September 17, 2011

Sam Harris, Intellectual Honesty and 9/11

I knew it wouldn't take long for atheists to milk and distort the September 11 "anniversary" (for lack of a better word) for their own confused, hateful ends. Sam "Ben Stiller" Harris may have been the first of the atheist popes to hop on the "all religion is evil" express again. He did a piece crying for "intellectual honesty" (a quality that I find sadly lacking in modern Internet atheists, especially since they have the magical ability to discredit articles without even reading them, but I digress).


Surprisingly, apologist Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason says that Sam Harris is right, it is a time for "intellectual honesty". Well, sorta...

Atheism and the Destruction of Society


A fascinating and provocative piece by PPSimmons discussing the way atheism works with liberalism in undermining traditional values and to destroy our faith in God — and society itself. This article looks like the beginning of a series, and I'm looking forward to the continuation.
One of the characteristics of atheism that is immediately noticeable is the overwhelming amount of foul language that is used. Even the most educated among them seem to suffer from the affliction of tourette syndrome. As much as I hate to do it I was forced on a couple of occasions to delete comments due to their graphic content. I have to repeatedly remind these self proclaimed animals that foul language and belittling others in order to prop yourself up are leading indicators of a lesser intelligence.

See the rest of "Atheism's DISTURBING Doctrines and tenets... plus videos!" here. Then, you can read "The Atheist Delusion — Response to Richard Dawkins" here.

Logic Lessons: Appeal to Motive

Keep an eye out for this fallacy, not only in discussions about faith and reason, but in political arenas.

In its simplest sense, the Appeal to Motive fallacy is rather easy to spot. It is a form of the argumentum ad hominem fallacy. I posted some song lyrics in the comments section of a Weblog, and someone said that I posted them "to feel better about myself". (What gave him the idea that he had insight into my mental processes, I have no idea.) It seems to me that one of the most common indicators that this fallacy has been engaged is terminology resembling, "He/She/You are doing this because...", but the accuser has no way of knowing what is going on inside your soul.

In a more difficult manifestation, the Appeal to Motive is not always a fallacy. This is when something tangible can be brought into question, such as, "Snidely is suggesting that we use General Universal Widgetarium because he holds stock in that company". Well, that may be worth further investigation, but to reject Sindely's suggestion out of hand because he holds stock in the company could have negative consequences.

Plato and Aristotle, probably
discussing the folly of Appeal to Motive
On a variation on this theme, someone could very well have an ulterior motive that is either good, or at least, harmless: "We can't let Ray give away this video because he wants to present the gospel message!" So? Either ignore or receive the message, but his motive is probably not a good reason in and of itself to refuse to allow him to give away a video.

When you are on the receiving end of the most blatant Appeal to Motive, you can easily counter it by saying something like, "How do you know what is going on inside my head?", or, "Your guess about my motive has no bearing on the validity of what I said". (That is, if you think the attack is worth giving a response in the first place.) Many times, I have seen this fallacy used simply to attack a person instead of engaging in honest discussion. Being aware of its existence can help you keep a cool head and not get wrapped up in emotional distractions and you can get back to business.

On the other hand, when you are seeing or hearing a remark from someone who is questioning the motives of someone else, exercise restraint. It may not be a fallacy if the questioner has some kind of insight about the motives. Also, you may be right about someone's motives based on your own experiences, interactions and evidence. But it may not be a good idea to speak up too quickly, or even to speak up on that at all.

So, the Appeal to Motive fallacy is a frequent kind of ad hominem attack, and you can parry the thrusts of your opponent. But be careful, sometimes it is valid to question someone's motives if you have actual knowledge and want to examine their statement or proposition further.

September 13, 2011

Brave Muslim Heroes Burn American Flag

Those brave heroes, burning an American flag on September 11, 2011! Oh, such inspirations! Never mind that they didn't even do it in the United States. 'Smatter, Hassan, too much security? Or were you gutless wonders afraid that the people would shove your allahu where the sun doesn't shine? Boy, someone burns a Koran and you think it gives you license to "jihad" and murder people, but you burn an American flag on the tenth anniversary of the date that your shameless, cowardly compatriots murdered three thousand Americans, and yet, you are still living! Shows a bit of a difference, huh?

Strange Searches: Disturbing

Again, for the "gotcha" troublemakers in the world, I will repeat that people will use odd phrases and words that are not really sentences in their searches. Still, when those searches bring them to my Weblogs, they get interesting. In this case, a bit disturbing:


September 11, 2011

Reminder


Petra "Whole World" lyrics

Words and music by Bob Hartman
Based on Hebrews 1:3, Matthew 20:29, 6:34

Hearts are falling left and right
Children fear this planet's plight
Fatalistic fears abound
And take their toll without a sound
But through the vague uncertainty - comes a bold assurity
This world is under sovereignty - divinely ordered destiny
He holds this world together with the Word of His power
Safe within His hands - til its own appointed hour

(Chorus)
He's still got the whole world in His hands - tonight
And only He knows where the sparrow lands - tonight
And nothing in this world can stop His plans - tonight
'Cause He's still got the whole world in His hands
In His hands tonight

Humanistic lies lament
The holocaust is imminent
Doomsday prophets in the news
Predicting who will light the fuse
The fate of His creation isn't subject to a man
The final consummation is according to His plan
He's still got you - He's still got me in His hands tonight

Terrorists Do Not Seem to Fear B. Hussein Obama

Last year Obama made a statement during a 9/11 event in which he said “as Americans we are not — and never will be — at war with Islam.”
Maybe the president needs to remind Islam about this because they certainly don’t seem to know.
Since taking office, the U.S. has either been attacked or threatened by attacks by Islamists at least 11+ times.  These aren’t random terrorist affronts by other countries, or Jared Loughner-type kooks (as the mainstream media would like you to believe)—they are ISLAMIC TERRORISTS. 
Here’s a list of Islamic terrorist attacks and/or threats of attacks that have occurred on U.S. soil and U.S. military bases since Obama took office in January, 2009.
Oh and just a reminder—although 9/11 happened 8 months after President Bush took office, during his 8-year presidency we never had any other Islamic terrorist attack in the U.S.  They knew better.
Read the rest of "Islamic Attacks and Threats During Obama’s Presidency" here.

Religious Pluralism — Rubbish!

On a weekend when the world remembers the 9/11 that made that date infamous, many questions remain unanswered.
My concern is that there are answers that remain unquestioned.

Coexist. This sounds so terribly profound and noble. Even the graphic is inspiring. In one word we have Rodney King’s plea from a decade earlier – “Can’t we all just get along?” Well, I suppose that depends what you mean.
  • Can we accept one another as humans with inherent value? – I would hope so.
  • Can we tolerate viewpoints and lifestyles different from our own? – We should.
  • Can we live out our own beliefs without injuring or belittling others in the name of our beliefs? – Most of us do, except for the occasional misguided zealot.
  • Can we accept that we are all climbing the same mountain, even though we may be choosing separate paths? – No. This is where we must part company.
The term for this sentiment is religious pluralism. It means ‘acceptance of all religious paths as equally valid, promoting coexistence.’
So – does this hold up? Is there more than one way to God / heaven / enlightenment? I say absolutely not. Sometimes things that sound like good ideas simply don’t work. Religious pluralism is nonsensical.

Let’s start here in case you are new. I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ, that he was and is God, that he came to earth as a human, that he died and rose again, and that only through him can we achieve right standing before God. I am aware of the charges that this sounds intolerant and arrogant. I get it, but I don’t think it holds up. First off, no Christian has warrant to be intolerant or arrogant. We are just beggars telling other beggars where to find bread.


Guilt by Association


Christianity seems to be frightening more people these days. The most recent flurry of alarm has been over "dominionism," as represented in a New Yorker article by Ryan Lizza. It has been more than thoroughly debunked, but still it seems to represent something more than politics. People are afraid of Christianity.
In fact for multiple reasons, many people are saying Christianity is bad, evil, harmful. This post is the first in a series examining reasons for Christianity's bad reputation. In memory of 9/11, I begin with "Guilt by Association." It goes like this. Islam is a religion. Some Muslims attacked us on 9/11 in the name of their God and their religion. Therefore religion is bad. Christianity is a religion. Therefore Christianity is bad.
The logic is laughable. Compare this, which is in near-identical form: Rodents are four-legged animals. Mice are rodents and can make a mess in your attic. Therefore rodents are bad. Dogs are four-legged animals. Therefore dogs are bad. 
The reasoning fails miserably at every step, and it would be hilarious if not for two things. First, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins have sold millions of books trying to make a case for it. To some extent I can understand their response. The 9/11 attacks were more than deadly, more than terrifying. They ruined the world in other ways besides. You may recall that the 1990s were supposed to be "the end of history." The Cold War was over and "'peace' seem[ed] to be breaking out all over the world" (Francis Fukuyama). What could there be to fight over now?
But just when we thought things were getting better, we were attacked right on our own soil. What a huge, terrible, and terrifying letdown that was—and what was to blame? Religion! What does that mean? Religion is dangerous! How shall we solve that? Eliminate religion!
Read the rest of "Christianity and 9/11: Guilt by Association?" here.

Is Religion Evil?

No introduction, here's the text:

Attitude Adjustment

How did 9/11 change America’s attitude toward religion? A recent post on CNN’s Belief Blog says: “Before 9/11, many atheists kept a low profile. Something changed, though, after 9/11. They got loud… Criticism of all religion, not just fanatical cults, was no longer taboo after 9/11.”
Indeed. Around the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, American Atheists hit the nightly news by suing to remove a steel cross from the September 11 memorial, even as others were calling it a national monument and a symbol of hope. Still, many atheists say 9/11 is a perfect example of why religion itself is evil.

Is Religion Evil?

Reminds me of reading Sam Harris’ The End of Faith years ago. I remember when he started to get popular by insisting that religion itself is dangerous and evil. Although he’s got a lot of fans, a Religion Dispatches article recently called him “more charismatic than credentialled” as a speaker. In the same article, Harris is quoted as saying, “I’m kind of self-taught in religion…I’ve never studied it formally with anyone.” But he’s not the only one who’s taken the spotlight.
Read the rest of "America After 9/11: Is Religion Evil?" here.

Some Of Us Did Not Forget

Kingston, New York, had been my home for about seventeen months. I was working in the warehouse with my foreman, getting the day's rounds planned. Another guy came over to us and asked if we knew what was happening. No, we did not have a radio on. He proceeded to tell us that planes had hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I was waiting for a punch line, because this guy told tacky jokes.

When he told us that it was no joke, I ran to the nearest computer and got online. I saw images of the smoking World Trade Center. Two things chilled me. First, the attack on the Pentagon made me realize that this was more ambitious than other attacks, and that the enemy was arrogant and stupid enough to take on the power of the United States military. The other thing that chilled me was when the Internet went down. At the time, I thought it was more than just overload and signal problems, but communications were not destroyed after all.

I did not grasp the physical enormity of the World Trade Center as well as its importance as a financial center. For some reason, I thought the loss of life would be minimal. When they said that somewhere around 45,000 people could be working there. As time went on and I joined with my fellow Americans obsessing over the news images, I realized the impact of the tragedy.

The cowardly cafones who attacked did a good job of coordinating, but they had some "fails". First, as I mentioned, the loss of life in the World Trade Center could have been far greater but not everyone had come to work yet. Also, they underestimated the construction of the WTC. Second, they underestimated the Pentagon itself. The seat of American military planning was designed to withstand attack. Plus, the area that was hit was not fully occupied. Third, the cowardly murderers underestimated the resolve and intelligence of the American people, as well as our supporters around the world. Emergency responders saved lives while many of them lost their own. Flight 93 did not reach a target, because heroic passengers would rather crash than add to the disasters already occurring.

Some people ask, "Where was God?" The same place he was on September 11, and where he is today.

Then, we came for you, you cowardly murderous losers.

This slide show has photos that I had not seen before. It's rather long, but after all, it is the tenth anniversary of the biggest cowardly scumbag terrorist attack in American history. (Some associates of mine have your akbar waiting right here, Habib!) Some things are worth fighting for...


Here's a suggestion for the Mohammedans: Don't mess with us. I know you want something even bigger than September 11, 2001 to happen. But do you remember the rage ten years ago? Remember that innocent Muslims were harmed? Imagine that magnified because of a new attack. Or don't you care that there could be a backlash against innocent Muslims, "your" people, and that the losers who cause these attacks are hunted down and killed? Maybe next time, the bullets will be dipped in the blood of pigs, how does that sound?

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