22 October, 2008

The consequences of death-worship

P.Z. Myers links to a post on a "homeschooling" blog wherein the blog's owner, one Raani Starnes, writes:
A friend recently sent me this article about a "gay-friendly" high school. If we were living in a biblical society, homosexuality would be punishable by death so such a school would be unnecessary. Although I'm against the special accommodations, perhaps this new trend of segregation will protect straight kids from these predators. With any luck, some radical will blow up the gay school. No, I'm not condoning vigilantism--I'm merely saying that it would be poetic justice.
Charming...and this woman has four children. Pity them.

I feel some further comment is needed. As the title of this post indicates, I see this as the consequence of death-worship. This woman, and many others like her, worship anti-life, anti-humanity; in short: death. They have come to believe, through indoctrination, moral failure, or mental illness, that human beings are degraded, valueless creatures who require some sort of external salvation from their humanity. Accordingly, they reject human values, indeed, they reject their own humanity and the humanity of others. They seek to purge life of all that is human and replace it with their own, necessarily crippled values. Theirs is the morality of the slave, of the degenerate, the looter, and the corpse.

In reality, our humanity is what makes moral value possible. Only our nature as free moral agents can adequately ground value and thus a true moral system. No external agent can grant to us as an arbitrary whim any kind of real value or impose upon us any kind of moral rule. That is the morality of the slave. No real moral system can require the rejection of our human nature as a "ground rule" for existence. That is the morality of the degenerate. No free moral agent can accept as the base of its moral system that which comes from outside its own nature. That is the morality of the looter. No true moral system can reject the value of human life (and by that I don't mean a clump of cells). That is the morality of the corpse. And yet all of this is what these death-cultists would have us believe is the source of moral value. This is nothing less than moral insanity.

Theirs is a corrupt and dying belief, but in its death throes it threatens all of human society with the noxious curse of its memes. Too often those who oppose such evil have hesitated to speak out strongly against it. We call for "tolerance" and "respect", ask people to reject "bigotry" and "prejudice" but never seem to press our opponents on the base immorality of their beliefs.

I say: The time for accommodation has passed.

It is time for human beings to speak up in favor of humanity and against the purveyors of evil who would foist upon us a degenerate moral system based on slavery & death. By all rights, this rotting corpse deserves a burial. We should no longer hesitate to speak the truth as we know it: these beliefs are insane and deserving of no more respect than we would offer to the random gibberish spewed by the average resident of Bedlam. Beyond that, however, they are actually evil. We should not mince words; our opponents do not. We must counter them with reason and logic; show the confused and contradictory ground on which their beliefs stand, expose the degeneracy of their moral system, and expound the objective foundation human nature provides for a real human moral system.

To Mrs. Starnes (should she deign to read this), I want to make clear: I do not hate you. I do not hate your family. I do not wish any harm to come to you, your husband, or your children. I would guess that the link from PZ's blog has probably multiplied the traffic to your blog at least tenfold and I can only imagine the feedback you're receiving. Some hateful (and for that I offer what apologies I may), some constructive (and I hope you read those with as open a mind as may be possible), and others antagonistic (as I intended mine to be). I do not seek to engage you so much as to stand in clear opposition to you, albeit without personal rancour. I find your beliefs odious and corrupt (and I imagine you would say the same to me), but I have no feelings toward you as a person.

Update: I've noticed some of the comments on PZ's blog are suggesting that Mrs. Starnes' blog post be reported to blogger as in apparent violation of Blogger's TOS. Although I would agree that Mrs. Starnes has an absolute right to her opinion, so does Blogger, as a corporate entity, have the right to restrict the material it allows to be hosted on its servers. If Mrs. Starnes wishes to air her moral degeneracy, she's certainly welcome to do so on her own server, but if her post does in fact violate Blogger's TOS, they have every right to remove it. As of this point, the post is still up, but the coming days may prove different.

Update 10.23: As at least one reader has noticed, the original post appears to have been taken down. But in it's place (and using the same URL as the original post) is a new piece of insanity: a veritable stew of ignorance, faulty reasoning, and, coming from someone who calls himself a "pastor" and who apparently "shepherds" what can only be imagined as an unfortunate group of sheep, painfully poor biblical exegesis and understanding. If there were any such thing as "sin", this poisonous vitriol would certainly qualify.

Update 11.18: I noticed today that the entire blog has been deleted. I'm guessing that was due in whole or part to the consequences of having such disgraceful and vile opinions brought to the attention to a plethora of more or less decent people.

Do Not Eat!!

During my final year of undergraduate studies I worked as an assistant in UNCG's Financial Aid Office. At some point during that year, the office received a couple of new computers and I was placed in charge of unpacking and setting them up. As I opened one of the packages, a tiny white envelope fell to the ground. As I picked it up, I noticed bold lettering on the side: DO NOT EAT.

Of course this is probably good advice given that those little envelopes, ubiquitous to electronics packaging, contain some sort of dessicant and are likely not the sort of things humans should consume. Still, it made me wonder what kind of person is going to look at this envelope, packed in with a computer keyboard, and think, "Hey, that looks like a tasty snack!" I was so amused at the notion that I used up an entire pad of Post-It notes, writing "DO NOT EAT" on every one and sticking them to various objects in the office (desks, chairs, filing cabinets, clocks, etc). After all, if people were going around munching on strange paper containers found in electronics packaging, then they might very well start snacking on office equipment next! These people needed to be warned!

The other evening while watching television, I saw an advertisement for Guitar Hero in which an animated band plays a rock-and-roll anthem while standing on the roof and hood of a wildly speeding automobile. I'm not sure I understood the connection between the game and the image, but at any rate at the bottom of the television screen was displayed the disclaimer, "Do Not Attempt".

WTF? No, seriously...WTF?? Are there really individuals out there too stupid to realize what might happen to them if they attempt to stand on the hood of a car careening madly down the street? And if so, should we really care what might become of them? Isn't this the sort of defect that natural selection is so good at weeding out of the population and aren't we doing ourselves some sort of disservice by stepping in and preventing nature from doing its part to preserve the overall fitness of the species?

Deep breath....okay, I realize that companies that put these disclaimers on their products/advertisements are doing so out of an understandable desire to protect themselves and their shareholders from lawsuits. But therein lies the problem: what sort of jury awards damages to idiots who injured themselves while performing some stunt they saw in a cartoon or who ate an unidentifiable substance that came in an envelope that fell out of a box? I suppose the answer is: a jury comprised of the same sort of idiots.

One of the baseline assumptions of a modern democratic society is or should be that citizens are rational adults; free moral agents who are responsible for their own actions. Obviously where an individual or a group of individuals are coerced or deceived into acting against their own best interests, those responsible for the coercion or deception should be held accountable, but it seems to me that among rational, free moral agents there should be an assumption of a commonly-held grip on reality. In other words, that we all have at least a rudimentary understanding of how the world works: ice is slippery, hot liquids can burn, not everything can be eaten safely, what goes up must come down, falling can be dangerous, etc, etc. For indeed, how could a society function without such a common reality?

But what of individuals who apparently lack this level of understanding?

In the days before advanced medical technology and unscrupulous ambulance-chasing attorneys these unfortunate persons would have served as examples to the rest of us and a chance for humanity to raise its collective I.Q. Today however, they reap millions of dollars from lawsuits because they burned themselves with hot coffee while the rest of us pay higher taxes and inflated prices on goods and services to compensate them for their stupidity.

Wait a minute...um...who is the stupid one again? I think I'll go and try to shave with the paper shredder...after all, there's no sign on it that says I can't!

Image credit: Saint Gasoline

21 October, 2008

Talk about your must-see TV!

Keith Olbermann tears into Palin, Bachmann, Limbaugh, and, finally, McCain for the disgusting turn the losing Republican campaign has taken into a divisive "us vs. them" approach. As always, well worth the time to watch.

Let's not kid ourselves, though. This isn't really anything new for these people, it's merely the latest outrage. If John McCain had a shred of decency left in him, he would disavow this absurd, deeply offensive, and, indeed, anti-American tactic. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that happening is nil. Palin, Limbaugh, Bachman and their ilk may be risible fools, but they, not John McCain, are what drives the Republican party now.

This is what has become of the party of Abraham Lincoln?

HT: Pharyngula

08 October, 2008

Debate Reactions

Andrew Sullivan collects some great reactions to last night's McCain-Obama debate. My favorite? Wil Wilkinson:
Gut read. Obama owned it. This election’s over unless he murders and eats the flesh of a child on live television.
I'm not sure that it would take all that, but one thing I believe for sure: this election has been and still is Obama's to lose. Of course, I thought that was true of Gore as well...