The Titanic and Theocon Propaganda

The Titanic and Theocon Propaganda April 17, 2012

April 15th was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the event has prompted a really weird meme among the religious right. It seems the Titanic is a metaphor for everything they want to argue all of a sudden. And for some, it isn’t a metaphor. Doug Phillips weirdly seems to think that the Titanic is evidence of the goodness of Christianity, while the sinking of a French ship is proof of the evils of evolution. Get a load of this:

Phillips: People that were on board the deck of the Titanic at that time were individuals that grew up in a culture which was distinctively Christian in its perspective of the role of men and women and there’s an interesting contrast because in the year 1898 a French vessel called La Bourgogne sunk and when it sunk the sailors and the officers literally threw women and children into the water, beat them over the head, and the men lived and the women died. It sent shockwaves throughout the entire world, people said, ‘how could such a thing happen?’ And in trying to understand why that happened, the commentary was, they grew up in a culture that embraced evolution, it was the struggle of the survival of the fittest, they grew up in the culture of the French Revolution which had rejected biblical Christianity and embraced paganism and the consequences were that men treat women horrifically.

Now we flash forward to the year 2012 and this year our president has finally taken us over the abyss and we have full-fledged commitment to women in the frontlines of combat in overseas battles, we need to understand that that’s the first time in the history of the West that any nation has formally endorsed such a thing and it represents a radical departure from the values that were on board the ship in 1912…

Phillips: Evolution says the struggle of the survival of the fittest, there are no differences between men and women, there is no charity, there is no deference, and in an evolutionary world feminism reaches its height and we see no distinctions. The result is babies are killed en masse, women are treated like chattel and men no longer take on their masculine role as defenders…

Pate: As you’ve pointed out, throughout society for thousands of years we have looked at the protection of the innocent as of utmost importance and yet as we’ve allowed evolution and feminism to infiltrate our education system, even our churches and certainly our entertainment, our the media, we have lost sight of what God’s word has said about the protection of the innocent.

Julie Ingersoll has already debunked this silly claim. Then there’s this video about how gay rights is the iceberg that is already sinking the U.S. Titanic.

httpv://youtu.be/OTbnGavZ3Zw

Funny stuff.

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  • TCC

    Evolution says…in an evolutionary world feminism reaches its height and we see no distinctions. The result is…women are treated like chattel

    1. Evolution says that women will be considered equals and treated as property? Huh?

    2. Who is it again that has historically treated women like property?

  • Doug Little

    women are treated like chattel

    BOOM. Irony meter gone bye bye.

  • No doubt Kate Winslet taking her clothes off is what caused the ship to sink.

  • Evolution says… there are no differences between men and women”

    [citation needed]

  • No doubt Kate Winslet taking her clothes off is what caused the ship to sink.

    The movie does imply that it was Rose and Jack’s fault. Their giggling when they ran out onto the deck momentarily distracted the watchmen who were looking out for icebergs.

  • bubba707

    The concept of women and children first predates Christians by a wide margin, it’s a principle of species survival. Any culture that doesn’t put women and children first is unlikely to survive long.To see the real deal Titanic is a poor example. The sinking of the Birkenhead is a better example, but Christianity had nothing to do with it really, it was principles of discipline and honor. Look it up, it is inspiring in many ways.

  • Taz

    The Titanic is great metaphor for Marc-Andre Fleury’s goaltending in the playoffs – he does great until he hits the ice.

  • John Hinkle

    Pate: As you’ve pointed out, throughout society for thousands of years we have looked at the protection of the innocent as of utmost importance…

    Protection of the innocent… of the in-group. All the brown skins, slanty eyes, non-believers, all them others can either join us (as the help of course) or die!

    [fist curled in rage, heavy mechanical Darth Vader breathing]

  • a miasma of incandescent plasma

    we have lost sight of what God’s word has said about the protection of the innocent.

    Yeah, Hosea 13:16 and Psalm 137:9 scream “protection” to me.

  • leftwingfox

    Actually bubba, the whole “Women and Children First” thing might have only been a blip on the historical record, between the sinking of the HMS Birkenhead, and the HMS Titanic. Overall, children are most likely to die in a naval disaster, followed by women.

    Your best chance of survival is actually being a member of the crew.

    http://news.discovery.com/history/titanic-women-children-120413.html

    original study here: http://www.nek.uu.se/Pdf/wp20128.pdf

    h/t to ManBoobz, as the Titanic is used by so-called MRAs to point out how bad men have it compared to women and children, apparently.

  • keithb

    So, how do they explain the incident that inspired _Lord Jim_?

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

    Of course, these were *non-white* women and children, so I guess they did not deserve to be saved.

  • According to WP, the Titanic was actually the exception rather than the rule. In most shipwrecks, adult males have the (proportionately) biggest survivors.

  • Ray Ingles,

    The citation is:

    Phillips, D. (2012). Shit I have just said. Proceedings of the Society of People Who Pull Facts out of Their Asses (PSPWPFOTA) 546, 1-2.

  • April 15th was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the event has prompted a really weird meme among the religious right. It seems the Titanic is a metaphor for everything they want to argue all of a sudden.

    Indeed. When they think about how the iceberg inserted its long, hard piece into the Titanic’s tight hole, with all the screaming and moaning and sweaty sailors, they have the perfect metaphor for their obsessions.

  • baal

    Now we flash forward to the year 2012 and this year our president has finally taken us over the abyss and

    Women in the military is the abyss? I guess Nietzsche was right.

    In another point, it’s a tragedy that these loons don’t live in reality. As much as I don’t like Obama for his right of center political decisions that seem fear based as much as any sense of ideology, it’s not the freaking abyss.

    Growing poverty and other negative demographic changes are the real abyss in the US.

  • Randomfactor

    I saw a Titanic exhibit the other day and was surprised to realize that of First Class, Second Class, Third Class and Crew, the last group had the largest number of survivors.

    Shouldn’t have been surprised, I guess, but I was.

  • doktorzoom

    As one story on NPR pointed out, probably the main reason that women and children went first is that the Titanic took over 2 hours to sink; for the most part, social order restrained panic. The Lusitania, with a similar complement of crew and passengers, (from a non-Frenchy nation!!!1!!) sank in minutes, with predictable pandemonium.

  • Alverant

    I heard on Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe last weekend that there was actually a ship in range that could have saved everyone. Except the captian was taking a nap and didn’t want to be bothered. Doug Phillips needs to be reminded that the Royal Navy wouldn’t make a non-christian a captian. Not that his faith had anything to do with his bad judgement, but it would be nice to see Phillips squirm.

  • God didn’t melt the iceberg because free will. Or something.

  • bubba707

    leftwingfox, sadly, I’m aware of that. I’m enough of a romantic to hope I’d stand with the Birkenhead Drill should such a situation requiring it arise.

    To stand and be still

    to the Birkenhead Drill

    is a damned tough bullet to chew

    You knew Kipling was coming, didn’t you. 😉

  • Skip White

    See? Climate change is a good thing! Otherwise, we’d still have roving gangs of icebergs all over the North Atlantic, just waiting to sink another ship full of goodly Christian folk.

  • eric

    [the US in the year 2012] have full-fledged commitment to women in the frontlines of combat in overseas battles, we need to understand that that’s the first time in the history of the West that any nation has formally endorsed such a thing

    I think what bothers me most about bullflop like this is that the interviewer doesn’t even bother to question it. Have some journalistic integrity, ffs, and at least ask a question when someone says something that dumb.

    Randomfactor @16:

    [I] was surprised to realize that of First Class, Second Class, Third Class and Crew, the last group had the largest number of survivors.

    There’s not much sinister about this. These were not sci-fi escape pods where you just walk in and hit a button; they were big dinghys with oars and a tiller. The crew have to put the lifeboats in the water, steer them, work the oars, make sure they don’t capsize, and get people onto them safely. On the titanic, about 2 in 7 saves were crew. That is quite high if you assume the lifeboats were full of people…but they weren’t. In many cases, what probably happened is that 1-10 crew boarded each lifeboat (~40-60 person capacity) to get it in the water and help people get on board, but either they, the other lifeboat passengers, or both, freaked out and pushed away from the ship before the boat(s) had their full compliment of passengers. Whatever happened, IMO expecting 1-10 crew to board each lifeboat first is not all that unreasonable.

    Related, this WashPo article gives some fundie misstatements about Titanic survival rates, along with actual statistics for contrast. Yes, a higher percent of women were saved (vs. men). But there were also big differences in rates of 1st class women vs. 3rd class. If its a morality tale, its at best a mixed message.

  • emc2

    Alverant @18,

    I haven’t listened to the latest SGU yet, so I don’t know what they covered, but the ship in question was the Californian and not a Royal Navy vessel. There are some questions of a ‘mystery ship’ that passengers on the Titanic and the crew of the Californian both saw, but there is not a lot of evidence for the existence of this third ship.

    As far as the crew survival rate goes, it was worse than that for the passengers (except 3rd class)

    There were 894 crew members on board, and 214 survived-almost 24%.

    The first class survival rate was 60%, 2nd class 42%, 3rd class 24%.

    The disparity between 1st class and 3rd class survival rates are well known.

  • busterggi

    I’m trying to understand – the British culture produced Darwin & Wallace who actually introduced evolution to the world yet somehow its the fault of the French because they were a different brand of Christian?

  • daved

    No doubt Kate Winslet taking her clothes off is what caused the ship to sink.

    Nah, I’d like to think that her disrobing was more likely to cause things to rise than sink.

  • eamick

    because in the year 1898 a French vessel called La Bourgogne sunk and when it sunk the sailors and the officers literally threw women and children into the water, beat them over the head, and the men lived and the women died.

    No, the ship sank. Oh, for the days when people could conjugate verbs. *sigh*

  • Chiroptera

    Remind me again why women are supposed to be saved before men?

    “Look, honey, you get to waste your career on the low paying, dead-end job, stuck doing all of the housework for the rest of your life, and never, ever taken seriously in a conversation. But — hey! — if you should ever happen to be on a ship and that ship, for whatever reason, happens to be sinking, you get dibs on a life boat!”

  • emc2

    Chiroptera,

    In doing a little google-fu about the La Bourgogne , I came across this little item written in 1912 with comments from the only woman survivor that you might find interesting. She did not like ‘women and children first.’

    http://gaslight.mtroyal.ca/titnch14.htm

  • I’m trying to understand – the British culture produced Darwin & Wallace who actually introduced evolution to the world yet somehow its the fault of the French because they were a different brand of Christian?

    Let me explain:

    1789-1799: French Revolution.

    1799-1859: Stuff happens.

    1859: Publication of On the Origin of Species by a British guy.

    1859-1898: More stuff happens.

    1898: Sinking of French ship La Bourgogne

    What part of this obvious and direct causal connection is not clear?

  • holytap – Well, that settles it.

    Anyway, in point of fact God deliberately tailored the weather to prevent the Titanic from being rescued.

  • I wonder what these jokers would think if told the Canadian Forces allow women in combat roles.

  • emc2 “There are some questions of a ‘mystery ship’ that passengers on the Titanic and the crew of the Californian both saw, but there is not a lot of evidence for the existence of this third ship.”

    It was the Beagle, but Darwin (still tired from fighting against Jesus in the French Revolution) was too busy gluing different beaks on finches to help. Not that he would have anyway.

  • slc1

    Re Alverant @ #18

    I don’t know if the Royal Navy would make a non-Christian a captain but it seemed to have no problem with putting non-christian Admiral Max Horton in charge of the anti-submarine effort in WW2.

  • Tony

    Chiroptera:

    Remind me again why women are supposed to be saved before men?

    -In their warped view, it’s likely because men can’t have children. The duty of the woman is such a sacred task (can I get an emoticon for “dripping with sarcasm”?). It’s so all fired important that they bear the children. Of course in Wingnut land, that’s the one of the few tasks women are supposed to have.

  • hinschelwood

    @14

    the iceberg inserted its long, hard piece into the Titanic’s tight hole, with all the screaming and moaning and sweaty sailors

    Sailors? You mean seamen, surely?

  • imthegenieicandoanything

    To quote WSB quoting an “old black queen” in explaining the reasoning of such people:

    “Some people are just shits, darling.”

    These are pitiful, but dangerous if given even the least, most indirect power, with their “bitter, mean, evil faces”.

    There is no quicker way to hatred and an empty life than “faith” in “one true god”.

  • cactuswren

    2. Who is it again that has historically treated women like property?

    Er, I think that would be the group whose adherents are commanded not to covet their neighbor’s house, his wife, his slaves, his cattle, or any other item of his property.

  • cactuswren

    Remind me again why women are supposed to be saved before men?

    In their warped view, it’s likely because men can’t have children. The duty of the woman is such a sacred task (can I get an emoticon for “dripping with sarcasm”?). It’s so all fired important that they bear the children. Of course in Wingnut land, that’s the one of the few tasks women are supposed to have.

    Heinlein’s alter ego character Lazarus Long defended WACF on exactly these grounds: that “all societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children”, and any other ethic is “not only witless, it is automatically genocidal”.

  • otrame

    The result is…women are treated like chattel

    Damn it. I did the research, I spent the money. And now I have little bits of irony meter all over the place. If I hadn’t been banging my head on my desk I might have gotten hurt.

    Once more I find myself wondering who the hell listens to people like this? Takes them seriously? Of course, I know the answer: too damned many.

  • otrame

    holytape @15

    I have an nice bouquet of internets for you.

    I’d like to use your citation, or at least cite the publication in the future, if you don’t mind.

  • otrame

    whoops that was holytape at 13. Sorry.

  • dingojack

    RMS Titanic (aboard/saved/%saved)

    Passengers

    Children

    1st Class: 8/5/62.5%

    2nd Class: 24/24/100%

    3rd Class: 79/27/34.177%

    ————————

    Total Children: 109/56/51.376%

    Women

    1st Class: 144/140/97.222%

    2nd Class: 93/80/86.0215%

    3rd Class: 165/76/46.0606%

    ————————

    Total Women: 402/296/73.6318%

    Men

    1st Class: 175/57/32.571%

    2nd Class: 168/14/8.333%

    3rd Class: 462/75/16.234%

    ———————–

    Total Men: 808/146/18.0693%

    Crew

    Women: 23/20/86.95652%

    Men: 865/192/22.19653%

    ——————–

    Total Crew: 888/212/23.87387%

    For your information.

    🙁 Dingo

  • dingojack

    Everyone is assuming that the crew were aboard the lifeboats and were therefore saved. Lightoller (3rd Officer) and Phillips (Radio Operator) were washed from the boat deck as the ship sunk.

    They swam (something probably few of the passengers could do) to an upturned lifeboat and clambered on top (keeping them out of the freezing water they knew would kill them, another thing the passengers probably didn’t know). Later, they were picked up by another lifeboat and survived.

    The crew may have had a better chance of survival because of their superior skills (relative to the passengers).

    Dingo

  • zmidponk

    Alverant #18:

    I heard on Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe last weekend that there was actually a ship in range that could have saved everyone. Except the captian was taking a nap and didn’t want to be bothered.

    It’s not quite as cut and dried as that. The ship in question, the SS Californian, had sailed right into an ice field, so had shut down engines for the night, and were sending out ice warnings over the wireless – including to the Titanic, who’s wireless operator rather rudely told them to shut up, as he was working on a backlog of personal messages from passengers, and the Californians warnings were making that difficult. Whilst it’s generally accepted that the Californian was probably close enough to within sight of the Titanic, it probably wasn’t close enough to make out anything other than the fact there was a ship there, and, whilst rockets were seen, there were some claims that it was not clear, at the time, that this was a distress signal (though this is somewhat dubious). It is generally agreed that, if the wireless set had simply been turned back on, this may very well have given the Californian the necessary information for them to realise the severity of the situation, but it was not standard procedure to have round the clock cover for the wireless (in fact, it was as a result of the inquiries held into the sinking of the Titanic that this became standard procedure), so this was not done until the next morning. It was at this point that the Californian made its way through the ice field to the Titanic, but, by that time, the Titanic was long sunk, and the RMS Carpathia had already picked up all the survivors.

    eric #22:

    On the titanic, about 2 in 7 saves were crew. That is quite high if you assume the lifeboats were full of people…but they weren’t. In many cases, what probably happened is that 1-10 crew boarded each lifeboat (~40-60 person capacity) to get it in the water and help people get on board, but either they, the other lifeboat passengers, or both, freaked out and pushed away from the ship before the boat(s) had their full compliment of passengers.

    Actually, there is some evidence to suggest that the main reason why lifeboats were so empty was down to an order of ‘women and children first’ becoming garbled and being interpreted as ‘women and children only’, leading to launching lifeboats half-empty, or worse, because it was only men waiting to get on that lifeboat. Which is kind of ironic, given that Doug Phillips thinks that this idea of ‘protecting women’ is so noble, when it inadvertently made one hell of a disaster even worse.

  • “The crew may have had a better chance of survival because of their superior skills (relative to the passengers).

    Dingo”

    Is there a table of passenger BMI’s, relative to “saves”? I mean, y’know, in cold, deep water, body fat serves two functions, retaining heat and buoyancy. Maybe it was just survival of the fattest, well the fattest and most holysome. Damn Charles Darwin, damn his to hell!

  • daved

    slc1 wrote

    I don’t know if the Royal Navy would make a non-Christian a captain but it seemed to have no problem with putting non-christian Admiral Max Horton in charge of the anti-submarine effort in WW2.

    On what basis are you saying Horton wasn’t a Christian? I googled him and found evidence to the contrary.

  • One of the things about the “women and children first” is that the men who did step back actually didn’t think they’d die.

    They thought that they could keep afloat and be picked up later.

    The effects of the water on them was unknown to them so they didn’t think they’d valiantly give up their lives, but made the reasonable decision that those with less physical strength should be in the boats because they needed more help.

  • Their giggling when they ran out onto the deck momentarily distracted the watchmen who were looking out for icebergs.

    Um…IIRC the watchmen (or at least one watchman) saw the iceberg (though I heard something about not having binoculars), but the ship was going too fast to dodge it. And the ship was going too fast (while other ships just slowed down or stopped for the night, which was the standard safety procedure before they invented radar) because the captain wanted to set some speed record. How does THAT fit into the smug self-righteous religious narrative?

  • emc2

    Dingo @ 43,

    I hate to be pedantic, but Charles Lightoller was 2nd Officer. Also, Phillips, the wireless operator, was technically employed by the Marconi company and not the White Star Line, so not a sailor, technically. It does not necessarily follow that he possessed extra skills (swimming, etc.) that sailors might have.

  • zmidponk

    Raging Bee #48:

    Um…IIRC the watchmen (or at least one watchman) saw the iceberg (though I heard something about not having binoculars), but the ship was going too fast to dodge it.

    IIRC myself, the person who was the Second Officer actually left the crew shortly before the maiden voyage to make way for the RMS Olympics Chief Officer, and accidentally took the key to the cabinet where the binoculars were stored with him. However, how much difference this would have made is somewhat disputed, as it is argued that the unusually calm conditions made icebergs very difficult to spot, even with binoculars, due to the absence of surf created by waves breaking on the ice.

    And the ship was going too fast (while other ships just slowed down or stopped for the night, which was the standard safety procedure before they invented radar) because the captain wanted to set some speed record. How does THAT fit into the smug self-righteous religious narrative?

    Actually, that’s not true at all. The whole reason that the White Star Line had Titanic and her sister ships built was that they had come to the conclusion that they simply could not compete with Cunard on speed, so decided to try to compete on size, luxury and opulence instead. The reason that the ship continued at only slightly below her top speed, despite the ice warnings, was down to, firstly, that it was almost standard for passenger liners at the time to only really regard warnings as advisories, and rely on the watch to spot any immediate danger in time to avoid it, and, secondly, the captain, Edward Smith, has been quoted as saying, whilst in command of an earlier White Star vessel, the Adriatic, “I will say that I cannot imagine any condition which could cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.” As such, he probably saw no real danger, despite the numerous ice warnings he had received.