July 2, 2011

Obnoxious Atheism Strikes Again

Buon giorno. Atheists are all in favor of free speech — as long as it is done to intimidate, harass, ridicule or just plain inconvenience those of us who believe in a Creator. I wonder if this applies to other laws as well.

In this case, their "free speech" included putting this mocking billboard on church property: "The Clear Channel Outdoor billboard was placed on the grounds of Christ Cathedral Church and immediately drew the ire of the church’s pastor. The Rev. Waymon Malone successfully had the sign removed just days after it was displayed." It took "just days"? Strange, it should not have taken even that long.

The last I knew, nobody has the right to put up signs on the property of another person without knowledge and permission of the property holder. Duh. The professionals in charge claim that the trespassing was done by accident. Huh, some professionals they are.

And yet:
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF, claims that the group had no idea that the billboard would be positioned on church property. But, she wasted no time in showcasing her distaste for the pastor’s removal demand, claiming:
“The action of this censorious church shows exactly why our campaign, intended to encourage social acceptance of nonbelievers, is so important. Do its deacons truly believe one can’t be good without God?”

Even when they are clearly in the wrong, they attack! No, Cupcake, the church is not "censorious" (that word does not mean what you think it means) because they do not allow you to intrude on their property with an antagonistic message.

It would be nice if this type of atheist could show respect to other people's rights and beliefs. Or could even think beyond the bounds of their own hate. But I'm kidding myself, capice? 1 Cor. 1.18, 25; John 8.44.

June 27, 2011

Straw Man Fallacy

I almost did not write this article, as there are several good ones explaining the "straw man" fallacy already. But I committed to writing this series, and I can add my own thoughts as well.

The straw man fallacy — everybody does it, it seems. Especially when getting caught up in the emotion of a heated exchange of words. However, it is my belief that many people choose to use this fallacy for the sake of provoking emotion in their opponent. If the opponent falls for the trick, then the antagonist can provoke further and "win" the argument on emotion, not facts.

"What on Earth are you babbling about, Cowboy Bob?"

Be patient. Now I'll tell you what it is, and maybe you can remember the traps of this nature that owlhoots set for you.

In simplest terms, the straw man argument is when someone will take your statement, argument, beliefs, or position and build a false version of it to tear down; the straw man they built is a misrepresentation of your actual position. It is often inadvertent, based on misunderstanding of your position (which you may not have stated very well). Other times, it is an advertent attack. It almost always involved putting words in your mouth, presuming that you said something that you did not say.

When Trish wrote about modestly for Christian women and about Facebook evangelism, atheists went hysterical. Even on her own Weblog, they made emotive straw man arguments like:
  • Are you ashamed of your own body Trish? Sounds like you got problems with your own self-image. A lot of women are not. And your facebook evangelism, can be best summed up as "Trolling". This was followed by the Facebook Terms of Service, taken horribly out of context.
  • Why not purchase special apparel designed especially for those women whose religious views encourages them to cover their bodies in the name of modesty. I think they're called "Burqas" and they're available in any color you like so long as it's black. Note the absurd extreme used in the mockery.
  • Next you will be saying we all need to wear baggy sweats and over-sized t-shirts so no man can see our shape at all (or a burqa, as someone else suggested). Maybe we shouldn't wear makeup; that could make us look too sexy. Again, you can see the extreme that was not taken in the original article.
In a recent exchange with atheists on Twitter, we were subjected to some rather amazing examples of bad reasoning. Here are some examples of the straw man fallacy:
Remember, I am putting these logic lessons out for a few reasons, not the least of which is the hope that people will avoid them so we can communicate better. Christians should be able to present the gospel (1 Peter 3.15), and avoiding simple mistakes in reasoning will help. The examples above are from my own recent readings and experiences. Conservatives, we need to be careful as well so that the left has less room to talk. Let's be on guard against spurious "reasoning" during the upcoming election season.

I will close by sending you to this excellent (read: better than mine) article at Apologia (this is not a blanket endorsement of the entire site). Hopefully, I gave you something useful. Read the other one now that you're done here, and you'll be much less likely to be fooled, you savvy?

June 26, 2011

BOB is Your Friend!

Buona sera. You really need BOB available in a crisis. If you must get out now, be sure to have BOB handy.

No, not me. Don't be a cafone. I'll be taking care of my own people. No, what you need is a Bug-Out Bag. I assembled my first one in 1990 or so, even though it did not have the moniker "of Bug-Out Bag" at the time. Yes, I remember that Saddam Barack Hussein was calling for Iraqis to attack Americans. Although they did not comply with their "beloved" leader, I was planning for the worst. Later, I realized that it was a good idea to have one, anyway.

"But Cowboy Bob, I don't think we're going to be attacked!"

Remember September 11, 2001? People were living in fear. I think this fear spread to the rest of the world, because other countries were thinking they were going to be hit as well. But we were jumping at shadows, wondering if another attack was imminent. 

It could very well have been. Subsequent attacks have been thwarted, you realize.

But even so, there are plenty of other reasons to have a Bug-Out Bag. Natural disasters, train derailment, nuclear accident (I know, it's a very remote possibility, but still...), some other reason that you have to get out now. There won't be much time to think things through, just grab the bag and go.

There are several sites advising what to put in your Bug-Out Bag, including this one from Wikipedia and another from the US government. I have a problem with some of their recommendations, however. They want you to pack several things, including quantities of water, that have considerable bulk and weight.

My recommendation is to have your BOB on two levels. First, the absolute essentials in something that is relatively easy to carry, like a backpack. My bag is packed for a three-day evacuation. Vitamins, prescriptions and other pills are in there for that amount of time. Special ultra-lightweight thermal blankets (they look like aluminum foil), batteries, flashlights (do not store them with batteries inside, they'll leak and get ruined, capice?), small radio, knife, that sort of thing. A New Testament. You might want sunglasses in a hard-shell case. Hey, do you have an extra pair of glasses, maybe an old prescription or just something you don't use? Put 'em in. Bandages to wrap sprains, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, other personal care products. That sort of thing. Use your imagination.

Then, you go through that bag every once in a while, make adjustments, replace the medications and other dated materials. I have added things and removed other things over the years. Remember, you may be on foot with this thing for quite a distance, so don't overload yourself.
From there, work on the more involved BOB that the experts recommend. If you have a vehicle and time to put this second-level bag inside, great. Just make sure you have that bare-minimums BOB ready. And don't forget where it is, for crying out loud.

This is just another public service from Stormbringer Productions.

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