William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Stream: Academics Increasingly See Christianity As A Sickness To Be ‘Treated’

Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico

Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico

Today’s post is at The Stream: Academics Increasingly See Christianity as a Sickness to be ‘Treated’.

There is a trend in academia to seek for materialistic explanations of religion, particularly Christianity. In these researches, it is a premise that supernatural justifications for belief in God and the desire to worship are without ground. It follows that acts oriented toward the supernatural are in error or are groundless. That being so, the source of these errors, which lead to harm, must be rooted out.

There are “God centers” in the brain, some say. These centers can be “treated” with magnets, claim others. Religion is “child abuse” is a common trope. Lack of education, sheer mental incapability, and, as we shall see, indoctrination are put forward as plausible explanations for why many still “cling” to religion. Some bold researchers even suggest rancid smells drives people towards traditionalist principles.

These activities are becoming increasingly public, with researchers asking us to take seriously the thesis that transcendence-based religion is a pathology or a malady that requires treatment. A typical example was found recently in Salon in the article “The sad, twisted truth about conservative Christianity’s effect on the mind”, by Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico, who assert Bible-based Christianity is “toxic”…

Go there to read the rest.

This really needs a longer essay, with a lot more proof. Regular readers who follow my collection of asinine uses of statistics will recognize the gist, but the full scope needs to be explicated. We need to know the extent throughout academia, the range of study types, the seriousness, and much more. And so the Stream has asked me to do that. Stick around.

I have a pretty large collection already, but it needs fleshing out.

68 Comments

  1. Aren’t these the same people who let Muslims have prayer rugs and prayer breaks at the office and threw a fit when people opposed a Mosque at ground zero? Are they really saying Muslim is NOT a religion? That prayer rugs is just a quaint term and has no meaning? Would they say this to the face of a devout Muslim?

    “To date, parents are afforded the right to teach their own children whatever doctrines they like.” That “to date” speaks volumes. They say if left alone and unbothered with the supernatural, children’s “amazing capabilities” will “emerge with the right conditions like a beautiful flower in a well-attended garden.” Yes, and my brother believed his kids could run in front of a car and not be hurt if they BELIEVED that was true. He is an avowed atheist and a firm believer that we’d all be singing Kumbaya and lovin’ on each other if religion was gone. He also lives in his car.

    “Natural understanding of the universe” means scientism and the worship of Gaia, correct. The belief in supernatural computer models and the ignoring of any evidence. Wait, that sounds familiar….

    Do these women give this lecture in North Korea after the voluntary hours of goose-stepping in the streets? Do they rail against communism and forced participation in government indoctrination with the same fervor? Do they oppose all schooling because schooling tends to be arbitrary—like a doctor might actually be required to know anatomy to be doctor. Oh, wait, not anymore. Seems these women may be right. Consider why it’s necessary that an electrician know the proper sequence for wiring—that’s just arbitrary and limiting. Electricity wouldn’t have rules if Christians didn’t exist. Surely everyone knows that. (Why? Because electricity now seems too much like God—has rules that are 100% demanding and death is the result of not following them. Such things are irrational and wrong and a sign of mental illness. No rules should be 100% and have death as an outcome to breaking them. Only mentally ill people believe that. I mean, you can’t SEE electricity…..)

  2. The notion that there is a “God-center” in the brain is incredibly naive and shows a great deficiency in what MRI actually reveals, namely just a location, not a mechanism. This error is very much like saying we know where the ignition key in a car is and therefore know everything there is to know about how internal combustion engines works, and the chemical and physical principles of burning gases to supply work (thermodynamics).

  3. There are those who see Atheism as a ‘sickness’, so it’s only natural that there exists the other side of the spectrum. This sort of issue would gain a lot less traction, writ large, if people quit trying to legislate moral beliefs that have no similar secular value.

  4. CI, pray tell what might be “moral beliefs that have no similar secular value”? Murder? Theft? Rape? Corruption of minors? Please be specific.

  5. And, CI, who is to decide which “moral beliefs have no similar secular value”? Consider marriage, for example: Patrick Moynihan in the 1960’s forecast the breakdown of negro family life as leading to more crime because of the absence of fathers. Is then the belief in marriage between a man and a woman a moral belief with “no similar secular value”? I don’t believe that.
    See The Moynihan Report:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Negro_Family:_The_Case_For_National_Action

  6. Bob – If you offer up examples such as murder, theft and rape….I’m left to presume that you’re not serious, though perhaps I should have specified religiously based moral beliefs.

  7. “Who is to decide” is irrelevant. The salient factor is “who gets to decide”. In our society, it’s the majority.

  8. CI, the majority decided in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s…. I don’t consider that a good answer. And I certainly wouldn’t want Torell or Torico to decide, given their ignorance of moral philosophy and science.

  9. I don’t consider that a good answer.

    I would have thought you would have proffered, had you a better answer. Majority was a bit simplistic….representative Republic would have been more concise….but in the end, it boils down to the most votes, no?

  10. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 24, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    This error is very much like saying we know where the ignition key in a car is and therefore know everything there is to know about how internal combustion engines works,

    Worse than that, bubbi. It’s like saying we know where the ignition key in a car is and therefore know where the car will be driven.

    If you offer up examples such as murder, theft and rape…. perhaps I should have specified religiously based moral beliefs.

    And these are not? Please supply historical evidence that such things arose from purely secular causes.

    Morality did not begin by one man saying to another, “I will not hit you if you do not hit me”; there is no trace of such a transaction. There is a trace of both men having said, “We must not hit each other in the holy place.”
    ? G.K. Chesterton, Heretics & Orthodoxy

  11. And these are not?

    Of course they, but they not only have secular value…they stand on their own as moral, sans religion.

  12. I have this supernatural religion sickness. You may lock me up if the sanitarium is in a pretty setting, my room is comfortable, the food is good, and the nurses are pretty.

  13. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    they stand on their own as moral, sans religion.

    How so? An ex post facto just-so story?

  14. It’s not a sickness, it’s a very contagious meme. A voluntary imprisonment of the mind.

  15. CI “Of course they, but they not only have secular value…they stand on their own as moral, sans religion.”

    Not necessarily so, however. While the *majority* of secular societies do tend to orbit around assigning immorality to murder and other such “obvious” immoral actions, they also have a strong tendency to commit atrocities in the name of *other* causes they deem moral and greater. While many Nazis recognized and admitted that the Holocaust was wrong even as they committed it, they still believed they were overall doing good—they believed humanity was encountering an existential threat from an absence of natural selection and that the moral imperative of ensuring the future of the human species demanded that artificial selection, in many different forms, be enforced.

    One can also find such examples in the Soviet Union, where millions of people were murdered in an attempt at achieving a supposedly greater moral victory of forming a communist society.

    Similarly, pro-choice activists today deny the essential human rights of unborn individuals in order to promote dubious “moral imperatives”—that women should have control over their bodies (and those of their unborn guests), or that our population growth must be slowed for environmental reasons.

    Overall, while some meager structure implying morality can be derived from secular reasoning, secular society cannot assign more than finite value to the individual, because they believe the individual is merely finite. And because secular philosophies can only assign finite value to individuals and groups they assume or can ensure to be only temporarily in existence, any good for the (optimistically) unending span of humanity almost surely outweighs *any* amount of temporary evil that might be done to these individuals or temporary groups in the meantime. And thus the fundamental morality taught by most religions, which generally fight evils against *individuals*, is frequently trodden underfoot by a “morality” which cares only for the masses and for the future.

  16. Some thoughts on a Saturday afternoon:

    The authors of the article seem to be talking about ethics and morality. (Perhaps I display my age if I say that as an undergraduate I took a course in ethics.) The authors of the referenced article essentially argue that their particular view of ethics (or morality) excludes the approach taken by religion (as they characterize it). They forget that the root of ethics is the Greek ethos, which means habit or custom. This recognizes ethics as that which people do by custom (or mutual social agreement), not necessarily by derived reasoning. The derivation of the reason (or religion) in this context may follow the establishment of the customs, or it may work the other way (as in proselytic conversion). But the essential point is how to choose or order sets (of alternative actions or even thoughts) according to some rule (for example as more good or more bad). The authors do not recognize that they are well-perched on their own petard at the start.

    Secondly, they focus on behavior of some groups of people, subsets of a particular religion (Christianity), and fail to distinguish the difference between the behavior of people (the customs of those people) from the broad context of religion. Derivations of ethics by both non-theists and theists alike have done great harm. The fault is not the theism, but the behavior of the people, i.e. the choices they make. Examples could be selected from the Soviet communist era, the Spanish Inquisition, the Cult of Reason of the French Revolution, and on ad infinitum (almost) with both theistic and non-theistic sources of harm. One of the tenets of the authors seems to be tolerance, but they have no qualm exercising intolerance with respect to some Christian groups. One wonders about their thoughts on Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Paganism, etc.

    They also fail to realize that they are hoist on an old mathematical issue: the axiom of choice. They assume that for a set of non-empty sets of ethical choices, it is possible to choose one element from each set and assign it to be “good.” Alternatively, they assume that given any set of choices they can well-order the set according to morality. But they forget that such choices or orderings are not unique in general and may in fact not even be explicitly constructable, depending on the sets of elements. Hence they are in fact as arbitrary in their choices of morality as the religious groups they accuse.

    They seem to be choosing a Forrest Gump style ethics, i.e. “ethics is as ethics does,” arguing that the justification of ethical choices rests on some predetermined view of how social interactions should be ordered. (It seems from their web sites that they focus on how human development is “nurtured” in their particular world view.) This seems to be based on a coffeehouse, salon oriented view of social discourse and polite behavior, which is divorced from the reality of life for much of the world. They would argue on the one hand that diversity is a good, but fail to recognize that diversity extends to the inclusion of the religious sects they decry. As the survival of the human species may depend on the diversity of snippets on the human genome, the flourishing of human society may depend on sociological snippets such as various structured groups. Without some pre-determined choice function, the future value to the society is difficult if not impossible to predict and only parametrize-able if one is content to play fast and loose with cause and effect.

  17. Kite: And because secular philosophies can only assign finite value to individuals and groups they assume or can ensure to be only temporarily in existence.

    There’s certainly truth to this, but the obverse is a philosophy that is based just as much upon assumption…the belief that there exists an infinite paradigm, and/or a divine judgement.

  18. CI, I’ve been away from the post for a while. I was looking for you to answer my original question: “what might be moral beliefs that have no secular value”…
    Do you have any thoughts on this? (I assume by “moral beliefs” you mean religious beliefs.)

  19. Bob – The most topical example is a frequent topic here, marriage. A prohibition of some consenting citizens, from engaging in a State recognized and regulated contract.

  20. Funny since religious folks have been doing the exact same with gays and women,

  21. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 24, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    The most topical example is a frequent topic here, marriage. A prohibition of some consenting citizens, from engaging in a State recognized and regulated contract.

    Such as brother and sister?

    a State recognized and regulated contract

    “Everything within the state; nothing outside the state; nothing against the state.”

    If the State decreed that a cat was a dog, would you go along?

  22. If the State decreed that a cat was a dog, would you go along?

    Nope. If the Bible decreed thou shalt not eat shellfish, would you go along? Don’t make the stale mistake of presuming I’m a Statist……it shouldn’t have role in the entry of contract by consenting citizens. But if you’re going to support it’s role…you can’t logically restrict it based on a religious belief….and still proclaim support of liberty.

  23. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 24, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    If the Bible decreed thou shalt not eat shellfish, would you go along?

    If I were a Jew.

    Don’t make the stale mistake of presuming I’m a Statist

    Then don’t make the mistake of supposing a marriage is something defined and founded by the State. The State seized control of marriage only in the late 19th century.

    Beginning around 1870, the Nation-States of Europe appropriated to themselves the power over the principles of society: the formation of marriages and the education of children. Civil marriage came to be in Austria in 1868, and its introduction seems pretty clearly the start of a much larger trend which introduced it to Italy in 1873; Switzerland in 1874; The German Empire in 1875; and France in 1881.
    — James Chastek, https://thomism.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/secularism-and-the-1870s/

    role in the entry of contract by consenting citizens.

    The civil contract is between the copulating couple and the State. It is an agreement that the couple will assume all responsibility for raising the children that might potentially result from their union, and not stick the King’s Purse with the expense.

    you can’t logically restrict it based on a religious belief

    It’s not.

  24. Then don’t make the mistake of supposing a marriage is something defined and founded by the State.

    I don’t. It also predates Christianity.

    The civil contract is between the copulating couple and the State.

    Negative. Copulation is not a tenet of the contract.

    It’s not.

    That’s been the primary thrust of the opposition. A “moral” law sans commensurate secular value.

  25. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 24, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I don’t. It [marriage] also predates Christianity.

    Certainly. See the Code of Khamurapi or Plato’s The Laws for details.

    Copulation is not a tenet of the contract.

    Copulation was assumed. See the Code of Khamurapi or Plato’s The Laws for details. You may be thinking of St. Paul, who extolled the virtues of chaste relationships. But that’s a religious thing. But you bind a young man and young woman into a household, and certain things generally happen in the common course of nature. Society insists on guards against the consequences.

    That’s been the primary thrust of the opposition. A “moral” law sans commensurate secular value.

    The secular value, and the only reason the State has any reason to stick its nose into private affairs, is to ensure that the offspring that frequently result from such coupling do not become a burden on the State. Exceptions, like Sparta or the Zulus, or the society preached by secular educationalists, have not been pretty. It also provides for orderly inheritance of property (again, see Khamurapi) as well as alliances among clans.

  26. Copulation was assumed.

    Mere assumption is not a basis for law.

    Society insists on guards against the consequences.

    Yet, when society sees that alleged consequences, are merely political ploys, they react accordingly.

    …….is to ensure that the offspring that frequently result from such coupling do not become a burden on the State.

    Which does not support a prohibition against equal access to the marriage contract. Heterosexual divorce has shown to be a far more important factor in that ‘consequence’…yet no similar opposition campaign as with marriage.

  27. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 24, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Mere assumption is not a basis for law.

    Don’t complain to me. Complain to Khamurapi.

    Yet, when society sees that alleged consequences, are merely political ploys, they react accordingly.

    The consequences of copulation potentially include offspring. It doesn’t matter if the couple pledge to live chastely, or if most acts do not result in offspring. A dam is not built against the normal flow of the river, but against the extreme value.

    Which does not support a prohibition against equal access to the marriage contract.

    Absent the possibility of offspring resulting from the union, what business has the State imposing such obligations on inherently non-fertile pairs? Besides, any man, no matter whether he prefers women, children, sheep, or other men, is equally entitled to enter marriage: that is, to engage with a woman.

    Heterosexual divorce has shown to be a far more important factor in that ‘consequence’…yet no similar opposition campaign as with marriage.

    You think so? Of course, it was important to destroy the institution through divorce before anyone else could play dress-up in the ruins.

  28. Don’t complain to me.

    I’m not complaining. I didn’t even raise support of the premise.

    The consequences of copulation potentially include offspring.

    Still doesn’t support a prohibition. Even ‘potential harm’ is not by itself [which your premise is not], enough to withstand rational basis review.

    It doesn’t matter if the couple pledge to live chastely, or if most acts do not result in offspring.

    Exactly!

    Absent the possibility of offspring resulting from the union, what business has the State imposing such obligations on inherently non-fertile pairs?

    You appear to agree with me. The restriction against access to the marriage contract, was not enacted to prohibit infertile citizens. The State should not maintain oversight on the contract to begin with….so how exactly would one who endorsees this, support a prohibition based upon gender or sexual orientation?

    Besides, any man, no matter whether he prefers women, children, sheep, or other men, is equally entitled to enter marriage: that is, to engage with a woman.

    Harkening all the way back to the previous statement……one doesn’t really need to muddy the argument with nonconsensual citizens or animals, right? Especially given that it doesn’t matter if copulation is a result of the contract.

    Of course, it was important to destroy the institution…..

    Ah, but who….would be the majority demographic [given statistical and polling data] of consumers of divorce? Perchance the same demographic that had traditionally supported said restriction on the marriage contract?

  29. It is always so funny to hear conservative lament on how the government, or the state, changed the definition of marriage.

    Of course, they turn a blind eye to the fact that the state or government has always define the rule of marriage.

    Whether the government defines marriage as between a man or a woman, or between two people. In both cases the government defined what marriage was.

  30. CI: “if people quit trying to legislate moral beliefs that have no similar secular value” Considering that virtually all laws had their origin in religion, you are saying we would be better off with anarchy.

    You say most votes win? So if tomorrow pedophilia were legalized, that would be moral? If it was voted that rape no longer existed, or was okay in specific cases, that would then be moral?

    It is your OPINION that murder, etc. stand on their own. Technically, murder was for centuries a way to take new territory, change Roman emperors, etc. Society only recently decided not to go with murder as a means to an end. Centuries of human behaviour did not object to murder.

    We can easily fix the marriage problem by calling it a domestic contract and not limiting it to two people. Yet gays refused to accept that ides. Why do you suppose that is? This solution was completely, utter fair and had no religious overtones. Perfection, yet it was rejected. There are also a number of atheists who opposed gay marriage, so religion cannot be the only reason for the rule.

    “Yet, when society sees that alleged consequences, are merely political ploys, they react accordingly.” So when marriage was originally defined as a man and a woman, that was just some politician like Bill Clinton who signed into law DOMA?

    Your morality is based on might makes right and he who can get the most votes determines morality. If tomorrow Clinton changed his mind on murder (as he did on DOMA) and he can convince people murder is acceptable, then murder becomes morally correct.

    What is this “potential harm” not being a rational reason. The potential harm may not withstand rational basis review but well over half our laws are based on potential harm–outlawing foods, forcing people to buy health insurance, etc. If you are arguing these laws are irrational, okay. These are not religious laws and those who believe religion has no right to interfere in people’s lives have no problem interfering in ways that are far more intrusive than marriage. If somone wants to eat fatty foods and drink 152 oz soda all day long, there is no reason why that should not be allowed. It’s invasive and controlling, more than most any religious rules of today.

  31. There is a vision center in the brain. Does that mean light is an illusion?

  32. @Sylvian
    Incorrect. State has only ever defined the rule of marriage IN AND AS IT EFFECTS the state.

    It’s funny how, “liberals,” (quotes used to denote a specific definition, just wait for my book) turn a blind eye to the fact familial bonding, i.e. marriage, has existed LONG BEFORE the state. AND that this bonding is not congruent with their not-so progressive wants, desires, and corrupt hearts.

    I won’t even get into the fact relying upon the perverted homoist view of marriage as a proof of the evils of proper thinking is factually, logically, and reasonably nothing more than a circular argument and utterly invalid in all contexts.

  33. @ Briggs
    “It’s akin to the fallacy that an idea is wrong because it’s old.”

    Hah!
    From the moment I read the title I was struck with the notion how these thoughts are so far removed from, “Progressive,” or, “new,” as they possibly could be. They’re at least 2000 years old, Rome was trying to stamp out Christianity right from the get-go. Rebellion against God is nothing new.

    Perhaps we should be calling these persons what they are: Conservatives.
    See how they like that?

  34. Briggs

    October 25, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Sylvain,

    I’ve lost count of the innumerable times you were shown that ” government has always define the rule of marriage” is as false as can be. As in not true. As in it isn’t so. As in this statement does not match reality. As in it is as wrong as wrong can be.

    The question why you want to continue to believe it speaks volumes.

  35. Considering that virtually all laws had their origin in religion, you are saying we would be better off with anarchy.

    No, most laws did not.

    It is your OPINION that murder, etc. stand on their own.

    And it’s your OPINION that they do not. Congratulations.

    Technically, murder was for centuries a way to take new territory, change Roman emperors, etc. Society only recently decided not to go with murder as a means to an end.

    You may wish to brush up on history. Your specifically citing both abuse of power, warfare and conduct of crime. Your not helping your case with this.

    We can easily fix the marriage problem by calling it a domestic contract and not limiting it to two people.

    I completely agree. Which makes me wonder why opponents to equality of the marriage contract voiced such from a religious position.

    Yet gays refused to accept that ides. Why do you suppose that is?

    You mean you don’t know! Most civil marriage laws did not have the same legal protections as the marriage contract. Would you settle for second class legal status in your affairs?

    There are also a number of atheists who opposed gay marriage, so religion cannot be the only reason for the rule.

    Who are these politically backed, coordinated and moneyed Atheist groups opposed to gay marriage?

    Your morality is based on might makes right and he who can get the most votes determines morality.

    Wrong. MY morality is based on the tenets of not harming another, theft from another or restricting another liberties. It is not based upon ‘might makes right’ or a personal belief in an invisible deity.

    The potential harm may not withstand rational basis review but well over half our laws are based on potential harm–outlawing foods, forcing people to buy health insurance, etc.

    And ‘half our laws’ are wrong and un-Constitutional in my opinion.

    It’s invasive and controlling, more than most any religious rules of today.

    You’re not seriously comparing both recent and historical religious based laws – with – metropolitan statutes for limiting salt and carbonated beverage intake….are you?

  36. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 25, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Even ‘potential harm’ is not by itself [which your premise is not], enough to withstand rational basis review.

    Of course it does. You don’t neglect dam-building simply because the river is not flooding right now.

    It doesn’t matter if the couple pledge to live chastely, or if most acts do not result in offspring.

    Exactly!

    Exactly what? You don’t neglect the levees simply because no hurricane is blowing throiugh New Orleans right now.

    Absent the possibility of offspring resulting from the union, what business has the State imposing such obligations on inherently non-fertile pairs?

    The restriction against access to the marriage contract, was not enacted to prohibit infertile citizens.

    It’s not to ‘restrict access’ to anything. It’s ‘not to impose restrictions’ on pairs that cannot even in theory produce a burden on the King’s Purse.

    so how exactly would one who endorsees this, support a prohibition based upon gender or sexual orientation?

    Oops. I thought you were talking about prohibiting brother-sister marriage or adult-teenager marriage.

    Besides, any man, no matter whether he prefers women, children, sheep, or other men, is equally entitled to enter marriage: that is, to engage with a woman.

    Harkening all the way back to the previous statement……one doesn’t really need to muddy the argument with nonconsensual citizens or animals, right?

    Why not? Are you a bigot? Do you harbor hatred of youth-attracted Americans? Or objectum-sexuals? No, the list is simply meant to show that how a person is attracted has nothing to do with whether any man whatsoever may marry a woman. Besides, the age of consent historically in much of the Western World was 12 for women and 14 for men. You cannot change biology by passing a law. I recently heard a Dragnet episode on the radio about a man charged with molesting a child at the end of which the child was returned to her parents. The child was 19, because at the time and jurisdiction of the show, the age of consent was 21.

    Of course, it was important to destroy the institution…..

    Ah, but who….would be the majority demographic [given statistical and polling data] of consumers of divorce?

    You would have to look historically to see where the push originated: among the progressive, forward-thinking elite. Start with King Henry and run it down to Elizabeth Taylor. They wanted their trophy wives and boy toys and they would leave a wreckage behind them to get what they wanted.
    ++++

    the state or government has always define the rule of marriage.

    This is historically untrue. Marriage existed long before the state. The formation of families is a natural thing, wired into our Darwinian struggle. Now, the clans and tribes have always placed prohibitions, such as marrying someone from the wrong moiety, marrying your sister, etc. because these were things that affected the well-being of the tribe. If you study the Law of Khamurapi, you will notice that none of the laws define what a marriage is. They only regulate the provision of inheritance for children, provision for a woman who has been put away for barrenness, joint and individual liability for debt or crime, and that’s pretty much it.

    You may as well say that “the state or government has always define the rule of weather” simply because they provide flood insurance and maintain a weather bureau.

    Would you settle for second class legal status in your affairs?

    I have never had an affair. In fact, the institution forbids me from doing so. But as it happens, social custom always regarded the relationship with the mistress as less than the relationship with the wife. For example, in the brehon law of pagan Ireland, a ceatminter (head wife) was treated better than the adaltrach (second wife):

    The ceatminter was permitted both “minor and major assaults against the adaltrach, even such as involve life and death for a period of three nights and afterward was subject to half-fine. The adaltrach was permitted the same three days grace, but had to pay full-fine afterward. The ceatminter had to pay full fine if she killed the adaltrach; the adaltrach had the right to “inflict damage with her fingernails and to utter insults and screechings and hair-pulling.” Among the “seven bloodsheds which might be inflicted with impunity” was blood shed by a ceatminter through rightful jealousy of the adaltrach who took her place.

  37. I have never had an affair.

    Are you intentionally appearing to misconstrue what I stated, for dramatic flair, or because you didn’t really have an appropriate response?

    Let me help:

    2. affairs
    a. Transactions and other matters of professional or public business: affairs of state.
    b. Personal business: get one’s affairs in order.

  38. Milton Hathaway

    October 25, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    CI, scrolling way back up there to your comment:

    If by “in our society” you mean the USA, then you are clearly in error. It’s not the majority – it’s the judiciary. Which is the problem.

  39. Milton – It appears that pilling trends refute that premise. The Judiciary struck down un-Constitutional law, which is it’s role.

  40. Should read: “polling”

  41. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 25, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Are you intentionally appearing to misconstrue what I stated, for dramatic flair

    Of course. Do you worry that an adaltrach appears to have second-class status vis a vis a ceatminter in marriage?

  42. Milton Hathaway

    October 25, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    CI – Do you really mean to conflate polling with the sanctity of the secret ballot? You folks are very dangerous . . .

  43. Briggs, YOS,

    That 10,000 years ago a state was not the same as is today is not in question, but 10,000 years ago there were state.

    Khamurapi Was a head of state when he codified is law. Any religious organization by itself is a state. Any time a group of people conforms to rules that they devise there is a state. The smallest tribe had a form of government with rule to live by.

    Marriage without a State is useless and means nothing.

    Without the state or a governing body there is no reason for marriage to exist, there is no reason for anyone to respect a marriage. Only the backing of a group can give meaning to a marriage. There have been people marrying bridges, yet no one recognizes these marriage as valid.

    Even members of a small milices in the USA have to submit to an organization that impose its rule to the members, rules that are often more stringent than the law or government they oppose..

    Only idiots would believe that marriage predates states.

  44. Also,

    Has as been seen with the clerks in Kentucky in doesn’t matter that someone refuses to recognize marriage. The only thing that matters is that the states recognizes it.

  45. Do you really mean to conflate polling with the sanctity of the secret ballot?

    Of course not, because I did not. I referred previously to the trending of social acceptance, especially when the various cases in opposition to gay marriage showed the “traditional” marriage caucus unable to meet even the rational basis test of review.

  46. Ye Olde…..Had your adhaltrach entered into a legal contract?

  47. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 26, 2015 at 8:42 am

    the “traditional” marriage caucus

    Love the scare quotes, a favored postmodern tactic. You are talking about marriage as practiced world-wide in every culture in every age up until the last couple years in the collapsing West. That’s not “traditional” marriage. That’s simply marriage.

    One “rational basis” is that a) most experiments are failures, even in the hard sciences and b) intelligent-design culture is unlikely to survive as well as the naturally-evolved sort.

    Had your adhaltrach entered into a legal contract?

    What has “legal contract” to do with matters in pagan Ireland? Do you mean to say “She made her bed, now she must lie in it?” Of course, it was legal. It’s in the cain law. Assault short of killing by a ceatminter on an adaltrach was one of the seven bloodsheds that required no legal compensation. (The others included blood shed by a fool, a physician in his duties, and a warrior in his duties.)

    ++++
    10,000 years ago there were state.
    Khamurapi Was a head of state when he codified is law.

    But he was only 4000 years ago.
    And States are a specific degree of organization.

    Any religious organization by itself is a state. Any time a group of people conforms to rules that they devise there is a state.

    Now you’re getting silly. A Chiefdom is not a State. In a State, the ruler is full-time and there are also full-time specialists like warriors and priests. In a Chiefdom, the chief is a farmer like everyone else.

    More to the point, a chiefdom (like a clan or band) does not make laws founding marriage, but only recognizes customs. Custom is different from Law. No one promulgates a Custom, either by acts of legislation or by acts of civil disobedience. The joining of men and women long predated any sort of organized society. (See “evolution, theory of”). Surrounding the marital act with ceremony and restrictions was a way of coming to grips with the primal ferocity of the reproductive urge. I’ve already mentioned the allowance the pagan Irish made for the sexual jealousy of the primary wife for the secondary wife brought in to share her husband’s sexual favors. (BTW, this entirely natural reaction by the wife ought to indicate the natural number of people in the union before alpha males decided they wanted more.)

    If you examine carefully the actual provisions of the Code of Khamurapi, you will find that they do not define marriage, but only take it as a fact on the ground and make decrees about inheritance, joint/separate liability for debts and crimes, and so forth.
    +++
    The only thing that matters is that the states recognizes it.

    Might makes right? Ya gotta go along with the Men With Guns.

  48. Might makes right? Ya gotta go along with the Men With Guns.

    Love the scare meme; Isn’t that what you were doing, when the marriage contract was restricted?

  49. Note, students, how the Subject does not respond to contentions but only engages in banter.

  50. Here are some interesting items regarding the institution of marriage, from pre-historical eras up to the present.
    Enjoy!

  51. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 26, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    CI: The only thing that matters is that the states recognizes it.

    YOS: Might makes right? Ya gotta go along with the Men With Guns.

    CI: Love the scare meme; Isn’t that what you were doing, when the marriage contract was restricted?

    I never said that the only thing that mattered was The State. In fact, I pointed out that the State only began seizing control over marriage in the 1870s. The “contract” was never “restricted.” It was simply a biological fact that only a man and a woman could perform the marital act.

  52. I never said that the only thing that mattered was The State.

    Who did? I support removing the State from the process.

    The “contract” was never “restricted.”

    Sure it was, see below.

    It was simply a biological fact that only a man and a woman could perform the marital act.

    Marriage is a legal contract, entirely independent of performance of the marital act.

  53. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 26, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I support removing the State from the process.

    You said:
    CI: “The only thing that matters is that the states recognizes it.”
    In your words, if you remove your State from the process, you remove “the only thing that matters.”

    Marriage is a legal contract, entirely independent of performance of the marital act.

    It was not a legal contract until the State seized the power in the 1870s. Previously, the State had only registered the marriages that were carried out independently. One might need to post a bond, but need not have a “license” from The State.

    Non-performance of the marital act was grounds for dissolving the marriage. For centuries, the marital act was actually witnessed by third parties to ensure that the marriage was “consummated.” More delicately, it was sometimes flagged (literally) by displaying the sheet from the marriage bed the following morning.

    A bit more historical consciousness is called for. Otherwise, you may think the wreckage of Western Civilization is its normal state.

  54. In your words, if you remove your State from the process, you remove “the only thing that matters.”

    You’d best take that up with Sylvain, who wrote it at 10:06 on the 25th.

    We can wax eloquently about the history of marriage, or bluster about it being “the wreckage of Western Civilization”, but it matters little to the fact that marriage is a legal contract. Which leaves you with two choices…you ensure that access to said contract is legally just and Constitutional…or you change the very premise of marriage to include tenets that physically restrict it to opposing genders. If you’re able to succeed with the latter, you may as well include the historical conscienceless of chattel marriage.

  55. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 26, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    We can wax eloquently about the history of marriage, or bluster about it being “the wreckage of Western Civilization”

    It is not the wreckage. The wreckage is what has been done to it — and to everything else that was paradigmatic of Western Civilization — at least of the Modern Ages, which were characteristically Western. The breakdown showed up first in the arts (as usual), perhaps as early as the 1880s, but most dramatically in 1914.

    you ensure that access to said contract is legally just and Constitutional

    Whose Constitution? Marriage is a human thing, not an American thing. Come to that, I do not have equal access to veterans’ benefits.

    or you change the very premise of marriage to include tenets that physically restrict it to opposing genders.

    Dude, that is not changing the “premise.” There are other folks playing dress-up in the ruins that wish to change the “premise.”

    If you’re able to succeed with the latter, you may as well include the historical conscienceless of chattel marriage.

    Ah, a favorite Late Modern myth. But you do not explain what “chattel” marriage is, or why martias necessarily includes it. Also, why is it “conscienceless”? Are you bringing in religious arguments (i.e., conscience)?

  56. Whose Constitution? Marriage is a human thing, not an American thing.

    Either marriage is framed by our system of laws, state/national if you will [unless you’re endorsing some sort of quasi-United Nations “human rights” resolution], or it is unbounded by judicial law. If the former, to endorse liberty….you ensure that there is just application and access. If the latter, your position holds no sway over who enters into the contract to begin with. Which is it?

    Come to that, I do not have equal access to veterans’ benefits.

    Did you enter into a contract that stipulated access to said benefits?

    But you do not explain what “chattel” marriage is, or why martias necessarily includes it.

    I didn’t think you would be in need of a definition….but I am intrigued as to why you would proffer it as “necessary”….as well as you believe it to be a “myth”.

    Also, why is it “conscienceless”?

    That is a typographic error. Not too distantly removed from misattributing a quote….trice, if my math was better than my spelling. But I do doff my hat to you on martias. I’m not unfamiliar with latin, but not familiar with that rendering.

  57. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 26, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Whose Constitution? Marriage is a human thing, not an American thing.
    Either marriage is framed by our system of laws, state/national if you will … or it is unbounded by judicial law.
    Or it is a natural human institution that has been recognized in tribal customs, et seq., no more subject to intelligent design than the gravitation of ponderable matter.

    If the former, to endorse liberty….you ensure that there is just application and access.
    Does that include brother and sister?
    Did you enter into a contract that stipulated access to said benefits?
    No more than a non-breeding couple entering into a marital relationship.
    I didn’t think you would be in need of a definition [of chattel [sic] marriage]….but I am intrigued as to why you would proffer it as “necessary”
    When you wrote If you’re able to succeed with the latter [“resticting” marriage to opposing genders[sic]], you may as well include the historical conscienceless of chattel marriage, I thought you were drawing some connection between the two. Otherwise, you may as well have written If you’re able to succeed with the latter, you may as well include the historical conscienceless of disco music. The clear inference was that recognizing the biological nature of marriage somehow entails some sort of chattel arrangement.

    ….as well as you believe it to be a “myth”.

    The Moderns consistently imagined tendentiously mythic interpretations of Ancient, Medieval, and even Early Modern practices. Usually, these tell us more about the bees in Modern bonnets than about actual practices and how they were regarded by their practitioners.

    Also, why is it “conscienceless”?
    That is a typographic error.

    For what?

    Not too distantly removed from misattributing a quote….trice,

    My apologies. It was becoming difficult to distinguish you from Sylvain and I did not scroll back to check.

    But I do doff my hat to you on martias. I’m not unfamiliar with latin, but not familiar with that rendering.

    Aargh! That actually was a typo! The term is correctly spelled maritas. It meant ‘a man who has been provided with a young woman,’ a/k/a ‘a husband’ (marita is the wife). It is the root of the English terms ‘marriage’, ‘marital,’ etc. and stems from the PIE root *mari, meaning ‘a young woman.’ (The equivalent term nubere meaning ‘to take a husband’ is where we get women as “nubile.”) The Greek gamete “a wife,” gametes “a husband,” from gamein “to take to wife, to marry,” from PIE root *gem(e)- “to marry.” German Heirat comes from Old High German h?r?t ?(marriage, family, household).

  58. YOS,

    The State is the organization of society. Chiefdom were small group of people that had very strict rule to be part of the group. When there was marriage in the group, it was only recognized by that group. Both groups if the marriage was an alliance.

    That we would not recognize chiefdom as States today doesn’t mean they were not States back then, when they were the highest societal organization form for that group.

    To be part of a chiefdom someone had to follow the rule developed by the leaders, if they did not they were banished. They also didn’t answer to any other states.

    The only utility of marriage is mainly its relation to the states. For the rest no one cares if people are married or not.

  59. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 26, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Gaah! Neglected to close a blockquote.

  60. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 26, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    To be part of a chiefdom someone had to follow the rule developed by the leaders

    The “rules” (a/k/a “customs”) were not developed by “leaders,” but evolved naturally over time.

    Further reading on the nature of chiefdoms, etc.
    Colin Renfrew. “System Collapse as Social Transformation:Catastrophe and Anastrophe in Early State Societies” in Transformations: Mathematical Approaches to Culture Change http://www.amazon.com/dp/1483245225/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

    Peter Farb. Man’s Rise to Civilization As Shown by the Indians of North America from Primeval Times to the Coming of the Industrial State http://www.amazon.com/Civilization-Indians-America-Primeval-Industrial/dp/0525152695

    The only utility of marriage is mainly its relation to the states

    You are begging the question. States have an interest in marriage, since the marital act has the potential to produce offspring and the State does not wish these offspring to be parentless burdens on the King’s Purse. Otherwise, you get a whole lot of unmarried mothers living in poverty and gangs of fatherless young males running around causing trouble.

  61. YOS, was
    ” Otherwise, you get a whole lot of unmarried mothers living in poverty and gangs of fatherless young males running around causing trouble.”
    a bit of irony for our modern times? I repeat my comment on Pat Moynihan’s prediction in 1965 (what a shame there aren’t Democrats like him around any more); see “The Negro Family, the Case for National Action”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Negro_Family:_The_Case_For_National_Action

  62. PS–the case for bad social consequences ensuing from unmarried mothers is not limited to blacks. (I am not now, nor have I ever been a racist.)

  63. YOS,

    .
    “The “rules” (a/k/a “customs”) were not developed by “leaders,” but evolved naturally over time.”

    PLEASE PROVIDE HOW THE HELL CUSTOM CAN APPEAR BEFORE SOCIETY.

    1-)Rules appears as soon as several people get together. Even in your own home you establish rules to live with the people that leave in it. A home is a micro state.

    2-) custom and laws developed very differently over the globe over time.

    3-) mafried people get richer because they receive financial advantages of splitting the cost of living, plus an enormous tax advantage upon the loss of either spouses. Advantages that non married couple don’t get, sending the surviving member into poverty.

    4-) in the USA, 51% of the people make less than $30k a year before taxes. Creating work and investing in school is the best way to get people of the street.

  64. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    YOS: “The “rules” (a/k/a “customs”) were not developed by “leaders,” but evolved naturally over time.”

    Sylvain: PLEASE PROVIDE HOW THE HELL CUSTOM CAN APPEAR BEFORE SOCIETY.

    No need to shout. I never said it could, only that they were not like Laws promulgated by “The Leader.” I think it was the anthropologist Marvin Harris who described how Big Men emerged in primitive societies. It’s worth a read so you don’t fall into the Leader trap.

    Rules appears as soon as several people get together. Even in your own home you establish rules to live with the people that leave in it. A home is a micro state.

    Actually, it’s a family. It lacks many of the major features of a State.

    custom and laws developed very differently over the globe over time.

    Indeed. Oddly, in no case did that include marriage other than for men and women.

    mafried people get richer because they receive financial advantages of splitting the cost of living, plus an enormous tax advantage upon the loss of either spouses.

    I doubt that villagers in the South Pacific or in the Sumerian pueblos received and tax advantages. My own tax advantage was that for many years I had to pay at a higher rate than if my wife and I had been single and filing separately. Some advantage!

    in the USA, 51% of the people make less than $30k a year before taxes. Creating work and investing in school is the best way to get people of the street.

    Who spends more per capita on schools than the US? Come to think of it, the State took over schooling at about the same time it took over marriage. In both cases, it took about the same time to break it.

    If allowing people to work were the best course, the State should pursue fewer programs that result in stifling it.

  65. ‘There is a vision center in the brain. Does that mean light is an illusion?’

    Extremely interestringly put! How we feel light is very much a useful illusion instead of a fact – and ‘light’ and ‘illusion’ have common ancestry as Indo-European words. Light is also an illusion.

    How useful concept God is to humans remains unproven, but definitely calling it a sickness misrepresents the way evolution works. It’s too common to be useless, let alone clearly detrimental malfunction.

    Just guys remember some godly ideas are detrimental to human development.

  66. YOS,

    It was more shock than shout.

    “No need to shout. I never said it could, only that they were not like Laws promulgated by “The Leader.” I think it was the anthropologist Marvin Harris who described how Big Men emerged in primitive societies. It’s worth a read so you don’t fall into the Leader trap.”

    I’m not really talking about the leader but that even in small group people will establish regulations about the community life. And in absence of any other authority, I.e thousands of years before there were even cities, this group was by itself a state. That we would not consider that group a state today is not in question but way back when there was no territorial state .

    “Actually, it’s a family. It lacks many of the major features of a State.

    custom and laws developed very differently over the globe over time.

    Indeed. Oddly, in no case did that include marriage other than for men and women.”

    A family is not a state in our days but go back to when there was no higher organizations, for those people the rules they followed were established by the family. And the freedom of each individual were almost non existent.

    Slavery was acceptable for thousands of years I guess that you are arguing in its favor. The case of slavery is very similar to marriage.

    “Who spends more per capita on schools than the US? Come to think of it, the State took over schooling at about the same time it took over marriage. In both cases, it took about the same time to break it.

    If allowing people to work were the best course, the State should pursue fewer programs that result in stifling it.”

    I must admit that corruption in the USA is incredible. You are probably the only developed that welfare is use to make the rich richer. You have one banks making 1/2 a billion $ by providing debit card (as food stamps) instead of the government simply depositing the money in bank account. You spend money screening for drug on people than cannot afford it. We understood in the 1930s that it was a bad practice.

    Republican claims that welfare is addictive and prevent people from searching/finding work. Then why do we have the smallest number of people in welfare, while having the most generous system. People quit welfare because they found jobs. How is it possible?

    Actually, since 2010 republican in congress refused to do anything that could help job creation. Bridges are falling in the US because congress and state governments refuse to invest on infrastructure, just to be that Obama could not look good.

  67. What has this to do with Christianity being a sickness?

    How do they actually know that Christian belief is without ground. It isn’t a man made ( person made) philosophy after all. Christians follow Christ who told them what to do. So they try to do it, and they even try to forgive those who are so bitter against them that they have to seek to destroy what they don’t understand for no great reason

  68. Ye Olde Statistician

    October 28, 2015 at 9:13 am

    It was more shock than shout.

    The question stands. How were you shocked at something I did not write?

    Check Cannibals and Kings, by Marvin Harris; or Man’s Rise to Civilization, by Peter Farb. The latter illustrates and distinguishes each level of social organization — band, tribe, chiefdom, state — using North American Indian tribes.

    even in small group people will establish regulations about the community life.

    The word “establish” implies some sort of Rousseauian “social contract,” i.e., an “intelligent design theory of history. Customs become established by practice; but no one sits down and establishes them, you evolution-denier, you.

    A family is not a state in our days but go back to when there was no higher organizations, for those people the rules they followed were established by the family.

    You are using “state” as if it simply meant “social organization.” Why not say that the family was an automobile? “A family is not an automobile in our days but go back to when there was no higher way of getting around…”

    Slavery was acceptable for thousands of years I guess that you are arguing in its favor. The case of slavery is very similar to marriage.

    No, it isn’t. Slavery evolved as a kinder, gentler alternative to slaughtering your defeated enemies. It may indeed be an outgrowth of the human impulse to bully over one’s neighbors, but that was precisely what Christianity preached against.

    Actually, since 2010 republican in congress refused to do anything that could help job creation.

    And before that the Democrats refused. The fallacy here is that the Congress can do anything to create jobs other than abolish regulations that prevent them. And for that we have Chesterton’s cautionary words regarding English politics: It is the function of progressives to go on making mistakes. It is the function of conservatives to ensure that those mistakes are never corrected.

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