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Insanity & Doom Update XIV

Regular readers will notice the weekly Doom pieces are becoming slightly dated. This is because there is so much doom in any week I can’t fit all of the week’s doom into one post; it would be too long. Perhaps some sort of brief Daily Doom post or podcast is more appropriate?

Item George Washington’s Church Says Plaque Honoring First President Must Come Down

Leaders at the church that George Washington attended decided that a plaque honoring the first president of the United States must be removed.

Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia will take down a memorial marking the pew where Washington sat with his family, saying it is not acceptable to all worshipers.

“The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe or unwelcome,” leaders said, a reference to the fact that Washington was a slaveholder.

“Some visitors and guests who worship with us choose not to return because they receive an unintended message from the prominent presence of the plaques.”

“Many in our congregation feel a strong need for the church to stand clearly on the side of ‘all are welcome—no exceptions,'” they concluded.

All but George Washington (and Robert E Lee) are welcome, “they” concluded. A picture of “they” sits atop today’s post.

Item Church of England headteacher hits out at parents who forced ‘extremist’ Christian group out of the school

Dan Turvey, headmaster of St John’s Church of England Primary School in Tunbridge Wells, told parents he had listened to their concerns and CrossTeach would no longer lead assemblies or take lessons.

A number of St John’s Church workers will also no longer “be invited into school”, Mr Turvey explained in a letter to parents.

The move comes after some parents complained that representatives of CrossTeach had been upsetting children by teaching them about sin.

One parent said that children were being taught about sin and told that if they did not believe in God “they would not go to a good place when they died”.

Mr Turvey said he was “saddened” by the severing of the relationship with the group, but acknowledged that children had been “upset and disturbed emotionally”.

Truvey also used the phrase “extremist beliefs”. The only sin left is to say there is sin. The obvious joke about the final and likely mental state of those who were upset to hear that sin exists, I’ll leave to you.

Item ROBOTS WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BECOME RACIST AND SEXIST—SCIENTISTS THINK THEY’VE FOUND A WAY TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS

In 2016, Microsoft released a “playful” chatbot named Tay onto Twitter designed to show off the tech giant’s burgeoning artificial intelligence research. Within 24 hours, it had become one of the internet’s ugliest experiments.

By learning from its interactions with other Twitter users, Tay quickly went from tweeting about how “humans are super cool,” to claiming “Hitler was right I hate the jews.”

While it was a public relations disaster for Microsoft, Tay demonstrated an important issue with machine learning artificial intelligence: That robots can be as racist, sexist and prejudiced as humans if they acquire knowledge from text written by humans.

Robots cannot be “racist”. To say robots are racist is like saying your can opener is sexist or your TV remote is “anti-Semitic.” These are all mindless machines. It takes a mind to make mental judgments.

On the other hand, it is hilarious how quickly the mindless programs created by AI researchers can be repurposed.

Perhaps Joe Biden is a robot?

Item Biden Praises Jews, Goes Too Far, Accidentally Thrills Anti-Semites

[Biden said] “The Jewish people have contributed greatly to America. No group has had such an outsized influence per capita as all of you standing before you”…”I believe what affects the movements in America, what affects our attitudes in America are as much the culture and the arts as anything else,” he said. That’s why he spoke out on gay marriage “apparently a little ahead of time.”

“It wasn’t anything we legislatively did. It was ‘Will and Grace,’ it was the social media. Literally. That’s what changed peoples’ attitudes. That’s why I was so certain that the vast majority of people would embrace and rapidly embrace” gay marriage, Biden said.

The Jewish author (Jonathan Chait) of the piece said, “Biden’s intentions here are obviously as friendly as can be, but the execution is awkward.” Chait was grateful for the praise, agreed with Biden’s conclusions, but wished Biden wasn’t so publicly vocal. “Biden may find it ‘all to the good’ that Jews have used their influence over popular culture to change societal attitudes toward homosexuality, but lots of people don’t find it good at all.”

Just think of the fun we would have had if Biden was president.

33 thoughts on “Insanity & Doom Update XIV Leave a comment

  1. “The plaques in our sanctuary make some in our presence feel unsafe…”

    How could that be? Do they fall from the walls and hit people on the head? Because other than that, I don’t see how an inanimate object could make a person feel unsafe.

    Unless sane people start taking a stand and perhaps throwing the plaques and everything else in this “church” out the windows…

  2. Regarding Will and Grace, one can suppose that people started to hate rich people because of that rich and horrible woman in the show (can’t remember her name, fortunately). And the way she treated her latino housemaid is the reason Leftist Americans want to import more Latino’s?

  3. I don’t see how an inanimate object could make a person feel unsafe.

    Lead to riots. Ask the residents of Charlottesville.

  4. In Charlottesville, the iconoclasts, like those who blew up the Buddha statues in Afghanistan, found the monuments raised by the hated, devil-worhiping Others to be offensive to their eyes and sought to destroy them. Ironically, they chose a statue of one of the Confederate leaders who owned no slaves and freed the slaves his wife inherited from her father, finding positions for all of them. He fought only in defense of Virginia. Naturally, they attacked them with bats and pipes only to learn that among the iconodules were some genuine slimebuckets who actually fought back. Whether these constituted a majority of the iconodules or simply some opportunistic hijackers will probably never be known, nor why the state police abruptly withdrew and left them open to the initial attack.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2017/09/road-rage-buddha-and-beeldenstorm.html

  5. I’m interested to learn that Jews supposedly have the loose attitude to homosexual marriage that is claimed here. Perhaps I’m wrong but I often read Jewish World Review online and don’t remember coming across this viewpoint.
    ( watch out for a nasty game which downloads along with the link ..type it in.)
    They have columnists like Victor Davis Hanson and Alicia Colon and many others who are not Jewish, along with a fair sample of Jewish opinion.
    But the rabbis who write on various subjects are interesting too.
    Which Jews does Mr Biden mean? Non religious Jews- Jewish by descent like Marx or Alinsky perhaps?

  6. Days of Broken Arrows,

    Reflecting upon your comment, I couldn’t help but remember the horrors of coming across that Singing Salmon on the wall.
    Here is to the verily scary plaques:
    https://youtu.be/F8SMqE7i9xA

    In the other hand, on a more serious thought, if one is intimidated by a mere plaque honoring the memory of a historic figure,
    how do they deal with the striking words written inside their bibles?
    It just got me thinking!!

  7. “One parent said that children were being taught about sin and told that if they did not believe in God “they would not go to a good place when they died”.”

    I entirely agree with that parent. Threatening primary school age children with being burnt alive forever is pure child abuse, as well as being an indirect admission that religion cannot persuade adults, so must try and indoctrinate children. The sooner all religion dies out, the better.

  8. That’s weird. Nothing of the sort ever terrified me; but then the nuns didn’t resort to crude threats crudely delivered. Neither did the kids easily envision someone dead being burned alive, perhaps due to a residuum of logic still lingering in the 1950s. The old Baltimore Catechism explained things in Q&A format for the kiddie-poos as follows:

    Q. 1379. What is Hell?
    A. Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful torments.

    Q. 1380. Will the damned suffer in both mind and body?
    A. The damned will suffer in both mind and body, because both mind and body had a share in their sins. The mind suffers the “pain of loss” in which it is tortured by the thought of having lost God forever, and the body suffers the “pain of sense” by which it is tortured in all its members and senses.

    Now, the disembodied soul has no body and thus cannot suffer pain of sense, so the latter only applies after the final judgment, when body and soul have been reunited. The pain of sense is not necessarily flames, but that was the pain most easily apprehended by living people. However, see Dante, “The Inferno,” for other takes. For a modern update, see Niven and Pounelle, “Inferno,” which replaces Renaissance Italian sinners with modern, mostly American sinners.

    The other thing that was made clear to us was that you could not go to hell by accident or by failing to dot an i or cross a t. You really had to work at it and turn your back deliberately on the Good. The current revelations on TV regarding the objectivization of women and boys is a case example. Had these men comported themselves in line with the catechism, they would not now be suffering eternal torment through the flames of public shame and loss of livelihood.

  9. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “Nothing of the sort ever terrified me”

    Well, that’s alright then. Don’t worry about anyone else.

    “Neither did the kids easily envision someone dead being burned alive, perhaps due to a residuum of logic still lingering in the 1950s”

    Okay, so they thought they’d be dead while being tortured?

    “the body suffers the “pain of sense” by which it is tortured in all its members and senses.”

    Oh, wait – it IS the same as being burned alive after all.

  10. I still don’t see how it differs from cautioning kids about crossing with the green or buckling their seatbelts, lest they be mangled and torn apart in traffic accidents.

  11. Swordfish – Perhaps you missed the point that this was a school managed and run by the church? Presumably, the parents could read and understand simple English (they are in England, after all), and thus should not have been surprised that there was religious instruction happening in a church institution. Unless, of course, they are as deliberately obtuse as your comments make you appear to be. I give you credit for following the SJW attack script, but deduct marks for the obviousness of the template.

    No church with women priests is a true Christian church, especially unrepentant lesbians. For evidence, please read the bible. It’s quite explicit on this, notably in 1 Timothy. Feminism is cancer.

    Jews pushing an anti-host country agenda? Wanting to inundate host country with other foreigners, so there is no majority nation but a collection of warring tribes that can be influenced separately? Wanting to convert the men that created a powerful country into effeminate, ineffective girly-men? Say it isn’t so! Inconceivable!

  12. @ McChuck,

    “Perhaps you missed the point that this was a school managed and run by the church?”

    No, I didn’t. Do you live in the UK? In many places, the only available schools are religious ones. That’s true where I live, for instance. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to complain about cruel, abusive indoctrination happening in a state-funded school.

    In any case, religion shouldn’t be in the education business at all, especially considering its history of child abuse, and the inappropriate content of the Bible, with its rapes and genocides.

  13. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “I still don’t see how it differs from cautioning kids about crossing with the green or buckling their seatbelts, lest they be mangled and torn apart in traffic accidents.”

    You can’t see any difference between:

    1. Warning your kids about real dangers, such as crossing the road, and encouraging them to take suitable precautions.

    2. Threatening your kids with being burnt alive forever by an invisible supernatural being which can read their minds, which has labelled everyone as sinners before they’re even born, which has no universally-agreed rules or instructions to follow to avoid said torture, and which has even labelled certain thoughts as sins.

    ?

    “Why not, since they started it [education]?”

    Yes, I’m sure it was a 100% selfless and charitable act by the church, and nothing at all to do with gaining a captive audience of impressionable young minds to indoctrinate (and worse).

  14. Mr Bones, the temptation to steal, lie, bully, and commit other sins for one’s personal advantage is just as real as automotive accidents, and if children do not learn to avoid such things either through love of the Good (perfect contrition) or fear of the punishment (imperfect contrition), they could grow up to sexually harass women, launder money, sell drugs, and so on.

    No one can be a sinner before he is born, since no one can act with rational intent before reaching the age of reason. This, too, is taught to children.

    You seem to continually confuse the Church with Bill and Ted’s Excellent Bible Shack. There has been little confusion regarding what sort of thing merits eternal punishment over the past couple thousand years; e.g., the three conditions for a sin to be mortal.
    a) the matter must be seriously wrong.
    b) You must know the matter is seriously wrong.
    c) You must intend the serious wrong.

    which has no universally-agreed rules or instructions to follow to avoid said torture

    These instructions would seem both clear and long-standing:

    Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

    and which has even labelled certain thoughts as sins.
    A sin is defectus boni, a deficiency in a good. Surely, there are thoughts that are not good, for example objectifying women, as Aquinas noted in his commentary on Corinthians: a man who approaches his own wife as he would any woman sins mortally. That is — in modern terms — if he regards her merely as a sex object. It doesn’t matter if the woman is “consensual” since the defectus is in his approach. Just as someone who voluntarily signs a contract intended to entrap him in financial serfdom does not excuse the lender from the evil intent, even if the contract is legal.

    Yes, I’m sure it [schooling] was a 100% selfless and charitable act by the church, and nothing at all to do with gaining a captive audience of impressionable young minds to indoctrinate (and worse).

    If you don’t know anything about the actual history, why not admit it? Theory is the Root of All Evil.

    BTW, do you know what motivated Fichte, Mann, and the other pioneers of state schooling?

    Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished.

    Turning out good, obedient patriots, the culmination of which were the cheering crowds of August 1914.

  15. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “the temptation to steal, lie, bully, and commit other sins for one’s personal advantage is just as real as automotive accidents,”

    Speak for yourself. And stop changing the subject, which was the punishment, not the crime.

    “and if children do not learn to avoid such things either through love of the Good (perfect contrition) or fear of the punishment (imperfect contrition), they could grow up to sexually harass women, launder money, sell drugs, and so on.”

    Most social behaviour is ingrained rather than learned. Religious people seem to be obsessed with the idea that without the threat of eternal punishment, everyone would suddenly go off the rails and start raping and pillaging. There simply isn’t any evidence that this is the case. If anything, the most religious parts of the world (such as Africa or the Middle East) have the highest crime levels, so that blows your thesis straight out of the water.

    “There has been little confusion regarding what sort of thing merits eternal punishment over the past couple thousand years;”

    Come off it! There are hundreds of different Christian sects who disagree about almost everything, and what about Islam?

    “These instructions would seem both clear and long-standing:”

    (Followed by vague allegory which kids probably wouldn’t be able to understand.) Jesus gave a completely different answer to anyone who asked him how to enter the kingdom of heaven – he said it was flat-out impossible for a rich man to do so, and told others that they had to be like children (ironically).

    “a man who approaches his own wife as he would any woman sins mortally”

    So that’s another thing to avoid, which wasn’t mentioned in the previous instructions.

    “If you don’t know anything about the actual history, why not admit it?”

    The history as written by the church?

  16. stop changing the subject, which was the punishment, not the crime.

    Every time I’ve addressed it, you’ve gone off on a tangent, and I alas have followed you.

    Most social behaviour is ingrained rather than learned.

    Not sure what you mean by “ingrained.” Do you mean “instinctual” or do you mean “taught”? If the former, then it cannot possibly make any difference: there is at least one religion that teaches something called “the natural law,” by which a great deal of moral behavior can be discovered by reason. If the latter, it begs the question. Instruction according to what standard?

    Religious people seem to be obsessed with the idea that without the threat of eternal punishment, everyone would suddenly go off the rails and start raping and pillaging. There simply isn’t any evidence that this is the case.

    Actually, there is. It’s called “History.” And it wouldn’t be “sudden” at all, but simply business as usual. Consider the Narmer palette for an early data point and work your way forward through the Assyrians, the Syrian custom of child sacrifice, the Indian practice of Suti, what the Athenians told the Melians, and what the Romans did for civic amusement and a couple thousand years or so.

    If anything, the most religious parts of the world (such as Africa or the Middle East) have the highest crime levels, so that blows your thesis straight out of the water.

    What “thesis” is that? I made no claim about “religion” in general (whatever that may mean: is Finno-Ugric shamanism even the same kind of thing as Buddhism or Zoroastrianism?) Is sin the same as crime? Does the existence of crime mean that the laws are meaningless? I was only responding to your claim that no one ever set out the criteria for avoiding the “flames of hell.”

    There are hundreds of different Christian sects who disagree about almost everything, and what about Islam?

    Actually, there are hundreds of different sects of Protestants. About two-thirds of all Christians are either Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox, who differ mainly in dogmatic and governance matters and virtually not at all in moral theology. Their expressions are difference: the Western Church relies more on reason; the Eastern Church less so. The Protestant sects differ more widely because they have cut themselves off from their Patristic roots; but some, like the Anglicans and the Apostolic Lutherans have remained close. Again, you will find that on moral matters they are much closer to one another than in matters of practice and governance and belief.

    “These instructions would seem both clear and long-standing:” (Followed by vague allegory which kids probably wouldn’t be able to understand.)

    I’m not sure what you are referring to as an “allegory.” Do you mean the part where he says if you feed the hungry and clothe the naked and care for the sick and the refugee, and so on, then you will be welcomed into heaven, but if you don’t, fuggedaboudit? What is so hard to grasp about that? Do you suppose the children were not taught the corporal works of mercy? Heck, we had to memorize them.

    “a man who approaches his own wife as he would any woman sins mortally”
    So that’s another thing to avoid, which wasn’t mentioned in the previous instructions.

    My goodness, you folks have no ability to reason, do you? You really do expect nothing but a set of rules and regulations covering every possible situation. But Christianty is orthodox, not orthoprax. That is, it is not a plethora of regulations minutely observed, complete with loopholes, but a set of principles from which to reason about the world. If you don’t see how the above can be derived from the ten commandments and the like, perhaps a less superficial study is called for.

    “If you don’t know anything about the actual history, why not admit it?”
    The history as written by the church?

    Just actual history will do, as opposed to theoretical history. You know. Actual names, places, dates. The actual motives of real people rather than vague generalities about stereotypes. Fichte was very explicit about the goals of secular education and wrote a multivolume tome in the ponderous Prussian manner on how to detach children from the corrupting influence of their parerents and subject them entirely to the will of their schoolmaster. I think it was called “Address to the German Nation,” but I could be wrong about the title. It much impressed Horace Mann, who brought it to the US and tried to impose it on Massachussetts, although it was not until hordes of unwashed, starving Papists from Ireland began to wash up in Boston that anyone saw the need for Prussianism in the Commonwealth.

    (Higher education — the universities — go back to the middle ages. The children of the upper classes had always been educated as squires and of the working classes as apprentices to trade; but the notion of educating the children of the middle class was something new. See the like of Jean Baptiste de la Salle for details.)

  17. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “Every time I’ve addressed it, [the subject] you’ve gone off on a tangent, and I alas have followed you.”

    Is this a joke? You’re literally totally incapable of sticking to any point ever.

    This is my original point:

    [I entirely agree with that parent. Threatening primary school age children with being burnt alive forever is pure child abuse, as well as being an indirect admission that religion cannot persuade adults, so must try and indoctrinate children. The sooner all religion dies out, the better.]

    This is your reply:

    “That’s weird. Nothing of the sort ever terrified me; but then the nuns didn’t resort to crude threats crudely delivered. Neither did the kids easily envision someone dead being burned alive, perhaps due to a residuum of logic still lingering in the 1950s. The old Baltimore Catechism explained things in Q&A format for the kiddie-poos as follows:

    Q. 1379. What is Hell?
    A. Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful torments.

    Q. 1380. Will the damned suffer in both mind and body?
    A. The damned will suffer in both mind and body, because both mind and body had a share in their sins. The mind suffers the “pain of loss” in which it is tortured by the thought of having lost God forever, and the body suffers the “pain of sense” by which it is tortured in all its members and senses.

    Now, the disembodied soul has no body and thus cannot suffer pain of sense, so the latter only applies after the final judgment, when body and soul have been reunited. The pain of sense is not necessarily flames, but that was the pain most easily apprehended by living people. However, see Dante, “The Inferno,” for other takes. For a modern update, see Niven and Pounelle, “Inferno,” which replaces Renaissance Italian sinners with modern, mostly American sinners.

    The other thing that was made clear to us was that you could not go to hell by accident or by failing to dot an i or cross a t. You really had to work at it and turn your back deliberately on the Good. The current revelations on TV regarding the objectivization of women and boys is a case example. Had these men comported themselves in line with the catechism, they would not now be suffering eternal torment through the flames of public shame and loss of livelihood.”

    Who is going off on tangents here?

  18. This was your original point:

    Threatening primary school age children with being burnt alive forever is pure child abuse, as well as being an indirect admission that religion cannot persuade adults, so must try and indoctrinate children. The sooner all religion dies out, the better.

    My response, from personal experience, was that none of us ever felt threatened. Perhaps you were upset because I explained why. You see, unlike the postmodern West, it was never just left there, but was part of a whole package. We did not even get into the non sequitur of “as well as being…” Let alone why this should lead to the abolition of Judaism or Buddhism (“all religion”).

  19. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “My response from personal experience…”

    Is irrelevant to me and to the billions of children worldwide harmed by religious indoctrination. Also, your response conspicuously doesn’t include many of the irrelevant tangents you followed, such as nitpicking my use of the phrase “burnt alive”.

    “We did not even get into the non sequitur of…”

    It’s an uncontroversial fact that most people follow the religion they were indoctrinated into as children. If you’re born in Iran, you’re almost certain to follow Islam. How is this a “non sequitur”?

    “Let alone why this should lead to the abolition of Judaism or Buddhism (“all religion”)”

    More nitpicking. Ironic that your examples of ‘nice’ religions can’t include Christianity.

  20. “My response from personal experience…”
    Is irrelevant to me and to the billions of children worldwide harmed by religious indoctrination.

    Name three. If there are billions, you should be able to name three who have been directly harmed by visions of the punishments of hell. Otherwise, you are simply begging the question.

    nitpicking my use of the phrase “burnt alive”.

    No jokes allowed. Got it. You people are SOO serious.

    “We did not even get into the non sequitur of…”

    It’s an uncontroversial fact that most people follow the religion they were indoctrinated into as children. If you’re born in Iran, you’re almost certain to follow Islam. How is this a “non sequitur”?

    Because this supposed paucity of adult converts does not follow from the alleged terrorizing of children with stories of hellfire. That is, A might be true and B might be true, but B might not follow from A. That is what “sequitur” means. The Iranians I know personally are atheists.

    https://www.davidwarrenonline.com/2017/11/28/the-future-isnt-over-yet/

    Ironic that your examples of ‘nice’ religions can’t include Christianity.

    You asserted that “[t]he sooner all religion dies out, the better.” I took “all” to mean “all,” as in “all.” I did nor include Christianity because it is clear that by “religion,” you really mean “Christianity.” So any illustrative example that includes it would be dismissed tout court in a reflexive spasm of Theory.

  21. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “Name three [children harmed by religious indoctrination]”

    This is a laughably cheap tactic. I can’t name three people killed by the 2004 boxing day tsunami – does that mean no one died?

    “No jokes allowed. Got it. You people are SOO serious.”

    I’m serious when I’m pointing out child abuse. Also, “you people” – you mean atheists?

    “this supposed paucity of adult converts…”

    Religious belief can be predicted with high accuracy by geography alone. This is a fact. If you disagree, provide some evidence. (You can’t)

    “…does not follow from the alleged terrorizing of children with stories of hellfire. […]”

    Nitpicking.

    “The Iranians I know personally are atheists.”

    Cherry picking.

    “it is clear that by “religion,” you really mean “Christianity.””

    No, I mean all religion. Christianity isn’t the worse religion, but it’s in the top three.

  22. “Name three [children harmed by religious indoctrination]”
    This is a laughably cheap tactic. I can’t name three people killed by the 2004 boxing day tsunami – does that mean no one died?

    No, but it means there is a difference between a specific incidence, adequately reported, and a vague generality, ill-defined. With some research, it ought to be possible to identify victims of a specific tradgedy and assign the causal connection. Not so with grandiose theories applied to collectives by Theory. (Specifically, in this case, that telling kids about hell is “child abuse.”)

    I’m serious when I’m pointing out child abuse.

    Then you ought not cheapen it by stretching it too thin so as to cover your favorite boogey men.

    Also, “you people” – you mean atheists?

    No, only a certain species of internet enthusiast. It includes feminists, climate alarmists, fundamentalists, and others, as well. There as also quite reasonable versions of all of these folk.

    Religious belief can be predicted with high accuracy by geography alone.

    It is a mistake to confuse correlation with causation. But I’m not sure what jaw-dropping point it is supposed to demonstrate. I was indoctrinated in arithmetic as a child, also. Most people prefer the foods they grew up with, too. (Schnitz un knepp, crumb cake, pepper pot, yumm…) What of it? Your original thesis was that teaching children about hell was child abuse.

    “…does not follow from the alleged terrorizing of children with stories of hellfire. […]”
    Nitpicking.

    How so? Your contention was that it did.

    “The Iranians I know personally are atheists.”
    Cherry picking.

    History is replete with people who have converted as adults for one reason or another; sometimes retail, soemtimes wholesale. The Persians used to be Zoroastrians. The Syrians and Egyptians were once Christians.

    Christianity isn’t the worse religion, but it’s in the top three.

    Yet, one typically evaluates both the assets and the debits; and from the Christian milieu before its collapse came a variety of things that are regarded as beneficial, ranging from the care of strangers in “hospitals,” the study of the human fabric in “autopsies,” the abolition of chattel slavery, twice; through the idea of conscience [and conscientious objection], contrition and redemption, the concept of non-combatants; to polyphonic music*, the rights of women, self-governing, chartered corporations with jurisdiction (incl. universities, guilds, towns, medical societies), and the systematic investigation of the secondary causes of natural phenomena.

    (*) The development from chant of the concept of diverse individuals each doing his or her “part” but combining into a harmonious whole led to business corporations, symphonic orchestras, team sports, and similar cooperative institutions.

  23. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “No, but it means there is a difference between a specific incidence, adequately reported, and a vague generality, ill-defined.”

    I spoke from personal experience, but I’ve read many accounts of people with similar experiences. You don’t seem to have addressed this at all, by the way.

    “No, only a certain species of internet enthusiast. It includes feminists, climate alarmists, fundamentalists, and others, as well. There as also quite reasonable versions of all of these folk.”

    I’m unreasonable because I don’t think it’s reasonable to threaten children with supernatural eternal torture? Fine, in that case, colour me unreasonable. (I note that I’m being accused of being unreasonable by an Internet enthusiast who believes in the existence of an invisible all-powerful, all-loving entity which has somehow managed to create a world full of evil.)

    “It is a mistake to confuse correlation with causation. But I’m not sure what jaw-dropping point it is supposed to demonstrate.”

    It’s also a mistake confuse causation with correlation. The point is that indoctrination of children works. That’s why all religions do it. The fact that religion is overwhelmingly geographically distributed also shows that conversion of adults cannot be anything more than a very minor factor. (I would bet deconversion is a more significant factor.)

    “Your original thesis was that teaching children about hell was child abuse.”

    That’s still what I’m saying.

    “History is replete with people who have converted as adults for one reason or another;”

    There is a difference between a specific incidence, adequately reported, and a vague generality.

    Your final section, listing supposed achievements of Christianity is ridiculous:

    “the abolition of chattel slavery”

    Even though slavery is condoned in the Bible multiple times?

    “polyphonic music […] led to business corporations, symphonic orchestras, team sports”

    Yes, and Mitred hats led to the Large Hadron Collider. Pull the other one. Religion holds society back. It stands in the way of social and scientific progress at every turn.

  24. I spoke from personal experience, but I’ve read many accounts of people with similar experiences.

    Wait. Are you talking about fundamentalists rather than the traditional Churches?

    I’m unreasonable because I don’t think it’s reasonable to threaten children with supernatural eternal torture?

    In both Orthodox and Catholic theology it is impossible for children to merit hell; and children are taught this, too. So there is no threat. You might consider it a warning, however; that if you take up a certain road, you will end up in a bad place.

    The point is that indoctrination of children works.

    If it did, they would end up more obedient to their parents and better behaved as citizens.

    That’s why all religions do it.

    That’s why everyone does it, not just “religions.” Primary education is mandatory by the State.

    The fact that religion is overwhelmingly geographically distributed also shows that conversion of adults cannot be anything more than a very minor factor.

    I guess that’s how Christianity got to Russia and Ireland; to the Igbo or the Tamil. Or how the Buddha reached China and Japan. Or Islam came to Malaya and Indonesia. Or why there are Jews in Yemen and Ethiopia, Hindus in Bali, etc.

    Your final section, listing supposed achievements of Christianity is ridiculous:

    “the abolition of chattel slavery”

    Even though slavery is condoned in the Bible multiple times?

    Consider the difference between “slavery” simpliciter and “chattel slavery.” Where in the Gospel is slavery condoned? Or do we find it simply recognized as a fact of life, practiced by Greeks and Romans in lieu of mass slaughter of defeated enemies? (Though the Romans did the latter, too.) Recall that Aristotle and his school distinguished between natural slavery and political slavery and while approving of the former, did not approve of the latter.

    You folks are much too impressed with the translations of ancient Greek words in the Bible, esp. the Old Testament, interpreting them as if they referred to Modern practices, and not so much with the actual practices of the Christians themselves, esp. before the State broke and subordinated the Church. For example, Late Roman grave markers clearly distinguish slaves from free men — except among Christians, who made no distinctions. (The third pope appears from his name to have been a slave.) Church councils from the fifth throught the eighth centuries approved acta prohibiting the enslavement of free men, supressing the slave traffic, validating marriages between slave and free, providing sanctuary for maltreated slaves, etc. Gradually, the secular powers got with the program and the practice largely disappeared until it was revived during the Renaissance.
    https://thomism.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/the-cheap-grace-of-condemning-slavery/

    “polyphonic music […] led to business corporations, symphonic orchestras, team sports”

    Yes, and Mitred hats led to the Large Hadron Collider.

    No, you would have to show actual causal relationships for that one, as Bernard Lewis did for polyphony

    A distinguishing characteristic of Western music is polyphony, by harmony or counterpoint … Different performers play together, from different scores, producing a result that is greater than the sum of its parts. With a little imagination one may discern the same feature in other aspects of Western culture – in democratic politics and in team games, both of which require the cooperation, in harmony if not in unison, of different performers playing different parts in a common purpose.” — Islam, What Went Wrong

    Religion holds society back. It stands in the way of social and scientific progress at every turn.

    Sounds like a good Theory. What are the Facts?

  25. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “Wait. Are you talking about fundamentalists rather than the traditional Churches?”

    No, but they’re all the same anyway.

    “In both Orthodox and Catholic theology it is impossible for children to merit hell; and children are taught this, too. So there is no threat. You might consider it a warning, however; that if you take up a certain road, you will end up in a bad place.”

    You forget that childhood abuse carries over into adulthood and can cast a very long shadow. Also, “you might consider it a warning”, sounds like something the Mafia might say to a business owner.

    “If it did, they would end up more obedient to their parents and better behaved as citizens.”

    More obedient than what, and better behaved than what?

    “That’s why everyone does it, not just “religions.” Primary education is mandatory by the State.”

    Telling kids that imaginary supernatural nonsense is real isn’t education. Do we educate children about Bigfoot, ghosts, and UFOs?

    “I guess that’s how Christianity got to Russia and Ireland [etc]”

    Exceptions prove the rule.

    “Or do we find it [slavery] simply recognized as a fact of life”

    The Bible is supposed to be the word of god. If god recognises slavery as a fact of life, but doesn’t do anything about it, he’s condoning it. Or is the Bible not the word of god?

    “You folks are much too impressed with the translations of ancient Greek words in the Bible”

    And ‘you folks’ are much too interested in thinking up lame excuses for the parts of the Bible which look bad. (Also, surprisingly uninterested in the fact it was written in Greek in the first place.)

    “No, you would have to show actual causal relationships for that one, as Bernard Lewis did for polyphony.”

    From your quote: “With a little imagination one may discern the same feature in other aspects of Western culture”

    Hardly an “actual causal relationship”. Do you really think we wouldn’t have had business corporations, symphonic orchestras, or team sports without polyphonic music trailblazing a path for them? I would argue these examples all stem from social cooperation, which in turn is down to evolution, which makes far more sense as a “actual causal relationship”.

  26. Grammar question. Can’t quite understand why the names of The Flying Spaghetti Monster and SpomgeBob SquarePants are capitalized but the name of god is not?

  27. You forget that childhood abuse carries over into adulthood and can cast a very long shadow.

    If it is actual, genuine, no-foolin’ abuse and not your Theoretical abuse.

    “If it did, they would end up more obedient to their parents and better behaved as citizens.”
    More obedient than what, and better behaved than what?

    Your contention was that “indoctrination of children works.” My query was that if it worked so well why did parents not indoctrinate their children to obedience or governments indoctrinate their children to patriotism?

    “you might consider it a warning”, sounds like something the Mafia might say to a business owner.

    Or like something a rabbi might have said [unsuccessfully to a young Harvey Weinstein.

    “I guess that’s how Christianity got to Russia and Ireland [etc]”
    Exceptions prove the rule.

    Well, that’s stupid. An exception — a counterexample — falsifies the rule. Unless you mean the original meaning of “proof” in play when the proverb was originated.

    The Bible is supposed to be the word of god [sic].

    You evidently don’t understand what that means. See Augustine On Christian doctrine for details.

    If god [sic] recognises slavery as a fact of life, but doesn’t do anything about it, he’s condoning it.

    Yes, you people are always looking to be told what to do and what not to do through a series of rules and prohibitions.

    “You folks are …. surprisingly uninterested in the fact it was written in Greek in the first place.

    Why would you believe that? Granted, most people are not into ancient languages, but most are certainly aware that the koine was the lingua franca of the ancient near east, and that the Septuagint had been the basis for the Old Testament (as we were taught as children) and the New Testament was written originally in Greek and then translated later into Latin (the Italia and later the Vulgate). Why should that be surprising? My comment was directed at the fact that Late Moderns assume too readily that a Modern English word like “slave” means the same thing as the ancient Greek word doulos.. But it might be that ancient categories of thought were not the same as modern categories.

    Do you really think we wouldn’t have had business corporations, symphonic orchestras, or team sports without polyphonic music trailblazing a path for them?

    I can only follow the data. I do not contend that such things might not have come about in some other manner in some imaginary alternate world; only that in our actual historical world that that is how they did in fact come about. That is the difference between the World of Theory and the World of Fact,

    I would argue these examples all stem from social cooperation, which in turn is down to evolution, which makes far more sense as a “actual causal relationship”.

    Good, ol’ unfalsifiable “evolution,” the omnicause of everything! But an explanation must explain not only what happened, but also what did not happen. Why did corporations — free cities, medical societies, universities, etc. — with charters and self governance not arise anywhere else? Why were there no symphonia concertante? Why were there no team sports — only what we might call “mob sports” (groups of men, but without division of labor working in concert). It is quite natural for folks having been raised in a particular culture to assume that history tends naturally to the achievement of that culture. But take as an example the telescope: it was introduced into China, Mughal India, and the Ottoman Empire within a few years of its invention in Europe. But in Europe, it led to a revolution not only in cosmology, but shortly to also the microscope, to the micrometer and a host of other inventions; whereas in other cultures it led to…. nothing at all, because there was very little intellectual curiosity in the sorts of things it revealed.

    “Social cooperation” is sufficiently plastic that, ex post facto, could be used to explain anything the society cooperated on.

  28. @ Ye Olde Statistician,

    “If it is actual, genuine, no-foolin’ abuse and not your Theoretical abuse.”

    This is really pathetic. Where is your research data proving that psychological abuse of children cannot carry over into adulthood?

    “Your contention was that “indoctrination of children works.” My query was that if it worked so well why did parents not indoctrinate their children to obedience or governments indoctrinate their children to patriotism?”

    They do.

    “Well, that’s stupid. An exception — a counterexample — falsifies the rule. Unless you mean the original meaning of “proof” in play when the proverb was originated.”

    The fact that the exceptions are exceptions proves the general rule, otherwise the general rule would be the exception.

    [The Bible is supposed to be the word of god [sic].]

    “You evidently don’t understand what that means. See Augustine On Christian doctrine for details.”

    From your reply, I assume it means it isn’t the word of God. Better keep that quiet as a lot of Christians think otherwise.

    [If god [sic] recognises slavery as a fact of life, but doesn’t do anything about it, he’s condoning it.]

    “Yes, you people are always looking to be told what to do and what not to do through a series of rules and prohibitions.”

    Isn’t even an argument. The Bible still condones slavery.

    “Good, ol’ unfalsifiable “evolution,””

    *sigh* As for the rest of your bizarre exposition, it must be nice living in your alternate history fantasy land where Christianity is responsibe even for the existence of businesses and sport, (and probably for Kitten videos on YouTube as well) but not for condoning slavery. Or the inquisition.

    Anyway, I’m out.

  29. @ acricketchirps,

    “Grammar question. Can’t quite understand why the names of The Flying Spaghetti Monster and SpomgeBob SquarePants are capitalized but the name of god is not?”

    According to the grammar rules I’ve looked at, you should use “God” when referring to the Christian “God” and “god” if you’re referring to “a god” or “gods” in general. I try to stick to this, but it’s quite difficult to be consistent about it. If I’m talking about the “god of the Bible”, it’s not clear if I should use “God” because I’m talking about the Christian “God” or “god” because I’m talking about a “god”. It seems to depend on the context. I don’t usually use “god” to annoy Christians. Well, not often anyway.

  30. Where is your research data proving that psychological abuse of children cannot carry over into adulthood?

    Where is your research data proving that catechism lessons about hell constituted psychological abuse of children? (Where is your research data proving that research data in the soft “sciences” ever proves anything?)

    If indoctrination of children works so well why do parents not indoctrinate their children to obedience or governments indoctrinate their children to patriotism?

    They do.

    So that’s why children do not rebel against their parents and students never protest the government. I was wondering about that.

    The fact that the exceptions are exceptions proves the general rule, otherwise the general rule would be the exception.

    Originally: The exception proofs [i.e., “tests”] the rule [in order to determine whether it is a rule in the first place.

    [The Bible is supposed to be the word of god [sic].]

    “You evidently don’t understand what that means. See Augustine On Christian doctrine for details.”

    From your reply, I assume it means it isn’t the word of God.

    “You evidently don’t understand what “the word of God” means. See Augustine On Christian doctrine for details.”

    [If god [sic] recognises slavery as a fact of life, but doesn’t do anything about it, he’s condoning it.]

    That does not logically follow. First you must establish what the word doulos, the Greek word used in the Bible, means vis a vis the English word “slave.” If you are to call something the ‘word of God,’ it would be useful to know what the word is.

    As for the rest of your bizarre exposition…

    I provided a reasonable, materialistic mechanism by which polyphony led to team sports and corporations like universities and chartered cities. You provided as an alternative not an actual historical progression by a vague hand-wave somewhat like blah-blah-evolution-blah-blah. But if the emergence of organizations involving different-parts-combining-into-wholes really were the result of a universal cause (“all stem from social cooperation”) why would their emergence not be universal. Your theory does not explain why symphonic orchestras, chartered towns, medical societies, universities, and the like did not arise elsewhere than where polyphonic music had been.

    alternate history fantasy land where Christianity is [not responsibe] for condoning slavery [sic].

    Except for the Church councils circumscribing and condemning the practice, you mean? And the curious fact that the practice largely died out in the Middle Ages?

    (It of course has not entirely died out even today: children are often forced to do chores, prisoners must labor in the prison laundry, workers must show up at the times and places specified in their contract (even at Wal-Mart), athletes must work for the team that owns their contracts, and so on.)

    But you continue to beg the question. What do you mean by “slavery”?

    Or the inquisition.

    Inquisitio was a legal form developed in the Late Republic (before the Church even existed) and is best summarized by the intro to the show Law and Order. The prior legal form, accusatio, required the plaintiff to call witnesses, gather evidence, and so on. It was what we call “civil court.” This had obvious hazards in criminal cases, so the new form provided for a body of officials who would investigate crimes, gather evidence, compel witnesses, and so on. Combined with Germanic forms, it survives especially in things like the coronor’s inquest, the grand jury, and the special prosecutor’s office. One interesting feature was the boni viri, a sort of jury in which twenty men of good reputation were presented with a written transcript of the testimony — but with all the names stripped out and replaced by pseudonyms in order to prevent bias. There were also severe penalties for false accusations and, in ecclesiastical courts, strict limitations on the use of torture in soliciting testimony from witnesses. (This came from Roman Imperial Law. It was never used for punishment.) There are cases of people deliberately committing blasphemy to get their case transferred from royal courts to ecclesiastical courts, which were known to be more lenient. Of course, from our point of view, none of them were very lenient, although the ecclesiastical courts were the last to buckle and allow torture to validate testimony. For details, see Peters, Inquisition.

  31. SFW. Good rules of grammar. You sure haven’t followed them in your posts though. My theory is every time you try to type the name of God, the upward jerking action of the left knee displaces the pinkie finger from the Shift key. We should do some experiments.

  32. Re: God and god. The usefulness is that of Impala v. impala, or Polish v. polish. The one is an automobile the other a kind of antelope; or one is a scion of Poland and the other something to make your shoe, table, or Impala shine. IOW, the terms indicate two different kinds of things. In the God/god case, the upper case has been used to designate the ground of all being, or Existence Itself; that is, a first uncaused cause or first unmoved mover (where “first” is ontological, not temporal). “Being” is simply not the same thing as a “supreme being.” That would be like saying Time is a particular [or even a ‘supreme’] time of day. (Do we look at our watch expecting to answer the question “When is Time?”)

    (Interestingly, Capitalization was not used in this Anglo-German fashion in Aquinas’ time, and so what Aquinas wrote at the end of each Way was, “…and this all men call divine.” Or super-natural. He then went on to show that the primary unmoved mover possessed attributes associated with upper-case God.)

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