Robot Eurythphro and news from the religious right

Robot Eurythphro and news from the religious right July 25, 2012

And a good day to you, Robot Euthyphro.”

If you’re not familiar with the original, you can read it here. Go ahead, it’s short, and funnier than you might expect. (For best results: Imagine Peter Falk in the role of Socrates.)

I found the video above after reading Libby Anne’s response to a column by Tim Challies called “What Kind of God Would Condemn People to Eternal Torment?

I’ve been trying to figure out whether Challies: A) Has never read Euthyphro, or B) Has read it, and thinks that Euthyphro somehow won this debate.

* * * * * * * * *

Why does Peter Sprigg work for The Liar Tony Perkins?

Because Peter Sprigg is also a liar.

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Charisma magazine seems to have done something fairly sleazy. It’s possible there’s a non-sleazy explanation, but I can’t imagine what it would be.

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AIDS-denialist Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association is promoting a list of “scientists and medical professionals who have serious questions about HIV as the cause of AIDS.” The list is from 1991.

While Mitt Romney and other prominent Republicans continue to treat AIDS-denialist Bryan Fischer as a credible and respected member of their party, former senator and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist — who is also a medical doctor — bluntly renounced Fischer’s vile nonsense.

“The AIDS virus has been definitively shown to be caused by HIV.” Frist said. “This is not an opinion, it’s a fact.”

Good for Frist.

Unfortunately, right now, in 2012, AIDS-denialist Bryan Fischer has far more influence within the Republican Party than Bill Frist does.

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  • I read the old, (1985) Rolling Stone article ‘Plague Years’ while trolling through the university library the other day.  Apparently AIDS being caused by “poppers” was an actual theory pursued by actual doctors for at least a little while after the disease first emerged in the US.   Just FYI. 

    And also, 

    “hey ki–y whinercrybabystein give it up already jewboy. your MFRR is just a bunches of queer lesbians and homos, k—s, sand ni—r lovers and athiests, feminazis and hollywood spineless commies and of course totaly fake Christians…”

    Damn MFer, you’re going to get carpel tunnel if you don’t come up with some kind of shorthand for everyone you hate.  Might I suggest  ‘HSSM’ or ‘Human Species Sans Me’.  Maybe you could change it up to ‘HIZZY’ if you’re in a saucy mood.

  • ReverendRef

    Then Sprigg tells another lie about another Obama appointee:

    Appointment of a Pro-Polygamy Law Professor: September 14, 2009-

    But wait . . . Isn’t polygamy, well, you know, bible-based marriage???  And isn’t that what all the right-wing Christians have been screaming for?

    Ah . . . so little time, so much sarcasm.

  • Ian needs a nickname

    Cyborg Callicles gleefully smashes up Hoboken NJ, film at 11.

  • I love how polygamy is the go-to OMGPEARLCLUTCH button-mashing right after teh gay, even though the de facto existence of multiple relationships among men and women would seem to reveal the social ideal of exclusive monogamy as being perhaps an incorrect ideal to uphold on purely pragmatic grounds.

    What business is it of mine what three or four people all want to do with their romantic relationships? Unless they start boinking on my bed, or something that would be kind of a bad thing to do anyway, why bother?

    I’ll save my pearl clutching for global warming and actual QUILTBAG people being beaten up for being QUILTBAG people.

  • pharoute

    If only former Senator Frist had such high regard for established medical facts during the Terri Schiavo debacle

  • Sigaloenta

    I can’t decide whether Tim Challies (Or is it Tim Callicles? He seems to have misread the Gorgias, too!) and his ilk are trying on the Nuremberg  defense (“I don’t want to be hateful to the rest of mankind; I’m just following orders!”), or whether they actually don’t realize that they are making concepts like “good” and “evil” way more morally relative than any hippy-dippy golden-rule-obeying progressive ever has.

  • arcseconds

    Plato is frequently funnier than you might expect. 

    And Peter Falk as Socrates! How could I not have seen this before!

  • According to author Nathan Wolf in his book The Viral Storm

    The earliest historical HIV samples date from 1959 and 1960, twenty years before AIDS was even recognized as a disease. In an amazing piece of viral detective work, evolutionary virologist Michael Wirobey and his colleague managed to analyze a virus from a specimen of a lymph node from a woman in Leopoldville, Congo (now Kinshasa, DRC).

    The lymph node had been embedded in wax for over forty-fivr years. By comparing thegenetic sequence of the virus they found in the specimen with other strains from humans and chimpanzees, they were able to attach rough datesfor the first ancestor of the human virus. While the genetic techniques they used cannot pinpoint dates closer than a few decades, they concluded that the virus split from the lineage sometime around 1900 and certainly before 1930. They also concluded that by the time the woman in Leopoldville became infected with HIV in 1959 there was already a significant amount of genetic diversty of HIV in Kinshasa, suggesting that the epidemic had already established itself there.

    Wolf goes on to talk about why it took medical researchers so long to recognize AIDS as a disease, and then about the social changes that occurred in central Africa that led to the spread of the disease:

    In 1892 steamship service began from Kinshasa to Kisangani in the very heart of the central African forest. The steamship service connected populations that had been largely separated, creating potential for viruses that might previously have gone extinct in local isolated populations to reach the growing urban centers. In addition, the French initiated the construction of railroads, which, like shipping and road lines, connect populations. This produced another mechanism for viruses to spread from remote regions to urban centers, effectively providing a larger population size of hosts for a spreading virus.

    . . . Large groups of men were conscripted, often forcefully, to build railroads.Moore and his colleagues note that the labor camps were populated mostly by men, a condition that dramatically favors transmission of sexually transmitted viruses like HIV. . .


     It’s much harder to see AIDS as “the gay plague” if you look at the entire history of the crossover of AIDS from monkeys to chimps to humans and not just at the first cases in the US. It’s a fluke that the first person to transmit AIDS from Africa to the US was a gay male. Even if AIDS had never made it across the ocean from Africa, it would still be ravaging the African continent, killing women and children as well as men (as it does here). Whatever Bryan Fisher’s narrative would have been then, I doubt he would have seen the sins of colonialism (including its camp followers, missionaries) as having any role in the spread of the disease.

  • Strange question, but has someone been posting here under my name in the last 20 hours or so?

    On another site someone talked today about a comment I just made here (circa 4 PM today), but I haven’t made a comment on any disqus site in 21 hours.  So if someone was posting here as me in that time period, it wasn’t me.I’m hoping they meant a comment that they just read, because then I’m pretty sure I know exactly what they’re talking about (something from three days ago.)

    But I’m still worried that maybe someone’s saying things in my name somehow.  We had a problem with a troll doing that back when Slacktivist was on typepad and I’d hate for it to be happening again here.

  • And Peter Falk as Socrates! How could I not have seen this before!

    It’s how I was taught it in highschool.

  • This is the same Bill Frist who once said that the tears of gay people could give you AIDS and that Terry Schaivo could wake up at any moment?


  •  He’s been taking night classes at Columbia.

  • Caravelle

    Not that I recall. But I’ll try to look out for your name in grey just in case.

  • Baeraad

    I note that the maker of that movie is being a little unfair – in the dialog, Eurythphro really does claim to be the infallible expert on all things pious, so Socrates isn’t just harrassing a random bystander. Still, I can understand the motivations for that movie. Socrates and his “why are you getting so upset, I’m just asking questions here is all” technique reminds me unpleasantly of an Internet troll. :P

    And of course, the fact that he seems to think that Eurythphro is a self-righteous rulemonger for putting his father on trial for murder, when his father is in fact guilty of murder (or at least of negligent manslaughter), doesn’t help at all. Bit of differing cultural priorities there, I suppose.

  • Tonio

    I’ve read the 
    Euthyphro piece a couple of times over the years, and I’m not sure if I understand it completely. But what jumps out at me is that Socrates’ opponent doesn’t really know what is loved by the gods – he has only the stories, and Socrates appears to be challenging them. If this is the case, that’s exactly what Challies is doing when he writes that “God’s word is clear on the matter,” not even questioning the stories. 

    Anne comes close to suggesting that Challies’ mentality is really that of an abused person. But she also comes close to suggesting that Fred believes in a good god because that’s the value he wants the god to have, or thinks the god should have. Did anyone else interpret her that way? 

    While she is right to ask whether humans want to serve a god that cares more about legalism than about love, her post treats the only alternative to rejecting the cruel and evil god of the OT (either by moderate/liberal Christianity or by atheism) is believing that the god is actually good and loving. There’s another possible alternative – serving the god grudglingly, knowing full well that this being is cruel and evil but giving it one’s service only out of fear instead of misplaced love. 

  • Tonio

    To add to my point, when it comes a god that’s cruel and evil, maybe what we want isn’t important.

  • The_L1985

    So that’s what my Sunday-school teacher meant by “fear of the Lord!”

  • GDwarf


    I note that the maker of that movie is being a little unfair – in the
    dialog, Eurythphro really does claim to be the infallible expert on all
    things pious, so Socrates isn’t just harrassing a random bystander.

    Indeed. I’d actually argue that in the movie Eurythphro is the winner. :P He points out that he’s not an expert, is in a hurry, and doesn’t particularly care about this problem at this time. The fact that he brings up coherent arguments at all in the situation is somewhat impressive.

  • Mark Z.

    This is the same Bill Frist who once said that the tears of gay people could give you AIDS and that Terry Schaivo could wake up at any moment?

    Bill Frist the Senate Majority Leader was required, as a condition of his job, to believe ignorant drivel about medicine. Now he’s Bill Frist the retired heart transplant surgeon, and is allowed to know what he’s talking about again. It’s like all those retired police chiefs who support legalizing marijuana now that they can’t be fired for it.