examples. They are pedantic church-of-science examples claiming the observation of a phenomenon which has never been observed: speciation in the sense Darwin would have recognized it.

          The only question is, why this desperate clinging to illusion that evolution is “settled science?” No science is ever settled. That is the nature of science.

        • Confusing. You’re saying that you accept both evolution and AGW?

        • Andy Robinson

          Yes.

        • I’m just catching up on this conversation.

          I thought you were quibbling about the mechanism of evolution and with AGW as well. Maybe I misinterpreted your stance.

        • Andy Robinson

          Perhaps. I am trying to point out the mechanism of science, which is the development of hypotheses and their subjection to empirical and logical analysis. A hypothesis that withstands the analysis may be adopted as a working theory (like evolution or AGW), even without empirical validation, but even an empirically confirmed theory may be–probably WILL be–superseded at any time by a single “heretic” if his counterevidence can be repeated.

          This is complicated when politics are mixed with science. Robert Bakker was ridiculed for advocating the model of warm-blooded dinosaurs as ancestors of birds, but that is now the consensus view. There is still much disagreement, but there is no rancor outside the field because there are no meaningful political ramifications to the metabolic and evolutionary mechanisms of dinosaurs and birds.

          On the other hand, climate change is a path to political power for both “believers” and “deniers” (the use of “denier” as an epithet similar to “heretic” or “infidel” ought to be disturbing to ANYONE who calls himself a man of reason). I advocate for mitigation of greenhouse gas production, and have reduced my own carbon footprint by about 40% over the last five years (and am still working on it) but absolutely refuse any suggestion that it is the place of the state to impose such adaptations on others to “save the planet.” That way lies mass atrocity, without exception, and the climate outcomes that will be truly disastrous are extreme outliers, most of which are less likely than an extinction-level asteroid/comet impact.

        • A hypothesis that withstands the analysis may be adopted as a working theory (like evolution or AGW), even without empirical validation

          Huh? How can it become a scientific theory with no evidence?

          This is complicated when politics are mixed with science.

          Yes, indeed a problem.

          On the other hand, climate change is a path to political power for both “believers” and “deniers” (the use of “denier” as an epithet similar to “heretic” or “infidel” ought to be disturbing to ANYONE who calls himself a man of reason).

          “Denier” sounds appropriate when someone rejects a scientific consensus for non-scientific reasons.

          I advocate for mitigation of greenhouse gas production, and have reduced my own carbon footprint by about 40% over the last five years (and am still working on it) but absolutely refuse any suggestion that it is the place of the state to impose such adaptations on others to “save the planet.”

          Why? That’s how lead in gasoline was addressed. Market forces wouldn’t have done anything.

        • Andy Robinson

          I did not say without evidence, I said without empirical validation. If you want to be pedantic, I will qualify that as “without sufficient evidence to validate the hypothesis.” And I should note that almost all scientific hypotheses will fall into that category.

          “‘Denier’ sounds appropriate when someone rejects a scientific consensus for non-scientific reasons.”

          First of all, “scientific consensus” is a political term that has no meaning IN science. Consensus is irrelevant in science, as a single “denier” can upend a working theory. Well, a single “denier” and a at least one “believer” who is willing to reproduce his results.

          History is replete with “settled science” that persisted for centuries after it was revealed to be wrong. To assume that we can’t repeat that mistake is also irrational and anti-scientific.

        • Greg G.

          Yet in a worst case, 3% of climate scientists disagree with this conclusion (and the number is much greater than that). It takes exactly one such heretic to be right when everyone else is wrong to render void what many claim is “settled science.”

          Apparently this needs a Project Steve. Creationists touted a list of hundreds of scientists who supported creationism. Most of those who signed were not scientists but dentists and such. So a list of scientists named “Steve” or something very similar who supported evolution made a list that dwarfed the creationist list.

          The percentage of scientists who accept AGW increases with expertise. Try screening out the TV weathermen and such and see what the percentage is then.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Numbnuts said…

          A reasoning person recognizes the existence of logical states other than “true” and “false,” and accepts that many questions cannot be reduced to “true” or “false.”

          It’s not questions, it’s answers, that are either “true” or “false”…or dog forbid, “don’t know”.

        • MR

          And questions can have no answers because they are meaningless, e.g., “What is the meaning of life?”

        • anyone who quotes Leviticus, for example, does not understand Christian canon, where the Old Testament was abrogated by the New

          Huh? The OT is just as canonical as the New Testament. In some cases you have individual abrogations (Hebrews rejects animal sacrifice, as I recall), if that’s what you mean.

          even Kennedy in his opinion made clear that “for thousands of years […] marriage has referred to the union of a man and a woman.”

          “ . . . though, of course, a man might repeat this process with additional women.”

          But in the case of the oxymoron “gay marriage,” there is no justification for such coercion. It is simply pandering to a tiny demographic

          So you were going to do the right thing . . . but since it’s for a small group of people, why bother. Is that it?

        • Andy Robinson

          No, the Old Testament is not as canonical as the New Testament. It is abrogated in its entirety except for the Ten Commandments, by the New Covenant. Again, this is not a theological view, it is the result of objective study of the text. Islam is exactly the opposite: the Meccan verses were revealed to Mohamed first (the “verses of tolerance”), and were later abrogated explicitly by the Medinan (the “verses of the sword”).

          “Though of course…”

          Ah, you are a student of the Jon Stewart school of debate–fallacies of irrelevance and diversion.

          “So you were going to do the right thing…”

          You must also be a herbivore, attacking all those straw men. You can do the right thing without resorting to the least democratic mechanism in our system of governance to redefine words in the English language and create non-existent rights “to” things.

        • No, the Old Testament is not as canonical as the New Testament. It is abrogated in its entirety except for the Ten Commandments, by the New Covenant.

          Show me.

          Ah, you are a student of the Jon Stewart school of debate–fallacies of irrelevance and diversion.

          You’ll have to explain to me how pointing out that polygamy is very different from what conservatives call “natural marriage” is irrelevant and a diversion. Sure, Obergefell is a change. So what? Marriage has changed substantially in just my lifetime.

          You must also be a herbivore, attacking all those straw men. You can do the right thing without resorting to the least democratic mechanism in our system of governance to redefine words in the English language and create non-existent rights “to” things.

          Clever, and yet you’ve avoided the issue. You mentioned “tiny demographic,” and I want to know why the size of the group changes whether we should give them rights they deserve.

        • Greg G.

          No, the Old Testament is not as canonical as the New Testament.

          There is the Jewish Old Testament canon, the Catholic Old Testament canon, and the Protestant Old Testament canon which makes the Old Testament three times as canonical as the New Testament by my count..

        • Andy Robinson

          Now that’s some top-notch logic, right there… 😉

        • Andy Robinson

          JFK’s argument is not the AFI; The posting to which I responded is.

          “The enemy of faith is logic and reason.”

          They are not enemies or even antipodes. Logic and faith are two different mechanisms for addressing two different problem spaces.

        • Greg G.

          You should copy and paste what you are talking about into your reply for context.

          This blog is called “Cross Examined”, as it is a discussion of religion and Christianity in particular. In this context, Sandy would be using “faith” as a Christian uses it. Christians try to tell us that they believe in most things using evidence and logic but they also believe things the same way through faith, which goes beyond where evidence and logic end. As in:

          Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

          Edit to change “the” to “they”.

        • Andy Robinson

          Fair enough. Hebrews 11:1 is describing the problem space of “can’t know,” in which logic and evidence cannot operate. That does not make faith irrational or even illogical. But it is important to distinguish between the physical world (which can be described empirically) and the spiritual and moral world (which cannot).

          Ironically, Christian canon is explicitly tolerant. If one analyzes the Bible other than in a reverent, credulous-of-authority context, it is explicit that the Old Testament (and such absurdities as Leviticus, which describe death for having sex with a woman during her period, and even for failing to rotate one’s crops regularly) is abrogated by the New Testament, which demands love (agape) for others, forgiveness, toleration, and withholding of spiritual (not temporal) judgement of others.

          In other words, to invoke God or Christ as demanding temporal actions against homosexuals is literally anti-Christian.

          In the case of Islam and Judaism, homosexuality is explicitly defined as sinful and immoral. The Jews, who have been around for a few thousand years longer than Muslims, have decided as a religion to ignore or circumvent that part of their canon. Islam, on the other hand, is very young (600-700 years younger than even Christianity), and its abrogation is the opposite of Christianity: the Verses of Tolerance (Meccan) are abrogated BY the Verses of the Sword (Medinan).

          Intolerant Christians, which are the vast minority, I should add, simply prove that any jack*ss can use religion or any philosophy (including atheism) to justify antisocial behavior.

          And no, I am not a Christian, but irreligious. Religions are simply one of my many fields of study and scholarship.

        • Greg G.

          That does not make faith irrational or even illogical.

          It is illogical to hold faith opinions at the same level as what you know through evidence and logic, or even in spite of the evidence and logic.

          Ironically, Christian canon is explicitly tolerant.

          It is tolerant to interpretation. One can support almost anything with Bible sources. The “jack*ss” you mention below does this, but it is not a vast minority. Those who think the Earth is less than 10K years old are those who are less tolerant and polls have shown them to be around 40% of the US population consistently for decades while the “mainstream” Christians are around 45%.

        • MR

          It is illogical to hold faith opinions at the same level as what you know through evidence and logic, or even in spite of the evidence and logic.

          Which even most Christians understand at a gut level. They pray to God to cure them, but they still go see the doctor.

        • Andy Robinson

          It is illogical to even compare the two problem spaces. Logic and evidence can only prove a TINY subset of problems, and provide inductive evidence for a somewhat larger subset, all related to the physical world.

          “Tolerant to interpretation”

          No, tolerant to all races, faiths, and creeds. Again, this is explicitly canonical. You cannot demand to hold empirical analysis on a higher plane and then reject it (in this case, analysis of religious documents) in favor of your interpretation of what others “believe.”

          “Those who think…”

          The age of the Earth is not relevant to a claim that Christians are intrinsically intolerant. They aren’t, as they have approved, usually by a super-majority, ever civil rights advance to date. The fact some today may reject the attempts by identity politicians to gin up civil rights causes for groups that are not suffering in any measurable way, or for those who are suffering as a direct result of attempts to “help” them through state coercion, also does not support a claim of intolerance.

          Indeed, even if you could support such a claim, it is a disposition and therefore irrelevant to the truth of a logical argument.

        • MR

          Logic and evidence can only prove a TINY subset of problems

          And faith provides for an infinity of lies and imagination and becomes meaningless.

        • Andy Robinson

          Yes, and faith is the underpinning of almost every “scientific” action we take.

          The fallacy here is the intrinsic belief that a purely rational system of belief and behavior would be an improvement. It would not. Karl Marx (who was a flippin’ genius, but almost all of his predictions not only haven’t come to pass but show no signs of coming to pass) brought such a means to his dialectical method (it wasn’t his, but he popularized it), and the implementation of his work (state socialism, or what we call “communism”) resulted in the rationally justified murder of 100 million non-combatants between 1917 and 1987.

          That can’t really be hung on Marx’s neck, because state socialism is, shall we say, a stretched interpretation of Marx. But then again, so is any Christian sect that invokes Leviticus or other Old Testament scriptures against homosexuals (who Christians are morally obligated to tolerate by the explicit teaching of the New Testament).

          But then again, the entire history of Christianity can’t match the non-combatant murder toll of state socialism’s over a period of 70 years–and the later was an explicitly atheistic and rationally planned and organized amalgamation of polity, economy, and morality.

          Bringing this back to the topic, it is not the religious intolerants that are a threat to Obergefell, but its judicial overreach in redefining the word “marriage” and creating a non-existent “right to marriage” and the attendant 14th amendment rationalization for granting it to everyone. Either of those decisions in itself would be irrational, but the two combined are doubly so.

          And I say this as someone who has always and continues to support homosexual unions being held on par with marriage.

        • MR

          Yes, and faith is the underpinning of almost every “scientific” action we take.

          No, science doesn’t deal in faith, it deals in probabilities. Science’s stance is, “this is our best understanding based on the evidence.” Science holds that it could be wrong. Faith’s stance is, “You can’t prove me wrong, so there!”

          I didn’t bother to read the rest of your comment. You strike me as incredibly disingenuous and I’m not particularly interested in your machinations. You supported my point with your own comments when you noted that anyone can use faith to justify belief in gods, God, or the Flying Spaghetti monster. It’s a recipe for deceit.

        • Andy Robinson

          No science does not deal in probabilities as you describe it (though some of the mathematical analyses are certainly based on probabilities). Science deals in hypotheses that correctly explain some past behaviors and correctly predict some future behaviors of PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR SYSTEMS.

          Logic actually has a somewhat larger problem space, as it can deal with abstract problems describing concepts and objects for which there is no real-world instance. And then we are left with the logical state of “can’t know” which describes the problem space of “faith.”

          Anything we expect to happen in the future, even to the sun rising, is faith. I marvel that so many people attempt to dismiss faith or claim it has no basis in science. It is foundational to science, and everything else.

        • MR

          Science deals in hypotheses that correctly explain some past behaviors and correctly predict some future behaviors of PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR SYSTEMS.

          And tries to determine if they are true. In contrast, religious faith opens up the field to lies and imagination and is then used to hide behind the lack of evidence. “You can’t prove I’m wrong!” A convenient fallacy. Clearly not all religions are true. Presumably either only one is or none are. Faith doesn’t try to determine what is true. It’s simply used to justify belief whether it’s true or not. (See your own comments about gods, God or the Flying Spaghetti monster).

          Anything we expect to happen in the future, even to the sun rising, is faith

          But not religious faith, a distinction you yourself made. Based on the evidence, what are the probabilities that the sun will again? Based on faith, for some the sun will be replaced by a new sun in the near future. Do I think you believe your own &#8203bullshit? No. You’re just here to gaslight.

        • Andy Robinson

          “You can’t prove I’m wrong” is another argument from ignorance, and not an argument I’ve made.

          The argument from ignorance assumes all questions resolve to true or false. It doesn’t matter whether you are claiming “you can’t prove you’re right” or another claims “you can’t prove I’m wrong,” both are equally fallacious.

          “But not religious faith.”

          Some aspects of religious faith have the attributes you describe, but not even close to all. The belief in universal toleration and agape is a Christian moral principle, for example. It was known long before the Christians came on the scene, but only in the abstract. It was Christians who put the principle into effect. It took them around 1,600 years, but they did it — no one else.

          There is no way to “prove” universal toleration and agape are valid moral principles, and indeed there is much practical evidence they are not. Yet they are the basis for the arguments made in Obergefell, so if you don’t believe in them (have faith), then why are we having this argument?

          “You’re just here to gaslight.”

          Wrong, and irrelevant. Leave the search for “real agendas” and “real motivations” to the conspiracy theorists.

        • MR

          You can’t prove I’m wrong” is another argument from ignorance, and not an argument I’ve made.

          But that’s essentially what that faith argument boils down to.

          It doesn’t matter whether you are claiming “you can’t prove you’re right” or another claims “you can’t prove I’m wrong,” both are equally fallacious.

          It’s meaningless. They are arguments meant to keep believers in the fold. They’re not meant to convince others or to arrive at any kind of truth. It allows for belief in all kinds of lies, deceit and imaginary things. You don’t seem to have a problem with that.

          Wrong, and irrelevant. Leave the search for “real agendas” and “real motivations” to the conspiracy theorists.

          I just call them as I see them. It seems obvious to me from your arguments. You try to undermine science and bolster faith, but I doubt you live your life that way for religious beliefs that are not your own. You claim to be irreligious, but you argue like a dishonest Christian apologist.

        • Greg G.

          It is illogical to even compare the two problem spaces. Logic and evidence can only prove a TINY subset of problems, and provide inductive evidence for a somewhat larger subset, all related to the physical world.

          The answers to the subset of problems that logic and evidence provide is more reliable than the answers that faith gives for anything. It is not even close.

          No, tolerant to all races, faiths, and creeds.

          It can be but it has also been used to justify slavery. See George D. Armstrong’s 1857 The Christian Doctrine of Slavery
          http://www.unz.org/Pub/ArmstrongGeorge-1857 . You can see tolerance in the canon but many do not. You can select a verse to say one thing but someone else can find two that say something else.

          The age of the Earth is not relevant to a claim that Christians are intrinsically intolerant.

          Bob Jones University, Liberty University, and the Westboro Baptist Church are examples of those who are intolerant and believe in a young Earth. The correspondence between young Earthers and intolerant Christians is quite high. While those universities have changed their outright opposition to interracial marriage, there are graduate preachers who have not.

        • Andy Robinson

          “But it has also been used to justify slavery.”

          Slavery was an intrinsic part of the Biblical and pre-Biblical world and indeed the whole world until the late 19th century, which doesn’t change the fact that it was Judeo-Christian moral and philosophical principles that brought slavery to an end.

          If you count up all the Christians in the groups you describe, you’d be lucky to have a million people. But even were it 10 million it would be less than a percent of Christians in the US. In other words, a tiny minority.

        • Greg G.

          Slavery was an intrinsic part of the Biblical and pre-Biblical world and indeed the whole world until the late 19th century, which doesn’t change the fact that it was Judeo-Christian moral and philosophical principles that brought slavery to an end.

          “Until the late 19th century” means that Judea-Christian morality had 18 centuries to end slavery and did not. It was the rise of Enlightenment morality and philosophy that led to ending slavery.

          If you count up all the Christians in the groups you describe, you’d be lucky to have a million people. But even were it 10 million it would be less than a percent of Christians in the US. In other words, a tiny minority.

          The following graph is from https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/how-many-creationists-are-there-in-america/

          https://static.scientificamerican.com/blogs/assets/Image/PS_19_01_11_EvolutionQuestion_shareDependsOnHowAsked.jpg

          Do you see how somewhere between 38% and 66% of white evangelicals are shown to be creationists depending on how the question is asked? Exit polls from the last presidential election show us that 80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump, who campaigned on anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric, so we know they were not turned off by that. Their numbers swung a presidential election.

          https://www.huffpost.com/entry/white-evangelicals-race-immigration-diversity_n_5bda1fb1e4b019a7ab5a04be

          Gerardo Marti, a sociologist at Davidson College who studies race and religion, told HuffPost that Protestants of color have long understood that there is a cultural gap between their lives and the lives of their white co-religionists. But white Christians have a hard time believing that their own racial backgrounds deeply inform their attitudes.

          “They do not understand it as ‘racism’ and refuse to acknowledge it as such because they do not believe they have hateful attitudes toward black people they know,” Marti said.

          These divisions in opinion about immigration and racism are occurring at a time when American evangelicalism is actually becoming more diverse. As a whole, evangelical Christians are still predominantly white. But about 35 percent of evangelicals are not white, according to PRRI. They identify as black, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander, Native American, or part of some other racial or ethnic group. That percentage is only likely to increase, researchers say, not just because America is becoming more diverse but also because young white evangelicals are leaving the church.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism_in_the_United_States

          Anywhere from 6 percent to 35 percent of the population is evangelical, depending on definition. The Pew Research Center 2014 survey in the United States identified the evangelical percentage of the population at 25.4 percent while Roman Catholics are 20.8 percent and mainline Protestants make up 14.7 percent.

          The evangelicals are the largest religious group in the US.

          Doing the math with the numbers above we have 318,6 people in the US in 2014, 25;.4% were evangelicals in 2014, 65% of evangelicals were white, between 38% and 66% were creationists, and 81% were tolerant enough of racial intolerance to vote for Trump. So it is somewhere between 16.2 million and 28.1 million white evangelical Christians with some intolerant tendencies.

          I wonder how many Catholics and mainstream Christians could be added.

        • Andy Robinson

          An equally valid way to put it is that Christianity ended in 1400 years what had existed for tens of thousands previously.

          Your relative characterization of social transformation performed under radically different social standards is meaningless, because we have no alternative with which to compare it. All we know is that it
          is Christian mores and philosophy that drove liberalism, and all attendant social advances, from the 18th century through today.

          As far as Obergefell being a reaction to “hateful evangelists,” that is of course unsustainable. Obergefell redefined an English word and established a positive right that never existed previously. As such, it is the result of identity activism, not a reaction to oppression.”

          Also, an external observer does not get to impose the term “racism” on one (or a group) who does not believe he is racist. For an excellent analysis of this fallacy, I suggest _Discrimination and Disparity_ [Thomas Sowell, 2018]

        • Greg G.

          Your relative characterization of social transformation performed under radically different social standards is meaningless, because we have no alternative with which to compare it. All we know is that it
          is Christian mores and philosophy that drove liberalism, and all attendant social advances, from the 18th century through today.

          Christianity was around for centuries. Then due to epidemics, the church lost influence in certain places and the Enlightenment happened. That led to new philosophies. Christianity’s biggest contribution was to keep Greek and Latin languages alive enough to give access to the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers.

          As far as Obergefell being a reaction to “hateful evangelists,” that is of course unsustainable. Obergefell redefined an English word and established a positive right that never existed previously. As such, it is the result of identity activism, not a reaction to oppression.”

          Marriage has had many meanings through history. Government sanctioning of marriage for common folk is relatively new. In this country, the governments involvement involves tax benefits, divorce settlements, life decisions in medical emergencies, possibly the distribution of belongings at death, and such. Government is not involved with the everyday life of married couples or throuples or whatever. Oberkfell reduced the limits on who can get married if they want. That only changed your private definition of marriage.

          Also, an external observer does not get to impose the term “racism” on one (or a group) who does not believe he is racist.

          Does an external observer get to impose the term “duck” on one (or a flock of swimming fowl who waddle like ducks, fly like ducks, quacks like ducks, and looks like ducks) if the waddling, flying, swimming, quacking water fowl who looks just like a duck believes he is actually a >QUACK<?

        • MR

          =D

        • BertB

          Omigod, why are you still talking to this guy?

        • Greg G.

          Are you asking him why he is still talking to me?

        • BertB

          Hell no! I am asking you why your still talking to this closet Christian.

        • Greg G.

          No, you asked MR who was replying to me. Neither MR nor I are closet Christians.

          Andy Robinson has more interesting arguments than what the uncloseted Christians bring up.

        • MR

          Yeah, you’re right. Once I sense deception, I tend to lose interest. This guy uses arguments to cloud and confound rather than clarify. Plus his is more of a political agenda. I don’t have the same tolerance for deceit that some of the others have. This is the kind of guy that would gladly fool his fellow believers. That’s one of the things that pushed me out of Christianity in the first place.

        • An equally valid way to put it is that Christianity ended in 1400 years what had existed for tens of thousands previously.

          No, not equally valid. You declare a cause-and-effect relationship here that you need to show. Seems to me that Christianity just happened to be in charge when, as Greg noted, the Enlightenment came along and improved conditions.

        • Andy Robinson

          I’m not declaring a causal relationship, simply rebutting one. It is equally valid to say “Christianity took 1,400 years to abolish slavery” or “Christianity abolished slavery over less than 10% of slavery’s known history.” Both are INvalid.

          Because it’s false to say “Christianity” (a religion) did anything, or even that Christians as a group were primarily responsible. But those who focused on the fundamental messages of Christianity (toleration, universal agape, renunciation of vengeance, etc.), even if they were atheists or non-Christians _DID_ abolish slavery over less than 10% of the institution’s known history. In fact, realistically, those seeds didn’t take root until the 17th century, and didn’t bloom until the 18th. Which means it took 100-200 years for those principles to assert themselves to the detriment of the institution of slavery.

          Intrinsic in this is the equation of slavery with anti-homosexual animus, but such a comparison is beyond absurd. Atrocities against homosexuals are front-page news, and they are typically singular events (Charlie Howard, if you know who he is, rocked me and my state–not because that behavior was typical, but because it happened at all). I would rather live (and indeed have repeatedly made that choice) in many gay neighborhoods over most straight neighborhoods: homosexuals tend to do better economically than heterosexuals, at least in the West, and they also tend to be better behaved neighbors, regardless of what’s going on inside their homes (the intimate partner violence rates are as high, and many studies claim higher, among homosexuals as heterosexuals). In my experience they are nicer and more accepting, which is typical of out-groups such as left-handed Arabs like me.

        • I’m not declaring a causal relationship, simply rebutting one. It is equally valid to say “Christianity took 1,400 years to abolish slavery”

          I say that in response to someone declaring that Christianity ended slavery. I’d never say it without that provocation because Christianity obviously did nothing to abolish slavery. Read the book—it’s not there. People who happened to be Christian ended it. Maybe they really believed that the overarching message in the Bible was an anti- rather than pro-slavery message, or maybe they were simply converting their humanist thinking into a language society could accept.

          those who focused on the fundamental messages of Christianity (toleration, universal agape, renunciation of vengeance, etc.)

          I don’t see those as the fundamental messages of Christianity.

          Are you a Christian? You can certainly say that you see these as fundamental, but it’s not in the Bible like that. You keep trying to abrogate the OT away, but the god described in the OT is the very same one that’s supposed to be around today. Marcionism tried to jettison the OT (smart move!), but Christianity didn’t.

        • Andy Robinson

          PS – I’d point out that Karl Marx explicitly credited capitalism with creating the material conditions and leisure OF THE PROLETARIAT necessary for such social revolutions as the abolition of slavery.

          Although he was a foul-mouthed racist in his exchanges with Engels and other contemporaries.

        • Slavery was an intrinsic part of the Biblical and pre-Biblical world and indeed the whole world until the late 19th century, which doesn’t change the fact that it was Judeo-Christian moral and philosophical principles that brought slavery to an end.

          God supported both slavery and indentured servitude in the Bible. That makes God and the Bible look bad.

          “it was Judeo-Christian moral and philosophical principles that brought slavery to an end”? That sounds doubtful. If it were the case, it would’ve done it in the 400s or so when it had control of Europe.

          The Bible can be used to argue against slavery (not directly, of course), and people who abhorred slavery for non-Christian reasons were able to twist the Bible to make an anti-slavery argument. That’s great, but let’s not pretend that Yahweh or Jesus or Christianity were anti-slavery.

        • Andy Robinson

          Yes, God did. I’m not sure what point you think you are making, because slavery was endemic when the Bible was written.

          Perhaps you think I’m making a historical argument of the Bible as fact or the literal word of God? Nope. But as a guide for human behavior, the Christian Bible is the BEST of all the Abrahamaic religions, and contains all the elements of toleration and universal agape associated with secular humanism and the kinder, gentler atheistic creeds (but NOT any species of collectivism, alas).

        • I’m not sure what point you think you are making, because slavery was endemic when the Bible was written.

          True. And God, the Bible, Christianity, etc. didn’t do any better with slavery than anyone else.

          My point: I’m attacking the idea of a the OT god as good.

          as a guide for human behavior, the Christian Bible is the BEST of all the Abrahamaic religions

          And this species of nightshade is the least toxic. I still don’t want any.

          and contains all the elements of toleration and universal agape associated with secular humanism and the kinder, gentler atheistic creeds

          You mean that the Bible can be mined to find a message of tolerance and love? Agreed, but who cares. You put your hand into the sock puppet and make it say one thing, and Westboro Baptist makes it say another. A chameleon Bible is useless.

        • Andy Robinson

          The OT God was an @sshole. Or certainly comes across that way. Maybe he just had bad writers? 😉

          “You mean that the Bible can be mined…”

          No, I mean that is the central message of Christianity. You may mine it to find contradictions, and you may indict the behavior of its followers, but the objective message of the Christian Bible is exactly that–and quite explicit, I might add, throughout the New Testament.

        • Yes, Yahweh was an asshole. That asshole is still the guy in charge today, according to Christian dogma. That defeats “the central message of Christianity is love.”

          Worse, the NT is where the doctrine of hell comes from. Bizarrely, the testament with the loving Jesus turns out to be the one with the most unloving policy of all.!

        • Andy Robinson

          Well I can’t argue with illogic like that… 😉

        • Andy Robinson

          “You can select a verse to say one thing but someone else can find two that say something else.”

          This is a trivial analysis of any religious text: a keyword search without respect to context.

          But this analysis fails for both Christianity and Islam. Islam has extensive support for toleration, but those verses were the first revealed (the Meccan verses), whereas those exhorting believers to violence and dhimmification of non-believers were revealed latter (the Medinan) and ABROGATE the Meccan versus where they conflict.

          So it is with Christianity: Jesus Christ explicitly stated that his new laws abrogated all that came before where they conflicted, and his new laws were those of toleration and agape.

          Thus, one who claims Islam is a “religion of peace” is ignoring the explicit canonical context of the Quran. One who claims Leviticus is a model for the treatment of homosexuals is ignoring the explicit canonical context of the Bible.

          This brings us back to the axiom that humans will use any philosophy, from religion to science, to gain and maintain power over others. To claim intolerant Christians are the fundamental threat to homosexual rights is to ignore the history of the last 250 years, and particularly the last 20, where “intolerant Christians” overwhelmingly supported what I would consider absurd expansions of the rights of identity groups (by absurd, I mean the creation of positive rights TO things, as opposed to rights from interference in their affairs).

        • Greg G.

          So it is with Christianity: Jesus Christ explicitly stated that his new laws abrogated all that came before where they conflicted, and his new laws were those of toleration and agape.

          That is pretty much what Marcion was saying in the second century. He was rejected by Christianity. We tend to argue with Christians the same way you are arguing. But they reject it. They want to tell us about “objective morality” but abrogation works against them. They want it both ways.

          You are telling us what Christians should believe and we are trying to tell you that not all that many Christians do believe that and will argue against it, depending on the subject.

          This brings us back to the axiom that humans will use any philosophy, from religion to science, to gain and maintain power over others. To claim intolerant Christians are the fundamental threat to homosexual rights is to ignore the history of the last 250 years, and particularly the last 20, where “intolerant Christians” overwhelmingly supported what I would consider absurd expansions of the rights of identity groups (by absurd, I mean the creation of positive rights TO things, as opposed to rights from interference in their affairs).

          Nobody was fighting for gay marriage in this country until the religious conservatives made it an issue to inflame the passions of the intolerant right to get out and vote for their candidates. That ignited the people who didn’t like religious conservatives telling them they couldn’t get married and started a battle that the conservatives lost. They scored an own goal. Religious conservatives still hate it but they are adjusting. It took them a while before they were willing to allow interracial marriage, too.

          If Christianity was leading the way on these issues, they should have been settled a thousand years ago.

        • “You can select a verse to say one thing but someone else can find two that say something else.”
          This is a trivial analysis of any religious text: a keyword search without respect to context.

          No, it’s actually pretty easy to find contradictory passages that are, indeed, contradictory in their correct context.

          Are you saying that the Bible is no more reliable than any other book of mythology?

        • Andy Robinson

          You’re expanding the conflict. The Old Testament is abrogated almost in its entirety by the New, with the exception of the Ten Commandments (which are themselves a decent code of conduct, as a whole).

        • The Old Testament is abrogated almost in its entirety by the New

          Huh? Where in the New Testament does it say that? And where in the OT does it say that it will be abrogated, but that’s OK?

          with the exception of the Ten Commandments (which are themselves a decent code of conduct, as a whole).

          Huh??? Where’s the specific un-abrogation for the 10 Cs?

          And which set do you think is decent, the original in Ex. 20 or the new ‘n improved version in Ex. 34? I’m assuming the latter, since that story ends “[Moses] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments,” and that set was the one that went into the Ark of the Covenant.

          When you say that it’s decent, how do you square that with the fact that the first 4 (of Ex. 20—whoops, now I’m getting these two versions mixed up myself!) would be unconstitutional law in the US today?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Decalogue is a Christian fantasy.

          Aseret ha-Dibrot

          According to Jewish tradition, G-d gave the Jewish people 613 mitzvot (commandments). All 613 of those mitzvot are equally sacred, equally binding and equally the word of G-d. All of these mitzvot are treated as equally important, because human beings, with our limited understanding of the universe, have no way of knowing which mitzvot are more important in the eyes of the Creator. Pirkei Avot, a book of the Mishnah, teaches “Be as meticulous in performing a ‘minor’ mitzvah as you are with a ‘major’ one, because you don’t know what kind of reward you’ll get for various mitzvot.” It also says, “Run after the most ‘minor’ mitzvah as you would after the most ‘important’ and flee from transgression, because doing one mitzvah draws you into doing another, and doing one transgression draws you into doing another, and because the reward for a mitzvah is a mitzvah and the punishment for a transgression is a transgression.” In other words, every mitzvah is important, because even the most seemingly trivial mitzvot draw you into a pattern of leading your life in accordance with the Creator’s wishes, rather than in accordance with your own.

          There are 613 “commandments”. Most of which are stark raving bonkers. Christians cherry-pick which to adhere to and which not. That’s “The Law” that Jesus was not here to change one jot or tittle in his day. Jesus and his followers were Jews, remember?

          http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm

        • Andy Robinson

          Evangelical atheism in action 😉

        • You get a gold star for snappy comebacks! Where you need work is when you don’t have those comebacks. Respond with evidence rather than just ignoring comments that attack your argument.

        • Greg G.

          Andy has been responding prolifically. I count 8 replies that Disqus says were 3 hours ago and 7 more in the four hour window before that. There were several lengthy ones yesterday. I tried to count them but several were doublets due to reposts after moderation triggers were altered, so many I didn’t bother counting.

        • He had been quite prolific, but he dismissed a dozen of my comments with a weak “these are all kinda the same.” I get swamped myself, but this seems to fit his MO. He is good at giving a response that seems compelling on the surface but not so good at providing the backup–either a citation or his own deeper justification that would support his point.

          His “monotheism > polytheism” and “Islam killed way more than Christianity” arguments come to mind as ones where his forces were arrayed in a shallow formation. Very easy to push through.

        • Greg G.

          I wasn’t very busy at work last night but I couldn’t keep up with his responses to me, let alone reading everyone else’s responses to him. I was impressed.

          I think David M. had the “monotheism > polytheism” argument, though. But then I may have missed more than I thought.

        • I didn’t read it all, either. He ignored my request for clarification for why monotheism is better than polytheism. But you say that he had a good justification? I can look for that.

        • BertB

          I can’t imagine what possible rationale could be given for favoring monotheism over polytheism as a general principle.

        • Susan

          I can’t imagine what possible rationale could be given for favoring monotheism over polytheism as a general principle.

          Neither can I.

          It’s not up to us to imagine it. It’s his job to show it.

          But when asked to do so, he didn’t.

        • Greg G.

          Here is a link to the conversation between David M and Grimlock. DM gives his explanation just above.

          http://disq.us/p/23303s0

        • BertB

          I read it and I see nothing there that challenges my assertion.

        • Greg G.

          Exactly.

        • Pofarmer

          Is it more likely there would be s single powerful being or multiple powerful beings?

        • Greg G.

          If the state of things is conducive to the formation of a god thingy, is it more likely to form one god thingy or multiple god thingies?

          If the state of things is conducive to the formation of a bubble (soap, water, air, gravitational field maybe, and agitation), is it more likely to form one bubble or many bubbles?

        • BertB

          I have no idea. Since there is no evidence that any of them exist, the question is similar to asking how many angels can dance on a pinhead.

        • Greg G.

          I think Grimlock was trying to get David M. to say why monotheism was better but it just seemed to come down to a personal preference.

        • Andy Robinson

          Not when the attacks are in bad faith. If for example I am wrong (and I am not) that a minority of scientists are atheists, and I say, “OK, I was wrong on that count,” the response–and we have seen it–is that the error is proof that I have no “credibility.”
          Fallacy of composition, again, and picking nits: even if I make a factual error, it must be part of a premise that is either or both necessary and sufficient to justify my conclusion. And even then, I am allowed to salvage my argument by qualifying it.
          But when one’s purpose is to try to poke holes in an extemporaneous argument, claiming victory and “loss of credibility” when one believes one has found such a hole, and when one will not allow the argument to advance but instead focuses on that imagined hole, that is argument in bad faith.
          I explain this to you because you know it to be true, and because I do not sense you are arguing in bad faith — but if I ever got that impression, I would happily dismiss you with a “snappy comeback” as well.
          You’ve sort of done this above, where you treat an attempt to qualify a misunderstanding as equivocating over the religious (philosophical, really) component of murders. But I will continue to try to explain myself unless you demonstrate bad faith.

        • If for example I am wrong (and I am not) that a minority of scientists are atheists, and I say, “OK, I was wrong on that count,” the response–and we have seen it–is that the error is proof that I have no “credibility.”

          Yes, if you admit an error and move on, that’s easy. When you dig in your heels, neither providing the evidence nor retreating in your position, then your credibility drops.

          When you have a track record of providing citations that back up your points, the few times that you don’t aren’t that big a deal. Since your credibility is indeed in question, I suggest you error on the side of providing those sources, at least until you have some credibility.

          Fallacy of composition, again, and picking nits: even if I make a factual error, it must be part of a premise that is either or both necessary and sufficient to justify my conclusion. And even then, I am allowed to salvage my argument by qualifying it.

          Sure. You make a claim that sounds surprising or weird. I ask for a citation. You provide it. And we go merrily on our way.

          I explain this to you because you know it to be true, and because I do not sense you are arguing in bad faith — but if I ever got that impression, I would happily dismiss you with a “snappy comeback” as well.

          Some people, when challenged with a valid criticism will provide evidence to back up their claim (or rephrase their claim so that it’s more believable). Other people will know they have nothing, refuse to admit the failure, and change the subject somehow (like making a snappy comeback).

          You want to be accepted as someone who has backing for the claims he makes, and so do I.

        • Andy Robinson

          I don’t care about being accepted — but “acceptance” is a social concept that has nothing to do with rationality; and your conception that you ought to browbeat someone for “citations” over nits in extemporaneous discussion is another substitution for rational argumentation

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh ffs…without supporting your bullshit claims, that’s all they are, bullshit claims. Don’t make silly throw away “nits” if you don’t want the nits picked. A large enough number of nits and the result is an infestation. We’ve seen nothing but nits from you so far. I notice you avoid the meat and make your meal from the nits getting picked. There’s nothing left but ridicule and mockery of the rest of your fuckwittery in such circumstances.

        • Andy Robinson

          No argument as usual, eh Amos?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nah…that’s your bag…and just about everyone here has you pegged on it ya Dime Bar.

          But I suppose since ya don’t understand the definitions of the words ya use, it can be somewhat expected.

          argument:-a reason or set of reasons given in support of an idea, action or theory.

          Ya know, like when making the assertion that a “small minority of scientists are atheists”…with no support, that sort of thing.

          Pro Tip:- a “snappy comeback” such as “Evangelical atheism in action” is not an argument either. Though it does demonstrate the vacuity of your position, again.

        • Andy Robinson

          Amos must be a word in another language for “Dunning-Krueger sufferer” 😉

          I respond to non-arguments with non-arguments. There is no inconsistency there.

          And here are some real pro-tips:

          1. Making the argument about me — not simply insults, which are meaningless, but avoiding the topic under discussion in favor of attacking your opponent — is ad hominem, another fallacy of irrelevance and diversion.

          2. “You won’t cite sources, so you [are wrong|have no credibility|etc.]” is an argument from ignorance. The rhetorical burden of proof does not require an interlocutor to provide evidence that his opponent can find as easily as he, particularly in an extemporaneous discussion. If sources are not cited, you either look for yourself, suspend judgement (agree to disagree) or proceed on the assumption the claims are correct, until such point as you find a logical flaw or accept the argument as presented.

          It is a child’s trick and bad faith to continue to interrupt the discussion over structural quibbles and factual nits — and that is exactly what you are doing here, and continue to do. You are not impinging my argument in the slightest, and only pointing out your inability to dispassionately argue a point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Amos must be a word in another language for “Dunning-Krueger [sic]sufferer” 😉

          Spooooiiiinnnng!

          1. Making the argument about me — not simply insults, which are meaningless, but avoiding the topic under discussion in favor of attacking your opponent — is ad hominem, another fallacy of irrelevance and diversion.

          Says the eejit that replied to a comment with “Evangelical atheist” as a response.

          Another fallacy you haven’t a clue about. There is no argument about you. The argument is about your inability to respond with support for your position. There can be no argumentum ad hominem because you’ve made no argument to not attack. You made an unsupported assertion.

          2. “You won’t cite sources, so you [are wrong|have no credibility|etc.]” is an argument from ignorance.

          Whaaaa? It’s you that is making the argumentum ad ignorantiam. You are trying to shift the burden of proof. But that’s okay, because I’ve supported my claim that you are talking sillypants when asserting that a “small minority of scientists are atheists” while you’ve provided squat.

          The rhetorical burden of proof does not require an interlocutor to provide evidence that his opponent can find as easily as he, particularly in an extemporaneous discussion.

          Well, yes unfortunately the onus probandi is yours. If you now want to make your position that it was a claim that can’t be substantiated, that’s fine. Why not learn how to engage before saying silly shite.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy)

          If sources are not cited, you either look for yourself,…

          Wise ta feck up!

          I’m calling you out on your bogus assertion. It’s not my job to defend your position ya moron. Though just for the record, I did look. I find nothing that supports you assertion. I’m guessing neither have you, or you’d ante up.

          …suspend judgement (agree to disagree)…

          Why would I suspend judgement (agree to disagree) when all you’ve down is blow it out yer arse, and all the evidence shows you’re wrong?

          …or proceed on the assumption the claims are correct, until such point as you find a logical flaw or accept the argument as presented.

          Your claim is incorrect. You’ve failed to support it. The logical flaws are numerous, top of the list is the fallacy of ipse dixit.

          And for the last time, there is no argument on your part to accept as presented. You made an unsupported bullshit assertion and can’t/won’t defend it. You lose.

        • Andy Robinson

          Flip remarks are not ad hominem — they are your signal that you are failing to meet the bar of rational argumentation. Do better, and I will respond accordingly.

          “It’s you who are making the argumentum ad ignorantiam. You are trying to shift the burden of proof.”

          An argument from ignorance is either “you can’t prove me wrong so I’m right,” “you can’t prove you’re right, so your wrong” [ your form ], or more generally, that all questions resolve to logical states of “true” or “false” (the other logical states are don’t know, unknown on a set or continuum, and can’t know).

          I’ve not offered any of those forms here, or for the past many decades. So, you’re wrong, again 😉

          The rhetorical burden of proof is on the affirmative claimant to support his case logically and factually. Me refusing to provide information you can easily find yourself is NOT shifting the burden of proof, and your claim to that effect is an argument from ignorance: “you won’t ‘prove’ you’re right, so you’re wrong.”

          “Why should I suspend judgement”

          Because that’s what adults do when they cannot agree.

          “Your claim is incorrect.”

          You have provided neither a logical or factual basis for this statement, and by the way, WHAT claim is incorrect?

          “You’ve failed to support it.”

          Argument from ignorance, again. My “failure to support” in terms of refusing to answer pedantic requests for “citations” does not constitute a logical or factual flaw in the argument, nor a transfer of the burden of proof to you. Sorry.

          “You lose.”

          I don’t. For one thing, there is no “lose” in rational argumentation, and for another, your petulant stamping of your feet and saying “you’re wrong” does not constitute logic or evidence. Just petulance.

          You can do better, so do better.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Flip remarks are not ad hominem — they are your signal that you are failing to meet the bar of rational argumentation.

          No they’re not ad hominem, they are observations of your competence. You have failed to reach the bar of rational argumentation since ya got here, and not just with me. What you are now attempting is tone troll the thread.

          Do better, and I will respond accordingly.

          I could give zero fucks if ya never responded to me ever again. I’m just showing your fuckwittery for what it is, and that doesn’t require your interaction.

          An argument from ignorance is either “you can’t prove me wrong so I’m right,” “you can’t prove you’re right, so your wrong” [ your form ], or more generally, that all questions resolve to logical states of “true” or “false” (the other logical states are don’t know, unknown on a set or continuum, and can’t know).

          Are you naturally this dense? You made the ontological claim that a small minority of scientists are atheist.

          Appeals to ignorance are often used to suggest the other side needs to do the proving. Rules of logic place the burden (responsibility) of proving something on the person making the claim.

          Your position seems to be, “you can’t prove me wrong so I’m right”. You seem to be ignoring the various sets of data that suggest you are wrong.

          “you can’t prove you’re right, so your wrong” [ your form ]

          Your wrong, because the assertion is wrong. The argument from ignorance only applies when there is no knowledge to support either side. You claim that it exists to support you’re right, but it’s not down to you to provide your onus probandi. That’s fallacious. I’ve looked, I can’t find it. I’ve provided data that shows that more than a small minority of scientists are atheists. My position is not the one of ignorance.

          I’ve not offered any of those forms here, or for the past many decades. So, you’re wrong, again 😉

          So now your just plain lying.

          The rhetorical burden of proof is on the affirmative claimant to support his case logically and factually.

          Yeah. That’s you. Your claim. Your burden.

          Me refusing to provide information you can easily find yourself is NOT shifting the burden of proof,…

          Your right. The burden is still yours. What you are doing is something else. You are shifting your responsibility to support your claim. So you’ve still not met your burden.

          …and your claim to that effect is an argument from ignorance: “you won’t ‘prove’ you’re right, so you’re wrong.”

          You are misusing the fallacy.

          Argument From Ignorance. We don’t know that something isn’t true, therefore we should assume it is true. So goes a fallacious argument from ignorance. The fallacy can occasionally be massaged slightly into a much more palatable and seemingly wise saying: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

          “While this sounds pithy, it’s not strictly true,” Novella writes. “Absence of evidence is, in fact, evidence of absence. It’s just not absolute proof of absence.”

          Neither you nor I are claiming there is no evidence, you just refuse to provide any to support your nonsense. While ignoring all the counter data. That is not the same as not knowing something isn’t true.

          Your wrong because it’s quite obvious you can’t support your claim, not that you won’t.

          Because that’s what adults do when they cannot agree.

          Absolute moronic poppycock.

          Flat Earther: The world is flat.

          Me: You are talking nonsense, support that assertion.

          Flat Earther: It ain’t down to me, that’s for you to research.

          Me: Whaaaaa? Are you crazy?

          Flat Earther: Then you should suspend judgement.

          Me: Aye right, cheerio ya imbecile.

          You have provided neither a logical or factual basis for this statement, and by the way, WHAT claim is incorrect?

          Priceless! I’ve provided no logical or factual basis for the statement, whatever it is I’ve claimed is incorrect. You’ve actually lost the friggin’ plot.

          The claim that only a small minority of scientists are atheists. Try and stay focused.

          Argument from ignorance, again.

          Nope…and the sooner ya learn the fallacy, the sooner you’ll stop making an arse of yerself.

          My “failure to support” in terms of refusing to answer pedantic requests for “citations” does not constitute a logical or factual flaw in the argument, nor a transfer of the burden of proof to you.

          Already dealt with. And for the nth time, you didn’t make an argument ya mutton head, you made an erroneous unsupported assertion. And that’s the way it’ll remain until you own your burden. I care not about your inability to support your fuckwittery any longer. That boat has sailed. If wanting an adversary to support their bullshit assertions is classed as pedantic, then so be it. It’s how the rest of us here rolls.

          Sorry.

          Yeah, ya are, in more ways than one.

          I don’t. For one thing, there is no “lose” in rational argumentation,…

          Where do you pull this nonsense from? There has been no rational argumentation, when will you grasp the concept.

          …and for another, your petulant stamping of your feet and saying “you’re wrong” does not constitute logic or evidence. Just petulance.

          Bwaaaahahaha! You’re confusing petulance with frustration and exasperation in dealing with a Dime Bar too stupid to know how stupid he is. It’s okay though, it’ll pass, unlike your stupidity.

          What constitutes logic and evidence is logic and evidence. You’ve provided neither.

          You can do better, so do better.

          When ya give me reason to do better, perhaps I’ll consider it. Am not holding my breath though.

        • you ought to browbeat someone for “citations”

          I don’t know what planet you come from, but on this one, you will get challenged when you make startling claims. The easy solution is to convince us, with argument and data from reliable sources, that your claims are correct. If you continue to stonewall–maintain the claims without change but refuse to provide backup–then your credibility quickly falls. I’m surprised this is news.

        • Andy Robinson

          Challenge is fine, but “provide citations or be discredited” is an argument from ignorance. I am not going to dance to that tune. You are as able as I am to verify anything I say, and what’s more, it will be a test of YOUR credibility and integrity to either continue the argument on a provisional basis accepting what I claim, or to seek to verify my claims on your own.

          In all cases the goal is truth, not to prove the other guy wrong.

          That is in fact the mechanism of science. If I present findings and a procedure, you do not come to me and say “prove it” because my findings are my findings. You attempt to reproduce the results in good faith.

          When I am recapitulating the results of decades of study, decades of which occurred before all these sources were digitized, I am not going to take the time to go dig up the references. If you want to claim that makes my “credibility fall,” that’s your business. I don’t care, and that breezy dismissal of uncomfortable arguments doesn’t advance your credibility, either.

          You know, in your heart of hearts, that you haven’t proved anything by that mechanism, and have not advanced any search for truth.

        • Challenge is fine, but “provide citations or be discredited” is an argument from ignorance.

          “You don’t have citations? Then your argument has been proven false” is a fallacy. Is that what happened? You certainly didn’t get that from me.

          By contrast, asking for backup evidence is the charitable thing to do. You get the benefit of the doubt.

          I don’t see what there is to complain about.

          You are as able as I am to verify anything I say, and what’s more, it will be a test of YOUR credibility and integrity to either continue the argument on a provisional basis accepting what I claim, or to seek to verify my claims on your own.

          And I’m not going to dance to that tune. You’ve been shown that asking for evidence is what’s done around here. If you’re allergic to that, then don’t bother commenting. On the other hand, if you have surprising data that you can back up, then you’ve taught us something, which is much appreciated.

          Are you seriously saying that you’ll make surprising claims and that if I doubt then, then I can just get off my lazy ass and try to verify them myself? Noop.

          In all cases the goal is truth, not to prove the other guy wrong.

          OK. Then meet us halfway by providing citations when asked for them. Or, if your claims are nothing more than your uninformed opinions, then tell us that.

          When I am recapitulating the results of decades of study, decades of which occurred before all these sources were digitized, I am not going to take the time to go dig up the references.

          Then do everyone, particularly you, a favor. When someone asks for citations, immediately respond that you don’t have any. Don’t keep this a secret.

          If you want to claim that makes my “credibility fall,” that’s your business. I don’t care, and that breezy dismissal of uncomfortable arguments doesn’t advance your credibility, either.

          If your claims have no backup, they’re just the opinion of someone I don’t know. If they make no sense and, after much effort, I can’t cajole any good reason to believe them out of you, yeah, I’m going to dismiss them. Obviously.

          Double check those uncomfortable claims. I’ve seen none.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The clown seems to think it is up to everyone else to support his bullshit. Ya couldn’t make it up ffs.

          He must be training extra hard to be so asinine with just the one head.

          ipse dixit:- a dogmatic and unproven statement.

        • Andy Robinson

          “This clown seems to think it is up to everyone else to support his bullshit.”

          Amos seems to think that this forum is place for mutual mental masturbation, as oppose to rational argumentation.

          The entirety of your rebuttal to date is synopsized in your comment below awaiting moderation:

          “First of all, you haven’t demonstrated that you are not wrong.”

          That is a pure argument from ignorance: “you can’t prove you’re right to my arbitrary standard of satisfaction, so you’re wrong.”

          Again, yours is the argument of the child, and is not rational argumentation.

        • Yet another non-religious yet dogmatic person (I’m thinking of our friend Mustafa). Must be our lucky month.

        • Andy Robinson

          “You’ve been shown…”

          Seriously? Are you five?

          “If your claims are no more than uninformed opinions…”

          Another argument from ignorance, in this case that an argument presented without citations is an “uninformed opinion.” I do not render “uninformed opinions.” My opinions represent many decades of study both in formal academic settings and autodidactically. I don’t ask you to grant me any authority on that basis, but “the benefit of the doubt” — the rhetorical principle of charity — is a default, not something I must earn through your approval. And I think you know I am not simply “talking out my ass.”

          “Double check those uncomfortable claims. I’ve seen none.”

          Quite the contrary, the idea that faith is not “the enemy of logic and evidence,” and the idea that there are fundamental differences in the murderous behaviors of different religious and philosophical groups have had you and others very fired up.

          When someone comes to me and wants to debate Marxism, even though I’ve digested everything Marx and Engels ever wrote back during the Cold War, and even though I’ve faced almost every defense of the failure of Marxian communism, I EMBRACE the opportunity for the debate, and don’t spend a lot of time asking for citations.

          If I ask for citations, it’s along the lines of “can you point me to more details on this?” If it’s a factual claim that seems outlandish to me, it makes more sense for me to research it in good faith. But even if I don’t find confirmation or refutation, I still have a choice to proceed provisionally accepting that claim, or to simply say “I’m out.”

          But the default position of many here seems to be “give me citations,” and then to refuse to continue the discussion unless that demand is met or their terms. That is not rational argumentation, that is the argumentation of a child or logical dilettante.

        • One thing I should point out: this is just my reaction. Others may have different reactions, and I don’t speak for them.

          Seriously? Are you five?

          What I said was offensive . . . for what reason, now?

          Another argument from ignorance, in this case that an argument presented without citations is an “uninformed opinion.”

          Someone’s gotta read more clearer. Not what I said.

          I don’t ask you to grant me any authority on that basis, but “the benefit of the doubt” — the rhetorical principle of charity — is a default, not something I must earn through your approval.

          Uh, yeah. I said that. Of course, when you refuse to back up your claims or in any other way give us a reason to believe them, then you’ve lost that benefit.

          “Double check those uncomfortable claims. I’ve seen none.”
          Quite the contrary, the idea that faith is not “the enemy of logic and evidence,” and the idea that there are fundamental differences in the murderous behaviors of different religious and philosophical groups have had you and others very fired up.

          Maybe you’ve made others uncomfortable. Not me.

          Like I said.

          When someone comes to me and wants to debate Marxism, even though I’ve digested everything Marx and Engels ever wrote back during the Cold War, and even though I’ve faced almost every defense of the failure of Marxian communism, I EMBRACE the opportunity for the debate, and don’t spend a lot of time asking for citations.

          And now you’re in dick-swinging mode. You may have very well grounded opinions. It’s a shame you’ll never bother to show this.

          But the default position of many here seems to be “give me citations,” and then to refuse to continue the discussion unless that demand is met or their terms. That is not rational argumentation, that is the argumentation of a child or logical dilettante.

          When you do your best to position yourself as a crank, things won’t go well. But perhaps that fits with your plans just fine.

          The value of today’s conversation is that you’ve made clear that you don’t provide citations. That might make things go more smoothly in the future.

          But now it seems you’re determined to dig in your heels and declare that your approach is right. That’s a waste of time. We apparently have different approaches. Let’s leave it at that.

        • Andy Robinson

          I accept your criticism. But it’s not that I won’t provide citations; I tend not to provide citations of things that are either easy to verify, or that I have gleaned from sources to which I cannot link, and do not always carry around with me.

          As far as dick swinging, the point is that _I_ don’t demand citations. I may ask for them, but if someone of reasonable persuasion, and I consider you such a one, makes a claim I question, I’ll check it myself, and my asking will not be of the form “provide this or else,” but “do you have further documentation?” If not, I can walk away or continue granting the claim provisionally.

          My “plans” are rational argumentation. The resource I recommend is _Attacking Faulty Reasoning_ by T. Edward Damer. It’s a textbook, and not cheap, but the newest edition (7th? 8th?) I _believe_ addresses the “citation” issue (I have the 5th edition).

        • the point is that _I_ don’t demand citations. I may ask for them

          Yup. Me, too. Give citations or not, as you choose. That will change how I evaluate the claim. I will very, very rarely be motivated to go justify it myself.

          if someone of reasonable persuasion, and I consider you such a one, makes a claim I question, I’ll check it myself

          Why?? Why not ask me where/how I got that information/conclusion? Wouldn’t that be easier?

          my asking will not be of the form “provide this or else,”

          Or else what?? Obviously, or else I have little reason to accept your claim. I’m not threatening your life.

          The resource I recommend is _Attacking Faulty Reasoning_ by T. Edward Damer. It’s a textbook, and not cheap, but the newest edition (7th? 8th?) I _believe_ addresses the “citation” issue (I have the 5th edition).

          This is yet another vague reference. If that’s all you want to give, that’s fine. Just make that clear the back and forth doesn’t have to happen.

          Our current topic is a tangent of a tangent, but I would be fascinated to hear Damer justify your position. (Having said that, your position seems to be morphing into mine. Perhaps it’s been a communication problem.)

        • MR

          How do we tell someone here for sincere dialog versus a professional ‌bullshitter?

        • At the moment, the conversation has turned where he’s simply defending his position. My response: I don’t care. We’ve laid out our different approaches; thanks for sharing.

          The good news is that if he continues to make unevidenced claims, we’ll know to not waste time pressing him for sources.

        • BertB

          You, and everybody responding to him have been incredibly patient, and for the most part, civil, although that’s pretty hard to maintain with his flip arrogance. I have followed this thread for a long time, getting more and more frustrated with him. I have to admit he is a clever dodger. But, I can’t take any more. I am unsubscribing to this thread. I’ll be back for others.

        • I hear you.

        • BertB

          I have posted a couple hundred articles on the A Tippling Philosopher blog run by Jonathan Pearce. I like what you have here.

        • MR

          clever dodger

          =D

          The things people aspire to be.

        • BertB

          Yup.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My nose for fuckwits early on is reasonably astute. My tolerance for said fuckwits is probably the shortest on here.

          Very rarely does it pan out that my spidey senses are wrong. Though a wish it was not the case in some cases.

        • MR

          Sigh…, this is such a tempting proposition. I may need a hiatus. I’m afraid the professional ‌shit-disturbers are only going to get worse with the coming election.

        • We seem to be in repeat mode. If it’s too much hassle for you to provide references, I’m very unlikely to do the work to validate the claims. If you were my guru, your statements would be correct until proven wrong and I’d be eager to do the work. You’re not.

          In all cases the goal is truth, not to prove the other guy wrong.

          ?? My goal isn’t to prove you wrong. Get a thicker skin.

          If you have something new that is correct and is relevant to what I write about, I’d better adopt that as part of my collection of facts, whether I like it or not.

          That is in fact the mechanism of science. If I present findings and a procedure, you do not come to me and say “prove it” because my findings are my findings.

          If you write a paper with your conclusions but no data, no one would publish it. That’s me.

          If you write a paper with the data, I probably don’t need to replicate your experiment. The source would have credibility.

          You attempt to reproduce the results in good faith.

          You think that’s how science works? No one accepts the conclusions of a paper until they’ve reproduced the experiment?

          When I am recapitulating the results of decades of study, decades of which occurred before all these sources were digitized, I am not going to take the time to go dig up the references.

          That’s fine. I’ve told you how I’m obliged to treat that.

          If you want to claim that makes my “credibility fall,” that’s your business. I don’t care, and that breezy dismissal of uncomfortable arguments doesn’t advance your credibility, either.

          Perhaps you have a blind spot here, but “uncomfortable” has absolutely nothing to do with it. “Muslims have killed far, far more people for religious reasons than Christians” (or whatever it was that you were arguing) is surprising, not uncomfortable. Ditto “monotheism > polytheism.”

          You know, in your heart of hearts, that you haven’t proved anything by that mechanism, and have not advanced any search for truth.

          Of course I’ve not proven something. I never said otherwise. When some crank gives me a surprising and unevidenced conclusion, I often (as I did with you) give the guy the benefit of the doubt that the conclusion might well be true and ask for evidence. If he refuses to provide it, I move on. Life’s short.

          How is it that you have this attitude? Do you come from a circle of friends that all hang on your every word and accept what you say as almost surely true, whether it’s surprising or not? I’m afraid you won’t find that reception here (unless you earn it).

        • Pofarmer

          The problem is, you made several claims which appear to be wrong by orders of magnitude. The .01% for sexual anomalies, for instance. The 240 million killed by islam. The “vast majority” of scientists are religious. This makes you appear either dishonest or ignorant.

        • Andy Robinson

          Disorders of sexual differentiation (DSDs) such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) and mixed gonadal dysgenesis (MGD) occur at a rate of about 1:10,000 to 1:15,000 births, world wide. That is a probability of 0.0001, or .01%.

          The rate for all possible genetic sexual abnormalities is about 1:100 or about 1%. This includes abnormalities such as extra X or Y chromosomes, most of which are never detected, and which have no clear connection to outcomes such as gender dysphoria (DSM 5, transgenderism).

          So that explains an “orders of magnitude difference” depending on which datum you choose, that has no effect on the argument: that they are extreme outliers.

          “The 240 million killed by Islam.”

          I provided multiple sources in response to @Bob Seidensticker, both books (Patai 1973 and Durant 1954) and Internet links, to document the disparities. But even if I had not, that doesn’t void the argument.

          “The ‘vast majority of scientist are religious.”

          I didn’t say that. I said the minority were atheists. To which others responded with National Academy of Science membership statistics, as if a non-random sample of 249 out of a population of an estimated 7 million (I posted the link to that estimate as well, though I don’t think it’s a real number, but a WAG) is statistically meaningful, and as if there is any causal relationship between atheism and elite scientific achievement (that atheism makes you a better scientist, or that being a scientist makes you an atheist).

          At best, they are concomitant, rather than related variables — like the fact that people who live in rural areas are more likely to commit suicide, and more likely to own a firearm, and therefore more likely to kill themselves with a gun. That does not mean the gun causes the suicide: it is the social and physical isolation that does that.

        • If you do want to give links, note that they don’t show up online (they do in the emailed version). They’re there; they just aren’t underlined or colored. My suggestion is either to put them in as the URL (with a space at the end) the old-fashioned way or to manually add an underline.

          Disqus. Don’t get me started.

        • Andy Robinson
        • Pofarmer

          Disorders of sexual differentiation (DSDs) such as congenital adrenal
          hyperplasia (CAH) and androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) and mixed
          gonadal dysgenesis (MGD) occur at a rate of about 1:10,000 to 1:15,000 births, world wide. That is a probability of 0.0001, or .01%.

          The rate for all possible genetic sexual abnormalities
          is about 1:100 or about 1%. This includes abnormalities such as extra X
          or Y chromosomes, most of which are never detected, and which have no
          clear connection to outcomes such as gender dysphoria (DSM 5,
          transgenderism).

          So that explains an “orders of magnitude
          difference” depending on which datum you choose, that has no effect on
          the argument: that they are extreme outliers.

          The closest number, according to the other link I posted, and also this link, puts the total number at about 1.7%. This isn’t an “Extreme outlier” 2% isn’t a large number, but it’s certainly significant, and common enough that there have been laws about Hermaphrodites throughout history and they show up in literature. And that 1.7% only applies if you don’t count homosexuals, who present as one sex but identify as another. This put’s the number at close to 10%. But frankly, I don’t know what you’re going on about, anyway, other than trying to extract an ought from an is.

          like the fact that people who live in rural areas are more likely to
          commit suicide, and more likely to own a firearm, and therefore more
          likely to kill themselves with a gun. That does not mean the gun causes
          the suicide: it is the social and physical isolation that does that.

          And yet when Australia decided to outlaw most guns, all suicides plummeted. Are you aware of research showing that just knowing a gun is available tends to make people more aggressive?

          I didn’t say that. I said the minority were atheists. To which others
          responded with National Academy of Science membership statistics, as if a
          non-random sample of 249 out of a population of an estimated 7 million
          (I posted the link to that estimate as well, though I don’t think it’s a
          real number, but a WAG) is statistically meaningful, and as if there is
          any causal relationship between atheism and elite scientific
          achievement (that atheism makes you a better scientist, or that being a
          scientist makes you an atheist)

          It’s quite common to extrapolate larger groups from smaller samples. It’s pretty much how statistics works. If you have a problem with it, then you need to show exactly why, or produce a study to contradict it. Otherwise we’re just talking your rectum-again.

        • Andy Robinson

          “I don’t know what you’re going on about.”

          You were asking how there could be 3-4 orders of magnitude differences between your numbers and mine. I am pointing out that the magnitude varies based on which data you are including. But no matter how you slice it, there is no basis for effectively amendment the constitution through judicial fiat for such a minority, whether it is 1% or 10%: the constitution requires 75% of STATES to approve an authorized amendment (who in turn require either a majority or super-majority of their residents to approve it), not 5 members of a 9-member Supreme Court.

          And creating a “right to marriage” is an effective constitutional amendment, as was a “right to abortion.” If someone asked me to vote for such amendments, I would vote for both, but no one did. And I am not tolerant of the least democratic branch of our government making such changes by fiat.

          Note the framers were fairly adamant that the constitution does not define or protect all possible rights. But if you are going to assert a right that has not been recognized previously, that calls for a constitutional amendment.

          “And yet when Australia decided to outlaw most guns, all suicides plummeted.”

          So you are claiming that an inanimate object exerts an influence on volitive human beings? That’s a bit supernatural.

          And that is not what happened in Australia: the NFA had no measurable effect on total homicide or suicide rates. https://melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2008n17.pdf

          “Are you aware of research…”

          Aggression would not account for suicide rates. What’s more, if you take the 25 states with the highest gun ownership compared to the 25 with lower gun ownership, the total homicide rates of the former are less than the later. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearm_death_rates_in_the_United_States_by_state#Murders

          Four of the five safest states in the US for both violent crime and property crime (Maine, NH, Vermont, and Wyoming) have higher than average gun ownership and no gun control to speak of. Since Maine passed right-to-carry in 2015, the homicide rate has dropped from 2.0 per 100,000 to 1.4 per 100,000.

          Since 1993, the total homicide rate has dropped over 50% and the gun homicide rate by over 40%, despite the fact that gun ownership has either increased slightly (Gallup) or decreased slightly (NORC) over that time period, and the total number of legal firearms has exploded – fbi.gov/ucr

          I am not making a causal claim, but such “research” would have to account for these apparent aberrations

          “It’s quite common to extrapolate large groups from smaller samples. It’s pretty much how statistics works..”

          You apparently have no idea how statistics works. For a sample to be used as a proxy for a population, it must be a significant and random sample.

          See https://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm and enter a population of 7 million, leave the confidence at 95%, and set the confidence interval to 3 (that means an error of +/-3%). You will come up with 1,067. If you want 99% confidence +/-3%, that sample increases to 1,849.

          The member of the NFA is not only less than 25% of that sample size, but it is not a random sample. As I pointed out, you might as well generalize American religious feelings by surveying the membership of the Westboro Baptist Church.

          It never ceases to amaze me the degree to which Church of Science followers will go to avoid actually practicing science–but this forum has provided excellent examples of such.

        • Pofarmer

          there is no basis for effectively amendment the constitution through judicial fiat for such a minority
          Equal protection under the law is a thing. Why should it matter what percentage of the population one makes up?
          Note the framers were fairly adamant that the constitution does not
          define or protect all possible rights. But if you are going to assert a
          right that has not been recognized previously, that calls for a
          constitutional amendment.

          The Constitution basically exists to define and LIMIT the government. The Framers recognized that the Constitution was not all encompassing, and possibly not all that clear. That’s why they provided the Supreme Court in the first place. It’s well within it’s powers to recognize the rights of groups under the constitution, and define what government can limit.
          And that is not what happened in Australia: the NFA had no measurable effect on total homicide or suicide rates. https://melbourneinstitute….
          And yet, later studies using different methods DO find statistically significant decreases in suicides, mainly in men, which are the majority of suicides.
          Results. The NFA had no additional statistically observable impact on firearm-related suicides in women (P = .09) and was associated with a statistically significant increase in the trend in men (P < .001)
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6187796/
          There are confounding factors in that Australia undertook major efforts to reduce suicides in 1995.
          You apparently have no idea how statistics works. For a sample to be used as a proxy for a population, it must be a significant and random sample.
          If you want to find out how many homeowners prefer a certain appliance, you would survey home owners. If you want to find out how many scientists are atheists, it seems you would poll scientists. Also note, those polled were not chosen for their religious views at all, but, because, in General, you have a group of scientists, which should be unrelated to religious belief. Unlike polling Catholics or Baptists, or whatever group of Christians for their religious beliefs. If you have a better method or a better sample then bring it.
          The recent survey of scientists tracks fairly closely with earlier
          polls that gauged scientists’ views on religion. The first of these was
          conducted in 1914 by Swiss-American psychologist James Leuba, who
          surveyed about 1,000 scientists in the United States to ask them about
          their views on God. Leuba found the scientific community equally
          divided, with 42% saying that they believed in a personal God and the
          same number saying they did not.
          More than 80 years later, Edward Larson, a historian of science then
          teaching at the University of Georgia, recreated Leuba’s survey, asking
          the same number of scientists the exact same questions. To the surprise
          of many, Larson’s 1996 poll came up with similar results, finding that
          40% of scientists believed in a personal God, while 45% said they did
          not. Other surveys of scientists have yielded roughly similar results.

          https://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

        • Andy Robinson

          Yes, the constitution exists to limit the government, including the judicial branch, from modifying its powers through fiat. Yet Obergefell is exactly such a decision, as was Roe: it created a new right out of whole cloth, and expanded the role of the federal government in interfering with the states’ regulation of that “right.”

          “The confounding factors…”

          Exactly. Efforts to curb suicide might have had an effect on suicide. The NFA did not. The most you can say is that the point is disputed between multiple reputable studies.

          I have started original research on this issue, which hinges on what I call the compressability assumption of violence: namely, gun control advocates tend to believe that controlling technological artifacts can reduce total violence in an amount proportional to the degree of control. Gun rights advocates believe that removing a specific technology will not have any deterministic effect on violence rates.

          Thus, you believe that removing n% of firearms from a society ought to reduce its TOTAL violence rate by some number v’ that is directly proportional to n (“gun violence” is irrelevant, since a given violent crime using one tool is qualitatively the same as a given violent crime using any other tool).

          The corollary of this is that increasing the number of firearms must INCREASE the total violence rate. Not the suicide rate, which is not “violence” unless throwing yourself off a building is to be considered “inertial violence.”

          Yet the latter effect is empirically disproved, for reasons I have already pointed out.

          Thus, the presence or absence of firearms has no deterministic effect on violence rates, and the compressability assumption of violence is void.

        • Pofarmer

          Yet Obergefell is exactly such a decision, as was Roe: it created a new
          right out of whole cloth, and expanded the role of the federal
          government in interfering with the states’ regulation of that “right.”

          Nonsense. They didn’t “create” a right. They recognized a right that was being unjustly interfered with by the States.

          Exactly. Efforts to curb suicide might have had an effect on suicide.
          The NFA did not. The most you can say is that the point is disputed
          between multiple reputable studies.

          It’s actually every study but one or two indicate that the NFA had a statistically significant impact on suicides. The ones that say it didn’t are the outliers.

        • Andy Robinson

          What right was that? There is no right to marriage in the constitution, nor defined by any state. What’s more, an institution EXPLICITLY defined as a union between a man and a woman cannot be “unjustly interfered with” by denying it to gay couples.

          “All the studies but one or two..”

          You going to enumerate “all the studies?” I know you really, really want there to be a compressibility effect from gun control, but it does not exist.

        • Pofarmer

          You gave me one study which state there wasn’t a statistical decrease due to the NFA, and even those researchers, in there paper, said anyone would look at the chart and say there was a definate change. It’s probably an artifact of the methods that they were using trying to find a “step change” in the numbers. Every other study I looked at, around a dozen, including literature reviews, conclude that the NFA affected suicide rates in Australia.

          And, then there’s this.

          “generally find a statistically significant gun prevalence-homicide
          association.” The report said that the evidence from such “U.S.
          cross-sectional studies is quite consistent … where there are higher
          levels of gun prevalence, homicide rates are substantially higher,
          primarily due to higher firearm homicide rates.”

          https://www.factcheck.org/2008/03/violent-crimes-and-handgun-ownership/

          In other words, I think yer talking out yer ass-again. Quit bluffing and provide numbers if you want to be taken seriously.

          https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/

        • Andy Robinson

          And yet your “this” contradicts empirical data from where there are higher levels of gun prevalence in the US. How do you square this? Indeed, how do the researchers square it? I’ve provided four counter examples that are easily verified (link below), with homicide rates 25%-40% of the national average.

          There are studies that claim almost any outcome you wish, including that global warming threatens human survival. When such studies cannot explain, not outliers, but consistent deviations from the predictions their conclusions necessitate, then the studies can safely be treated as dubious.

          By the way, from your factcheck.org link:

          Q: Are violent crimes more or less common in areas where handgun ownership is higher?

          A: Some studies have found that murder rates (not crime rates in general) are higher where guns are more prevalent. But social scientists have not found a direct causal relationship between the two factors.

          You are pursuing confirmation bias and ignoring the “some” and “not found a direct causal relationship.”

          Because there is none.

          Idaho has replaced Wyoming, but Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Idaho all have a) higher than average gun ownership, b) are right-to-carry states with shall-issue permitting (you can carry concealed without a permit, and if you ask for a permit they have to give it to you unless you would fail a NICS check), and c) have homicide rates about 40% of the national average.

          Gun-to-violent crime correlation FAIL, much less a causal relationship.

          https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/slideshows/10-safest-states-in-america

          Go look it up. Challenge yourself to find the opposing data, not the confirming data.

        • Pofarmer

          an institution EXPLICITLY defined as a union between a man and a woman
          cannot be “unjustly interfered with” by denying it to gay couples.

          It was, to my knowledge, never defined as that until gay couples started wanting to get married. I know it wasn’t in the State of MO.

        • Andy Robinson

          Read Kennedy’s majority opinion on Obergefell.

          I want to add, and this may be the second time to you, that I offered partner benefits to my gay employees a decade before my state legally permitted it. I have no issue with the principle of a gay civil union. But judicially redefining the term “marriage” for the benefit of a special interest group is objectionable, as is inventing “rights” without a constitutional amendment.

          Of course, the LGBT community knows it would not get an amendment past 75% of the states, so they chose to go the opposite route and push an amendment through an UNauthorized process: SCOTUS.

          PS – The hypocrisy of “love wins” as a slogan for that effort, when the amount of vitriol expended toward opponents is essentially boundless, is rich — even if it is not a fallacy 😉

        • Andy Robinson

          The law does not stipulate that a man and a woman are the parties to a marriage any more than it stipulates “the people” must be human beings: both terms are known to mean “between a man and a woman” and “human beings,” respectively.

        • Pofarmer

          Who cares? As has been pointed out, usage changes all the time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I see the goalposts have been shifted from deaths by firearms, to usage of firearms in violent crimes.

          That America is sapped by a continuing epidemic of gun deaths is hardly news. But the new CDC data raises concern that even within that relentlessly consistent story of bloodletting, the carnage continues to worsen.

          https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/13/us-gun-deaths-levels-cdc-2017

        • Pofarmer

          This is pretty much unsupported, but I wonder if the violent crime statistic isn’t skewed by the fact that the U.S. is pretty much saturated with guns.
          <iWhat that bare statistic represents in terms of human tragedy is most
          starkly reflected when set alongside those of other countries. According
          to a recent study from the Jama Network, it compares with rates of 0.2 deaths per 100,000 people in Japan, 0.3 in the UK, 0.9 in Germany and 2.1 in Canada.
          When you look at the U.S. vs other countries it certainly seems that way. Maybe we’re at a point where adding more guns doesn’t significantly increase violent crimes, of which murder makes up a small percentage, although easing handgun restrictions in MO has led to more gun deaths.
          https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/22/health/in-missouri-fewer-gun-restrictions-and-more-gun-killings.html
          Research by Daniel Webster,
          the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research,
          found that in the first six years after the state repealed the
          requirement for comprehensive background checks and purchase permits,
          the gun homicide rate was 16 percent higher than it was the six years
          before. During the same period, the national rate declined by 11
          percent. After Professor Webster controlled for poverty and other
          factors that could influence the homicide rate, and took into account
          homicide rates in other states, the result was slightly higher, rising by 18 percent in Missouri.

        • Andy Robinson

          No, usage doesn’t change “all the time.” It evolves, typically over decades or centuries. You can count the number of times a US court has stepped in to add a forcible new definition on one hand, and possibly one finger (I don’t know of any other than Obergefell in US history).

          One characteristic of language changing over time is that it never arouses strong opposition that hits the media horizon. There are a whole bunch of words that were unacceptable to utter in mixed company, much less in public, into the 1970s, that are now permitted on prime-time television. While some people object to this, there has not been any organized resistance to it, nor any cases filed against individuals who REFUSE to be publicly profane by those who swear.

          So, your attempt to turn an apple into an orange here is void 😉

        • Pofarmer

          You really seem to enjoy must making shit up.

        • Andy Robinson

          You seem to enjoy not having an argument.

        • Pofarmer

          You really can’t argue with the red Queen

        • Pofarmer

          You really can’t argue with the red Queen

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Greg G.

          There are benefits given to married people at state and federal levels such as tax breaks. A state cannot deny federal benefits by restricting marriage for no legitimate reason. Bigots sticking their noses into other people’s business is not a legitimate reason to deny benefits to others.

        • Andy Robinson

          You haven’t been married, I guess. No, married people do not get tax breaks. They pay a higher effective tax rates if both the husband (male) and wife (female) make roughly the same income. The only “break” is when one spouse stays home or makes very little money, and the other works.

          A situation which our current tax structure and social policies have rendered nearly impossible.

          “Other people’s business” does not include the unilateral declaration of a positive right (a right “to” something) for which there is no documentation in the federal or any state constitution.

        • Greg G.

          The only “break” is when one spouse stays home or makes very little money, and the other works.

          Exactly. It is a break for people in some situations and shouldn’t be denied to others in certain situations.

          “Other people’s business” does not include the unilateral declaration of a positive right (a right “to” something) for which there is no documentation in the federal or any state constitution.

          It is not a declaration of a right. It is the recognition of a right that has been there all along. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are considered to be inalienable rights on which this country was founded. Nobody is guaranteed happiness, only the right to pursue it. If someone wants to pursue their happiness being married to someone, the government has no reason to get in the way and should not prevent it. Even if most people oppose it for no legitimate reason, the government should protect the individuals from the tyranny of the masses.

        • Andy Robinson

          “Exactly…”

          So a “break” that results in most married couples paying a higher tax rate is an advantage because a minority pass a lower tax rate? 😉

          “It’s a recognition of a right that’s been there all along…”

          I’m not trying to be obtuse, but the fourteenth amendment protects rights either enumerated in the constitution or part of common law, of which marriage is neither. Under common law, marriage is explicitly a union between a man and a woman, a criterion which two men and two women don’t meet.

          A “right to marry” ought to have been a matter for a constitutional amendment, which would ensure that it was accepted by a supermajority of STATES and put beyond the reach of those trying to oppose it.

          I should note that a civil right that is explicitly granted to individual Americans, the RKBA, is not protected by the 14th amendment. Does that not seem strange to you? I can legally carry concealed where I live, but if I cross two states I become a felon, and then if I cross another I’m a law abiding citizen again!

          The beauty of allowing states to decide these issues is that you have a choice of states. If you want to be insulated from scary guns or abominable buggerers marrying (I use that term because I always thought it was stupid and hilarious that Alabama had a law up until the 1980s referring to gay sex using that term; my state never had such idiotic laws), you find a state that strictly controls firearms or one that makes gay marriage illegal.

          When you judicially eliminate those options, you create a situation where state coercion must be used to enforce your decision, rather than the acceptance of a majority in a supermajority of states.

          That means Roe and Obergefell will always be vulnerable, and I would predict at least Roe will be voided by future SCOTUS decisions. Maybe Obergefell too. And that would be the CORRECT course. Not because I oppose legal abortion (it must be legal by a rare social QED) or gay unions, but because the way these “rights” were established bypassed the authorized process for such changes.

        • Pofarmer

          The corollary of this is that increasing the number of firearms must INCREASE the total violence rate.

          It certainly seems to increase the homicide rate. Granted, this is an older study.

          http://jonathanstray.com/papers/FirearmAvailabilityVsHomicideRates.pdf

          Results from our simple regressions of 26 developednations show a highly significant positive correlation betweentotal homicide rates and both proxies for gun availability.When we use the Cook index, the correlation is particularlystrong, and results remain statistically significant when theUnited States is excluded

          Well, maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Is that why the U.S. is such an outlier and the high side to many countries?

          In comparing the United States to industrialized democracies, the

          Academies says data show the U.S. has the highest rate of homicide and

          firearm-related homicide. But this also raises a chicken-and-egg

          question. “A high level of violence may be a cause of a high level of

          firearms availability instead of the other way around.”

          The report said that “case-control studies” (the

          urban-area-to-urban-area type of comparisons) “show that violence is

          positively associated with firearms ownership.” What the National

          Academies calls “ecological studies” (those comparing large areas, such

          as countries) “provide contradictory evidence on violence and firearms.”

          But neither have shown a causal relationship. Both studies fail to

          address the multiple factors involved in the decision to buy a gun –

          owning a gun is not a random decision, said the report. And data on gun

          ownership may be insufficient (such numbers are based on surveys). It

          also faulted ecological studies that look at large geographic areas,

          saying, “there is no way of knowing whether the homicides or suicides

          occurred in the same areas in which the firearms are owned.”

          This is interesting.

          Summary: In the past 12 years,
          several new studies found that increases in the prevalence of gun
          ownership are associated with increases in violent crime. Whether this
          association is attributable to gun prevalence causing more violent crime
          is unclear. If people are more likely to acquire guns when crime rates
          are rising or high, then the same pattern of evidence would be expected.
          An important limitation of all studies in this area is the lack of
          direct measures of the prevalence of gun ownership.

          https://www.rand.org/research/gun-policy/analysis/essays/firearm-prevalence-violent-crime.html

        • Andy Robinson

          And again, a) the studies are extremely equivocal (“whether this is attributable …,” “fail to address multiple factors,” “no way of knowing whether the [deaths] occurred in the same areas where the firearms are owned,” etc.

          None of these studies can explain the persistent lack of correlation with the expected results based on their conclusions and empirical reality.

          You have to be a denier on the level of a climate change opponent to look at the data and believe such a correlation, much less a causal relationship, exists.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, most of the studies show correlation, they just can’t prove causation.

        • Andy Robinson

          When there is no plausible causal mechanism, correlation is never more than suggestive. And when correlation does not address the general case — as in the case of firearms and violence — it can be dismissed.
          You’ve heard of the murder-ice cream correlation, I assume? Murder and ice cream sales are directly correlated to around .7-.75, which is a very strong correlation. It is a classic demonstration of causal confusion, because neither murder nor ice cream sales cause the other, but increasing temperatures cause both, through causal mechanisms that are well described and attested.

        • Pofarmer

          https://medium.com/@tgof137/gun-ownership-rates-do-not-predict-gun-violence-rates-dafbc8984ce1

          Since you like scatter plots. It’s interesting that there are a couple of strong correlations here. It looks true, that gun ownership isn’t strongly connected to gun homicide rates. But it does look like gun ownership is strongly connected with Gun suicide rates.

        • Andy Robinson

          It is strongly correlated, but it is not causal. You will find higher suicide rates in more rural states, and suicide by ALL means. You will also find higher gun ownership in rural states, for practical reasons. The causal factor in both cases is physical and social isolation.

          In other words, we are back to ice cream sales and murder rates being correlated, but neither is causal for the other — both are caused by seasonally increasing temperatures.

          Also, suicide is not violence. Calling suicide “violence” only makes sense if you consider someone who jumps from a building or drowns themselves or blows themselves up inertial, hydraulic, and explosive violence, respectively.

          The next stage of this argument is usual “but guns are more effective.” Sure, and the people who are serious about killing themselves almost always succeed, regardless of what means they select. In Japan, where the suicide rate is about 50-75% higher than the US even though they have banned private firearms possession and most ceremonial blades, the preferred means is hanging or defenestration/jumping.

          In Russia, the gun ownership rate is about 20-25% that of the US and Russia has strong gun control, but the murder rate is 300+% higher than the US, and the suicide rate more than twice as high.

          Again, the induction of causation from correlation fails the empirical test.

        • Pofarmer

          So you are claiming that an inanimate object exerts an influence on volitive human beings? That’s a bit supernatural.

          A stimulus doesn’t have to be animate.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapons_effect

          Four of the five safest states in the US for both violent crime and
          property crime (Maine, NH, Vermont, and Wyoming) have higher than
          average gun ownership and no gun control to speak of. Since Maine passed
          right-to-carry in 2015, the homicide rate has dropped from 2.0 per
          100,000 to 1.4 per 100,000.

          Here’s a scatter plot.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2baf49455f42b08eab2a068b49dbfa142bf8e1fc9dd855050db7dc6f42ecfe9d.jpg

          It looks like I can only download one image. More here

          https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/2/16399418/us-gun-violence-statistics-maps-charts

        • Andy Robinson

          “A stimulus doesn’t have to be animate.”

          It sort of does. A firearm sitting on a table is not exerting any “stimulus” or influence on a human who is looking at it, either to be aggressive, or murder someone, or shoot himself.

          “Here’s a scatter plot”

          Oh, the magic amalgamation of murders and suicides as “gun deaths.” The goal post move of desperate gun control advocates everywhere! They cannot be combined, as one is a crime, and one isn’t, and there is no causal evidence, anywhere, ever, that removing guns reduces either–including Australia.

          Go back to the Wikipedia list, which is actually out of date and the rates in high gun ownership states have further diverged from the other 25, and run that scatter plot against TOTAL homicides (gun homicides only matter if you argue that being murdered any other way results in you being less dead).

          And then resolve all your fantasies of gun control efficacy against the fact that 4 of the 5 safest states, and 8 of the 10 safest states, have all of the following attributes:

          1. Gun ownership higher than the national average
          2. No gun control (all 4 or 8 are “right to carry” states now)
          3. Total homicide rates less than half the national average

          It’s a bitter pill, but you need to swallow it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          To which others responded with National Academy of Science membership statistics,…

          That wasn’t the only statistic ya were linked to, ya disingenuous toerag.

        • Andy Robinson

          Don’t shoot yourself in the eye with all that wanking…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like a said, lying bastard.

        • MR

          Dishonest

        • Ignorant Amos

          What?

          Demonstrating your error is “Evangelical atheism”, whatever that’s supposed to even mean.

          An evangelical atheist is an atheist who is not content merely with his own lack of faith but is also obsessed with (i) censoring expressions of faith by others and (ii) attempting to sow disbelief in others around him.

          But yeah…if ya like.

          Small problem though. You came here, ya forget about that bit, ya fool?

        • Greg G.

          What?

          I think he was kidding. He posted 8 times in an hour. I suppose he was trying to get as many quick responses in before dealing with real life.

        • MR

          stupid rl

        • one who claims Islam is a “religion of peace” is ignoring the explicit canonical context of the Quran.

          Ditto the Bible

        • Andy Robinson

          The opposite, actually. Where evangelical atheists and church of science types get confused is the order of abrogation in the two religions: Christianity, from vengeful God to a god of tolerance and agape, versus Islam, from toleration of non-believers to their forcible conversion, death, or at best, dhimmification (a concept which has no analog in Judaism or Christianity).

        • I see that chronological change, but Islam has an actual Law of Abrogation.

          In Christianity, it’s just embarrassing because the message keeps rebooting. God has a plan after Noah, and then he reboots the story with Abraham, and then there’s Moses … and then there’s Jesus. And the rebooting continues: next there’s Mohammed, then there’s Joseph Smith, and so on. God makes an awful lot of everlasting covenants.

          With a canonical law of abrogation, you can wonder why the message didn’t come out right the first time, but you’ve eliminated 100% of the contradictions. Not so with the Bible.

        • Andy Robinson

          I don’t disagree with you. But embarrassing or not, the outcome of Christianity is non-violent evangelical religion.

          “But there was violence … ” [predicted response]

          Yes, all philosophies can be and will be used for violence. IF we are going to lean on empirical data, however, Christianity has a vastly better track record than Islam. On the other hand, Judaism’s is even better. The Jews are not even slightly evangelical, which means they are most often in the position of persecuted rather than persecutors.

        • But embarrassing or not, the outcome of Christianity is non-violent evangelical religion.

          Your emphasis is on the non-violence? I’ll agree that Christianity is relatively non-violent compared to Islam, but what do we credit with that? Surely not the Bible.

          IF we are going to lean on empirical data, however, Christianity has a vastly better track record than Islam.

          You’re saying that wars in the name of Christianity have killed fewer than wars in the name of Islam? I haven’t tallied it all up, but again Christianity has a lot of blood on its hands. The Albigensian Crusade tried to exterminate the Cathars in the early 1200s—about 1M dead. The Thirty Years War killed 8M.

          What’s your larger point here?

        • Pofarmer

          however, Christianity has a vastly better track record than Islam

          Albigensian crusade? 30 years war?

        • Andy Robinson

          Still.

        • Oh, well that’s that, I guess. I mean, when you say that, you’ve pretty much said it all.

          Uh, no. You need to give us the numbers that make your Islam vs. Christianity death toll case.

        • Andy Robinson

          Calling the 30 Years War a religious war means we can call the world wars, the Korean, the Vietnam, and the Gulf wars “religious wars,” even though they weren’t—and neither was the 30 Years War.

          As for any crusade, I suggest you review the entire history of the Islamic caliphate through the 15th century, and recognize the crusades were a response to Islamic aggressive expansion over a period of several hundred years — an expansion which swamped the eastern (Byzantine) empire and resulted is Muslim control of Southern Europe.

        • Uh huh. And calling the “Islamic” conquests anything more than just another aggressive, expansionist state doing its thing means we can say the same about Genghis Khan’s far greater expansion.

        • Andy Robinson

          Islamic expansion was an explicit result of the caliphate, which was in turn based on Islam’s amalgamation of polity, economy, and morality.

          I know you want apples to be oranges, but they aren’t.

        • So Arabs don’t like to expand their territory like Mongols or any other group? In this one case, it was religion alone as the driving force?

          And in the case of the Thirty Years War, sure, there were Catholics fighting Protestants, but really other factors besides religion were predominant. Do I have that right?

          Are all your arguments this flimsy?

        • Andy Robinson

          The caliphate was an explicitly Muslim institution, as were the Holy
          Roman and Byzantine empires explicitly Christian—and yet the latter expanded little while the former expanded greatly, and violently over a period of 700 years.

          Apples are still not oranges.

        • That’s nice, but it doesn’t address my point. I’m happy to accept your point that wars can have multiple causes, but you highlight the religious component when it suits you and downplay it when it doesn’t. That’s biased.

        • Andy Robinson

          I highlight the religious component under well-defined circumstances, just as I will highlight the distinction between state socialism (communism) and liberal democracies (the West as we know it today): the goal is to count apples OR oranges, but not one as the other.

          I do not count deaths, but murders: killings conducted under color of authority that exceeded the prevailing conception of military or civil necessity. It is absolutely the case that every philosophy can be turned to such evil, but some are more apt to it than others.

          It is sheer moral relativism to claim that “everyone committed such atrocities, and therefore none is better than the other,” when one can count a murder from one “side” for every hundred from the other “side.”

          I am an Arab, by the way, but my family is Levantine Maronite, not Muslim (I am irreligious). At least 12 of my relatives still in Beirut during my lifetime have been murdered: 10 were murdered by various Jihadi/Islamist groups, 2 as collateral damage by Israeli responses to the Jihadi/Islamist groups, and zero by Americans or Europeans.

          This is an anecdote and a statistically insignificant sample, but it is still a datum, and it conforms well to such significant data as we have from the history of the Islamic Expansion versus all of Christian history.

        • It is sheer moral relativism to claim that “everyone committed such atrocities, and therefore none is better than the other,” when one can count a murder from one “side” for every hundred from the other “side.”

          You can count these murders? Then do so! Yet again, you’ve handwaved that Muslim killings are far worse than Christian ones (in sum), but where’s the source?

          This single point isn’t that big a deal, so I wonder why you don’t either give us a source (if you have one in mind) or admit that this was just an instinctive guess without hard numbers so we can move on.

        • Pofarmer

          You’re quickly losing any teensy bit of credibility you might have had.

          The Thirty Years’ War was a 17th-century religious conflict fought

          primarily in central Europe. It remains one of the longest and most

          brutal wars in human history, with more than 8 million casualties

          resulting from military battles as well as from the famine and disease

          caused by the conflict. The war lasted from 1618 to 1648, starting as a

          battle among the Catholic and Protestant states that formed the Holy

          Roman Empire.

          https://www.history.com/topics/reformation/thirty-years-war

          The Albigensian Crusade had nothing to do with Muslims. You can look this stuff, up, you know?

          Between 1022 and 1163, the Cathars were condemned by eight local church councils, the last of which, held at Tours, declared that all Albigenses should be put into prison and have their property confiscated. The Third Lateran Council

          of 1179 repeated the condemnation. Innocent III’s diplomatic attempts

          to roll back Catharism were met with little success. After the murder of

          his legate Pierre de Castelnau, in 1208, Innocent III declared a crusade against the Cathars. He offered the lands of the Cathar heretics to any French nobleman willing to take up arms.

          From 1209 to 1215, the Crusaders experienced great success,

          capturing Cathar lands and perpetrating acts of extreme violence, often

          against civilians. From 1215 to 1225, a series of revolts caused many of

          the lands to be lost. A renewed crusade resulted in the recapturing of

          the territory and effectively drove Catharism underground by 1244. The

          Albigensian Crusade also had a role in the creation and

          institutionalization of both the Dominican Order and the Medieval Inquisition.

          The Dominicans promulgated the message of the Church to combat alleged

          heresies by preaching the Church’s teachings in towns and villages,

          while the Inquisition investigated heresies. Because of these efforts,

          by the middle of the 14th century, any discernible traces of the Cathar

          movement had been eradicated.

          Raphael Lemkin, who in the 20th century coined the word “genocide”,[152] referred to the Albigensian Crusade as “one of the most conclusive cases of genocide in religious history”.[3] Mark Gregory Pegg writes that “The Albigensian Crusade ushered genocide into the West by linking divine salvation to mass murder, by making slaughter as loving an act as His sacrifice on the cross.”[153] Robert E. Lerner

          argues that Pegg’s classification of the Albigensian Crusade as a

          genocide is inappropriate, on the grounds that it “was proclaimed

          against unbelievers … not against a ‘genus’ or people; those who

          joined the crusade had no intention of annihilating the population of

          southern France … If Pegg wishes to connect the Albigensian Crusade to

          modern ethnic slaughter, well—words fail me (as they do him).”[154] Laurence Marvin

          is not as dismissive as Lerner regarding Pegg’s contention that the

          Albigensian Crusade was a genocide; he does, however, take issue with

          Pegg’s argument that the Albigensian Crusade formed an important

          historical precedent for later genocides including the Holocaust.[155]

          Casualties are estimated at a million or higher.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

        • Andy Robinson

          Sigh. You should read past the first paragraph of your “gotcha” sources, and indeed study the topics about which you speak.

          https://www.britannica.com/event/Thirty-Years-War

          To whit,

          Thirty Years’ War, (1618–48), in European history, a series of wars fought by various nations for various reasons, including religious, dynastic, territorial, and commercial rivalries

          Oops!

          What’s more, I have explicitly excluded deaths as a result of lawful warfare from my counting (as warfare was considered when the conflict occurred).

          For example, state socialist (communist) states accounted for 94
          million non-combatant MURDERS between 1917 and 1987. Islam is credited with 240 million non-combatant MURDERS from the 7th to the 15th centuries.

          Nothing in the history of Christianity comes close.

          These numbers do not include criminal murders; These numbers do not include deaths from combat, or incidental and consequential deaths of civilians and other collateral deaths as a result of war, unintentional famine, or disease; and it does not include lawful executions considered normal and reasonable at that time.

        • Pofarmer

          I wouldn’t consider History.com “gotcha” by any means.

          I can’t read further in your source, but it starts with .

          But there’s the Catholic Encyclopedia

          http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14648b.htm

          A further important cause was the religious sectarianism which, after

          diminishing for a short time, grew more intense early in the seventeenth

          century. In the Catholic movement (about 1592) which followed the Council of Trent only Catholic theologians and a few princes had taken part; the second movement, on the contrary, carried with it the masses of the clergy and laity, and was marked by an ardent spirit of faith and a passionate demand for the spread of Catholicism. If among Protestants

          the idealistic enthusiasm was perhaps not so great, still their

          partisan feeling was equally violent and their combativeness no less

          ardent.

          Maybe Encyclopedia.com?

          https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/modern-europe/wars-and-battles/thirty-years-war

          Their attempts to exploit the simmering religious conflict in Germany, which found its expression in the foundation of the Protestant Union, led by the Palatinate, in 1608 and the Catholic League (Liga),
          led by Bavaria, in 1609, were bound to undermine peace and stability.
          Germany had in the past been largely spared the horrors of religious
          warfare, thanks to the Religious Peace of Augsburg
          (1555). However, many problems had been left unresolved in 1555, such
          as the status of the ecclesiastical principalities that were ruled by
          Protestant prince-bishops, and of ecclesiastical property confiscated
          and secularized after 1555. The status of the Calvinists, who almost all
          Catholics and many Lutherans wanted to exclude from the benefits of the
          peace settlement as heretics, was also controversial. Initially the
          Imperial Chamber Court (Reichskammergericht) —one of the two highest law courts in Germany—had
          managed to settle disputes between the religious antagonists, but from
          the 1580s onward it became increasingly paralyzed, and the Imperial
          Diet (Reichstag) equally failed to provide a forum for
          compromise. The confessionalization of politics, culture, and society in
          the later sixteenth century had in fact created a climate of
          all-pervasive distrust that made such a compromise almost impossible.
          The enthusiastic adherents of both Counter-Reformation Catholicism and
          the eschatological worldview that most Calvinists and some Lutherans
          subscribed to saw the outbreak of armed conflict in the long run as both
          inevitable and even to some extent desirable.

          Try not being a typical religious apologist.

        • Greg G.

          Islam is credited with 240 million non-combatant MURDERS from the 7th to the 15th centuries.

          What is your source for that? 300,000 per yer for 800 years does not seem sustainable.

        • Andy Robinson

          [Patai 1973], [Durant 1954], and there are contemporaneous Internet sources as well, though I have not investigated them in depth. One that touches the issue is https://hawaii.edu/powerkills/DBG.CHAP3.HTM, to whit:

          it is written that in the 12th and 13th centuries the Sultan of Delhi, Kutb-d Din Aibak, slaughtered his subjects by the hundreds of thousands, which at least gives us an order of magnitude. But one can only guess at the many thousands murdered by Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlak, who, according to a Moslem historian, slaughtered Hindus such that “there was constantly in front of his royal pavilion and his Civil Court a mound of dead bodies and a heap of corpses, while the sweepers and executioners were wearied out by their work of dragging” the poor souls “and putting them to death in crowds.”

          Note this is not an anti-Muslim polemic; The article does not spare Christianity, the Mongols, and Europeans in the new world. But in the latter case the massacres were in the tens and hundreds:

          There
          There is no ambiguity about the outright massacres that occurred, such as the Puritan killing of 500-600 Pequot Indians at Mystic Fort in 163768 and the French annihilation of perhaps 1,000 Nanchez Indians in the lower Mississippi after defeating them in 1731. […] Although cowboy and
          Indian movies leave the impression that Indians were massacred by the tens of thousands, actual body counts show otherwise. To consider one notorious massacre, in 1864 citizen and military troops enlisted from the Colorado territory and led by Colonel John Chivington surrounded and
          surprised Cheyenne at Sand Creek in the Colorado Territory. Two-thirds of them women and children, the Indians tried to surrender and parley, but all were killed without mercy, their bodies being scalped and mutilated. In total from 70 to 600 were massacred, the latter the upper estimate of the Colonel; 130 killed seems closer to the truth. It was argued that this massacre did not reflect government policy, and it was the subject of army and congressional investigations. But other than
          Chivington resigning his commission, no one was punished. Just to note the other most well-known massacres by Calvary: at Washita 103 Cheyenne were killed in 1868; in 1870 at Piegan Village 173 Indians were killed; and at Wounded Knee in 1890 it was possibly 146 Sioux.
          Also often cited is the Bear River Massacre of 1863 in which 250 Shoshoni were wiped out. This began as a battle between Indians and soldiers, but degenerated into a slaughter of helpless and wounded Indians.

          Stalin managed nearly 500,000 per year, Hitler closer to 1.5 million. And no, the mechanisms for killing large numbers of people in 1000 CE versus 1943 CE were not that qualitatively or quantitatively different–the earlier simply required more manpower which was available in abundance.

        • Yeah, it sounds like those sultans were pretty bad. The second one, it says, killed Hindus, but did he kill Muslims, too. And the first one–it sounds like his killing was just Muslims.

          You were careful to look for non-religious motivations in the Thirty Years War earlier. Consistency demands that you be just as careful to find non-religious motivations here.

          The Thirty Years War is reported to have killed 8 million. I don’t see anything approaching that in your anecdotes here. Didn’t you say 100M+? I’d like a source for that.

        • Andy Robinson

          I gave you the sources in Patai and Durant. They are books 😉

        • I was looking for a sum concluding with a much-greater-than sign indicating that Islam has killed more than Christianity.

        • Andy Robinson

          I don’t carry my library around with me to client sites, but we have two choices: I can go read the sources and tot up the numbers, which I’m not going to do because, believe it or not, I don’t get paid to post on Disqus–I just enjoy it; or provisionally accept I’ve offered the numbers in good faith and if I’m shown to be wrong I will adjust accordingly. This is not transferring the burden of proof, it is putting aside the final answer to that question for now so we can continue the discussion.

          The Black Book of Communism claims 94 million non-combatant murders for state socialism, while “official sources” for the USSR (for example) can only confirm about a tenth of that. It is, dare I say it, a matter of personal inclination or even faith which you choose to believe: the “official statistics” of a nation for whom we have seen only a tiny fraction of such data (and a strong incentive to keep such data under wraps), or the counting of people who have axes to grind with communism (who have an incentive to inflate their numbers).

          Either way, it is a horrific death toll without precedent in the 20th century except the Holocaust. And one reason why I say anyone who hates fascists ought to be equally vituperative with someone who voluntarily identifies as a socialist. While not all socialists follow the Marxian tradition, and Lenin, Mao, and Stalin did so very poorly, all collectivist systems tend to follow the road of mass atrocity [Hayek 1945, _The Road to Serfdom_].

        • While not all socialists follow the Marxian tradition

          The relevant socialism for me is what Scandinavia is doing.

        • Andy Robinson

          Was it the Norwegian or Danish PM who recently got indignant about being called “socialist?” 😉

          The “success” of Social Democracy, which is really just a lavish welfare state, cannot be sustained by tax payers. If you have a nationalized slush fund, such as oil production, you can keep taxes low by reducing economic efficiency in that sector through state ownership — but given that Europe is now diving through a 5:2 tax payer/tax dependent ratio, and cannot replenish the population through immigration, the clock is ticking on even very homogeneous countries with high cultural morale maintaining their extensive welfare states. Even Scandinavians will not accept an average tax burden above a certain level.

          I’ve been vague here because this is just food for thought, not an organized presentation 😉

        • As for sustainability, Denmark is certainly kicking our ass at the moment–see chart.
          Source: https://countryeconomy.com/countries/compare/usa/denmark

          On the topic of Norway’s oil income, they put all or most of their oil income into a fund rather than just spend it. @Grimlock is more of an authority on this than I am.

          I appreciate the fear of overspending. The US is most certainly doing that. As for Scandinavia, though, I don’t see it.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4f140849f5502116d7dbf3567bf73c53aef2d248a59634b68c87ea2e02470ffe.jpg

        • Andy Robinson

          Your chart doesn’t depict any ass-kicking: not only a GDP less than 2% that of the US, but a per-capita GDP more than 3% lower; A rate of government expenditure of 51% of GDP versus 33%, and that is only because Denmark can depend on NATO and (mostly) the US for its defense.

          But we can go down this path forever: Denmark is not a socialist country.

        • You can define the word any way you want. I’m simply saying that, for me, this is what I mean by socialist. If your point is instead that the Soviet Union was a bad place, uh yeah, I agree.

        • Andy Robinson

          Well, you can I guess, in the same way you can redefine “marriage” to refer to two men or two women being joined (see, I brought us back to the topic); but socialism as the word is ACTUALLY defined still refers to social ownership of the means of production, rather than private ownership.

          While every country on the planet has had STATE ownership of SOME means of production back before socialism was anything other than an esoteric theory of some French and German philosophers, none extant today qualify as socialist except existing state socialist countries, all of which have converted to market economies, and Venezuela. And none of the others would accept that label if you were to assign it.

          When someone says they are a “socialist,” that makes them as bad or worse than any “fascist.” The fact they wish to oppress people based on economic status rather than nationality or race conveys no moral superiority. And it turns out, “the rich” are happy and able to abscond when you try to define their “fair share” to be more than half their income.

          Speaking of which: https://www.cnbc.com/id/48120446

          Of course, this is a disputed point, where one side claims one effect, and the other side tries to define it down to nothing. But the effect of tax increase on Maryland’s “rich” WAS a massive revenue decrease, whether it was the tax increase that did it or some other cause.

        • Grimlock

          Well, you can I guess, in the same way you can redefine “marriage” to refer to two men or two women being joined (see, I brought us back to the topic);

          Meaning is determined by usage. Words don’t have static meanings.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like “socialist” and “faith” among many others.

        • Andy Robinson

          Words evolve organically, for sure.

          For example “well-regulated militia” means “a body of armed citizens able to move and shoot in good order,” whereas “living constitution” morons want to interpret it as “a formal military unit subject to government regulation.”

          On the other hand, Justice Roberts made clear in his opinion that marriage has referred to the “union of a man and a woman … for thousands of years.” Yet the five justice majority redefined the word “marriage,” not by organic evolution, but by judicial fiat.

          The good news is, in every legal context EXCEPT the Supreme Court, the language of a contract does not “evolve,” but means exactly what it meant when it was written, until such time as it is amended through an authorized process.

        • Grimlock

          Then I guess it’s a good thing I don’t particularly care that much about what the authors of the constitution thought about marriage. Nor do I see any particular reason why the word ‘marriage’ shouldn’t be used, as it appears to be commonly used now, to be about two people engaging in a civil contract.

        • Andy Robinson

          But other people care, and for some reason you can’t grant them the dignity of acting from sincere and even legitimate motives. They must be “bigots” because they object to the judicial redefinition of words in the English language, and to the establishment of positive “rights” for which there is no precedent.

          I should point out this places Obergefell and Roe at risk, because both decisions are based on the whimsy of the majority justices, not constitutional law or precedent. Whether either will ever be reversed is an open question, but by exceeding their mandate to interpret rather than create constitutional law, those justices almost guaranteed their decisions will be challenged and subject to reversal by other justices who have different forms of whimsy.

        • Grimlock

          But other people care, and for some reason you can’t grant them the dignity of acting from sincere and even legitimate motives. They must be “bigots” because they object to the judicial redefinition of words in the English language, and to the establishment of positive “rights” for which there is no precedent.

          I can’t do what now?

        • You said that present Scandinavian society was unsustainable. You dodged that issue in your comment. I’d prefer that you respond to the points that I make. Otherwise, it seems like you’re just hoping to change the subject when the evidence doesn’t go your way.

        • Andy Robinson

          I dodged the issue? Actually, I made the point and you didn’t address it but rather spoke of what you perceive to be at the moment. But let’s say we talked past each other.

          What is true now is not relevant to long term sustainability. Everything works well until it doesn’t, and every European country, and to some extent the US (i.e., unfunded liabilities to SS and Medicare), is starting to feel the stress of a shrinking ratio of taxpayers to tax dependents.

          Politically, welfare state countires will continue to true to sustain the welfare state because abandoning it would be catastrophic–but if they don’t adjust their systems to maintain acceptable levels of taxation for the decreasing number of taxpayers who support an increasing number of tax dependents. Even the Swedes, Danes, and Finns aren’t willing to pay average tax burdens north of 50%. And their attempts to tax their rich recently have produced an exodus of said rich to other countries with more favorable tax structures.

        • You said, “The “success” of Social Democracy, which is really just a lavish welfare state, cannot be sustained by tax payers.” And then I tossed into the mix the abysmal (by comparison) stats of the US: debt as a % of GDP 3x what it is in Denmark, worse deficit spending, etc.

          If one economy is unsustainable, those stats argue that it’s the US. But your opinion is the opposite—it’s actually Denmark whose economy will be worse in the long term. Show me the stats that make your argument. (Or is that against your religion?)

        • Andy Robinson

          So if I understand you, you are using debt as a proxy for sustainability, when my claim is that the systems cannot be sustained through taxes.

          “Show me the stats”

          Once again, you are avoiding the argument by trying to make a logical argument a statistical argument. Once we have addressed the logical case, we can worry about “stats.”

          Let’s address the premises first:

          1. That all major welfare states are aging, meaning the ratio of tax payers (P) to tax dependents (D) is decreasing: P:D > P’:D’

          2. That a decreasing P:D demands increased revenues (R) from one or more of taxation (T), nationalization (N), tariffs and duties (I), or other revenue sources (O), and that T >> (N + I + O) in all OECD countries, and that R < R' where R' is new revenue requirements varying in inverse proportion to P:D.

          3. That there is some limit of taxation (L) that is tolerable to any nation. Today, Denmark has the highest tax to GDP rate of any OECD nation (45.9% according to Forbes), and there are movements afoot there to decrease taxes, such as the 150% registration tax on new automobiles. This suggests L is around 50%, but I do not insist on that figure as long as we can agree there is in principle an L.

          Therefore, given (1) and (2), T must exceed L at some future point, unless N is increased (see Venezuela for an example of that), or some O such as militaristic expansion can be carried out to increase the revenue base, OR unless P can be increased dramatically, which would require a reversal of OECD social policy from the past 60 years encouraging low birth rates, or mass immigration.

          [As a corollary, a massive increase in birth rates would eventually increase the P:D ratio, but in the short term of 30-40 years, would decrease it since children are tax dependents; Further, immigration policies that can increase P:D have not yet been discovered, and those in place tend to reduce it]

          Therefore, no country with an aging population can sustain social welfare expenditures (which amount to more than 70% of all OECD national budgets) through taxation.

        • Grimlock

          @Grimlock is more of an authority on this than I am.

          Not really an authority, though. My knowledge of economy can, if we’re being generous, best be described as rusty. But at least I have access to some more detailed statistics in Norwegian.

          The tag didn’t work, by the way. Not sure why.

        • You’re saying the link to that screen-captured page? I’ll try again:
          https://countryeconomy.com/countries/compare/usa/denmark

        • Grimlock

          Nah. The summoning spell (“@Grimlock”) didn’t give me a notification. I just saw it because I’m lurking, and some of the comments in the Recent Comments section seemed interesting.

        • I wondered that as well. I use it so infrequently that I figured I did something wrong.

          @disqus_3SNAg69whY:disqus

          Ah, that one looks better. The first time, I didn’t get the dropdown list of options.

          Looks like it’s Charms and Incantations summer school for this boy!

        • Grimlock

          The “success” of Social Democracy, which is really just a lavish welfare state, cannot be sustained by tax payers. If you have a nationalized slush fund, such as oil production, you can keep taxes low by reducing economic efficiency in that sector through state ownership — but given that Europe is now diving through a 5:2 tax payer/tax dependent ratio, and cannot replenish the population through immigration, the clock is ticking on even very homogeneous countries with high cultural morale maintaining their extensive welfare states. Even Scandinavians will not accept an average tax burden above a certain level.

          Why did you put scare quotes around success? Last I checked, Scandinavian countries score well on pretty much every measure related to societal well-being. That sounds like success to me.

          As for the tax payer/tax dependent ratio, Wikipedia has a nice list of employment rate. The Scandinavian countries are ranked as 3, 7 and 10. For comparison, all three countries are 5-6.8 percentage points above the US. I can’t be bothered to check the other countries, but in Norway the rate has been dropping somewhat since the early 2000s (by 3 percentage points for a different age group than the Wikipedia list). However, the effect size for the primary cause of this drop is expected to be a mere 0.2 percentage points for 2017-2024. (Source.) As a more general point with respect to taxes, the Scandinavian countries have a tax (as percentage of GDP) comparable to other European countries such as Germany and France.

          I’d be curious to see an analysis for why state ownership allegedly has reduced the efficiency in our oil production. It is also worth noting that we avoided the resource curse (probably partly due to luck), and the reason we have the Government Pension Fund is precisely because it was not privatized.

          It seems too simplistic to consider the social democracies “merely” be a lavish welfare state. The state regulates and impacts many aspects of life. For instance, strong employee protection laws (e.g., if you get fired, you still have your job for three more months), state monopolies (e.g. both Sweden and Norway only has one retail store, owned by the state, for selling alcohol stronger than 3.5 and 4.5 % respectively), the educational system (basically free education, for Norway everyone gets a stipend for studying, as well as loans with an interest rate that appears to be half that of the student loans in the US – not sure how it is in Denmark and Sweden), and so on.

          That being said, the state obviously doesn’t control everything. The market economy ain’t all bad, but it clearly ain’t a process that optimizes societal well-being on its own.

        • Andy Robinson

          “That sounds like success to me.”

          Barney Frank responded to the Bush 43 administration warning of an overheating subprime market in 2002 and (as I recall) 2005 and 2006 that everything looked good to him, too.

          Welfare states with aging population cannot be sustained. This argument does not even require external “proof” since it is a mathematical argument. Given a ratio P:D of taxpayers to tax dependents, as the population ages (Europe has the oldest population on the planet, and it’s getting older), P:D decreases, and that requires revenues R to be increased to compensate.

          That can be done by increasing taxes (T), or by nationalizing industries (N) and coopting their output, or by tariffs and duties on imports (I), or by other adjustments (O) such as militaristic expansion, or by building P through immigration policy (M).

          Since we have had 100 years to figure out that “state ownership of the means of production” in the general case is disastrous, N is not a significant option, nor is I; Militaristic expansion is not a strategy likely to work, and immigration policy (M) to date has not increased P:D in any OECD country.

          That leaves T (tax policy), which beyond some threshold L will not be tolerated even by small, homogeneous countries with high cultural morale. In the OECD L appears to be around 50%, as no OECD country has hit that level (Denmark is closest at around 46%, and the Danes are agitating for tax reductions, not increases).

          The required T varies inversely with P:D, and must at some point reach L, at which point the welfare state cannot be sustained through tax policy.

          Easy peasy.

        • Grimlock

          First things first.

          Do you agree that the reason Norway has the Government Pension Fund is because we kept ownership of our natural resources, and that this is a success story for social democracy?

          Do you agree that social democracies aren’t merely lavish welfare states, but also that their successes include the state being involved in and regulating several other industries, such as the examples that I mentioned above?

          “That sounds like success to me.”

          Barney Frank responded to the Bush 43 administration warning of an overheating subprime market in 2002 and (as I recall) 2005 and 2006 that everything looked good to him, too.

          Let’s be clear here. There’s a reason between saying “this is a success because it scores well on all of these parameters” and “looks good to me”. Do you agree that as of the current status, social democracies score very well on measures of societal well-being? (The World Happiness Index being a measure where the Nordic countries have the top four spots, with Sweden on a “mere” 9th.)

          If a society has provided great societal well-being for decades, even if that was not going to last into eternity, then that doesn’t quite make it a failure.

          Moving on to your “mathematical” argument. It seems to rely on a somewhat dubious factual foundation. Take for instance,

          Given a ratio P:D of taxpayers to tax dependents, as the population ages (Europe has the oldest population on the planet, and it’s getting older), P:D decreases, and that requires revenues R to be increased to compensate.

          As I pointed out in my previous comment, the effect on the employment rate is dropping off to basically zero (0.2) for the 2017-2024 period for Norway. Given the current focus on getting more people into employment, it is in fact plausible that the employment rate will increase moving forward. While I haven’t got the numbers for Sweden and Denmark, I suspect that they have similar demographics. (Actually, I think they’ve taken in more immigrants, which might skew these numbers in a better direction.)

          While an ageing population is certainly not a non-issue, you appear to be overestimating the challenge. Note also that Scandinavia has a very high employment rate to begin with, which plausible is due to, among other factors, our welfare state.

          That can be done by increasing taxes (T), or by nationalizing industries (N) and coopting their output, or by tariffs and duties on imports (I), or by other adjustments (O) such as militaristic expansion, or by building P through immigration policy (M).

          Since we have had 100 years to figure out that “state ownership of the means of production” in the general case is disastrous, N is not a significant option, nor is I; Militaristic expansion is not a strategy likely to work, and immigration policy (M) to date has not increased P:D in any OECD country.

          Note that N appears to have been quite successful in Scandinavia. So the “general case” appears irrelevant.

          I am dubious about your claim about M. Source?

          You forgot another way of increasing P: Increasing the retirement age. Which is a very real possibility, and I do believe incentives are already being implemented in Norway to change this. Considering the increased life expectancy, this is not unreasonable.

          That leaves T (tax policy), which beyond some threshold L will not be tolerated even by small, homogeneous countries with high cultural morale. In the OECD L appears to be around 50%, as no OECD country has hit that level (Denmark is closest at around 46%, and the Danes are agitating for tax reductions, not increases).

          The required T varies inversely with P:D, and must at some point reach L, at which point the welfare state cannot be sustained through tax policy.

          You’re assuming that L will have to be reached, and that it will result in sufficient reduction in the social democracies (which are not really just a welfare state, unless that term in used very broadly) to the extent that they will no longer qualify as social democracies. I see no reason to think that will be the case.

          As for the Danes agitating for tax reductions, I wonder how you figure that. A quick search about news regarding the parliamental election earlier this year makes it look like the two main topics were climate change and immigration. The left side won the election, and the biggest of those parties (the social democratic party) do not appear to be keen on reducing taxes given their program. (Two of their three coalition partners are to the left of them.)

          Long story short, I don’t find your case all that compelling.

          [ETA 30 minutes later: What makes you think that a welfare state has to be a net loss? Your argument seems to rely on that.]

        • Andy Robinson

          “Do you agree that the reason Norway has the Government Pension Fund is

          because we kept ownership of our natural resources, and that this is a

          success story for social democracy?”

          Yes, that is the reason you don’t lean more in individual taxation, but no, this is not a success story for social democracy, any more than the 70-year run of the USSR was a success story of state socialism.

          Norway would better off if those “natural resources” were left in the private sector, as the incentives that operate on the public sector are fundamentally different and guarantee a loss of economic efficiency. A detailed analysis of this is provided in _Basic Economics_ [Sowell, rev. 2012], and I’m not going to recapitulate it here.

          “Do you agree that social democracies aren’t merely lavish welfare states,”

          No. State involvement in industries is always less efficient, by a large margin, than private involvement. If you doubt this, consider the arguments related to monopoly. In a market economy, a monopoly can only exist if the state supports it. There has never been a natural monopoly in any liberal (as in, 18th century liberalism) country.

          “Unemployment is basically zero”

          Norway’s unemployment is 3.9% and has remained relatively stable around that value since 2010 according to the OECD. But you may recall that the USSR had violent crime rates close to zero, and unemployment rates that were always zero, as the USSR simply declared that all citizens, who were entitled to receive benefits from the state, were employed. In other words, there are many dodges that can be employed (so to speak) to reduce reported unemployment. For example, students are not treated as unemployed by most countries even if they don’t work. That is why the US’s U6 measurement — labor force participation — is a much better metric. But pretty much only the US uses it 😉

          “You appear to be overestimating …”

          Unless you can specify some magic mechanism by which an increasing number of pensioners relative to taxpayers can be subsidized, I am not overestimating anything. The convergence of T and L is inevitable unless the population can be “de-aged,” whether it takes 25 years or 50 years or 100 years. That is not success.

          “As for the Danes agitating for tax reductions, I wonder how you figure that.”

          Pertaining to the registration tax of 150%: https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/11/29/the-countries-most-reliant-on-tax-revenue-infographic/#45e4ea223180

          “You’re assuming that L will have to be reached,”

          I’m not assuming it, it is intrinsic to the model, unless you wish to argue that a decreasing P:D will not require an increase in T. And if so, I would appreciate (though I do not demand) your logic as to how that will be avoided.

          “What makes you think that a welfare state has to be a net loss? Your argument seems to rely on that”

          The Welfare state is an expense. It is neither capital nor any form of investment. While putting money in people’s pockets allows them to spend it, as you have to get fewer people (P) to put money into the pockets of more people (D), then the tax burden (T) MUST increase.

          Norway can stave this off for longer because it controls the oil industry, but a) we know that is a finite resource, and is not sustainable, and b) given the convergence of T and L (for which you have not provided any argument as to how it is not a necessary result of a decreasing P:D), neither is the welfare state.

          Bailing water out of a sinking boat can work if you might reach shore before it sinks. But there is no “shore,” no place where the inexorable operation of markets and taxes do not operate, save death. The Soviets, the Chinese, the Cambodians, the Cubans, etc., all “saved” their systems by mass murder, but even they either collapsed or were forced to implement market economies. So perhaps death IS the shore by which your “rich” will be relieved of their burden when they start refusing to pay high taxes, but that will not change the convergence of T and L I have described.

        • Grimlock

          I won’t have the time to give a thorough response until tomorrow at the earliest. For now, I’ll just quickly note that you’re misquoting me:

          “Unemployment is basically zero”

          Norway’s unemployment is 3.9% and has remained relatively stable around that value since 2010 according to the OECD. But you may recall that the USSR had violent crime rates close to zero, and unemployment rates that were always zero, as the USSR simply declared that all citizens, who were entitled to receive benefits from the state, were employed. In other words, there are many dodges that can be employed (so to speak) to reduce reported unemployment. For example, students are not treated as unemployed by most countries even if they don’t work. That is why the US’s U6 measurement — labor force participation — is a much better metric. But pretty much only the US uses it 😉

          For one, that’s not even a direct quote by me. Second, I’m not speaking generally about the employment rate. I’ll boil it down: In the time interval 2010-2017, the effect on the employment rate (ages 15-74) due to the population getting older was 2.7 percentage points. The expected effect on the employment rate due to the population getting older in the time interval 2017-2024 is a mere 0.2 percentage points.

          If you wanna give Google Translate a go (I hear it’s getting quite good), the source for these numbers are here: https://www.ssb.no/arbeid-og-lonn/artikler-og-publikasjoner/nedgang-i-sysselsettingsandelen-pa-grunn-av-flere-eldre

          You might be overestimating the effect the ageing population will have.

        • Andy Robinson

          “The expected effect from 2017-2024…”

          Statistical extrapolations can be ignored.

          But the entire premise of the rebuttal is faulty. If the population is aging, D _will_ increase, period–unless you are requiring the oldies to jump from the Ættestup 😉

          People who fall into D are not counted in unemployment statistics, so saying “aging has this or that effect on unemployment” is irrelevant. Unless P is actively growing faster than D, which can only be accomplished by higher birth rates or massive immigration, which tends to increase D, P:D continues to decrease as the population ages.

          Even with such stalls as raising the retirement age.

          So you could have no impact on unemployment by aging, and P:D will still decrease over time with an aging population.

        • Grimlock

          Statistical extrapolations can be ignored.

          Dude. Are you kidding me? Your entire argument rests on statistical extrapolations. I guess that means we can ignore your entire argument.

          Note that my point is how large of an effect the ageing has. As it, moving forward, does not appear to shift the employment rate, at some point that will also match how many move into retirement.

          A drastic change in the age distribution would also be visible if this is the case. The numbers for Norway are here: https://www.ssb.no/statbank/table/07459/tableViewLayout1/

        • Andy Robinson

          You are incorrect. Statistics is a branch of mathematics, but my argument is not a statistical argument. It depends on a mathematical model where two converging variables must intersect unless you can provide additional variables or formulae that would explain how they will not intersect.

        • Grimlock

          False.

          Note what I said. Your argument relies on statistical extrapolations. Specifically, statistical extrapolations about the future age distributions of various countries.

          Though technically you are generalizing about the age distribution (as it’s not a linear trend), and have been completely non-specific with respect to specific and relative sizes in your “model”.

          Your “model” relies on statistical extrapolations, and would be even more useless than it already is if it didn’t.

          As for the “convergence” of the variables you speak of, I’ve covered that before, and will mention it again in the “main” exchange.

        • Andy Robinson

          “Your argument relies on statistical extrapolations.”

          Once again, you do not understand the difference between statistics and mathematics. If two linear equations converge, the extrapolation is not “statistical,” and this is a claim based on two linear equations.

          The question is not the degree or rate of aging, but whether aging is occurring — and no factual search you can perform will dispute this, other than a typical collectivist effort to minimize the effect.

          If you seek sustainable government, it must be for all time — not simply a decade or a generation or even a century. If you wish to avoid the convergence of T and L, or ANY of the revenue-based variables with any of their tolerable limits, you must either cut your budget (neuter your welfare state) or massively increase your birth rate.

        • Grimlock

          I’m being lectured on mathematics by someone who does not appear to understand the concept of convergent functions? Wow. That’s interesting.

          Your model makes assumption about the future trend of the age distribution. This is a statistical extrapolation.

          As for linearity, the variables T, P, L, and so on, are clearly in fact functions of a vector of variables X and time t, e.g. P(X, t) and T(X, t). They model complex phenomena, and are probably not linear functions with respect to t. (E.g. the number of births does not have a linear evolution with respect to time.)

          As for your general argument, I refer you to my previous main comment for my response to that.

        • Andy Robinson

          Your point was how aging affects unemployment, which has nothing to do with the number of tax dependents, which are not treated as unemployed in official statistics (except the US, which does track such things).

          Everything you have suggested is a stall, including raising the age of retirement, which does not address my argument that welfare states are not sustainable with aging populations.

        • Grimlock

          I’ll cover this in the main exchange.

        • Grimlock

          A quick summary of my points/arguments that you did not follow up on:

          1) We increase P by incentivizing working longer, i.e. delaying retirement.

          2) Social democracies score well on most (if not all) scores of societal well-being. Some of this is economic, but not all. You neglect to comment on this undeniable success of social democracies.

          3) Having the state own various sectors or industries appear to have been quite successful in Scandinavia. As such, your dismissal of N appears premature.

          4) I don’t find your claim about M prima facie plausible, and so requested a source. You did not provide one.

          Do you agree that the reason Norway has the Government Pension Fund is because we kept ownership of our natural resources, and that this is a success story for social democracy?

          Yes, that is the reason you don’t lean more in individual taxation, but no, this is not a success story for social democracy, any more than the 70-year run of the USSR was a success story of state socialism.

          Norway would better off if those “natural resources” were left in the private sector, as the incentives that operate on the public sector are fundamentally different and guarantee a loss of economic efficiency. A detailed analysis of this is provided in _Basic Economics_ [Sowell, rev. 2012], and I’m not going to recapitulate it here.

          You mention two different measures. One is economic efficiency, and the other is what would be best for Norway. Considering that we have a gigantic fund, and avoided the resource curse, your claim that it would have been better for Norway if those resources had been put into private hands seems dubious.

          As for economic efficiency, my old economy textbooks are in a box somewhere, so I’ll have to rely on Google. A quick search makes it seem as if the idea that public sector is inherently less efficient than the private sector is more an ideological claim than anything else.

          Leaving that aside, you might not be aware that the way we have structured our ownership of the resources and production is a bit of a hybrid. It’s not as if the idea of economic efficiency has never occurred to anyone before.

          Anyhow. You’re straddling two horses a bit here. On the one hand, it is clear that we – as a whole – are benefiting from having kept the national resources as, well, a national resource. On the other hand, you seem to want to argue that doing so is inherently a bad idea. Hmm. Good luck with that.

          “Do you agree that social democracies aren’t merely lavish welfare states,”

          No. State involvement in industries is always less efficient, by a large margin, than private involvement. If you doubt this, consider the arguments related to monopoly. In a market economy, a monopoly can only exist if the state supports it. There has never been a natural monopoly in any liberal (as in, 18th century liberalism) country.

          You are not responding to the question, nor countering my argument.

          My claim is that social democracies include more than merely a lavish welfare state, and I have provided examples. You respond by talking about efficiency and monopolies, which is a different subject.

          “Unemployment is basically zero”

          Norway’s unemployment is 3.9% and has remained relatively stable around that value since 2010 according to the OECD. But you may recall that the USSR had violent crime rates close to zero, and unemployment rates that were always zero, as the USSR simply declared that all citizens, who were entitled to receive benefits from the state, were employed. In other words, there are many dodges that can be employed (so to speak) to reduce reported unemployment. For example, students are not treated as unemployed by most countries even if they don’t work. That is why the US’s U6 measurement — labor force participation — is a much better metric. But pretty much only the US uses it 😉

          I already covered this in a separate comment. But I’ll recap here:

          For one, that’s not even a direct quote by me. Second, I’m not speaking generally about the unemployment rate. I’ll boil it down: In the time interval 2010-2017, the effect on the employment rate (ages 15-74) due to the population getting older was 2.7 percentage points. The expected effect on the employment rate due to the population getting older in the time interval 2017-2024 is a mere 0.2 percentage points.

          If you wanna give Google Translate a go (I hear it’s getting quite good), the source for these numbers are here: https://www.ssb.no/arbeid-og-lonn/artikler-og-publikasjoner/nedgang-i-sysselsettingsandelen-pa-grunn-av-flere-eldre

          You might be overestimating the effect the ageing population will have.

          “You appear to be overestimating …”

          Unless you can specify some magic mechanism by which an increasing number of pensioners relative to taxpayers can be subsidized, I am not overestimating anything. The convergence of T and L is inevitable unless the population can be “de-aged,” whether it takes 25 years or 50 years or 100 years. That is not success.

          See above. There is an ageing effect, but you might be overestimating its size and effect.

          “As for the Danes agitating for tax reductions, I wonder how you figure that.”

          Pertaining to the registration tax of 150%: https://www.forbes.com/site

          Relevant quote from that article:

          “People living in Denmark know all about high levels of tax, especially when it comes to buying an automobile. There is a 150 percent registration tax on vehicles, though there have been proposals to reduce that to 100 percent.”

          On the one hand, we have this. On the other hand, we have the results of the 2019 parliamental election. I think I know which one is a stronger indicator of the general importance of taxation in Denmark, and it’s not that someone suggested reducing one specific tax. I dare you to find examples of countries where someone has not suggested to reduce some tax.

          You might want to readjust your opinion about how high L can be.

          “You’re assuming that L will have to be reached,”

          I’m not assuming it, it is intrinsic to the model, unless you wish to argue that a decreasing P:D will not require an increase in T. And if so, I would appreciate (though I do not demand) your logic as to how that will be avoided.

          Let’s assume that increasing T is the only available option for increasing the revenue, and that P/(P+D) is always decreasing.

          Even then, it does not follow that the requirement for T will reach some point L>T. This is a fairly trivial mathematical point. I can elaborate if you don’t follow.

          Now, note the assumption here: That P/(P+D) is always decreasing. This seems like a bit of an unwarranted assumption.

          “What makes you think that a welfare state has to be a net loss? Your argument seems to rely on that”

          The Welfare state is an expense. It is neither capital nor any form of investment. While putting money in people’s pockets allows them to spend it, as you have to get fewer people (P) to put money into the pockets of more people (D), then the tax burden (T) MUST increase.

          Norway can stave this off for longer because it controls the oil industry, but a) we know that is a finite resource, and is not sustainable, and b) given the convergence of T and L (for which you have not provided any argument as to how it is not a necessary result of a decreasing P:D), neither is the welfare state.

          You’re ignoring secondary effects of good health care, which most certainly should be considered an investment in any sensible and long-term analysis.

          As for the oil industry, you claim that the oil is a finite resource. This is true. This does not mean that the way to use the montary gain from it has to be. Since 2001 we have had the budgetary rule to limit the use of the money in the Government Pension Fund, in order to keep having use of the money for, well, ever. This will allow the results of the natural resources to be sustainable. (Note that this rule has a broad support among all political parties of any relevant size, excepting the majority of the most right-wing party.)

          Bailing water out of a sinking boat can work if you might reach shore before it sinks. But there is no “shore,” no place where the inexorable operation of markets and taxes do not operate, save death. The Soviets, the Chinese, the Cambodians, the Cubans, etc., all “saved” their systems by mass murder, but even they either collapsed or were forced to implement market economies. So perhaps death IS the shore by which your “rich” will be relieved of their burden when they start refusing to pay high taxes, but that will not change the convergence of T and L I have described.

          That got dark real fast.

          What, exactly, is it that you are proposing as an alternative to the way things are in the social democracies right now?

        • Andy Robinson

          1. “Incentivizing” means delaying retirement, which is a tax increase. There will also be a limit Lr at which people will not accept paying taxes or delaying retirement longer. You are only delaying the inevitable by not increasing the birth rate.

          2. “Scores of societal well being” are irrelevant criteria when the system itself cannot be sustained.

          3. Increasing N will not be trivial. The reason it works in Norway is because oil was discovered there late and nationalized more or less immediately, and oil is a very rich resource, meaning even though Norway sacrifices efficiency through state control, the profits are sufficient to stave off the day of reckoning. What other industry do you believe would match these criteria?

          P:D is always decreasing as long as the population is aging, even when you implement (1) above, that is just a dodge.

          Furthermore, (2), and (3) are attempts to argue that what “appears to work well” will continue to work on a sustainable basis. Well, hydrocarbons are the BEST fuel we have, with the highest energy density and the lowest unit cost. So, by your logic, continuing to expand the use of fossil fuels ,since it works better than anything else we have, is a good idea… right?

          “Considering that we have a gigantic fund, and avoided the resource curse, your claim that it would have been better for Norway if those resources had been put into private hands seems dubious.”

          It may seem dubious, but that has no bearing on its validity. Your underlying assumption is that Norway is better off for having nationalized what we know to be a non-sustainable source of revenue. But had Norway not so nationalized that resource, the people of Norway as a whole would be better off today, but some large multiple of your “gigantic fund.”

          Public spending can NEVER produce a return on investment, by definition, because you are not spending your money, you are spending other people’s money–and that applies to nationalized industries, as well.

          “Social democracies are more than lavish welfare states.”

          Again, you have not rebutted the inevitable non-sustainability of the social democracy, nor do your examples demonstrate anything rebutting the “lavish welfare state” claim. Spending other people’s money on a different set of other people is a welfare state, by definition.

          “There is an aging effect…”

          Exactly. And Europe as a whole is the oldest society on the planet. But whatever the magnitude, this ensures that T will intersect L eventually.

          I think you wish to rationalize social democracy, but even if it turns out to work forever for Norway, it cannot be scaled to other societies that are not as tiny, with a nearly homogeneous population, with extensive cultural morale.

          I will bet on your eventual failure, and win 😉

        • Grimlock

          This is getting a bit confusing. So I’ll quote your initial argument and summarize why I find it unconvincing, before responding to your more individual points.

          Welfare states with aging population cannot be sustained. This argument does not even require external “proof” since it is a mathematical argument. Given a ratio P:D of taxpayers to tax dependents, as the population ages (Europe has the oldest population on the planet, and it’s getting older), P:D decreases, and that requires revenues R to be increased to compensate.

          That can be done by increasing taxes (T), or by nationalizing industries (N) and coopting their output, or by tariffs and duties on imports (I), or by other adjustments (O) such as militaristic expansion, or by building P through immigration policy (M).

          Since we have had 100 years to figure out that “state ownership of the means of production” in the general case is disastrous, N is not a significant option, nor is I; Militaristic expansion is not a strategy likely to work, and immigration policy (M) to date has not increased P:D in any OECD country.

          That leaves T (tax policy), which beyond some threshold L will not be tolerated even by small, homogeneous countries with high cultural morale. In the OECD L appears to be around 50%, as no OECD country has hit that level (Denmark is closest at around 46%, and the Danes are agitating for tax reductions, not increases).

          The required T varies inversely with P:D, and must at some point reach L, at which point the welfare state cannot be sustained through tax policy.

          First, a new consideration: Your idea of who is P and who is D needs to be more precise. You appear to consider a retiree someone who fits in D. But a retiree does in fact pay taxes, at least in two ways:
          (i) On their pension. 84 % of retirees pay taxes on their retirement pension.
          (ii) A retiree do pay taxes on goods and services.

          Furthermore, some retirees will certainly pay more in taxes than some people working full-time. Note also that the current batch of retirees have a better pension provided by the state than those in their 20s and 30s can expect.

          As such, P and D needs to be more precise before the argument gets off the ground.

          Let’s nuance the idea of raising taxes: We can both increase the tax rates, or increase the number of people paying taxes. One way to do the latter is to create incentives to work longer, and to increase the retirement age. This is something that can be done within the framework of social democracies.

          One way to increase the former would be to reintroduce the inheritance tax.

          Either of these things might be sufficient to account for an ageing population. As such, without concrete numbers, your argument is at best speculative.

          Then there is the extent to which the population is ageing. Considering that the effect on the workforce due to an ageing population is going to be really small moving forward, this indicates that while there is an ageing issue, it might not be that huge.

          You then proceed to consider some additional ways of increasing R. Two of your options have been rejected due to lack of justification (M) and an undercutting defeater (N).

          You have argued that an increase in taxes is necessary. This might be true. However, you claim that the limit for how much taxes is possible is close relies on how Danes are “agitating for tax reductions”. This was so poorly supported that it was straightforward to undercut.

          Note also that the birth rates do not actually hold a constant delta, as they tend to wobble up and down. The current year with lowest number of births in Norway in “recent” years was in, wait for it, 1983. Of course, this complicates your analysis somewhat.

          Finally, you seem to hold that some pain threshold for taxes (L) must be reached if the ratio of P:D decreases. I have sowed sufficient doubt about this for this to be undercut, and it requires further mathematical analysis if you want to establish this as plausible.

          As last time, I’ll also summarize a few points where I found your response lacking.

          1) It would’ve been nice of you’d acknowledged and apologized for misquoting me.

          2) You neglected to acknowledge how your assertion of Danes “agitating” for tax reductions was based on horrible evidence. This, by the way, undercuts your argument that L is close to the current level of taxes.

          1. “Incentivizing” means delaying retirement, which is a tax increase. There will also be a limit Lr at which people will not accept paying taxes or delaying retirement longer. You are only delaying the inevitable by not increasing the birth rate.

          What it means is increasing tax income in a way that doesn’t increase tax rates.

          2. “Scores of societal well being” are irrelevant criteria when the system itself cannot be sustained.

          The sustainability is an assertion that you’re struggling to justify. You are furthermore the one who appears to claim that societies that have, for decades, provided high quality of living compared to other types of societies are not successes.

          3. Increasing N will not be trivial. The reason it works in Norway is because oil was discovered there late and nationalized more or less immediately, and oil is a very rich resource, meaning even though Norway sacrifices efficiency through state control, the profits are sufficient to stave off the day of reckoning. What other industry do you believe would match these criteria?

          Oil is one example. You appear to have rejected your initial dismissal of the “general case”, and are now switching to arguing that I need to provide more examples. I think I’ll turn the tables: Do your own research.

          You repeat your unjustified claim of loss of efficiency.

          P:D is always decreasing as long as the population is aging, even when you implement (1) above, that is just a dodge.

          I’m not so sure about this. At a constant birth rate that decreases the population, the population would be, on the whole, ageing. But I’m not sure that mean that the ratio P:D would constantly be decreasing. For that, it seems you’d also require a decreasing birth rate.

          Furthermore, (2), and (3) are attempts to argue that what “appears to work well” will continue to work on a sustainable basis. Well, hydrocarbons are the BEST fuel we have, with the highest energy density and the lowest unit cost. So, by your logic, continuing to expand the use of fossil fuels ,since it works better than anything else we have, is a good idea… right?

          Wrong.

          (2) is merely me pointing out that it’s undeniable that for the last decades, social democracies have been incredibly successful.

          (3) is an undercutter for your claim that N is not an option.

          As for your analogy to hydrocarbons, your choice of measures for “best” appear arbitrary, and doesn’t take into account secondary effects.

          “Considering that we have a gigantic fund, and avoided the resource curse, your claim that it would have been better for Norway if those resources had been put into private hands seems dubious.”

          It may seem dubious, but that has no bearing on its validity. Your underlying assumption is that Norway is better off for having nationalized what we know to be a non-sustainable source of revenue. But had Norway not so nationalized that resource, the people of Norway as a whole would be better off today, but some large multiple of your “gigantic fund.”

          Public spending can NEVER produce a return on investment, by definition, because you are not spending your money, you are spending other people’s money–and that applies to nationalized industries, as well.

          I recommend that you actually read what I write. If you had, you would have realized that due to the aforementioned budgetary rule, the oil revenue will in fact work as a sustainable source of revenue.

          You are once again asserting, without further analysis, a loss of efficiency. There appears to be doubt about that, e.g. here.

          Furthermore, let’s for the sake of argument grant that there is a loss of efficiency. In order for that to be a bad thing, the loss of efficiency would be something that impacts the Norwegian population as a whole, and not private organizations or individuals.

          “Social democracies are more than lavish welfare states.”

          Again, you have not rebutted the inevitable non-sustainability of the social democracy, nor do your examples demonstrate anything rebutting the “lavish welfare state” claim. Spending other people’s money on a different set of other people is a welfare state, by definition.

          You appear to be using “welfare” state to include any government spending. If so, yes, it fits, if we also ignore regulations and establishing certain monopolies (e.g. on gaming and alcohol).

          “There is an aging effect…”

          Exactly. And Europe as a whole is the oldest society on the planet. But whatever the magnitude, this ensures that T will intersect L eventually.

          First off, I’ve noted before that there is indeed an ageing population.

          Second, at this point I will need to see a mathematical demonstrating of your claim that T will intersect L, where L is higher than the current tax rate, and lower than 1.

          Consider the following: D/(P+D) increases by a*(1/(2^t)) for every time interval t, and some a. In which case the ratio between P:D would constantly be changing, but would in fact never go above a certain point.

          This demonstrates that the ratio could constantly be decreasing, but would never actually go beyond a certain point.

          I think you wish to rationalize social democracy, but even if it turns out to work forever for Norway, it cannot be scaled to other societies that are not as tiny, with a nearly homogeneous population, with extensive cultural morale.

          I will bet on your eventual failure, and win 😉

          Keep telling yourself that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          (i) On their pension. 84 % of retirees pay taxes on their retirement pension.

          Yep, I’m taxed on two pensions and am not even a retiree yet ffs.

          And here’s a thing, advances in technology are likely going to be a bigger impact on the workforce, meaning social democracies will become the necessary.

          The shift in the labour dynamic and the loss in placements, more people of the kind that will need the benefits provided by social democracies is bound to increase.

        • Andy Robinson

          “Retirees pay taxes”

          Let us ponder the irony of being paid from money robbed from them and others, and being taxed on the taxed money. But this does not alter the argument: the amount collected from retirees is a fraction of that collected from taxpayers, and their use of services increases if for no other reason than their age.

          “Social democracies have been incredibly successful”

          So was the Soviet Union, until 1991.

          “Is an undercutter…”

          No. You are suggesting that control of a depleting resource will stave off the convergence of T and L indefinitely. This is false. What’s more, it cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

          Norway is an outlier, because it took control of its oil resources before there was a substantial private industry built around it. There is no other sector that is so profitable that you could take from the private sector without a net loss, and the act of taking such industries from the private sector will create a situation similar to T intersecting with L.

          What’s more, Norway would be MORE successful had it left the oil resources in private hands.

          “Your choice of measures for ‘best’ appear arbitrary.”

          Again, you are being intransigent. Fossil fuels rule because they produce more energy per unit mass than anything other than nuclear power, which is not practical for the applications of fossil fuels which range from small hand tools to power plants.

          But fossil fuels are finite and will be depleted. And if you wish to insist that fossil fuels are not “the best,” that means Norway’s state control of oil resources will fail in one of several ways: first, it will be depleted, and you will have to increase taxes. The WILL happen, the question is when. Second, another, better source that will be discovered that supplants oil, in which case revenue from oil will drop and you will need to increase taxes. Third, the planet will enter runaway warming, and Norway will burn to a crisp like everyone else.

          That last thing WON’T happen, given that CO2 levels on this planet exceeded 5000 ppm (today’s rate is around 400 ppm) in the Miocene without runaway warming. But my point is, if you are going to insist that fossil fuels aren’t “best” you are defeating your claim that state control of oil a sustainable replacement for taxes.

          Marx was wrong. Economies can’t be “planned” or “organized” consciously. Welfare states cannot be sustained. You are simply stalling for time through the use of increasing coercion (which all methods of state revenue require, T, M, and N, and O) to preserve a system that can’t be sustained any more than a leaking boat that has no chance of ever reaching land: you can bail for a long time, but eventually you will sink.

        • Grimlock

          Summary: I’m getting the impression that you are not actually interesting in a genuine exchange of thoughts, and are more concerned with spouting ideologically driven drivel.

          In order for me to keep interacting with you, I need you to be more precise in responding to my objections. I also need you to be concrete, and make it clear that you have some actual knowledge of the subject of which you speak.

          If you do not feel as if these requests are reasonable, you might as well leave off responding to me further.

          I think it’s time for you to let me know how much math you know. Are you, for instance, familiar with convergent functions, or was this part just gibberish to you?

          Consider the following: D/(P+D) increases by a*(1/(2^t)) for every time interval t, and some a. In which case the ratio between P:D would constantly be changing, but would in fact never go above a certain point.

          Because this demonstrates that even if D is growing as a ratio of (P+D), it will not necessarily go above a certain level. Meaning that the increase in revenue due to this shift need not increase beyond a certain level.

          Anyhow. In my previous comment in this subthread, I summarized my objections to your argument. I’ll quote it here. Then I’ll note a further weakness of your argument.

          Welfare states with aging population cannot be sustained. This argument does not even require external “proof” since it is a mathematical argument. Given a ratio P:D of taxpayers to tax dependents, as the population ages (Europe has the oldest population on the planet, and it’s getting older), P:D decreases, and that requires revenues R to be increased to compensate.

          That can be done by increasing taxes (T), or by nationalizing industries (N) and coopting their output, or by tariffs and duties on imports (I), or by other adjustments (O) such as militaristic expansion, or by building P through immigration policy (M).

          Since we have had 100 years to figure out that “state ownership of the means of production” in the general case is disastrous, N is not a significant option, nor is I; Militaristic expansion is not a strategy likely to work, and immigration policy (M) to date has not increased P:D in any OECD country.

          That leaves T (tax policy), which beyond some threshold L will not be tolerated even by small, homogeneous countries with high cultural morale. In the OECD L appears to be around 50%, as no OECD country has hit that level (Denmark is closest at around 46%, and the Danes are agitating for tax reductions, not increases).

          The required T varies inversely with P:D, and must at some point reach L, at which point the welfare state cannot be sustained through tax policy.

          First, a new consideration: Your idea of who is P and who is D needs to be more precise. You appear to consider a retiree someone who fits in D. But a retiree does in fact pay taxes, at least in two ways:
          (i) On their pension. 84 % of retirees pay taxes on their retirement pension.
          (ii) A retiree do pay taxes on goods and services.

          Furthermore, some retirees will certainly pay more in taxes than some people working full-time. Note also that the current batch of retirees have a better pension provided by the state than those in their 20s and 30s can expect.

          As such, P and D needs to be more precise before the argument gets off the ground.

          Let’s nuance the idea of raising taxes: We can both increase the tax rates, or increase the number of people paying taxes. One way to do the latter is to create incentives to work longer, and to increase the retirement age. This is something that can be done within the framework of social democracies.

          One way to increase the former would be to reintroduce the inheritance tax.

          Either of these things might be sufficient to account for an ageing population. As such, without concrete numbers, your argument is at best speculative.

          Then there is the extent to which the population is ageing. Considering that the effect on the workforce due to an ageing population is going to be really small moving forward, this indicates that while there is an ageing issue, it might not be that huge.

          You then proceed to consider some additional ways of increasing R. Two of your options have been rejected due to lack of justification (M) and an undercutting defeater (N).

          You have argued that an increase in taxes is necessary. This might be true. However, you claim that the limit for how much taxes is possible is close relies on how Danes are “agitating for tax reductions”. This was so poorly supported that it was straightforward to undercut.

          Note also that the birth rates do not actually hold a constant delta, as they tend to wobble up and down. The current year with lowest number of births in Norway in “recent” years was in, wait for it, 1983. Of course, this complicates your analysis somewhat.

          Finally, you seem to hold that some pain threshold for taxes (L) must be reached if the ratio of P:D decreases. I have sowed sufficient doubt about this for this to be undercut, and it requires further mathematical analysis if you want to establish this as plausible.

          As far as I can see (and respond to below), you do not really budge with any of these objections. As you see, I grant that we might need to increase revenue. However, your model does not (as demonstrated above) require an increase of any specific amount. That is a further weakness of your model – you might argue that revenue needs to be increased, but the model does not allow for an assessment of the size of the increase, nor at what level an increase in revenue is sufficient to account for the increased need due to an ageing population.

          As usual, there are some things you neglect to follow up on. And as usual I’ll number them. This time I feel like using Roman numerals.

          (i) You do not accept that referring to social democracies as “lavish welfare states” is misleading, in part due to how a part of social democracies is not just government spending, but also government regulations.

          (ii) You ignored the source I provided for why your bald assertion that the public sector is always less efficient than the private sector is dubious. You also neglected to consider that the oil industry, and the national ownership, is a hybrid of these. Not to mention that you ignored the point about who benefits from this alleged loss of efficiency – the population as a whole, or private individuals/organizations.

          (iii) Regarding the sustainability of the income from oil, you neglect to acknowledge the budgetary rule that was implemented precisely in order to keep the revenue from the oil industry as a sustainable source of income.

          (iv) You neglect to acknowledge your failed attempt to justify your claim that Danes are close to the limit to how much tax they can pay.

          (v) You still have not acknowledged misquoting me.

          I’ll insert my full point in the inner quote, in order to more fully see to what extent you respond to my point.

          First, a new consideration: Your idea of who is P and who is D needs to be more precise. You appear to consider a retiree someone who fits in D. But a retiree does in fact pay taxes, at least in two ways:
          (i) On their pension. 84 % of retirees pay taxes on their retirement pension.
          (ii) A retiree do pay taxes on goods and services.

          Furthermore, some retirees will certainly pay more in taxes than some people working full-time. Note also that the current batch of retirees have a better pension provided by the state than those in their 20s and 30s can expect.

          As such, P and D needs to be more precise before the argument gets off the ground.

          Let us ponder the irony of being paid from money robbed from them and others, and being taxed on the taxed money. But this does not alter the argument: the amount collected from retirees is a fraction of that collected from taxpayers, and their use of services increases if for no other reason than their age.

          You do not elaborate on what constitutes tax payer and what constitutes a tax dependent. Thus, unless you can specify more concretely what you mean by “P” and “D”, your argument is nonsensical.

          That was my point. You fail to address that, but instead throw out a couple more vague and unsubstantiated claims.

          “Social democracies have been incredibly successful”

          So was the Soviet Union, until 1991.

          You misrepresent my point. When I correct you, instead of admitting your error, you leave out most of what I wrote, and instead respond with a comparison to the Soviet Union.

          Speaking of that comparison, are you saying that the Soviet Union provided a societal well-being that was pretty much on top of the world for that time, including significantly better than the US? I wouldn’t expect that from you.

          “Is an undercutter…”

          No. You are suggesting that control of a depleting resource will stave off the convergence of T and L indefinitely. This is false. What’s more, it cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

          Norway is an outlier, because it took control of its oil resources before there was a substantial private industry built around it. There is no other sector that is so profitable that you could take from the private sector without a net loss, and the act of taking such industries from the private sector will create a situation similar to T intersecting with L.

          What’s more, Norway would be MORE successful had it left the oil resources in private hands.

          Your initial claim was that nationalizing resources/industries is not an option to increase revenue for a nation, because in the general case it was disastrous.

          However, as it appears to have been a success in Scandinavia, that undercuts your dismissal of N as an option for increasing revenue.

          The text that has a strikethrough is unsubstantiated claims, stuff I’ve covered elsewhere, misrepresentations of what I claim, or otherwise not worth responding to in detail.

          “Your choice of measures for ‘best’ appear arbitrary.”

          Again, you are being intransigent. Fossil fuels rule because they produce more energy per unit mass than anything other than nuclear power, which is not practical for the applications of fossil fuels which range from small hand tools to power plants.

          Hardly intransigent. Your chose the measure of what produces more energy per unit mass.

          Why not other measures, such as
          1) Co2 per Watt produced
          2) Sustainability
          3) Cost per Watt produced

          Fossil fuel is not the best in any of these measures. (Here’s a source in Norwegian for you. Technically not for #2, but I don’t think a source is needed for that.)

          […]

          The rest of your post appears to be a descent into ideological ranting.

        • BertB

          You are a very patient man, Grimlock. No wonder I like your country so much. :>)

        • Grimlock

          Heh, thanks. Though you wrote that pretty much at the time when my patience has run out, as might be apparent from my future comments in this exchange with Robinson.

        • BertB

          I lost patience with him a long time ago.

        • I’ve lost interest in this conversation. But I’m still stuck on one point.

          Andy, in his argument about Scandinavia providing an unsustainable welfare state, said something about Norway’s oil reserves. Something like: Norway is doing well now that the oil money is funding their Socialist experiment, but when that runs out in 30 years or so, the house of cards will collapse (my phrasing).

          I’d heard that Norway was actually paying market rates for oil and putting the profits from their nationalized oil industry into a fund that was intended to last forever. Do I have that right?

        • Grimlock

          Pretty much, yeah.

          The basic idea is to only withdraw a low percentage from the oil fund each year, which should allow the size of the fund to remain the same size after adjusting for inflation.

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_budgetary_rule

          Though if the oil industry disappeared over night, there would obviously be some other negative consequences for our economy.

        • Andy Robinson

          “I’m getting the impression…”

          As soon as someone spouts the phrase “ideologically driven drivel” we can be sure the intellectual exchange is at an end.

        • Grimlock

          I’ll note that you still have not admitted to blatantly misquoting me. That would seem to disqualify this from being an intellectual exchange.

          As for your general argument, I refer you to my previous main comment for my response to that.

        • Andy Robinson

          If you doubt M on its face, you should do your own research to verify it’s validity, because in lieu of a specific objection, rather than your general sense of what is plausible, it is not part of my burden of proof to do that research for you.

        • Grimlock

          If you claim something about M, without providing a rationale for this, I’m obviously free to reject this claim, and your assertions lacks any power to convince me that your argument holds.

        • Andy Robinson

          I did provide a rationale. There is no contemporary example of immigration policy slowing the aging of a population, particularly in Europe. If you doubt the rationale, simply rejecting it a priori is not rational, but an act of illogic and petulance.

        • Grimlock

          That is an empty claim, given without justification. Given your inclination to have poor fundations for your claims, I see no reason to take the claim at face value.

          Furthermore, the lack of specificity means that I can’t dig into the details of your claim in order to verify it.

        • Andy Robinson

          Once again, yours is an argument from ignorance using false precision as a rationalization.

          “I see no reason to take the claim at face value.”

          It is one thing to state that you need more information, but it is another to claim you’re simply going to reject a claim because it does not meet your arbitrary requirement of “specificity.” That is also moving the goal posts.

          Yours is, effectively, the following argument: “You can’t prove your claim to my satisfaction, so you are wrong.”

          A pure AFI 😉

        • Grimlock

          It would have been an argument from ignorance if I’d taken your lack of justification to mean that it is false. However, I am simply not granting its validity. There’s a difference.

          As for moving the goal posts, that would be the case if I changed the standards of accepting a statement during the discussion. This has not been established. Please don’t accuse me of fallacies without a solid foundation.

          As for your general argument, I refer you to my previous main comment for my response to that.

        • Andy Robinson

          You can: you simply need to search for contemporary cases of a successfully implemented immigration policy that has produced a reversal of the aging trend in the host country.

          To raise the ratio of taxpayers to tax dependents on Europe, which averages 5:2, to 10:1, you would need to more than double your pre-retirement-age population. Where would you find such people to entice to come to Norway in such numbers, who would NOT destroy the very cultural morale that allow a “social democracy” to function in the first place?

          I also like what Josef Stalin had to say about Social Democracy in _Concerning the International Situation_ [Stalin, 1924]

          “[Fascism and Social Democracy] are not antipodes, they are twins.”

          Really more of a goad than any substantive point for discussion, but I thought you should know 😉

        • Grimlock

          This appears to be your last comment in the latest batch of attempts at nitpicking. I’ll note that your only notable impact has been to make false accusations of logical fallacies on my part. You neglect to interact with the meat of my objections to your argument.

          If your next response is not a drastic improvement, I will stop taking your seriously.

          See my previous main comment for a summary of why I reject your argument.

          Now, onwards to this specific comment of yours…

          Note the following. Your initial claim was this:

          immigration policy (M) to date has not increased P:D in any OECD country.

          Which I take to be read as a claim that M has not, when isolated as a factor, contributed to increasing P/(D+P). This reading is supported by you later writing this:

          There is no contemporary example of immigration policy slowing the aging of a population, particularly in Europe.

          However, now you are writing this:

          you simply need to search for contemporary cases of a successfully implemented immigration policy that has produced a reversal of the aging trend in the host country.

          Which seems to indicate that you now require me to disprove not just your initial claim, but rather that I need to find an example of a country where immigration has not been a factor that increases P/(P+D), but that it must reverse the existing trend.

          What you are doing here appear to be two things. You are shifting the burden by trying to make me disprove your claim, rather than you justifying your initial claim. You are also moving the goal posts, unless I misread either of these positions of yours.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Leaving fuckhead’s blew aside…did ya ever watch the movie “Zeitgeist Addendum”?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbvCxMfcKv4

        • Grimlock

          Can’t say that I did. How does it relate to the original film, and what’s it about?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It relates to the current conversation happening between yerself and AB.

          Here’s an online synopsis.

          The second documentary film, Zeitgeist: Addendum, attempts to locate the root causes of this pervasive social corruption, while offering a solution.

          This solution is not based not on politics, morality, laws, or any other establishment notions of human affairs, but rather on a modern, non-superstitious based understanding of what we are and how we align with nature, to which we are a part.

          The work advocates a new social system which is updated to present day knowledge, highly influenced by the life long work of Jacque Fresco and The Venus Project.

          https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1332128/

        • Grimlock

          Sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip!

        • Andy Robinson

          “I am obviously free to reject this claim.”

          No. To say “this is false because you have not proved it true” is a fallacy called argument from ignorance.

          You can certainly say “I don’t accept your premises and suspend judgement,” but you have wasted a lot of words if that is what you are doing. You cannot say “your argument is false because you do not meet some arbitrary standard of evidence I extemporize to avoid confronting it.”

          The only way you void a hypothesis is through necessary and sufficient counterevidence, not simply your intransigent belief that it is wrong.

        • Grimlock

          Once again, you assert that my rejection of your claim implies an embrace of the negation. This is false.

          You are making a broad and sweeping claim, name that “immigration policy (M) to date has not increased P:D in any OECD country.” This is not a claim that initially seems plausible, nor does it contain sufficient nuance for a proper investigation. (For instance: What timeframe are we talking about here, and how is second and third generation descendants counted?)

          As for wasting a lot of words on the subject, my initial response to your claim regarding M was the following: “I am dubious about your claim about M. Source?”

          All words since is due to your refusal to provide a source or justify your assertion.

          As for your general argument, I refer you to my previous main comment for my response to that.

        • Andy Robinson

          No, I have not implied you are embracing the negation. The rhetorical burden of proof does not encompass cases that anyone can easily verify. For example, “the sky is blue” cannot be rationally rebutted with “what about at night? or when it’s cloudy?” or “cite your source for the color.”

          If I say “there is no contemporary case of M increasing P:D” that is not a claim I need to “prove.” You can either reject it, in which case we are done talking on this issue (that’s called “suspension of judgement,” which is what adults declare when they can’t agree), or you can accept it provisionally for the purposes of argument (“granted your claim, your conclusion seems to follow/not follow”) or you can do your OWN research to find cases where M DOES increase P:D, in which case I must either discard or revise my hypothesis.

          “All words since is due to your refusal to provide a source or justify your assertion.”

          To say “I want a source” implies there is a single source that has answered that specific question, rather than a diffuse accumulation of knowledge from tens or hundreds of sources that you can find as easily as I can.

          Such a demand is based on a misunderstanding of the burden of proof, laziness, an argument from ignorance, or some combination of those. It is the attempt to avoid an unpleasant possibility by comforting yourself that, since I am not providing you with a “source,” you can ignore the possibility and the claim.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …or you can do your OWN research to find cases where M DOES increase P:D, in which case I must either discard or revise my hypothesis.

          When contributors have actually provided the substance to refute your nonsense, you hand wave it away, ignore it, or double down on yer bullshit. So yeah, either way, you are a disingenuous waste of time in taking seriously.

        • Andy Robinson

          “What, exactly, is it that you are proposing…”

          Two possibilities: end the welfare state, or increase birth rates to at least twice sustainability.

          At 10:1 P:D welfare states are sustainable. Alas, this ratio cannot be maintained, either.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You forgot another way of increasing P: Increasing the retirement age. Which is a very real possibility, and I do believe incentives are already being implemented in Norway to change this. Considering the increased life expectancy, this is not unreasonable.

          Which is what happened in the UK. From 65 to 67 for men, depending upon one’s date of birth. Under review and could go up to 68. And from 60 to 66 for women.

          Also, automatic enrolment into workplace pensions making it compulsory for employees to pay in.

          Another thing introduced was the removal of the default retirement age of 65, meaning no enforced retirement.

        • Grimlock

          That makes sense.

          I’m not sure about the compulsory part, but it makes sense.

          I recently heard about what sounded like a great program. People who retired, but who had previously worked in management positions, volunteered as mentors for new management folks. No pay, but it certainly sounds like a pleasant way to spend some of the retirement time, and their experience and knowledge is being used. I’d guess that can be relevant for other types of positions as well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m not sure about the compulsory part, but it makes sense.

          My bad. Making it compulsory to auto-enrol all employees and compulsory for employers to make a minimum % contribution.

          It used to be an opt-in choice for the employee, but now it is an opt-out with an auto-enrolment of all employees by the employer. There has been a phasing in of all employers having to provide a workplace pension scheme, starting with larger companies, but being rolled out to eventually include all employers.

          https://www.pensionbee.com/pensions-explained/pension-rules/workplace-pension-law

        • Andy Robinson

          Also, this is a partisan source but lists scholarly primary sources, many of which were part of my studies of the subject in the 1980s.

          Their total of 270 million is consistent with my claim of 240 million between the 7th and 15th centuries, because after the 15th century Islam was largely contained by the West and later Asia. In other words, without continuous expansion and being contained in their existing sphere of influence, their murder rate dropped substantially. Indeed, this balking of their expansion and containment by the West for the last 600 years is the basis for Patai’s analysis in _The Arab Mind_.

        • Andy Robinson

          Forgot the link: https://www.politicalislam.com/tears-of-jihad/

          Again, this is a partisan source, but at least several of its secondary sources are scholarly.

        • Pofarmer

          WWII certainly had a religious component, on both fronts. Genocide in Darfur? Certainly. Serbia? Once again, certainly.

        • Andy Robinson

          You are so desperate to be right on any point that it makes rational argumentation difficult.

        • Pofarmer

          Not at all. I didn’t say that World War II was a religious war. I did say it’s easy to argue there are religious components to it. Hitler’s antisemitism can easily be found in the teachings of Luther and other church fathers. Part of the fanaticism of the Japanese soldiers was their belief that the emperor was a living God. They were willing to go to extraordinary lengths to protect their home and their emperor. They would commit suicide rather than be captured. This figured strongly into the decision to drop the nuclear bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki.

        • Andy Robinson

          Fair enough.

          I should add that the decision to drop nuclear bombs in 1945 would, in 2019, be rightly considered a war crime. I do not second guess Truman’s decision, and it is likely we would have experienced nuclear war in a far more destructive form if we did not have an object lesson with a real human toll. And objectively, the nuclear weapons killed and injured fewer people (including induced casualties from cancer and other causes up to fifty years hence) than the US fire bombing campaign.

          Horror and slaughter are part of any war, but the question is whether the underlying philosophy of the belligerents justifies it, or whether it is treated as a choice between evils. State socialism, national socialism, and Wahabi Islam do so justify such killing. Secular humanism, Christianity, and to a lesser extent modern Judaism, do not.

        • I think we agree that, at the moment, the rate of religiously motivated killing is far higher for Islam. (That rate would be another useful statistic.) I wonder, though, how much of that is just luck. The sock puppet of the Bible can be made to say just about anything, including genocide. Are we just lucky that no sect of Christianity has gone there? There are individual nutty Christian preachers who’ve demanded harm (put the gays in pens, kill abortion doctors, etc.), though the actual human harm is small by comparison. I don’t think “Christianity kills far fewer than Islam!” is much to crow about if that’s only true by luck.

          Remove the Western government, and what would happen? Take Uganda as an example–could extreme Christianity metastasize into a Wahabi-like form?

        • Andy Robinson

          There are many speculative scenarios, but what we have is history. We must take classical history with a grain of salt, because it can’t be verified, but they are all the data we have on those periods. More recent data, however, is consistent, and can be verified, and comports with the historical rates of mass atrocity.

          The common factor is a fusion of polity, morality, and economy, whether it is Marxian socialism or Sharia or the Holy Roman Empire. Such a fusion tends to produce mass atrocity, although the Holy Roman Empire was less murderous than the Ottoman or pre-Ottoman caliphate. When those systems are allowed to function separately (because they are separate), each checks the other as occurs in liberal parliamentary democracies.

          The key is the rule of law (“no crime without a law”) — where morality informs the law, and where a law based on moral principles must exist before one can be punished — versus the rule of what’s legal, which describes systems where the polity has complete moral and economic authority and can issue new laws by fiat, and which operates under the legal theory “no crime [as we define it extemporaneously] may go without punishment.”

          So, might Christianity be as bad or worse that Islam? Yes, absolutely–if it were allowed to become a theocracy. Although even then, I still argue that the fundamental message of Christianity is more humanistic. This is consistent with the Reformation, the Renaissance, and Western Civilization in general: all of these changes were ultimately driven by people trying to perfect the implementation of a society based on Christian mores, including a separation of church and state.

          How much of that is Christianity and how much of it is the social evolution of the West versus other regions is open to debate. I am not making a causal claim. But it is a persistent fallacy that Christians are “just as bad” as anyone else. They aren’t. They have the capacity to be just as bad, but in the general case they have not pursued that capacity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But it is a persistent fallacy that Christians are “just as bad” as anyone else. They aren’t. They have the capacity to be just as bad, but in the general case they have not pursued that capacity.

          The Shankill Butchers was an Ulster loyalist gang—many of whom were members of the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)—that was active between 1975 and 1982 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was based in the Shankill area and was responsible for the deaths of at least 23 people, most of whom were killed in sectarian attacks. The gang was notorious for kidnapping and murdering random Catholic and suspected Catholic civilians; each was beaten ferociously and had his throat hacked with a butcher’s knife. Some were also tortured and attacked with a hatchet. The gang also killed six Ulster Protestants over personal disputes, and two other Protestants mistaken for Catholics.

          Or…

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorism

          We’ve already witnessed what is on the shopping list of the Christians if they can get a US theocracy.

          https://www.metroweekly.com/2018/06/christian-preacher-says-gays-should-be-executed-because-the-bible-commands-it/

          https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/4/11/18304825/abortion-texas-tony-tinderholt-death-penalty-bill

          Fundie Christian hands are all over anti-gay hatred on a global scale.

          https://harvardpolitics.com/covers/globalizing-hatred/

        • Andy Robinson

          Plato [Andy]: “A man is a featherless biped.”
          Diogenes [Amos, with a plucked chicken]: “Behold, a man!”

          First of all, I challenge you to count all the beheadings or near-beheadings by Christians and those by Muslims since, say, 1948 (the foundation of Israel by the UN). That base period is arbitrary, but you could choose pretty much any base period and get proportional results. I don’t know off the top of my head (so to speak) what the answer is, but my hypothesis is that tens or low hundreds is as many as you can come up with for Christians, whereas for Muslims it will be in the high hundreds or thousands. At least an order of magnitude disparity.

          Yours is the fallacy of composition, or what Sowell calls “all or nothing” reasoning: “since there are examples of Christian atrocity [even though they are one or more orders of magnitude less than other religions and philosophies], then Christians as a group are no better than those other religious and philosophical groups.”

          There is a lot of energy expended trying to morally equate Christians with Muslims because there is an underlying fear that such an analysis will be used to promote bigotry. But the empirical analysis CANNOT be bigoted, and the causes of such disparities need to be investigated without prejudice either way. Bigotry can be confronted when it occurs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          First of all, I challenge you to count all the beheadings or near-beheadings by Christians and those by Muslims since, say, 1948 (the foundation of Israel by the UN). That base period is arbitrary, but you could choose pretty much any base period and get proportional results. I don’t know off the top of my head (so to speak) what the answer is, but my hypothesis is that tens or low hundreds is as many as you can come up with for Christians, whereas for Muslims it will be in the high hundreds or thousands. At least an order of magnitude disparity.

          There’s the numbers game again. You don’t get it, when Christians had the power to do, they did. The question is, if they had the power again, what are they capable of.

          Yours is the fallacy of composition, or what Sowell calls “all or nothing” reasoning: “since there are examples of Christian atrocity [even though they are one or more orders of magnitude less than other religions and philosophies], then Christians as a group are no better than those other religious and philosophical groups.”

          Says the guy that paints Muslims with the one brush.

          There is a lot of energy expended trying to morally equate Christians with Muslims because there is an underlying fear that such an analysis will be used to promote bigotry. But the empirical analysis CANNOT be bigoted, and the causes of such disparities need to be investigated without prejudice either way. Bigotry can be confronted when it occurs.

          I’m not trying to morally equate Christians with Muslims.

          The problem with your persistent nonsense is the use of language.

          This is what you said…

          But it is a persistent fallacy that Christians are “just as bad” as anyone else. They aren’t.

          They are. Demonstrably so.

          They have the capacity to be just as bad, but in the general case they have not pursued that capacity.

          See, when you generalize groups then you are the problem. Individual Christians and specific groups of Christians, are just as bad as anyone else. If you don’t think the Christian clerics in the RCC, and the institution as a whole is not as bad as anyone else when it comes to child sex abuse and the destruction of children, the you are bat shite crazy.

          If you don’t think the concentration camps run by Christians were not as bad as anyone else’s, then your ignorance is flabbergasting.

          We get it. At present, the certain individual Muslims and specific groups are being as bad as anyone else.

          When you apply your logic to Muslims, you commit the fallacy of composition you so complain about.

          But the pressing question is, what is your point?

        • Yes, Christianity is more humanistic, but isn’t that a factor of governments/societies rather than the facts of the religion?

          You’re aware of the 500-year-long Islamic Golden Age, I imagine. And then it was shut down when the Mongols came. If the dice had come up some other way, maybe that would’ve continued. Or maybe it would’ve been cut short earlier.

          Is “Christianity has had an Enlightenment but Islam hasn’t” due to religious dogma or to society? But I think I’m just restating your last paragraph.

          it is a persistent fallacy that Christians are “just as bad” as anyone else. They aren’t.

          I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that. What I’ve seen is the claim that Christian dogma and holy books are just as immoral as Islam’s, and I agree.

        • Andy Robinson

          “But isn’t that a factor of governments/societies.”

          Yes, but a society is composed of polity, economy, and morality. Those are three separate components. Where you find extensive mass atrocity is when those three are amalgamated and controlled from a single source, such as Marxian socialism or Sharia.

          It may be accidental, but it was the humanist tradition of the West, flowing as it did from the Reformation which in turn was based on nasty old Catholicism, that led to [classical] liberalism, the basis for all representative republics/democracies in the world today.

          Is that a special attribute of Christianity? I would say it was, but I can’t “prove” it. There is only that correlation and the subsequent success of liberal systems.

        • Andy Robinson

          The Muslims were the most advanced society on the planet during that period, but that must be understood within the scope of what else existed: Europe had imploded, and Asia had become so introspective and isolated that it fell behind the rest of the world (one reason why the Chinese, who invented gunpowder, were caught flat-footed when Europeans shot at them with guns hundreds of years later).

          Also, science such as it was was constrained by Islam. In the West, we accept that scientific results may shatter religious preconceptions (like, dude, the Earth is not 6,000 years old). But such gainsaying of the Quran would be and was and to some extent still is treated as apostasy, for which the prescribed, Quranic penalty is death. Heresy in the Middle Ages and even into the Reformation was punished, but the death penalty was extremely rare. And eventually even the Catholic church came to accept scientific inquiry.

          I argue that you have to stretch the Christian Bible further to find justification for mass atrocity than you do the Quran. But that is admittedly a matter of good faith dispute between scholars of comparative religion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Christianity, from vengeful God to a god of tolerance and agape,…

          We must’ve been reading different books. At least YahwehJesus v.1.0 in the OT just smote yer arse in the here and now. No eternity of getting a red hot poker shoved up various orifices. The more sinister YahwehJesus v.2.0 in the NT gave no such let up for “sinners” or those that weren’t gulible enough to join the gang.

        • Andy Robinson

          Keep grinding that axe 😉

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s not really that hard. A butter knife is sharp enough to cut through yer religious woo-woo nonsense. A realise that’s difficult for ya to take on board, but there it is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Christianity, from vengeful God to a god of tolerance and agape, versus Islam, from toleration of non-believers to their forcible conversion, death, or at best, dhimmification (a concept which has no analog in Judaism or Christianity).

          Pfffft! Ya don’t half talk some shite.

          Tell yer story of tolerance and agape with no forceful conversion, death, or dihimmification, to the native Americans…both north and south.

          Native Americans and Christianity have a history that dates to the the arrival of the first European explorers. This history is marked by genocide, cultural destruction, domination and resistance.

          Much of the destruction was done for land, politics, and power, but a significant part of it was done for religious reasons, as Christians embarked on a world-wide, conversion-by-the-sword “re-education” scheme.

          Dihimmitude? What a crock.

          Bat Ye’or defines it as a permanent status of subjection in which Jews and Christians have been held under Islamic rule since the eighth century, and that forces them to accept discriminations or “face forced conversion, slavery or death”.

          Because no Jews or Christians ever did that to anyone? Nor did any other tyrannical ideology for that matter. //s

        • Greg G.

          This is a trivial analysis of any religious text: a keyword search without respect to context.

          The context is the Canon. Any morsel of the text is Canonical. Unless the Canon was selected by a less than unanimous vote of a squabbling committee from a collection of writings that were popular at some indiscriminate place and time centuries after they were written by uncertain authorship decades after the supposed events by a bunch of religious nuts. If that were the case, it may well be a pile of gibberish.

        • Andy Robinson

          Ah. So the US constitution still permits slavery and indenture, despite the fact that we have a later, 13th amendment that abolishes both? That is the principle you are claiming above.

          It’s interesting to see you equivocating on what is “uncertain” when it suits you, when I can assure you there is very little uncertainty of the chronology of the Old Testament versus the New in secular historical scholarship.

          And if you are concerned about squabbling committees, never attend an IPCC conference—torture! And all explicitly directed at making sure no heretical research and results make it out the door under the IPCC brand

        • Greg G.

          If a religious canon is to be cited as, well, gospel, it should not be made like sausage.

        • Andy Robinson

          So you’re just being petulant. That is NOT good logic. Still love ya though—in the sense of agape

        • Greg G.

          I think the concept of a Christian canon is absurd. Catholics do not rely on it whole-heartedly as they rely on church fathers, some of which were deemed heretical if they were found to have written something they didn’t like. Protestant belief is all over the map. There are over 45,000 different denominations because they do not interpret the canon the same way.

          Canonical books of the OT cite sources that are not part of the canon. Early NT epistles only refer to Jesus in OT terms, not as a recent first century person. The gospels appear to adapt stories from other sources, then slap “Jesus” over the names. There are four gospels and it seems to be Irenaeus who cemented that idea with such reasoning as there should be four gospels because there are four winds and four corners of the earth.

          The canons seem like arbitrary collections of writings which make an religion based on them a joke. So I am giving them all the respect they are due.

        • Greg G.

          It’s interesting to see you equivocating on what is “uncertain” when it suits you, when I can assure you there is very little uncertainty of the chronology of the Old Testament versus the New in secular historical scholarship.

          I am not sure what you mean. Egyptian archaeology shows that there was never a large populations in Egypt. The archaeology in the Sinai shows there was never a 40 year occupation by a large group of wanderers. Israeli archaeology shows that there was never a change of culture in Judea as if the Canaanite genocide happened, just that many sites had identical culture except that some had pig bones and some didn’t. Apparently Judaism was just another Canaanite religion. So there was no Moses or an Exodus which means everything going back to Abraham and beyond is made up, too.

          There is enough tension between 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings versus 1 & 2 Chronicles to make the stories look like political spin. There is some confirmation of David but it looks like he and Solomon were greatly exaggerated. After that, there seems to be confirmation down to the Exile.

          And if you are concerned about squabbling committees, never attend an IPCC conference—torture! And all explicitly directed at making sure no heretical research and results make it out the door under the IPCC brand

          The science has become a political debate between science and religion and the religion side will jump all over any perceived contradiction so they should be careful. We’ve seen how the religious will pull quotemines from books and articles on evolution to make misleading points. The fate of the planet may be in the balance.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But this analysis fails for both Christianity and Islam. Islam has extensive support for toleration, but those verses were the first revealed (the Meccan verses), whereas those exhorting believers to violence and dhimmification of non-believers were revealed latter (the Medinan) and ABROGATE the Meccan versus where they conflict.

          You think the Qu’ran was compiled in order?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_chapters_in_the_Quran

          The compilation of the Qu’ran suffers from the same pitfalls as the compilation of the New Testament.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quran#Compilation

          As for Naskh (tafsir)…or abrogation…it is a fudge to explain away the contradictions in the texts. It is on a par with Christian apologetics. It is a concept that is/was not universally accepted among Islamic scholars. It suffers from the elephant in the room that the Christian scriptures do. How could an omnipotent, omniscient entity have made such a clusterfuck. Or allowed his chosen ones to make one in his stead.

        • MR

          The answers to the subset of problems that logic and evidence provide is more reliable than the answers that faith gives for anything. It is not even close.

          That makes me think of my challenge to Christians who have absolute faith in God. Let’s stand on the side of a busy highway, the goal is to get to the other side. You get to use your absolute faith in God, so we’ll go ahead and blindfold you. I’ll use observation, logic and reason and walk down to the crosswalk and press the button. We’ll see who can get to the other side faster. On you mark, get set….

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hebrews 11:1 is describing the problem space of “can’t know,” in which logic and evidence cannot operate.

          Which is a ‘problem space’ that is shrinking all the time a la the ‘god of the gaps’.

          Once upon a time, we didn’t know how bumblebees could fly, even though they could.

          Once upon a time, we KNEW there were no black swans.

          Once upon a time, it was *impossible* for a computer to beat a human being at chess.

          Up until just recently, it was *impossible* for a computer to beat expert players at 6 seat professional poker.

          We keep learning, and your supposed “can’t know” problem space keeps shrinking.

          But you keep on f** king that chicken for all you’re worth, betting on a well that’s rapidly going dry…while we watch and laugh at you.

        • Andy Robinson

          And what things do you “know” today that will be proved false tomorrow?

          Your faith in empirical analysis is quite religious, in fact.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I disagree.

          Since I equate faith with gullibility, logic and reason will be *fatal* to faith.

        • Andy Robinson

          You can equate faith with popcorn, in which case logic and reason will be entirely incidental to faith. But since faith is neither gullibility nor popcorn, both equations are false.

      • Pofarmer

        “Can’t know” addresses questions of faith.

        It seems to me that you are simply attempting to privileged your position.

        If you need proof of this, consider the Christian concept of God:
        omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Now devise an empirical test
        for such a being. You cannot

        Well I’ll be damned, that’s exactly what you were doing.

        Victor Stenger believed you COULD put that God to the test, and, in fact, it fails. That god also fails logically. It also fails empirically if you actually, ya know, read your damned book.

        See, here’s the thing. If you truly believe that “science” can’t tell us anything about God or god’s, then you can’t either. Full stop. Game over.

        • Andy Robinson

          Victor Stenger was wrong, and both he and you are pursuing the argument from ignorance. And I note that neither of you have described the test you might put to an entity who knows everything, is everywhere, and is all powerful: any test you might define, he can defeat without effort. The existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can only be determined should he choose to reveal himself, and even then his presence could not be empirically verified 😉

          Let me give you a secular example, since you can’t seem to accept the spiritual one: you cannot know the position and velocity of a subatomic particle at the same time. If you determine one, you are altering the other. This is the basis of quantum mechanics and quantum uncertainty, which in turn underpin complex systems theory (the way in which quantum uncertainty manifests itself in macroscopic complex systems).

          Bringing complex systems theory into the mix, you CANNOT determine the nth-order interactions between the simple components of a complex system. In other words, you can’t predict the future. Not “it’s hard” or “I need to collect more data with more precision,” but “it can’t be done.” You will find this language in the 2008 IPCC abstract on climate change,

          The climate is coupled, non-linear chaotic [complex] system, the long-term future state of which cannot be predicted.”

          Those are examples where science CANNOT answer questions that have nothing to do with God. Then again, people of faith would argue that God lives in the Planck Space, and is the source of quantum and complex systems uncertainty. 😉

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t even know what Victor Stengers argument amounts too, or Sean Caroll’s, for that matter. He argues roughly the same thing. He argues that we know the fundamental particles and interactions down to a point where any god claim becomes meaningless. Which is where you shift to “immaterial” I’m sure. Which is also meaningless.

          The spiritual example is simple. People believe what they want to believe, evidence or no. No one is immune to it.

        • MR

          This one’s another professional gas-lighter with his own agenda.

        • Pofarmer

          Since we don’t know everything, how dare we question things based on faith? AmIright?

        • MR

          Are we supposed to imagine that he accepts them all?

        • Andy Robinson

          But we don’t know the fundamental particles and interactions. We have proposed them, and predicted their interactions, and in some cases have observed those interactions, but if you have spent any time studying cosmology and subatomic physics you know there are as many subatomic theories as fingers on your hands and toes: strings, spinors, superstrings, m-space, super-symmetry, quark model… We can keep going.

          But we’ve never seen a quark, or a string, or a spinor.To date, only m-space theory has managed grand unification, but it has not been empirically verified, and many never be empirically verified because that necessary to verify the theory cannot be observed by any technology we have or of which we can currently conceive. M-space’s unification of gravity for example makes some predictions which the real world seems to defy, but we can’t be sure we even understand that defiance or if it is what we think it is.

          Science is a wonderful but limited tool. Most of what we act on is faith, whether empirically based or emotionally based.

        • Pofarmer

          Now you’re just being obtuse. https://www.edge.org/response-detail/26611

        • Andy Robinson

          And you aren’t? 😉

        • Most of what we act on is faith, whether empirically based or emotionally based.

          When I cross the street, I trust that my evaluation of the danger is accurate. That’s empirically based, and it’s not faith.

        • Andy Robinson

          Are you proposing that your risk calculus is categorical, and that all decisions can be so based? Very 19th century of you, but a world of complex systems science (the late 20th and 21st centuries) says “your risk calculus is not categorical, and very few decisions can be purely empirically based.”

        • Greg G.

          For that matter, we cannot know whether we are a brain in a vat being fed sensory inputs or an algorithm in a computer or in a pod in the Matrix. We may be a dream of Vishnu who is a brain in a vat in the Vishnu algorithm.

          Maybe we need Neo but I would be happy with Trinity.

        • Andy Robinson

          There you have it. The issue is not faith but the threshold at which a given question’s answer becomes a leap of faith. For mathematics, that threshold is high. For physical sciences, a little lower. For most natural and philosophical sciences, MUCH lower. For questions that cannot be answered, that threshold is zero. That does not mean that those who “believe” any particular answer are wrong, or right. That’s what “can’t know” means. 😉

        • Not what I’m talking about. I’m questioning the use of “faith” (or wondering how you define it).

        • Andy Robinson

          Faith is belief in things that cannot be known. Very little outside the realm of pure mathematics is KNOWN. We accept most of what we “know” literally on faith.

          Where the disagreement appears to arise is the degree and type of evidence necessary to justify faith. A scientist demands the ability to predict the outcomes of simple systems, or at least logical consistency and consistency with past observations in complex systems. In other words, a quantitative, empirical approach.

          A religious person who accepts the existence of an anthropomorphic “God” can NEVER have such evidence. And those who understand syllogistic logic and the scientific method know that there is an entire problem space of “can’t know” where empirical, quantitative answers are simply not possible. And even where they are possible, we are quite literally making a leap of faith based on what constitutes to us a preponderance of evidence.

          Faith is intrinsic, and treating it as a dirty word and indicting entire swaths of people because we don’t agree with their standards of evidence for questions that CANNOT be answered empirically is irrational and anti-scientific.

        • I use trust to mean belief well grounded in evidence (and that would be changed given sufficient contradicting evidence). Faith is belief not so grounded.

          Faith is intrinsic, and treating it as a dirty word

          I think it’s a very useful word. I just don’t have any use for it myself.

          Your use of faith to refer to empirically based belief isn’t the way I define it.

        • Andy Robinson

          Trust IS faith.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Trust Gullibility IS faith.

          FTFY

        • Andy Robinson

          Ah, I hear this from 5-year-olds all the time: “I know you are, but what am I?” Great stuff!

        • Ignorant Amos

          You hear that from 5 year olds all the time? What a lying bastard ya are.

          Though the adults you regularly converse with, are likely the mental age of the average 5 year old.

        • Andy Robinson

          Certainly that is the case in my conversations with you 😉

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like I said, lying bastard.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think he is using “faith” or “trust” as in the “confidence” that a proposition that something is either true, false, or unknown.

          What that confidence is based upon, is the question? Empiricism and rational thinking or woo-woo? One is scientific faith, the other is religious faith.

          The subconscious calculus you use to negotiate crossing the road safely is called Bayes Theorem.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHIz-gR4xHo

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Faith is belief in things that cannot be known. Very little outside the realm of pure mathematics is KNOWN. We accept most of what we “know” literally on faith

          I was going to ask for your definition of “faith” but apparently the better question is your definition of “know”. Either way, you a pulling the classic con of equating axioms with poorly evidenced conclusions. Just because we can never be certain we aren’t in the matrix doesn’t mean all claims about apparent reality have equal standing.

        • Andy Robinson

          No, I’m not pulling a “classic con,” any more than you are pulling classical verbal fog. The idea that all questions resolve to TRUE or FALSE is called an argument from ignorance, since there are at least three other logical states: DON’T KNOW, DON’T KNOW IN A SET OR CONTINUUM, and CAN’T KNOW. This is axiomatic in both discrete and informal logic.

          You may be projecting an apology or defense of religions or faith-based belief systems, which is not the case. However, when such a system asserts a being with any or some combination or all of the three “Os” (omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence), that being’s existence CANNOT be tested. This does not make the belief in such a being valid, but it also does not make it invalid. And since it cannot be tested, you cannot quantify the “standing” of such a system against any other. Nor is it rational to say “the flying spaghetti monster cannot be tested, but the transmitted wavelength of the clear daylight sky can be tested, and therefore the latter has more ‘standing’ than the former.”

          Such a distinction is purely arbitrary.

          If you want, you can think of faith as Schroedinger’s Cat situation, where the box cannot be opened, and the cat (or dog, as an anagram for god) is both dead (does not exist) and alive (exists) in perpetuity.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          You may not realize it is a con, but that is what you are doing. There is no “fog” at all in my comments.

          If you’d like to demonstrate otherwise, share with us a concise definition of what you mean by “know”.

        • Andy Robinson

          “You may not realize it’s a con”

          In which case it is not a con.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Granted, but I was very much correct about what you meant by “know”, was I not?

          And I remain curious whether you agree that, even if we can’t “knowledge” about external reality is beyond us, varying degrees of certainty based on empirical evidence is still within our reach, correct?

        • Andy Robinson

          I remain curious why you are asking questions about an argument I haven’t made.

          If you accept the principle that there is a problem space beyond empirical verification (which says nothing about external reality in the general case, as the question of the existence of n*O beings is intrinsic to external reality, and yet cannot be answered), then we have no argument on that score. Once granting that, one must relinquish the irrational claim that religious faith is itself prima facie irrational or invalid, since it has no necessary negative effect on the rational mind that accepts the problem space where empirical analysis CAN answer questions. In other words, religious faith and science are not mutually exclusive.

          To answer your question, within the scope of what can be verified empirically, the certainty of our knowledge is a continuum, yes. We can’t know the position and velocity of a subatomic particle simultaneously, but we CAN know the position and velocity of a beach ball, since Newtonian physics is adequate for the macroscopic world. We can’t yet be sure whether Robert Bakker is correct, or that Friedmann, Lematitre (who, ironically to this discussion, was a Catholic priest), and Hubble were correct, but our observations of paleontology and cosmology accord with their predictions.

          This doesn’t make Bakker’s warm blooded dinosaur model or the Big Bang theory “more valid” than any religion, because they cannot be compared in a common framework. Only in an arbitrary framework where you assume that what can be observed and measured has primacy over that which cannot.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I remain curious why you are asking questions about an argument I haven’t made.

          This is such an odd conversation. First, you jump in making all sorts of comments that appear absurd to anyone using the standard definition of “know”. After some back and forth, I speculate that you are using a non-traditional definition of “know” that requires an unreachable level of certainty.

          You then concede this is precisely what you are doing. I respond by advising you to be more transparent about non-traditional usage, and pointing out that your usage (perhaps unintentionally) equivocates the full spectrum of non-absolute certainty as being the same “faith”. I use the example of the dual claims of “the sun will/won’t rise tomorrow” to ask for what terms you use to describe this spectrum.

          Rather than offer these terms, you say I’m accusing you of making an argument you aren’t making while you continue to make that very argument!

          At this point I see no need to continue this conversation. I’ve uncovered the usage that creates the disconnect and you’ve proven reluctant to probe deeper with someone open to using your definitions. Perhaps your reply can change my mind, but I doubt it. And, yes, my position is not one of absolute certainty so there’s always the possibility that you could surprise me.

        • I bumped into a similar problem. It turns out that Andy likes to think that he’s very well read and doesn’t need to waste the time finding references to back up his claims. You want backup? Then look it up yourself.

          I imagine Andy in his thesis defense giving that response.

          When I pointed out this radically different approach, he seemed to be stunned that anyone would have any problem with his approach. I guess things are different on his planet.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I can just imagine submitting an essay for marking with a litany of “argument from ignorance” in the bibliography of citations.

          He clearly doesn’t understand the AFI and the burden of proof.

        • epeeist

          In other words, religious faith and science are not mutually exclusive.

          Well that rather depends on whether religion makes ontological claims that can be empirically tested doesn’t it.

          We can’t know the position and velocity of a subatomic particlesimultaneously, but we CAN know the position and velocity of a beach ball, since Newtonian physics is adequate for the macroscopic world.

          We can know the position and momentum of a sub-atomic particle simultaneously, within the constraints of the Heisenberg uncertainty position. As for the beach ball, we can’t know the position and momentum of this exactly, but only within the limits of our measuring apparatus.

          This doesn’t make Bakker’s warm blooded dinosaur model or the Big Bang theory “more valid” than any religion, because they cannot be compared in a common framework.

          How very Kuhnian of you. But of course in science we actually put or theories to the test, what does religion do?

        • Andy Robinson

          “Well, that rather depends…”

          No, it doesn’t. When a religion makes claims that can be empirically proved or disproved, only those claims are proved or disproved–not the specific religion, nor religions in general.

          “Within the constraints…”

          More pedantry. What happens or what exists in the Planck space? No, you can’t know the position and velocity of a subatomic particle simultaneously, and strictly speaking there is no possible measuring apparatus that can determine the precise position or velocity of a beach ball.

          “But of course in science we actually put [our] theories to the test…”

          Who are “we?” You might as well ask why calculus has no nutritive value: it is an irrelevant criterion. To put a finer point on it, when a question cannot be answered, putting the question “to the test” is spurious.

          Once again, your impulse to assign more value to empirical knowledge than to belief (which is intrinsic to science, for reasons I have already explained) is purely arbitrary.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Against my better judgement, I’ll ask a question.

          Once again, your impulse to assign more value to empirical knowledge than to belief (which is intrinsic to science, for reasons I have already explained) is purely arbitrary.

          Is it your contention that, since we lack absolute certainty about external reality, the statements “the sun rises in the east” and “the sun rises in the west” have equal standing?

        • Andy Robinson

          Yes, false = true is exactly the argument I am making.

          Irony intended.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thank you, that’s what I thought.

          So what terms do you use to discern between the amount of evidence for the competing east/west claims above?

        • epeeist

          When a religion makes claims that can be empirically proved or disproved, only those claims are proved or disproved

          Which is essentially what I said. Where a religion and science make ontological claims and these differ then there is a conflict.

          You have already raised the Big Bang, so let’s use that as an example. If a religion promotes a cosmology that is not in accordance with Big Bang cosmology then there is a conflict.

          What happens or what exists in the Planck space?

          Hilbert and Minkowski spaces I am familiar with, what is “the Planck space”?

          No, you can’t know the position and velocity of a subatomic particle simultaneously, and strictly speaking there is no possible measuring apparatus that can determine the precise position or velocity of a beach ball.

          You make my point for me. In neither the quantum or macroscopic examples can we determine the momentum and position exactly.

          Let’s take these in reverse order, for the beach ball we can write:

          ΔpΔx ≥

          Compare this with

          ΔpΔx ≥ ℏ/2

          In other words, our knowledge in both cases is limited though for different reasons.

          (You might care to determine what the error in our knowledge of the position of a proton travelling at, say, 10% of the velocity of light is given that we can determine its momentum with an error of 1%)

          To put a finer point on it, when a question cannot be answered, putting the question “to the test” is spurious.

          This is equivalent to saying that we have no knowledge of what the answer to the question is. Which is fine of course until someone claims that they do have an answer but cannot justify it. Almost the definition of an argument from ignorance.

          Once again, your impulse to assign more value to empirical knowledge than to belief

          I do so because empirical knowledge has more explanatory power than simple belief.

          (which is intrinsic to science, for reasons I have already explained)

          I have been away for the past three weeks and have had little access to the site. If you could provide a link to your explanation then this would be appreciated. It would avoid me having to trawl through the oubliette that is Disqus.

        • Andy Robinson

          “Someone claims they have an answer but cannot justify it.”

          This is not the definition of an argument from ignorance. I suggest a review of the AFI in whatever literature is most amenable to you.

          Intuition is an answer that cannot be (immediately) justified, and it is intrinsic to the scientific process. That intuition may prove to be wrong doesn’t void its value, since being wrong is more important to the process than being right.

          But a person who says “I know God exists” is faith or intuition regarding a question that CANNOT be answered empirically. You can not verify the answer one way or the other. You either agree or not. As long as none are saying “YOU must ( not should, but must) believe in God” you have no complaint in any direction.

          “Empirical knowledge has more explanatory power than belief.”

          False. Empirical knowledge can explain questions within its problem space, but has NO “power” outside it’s problem space. It is, again, an argument from ignorance to assume that all questions can be answered, and that they have categorical or concrete answers.That is 19th century “science.”

          Some atheists are made uncomfortable by the idea the world is not explicable in the general case, and particularly that there might be some external “higher power” that enforces consequences— so they descend into the AFI trap in an effort to reassure themselves — and to harm those who express faith, if possible.

          Engels recognized this principle in his writings. I can only paraphrase him here, but essentially “terrorism is the act of people who are themselves in terror, to reassure themselves.”

          For terrorism, read “evangelical atheism.”

        • epeeist

          This is not the definition of an argument from ignorance.

          You missed the “Almost” in my post. If I claim that in my opinion the best cure for malaria is Chininum Sulphuricum but I have no justification for this then this is an argument from ignorance.

          Intuition is an answer that cannot be (immediately) justified, and it is intrinsic to the scientific process.

          Accepted that intuition is vital to science, but try getting an article based on your intuition published in a scientific journal. I think you will find that some justification or evidence for your intuition might just be required.

          But a person who says “I know God exists” is faith or intuition regarding a question that CANNOT be answered empirically.

          The person who says this is making a knowledge claim. Now there are problems with the classical theory of knowledge but it is sufficient here. Knowledge is justified true belief. If I claim that I know p then I am saying that p is true; that I believe it to be true; and that I have justification for that belief.

          Empirical knowledge can explain questions within its problem space, but has NO “power” outside it’s problem space.

          Where did I say otherwise?

          So in what problem space is belief more effective than empirical knowledge and how would one tell?

          Some atheists are made uncomfortable by the idea the world is not explicable in the general case

          Interesting assertion, can you justify it in either the general case or in the more restricted case of the people here?

          and particularly that there might be some external “higher power” that enforces consequences

          If you want to make the ontological commitment to the existence of such an entity then be my guest. But unless you can justify that commitment then why should I accept the entity into my ontology?

        • Andy Robinson

          The Planck space refers to fragments of space time smaller than the Planck scale.

        • epeeist

          The Planck space refers to fragments of space time smaller than the Planck scale.

          And this is actually a term used in QM (or more likely in QFT)? Citation required.

        • Andy Robinson

          No, no citation is required. The question remains, what happens or what lives there in elements of space time smaller than the Planck scale?

          This is a purely empirical question about an aspect of the natural world that none can answer.

          This ought to put to rest the pedantry related to the question of empirical problem spaces, but it won’t: the worshippers of the Church of Science, almost never themselves scientists, will continue to worship the forms, rather than the substance, of science.

        • epeeist

          No, no citation is required.

          Then I don’t accept your use of the term.

          almost never themselves scientists

          Unfortunately for you I happen to have a doctorate in physics, in particular in the quantum mechanics of small molecules.

        • Andy Robinson

          I am sure you have many doctorates, as need requires, but you are still an irrelevant authority. If your QFT refers to quantum foam theory (more recently spin foam) then you know of what I speak, and are so desperate for a point on which to hang your rebuttal, you are resorting to picking nits.

          What happens there?

        • Ignorant Amos

          …but you are still an irrelevant authority.

          Yet another fallacy you’ve bastardised.

        • Pofarmer

          That comment was particularly stupid, even for Andy. I think I’ll stop bothering again. He’s just arguing to argue.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s got me blocked, but am still gonna take any fuckwittery to task…at least until am totally bored, which is likely gonna be sooner rather than later.

        • epeeist

          If your QFT refers to quantum foam theory

          It doesn’t.

          Personally I would expect that anyone who had any knowledge of QM (and in particular the Dirac equation) would know what QFT refers to.

        • Andy Robinson

          Personally, you still haven’t answered the question even though you know of what I speak, and are now trying to obfuscate.

          You bore me, and will continue to do so until you stop trying to “win” the argument.

        • epeeist

          I think we have seen enough over the last few posts, from the one where you claimed that “We can’t know the position and velocity of a subatomic particle simultaneously”onwards that your knowledge of QM (and Quantum Field Theory”) can be summed up with another TLA, namely SFA.

        • Pofarmer

          and will continue to do so until you stop trying to “win” the argument.

          Self reflection isn’t your strong suit, is it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Can I help the eejit out?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_field_theory

          Ya know what they say about a little knowledge?

        • epeeist

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

          Is Wikipedia blessed by Jesus?

          Ya know what they say about a little knowledge?

          Sorry, this one irritates me:

          A little learning is a dangerous thing;
          Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring :
          There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
          And drinking largely sobers us again.

          EDIT: Formatting, fcking Disqus

        • Ignorant Amos

          Is Wikipedia blessed by Jesus?

          I was attempting to K.I.S.S.

          I coulda went with.

          https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780429503559

        • Andy Robinson

          PS – “Almost never” is not “never.” There are irrational, evangelical atheists, just as there are irrational, evangelical theists, even among scientists.

        • Pofarmer

          No, no citation is required.

          Then I don’t accept your use of the term.

          There’s gonna be a lot of that, is my prediction. Ole Andy here likes to make up terms to attempt to privilege his arguments, such as they are.

        • Ignorant Amos

          AR “knows” his position is supported somewhere, but it’s the job of everyone else to go find it. He’s a turkey.

        • epeeist

          There’s gonna be a lot of that, is my prediction.

          Agreed.

          One of the things that amuses me with people who introduce “quantum” into their posts is how fast they back off when you introduce the tiniest bit of mathematics into a response or when you ask them to do a simple calculation…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Citation required.

          Cue the argument from ignorance accusation. Which he clearly doesn’t understand.

          You are dealing with a D-K fuckwit…time to break out the popcorn.

        • I believe you said you’ve been away for a bit? Andy has special rules that you may not be aware of. Providing citations is against his religion. Or something.

          Asking him to back up his claims with citations makes him peevish. FYI.

        • epeeist

          Providing citations is against his religion. Or something.

          Asking him to back up his claims with citations makes him peevish.

          Wow, really? Never seen that before.

          Still working on the images from my time away. My daughters like this little chap:
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f776352507f6841b51d6c999cd930f695d3d9df828a9edccd815b5071d56c101.jpg

        • Years ago in Monteray, California we saw some sea otters breaking clams with rocks on their chests, in this position.

          Where does this guy live?

        • epeeist
        • Juneau? Did you get a photo next to the Sarah Palin cutout? If not, get back there and do so.

        • epeeist

          Did you get a photo next to the Sarah Palin cutout?

          I was a little worried that doing so would mean a large drop in my IQ, so no, I didn’t.

        • Pofarmer

          If you’ve been conned and don’t know you’ve bought the con, it’s still a con.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or are an innocent participant conned into the con to con the mark…one is still part of the con.

        • Pofarmer

          Btw, you’re describing a False Dichotomy, not argument from ignorance.

        • Andy Robinson

          “Know” in the purely logical sense is a proposition that can be tested.

          You do not “know” that the sun will rise tomorrow (in the global or personal senses). You induce this from your knowledge of physics, the organization of the solar system, and the fact it has risen every other day of your life and of recorded history.

          In other words, our belief in the future is purely faith, since we cannot know it will happen until it is the past. This is not sophistry: much of the confusion among those who invoke “the science” in a quasi-religious manner is the misunderstanding of predictions versus empirical results.

          For example, the projections of climate models are not evidence. They are claims of future behavior. You BELIEVE (have faith) that the future will unfold as the model predicts, or not. To say the future is “settled science” is a purely religious and anti-scientific comment, although it is fair to say that climatological inertia means the story is already written for decades or centuries–we just don’t know exactly WHAT is written until it happens.

          Another example is the metabolism and evolutionary legacy of the dinosaurs. Robert Bakker was one of a tiny number of heretics (what climate hysterics would call “deniers” of the paleontologic “settled science” regarding dinosaurs through the 1960s) who advanced the theory that dinosaurs were endothermic, and are the ancestors of birds rather than modern reptiles. Today, Bakker’s theories are the “settled science,” even though we cannot know the actual case nor are we EVER likely to know, barring some Jurassic Park development.

          This is not an equation of religious faith with faith in the scientific method, but both are beliefs in something that either cannot be proved at all, or cannot be proved until the events actually occur.

          This ought not be objectionable to either an atheist nor any rational person, but apparently the idea that religious faith is not prima facie irrational or invalid drives some of both to apoplexy.

          I am an atheist by the way, though I prefer “irreligious.”

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Sure, given that absolute certainty about anything external is beyond us, a definition of “knowledge” dependent on absolute certainty means we don’t know anything. But there’s a reason why virtually no one uses that definition. It would also behoove you to make clear your unusual usage and not act as if everyone agrees with your usage when it is obvious that they aren’t.

          Do you recognize that there are degrees of confidence in our certainty? That we can be more certain that the sun will rise tomorrow than it won’t? If you agree with this, what terms to you use for this scaling confidence?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Science is a wonderful but limited tool.

          Perhaps, but at this time it’s the only tool that can be used to learn new things about external reality. Despite your attempts at equivocation and obfuscation, faith – even your fuzzy usage – doesn’t help us learn anything about external reality.

        • Andy Robinson

          Snore. Your desperation to “win” on any point is incompatible with the scientific method. Good night!

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Winning is not my objective, clarity is. The comment I responded to earlier goes a ways towards clearing up your issue, so I thank you for that.

        • Andy Robinson

          PS – “If you truly believe that ‘science’ can’t tell us anything about God or god’s, then you can’t either. Full stop. Game over.”

          That is a religious statement. You are simply substituting “science” for “supreme being,” and making a faith-based comment. Specifically, that science can answer all questions, which no actual scientist would claim.

        • Pofarmer

          ,Specifically, that science can answer all questions,

          I didn’t claim that.

          My claim was, if science can’t tell us anything about God, then you can’t either.

          Or do you have a proposal?

        • Andy Robinson

          I haven’t said anything about God. But your statement is false to begin with: you can say whatever you wish, or believe, about God (I prefer “flying spaghetti monster”), and it cannot be proved or disproved. If you believe it, that is faith, and faith cannot be decomposed in the general case by reason (or vice versa).

          I assume you would object to a “faith” that the sky was green. Based on how we define colors, we know that the clear daylight sky transmits light at an average wavelength of 475nm, which is “sky blue.” To say that is green is logically and empirically false.

          But if one claims the flying spaghetti monster is green, there is no test possible. There is no way to define it out of existence or produce empirical data to disprove it or prove it. As such, it is a point of faith — in this case (but not necessarily) an entirely irrational point of faith.

        • Pofarmer

          Nice straw deity.

          I believe in Invisible Pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one, I know they are Pink because of Faith.

        • Andy Robinson

          And none can gainsay that faith. Of course, you and I both know you don’t have any such faith, and also apparently don’t know what a “straw man” is, because it describes your posting, not mine 😉

        • Pofarmer

          And none can gainsay that faith.

          Sure you can. It’s not unreasonable to question things that are based only on faith.

        • Andy Robinson

          Fair enough. You can literally gainsay it, but you cannot make the claim that the faith is a “lie” or intrinsically false unless the faith directly contradicts empirically measurable phenomena in the physical world. And even then, only as it pertains to those phenomena.

          In other words “the Earth is 6,000 years old” is empirically false, but that does not render the rest of that faith false. Particularly given that almost every scientist who contributed to our understanding of the world in the past 250 years has been either a Christian or a Jew (the number who are explicitly atheist is increasing, but still a small minority).

        • BertB

          Fair enough. You can literally gainsay it, but you cannot make the claim that the faith is a “lie” or intrinsically false unless the faith directly contradicts empirically measurable phenomena in the physical world. And even then, only as it pertains to those phenomena.

          A classic example of the Argument from Ignorance…it is also an attempt to shift the burden of proof.

        • Andy Robinson

          Actually it’s an argument from ignorance that I responded to.

          The burden of proof is that an affirmative claim IN AN ARGUMENT must be reasonably defended against challenge, or judgment on that point is suspended. That is not equivalent to the affirmative claim being disproved.

          An argument from ignorance is based on the false conception that all claims can be proved or disproved, or even induced by a preponderance of evidence. This is true only of a tiny subset of questions.

        • Damien Priestly

          Ah yes, the new apologetics claim that “scientists are Christian” (or Jewish) — thus their faith is reasonable. Completely unrelated issues of course.

          Can’t we all believe in anything — based upon faith?

        • Andy Robinson

          “Can’t we all believe in anything.”

          Yes. As long as you do not equivocate between what you “ know” empirically and what you believe based on faith.

          For example, AGW believers are operating on faith, just not religious faith. And I am an AGW “believer.” 😉

        • Damien Priestly

          OK, Agreement !! Unicorns, Bigfoot, Jesus, Easter Bunny…All of us should believe in these creatures based upon faith alone.

          BTW, — AGW ?? — You believe in Actual-Gold-Weight? Or is it Asians-Gone-Wild?

        • AGW = Anthropogenic Global Warming (that is, climate changed caused by human industrial activity).

        • Andy Robinson

          None here have argued that anyone “should” believe anything based on faith, simply that faith operates in a problem space that cannot be empirically verified or denied. It is simple ignorance that those who pray to the Church of Science (almost none of whom are scientists) assume all questions have a factual answer. It is a throwback to the science of the 19th century, rather than the science of the 21st.

        • Greg G.

          simply that faith operates in a problem space that cannot be empirically verified or denied.

          When you say “problem space” in that sentence, it sounds like you are bending over backwards to give “imagination” more respect than it deserves. If something cannot be empirically verified or denied, it can only be imagined.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …all questions have a factual answer.

          All questions that have ever been explained have had a factual answer. The supernatural has explained exactly nothing. While science on the other hand has an outstanding track record.

          The choice is quite simple. A factual answer from science, or “I don’t know”. Woo-woo answers nothing.

          When we are dealing with what is actually the case, supernatural woo-woo is useless.

        • Andy Robinson

          Better.

          “All questions that have ever been explained have a factual answer.”

          First, all questions that have factual answers are a tiny fraction of the questions asked. So you haven’t contradicted me.

          For example, what is the factual answer to the question of grand unification? M-space theory is the current best fit, and it leaves more questions about cosmology and nuclear physics unanswered than answered.

          “The supernatural has explained nothing.”

          I haven’t made any claims about the supernatural. I have made a claim that empirical analysis and faith (which is not “supernatural” in any way) address different problem spaces. Faith addresses the problem space encompassing questions that have a logical state of “can’t know.”

          What’s more, faith is the explicit process of by which we leap from a hypothesis that has been confirmed but can NEVER be proved to a working theory. It is as much a part of science as it is of any mode of thought.

          “When we are dealing with what is actually the case.”

          For many questions, there is no “actually the case” that can be discerned. That is all I have ever argued. I am not making a case for God. Science is applicable to questions about things that can be measured and observed, but that is not all of reality, nor is it even a majority of questions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          First, all questions that have factual answers are a tiny fraction of the questions asked.

          So what? Based on all probability, those that haven’t got factual answers yet, won’t be answered by supernatural woo-woo.

          So you haven’t contradicted me.

          Your full sentence was…

          “It is simple ignorance that those who pray to the Church of Science (almost none of whom are scientists) assume all questions have a factual answer.”

          …which is more polemical hyperbole and absolute unsubstantiated ballix.

          To quote Dara O’Brain…“Science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it’d stop. But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.”

          For example, what is the factual answer to the question of grand unification? M-space theory is the current best fit, and it leaves more questions about cosmology and nuclear physics unanswered than answered.

          Yeah, everything science answers is provisional. Did ya miss the bit where I said where science can’t provide a factual answer, the alternative is “I/we don’t know”…”yet”…?

          I haven’t made any claims about the supernatural.

          Where did I say you did?

          I have made a claim that empirical analysis and faith (which is not “supernatural” in any way) address different problem spaces.

          Wooah, hold on there Hoss. Define what you mean by “faith” before we move on here.

          Faith addresses the problem space encompassing questions that have a logical state of “can’t know.”

          That all sounds nice and fluffy. Which questions have a logical state of “can’t know”? As far as I’m aware, that’s the realm of the supernatural. Perhaps you have other examples?

          What’s more, faith is the explicit process of by which we leap from a hypothesis that has been confirmed but can NEVER be proved to a working theory. It is as much a part of science as it is of any mode of thought.

          Now you are doing that disingenuous thing of conflating two definitions of the same word. You just said, “Faith addresses the problem space encompassing questions that have a logical state of “can’t know.”. If something can’t be known, then now you’ve defined faith as something else.

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/03/08/science-is-not-faith-based-no-matter-what-the-wall-street-journal-says/#7b60a80b3acd

          Until you define how you are defining the word “faith”, am gonna suspend the conversation. You appear to be confused on the two definitions.

          For many questions, there is no “actually the case” that can be discerned.

          Straw man.

          That is all I have ever argued.

          No, you’ve asserted a lot of incoherent stuff. Help us out here, provide examples and context so we may get a measure for what you actually mean. What is the “faith” to which you refer and how does it work in any meaningful way.

          I am not making a case for God.

          Nor did I say you were. But you want to inject some form of mystery woo-woo into the mix from what I see.

          Science is applicable to questions about things that can be measured and observed, but that is not all of reality,…

          No? What else in reality can’t be measured or observed?

          …nor is it even a majority of questions.

          What’s the majority of questions about then? Seems to me you are going over you remit capability here.

        • Andy Robinson

          If you think I’m equivocating (alternating between two definitions of the word), that may be because you and others have projected a pejorative meaning on the word, not because I’m trying to fuzz the different meanings.

          Faith is no more or less than the process by which we make the leap from what we know to what we don’t know or cannot know.

          Where I believe you go wrong, and I’m trying to be adjust the tone here, is the assumption that religious faith is somehow “filling the gaps with fairy tales,” as if there is mutual exclusivity between science and religion. When they are operating as they should, neither can address the questions of the other.

          You asked what we can’t know, and one answer is “what happens in the Planck space?” I am irreligious, but when asked about God I answer “God lives in the Planck space.” Simultaneously nothing and everything, everywhere and nowhere. This is not any sort of metaphysical, supernatural claim — it is an induction drawn from quantum mechanics. If a 3-O God is anywhere, that’s where he’ll be.

          Have a good day Amos.

        • Aram

          “Die Wahrheit triumphiert nie, ihre Gegner sterben nur aus.”

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Aram

          AGW = Anthropogenic global warming, I presume. Which is amusing, because Andy actually seems to think that people ‘believe’ in global warming based on ‘faith’. Um…

        • Ignorant Amos

          (the number who are explicitly atheist is increasing, but still a small minority).

          Behave yerself.

          Unfortunately, various studies don’t support your assertion.

          https://evolution-outreach.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1936-6434-6-33

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I really enjoy seeing Andy toss around names of fallacies without having the slightest sense of what those terms mean.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He’s a daft bastard!

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, members of the National Academy of Scientists run about 85% atheist. Working scientists run about 50% atheist. I could dig up the numbers if you like.

          but you cannot make the claim that the faith is a “lie” or
          intrinsically false unless the faith directly contradicts empirically
          measurable phenomena in the physical world. And even then, only as it
          pertains to those phenomena.

          If you’re willing to make a claim based only on “faith” then I’m perfectly in my power to claim it’s a lie, or simply imaginary. What evidence do you have to prove otherwise? This goes back to Thomas Paine’s argument on why revelation is not a reliable form of knowledge, even if it were real. It doesn’t matter if the claim contradicts empirically measurable phenomena or not, I have no reason to believe those claims.

        • Andy Robinson

          Not if you are rational. “What evidence do you have to prove otherwise” is yet another argument from ignorance, and in rational argumentation the application of the word “lie” ONLY applies to cases where one is knowingly repeating a known falsehood with intent to deceive.

          Using the term “lie” in most cases is simply well poisoning and a substitution for argumentation.

        • Andy Robinson

          Members of any Christian sect are about 95% Christian. Members of the Communist Party of the USA are about 95% communists. The fact that only 85% of a voluntary membership organization are atheists tells you nothing about scientists in general.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s funny how you can make an unsupported comment like…

          (the number who are explicitly atheist is increasing, but still a small minority).

          But when an evidence based rebuttal is made, you are permitted to just hand wave it away.

          https://www.futurity.org/uk-scientists-less-religious-1937692-2/

          Your comment about a “small minority” is conjecture and erroneous ballix.

        • Andy Robinson

          With rebuttals like that, who needs arguments? 😉

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t seem to be able to present either from what ave seen so far.

          Atheists who are also scientists are not in the small minority where studies have been made. They certainly are not a Christian majority.

          Until you can support your fuckwittery, you are just another blowhard among the many we’ve seen here. Nothing special. No crusader with epiphany moments to share.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I like the irony of you handwaving away a critique of your penchant for handwaving things away. Though I’m not sure you understand why it is ironic or intended it to be so.

        • Andy Robinson

          Argumentum ad nauseum is always ironic, and it is always a fallacy. Tiring someone with endless goal-post moves because you want to be “win” an argument does not equate to winning the argument, nor does refusing to continue to engage constitute “handwaving things away.”

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Goalpost moves? Please share a single time anyone moved a goalpost on you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He loves him some use of fallacies, even when he doesn’t know how to use them, or where they apply.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Yes, it’s like he just stumbled on a list of fallacies and thinks including one automatically makes his comment more substantive.

        • Ignorant Amos

          While at the same time not realising when he has fallen foul of said fallacies, he’s a proverbial train crash.

        • Pofarmer

          Which, interestingly enough, is what Christian apologists I run into like to do.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Yup, he claims to be an atheist, but he’s bought hook, line and sinker into the we can’t know anything for certain, so all claims about external reality are equally faith based” trope.

          Newsflash Andy (and whoever keeps giving his comments a +1), no one with a passing grasp of philosophy is unaware of the gulf between subjective experience and objective reality. You aren’t breaking new ground, you’re just stumbling blindly over well worn paths.

          You see, when I say I know something, what I’m really saying is “given my inherent fallibilism, evidence suggests that apparent reality has this characteristic”. Nor am I an exception, this is what everyone who recognizes the gulf means, it’s just not practical to word it like this. Furthermore, that the knowledge scale goes up to an unattainable 11 does nothing to diminish the utility of 0-10.

          I get it. Sometimes when you first learn about a subject, you get all eager to show off your newfound “expertise”. Often, you’ll then run into people with a better understanding of the material, and it feels like they are mistaken. This appears to be where Andy is. I just hope he has the curiosity and honesty to stick with it so he can see for himself where his errors are.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yup, he claims to be an atheist, but he’s bought hook, line and sinker into the we can’t know anything for certain, so all claims about external reality are equally faith based” trope.

          Coincidentally, I was reading this earlier…

          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/15029

        • MR

          I think the brick wall you’re going to hit is where you hope for his honesty, much less curiosity.

        • Pofarmer

          https://www.pewforum.org/2009/11/05/scientists-and-belief/

          A survey of scientists
          who are members of the American Association for the Advancement of
          Science, conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the
          Press in May and June 2009, finds that members of this group are, on the
          whole, much less religious than the general public.1
          Indeed, the survey shows that scientists are roughly half as likely as
          the general public to believe in God or a higher power. According to the
          poll, just over half of scientists (51%) believe in some form of deity
          or higher power; specifically, 33% of scientists say they believe in
          God, while 18% believe in a universal spirit or higher power. By
          contrast, 95% of Americans believe in some form of deity or higher
          power, according to a survey
          of the general public conducted by the Pew Research Center in July
          2006. Specifically, more than eight-in-ten Americans (83%) say they
          believe in God and 12% believe in a universal spirit or higher power.
          Finally, the poll of scientists finds that four-in-ten scientists (41%)
          say they do not believe in God or a higher power, while the poll of the public finds that only 4% of Americans share this view.

        • Greg G.

          It is not exactly voluntary. One must be voted in. It is elite scientists in original research.

        • Andy Robinson

          It’s voluntary as much as any membership organization. To claim their membership statistics reflect anything other than their membership statistics, and particularly the demographics of scientists in general, is a fallacy of composition.

          What’s more, the surveys of their membership are voluntary.

          And even more importantly, science is not a priesthood. Other respondents have implied that membership in this or any similar organization conveys a mantle of scientific credibility much as finishing seminary and taking orders creates a priest. There are literally millions of scientists toiling in obscurity, any of whom (and many of whom) will be the authors of the breakthroughs of tomorrow.

          Once again, no one expects the Church of Science!

        • Greg G.

          It is voluntary in the sense that it is not slavery nor is it compelled like a prison sentence. One can quit anytime. But not just anybody, nor just any scientist, can volunteer for it, either.

          What’s more, the surveys of their membership are voluntary.

          Below is Answers in Genesis’ response to a 1998 survey of the NAS which reported that 93% of the 517 members who responded said they were atheist or agnostic with just over half reporting. If all the non-respondents were believers, it is still ~47% non-believers.

          https://answersingenesis.org/who-is-god/god-is-good/national-academy-of-science-is-godless-to-the-core-survey/

          There are literally millions of scientists toiling in obscurity, any of whom (and many of whom) will be the authors of the breakthroughs of tomorrow.

          Then they might be selected for the NAS.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If there were so many believers among scientists, one wonders why they’d avoid responding.

        • Pofarmer

          He seems to like to pull numbers out of his rectum.

        • Greg G.

          Even AIG suspected it would have been worse (for Team Theism) if the other half had responded.

        • Andy Robinson

          ~47% non-believers, of a voluntary membership organization. Again, you cannot use that datum as a proxy for the religious affinity of scientists in general, any more than you can judge Americans as a whole by the members of the Westboro Baptist Church.

          If you wish to claim I am equating the NAS with the WBC, I am not: merely pointing out that such statistical extrapolations are fallacious. Neither is even a statistically meaningful sample of the object population, much less an effective proxy for the object population.

        • Greg G.

          I am not talking about scientists in general. I am talking about the NAS. The 47% figure is what it would be if every single person in the half who didn’t return the survey were theists.

          If the percentage of general scientists who are atheist is lower than the percentage of NAS scientists who are atheist, it shows that the atheism rate goes up in elite scientists.

        • Andy Robinson

          I am talking about scientists in general. I grant your datum, but as it is not a proxy for mine, my claim remains.

          “It shows that the atheism rate goes up in elite scientists.”

          Which is indicative of nothing, unless you aspire to be in all respects like 53% of “elite scientists.” Which is another form of faith 😉

        • Greg G.

          Which is indicative of nothing

          It is totally indicative that 93% of at least 259 elite scientists reported that they were non-believers. If you refuse to accept any implications of that sample, the next time a nurse wants to take a blood sample to do blood tests, you should say, “NO! TEST IT ALL!!!”

        • Andy Robinson

          “If you refuse to accept any implications of that sample”
          I am not refusing to accept ANY implications, I am rejecting your implication that there is a causal link between atheism and elite scientific achievement. Also, of the millions of scientists around the world who claim the title, and the many more who do not, 259 is not a statistically significant sample.
          Quora estimates there are 7 million scientists in the world, which is not a real number but hopefully you will accept it for the purposes of argument; The sample size for that population to 95% confidence +/-3% is 1,067 randomly selected scientists. Not 259 belonging to a single organization whose membership is almost certainly a self-fulfilling prophecy.
          What’s curious is how desperate you are to establish that causal link, because there is none and cannot be. In Germany in 1935, the majority of scientists supported fascism (and why not? they were selected for special treatment and lavish funding by the NSDAP). Today, the majority of scientists align with the political Left, despite the fact that collectivism has an extensive empirical record of failure throughout the 20th century and even today.

          Using your logic, the implication is that fascism and collectivism are causal for scientific achievement, OR that fascism and collectivism are the result of scientific thinking. I’m fairly certain you would reject both “implications.”

          Albert Einstein, who was a species of agnostic or pantheist, was a brilliant physicist but not a particularly astute politician. One non-sequitur ascribed to him is “you cannot simultaneously prepare for and prevent war,” which is exactly wrong. You cannot prevent war without being better prepared than your opponent(s) to fight one (another empirically verifiable hypothesis).
          And of the many millions of scientists in the world, most are not atheists (which was my original claim). Agnostics are not atheists. And even most atheists are not anti-religious. And there is nothing about BEING a scientist that produces a philosophical transition to atheism, nor anything about atheism that makes a better scientist.

        • MR

          =D

        • MR

          Absolutely. And incredibly important to so so if you don’t want to be deceived left and right! If we “can’t know,” well, then which religion am I supposed to accept? More importantly, if we “can’t know,” then they can’t know! It’s meaningless.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep.

        • Pofarmer

          and it cannot be proved or disproved. If you believe it, that is faith,
          and faith cannot be decomposed in the general case by reason (or vice
          versa).

          Certainly, some can.

          There is no way to define it out of existence or produce empirical data to disprove it or prove it

          Which, once again, is just privileging your argument.

          “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence. “

        • Andy Robinson

          “That which is supported with a platitude can be dismissed with a platitude.”

        • Andy Robinson

          A: “Cannot be decomposed in the general case”
          P: “Certainly, some can.”

          You know what “the general case” means, right? 😉

          Remember, horses are four legged mammals in the general case; Humans have a sexual binary in the general case; Etc. Exceptions do not void the rule.

        • Pofarmer

          Please don’t abuse the nice statistics

        • BertB

          “That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence

          Hitch said so many things that resonate!

        • Andy Robinson

          Resonance is not truth, alas.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          You misunderstood Pofarmer’s comment. Even if we imagine a method of investigation aside from science, whatever it discovers can then be tested by the scientific process. If the conclusion is untestable, then it cannot be said to known.

          Furthermore, your summary strawmans Pofarmer’s position. “Something beyond scientific inquiry cannot be known” is not the same thing as “science can answer all questions.” These aren’t even similar, let alone synonymous.

        • Andy Robinson

          “If the conclusion [cannot be tested], then it cannot be said to be known.”

          Yes, that is an accurate though partial synopsis of what I have said. The complete synopsis is “If the conclusion [cannot be tested], then it cannot be established as true or false.” It lives in an indeterminate state of CAN’T KNOW, as the Schroedinger’s Cat example I offered above.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          You misunderstand what Schroedinger’s Cat tells us. This isn’t a case of being unable to test something leaving us incapable of reaching a conclusion, it’s an example of superposition, where something has fundamental duality. A duality that, interestingly enough, we learned about through scientific testing.

          Beyond that, you didn’t acknowledge the point I made about you misrepresenting Pofarmer’s point. Nor do you seem to realize that this position bars any conclusions about an untestable god as well, meaning you must concede that belief in one is unreasonable.

          So, are you now an atheist? Or at least a colloquial agnostic? Or are you saying that god is testable? If so, how?

        • Andy Robinson

          Exactly. What is humorous is that you think you are rebutting, rather than confirming, what I have said 😉

          “Are you saying god is testable?”

          God is not.

        • Pofarmer

          Then what do you do with claims about God?

        • Andy Robinson

          You don’t “do” anything with them. If you believe in God, good on you; and if not, the same. But those who do not believe have no case, prima facie or otherwise, that believers in God are less rational, since it is equally irrational to insist that non-testable claims are by default false, and entirely arbitrary to claim that being testable means a claim is “more valid” than non-testable claims.

          That is, again, an argument from ignorance.

          A corollary is that a Bible Thumper trying to assert the word of the Bible as determinate over the observable natural world is also making an argument from ignorance.

          The first person to completely describe the Big Bang (expanding universe theory) was a Belgian Catholic priest. Clearly, he had transcended the Biblical account of the age of the Earth and universe, without any indication he stopped believing in God.

        • Pofarmer

          That is, again, an argument from ignorance.

          No. It’s not.

          A “non-testable” claim is by definition not valid. This doesn’t mean that they’re false, but it means that there is absolutely no reason to accept them as true. Believers in the Christian God make claims that their god is very worried about what we do with our naughty bits, and seek to make laws based on those beliefs, for instance. They seek to privilege those beliefs in education, too, for instance. So then, how do we test those claims? Do we just not? Are all views equally valid and we flip a coin? In what other instance would you consider a “non-testable” claim valid at all?

          I believe in Invisible pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one. I know they are Pink because of Faith.

          So this is perfectly valid and untestable, right?

        • Andy Robinson

          “A non-testable claim is by definition not valid.”

          False. Nearly those exact words are definitional for an argument from ignorance: that all questions resolve to true or false, and that the default is false.

          There is no default, there are more than two logical states, and questions that cannot be tested have a logical state of “can’t know.”

          This is fundamental to syllogistic logic.

        • Pofarmer

          But this depends on the claim. Multiverse theory is, at this point, non testable, but it’s the result of other theories. It’s claims are taken as provisional. The difference between multiverse theory and “God theory” is that “God theory” used to make all kinds of testable claims. As these have been proven universally false, religion has retreated to exclusively non-testable claims as a defense mechanism, or, they still make testable claims but ignore the results(transubstabtiation, I’m looking at you). Now, if you make a claim with the sole reason that it is untestable, then it’s perfectly valid to disregard that claim. If your claim is simply untestable because current technology makes it impossible to test(multiverse theory) , that’s different than a concept which is specifically formulated to be untestable(God theory).

          I beleive in Invisible Pink Unicorns. I know they are invisible because I’ve never seen one. I know they are Pink because of Faith.

        • Pofarmer

          And, once again, what you’re describing is a false dichotomy, not an argument from ignorance. Please stop conflating things and making up other things.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He invokes the AFI in order to erroneously try to shift his onus probandi…it’s a really dishonest ploy. There’s been a spat of self proclaimed atheists here recently that have turned out to be really disingenuous fuckwits. I’d rather be engaging a Christer.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, yeah.

        • Andy Robinson

          No, a false dichotomy occurs when there are more than two choices, or the choices are not mutually exclusive.

          The claim that arguments must be true or false and “proved” as one or the other, and that failure to prove or disprove negates the claim, is an AFI.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The claim that arguments must be true or false and “proved” as one or the other, and that failure to prove or disprove negates the claim, is an AFI.

          For the umpteenth time. No one is claiming that. You are making an assertion. When asked to support the assertion, you are assuming that the interlocutor is claiming your assertion is false. They are not. This is your lie. They are suspending judgment because you’ve failed to honor yer burden. In other words, your bullshit can be ignored.

          You then claim the argument from ignorance and state your assertion is not a true or false position. You then claim there is evidence to support yer claim, demonstrating that there is no AFI, because the evidence to support your assertion does indeed exist, making it a TRUE or FALSE position. Not “can’t be known” or “is unknown”. You then commit the fallacy of shifting the burden of proof to the other side. You are a dishonest toerag. That is exactly what the AFI is intended to do, which is why you are erroneously using it.

        • Pofarmer

          Sigh.

          An argument from ignorance (Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam), or appeal to ignorance (‘ignorance’
          stands for “lack of evidence to the contrary”), is a fallacy in
          informal logic. It says something is true because it has not yet been
          proved false. … This is also called a negative proof fallacy.

          Which is EXACTLY what you’ve done in several instances with your “prove me wrong” posts.

          Rejecting unevidenced claims is simply employing Hitchens razor.

        • Sophotroph

          The default isn’t “false”. It’s “to be treated the same as if false”.

          That is, in fact, the default, and it’s easy to demonstrate.

          For example, let’s just take gods. The various religions and what-have-you have various gods. Many of them are claimed to be the only one that has ever existed.

          As these gods are untestable, as you have said yours is, we cannot prefer one over the others. There is no criteria with which to do so.

          Thus, to live our lives without going insane trying to follow multiple contradictory religious codes at once, we live as if none of those beings exist, even though there’s no confirmation of their non-existence.

          You do the same with all the contradictory propositions of unknown truthfulness that you yourself encounter, because it’s impossible to do otherwise.

          Realize that this huge cloud of contradictory propositions extends to all propositions imagined and unimagined, and you see the inevitability of this position.

          If you can do that, you’ll then realize you need to update your worldview and philosophy quite a bit.

        • Andy Robinson

          “The default isn’t ‘false.’ It’s ‘to be treated the same as if false.'”

          Incorrect. To assume a discrete quantity having at least five values has a value that is ‘treated the same as false’ is purely arbitrary. It is just as valid to claim it has a value that is ‘treated the same as true.’ Hell, you can’t even make the claim that a binary quantity has a value ‘treated the same as false.’ In discrete logic it is DON’T KNOW until its value is known.

          “We cannot prefer one over the others.”

          You continue to perpetuate the argument from ignorance, which in this case is of the corollary form “all questions resolve to true or false,” and specifically that contradictory statements having the logical state “can’t know” must be RESOLVED to true or “something treated the same as if false.”

          As far as adjusting worldviews and philosophies, the major adjustment is to the reality that not only are there questions which cannot be answered, but that most questions fall into that category — and no, we do not assume they have a value that is ‘treated the same as if false.’

        • Ignorant Amos

          Still spouting the same erroneous bilge I see.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76UMk7UE7RU

        • Sophotroph

          You are currently treating nearly all existing propositions as “to be treated as if false”. Your inescapable behavior betrays your narrative. You aren’t currently following all the dietary requirements of all religions, to say nothing of all the dietary preferences of all the gods who might exist but have not yet been imagined. Neither is anyone else.

          The space of all possible ideas is not something an unaugmented human can really explore. Any idea you haven’t yet encountered is being treated as though false, as are many ideas you have encountered but don’t adhere to.

          You’re either being overly pedantic in your use of words, or you truly don’t understand the terms you’ve been throwing around.

          And all coherent, grammatical statements that represent an idea and not just wordplay do, in fact, resolve to true or false. Your discomfort with the unknown doesn’t transform it magically into another logical type.

          Because it’s unknown to you.

          It may even be unknown to us.

          But since we don’t know what’s out there in terms of intelligent life, we can’t say it’s unknown to all. Things outside our light cone (google it), while unknowable to us, could be common facts there.

          Your mistake is in imagining that CANNOT KNOW is somehow universal to all beings. Your own bible describes angels who pal around with your god. They (would) know, even if we don’t. QED.

        • Andy Robinson

          Incorrect, still. I am treating all unanswered propositions as “don’t know” and all that CANNOT be answered as “can’t know.” That is as different from “to be treated as if false” as assigning a value on a range of negative infinity to infinity is different than assigning a value of 0.

          “You aren’t currently following…”

          Your projection of some theistic “narrative” is a straw man: the only narrative here is syllogistic logic, reason, and evidence. There is nothing incompatible with you deciding there is no God and another person deciding there is. The idea that there is only one answer to all questions is an argument from ignorance.

          “The space of all possible ideas is not something [humans] can explore.”

          Correct, augmented or otherwise. That would be omniscience. Not only can we not achieve it, but were we to achieve it, no other could test for our existence.

          “Your mistake is imagining CANNOT KNOW is somehow universal to all beings.”

          You assume I am making a religious argument–which not only explains all your desperate illogical extemporization, but is humorous to boot AND a straw man. There is no test possible for any being that is one or more of omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent, which means the question of the existence of such a being cannot be tested.

          QED 😉

        • Andy Robinson

          PS – I offered a variation on the Cat gedankenexperiment (which was NOT proposed or verified through scientific testing but as a metaphor for quantum uncertainty) but with the variation that the box cannot be opened and the state of the cat cannot be determined. Thus, the state of the cat CANNOT be determined, ever.

          You replied to say that those were not the conditions of the original gedankenexperiment. Keep up the bad work–what pedantry next? 😉

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          It’s not about pedantry, it’s about application. Your example – even in this reframed version – doesn’t fit what is actually going on. In the case of Schroedinger’s Cat, there is no “state of the cat”; until the box is opened, it exists in a superposition of both states.

          And obviously SC is a thought experiment rather than a test, I never indicated otherwise. I said that we discovered things exist in probabilistic superpositions via the scientific method.

          All that is irrelevant to the original point, though, so let’s get this back on track. Do you now understand why “something beyond scientific inquiry cannot be known” is not the same thing as “science can answer all questions”? These aren’t equivalent even using your definitions.

        • BertB

          Ah, Vic Stenger. It was a sad day when he died a few years ago. I read all of his books, and had Email discussions of them with him. He was very approachable and cordial. Nice guy. He was a Physics prof at University of Hawaii when my brother was there teaching Earth Science. His writing style was no nonsense, in your face. I liked it. If you haven’t read his stuff, try “God: The Failed Hypothesis.”

        • Pofarmer

          That is the main work of his that I’ve read.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve only recently read that one maself.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Victor Stenger believed you COULD put that God to the test, and, in fact, it fails. That god also fails logically.

          Richard Carrier believes you CAN put that God to the test mathematically.

          Bayesian Counter-Apologetics: Ten Arguments for God Destroyed

          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11868

          You can see by now how any argument for God can be turned around into an argument against God by (a) including all the evidence the theist is conspicuously ignoring and then (b) showing how this entails a strong Bayes Factor against the existence of God (or, or also, a strong Prior Odds against). Theism is built on hiding evidence. Hiding the evidence of history, that makes gods the least likely explanation of anything, and then hiding the specific evidence that refutes each and every reason to believe in God. Bayesian counter-apologetics exposes and corrects all this.

  • Lady Alexandra

    So will references to the flexible containers used to carry groceries and other things in. So will references to soft flooring covers.

  • Lady Alexandra

    Are childless heterosexual marriages a degradation of marriage? Cause I’m too old to have more kids and my boyfriend had a vasectomy before he met me. Just curious.

  • schpadoinkle

    huh?

    • BertB

      Don’t worry about his ravings. He’s been banned.

      • schpadoinkle

        i am against censorship.

        • BertB

          If you have read this thread, you know that he has disrupted it completely. HIjacked it from the original topic with his rants, confrontations and insults.
          In order for these things to work, we have to have civil discourse. People like this make it very difficult It could be handled by just ignoring him, but some people are unable to do that. And the result is chaos. I think it is reasonable to ban people like this, but only in extreme cases. This was an extreme case, and I don’t fault the mod for kicking him out.

        • schpadoinkle

          i do agree with ignoring.

        • And I’m against hateful nutjobs who have no interest in a productive conversation but only to rant or monologue.

          These nutjobs have many chances here to become productive contributors. When they don’t they get banned. They hurt the conversation just like censorship does.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And the nutjobs fuckwittery stuffs up my e-mail inbox with notifications to comments that I’ve neither the time nor inclination to open, but need to in order to make sure a don’t delete a notification to a comment by someone worth my time.

        • BertB

          You can block them. I have blocked four people over the past five years or so that I have been posting articles and commenting here.
          That shuts down the Email notifications, and cleans up the comment thread. All you see is “This user is blocked.” It makes life much easier. I was about to block this guy when Bob banned him and saved me the trouble. I don’t do it to people I just have disagreements with. The purpose of coming here is to share ideas and bounce them against other ideas. But guys like this deserve to be banned completely. They contribute nothing but acrimony.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye. Ave blocked five in my time on Disqus.

          That doesn’t stop the reply notifications from the more rational commenters being made to the eejits asininity, ergo also filling the inbox

          The other problem is that a comment being made by that other, loses context…and being the nosey bastard that I am, that gets the better of me. If the culprit is moderated into file 13, then there is no interaction with anyone.

          Bob allows more free range than most site moderators to be fair. But like you say, unproductive gets like that serve no purpose, so the banhammer is just.

        • BertB

          You’re right, it doesn’t stop all the crap. But it cuts it down. This guy was the most outrageous I have seen. I think he WANTED to be banned. He bragged about being banned somewhere else…Facebook, I think.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This guy was the most outrageous I have seen.

          Unfortunately, I’ve seen worse.

        • Greg G.

          Blocking someone doesn’t keep them from responding to you. It just keeps you from knowing they did. At least, that is how I understand that it works. I haven’t blocked anybody to find out.

        • BertB

          You get a notice in the comment thread saying “This user is blocked.”
          In order to keep them from posting, the moderator has to ban them…which is what happened in this case.

        • Greg G.

          There are at least two kinds of bans, too. One is that the person cannot post to the blog’s comments and the shadow ban where the person can apparently post but it doesn’t show up in the blog. The notification will show up in the Disqus Recent Comments function until it get bumped out.

        • BertB

          I have never heard of the shadow ban. I don’t see how it makes any sense. What’s the purpose?

        • It makes their departure more costly. The asshole is busy writing more comments and realizes too late that he’s make 20 comments but they’re all in the bit bucket.

        • BertB

          Okay, I see that it serves as a form of punishment. But in terms that matter to everyone here, it doesn’t.
          Banning them solves the problem.

        • Right. It’s the same as an ordinary ban except with more punishment.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And a wee bit of gloating against those fuckwits that are particularly nefarious and incessant time wasters….waste my time, I’ll waste yours…a wee bit of poetic justice of sorts..it gets my vote.

        • DoorknobHead

          Yep, I’m one of the “assholes”. I got shadow-banned from the Thom Hartmann show’s YouTube live-chat (I make playful and silly comments often [not the adult, serious and adroit comments they are looking for apparently], but the reason for the shadow-ban is all just speculation when they don’t tell you.) It took me awhile to figure it out, too. I had to open up two browsers and make a comment in one and see in the other it didn’t appear (I put the other browser in YouTube “gaming” mode when that used to be a YouTube option.) Direct messaging seemed to still work, but not general messages (they are so devious! 🙂 That’s the only place, that I know of, that it’s happened. Many other YouTube sites openly applaud and embrace my silliness and purposely oblique perspectives, but not Thom, apparently. Too bad — that was one of my favorite “progressive” shows, too. (Yes, the snowflake I am, I felt too disheartened to watch if I could not also have fun commenting) Religious based Disqus comments, from news-articles, etc. that’s a different matter — sometimes taking a ban from those more dogmatic and oppressive sites feels like a badge of honor.

        • I also don’t bother to read some articles if I see that I can’t comment.

          One person’s asshole is another’s provocateur, I suppose.

        • BertB

          We honor you. G’bye.

        • schpadoinkle

          it’s problematic. i’ve been banned from many places just by disagreeing with something, i think, rarely get an explanation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But that’s not how Bob operates.

          No one, as far as am aware, has arbitrarily got the hammer.

        • schpadoinkle

          good.

        • Oh, yeah. Me, too. I’ve banned people here, and they get very clear pushback on what the problem is beforehand. I err on the side of giving them too many second chances.

          As an aside, it’s interesting that I don’t remember anyone who’s responded to my “Here’s what you must do to stay on my good side” in a positive way. But it’s a necessary step to make sure that they understand the problem.

        • schpadoinkle

          this is clearly different from the ”ban you without explanation or warning” situations.

        • Yes, and deliberately so. I want this to be a place where thoughtful Christians can interact with atheists. It’s unapologetically a hardball environment, and crappy arguments will be quickly exposed as such, but we’ve had some good exchanges. There are Christian lurkers, and I hope they learn something.

        • MR

          You may recall a couple years back we got hit by two or three posters who tried to hijack the conversation and make it about race. Shortly after I read a piece about campaigns to intentionally go in and hijack social media conversations. At the time, I believe they were discussing white supremacist provocateurs, but looking back from what we know now, it’s not unlikely that there was also some Russian troll influence behind it. This DaveBehar seemed to be along those lines of provocateur exceptionnel, a professional shit-disturber. Mustafa seems to be more of a fanboy wannabe. It’s hard for me to take him seriously.

        • We live in crazy times. I’ve never taken seriously the idea that some of the trolls are Russian (or who have an agenda beyond simply honestly arguing for their worldview), but I guess that’s possible. The completely wackadoodle like DaveBehar are new to me. This would argue for being quicker to ban if they’re going beyond the religion conversation.

        • BertB

          This guy was the worst I have seen in my five years on Patheos. I have only blocked four people in all that time, and I was just about to block this guy. You saved me the trouble.

        • MR

          or who have an agenda beyond simply honestly arguing for their worldview

          There is no doubt in my mind that we’ve had some of these with their own agenda, particularly those race conversations a couple years back. It was a very weird moment. They all came into the conversation at the same time for a few days in a kind of wave and were set on derailing the conversation and making it about race superiority or some such. It threw off the whole dynamic of the blog for a while. At the time I wondered if it wasn’t just one person posting under various socks, but they all clearly had a similar agenda. That this Dave and Mustafa showed up at the same time with similar wankery gives me pause, too.

          I do think it’s important to be aware of the possibility of concerted efforts to artificially influence the social dialogue. I agree that we should pay particular attention when it goes outside of the religious conversation. Of course, there is lots of bleed over, and for me personally the political discourse contributed to undermining my own faith so it can be hard to tease these out.

          (edited, many things contributed to undermining my faith, the political discourse was one of them.)

        • This is helpful. Feel free to point out any everyday troll who may be something worse.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I got the same borschty whiff from ‘him’.

        • Pofarmer

          Me too, but there’s nothing productive to be had there, after a point. Why broadcast the hate?

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s pretty simple. Anyone upsetting the ambience and the craic in a place, needs fucked out ta fuck big time.

          With what level of fucked out they need, is down to the proprietor…but the regulars are not without authority. After all, there’s no business in an establishment that supports a wanker at the expense of the collegial regulars.

        • That is the trick–when to show someone the door. My fuse is getting shorter with time.

        • BertB

          You were certainly right in this case. But I have been on other sites where just questioning evangelicals about their beliefs could get you banned. I hope your fuse doesn’t get that short. I think nonbelievers should try to be a bit more tolerant than the self-righteous.

        • schpadoinkle

          well, censorship is .. when someone else decides what it worthwhile?
          can’t really have partial censorship.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If somebody comes in to a party and ur inate s in the punch bowl, are you justified in kic king said person out?

        • schpadoinkle

          not sure that works as analogy 😉

        • Greg G.

          DavidBehar told the moderator to ban him in response to the moderator giving him fair warning.

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/07/four-years-after-obergefell-has-the-sky-fallen/#comment-4532320940

        • schpadoinkle

          thanks.

  • (You were in timeout because of “doofus.” Ya shoulda known.)

    • Ignorant Amos

      A shoulda known rite enuff.

  • Pofarmer

    I think not responding to his unsupported bullshit and made up criteria is a reasonable position.

    • Ignorant Amos

      I think yer right.

      • BertB

        Yup. The other threads here on ATP have been infested with locusts too. They don’t really want to have a discussion. They just want to parrot their agenda. I have unsubscribed to them. They completely shut down any real discussion of the topic, flooding the thread with unsupported assertions and insults at anyone who disagreed. Trolls. Same is true for this guy. The choices are…abandon the thread, ignore their posts, or block them.

        • john

          Upon reflection, it would appear that you hate and fear any comments that disagree with you. You are guilty of living in a life where you only hear from people who agree with you. That is just sad and disappointing.

        • BertB

          Upon further reflection it would appear that you agree with the repeated and repeated and repeated assertions about “innate rights.”
          You are guilty of accepting those beliefs without considering any opposing opinions. Those opposing opinions have been offered repeatedly. I am tired of reading the same comment a thousand times from you and your ilk. Repeating it does not make it true, although Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief, relied on that tactic. The most you could say is that we are both guilty of confirmation bias. I accept that criticism. Do you?

        • john

          hmm.. assertations of Naziism. Loser.

        • BertB

          Blocked

        • john

          No skin off my nose. I hope that you realize that while you cannot see my comments, everyone else will be able to, and I will continue to stick it to you every time you say something disagreeable. LOL, the loser cannot stand being called to task.

        • You seem pretty hateful today, john. What do you like to talk about? Just this kind of thing? Or do you contribute to the conversation sometimes?

        • john

          Bert seems to have a talent for violating each of my core values. My enmity is only proportional to his ignorance.

        • BertB

          I don’t block people until they have had a chance to state their views. As long as their responses are civil and offer some semblance of logic or a fact basis, fine. So far in the past three threads here and on Tippling Philosopher, I have blocked six people In the previous five years, I blocked four. Something has happened here in the last three or four weeks that is disheartening. I have really enjoyed banging ideas with most people here, but things are turning ugly. I don’t know why this is happening all of a sudden. I hope they eventually lose interest and go away so that we can resume reasoned discussion. Until then, I will keep on wielding my blocking hammer. It has really cut down on my Email traffic. This morning I had 292 notifications from Patheos. At least 80% were reiterations of talking points from the same group of people. And, of course, disparaging and insulting remarks. But worst of all, the people I have been conversing with here were responding in kind, so the whole thing turned into an insult contest.
          I suspect that is the goal of the trolls coming here…to shut us down. Sadly, it’s working.
          I don’t mind people who attack my ideas. I welcome it . That’s why I am here. I don’t need an echo chamber.
          But what is happening is not useful or even interesting.

        • I missed the conversation you and john had that led to his angry remarks above. Perhaps you were picking up here a conversation that started elsewhere?

        • BertB

          I think what triggered him is my description of the tactics used here….repeating and repeating and repeating the same assertions about without providing any logic or evidence. I likened it to Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister who said that if you repeat lies often enough, people will believe them.

        • MR

          Right. There’s a difference between listening to people of opposing opinions and listening to professional ‌bullshitters. “Infested with locusts” is about right.