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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Bill Muehlenberg on the Age of the Earth

Bill Muehlenberg's "Ministery of Slippery Grasp on the Truth" has yet to pronounce on the age of the earth.

Why is that a big deal?

This is an important scientific question, from which a lot follows. Modern science now dates the age of the earth as around 4.5 billion years; or 4,500,000,000 in numerical terms.

The problem for Bill is that there's an awful lot of religious folk out there who think the world is around 6,000 years old, because this seems to be what the bible says (and we all know that the bible is true, right?). Bill Muehlenberg's constant rants against science (particularly evolutionary biology and climate change, surprise, surprise) have earned him a following amongst the simple-minded religionists who hate science because it contradicts what they want to be true, ie the bible. (Also because they can't understand it and don't like to feel belittled by people who do.) Many of these people are Young Earth Creationists, who believe that the world is only a few thousand years old, and that a deity created all living species in their current form and plonked them down on earth from the heavens. Obviously, there is nothing reasonable in this opinion. It is stupid and ignorant.

For what it's worth, I don't think Bill's stupid enough to believe the world is only a few thousand years old. Sure, he holds plenty of other barmy views, and all of his articles drip with logical fallacies and non-arguments. However, the fact that he's able to churn out article after article, admittedly recycling the same old nonsense, demonstrates a level of cognitive ability above the regular troglodytes who post replies to him. He's ended up in the unfortunate position of having to fence-sit because by shouting down "scientism" (which seems to mean science that doesn't posit "god" as the explanation of an observable and testable phenomenon) his followers infer that he is on their side. When Bill Muehlenberg claims he has "problems with macroevolution" (yeah, because you don't like it, that makes all the evidence go away, Bill) and denies global-warming, the more hard line flat-earthers assume he must also be a Young Earth Creationist.

What if I'm wrong? What if Bill Muehlenberg really is a Young Earth Creationist? Well, that's not a persuasive hypothesis because he is deafeningly quiet on the question. If he did hold the view that it's reasonable to believe that the world is only 6,000 years old, he would come out and say so. After all, he's not exactly reticent about saying what he thinks, is he?

So why doesn't he come out and say how old he thinks the world is? Well, because he's much safer perched on the fence. You'll notice how, if he thinks he may have sniffed out an "atheist" with an "agenda" amongst the commenters, he'll demand that they be intellectually honest and "show their hand". See his treatment of "Tom" in the comments here:

Obviously, his own rules don't apply to him. How very telling. When challenged on the issue of the age of the earth, Bill censors (I've written a lot about Muehlenberg's stifling of debate) or evades. If Bill were to side with the Old Earth Creationists and admit that he thinks scientists have it right, he will alienate his Young Earth buddies, some of whom, like the oddly quick-to-take-offence-and-start-name-calling Jonathan Sarfati, have ministries of their own. Bill simply can't afford to lose the support of either the Young Earthers or the Old Earthers by siding with either one.

The YECs seem to be more numerous and more powerful in religious circles, so why doesn't he lie and claim to be a Young Earth Creationist and alienate the Old Earth lobby? Because nobody outside his already-deluded bunch of followers and the comfort of his blog would ever take him seriously again. On anything. He would lose all credibility. That's why it's such a big question, and why Bill has to hide in shadows and cower.

So how does Bill Muehlenberg address the issue age of the earth on his website? By evasion. Let's see what the great man himself said about it on 11.7.09 at 2pm:

"-The truth is, on and off for over thirty years now I have read, studied, thought and prayed about this issue, and I have not fully come to a firm conclusion on the age of the earth debate."

Ah, the classic theological mindset! The best way to arrive at the "truth" is to pray about it. No amount of clasping your hands together and asking for guidance will arrive you at the truth, Bill. What you need is evidence, such as that provided by radioatomic clocks. But, wait! That's "scientism", isn't it? And all the mountains of evidence point to the age of the earth being 4.5 billion years, despite what your deity's book says. Aren't you all for following the evidence wherever it may lead?

Muehlenberg is equally profoundly dishonest about other scientific subjects that puncture holes in his sky-daddy hankerings. Those, as the great Bill Muehlenberg himself might say, will be "covered elsewhere".

Come on, Bill Muehlenberg. Please provide a simple answer to a simple question: "How old do you think the earth is?" No evasions, no praying, just tell us what you think. Or is intellectual honesty too tricky a position for you to maintain?

Pursuit of truth, my foot! No, when his hand is forced he'll side with whichever group will mean the most support for him, and bring in the most money to his ministry. Thus proving Muehlenberg is more materialistic and less honest than any atheist I know. Well, he does have his agenda to push, after all...

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Culture of Censorship: Bill Muehlenberg and the gagging of his critics

It’s always nice to find that you’re not alone, and this certainly seems to be the case when it comes to Bill Muehlenberg’s method of handling his critics - responding with an attack for anyone who disagrees with him; and censoring their comments altogether if their arguments expose the absurdities of his rants, or if he’s too dim-witted to think of a response.

I recently came across the excellent website, an organization of secular Australians who keep tabs on the activities of the religious right in Australia, in order to expose them to the criticism, ridicule and contempt they deserve, and they do this diligently, thoroughly and with a good deal of humour and fair-mindedness. Needless to say, Bill Muehlenberg, thanks to his Culturewatch website and his involvement with various nefarious religious and “family” groups, comes in for scrutiny on a regular basis. He is discussed on their forum, where his arguments are dissected and his manifold hypocrisies laid bare for all to see.

One thing all the contributors agreed on is that it is impossible to reason with Muehlenberg. This is for several reasons:

Bill Muehlenberg smears his ideological opponents, responding to them with ad hominem attacks rather than dealing with their points
• He will post a dissenting view on his website only if he has a ready answer with which to try to dismiss the argument as “foolish” or “dealt with elsewhere”
• If he doesn’t have a ready answer, comments left by dissenters will be “awaiting moderation” for an extended period, before being deleted altogether.

The conclusion they draw, and given my experience, I agree with them entirely, is that Bill Muehlenberg is not interested in discussion, debate or the truth. He is interested solely in what he has to say. Any dissent must be shouted down, or, if he feels he is losing the argument, censored altogether. Bill does not let his hysterical band of acolytes see opposing arguments, or see a secularist get the better of him in discussion. This is profoundly intellectually dishonest, and makes Muehlenberg nothing other than a liar, a hypocrite and a fool. I would be interested to hear him challenge me on that point. Muehlenberg is such a cheap theocrat with nothing but rhetoric to offer that the posters on have an entire thread on his cowardly, shameful censorship tactics.

I hope none of the posters of minds me reposting some of their words verbatim here - I have not named the individual members but their comments can be read online. Please let me know if so, and I will remove the quotations. I quote them directly because many of them, being sound and rational secularists, have witty and intelligent turns of phrase. I think they ably demonstrate the lengths Muehlenberg is prepared to go to in his attempt to maintain complete control of the comments on his website, and to quash all opposing voices, most often by outright censorship.

I am including only some juicy examples. The full thread (and it’s well worth reading) can be seen here:

This sounds familiar:

I’ve been posting for a little while on his site, and a lot of my comments have been deleted, leaving Bill and Sarfati to have the last word on me.

And again...

I’ve been posting to this thread over the past week or so, and getting a post published (or published in full) is like getting blood out of a stone. Here’s a small sample of what hasn’t escaped from Bill’s Ministry of Truth...

Then we get censorship of certain recurring arguments where Bill would rather not be faced with, or have to deal with the truth.

In response to Bill’s comment:

At the moment I feel that you have to make your assertion from a position of faith in the “fact” of evolution, and not on any reasonable evidence or theory. That sounds more philosophical than scientific to me.

he censored:

The theory of evolution is supported by a wealth of evidence, and the placement of scare quotes around “fact” doesn’t make that evidence go away. It’s fantastic that you’re asking questions about the evolution of cognition, language and aspects of physiology (ears, vocal chords etc.) which are related, but the fact that I don’t personally know all of the answers to these questions doesn’t lend any credibility to the creationist position. Scientists have worked hard on these issues and continue to work hard on them today. Creationists, however, offer nothing as they sit on the sidelines and jeer, insisting that researchers will never find the answer without opening the Bible.

He also censored:

I see you’ve neglected to post my earlier comments. Surprise, surprise. It’s most interesting that you berate Steve for not addressing your collection of atheist quotes and then neglect to post the comments which do just that. Why do you do this? Because it’s very important that to your supporters here these quotes appear unanswered. Of course, in future discussions you’ll eagerly copy and paste these quotes into the discussion and, once again, declare triumphantly that you have found the atheists’ smoking gun. This speaks volumes about your commitment to intellectual honesty.

Bill’s tactics are ably summed up:

My apologies for the bombardment of posts, but I thought it gives a pretty clear demonstration of Bill’s… unwillingness to truly engage in a discussion. Every time Bill accuses me of hubris, close-mindedness and complains about my ‘philosophical pre-commitments’ my irony meter explodes.

What’s most troubling however, is Bill’s censorship of posts directed at other contributors. He just can’t allow a free discussion. He must have full control. When Bill and his team mates are in trouble he blows the whistle and declares victory.

But remember, Bill is “only interested in the truth”

I love that! Funny, and so, so true.

Other arguments Bill Muehlenberg would rather censor than offer a challenge to:

Take his attempt to use Karl Popper in an appeal to authority in his attacks on evolution for example. I politely pointed out that the quote he provided lacked context and that Popper soon revised his views and retracted the very statement Bill quoted in the first place. Did Bill retract his statements? No. Instead, he neglected to post my comment and in the meantime managed to call atheists “intellectually dishonest”.

Another example was his enthusiastic trumpeting of the Richard Sternberg affair as a case of discrimination against evolution critics. I politely pointed out the facts of the case which revealed the persecution claims to be utter bunk (in a short and to-the-point comment) and it never saw the light of day.

And he frequently accuses atheists of “ignoring the facts” to “push an agenda”!
The posters on come to the following conclusions about attempting to challenge Muehlenberg’s loony arguments on culturewatch:

I doubt if anyone seriously tries to convince Bill of anything, given his completely inflexible fundamentalist mindset. Nor do I think that he convinces anyone of the error of their ways. Most of the time he preaches to the choir - Sarfati, McDonald, Mulvaney etc. - you can actually name the full choir quite easily.

So I don’t know whether it’s worth trying to post on his site or not. But almost certainly it’s not worth a lot of effort.

Even if there are some contributors there who are interested in a free and open debate, Bill has proven again and again that he is not one of them. Brian asked me earlier if there was a more constructive use of one’s time compared to posting at CultureWatch and in light of these latest blatant acts of censorship and intellectual cowardice by Muehlenberg I think the answer to Brian’s question is a definitive ‘Yes’. I might offer some reflections on his woolly thinking here, but trying to actually engage with him and his nonsense at his site has proven fruitless. I still think debating fundamentalists is useful, but clearly it must be done in a forum where the discussion is played out on a level playing field. Bill’s Ministry of Truth is no such venue.
Taking on Bill Muehlenberg is a frustrating exercise. If you bring up reasoned arguments that differ from his opinions, he does one of two things. He either ignores the main points and attacks you for being an atheist and refusing to acknowledge the existence of God, or he just deletes your entire posting.

No matter how clear, concise and polite your comment may be, a failure to accept Bill’s sky-daddy will result in a paroxysm of arrogant handwaving dismissal drenched in hubris.

Until Bill is prepared to step outside of his dissent-free bubble and engage with his ideological opponents on a level playing field, he is best ignored.

Bill has no interest in discussing anything with anybody other than those who agree with him, nor in exposing his sycophantic readers to anything resembling scientific facts. He has no answers to legitimate criticism of the intelligent design hoax so his only response is to hide.

For Bill it’s not so much about winning an argument as it is appearing to win an argument. He has a small crew of loyal fans and he doesn’t want to appear foolish in front of them, hence his censorship tactics.
I appreciate the efforts of the above-quoted rationalists to at least attempt to challenge Muehlenberg’s vile views. If only he could be ignored. Unfortunately, people do read Culturewatch and are impressed by his apparent ability to out-argue atheists and rationalists. On one occasion when, after a shameful rant at me from Bill, I replied, politely pointing out where he was mistaken, my comment was left hanging in moderating hell, whilst his acolytes wrote in to say that I had been scared off, and that the atheist had run away from the argument. I’m sure this is exactly what Bill wanted - a cheap and deceitful “victory” to impress his credulous followers, and the knowledge that to deny someone the right to reply is only going to make them deeply frustrated.


Your comment is awaiting moderation.

For shame, Bill Muehlenberg. For shame.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Bill's Selective "Truth" on the "homosexual agenda"

Bill is outraged today at an article in English right-wing tabloid The Daily Mail, that someone has obviously sent him to ruffle his feathers. The Mail, whose wartime editor, Lord Rothermere, was close personal friends with Hitler and Oswald Mosley (you get the idea) regularly runs stories almost as fanciful as Bill's blogs about those awful gays and their "agenda".

The story that Bill hones in on is about a ludicrously deranged old Christian harridan who wrote to her council to complain about a gay pride march in "her" town. The intemperate language she used brought her letter to the attention of the police, and two officers knocked on her door to warn her about "incitement to hatred". The next obvious step for this self-righteous old bint was to cry foul, and to say she can't even express her Christian feelings any more, even though blaming homosexuals for the end of every empire is as crazy as any horse shit you'd find in, well, the bible I suppose.

Bill bashed out a blog condemning the "homosexual agenda" and pouring scorn on the whole country of Britain for going along with it, as if countries make decisions.

On the internet page of this newspaper, scores of comments were posted supporting the mad old bint.

The paper ran another story that day, about a trainee police officer who was out drinking with mates and was set upon by a gang of youths who beat him near to death. Why? The officer is gay, and had been in a gay bar. This young man, 22, is in hospital with head injuries, fighting for his life as I type, another victim of a vicious homophobic attack. There were barely a handful of comments on the Daily Mail's site about the story. Muehlenberg did not reference it.

Nor did Muehlenberg reference the fact that gay rights organization Stonewall agreed that the action of the police in visiting the nasty old bitch in the first story was over the top.

It's amazing to witness how Muehlenberg just leaves facts out when they're inconvenient to his worldview. After all, it's what Jesus would have wanted. Bullying and lying for Jesus? In the way only Bill Muehlenberg knows how.

Coming soon:

Bill on the age of the earth. Apparently he's been praying to god to answer that one for him.
Bill on evolution. He has "problems with macroevolution". Perhaps he can enlighten us where the whole of science is going wrong.
The Culture of Censorship: Bill Muehlenberg and the gagging of his critics.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Bill's Homophobic Agenda

One wonders almost where to begin with the deeply sinister aims of Bill Muehlenberg, as evidenced by article after article posted to his blog. Is it evidence of a neurotic and paranoid mind? Or is he just wildly and wholly intolerant of anybody who holds a different worldview? Or, could it be a combination of the two? I suspect the third option.

Take his latest assault against homosexuals: an article in which he reviews the book Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting by Dawn Stefanowicz. Straight from the off he’s all in favour of this book because it purports to support what he already “knows” about the homosexual “lifestyle”. I’ll leave the rest of his summation of what this involves (he speaks as if he knows – I wonder why?) to your imagination, but mention a few adjectives he uses along the way: “excesses”, “sickening” and “unpleasant”.

Of course, this woman’s story, about growing up with her homosexual father who was addicted to sex and brought many men back to the house under the nose of her straight mother may well be true, and I have no good reason to doubt her. But from this, Bill decides:

…the truth must be told about the homosexual lifestyle, and Stefanowicz does it faithfully, warts and all….It makes for very sobering and sickening reading, but it is necessary reading, as the push for same-sex marriage and adoption rights continues unabated... This book should be read by everyone, but especially by those politically correct politicians who are so intent on pushing the homosexual agenda onto the rest of society. If they actually took the time to read this powerful and vital story, they just might have second thoughts about what it is they are promoting.

Talk about a logical fallacy! From one homosexual father (who, incidentally, didn’t bring Stefanowicz up with another man, or with many men; but with her straight mother – a fact Muehlenberg tacitly ignores - being as how it kind of scuppers his whole argument) who was clearly addicted to sex and had all kinds of issues, Muehlenberg decides, and offers no evidence (after all, he knows how wicked homosexuals are, it says so in the bible) that all homosexual men are exactly like the girl’s father, and anyone who disagrees with him is obfuscating the truth or is a woolly-minded liberal.

If Bill Muehlenberg offered the slightest sane perspective on his blog, I wouldn’t criticise him, I’d just let him rant away, smearing anyone and everyone who remotely disagrees with him to his little heart’s content. But to make such an illogical leap from the anecdotal evidence of one instance of a single homosexual male and to seek to tar all with the same brush is nothing short of insane. I recently read a book about a boy who ran away from home because his violent and alcoholic father beat him up every day and nearly killed him. Can I therefore conclude that all fathers are violent and alcoholic bullies and oughtn’t be allowed near children? Of course not. That particular father was a violent bully and ought not be allowed near his child. I can draw no other legitimate conclusion.

Muehlenberg goes on:

Then came all the physical diseases and sicknesses which are so closely attached to the homosexual lifestyle...

...even though it’s been shown that lesbians are at the lowest risk of catching STDs, and they’re, oh yeah, homosexual. Idiot. And you’ll be glad to know that Stefanowicz has a happy ending:

Her life is now empowered by her Christian faith

Yeah, she’s on Bill’s side. She feels the love of their made-up deity. So she must be right. Right? So, because Christianity is so good, and everything, presumably Muehlenberg will – for balance – be reviewing:

Altar Boy; A Story of Life After Abuse (Homosexual Child Abuse in the Catholic Church) by Andrew Madden


Slayer of the Soul: Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church by Stephen J. Rossetti


A Tragic Grace: Catholic Church and Child Sexual Abuse (From the Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute) by Stephen J. Rossetti


Time to Listen: Confronting Child Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy in Ireland by Helen Goode and Ciaran Boyle


Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church by Louise I Gerdes


Catholics at a Crossroads; Coverup, Crisis, and Cure (Paedophilia & Child Abuse) by Eileen P. Flynn


Conspiracy of Faith - Fighting for Justice After Child Abuse by Graham Wilmer


A Gospel of Shame: Children, Sexual Abuse, and the Catholic Church by Frank Bruni and Elinor Burkett


Perversion of Power: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church by Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea

I'll stop now, but I could go on (for quite some time). The answer is, of course he won’t, because those books don’t support his worldview that Christianity and Christians are all wonderful and the only decent human beings, and everyone else is plain evil. This is the message of his blog over and over again.

For a change, he did allow a dissenting voice to post a comment after this article. Aaron Wyllie posted to say:

It is shocking that you would use this as an example of homosexual parenting or that favourite catch-cry of yours ‘homosexual lifestyle’, if anything this book is about the need for people to accept their identity and reconcile themselves within their own environments. Homosexual parenting is: two people. of the same sex. in a relationship. caring for a child.
Surely you must have some dubiously funded American Family Institute paper up your sleeve which would better present the idea that children of same sex families are somehow worse off than those of ‘traditional families’. Have you perhaps wondered why Dawn’s father was abused as a youngster or why he failed to reconcile himself with his homosexuality? Repression perhaps?

You’ll notice that he issues Muehlenberg with the challenge to back up his statement that:

The social science research on the importance of this is overwhelming.

By producing evidence that same sex families are worse off. Given the condemnatory tone of Muehlenberg’s article, it’s a fair point. And given that "repression" is widely blamed as contributing greatly to the huge percentage of paedophilic clergymen; again, it's a fair point and one well worth rationally discussing. Shame Muehlenberg doesn't do "rational" or "discussion".

No, instead of engaging with a dissenter and trying to win them over with lucid argument, Muehlenberg responds to this reasoned request with:

Ah yes, fully expected from the homosexual activist camp: completely twist the story around to serve one’s own purposes.

Both on the attack straight away, and so hypocritical I’d laugh were it not so tragically serious.

He goes on to kindly explain Aaron’s motives for him (you know, with Aaron not having his own mind and everything):

Thanks for so nicely exemplifying the homosexualist M.O.: when we have a clear case of homosexual perversion and abuse, deny that it has anything whatsoever to do with homosexuality.

He’s good with irony, isn’t he? You can almost feel the anger as he rattles into the keys. How dare anyone disagree with him? All homosexuals think exactly the same. It’s all one big conspiracy to turn the world gay.

Thanks so much, I do believe I will adapt your strategy here. The next time some priest or pastor is found to have abused a child, I will just use your helpful line: ‘this is not religious abuse, it is the story of a man who was abused as a child’. Sorry but few people will buy these double standards, and will not be impressed by the way you seek to weasel your way out of this one...
So, as I suspected, it’s fine for clergymen to fuck boys, and to claim that endemic fucking of kids by clergyman is somehow their responsibility, or somehow casts Christianity in a bad light is a double standard. This is when the raping, torture and abuse of children in the Church’s care is the norm, not the exception, going back centuries. But that’s all fine, because it’s done under the cross of Jesus, and to say otherwise is to be a Christianophobic bigot. Or something. But one fucked up gay guy being a bad parent? Well, all homosexuals are equally to blame because they’re all like that. Obviously. Christ, how does Muehlenberg live with such a twisted, compartmentalised mind? It’s truly staggering.

The interesting point is that, in response to the challenge to produce evidence to back up his claim that same-sex parents disadvantage children, he remarks:

And yes, the social science research is overwhelming as to how children fare best when raised by their own mother and father, and do much less well, by every indicator, in any other household, including same-sex households. This data comes from all over the world, not just from the US. Even plenty of solid Australian research data exists on all this.

Yeah, it’s so omnipresent, this “data” that it’s too fucking obvious to quote a single source.

Just what is Muehlenberg’s end game? Extermination of all homosexuals and non-Christians? It’s frightening, it really is.

Until he learns to live and let live I will continue to rip apart his pathetic posts and reveal him to be the twisted, neurotic, vicious and deluded fool that he is.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

More Theist Tirades

Bill quite excels himself with his latest tirade against non-Christians, cramming an article with more bigotry, misrepresentation and outright lies than you can shake a stick at. It really is quite impressive to see him in full self-righteous ranting flow, this time because an atheist journalist has had the temerity to write an article wondering why the religious think the way they do, and the Age (an Australian newspaper) has had the temerity to publish an article Bill Muehlenberg doesn't like.

The article that has had Bill hopping mad and lambasting atheists in general is this one, by Catherine Deveny:

in which she ascribes a personality disorder to the traditional model of the Abrahamic god.

Muehlenberg, assessing Deveny's article, jumps straight in with his assessment as to why she wrote it. Her behaviour is, Bill tells us,

"...simply one oddity of atheism. Indeed, atheists are a strange bunch. They spend large hunks of their adult lives getting all hot and bothered about someone they claim does not exist. They spend zillions of hours informing us how lousy, bad, twisted, putrid and rotten God is."

Yet he's obviously not read the article properly as Deveny explains why she wrote it in the first paragraph:

"Stay with me as I indulge in two of my favourite pastimes: illuminating monotheistic religion's exploitation of the human desire to feel safe, loved and special; and my constant need to question and expose maladaptive behaviour."

The second bit of the explanation, exposing maladaptive behaviour, applies so clearly in the case of Muehlenberg that it's no wonder he chose to ignore her reason for writing the article and others like it, and invented a reason for her, thus erecting the first of many straw man arguments, which he then spends a few paragraphs huffing and puffing as he blows it down.

He seems to be either targeting more than one of his hobbyhorses in this article, either that or he is blaming Catherine Deveny for the following little gem:

"...some atheists have invented the idea that a god gene exists. Yes, there is no God, but we have a gene that makes us want to believe there is."

Yes, that's right. "Atheists" have "invented" a "god gene". Where do you even start? Is he referring to the fact that most scientists are rationalists as they seek rational explanations for observable phenomena? In which case, why not say "scientists", since whilst most scientists are atheists, not all atheists are scientists? I have dealt in an earlier response with Muehlenberg's woeful understanding of genetics (and science in general). Here he is thinking that scientists can "invent" genetic material! Does he mean "discover"? I am banging my head on the desk even trying to look for the meaning hidden somewhere in Muehlenberg's ill-educated ramblings, but I really am lost on this one. How can scientists "invent" genes, Bill? The only bit you get right is that there is no god.

Tell us, Bill, why "atheists" have "invented" a "god gene":

"They do this of course for at least two reasons: to discount the overwhelming longing for transcendence found among mankind, and to discredit those who are believers. After all, if we believe in God simply because there is some gene or meme that makes us do so, then there obviously are no good, solid rational reasons for doing so."

The classic old straw man: only religionists seek transcendence. None can be found in a proper understanding of nature, nor from science, art or philosophy. One has to believe fairytales in order to experience the numinous. Here he also raises the word "meme", and proves once again that by suggesting a "meme" can "make us do" something, that he has no understanding of basic science, and has clearly never read Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, in which meme theory is first proposed. It will also be noted that he fails to flesh out the multitude of "good, solid rational reasons" for believing that there is a creator of the universe who walked around Roman occupied Palestine two thousand years ago and had himself put to death in order to forgive himself, and by extension, all other humans. Not to mention that anyone who doesn't believe this will burn in hell for eternity after death. Funny that.

But he's not done with erecting straw men about atheism. He goes on:

"Of course two can play this game. It makes as much sense to argue there are no rational arguments for atheism. Instead, we simply have an atheism gene which forces some people to adhere to atheism. Indeed, in a totally materialistic world, our genes end up explaining – and causing – everything we do, believe or value."

This is the classic school playground argument. "You're just as bad, because I say so. Nah, nah, ne, nah, nah." This line of argument can be found time and time again on Bill Muehlenberg's site in a pitiful attempt to justify his nasty and bigoted views, by accusing anyone who doesn't hold them as being just as irrational and bigoted. You see this with his description of "anti-Christian bigotry" about any person or organization who seeks to prevent or question the dominance of theocratic opinion. To explain further, in this instance, having set up the straw man of "atheists inventing a god gene" (which is obviously not what is occurring in the real world - not Bill's strong suit) he then demolishes the argument with "you can say the same about atheism". Again, his endearingly ignorant view that genes "force" you to adhere to an ideological position, whereas it's really the result of education, would be laughable where it not so tragically misguided.

Bill's not one for name calling, as we know. Unless of course, him or one of his acolytes is doing the name-calling, in which case it's prefectly acceptable. Catherine Deveny is:

"...not a theologian, a philosopher, or even a mildly deep thinker. So one can easily dismiss her as just a raving misotheist."

After the name calling comes the inference that Bill Muehlenberg is a philosopher and deep thinker, which is just too ludicrous for words. Here he fails to understand that one doesn't have to have a theology degree to decide whether or not you believe god exists, or if any claims of any religion are true. If you don't accept the premise, and the evidence convicts the belief, then the whole ideology tumbles like a house of cards. If you don't believe in astrology, do you have to have a degree in astrology in order to justify this position? You'll notice that Bill thinks his theological qualifications (whatever they are, and assuming that isn't in itself a contradiction in terms) are sufficient to pronounce on matters of science and genetics, especially when he sees the latter encroach on his beliefs and reveal them to be flawed. He owes it to himself to properly educate himself about that which he seeks to destroy (science, atheism, reason and logic) whereas Catherine Deveny, who already thinks through reason, need undertake no education in theology in order to dismantle it. In other words, proper schools of thought, such as science, art and philosophy, are more important than the intellectual cul-de-sac of theology. If I'm wrong about that, perhaps Muehlenberg can point out where?

I reserve a special place in my heart for Bill Muehlenber's next sentence, as it is a golden example of the most resounding hypocrisy you will ever read:

"So a response is in order, especially since the Age has appeared to censor out any criticisms of her article..."

Muehlenberg checks all comments on his articles, and if he doesn't like what you say (in other words, if you disagree with him), he will censor you by not posting your comment. He prefers to revel in the rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth regulars, such as Mark Rabich, John Snowden and David Skinner, who kiss Muehlenberg's fat hairy arse for articulating rancid right-wing god-bothering views better than they can, being retarded troglodytes who hold even more extreme views of bitterness, hatred and ignorance. It does not matter if you follow all of Muehlenberg's imposed house rules for comments (note that the same rules do not apply to people who agree with him), and write the most pleasant, articulate and reasoned challenge to Muehlenberg, he will only post your comment if he has a ready-made response in mind, and other posters have already backed him up. If you do get published, and then try to give a reasoned response to his comment, you will be censored. That he would criticise the Age for not publishing a negative response (check the link - there are no comments, positive or negative on the article) is flagrant hypocrisy and shows that Muehlenberg has double standards, or doesn't live in the real world, or most likely, both.

Bill goes on:

"Gee, for millennia mankind has thought that belief in God was a reasonable and valid human response....I guess we can all get on with our lives now, given that you have so brilliantly overturned the wisdom and knowledge of human history."

Again, he fails to understand that as science pushes the territory of religion back further and further, it becomes less and less relevant to educated people. Of course "god" was an explanation for most phenomena throughout human history. Now we have better explanations for the biodiversity of life, for mental and physical illness, for natural disasters, and truer understandings of history to name but a few. How did religion help us to reach these better understandings? Or was it through science and philosophy that we achieved these better explanations?

Wisdom and knowledge of human history? What he's really saying is, stop toiling away you scientists trying to make life better for everyone with your medicine and technology, and your explanations of why things are the way they are, and you historians, piecing together what really happened thousands of years ago and how religions really came about - everything you need to know was revealed to us in the most obscurantist and tedious terms imaginable in a book written by the creator of the universe. Such haughty arrogance, matched with such stupidity, is Muehlenberg's trademark, and what makes him such a sickening blogger.

"This is one long petulant childish rant...Just what exactly does this piece offer to constructive debate?"

No, not a rare moment of honesty from Bill Muehlenberg, he's still on about those awful atheists.

Now he really turns the thumb screws on Catherine Deveny. Knowing nothing whatsoever about her (other than that she's an atheist), he concludes:

"...all Ms Deveny can see is a picture of maybe her own poor parentage or upbringing. She seems to be projecting her own unresolved issues and problems onto the divine canvas. Perhaps she needs a bit of help here. We can pray for her. We might even suggest some helpful counselling. But she really does need to grow up. Whatever her problems are, simply throwing out ugly rants at God is not going to solve anything."

Yes, Catherine Deveny, in writing an anti-theistic article has proven that she's not fit to be a parent, must have had bad parents herself, has anger issues, a personality disorder, and needs counselling. But the good news is that dear old sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, doesn't-even-need-to-shit Bill Muehlenberg is going to pray for her. Like prayer has ever achieved anything. "You have heart failure. We can either give you a triple heart bypass, without which you will be dead in a month, or we can pray for you, which may work just as well. Which would you prefer?" You may also ponder just what the substance of his prayer must be. "Dear god, please get rid of all these pesky atheists. Please make Catherine Deveny change her mind and stop writing articles I personally dislike. Please, god, make everyone think exactly like me because that's the only way for the world to be a good place." Such theocratic bullying is disturbing, not charming. How dare he pray for someone because they disagree with him.

Bill rounds off his masterpiece of illogic with a false dichotomy. In rejecting Christianity and seeing the claims of religion as false, Catherine Deveny, and by extension all atheists, have willingly embraced:

"...mind-numbing and soul-destroying bitterness, resentment, and anger. Even secular folk know that this is not a good state to be in. But for the Age it seems to serve a purpose, and evidently it provides some momentary relief for Ms Deveny. I only hope she snaps out of her atheist delusions before things get any worse."

Thus proving it really is impossible to reason with a religiotard like Bill Muehlenberg, whose mind is so full of straw-men, false dichotomies and outright lies against people who think differently (and must therefore be "delusional", as opposed to the really delusional, who believe things in the absence of evidence, or even by ignoring the evidence), that he wouldn't even know how to think logically or sanely. As many people who've attempted to reason will Bill Muehlenberg will testify, he will simply ignore you and pretend you're not there. It's what his invisible friend would want. By attacking Catherine Deveny in such an unreasonable way, Muehlenberg reveals everything you could ever want to know about the failure of his imagination and capacity to think and engage in rational debate, which is what you can reasonably expect from the religious right in general and this trumped-up little bully in particular.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Bill Muehlenberg = Bigot

Bill Muehlenberg, bigot?

That seems a pretty fair description to me. A working definition of a bigot, if you agree, might be: someone who holds strong political and/or religious views and opinions, and is intolerant of anyone who disagrees.

I think that pretty neatly sums up Bill Muehlenberg, the theocratic bully whose blog "Culturewatch", a "commentary on the issues of the day", bleeds fundamentalist christian bigotry from every article.

It's tempting to simply ridicule someone as simple-minded as Bill Muehlenberg. His arguments are ludicrously easy to tear apart as they contain no logic whatsoever. In a recent article entitled "So Who Exactly Wants Same-Sex Marriage?", he concludes that, because not all gay people think marriage is for them, it should not be made available to any of them. This is as absurd as saying that since not all straight people wish to get married, then marriage itself ought to be abolished.

Why would Bill Muehlenberg expect a large and diverse group of people, who happen to share sexuality in common, to agree on absolutely everything?

Why does Bill Muehlenberg not see the absence of logic in his arguments? He can string a cogent sentence together and seems to have some semblance of intelligence, even though he wastes it on non-subjects like theology.

The answer is that Bill Muehlenberg has an absolutist mind, and this is the greatest enemy to a free and democratic society, which is why bullies like Muehlenberg must be resisted, and I hope blogs like mine, which treat his views with the contempt they deserve, are important. To him, homosexuals are not people, with individual goals, desires and varying viewpoints. They are a homogenous whole, a "lobby", or as the Catholic bishop recently called them, for the same reason of a failure of mind, "the enemy".

He is unable to distinguish between what he sees as a "set of values", (as if sexuality has anything to do with subscribing to any set of values), and people who do not wish to be subjected to the falsehoods of his take on Christian theology. This is what Richard Dawkins has called "the tyranny of the discontinuous mind", and you spot this all the time with bigots. They are so sure that they can talk about "the gay" or "the Jew" or "the black" rather than "gay people", "Jews" and "blacks" that they see no inherent contradition in treating people who share something in common (like sexuality) with unquestioned contempt.

It is interesting to note that he speaks from a position of authority on "the gay lobby", or the "gaystapo", or "the gay mafia", or whatever other dehumanizing word of abuse he wishes to hurl at people he disagrees with on a given day, and I believe this is because he is himself homosexual. He talks a lot about gay people wanting to be "accepted" to "ease their guilt". I think he is talking about himself here. I knew a gay man at university who was bullied by three other boys at school when they found out his preference. Within four years of leaving school, all three of the bullies had themselves come out of the closet and apologised to my friend.

Bill, it's time to lose the beard and come out of the closet. You'll feel better about yourself. Your life will be far more productive than railing against what you hate and wish to suppress within yourself. No matter how many vile, bigoted and hate-fuelled articles you write denouncing and dehumanizing gay people (currently over one hundred and fifty), your god can apparently read your every thought, and I'm sure you're not fooling him. You're certainly not fooling me.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Why Bill Muehlenberg spreads misery

In order to unpick and subject to reason, criticism and ridicule the ramblings of Bill Muehlenberg, it is necessary to try to understand why theocrats like him spend such a lot of their time writing bigoted and condemnatory articles about people who don't want to adopt his particular brand of bullshit.

Certainly one of the reasons is that he passionately believes in "heaven" and "hell" - you know, the sort of stuff wicked and deranged adults tell children about to try to make them behave:

The current Christian generation does not like to talk much about sin or hell. [CS] Lewis reminds us of these awful biblical realities. But he also reminds us of the even greater realities of the love and mercy of God, and of his Son who came to rescue us from the bondage of sin and the punishment of hell. These are truths which we all must embrace and affirm.

In the above quote I'm not sure I've ever seen the words "realities" and "truths" so roundly abused. Would Bill care to cite any evidence for the existence of eternal reward or eternal punishment, and once he's done this, would he care to cite the criteria for entrance to each?

Of course he would not. How could he? The problem is that it's all in his head, and made worse through his "interpretation" of scripture. The Old Testament, as we all know, positively recommends genocide, slavery, the routine rape of women (see the vile story of Lot), infanticide (several times) and a whole host of incredibly wicked and immoral acts that the "loving" and "merciful" god carries out - though we're told it's perfectly moral if it's God or god's chosen people doing it. In the New Testament, women are similarly treated with scorn and as something sinister and less than human, and we have the contemptible scapegoating of Jesus, and alleged vicarious guilt on everyone born thereafter. If this works for you, Bill, then fine. But leave me and anyone else who sees through the bullshit out of it.

One of the many stupid mistakes of logic Bill makes is that he thinks there's a need for the promise of heaven and the threat of hell in order for people to behave themselves, and that without the moral instruction of the bible, people would just go around murdering one another. What, like other animal species? To the theist, the reality that chimpanzees and other apes, as well as other mammals who live in groups like elephants, wolves, lions, whales, dolphins, walruses... (I'll stop there)... don't go around murdering one another, but live peacefully together and support one another through reciprocal altruism and kin bonding. They may kill to protect their own group or kin from a threat from outside, but all the above species and many more manifestly don't just go around murdering one another. To the theist this is a huge problem. Why not? How can they, without a bible and the threat of heaven and hell, know not to do that? Or do they have their own "bible" and "moral code" that they understand intuitively? To the theist - all their work is ahead of them. To the rationalist, it's clear that members of the same species routinely murdering one another would be evolutionary suicide and quickly lead to extinction. We tolerate others because of our inherited genetic history, not by believing in fairytales.

Bill's second logical fallacy is that now that he'd studied a lot of books on theology he's in a position to tell you what god's will is. Note how smugly convinced he is that once he's dead he'll be on the fast track straight to heaven.

"Look god," he'll say (OK, OK, I know there's no god as well, it's just a metaphor, go with me on this) "I spent my whole life railing against non-Christians, against homosexuals, against secularists, against liberals and accommodationists. What's my reward? Do I get to suck your cock?"

Suppose for a moment that he is right and there is a heaven and hell (I know it's ridiculous, but just suppose it). How surprised would Bill be to be told he's going straight to hell for interfering in other people's lives, campaigning to deny them rights, and showing extremes of intolerance and bigotry, and thus making the misery in the world that bit bigger?

There are obvious historical contexts that indicate clearly why the alleged bible writer Paul may have had a bee in his bonnet about homosexuals, as the practice was commonplace in the Roman world, who were after all the oppressors and foreign occupants of Judea at the time of Jesus. "What have the Romans ever done for us?" But people like Bill are too narrow and stupid to understand context or to even want to imagine for one minute that using their farcical beliefs as a prop or moral shield for their vile bigotry is reprehensible, and morally as well as intellectually null and void.

He wants everyone else to go to hell so he can be on the fast track to heaven. But by living such an immoral life, interfering with and condemning others, he's creating a hell on earth. It's a shame there's no hell for him to go to.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Bill Muehlenberg on Peter Tatchell.

Bill Muehlenberg's view on homosexuality, which he writes about ad nauseum on his blog, is that it's a lifestyle choice and homosexuals ought, for the sake of Christians like him who just can't tolerate living with people who get on with their lives without his say so, to "become" heterosexuals and good Christians whilst they're at it. Indeed, the very presence of homosexuals in society is enough to get Bill thumping his pulpit in disgust until his chin quivers and his face contorts and he lets out a stream of anguish. Oooooooooooohhhh, that felt good.

He starts off one (of over 150) articiles on homosexuality in the following way:

It is nice to get a bit of honesty on the issue of homosexuality. It does not come our way very often in the mainstream media. And when this honesty comes from homosexual activists, it is even more refreshing. Indeed, when heterosexuals tell the truth about homosexuality, they are dismissed as homophobes.

So many canards in only one paragraph, and with instant ad hominems - the obvious inference that all homosexuals are liars - and with the usual automatic assumption that he's in the right (which is soooo obvious he never bothers to back it up) your eyes glaze over in this land of the non sequitur. And poor, victimised, martyred Bill wonders why it is that "I have been saying similar things for years, and have been howled down by the homosexual lobby as bigoted, intolerant and homophobic." Surely not, Bill? What have you done to deserve that? Those nasty people not agreeing with you?

However he really does think he's onto something big here, and goes on to say:

A very revealing case of homosexual honesty comes from Peter Tatchell, an Australian-born, British-based homosexual activist, who spills the beans on the “gay gene”... Indeed, he is honest enough to admit that the jury is still out on the science of all this...
Spill the beans! Yes, that's right, Bill believes that homosexuality is one big conspiracy. He's such a loony he actually believes that millions of people have nothing better to do that be gay for their lives with the express intention of upsetting nutjobs like Bill Muehlenberg! Talk about a persecution complex!

Anyone who's ever read any of Bill's work will not be surprised to learn that he simply contorts Tatchell's words to mean the opposite of what he said because Bill doesn't understand the science behind genetic determinism.

Bill is such a simple-minded prick he actually believes that if a "gay gene" can't be isolated, it proves his position that he thinks it's just a choice, and gays could equally well choose to be heterosexual if only they weren't so stubborn. If he knew anything about genetics he'd know that the genome is more of a recipe than a blueprint, with different parts influencing others at different times during an organism's life. Like a pack of cards, you can't usually isolate one bit that does one thing and another bit that does another thing, without the whole genome crashing down around your ears. There are dozens of different genes interacting for things as simple as eye-colour and skin tone. The genes that control aging are incredibly intertwined. Thinking that there should be a "gay gene" is as stupid as thinking that there's an "aging" gene and if we all had it removed we'd live forever. But then, logic is not Bill's strong suit.

But if he persists in saying that it's all a choice, then other people will continue to tell him that he's a vile, deluded, ignorant, bigoted fuckwit.

There's a deeper reason why he spectacularly fails to understand the genetics behind this issue, and that is that he has a problem with "evolution" and Darwin in particular, but I will save that for another exposure of the idiotic wailings of this foolish man.

But with homosexuality being right at the top of his list of topics for his blog - by a country mile - does anyone else think the lady doth protest too much? He doesn't like to see gay people getting on with their lives because he never had the courage, perhaps? There's none so bitter and homophobic as a deeply repressed homosexual. If he can't enjoy his life - nobody else can! That would be a good motto for this man.

Keep spreading the hate and the lies, Bill. I'm sure Jesus loves you for it.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Bill Muehlenberg Verses Richard Dawkins

Yes, that's right. Bill hates Dawkins with a passion and rants against him in many of his blogs. The trouble is, he's never actually read any of Dawkins's books, as his pathetic straw man rebuttals all too painfully show. If he has read any, he certainly hasn't understood them.

Here are some choice quotes from the mighty intellect of Muehlenberg when he's discussing Richard Dawkins (a world renowned intellectual).

Many years ago when I read the short volume by atheist Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian, I thought: there is not much substance to this. Generalisations, straw men, red herrings and misrepresentations seemed to characterise the book. In many ways that is how I regard Dawkins’ book. It is longer, more sophisticated and more comprehensive, but it bears the same traits as found in Russell’s l927 tract.

Note he fails to give any examples. Well, I don't know about you, but I'm convinced.

Indeed, there are atheists and there are atheists. The garden-variety don’t like religion, don’t like God and don’t like people who do. Then there is the especially hard-core variety. These are atheists who are on a mission, an evangelistic crusade to save the world from religion. They hate religion and are convinced it must be eradicated at all costs. Such atheists have every bit as much zeal and fanaticism in their secular jihad as a religious person ever will. Richard Dawkins is a classic example of the atheist storm-trooper.

Yah, that's right. Richard Dawkins's days are very busy. He springs out of bed to throw acid in girls' faces who want to attend school, then he sets off explosions in hotels and on busy streets in the name of atheism. After lunch he arranges for his "followers" to fly planes into buildings. Once he's done that, he orders everyone who disagrees with him to be slaughtered. He claims he knows the only truth. Yah, Bill, that Dawkins is just as bad.

The Oxford biologist has been spewing forth anti-religious bigotry and animosity for some time now.

Change Oxford biologist to bearded American fuckwit and anti-religious to anti-gay and "PING!" as if by magic, you have conjured up Bill Muehlenberg. Poor you. Only this time the description fits.

The other is the overwhelming arrogance, pomposity and self-assuredness of the author. He can admit to no wrong, and will not allow any quarter from his enemies.

Where in the book do you find this, Bill? That's right, you don't. Have you seen the third edition of The Selfish Gene with 100 pages of footnotes citing new work by scientists and admitting mistakes in the original? No. You see, science and scientists can do that, and it makes them better and more respectable. Whereas religion claims it's never wrong. Doctrine of infallibility, anyone?

But leaving aside the sheer nastiness and arrogance of the author and his style

The sheer hypocricy of this made me laugh for about half an hour.

His superficial assault on the gospels are wrong on almost every count. He claims they were “written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul”. While the gospel of John was probably written sometime in the 90s, Mark could well have been written in the late 50s or early 60s. Matthew and Luke also were written sometime in the 60s. And the writings of Paul were most likely penned between the late 40s and the mid 60s.

Yah, so that makes it a superficial assault. What's half a century in an illiterate place with only word of mouth story telling, full of credulous goatherds. So the stories that are eventually written down by people who never even met Jesus or any of his apostles and weren't even born at the time are, what? Reliable?? Eye-witness accounts???

Who else do we know of living so long ago having such reliable testimony?

FFS. It's like talking to a child. Which explains why none of the 60-odd historians working at the time of Jesus mention him at all. Anything in Josephus? Tacitus (only very possible fleeting mention of a Jewish troublemaker)? Suetonius? Pliny the Younger? You guessed it - zip. As any historian will tell you. As for who else, try Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Julius Caesar: pretty much any historical figure from the ancient Graeco-Roman world, you fuckwit.

He also makes this bizarre claim: In both Testaments “‘Love thy neighbor’ didn’t mean what we now think it means. It meant only ‘Love another Jew’.” Of course everything about Jesus – both word and deed – argued just the opposite.

Again, ask any reliable historian. Yawn.

And one can ask where exactly this love and respect is supposed to come from in a dog-eat-dog Darwinist world. If species survival is the main point about life, how does such a concept as love fit in? Sure, Dawkins offers the usual Darwinian case for altruism, but one is left far from convinced.

Proves he's never read any Dawkins, nor understands the first thing about reciprocal altruism. Yep, unless we're told how to be good by a sky fairy, it'll be fucking in the streets all the way down. The bible's just so much more convincing. What a fucking retard.

But the facts of history are quite clear. Our atheistic regimes have been history’s greatest killing machines.And as I already wrote, atheists have been responsible for more killing in the world than any other group. Hitler and Stalin, for example, certainly did believe in what they were doing, and they certainly did believe they were right.

So he's not even bothered to read The God Delusion before attacking it in such an infantile and unconvincing way. There's a whole chapter on this in Dawkins's book, and in Hitchens's God is Not Great. Hitler was a Catholic. The Roman Catholic Church supported his appointment and encouraged the people to bring Mussolini into power. As for Stalin, there's no correlation between his atheism and the people he killed. You may as well say millions died because he had a moustache. The same mistake is made with Chairman Mao. Millions died because they starved because Mao was an idiot who got his policies wrong and nobody dared point this out to him. His atheism is irrelevant.

Try reading the book, Bill. You might actually learn something.

This is even more incredible, Bill's rebuttal to Dawkins's The Selfish Gene:

Presumably in such a world truth means very little as well. After all, if humans are nothing but a bunch of selfish genes, then why should truth matter at all? If life is simply a purposeless struggle for survival, then why would it show any interest in truth or falsehood?

Yah, he's read the title. Nice try, Bill. Read the book before sitting at the grown-up table. You have no argument.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Vile Bill Muehlenberg and what he stands for.

But I Was Born That Way

This is a response to Bill’s diatribe called “But I was born that way.” Through most of this response I have merely transposed two words, yet the logic of his argument is unchanged – which just goes to show what woolly logic it is to begin with. Can you guess which words those are?

Bill says:

The most common Christian myth of all – and there are many – is that Christians are born that way, and cannot help being the way they are. We don’t judge a person born left-handed, or red-haired, they argue, so we should not judge a Christian either.

There are plenty of problems with this argument. The main one is the fact that tens of millions of Christians have left the Christian lifestyle after they have grown up and leant that everybody’s different and we can all rub along just fine together without being so insecure as to try to enforce their chosen lifestyle upon anyone else – all religious addictions are hard to kick - but it can be done.

But let’s just suppose for a moment that the Christian activists are correct in arguing that this is all just a matter of childhood indoctrination, with no choice involved. What follows if we accept such a proposition? If we really are the result of brainwashing, and we have to simply accept the hand that nature has dealt us, then this must have implications for all of us.

“For as long as I can remember, Christians have been explaining why they have no choice about their religious notions. And it finally dawned on me that their arguments explain why being anti-Christian is also not a choice but an innate predisposition beyond our power to restrain. This led me to embrace my convictions and stop trying in vain to repress who I am. Since millions suffer from this same condition, I’m hopeful that my epiphany will help others accept themselves and their convictions, too.”

He then offers some insights based on this newfound understanding of determinism and secularism. Here is one helpful insight: “If we can’t control whom we love, that’s because we can’t control our strong passions. But passions can be both for and against. And, just as Christian love is a passion which is impossible to control, I now know that my passionate anti-Christian feelings must also be impossible to control. I might wish I could change, but it’s hopeless. My judgmental tendency draws me as irresistibly as their ludicrous beliefs.”

And yet another insight: Christians claim that they have no choice in their beliefs: after all, who would choose a lifestyle that attracts so much criticism and rejection? But with our new understanding of determinism, things become clear:

“Who would choose to suffer discrimination, fear, alienation and family discord? I used to worry that this argument would prevent disapproving of any behavior at all, since it seems to entail the unusual conclusion that the more despised something is the less anyone can be blamed for it. But then I realized that I have been ridiculed, called intolerant and fired from an academic post for my beliefs on this subject. In fact, I’ve often thought how much easier my life in this culture would be if only I could lay down the burden of believing in superstitious nonsense and embrace philosophy and meaningful ethical discourse. Since no rational person in the United States in 2008 would choose to be anti-Christian if he didn’t have to be, it must not be a choice.”

The liberating vision of determinism helps in other areas as well: “It’s not like I went to bed one night thinking supportive thoughts about Christianity and then woke up the next morning committed to opposing it. It’s more accurate to say that one day I just sort of realized, almost to my horror, that I thought the whole of Christianity was wrong. I felt like I had been suppressing my innate moral voice because of social pressure and the respect we’re all meant to show to stupid people’s beliefs, before finally coming to terms with it. On top of my parents both being pro-religion and having lots of religious friends, I had actually taken a seminar on religious theory from Richard Mohr, one of the county’s most prominent religious philosophers. I would gladly have been Christianity-endorsant if I could have been. But all to no avail. And I clearly can’t un-choose what I had never chosen in the first place.”

Now, I’m not saying that I agree with the sentiments expressed above. Of course I think the tenets of Christianity, and all religious, are self-evidently false, but I’m happy to live with people believing what they like, so long as it doesn’t affect my life. Bill’s approach is one of stunning arrogance. He concludes:

Gee, it is indeed liberating when one comes to understand just how natural (and therefore determined) our behaviours and lifestyles are. I no longer have to feel guilty about my homophobia! That is tremendous news. I no longer have to deny or repress my true nature – I can just express it fully, and not care about those who would judge me. I can finally be true to myself.

Now let me conclude by admitting that of course Tallman and I are using a bit of humour here to make our case. But the point being made is quite serious indeed. Either we buy the logic of the determinists or we don’t. If being a Christian is genetically determined, then presumably all sorts of other behaviours are biologically and/or genetically determined as well.

In which case, if those concerned about homosexuality should just shut up, then perhaps those concerned about homophobia should just shut up as well.

Yes, that’s right, you heard him correctly. He’s jumping for joy because he’s found another way in which he’s allowed to be homophobic! He also manages to be a complete hypocrite because he doesn't anywhere else allow that homosexuality is natural and determined, otherwise he wouldn't insisting that gays must convert. But then, bad logic, bigotry and hypocricy are Bill's staples.

The usual reason he states (though he’ll usually say something sanctimonious about “loving the sinner”, though you’ll see no love from Bill for anyone who disagrees with his militant Bronze Age lifestyle) is that it’s in the bible, so he just has no choice. To be a good Christian demands him to be homophobic. His hands are tied. If he wants to spend an eternity giving BJs to Jesus then he’s going to have to hate the gays. This sort of unethical argument is so stunningly cowardly and pathetic that it’s tempting to deal with it here, but there’s plenty of time for that. No, the point is that Bill has now found an alternative reason for his hateful, bigoted views – he was just born that way. What’s self-evident to anyone who knows any homosexuality is that sexual preference is not a matter of choice, nor does it require embracing a “dangerous lifestyle” – like it’s all listening to Judy Garland or something. However, sorry, Bill, but you can choose to be a fuckwitted bigoted cunt. You can also choose to live and let live. Keep your reprehensible beliefs, but don’t try to convert everyone else. No homosexual is trying to convert you, are they? (And don’t say this is the gay lobby’s agenda, or you are even more fuckwitted than I originally imagined). Yeah, that’s right, it’s a divine mandate from the creator of the universe that Bill must treat gays like they’ve no right to exist (whilst holding completely hypocritical views on social Darwinism – ah, the intellectual and moral paucity of theological mindset). That’s right, Bill knows the mind of the creator of the universe and is in a position of authority to impose his will! Somehow he thinks believing this sort of nonsense and having god on his side bolsters his argument.

Though I do suspect that the lady doth protest too much. The most vocal homophobes normally hate it in themselves. Is Bill the next Ted Haggard? Does he have more than one beard? ;)

So good luck to you, Bill, now that you think you’ve found another reason to be a bigoted fuckwit. Just don’t be surprised when the rest of us laugh at you and see you for the vile hypocritical idiot you are.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Why this blog?

Well, put purely and simply, this is a rationalist, secular response to the rabid and bigoted bleatings of Bill Muehlenberg, an American who emigrated to Australia because they just weren't conservative and "Christian" enough in America for his liking. He keeps a blog called Culture Watch in which he frequently posts the most hate-fuelling rants against anyone he sees who stands in his way of his view of how people should live their lives.

The existence of homosexuals, pro-choicers, liberals, and pretty much anyone else who doesn't believe living by the literal interpretation of the bible is a good or sensible idea, is, to Bill, proof that Christians are being persecuted. Giving equal rights to all people is, to his warped religious mind, sinful and sure to end in the destruction of civilization. If anyone publishes any dissenting comment on his website, Bill may publish it, but only to threaten the dissenter with hell fire, throw straw man arguments at them, use ad hominem attacks, and then round up by sanctimoniously offering to pray for them. If the dissenter attempts to respond, Bill doesn't publish, thus conning his credulous followers into believing that he has scared the dissenter away with their tail between their legs through the awesome might of Bill's intellect, the devastating impact of his moral compass, and the intimidating amount of facial hair.

Yes, there are plenty of religious bigots in the world, so it does seem unfair of me to pick on Bill, but as I've had the personal experience, he's most in my mind. I won't be updating this blog too often, as I have other things to do besides mock this nasty little bully, but maybe if it takes off I'll encompass more religious bigotry, which I'll oppose whenever and wherever I come across it.

Right, weapons drawn, here we go.