Friday, September 12, 2014

First "moral" victory, so I say...

Hey there and how are ya?

I had my first run-in with a Christian Apologist this past week, and I think I rattled him a little bit.  I came across this blog in the comments section of a Huffington Post article about the historicity of Jesus.

We were going along having some give and take (though he seemed to be rather aggressive, something I was deliberately avoiding) and we got to my last reply to him (I didn't screen capture it nor did I copy and paste it) which he refused to post to his page and just deleted it.  I suspect it was due to cognitive dissonance on his part.

I will try and recreate my response below.  To really understand the context you will have to check out the blog itself to see what an inane apologist this guy is, though I loathe giving this guy any more page views than he already has.  I can't say that I can even match the tone I had at the time because I was trying to be extra polite, but what I have below is actually a bit snarkier than what I had tried to post before.

My last response, to his last post to me:

So you are saying that  I am a liar because I asked questions that weren't answered, and then asked again, and then called a liar a second time BEFORE you actually answered my questions?  How does that work?  I'm a liar for saying you didn't answer me twice before you actually answered?

Do you think that there is any way that people could learn to get along without objective morals?  What about people of other faiths and religions that don't believe in god, in your god, or your objective morals?  Or do you see large scale murder amongst the atheist Buddhists? 

So Cain killing Able wasn't immoral because god hadn't told man not to kill each other yet?

I assume you are referring to 'atheist death tolls' by looking at some apologetic web sites who pull up a bunch of numbers.  These numbers tend to be misleading in several ways.  If we look at one common example used, let's look at the Hitler claim.  I have seen some say that Hitler killed 40 million people.  However, to get that number they include all deaths between 1939 and 1945 in Germany.  They also include all deaths in all countries involved in WWII during their involvement in the European conflict who died during any period that involved any hostility with Germany.  Combat, non-combat, collateral, infants, geriatric, and disease causes of death are all part of that number.  Not to mention that Hitler was a christian (Catholic, none the less) and not an atheist.  When you joined the Nazi party you swore an oath to follow god and fuhrer. The Nazi uniform even included "Got mit uns" on the belt buckle, meaning "god is with us".

I have read the bible.  In fact I have read two different version cover to cover and referenced several others.  Why would you assume I hadn't?  I have seen 2 Cor. 10:3-5, but I was thinking (and suggesting) something more along the lines of 2 Cor. 9 and the rest of 2 Cor. 10.  Here you are cherry picking your holy book for some way to justify your actions when just the chapter before it you are told to be a good person, to lead by example and to be humble in practice.  You just ahead and take two lines and use that to justify going after atheists.  But why just them?  Why not other faiths or 'false beliefs'?  Where is your anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist, anti-Mormon, anti-Unitarian, anti-Muslim, anti-Zeusian, or anti-Mithraism pages or posts? 

So the bible doesn't say that "lack of belief" or "unbelieving" comes from Satan, but you are somehow sure it does?  I thought the book was all I needed to understand how this all works.  Most translations of 2 Cor. 4:4 do not call the one you are referring to as Satan but "the god of the age".  I suspect that that's because the oldest texts we have do not God himself claims to be responsible for all things, like in Isaiah 45:6-12, so I would assume that he would also be responsible for Satan and his "lying minions", and therefor anyone's unbelief as well. 

I am not sure what kind of chicanery you are referring, I think I'm just asking some questions because I am honestly curious about what you believe.  I don't really understand why you feel the need to be so hostile.


Communication and "affirmative consent"

Happy day fellows!

(though I am unsure, even after reading the bill, if this is just about teaching students about affirmative consent or if it is making it necessary, so you may see my usage change as I write this)

This past week (OK, a few weeks ago) a bill was passed in the California Senate that would require affirmative consent to engage in sexual activity on college campuses.  "No means no" would become "yes means yes" under this bill, and without consent sexual activity (not clearly defined) could be considered assault or rape. 

Since I started this post, the bill has moved forward.   In California this is now "law" for institutions of higher education that receive public funds. 

I have a few problems with this legislation.  First and foremost is that I think that it's nonsensical.  It basically just makes the program for instructing students on what consent is to make it more explicit in the affirmative.  Followed as it's intended by everyone all the time can make consent far clearer than it can be at times.  There is of course, the real world that we live in, where this doesn't do anything for anyone except muddy the waters about what does and does not constitute sexual assult.

Effective communication is based on the person transmitting the message in such a way that the receiver can clearly understand it.  If a person says "Go through the red door and push the blue button" and in confronted with a room full of doors in varying shades of magenta, the message was not conveyed clearly.  This is the largest problem with communication in general, where the recipient does not necessarily understand the meaning of intent of the message being relayed.  The reason that "no means no" is more effective because it draws a boundary for behavior.  It is unambiguous in it's intent and is a simpler message with less room for confusion.

Affirmative consent is more ambiguous.  Some instruction goes so far as to say that it should be enthusiastic.  Crap.  Very few sexual encounters, even with long term partners are completely free from some emotional distress in some form or another.  That stress or tension is part of what makes the experience more enjoyable.  It's also still boils down to he said/she said as to whether or not consent was given.  This bill includes the "forms of consent" as being non-verbal as well as verbal.  In a rape accusation, how does this help anyone any more?  The accused could still say that they misinterpreted the non-verbal cues that things were OK.  "No" is still clearer and a simpler message. 

I guess when all is said about this legislation it really, at this time, doesn't change a whole lot for anyone.  It's about instruction on campus and not about off campus activities.  Maybe I'm just not seeing the big picture here and this is going to end up being more great or less silly than I think it is.   Who knows.  I disagree with it's premise as a whole and think that over all it will be a non-issue, neither helping or hurting the cause to prevent rapes and assaults on campus, but to some extent I can almost see this increasing false accusations of rape on campus at least in the short term (part of the adjustment period that most rules changes go though before they "settle in" to the more common understanding).

 Follow up article:
 Affirmative consent article via CNN

Original articles:
Washington Post article
Real Clear Politics article
Think Progress article
California Senate Bill