Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


On Being Hated (at Brown): A Postscript

posted by David Klinghoffer
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Yesterday I wrote about the personal viciousness that issues from the Left in a way it doesn’t from the Right. This actually played a big role in the development of my own thinking, both religious (toward Orthodox Judaism) and political (toward conservatism). When I was a Brown University junior, I was picked to be an opinion columnist for the Brown Daily Herald. The first column I wrote was about the racial segregation that existed then (this was 1985) at Brown and probably at similar places. Maybe it still does. Well intentioned race policies (affirmative action, coddling, indoctrination, but in particular, the special separate programs before freshman orientation for “Third World,” i.e. any dark complexioned, students) all contributed to a situation where blacks students effectively lived in a closed, separate parallel universe from white students. They ate separately, socialized separately, gravitated to certain courses of study, had separate black fraternities and sororities that marched around campus shouting in the middle of the night. It was tragic and a betrayal of authentic liberalism, I thought.
That’s what I wrote and the vilification began immediately. Obscene graffiti appeared on my door in Andrews Hall (“F*** YOUR RACIST A**”). I got hectoring personal visits. The Herald‘s letters pages were flooded with angry letters. Numerous fellow students told me they I was a racist and a bad person. I was a freshman counselor at the time and the dean of freshmen called me in to criticize me. The student board of counselors investigated me, presided over by a kid with the last name Kafka (no joke). Finally they kicked me out of the freshman dorm where I lived. One of the two deans who heard my appeal, which he informed me would be rejected before I’d made it, was later arrested for soliciting an undercover police officer at a highway rest stop.
The only public voice raised in my defense was that of another Herald columnist, Judy Warner, who disagreed with me, if I remember, but wrote that it was wrong that I should be abused by everyone just for stating an unorthodox view. Besides having a crush on her, I was grateful. She now writes a terrific blog for the New York Times (as Judith Warner).
Around this time I was starting to rethink my religious views. 

One of my best friends at Brown, we’ll call him Michael, was a ferociously bright Jewish kid from Long Island. After we graduated, he “came out,” telling friends he was gay. I was startled but nothing more. As I myself became increasingly committed to Orthodoxy, he found he had a problem with me. Not I with him. His political views were also turning sharply left. The last time I saw him was in 1990 when I visited him at law school for Shabbat. On the visit I got quite sick and Michael took the occasion to tell me he had decided I was a “bad person” — literally, his words — and that our friendship was over. Why? Because I couldn’t per his demand positively tell him that I approved of his gay lifestyle — which in practical terms hardly existed, as far as I could tell.
He was not content with my saying that it wasn’t for me to judge him, as I in fact did not. But approve? I don’t approve of myself half the time. How could he insist that I approve of him — anything he did or might do? Over that issue, our friendship ended. It still makes me sad to think about it. Of course, this was the exact reverse of the politically manipulative stereotype where the poor, innocent gay person comes out and is rejected by his religious friend. Here, the gay person came out, made unreasonable demands of his religious friend, and when those weren’t promptly met, rejected him.
Do you see why I was long ago inured to hatred and intolerance from the Left?


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Glen Davidson

posted July 13, 2009 at 12:01 pm


OK, so you’re working through the aftermath of some bullying, hence your inability to do anything but attack anyone who disagrees with you.
That seems to be a pattern with IDists, by the way. Dembski, especially.
Get some counseling, and try to learn how to view the world without intellectual and emotional blinders. Merely trying to bully people into accepting utter tripe won’t work on the web.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Turmarion

posted July 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm


Look, we could post anecdotes here all day long and never agree as to whether the Left or Right is “more” vindictive, nasty, etc. You can read memoirs by people who went Left after realizing how evil the Right is, or who went Right after seeing how evil the Left is. Since there’s always the personal angle, and thus a lot of subjectivity, the question as to which side is “worse” is unanswerable.
I had a friend who took a sharp turn to the Right. His invective and name-calling got so bad, and my calls for charity, ending the arguments, and dropping politics as a topic of conversation were so resolutely ignored, that I had to break off contact for awhile. He finally apologized, and we made up, thankfully. Another friend on the Right has said that he literally believes that most people on the Left are either evil or dupes manipulated by the evil (and I’m not exaggerating–I’ve asked him specifically on this in the past). We are cordial, but had to ban politics as a conversation topic for the sake of the friendship.
The point is (as even many conservative commentators have been honest enough to admit over the last year or so) there’s plenty of nastiness from the Right, too. The other point is that personal anecdotes, no matter how important or powerful they may be for the people involved, prove nothing about the greater societal situation.



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm


Nice anecdote. Of course the real question here is could you be a freind of a gay person? I don’t think that it is possable. I am gay and have evanlgelical friends. More to the point my immediate family including my mother is evangelical. I don’t approve of their lifestyle and visa versa. My mother was not a good mother in many ways and my family has experienced divorce, etc. They take an attitude taht we are all sinners, including themeselves, and don’t expect me to change or even want me to. We have reached a compromise and life goes on. They don’t look down on men and actually have a great deal of respect for me.
btw, are there Jewis frat houses? I don’t really know. It would be a good idea, especially for keeping kosher,etc. What would be wrong with that?



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Larry Lennhoff

posted July 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm


I find it interesting that in your liberal days you decried

a situation where blacks students effectively lived in a closed, separate parallel universe from white students. They ate separately, socialized separately, gravitated to certain courses of study, had separate black fraternities and sororities

Do you think this describes Orthodox life on campus today? Or for that matter, Orthodox life among most of the charedim in America today? If so, now that you are more conservative I’d be interested if you still feel that the socialization described above was wrong. What makes it different from the Orthodox approach of being ‘a people who live apart’?



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David Klinghoffer

posted July 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm


Hi Larry–Well, one obvious difference is that being black entails nothing about a mission, given by God, to uplift the world, achieved in part by being apart in certain (though not all) ways. Having African ancestors is no more important, in a world historical sense, than having Italian, Chinese, Eskimo, Swedish — whatever — ancestors.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 13, 2009 at 2:49 pm


The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder’s lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately.
Bertrand Russell Introduction to 1961 edition of Sceptical Essays (1961)

That’s one reason why I’m not especially keen about the attacks on religion as not being “compatible with science.” If so, likewise for the passionate politics of most professors, including scientists who actually know very little about it, typically.
IOW, I’m with Turmarion in recognizing the typical lack of charity or reasonableness across the political spectrum. Personal experience being part of it as well, since I frankly haven’t found much open-mindedness on conservative campuses, liberal campuses, or in activists of any stripe. It’s kind of nice to switch between associating with left and the right, since all of a sudden you can criticize on the one side what you couldn’t on the other side.
Yet there appear to be people on both sides, and in the middle (I don’t like the middle, though, because it’s generally the least comprehending with respect to societal prejudices), who actually know what they’re talking about, and so are willing to discuss issues with which they disagree. Which is why stereotyping is wrong there, too, despite the fact that Russell’s correct that politics is generally passionate and groundless (at least as understood by proponents).
Not really liking any of the political factions, I think I can still honestly state that the Left appears more likely to simply attack their opponents on issues that really are up for debate. Morally, they seem to be exceedingly certain of themselves, probably in part because most have never honestly considered their prejudices, not being forced to do so in the way that many on the right have been.
On the other hand, issues that aren’t actually up for debate, like evolution (which, sure, can be debated, only the IDists/creationists won’t do so in a legitimate manner–but it’s about as “debatable” in the sense I was using as relativity is), cause right-wingers to attack and malign people without cause or decency. This seems to be in part because of perceptions like Klinghoffer’s, that leftists have a kind of bullying certainty in politics, and they don’t realize that science is extremely unlike politics with all of its bigotry (or why do many on the right also accept the science, especially when they know it well?). Klinghoffer, for instance, seems unaware of statements like Dembski’s, below:

This may seem unfair and mean-spirited, but let’s admit that our aim, as proponents of intelligent design, is to beat naturalistic evolution, and the scientific materialism that undergirds it, back to the Stone Age. Our opponents, therefore, are merely returning the favor
designinference.com/documents/2004.04.Backlash.htm

Dembski actually knows that science is merely being attacked by the IDists, and that responding to the idiotic and malicious comments by IDists is justified (I wrote more into this sentence than Dembski said, but I do think he has at least some notion of how dishonest IDist attacks really are).
Naturally, there is no “materialism” underlying science, including evolution, as it is as easy to do using phenomenological philosophy as any “realist,” or the like, philosophy.
The left, then, seems to think that their moral beliefs are as reasonable and well-founded as science is, while the right seems to think that ordinary science like evolution is as morally questionable as leftist certainty is.
For myself, I tend to be alienated, since both sides are far too much into herd thinking, while philosophy rises above politics (in the ideal sense it does, anyway). Relatively “right-wing” philosophers like Nietzsche frequently converge with leftist philosophies like Marxism, at least when discussing what drives the politics of bourgeois society. And almost no politically-driven persons can do anything with Marx or Nietzsche except to pick what they like (and sometimes twist what they don’t into something they do) and use it to bolster their own particular bourgeois preferences.
I have little problem with David’s depiction of the left and its bad faith, then, I just haven’t seen too much good faith on the right, either. Russell’s statement is pretty much on the nose, as far as I can see, and there is little reason to privilege either side as being “better” than the other. The sides are different, it is true, but seem equally prone to misapprehension–only in different ways–and few of either have any comprehension even that they have blind spots.
Individuals rise above the bad faith of both sides. But only those who see that can enter into useful discussion even of the problem, and so far I can see little evidence that Klinghoffer knows how to sort the good from the bad. Importantly, wouldn’t he be able to discuss the lack of evidence for ID, if he could sort good from bad? He can’t, which is why he resorts to diatribes against the hated “Darwinists.”
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Phil

posted July 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm


Save for the fact that “hated Darwinists” have hijacked freedom of inquiry in science. Are responsible for genocide, eugenics and the Soviet nightmare! I wouldn’t trust an atheist with taking out my trash!



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Lauren

posted July 13, 2009 at 3:09 pm


Mr. Klinghoffer,
Obviously the comments from your previous articles have shaken and upset you, however it is important to remember that the world is hardly black and white. There are vindictive people on the Left and Right. I think you see your articles as merely unorthodox however to many people they hurt and they offend. Perhaps you should ask yourself why beyond “They are big left meanies!” I would hope you are more intellectually curious then that.
I think—and this is my opinion, especially as a straight person I can’t speak for the LGBT community—more people, especially LBGT who don’t agree with you write to you their comments because, unfortunately, your opinion can play a huge role in their lives, due to the fact that you presumably can vote and affect their lives/relationships(aka people in California voting to deny homosexual couples the right to marry).
They are angry and they are frustrated that someone who is completely and willfully ignorant of them and their life has the power the deny them rights based on their ignorance. No one takes a vote to your marriage, but you can take a vote to theirs.
I’d like your opinion on these:
(1) What effect, if any, do you think denying a population the right to marry would have on that population’s relationships?
(2) Do you think that divorce may play a larger role in the destruction of the institution of marriage and harm women more than increased acceptance of homosexuality?



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Glen Davidson

posted July 13, 2009 at 3:17 pm


Are responsible for genocide, eugenics and the Soviet nightmare! I wouldn’t trust an atheist with taking out my trash!

See, it’s just more name-calling from you ignoramuses (you are demonstrably ignorant), even including the typical conflation of the science of evolution with “atheism.”
If you didn’t label and abuse honest people, you’d have to confront your own utter lack of evidence for IDcreationism or for the lies about “Darwinists” being responsible for eugenics, etc. So would David. You’d have to look at the real enemies of knowledge and truth (at least in this area), yourselves.
That is what you cannot do.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 3:50 pm


Are responsible for genocide, eugenics and the Soviet nightmare!
Phil, the Soviet Union sent Darwinists to gulag! Are you so ignorant you don’t know that?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Vavilov
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trofim_Lysenko
More lies. Throw mud and hope it sticks.
Who were the Darwinists in Rwanda? What Darwinists exterminated the native Americans from 1500 – 1900?



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 13, 2009 at 3:55 pm


Phil, the Soviet Union rejected Darwinism and sent Darwinists to Gulag.
You have no business commenting on subjects you know absolutely nothing about.
The Soviet Union embraced Lysenkoism, which involves the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Darwinism does not allow this, and it was rejected as “fascist” science–so you are the one agreeing with Stalin here, not me.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm


Lauren, what is the matter with you, The Kling is on a mission from God.
If we have learned anything in this world post 9/11, beware of people on missions from god



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Michael

posted July 13, 2009 at 5:42 pm


In response to Lauren
Lauren writes:
>(1) What effect, if any, do you think denying a
>population the right to marry would have on that
>population’s relationships?
The phrasing of this question validates my view of the left: The Left (exemplified by Lauren), views people who disagree with them as evil. The right (exemplified by David) views people who disagree with them as wrong. The left sees no difference between ‘evil’ and ‘wrong’. The left simply can not accept the idea that principled arguments exist that oppose their world-view.
Now, to answer Lauren’s question. When a free people choose to codify their moral views AND that codification only arises after a thorough boiling in the public pot, its larger effect is to preserve liberty. As for marriage, by resisting the redefinition of marriage, society continues and reinforces an institution upon which its moral structure is built. The effect on those that want to get married, but not play by the rules, is irrelevant (until the rules are changed, of course)… But we have a system in place by which rules can be changed.
Put more simply, in a society like ours, based as it is on democratic liberalism, there are bound to be winners and losers. The losers pick themselves up and get back into the fray. That’s it. Nothing more.
>(2) Do you think that divorce may play a larger role in
>the destruction of the institution of marriage and harm
>women more than increased acceptance of homosexuality?
No. Divorce does not seek to redefine marriage.
Cheers,
Michael



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Turmarion

posted July 13, 2009 at 6:23 pm


Glen at 2:49 PM: Good post–I’d pretty much agree with it. As far back as the French Revolution, when they tried to impose a religion of reason, there has been a quasi-religious aspect to some sections of the Left. Moreover, many of the causes fought for by those on the Left (civil rights, women’s suffrage, workers’ rights, etc.) were in fact noble causes that were opposed by those who benefited from the status quo. Perhaps a combination of these factors helps account for some of the self-righteousness and fervor of some sectors of the Left. They feel they’re always on the side of the angels and have the fervor of true believers.
On the other hand, the Right, by definition tend to favor the status quo (or sometimes the status quo ante). If you don’t want things to change, and the information indicates that you need to change, you’re motivated to ignore, deny, or dismiss the information. It’s sort of like the psychology of the confirmed smoker who doesn’t want to believe the doctor when he tells him he has to quit smoking, and dismisses it with “Ah, my uncle Mort smoked and lived until he was ninety-five!” Which is fallacious reasoning, of course, but it protects you from having to take seriously changing your life. Maybe this is behind the denial of settled facts by the Right.
In any case, I completely agree with you that there’s stupidity, impoliteness, and ugliness all around, and the pot and kettle don’t need to be calling each other black, so to speak. There are people on both sides who, as you say, rise above their positions and prejudices, and whom I can thus respect. That requires, of course, actually responding to evidence, being honest in debate, and trying to see the other guy’s side even if one disagrees with it.



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Turmarion

posted July 13, 2009 at 6:31 pm


Michael: The Left (exemplified by Lauren), views people who disagree with them as evil. The right (exemplified by David) views people who disagree with them as wrong. The left sees no difference between ‘evil’ and ‘wrong’. The left simply can not accept the idea that principled arguments exist that oppose their world-view.
Sweeping generalizations, anyone? There may be elements of this, as both Glen and I pointed out (in different phraseology), but it’s a bit much to imply that all on the right and left are such. By the way, if you read a lot of the criticism of Obama in the right-wing blogosphere, or remember how people at McCain/Palin rallies were yelling, regarding Obama, “Socialist! Communist!” and sometimes even “Kill him!”, then I think you’d see that some on the Right do think the opposition is evil. Also note the attitudes of many pro-lifers–and I’m pro-life myself–who often think those on the pro-choice side are wanton baby-killers mere centimeters removed from Adolf Hitler or Joseph Mengele.
Once again, let’s try not to stereotype or generalize about the people on the other side.



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What's Good for the Goose

posted July 13, 2009 at 7:13 pm


Well now you’ve made Judith Warner a target for ever having defended your right to a heterodox–meaning racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, speciesist, anti-Darwin, anti-left handers, anti female pattern baldness–thinker! Or, to translate into Leftest:!!@@##@@@&&&&@@@@(#$O$IO$!!!!!!



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 7:50 pm


According to this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics
Darwinism did play a role in eugenics.



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Your Name

posted July 13, 2009 at 8:00 pm


And Stalin was not a Darwinian, but he was an atheist. I undertand that he first became an atheist when he read Darwin. He later switched to a form of Lamarckism when he was told by Lysenko that he could increase the wheat harvest by a Lamarckian process.



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reddopto

posted July 13, 2009 at 8:14 pm


I’ve thought about your book to discredit Jesus, and I think as an orthodox Jew, you shouldn’t do that. This is especially true if you are aiming at a gentile adience.
They aren’t under the same moral code that you recognize for yourselves. They don’t have to follow 613 mitsvahs to be righteous, because they are not Jews. If they follow the minimalist code of Noah, and follow one God as best as they understand Him, they should be recognized as righteous.
If you try to do damage to their faith, you could hurt theit status before God, and therefore your action could do harm to them, and could be considered evil.
As an orhtodox Jew, I understand your opinion of Jesus, but if these people are not oppressing you, your should not attempt to destroy their belief.



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David Klinghoffer

posted July 13, 2009 at 8:18 pm


Ladies & gents, don’t forget to check out Lenin’s Darwin monkey, kept on his Kremlin desk for years — an inspiration, no doubt:
http://library.uwsp.edu/aschmetz/Rheinhold's_Monkey/Rheinhold's_Monkey_Page.htm#Lenin



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David Klinghoffer

posted July 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm


Thanks, reddopto, but I don’t think anyone accepts or rejects a religion on the basis simply of someone else’s arguments, so I don’t see a danger.



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Turmarion

posted July 13, 2009 at 9:32 pm


Your Name at 7:50: The Spartans exposed “less fit” children almost 2400 years before Darwin. The Spaniards were obsessed with limpieza de sangre (purity of blood) a half-millennium before Darwin. Eugenics has been around a long, long time. Some latter-day eugenicists may have used some of Darwin’s ideas, in a distorted way not intended by their originator, to justify themselves; but as many of us have pointed out time and again here, the abuse or distortion of an idea has nothing at all to do with the concept per se. Hitler and Lenin cannot be blamed on Darwin, nor do their actions and beliefs or what they had on their desks have the slightest relevance to evolutionary biology.



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Michael

posted July 13, 2009 at 11:02 pm


Turmarion wrote:
>Once again, let’s try not to stereotype or
>generalize about the people on the other side.
Generalizations are the mother of all wisdom. The question you should ask is “Is the generalization accurate?” If I generalize, for example, by claiming that “seat belts save lives”, would you argue that the generalization is not true because in some cases seat belts do not save lives in car crashes? Your claim that one should not generalize is absurd on its face.
If I generalize by saying that liberals support the U.N. and conservatives do not, how can you deny that that is accurate. To advance a prohibition against generalizations is to stifle the discussion.
Now, you might think the generalization is inaccurate. Fair enough. If you do, then attack the accuracy of the generalization. But generalizing is a legitimate and valid way to make a point.
Now, here’s an example of perfectly good generalization that just happens to be wrong: Howard Dean famously said that “Our moral values, in contradistinction to the Republicans, is we don’t think kids should go to bed hungry at night.” He’s not wrong for making the generalization. His generalization is simply untrue. I’ve never met a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or otherwise, who thinks kids SHOULD go to bed hungry at night.
(BTW: Dean’s generalization is just one example of how Democrats and Leftists portray their ideological opponents as evil — Not just wrong, but evil.)
Here’s another generalization along the same lines as Howard Dean’s: I could generalize that environmentalists who deny 3rd world equatorial nations the use of DDT don’t care about children dying from malaria. The difference here is that I can support this generalization with the observation that DDT manifestly prevents widespread malaria and environmentalists uniformly do everything imaginable to prevent its use. In other words, I would assert that, judged by their actions, environmentalists who oppose the use of DDT DO NOT CARE if 3rd world children die of malaria.
Get it?
Michael
P.S. How do you make the italics, bold, etc.?



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kernestm

posted July 13, 2009 at 11:02 pm


to Gabriel Hanna
Phil, the Soviet Union sent Darwinists to gulag! Are you so ignorant you don’t know that?
They sent a lot more christians and jews, anyone suspected of being against communism.
Are you not aware of that?



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Michael

posted July 13, 2009 at 11:17 pm


>reddopto
>July 13, 2009 8:14 PM
>I’ve thought about your book to discredit Jesus, and I think
> as an orthodox Jew, you shouldn’t do that. This is
>especially true if you are aiming at a gentile adience.
I certainly understand your point, but I’ve read the book and did not arrive at the conclusion that DK “discredited” Jesus in a way that might offend Christians (I am one). In fact, one the main points of his book is “thank God the Jews rejected Jesus because Christianity spread the word of the God of Abraham to all corners of the globe.”
Now we certainly disagree on our theology, liturgical practice, calendars, etc. But both Christian and Jewish moral tradition are based on the values revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures.
Peace,
Michael



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Lauren

posted July 14, 2009 at 9:49 am


“The phrasing of this question validates my view of the left: The Left (exemplified by Lauren), views people who disagree with them as evil. The right (exemplified by David) views people who disagree with them as wrong. The left sees no difference between ‘evil’ and ‘wrong’. The left simply can not accept the idea that principled arguments exist that oppose their world-view.”
What in the world?! The question wasn’t directed at you and besides…I do not view people who disagree with me as evil; in fact in that SAME post I admonished the author from demonizing one side saying that there are not so nice people on both sides…I suspect you read it with your own preconceived notions and saw what you wanted to see.
“No. Divorce does not seek to redefine marriage.”
Oh no? In wedding vows, we promise to be married until “death do us part”; seeing marriage as an institution when to are joined for life. Aren’t we harming the institution of marriage when we allow secular divorce (I’m not speaking of Catholic annulments,etc) and a breaking of those vows. Many people thousands of years ago practiced polygamy…aren’t we the ones, with our insistence on a one man one woman marriage the ones that refined marriage first?



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Phil

posted July 14, 2009 at 10:25 am


Gabriel Hanna,
You state I am ignorant because the soviet atheists killed some of their own kind? Yet you ignore the fact that atheists, when given free reign to govern, have consistently turned into murdering tyrants of their very own people they govern? Is this your defense of these murderers? The method in which you offer defense for the atheistic/materialistic/darwinistic worldview is what is truly without merit (what is ignorant to use your terminology). Though I am indeed ignorant of many things, and do indeed rely on God to guide me in life because of my profound ignorance, At least I have enough mental faculty to see which worldview led the world through unprecedented horror in the 20th century. Do you deny this? Of course the religious are hardly above reproach, the Muslims of late have seemed extremely suspect of merit, but to ignore the unmitigated horror wrought at the atheist and pagan leaders of last century is denialism of the highest caliber. Please read Richard Weikart’s “From Darwin To Hitler” before you try to defend the moral history of Darwinism again. It is really easy to be fooled by your own worldview when you don’t even give Christ a chance to make Himself real to you in the first place.



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Michael

posted July 14, 2009 at 10:51 am


Lauren,
vThe context of you question is clear: In your view, DK’s view may or may not be right (you never address his point). Rather, you argue that DK’s views “hurt and they offend”. Later in your post you accuse DK of being “completely and willfully ignorant of the [LBGT community]”.
So, Lauren: What do we call people who hurt and offend others out of complete and willful ignorance? Good people or bad? As I said, you never addressed DK’s point. All you did was describe how his point of view was characteristic of “bad” people.
On the question of divorce, my claim still stands. The institution is not defined by the vow. The vow is a pledge of allegiance to the institution and its rules. The fact that many of us are unable to keep our vow in no way damages the institution. An analogy that springs to mind is God and mankind — The fact we commit sin in no way diminishes God. Divorce, then, is a human failing, not an institutional one.
The issue at hand is not polygamy. The issue is same-sex marriage. Throughout history, many cultures have condoned, or even exalted, homosexuality. But none of those cultures — not one single one — instituted same-sex marriage.
Cheers,
Michael



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my name here

posted July 14, 2009 at 11:19 am


Michael, if you were to look at cultures that allow smae sex marriage today or who are most likely to allow it tomorrow and compare that to cultures that are LEAST LIKELY to ever allow it, where would you rater live? Your choice, Sweden or Switzerland, for example or Uganda and Saudi Arabia, what is your choice?



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David Anderson

posted July 14, 2009 at 11:49 am


Hate doesn’t emanate from the Right? Yeah, right! (no pun intended)
Apparently you’ve never listened to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, or Mike Savage (very aptly named). And it’s not limited to famous, multi-millionaire commentators. I’ve experienced plenty of hatred from ordinary citizens on the Right.
I’m not saying there aren’t commentators on the Left who employ hateful speech. I know there are. But stop acting like we’re the only ones guilty of it.
For Lauren, I don’t think you’re evil, just wrong. See? Even some of us “hateful” people on the Left know the difference between evil and wrong.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:13 pm


The method in which you offer defense for the atheistic/materialistic/darwinistic worldview is what is truly without merit (what is ignorant to use your terminology)
No, Phil, what is ignorant is that you confuse three entirely unrelated philosophical propositions.
There are atheists who are not Darwinists or materialists. There are Darwinists who are not atheists or materialists. There are materialists who are not Darwinists.
What is ignorant is that you don’t know any history.
You just think all people you disagree with are bad, all believe the same things, and are all in it together.
That is very ignorant.
I actually link to things, quotes, articles, and whatnot. I am a working scientist. What do YOU do? Do I come to your place of work, not knowing anything about what you do, and tell you you’re doing it wrong?



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm


@kernestm:
The vast majority of those sent to Gulag were nominal Communists. And there were Darwinists there too, as well as Jews and Christians and Ukrainian nationalists and Chechens and Tartars and Volga Germans. I’ve read quite a lot about Gulag, more than you it seems.
You can’t claim that the Soviet Union promoted Darwinism without pretending that thirty years just didn’t happen.
Lenin may well have been a Darwinist. He probably believed the Earth goes around the Sun too, in direct contradiction of the plain words of the Bible.



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Phil

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm


Gabriel,
Apparently you a far above my intellect in which you can envision a atheist with no means of explaining his existence by some sort of purely unguided materialistic Darwinian methodology. Though I am sure you have all this figured out in your self-assured scientific brain (all bow to the scientists) I am not quite as convinced as you are that what you believe is in fact reality. In fact I am rather firmly convinced your conjectures are all purely fantasy in nature.



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Turmarion

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:09 pm


Michael, here and here, among others, are articles debunking the canard that banning DDT led to increased malaria deaths. I could post much more, but the system tends to kick out comments with too many links. Thus, your generalization is untrue, as in my opinion are the generalizations that liberals think their opponents are evil, whereas conservatives think theirs are wrong.
E.g. many conservatives often attack pro-choicers as “baby killers”, or those who believe in anthropogenic global warming as fronts to push sinister anti-business, big government plans to clamp greater controls on us. Don’t even get me started on the names that the Clintons and Obama have been called in the right-wing press and blogosphere, or the people at McCain-Palin rallies who in reference to Obama yelled “Socialist! Marxist! Kill him!” to such an extent that even McCain had to tell them to quit it. For that matter, a good personal friend of mine (with whom I have sharp political differences) has actually said in all seriousness that he thinks leading liberals actually are evil, and that other liberals are their useful idiots (I’m not making this up).
Of course, if you read what I just wrote carefully, you’ll notice that unlike you, I did not say “conservatives” or “all conservatives” but carefully qualified it by saying “many” and “often”. I don’t think most conservatives think liberals are evil, but those who do aren’t uncommon. Frankly, there are a lot of bad attitudes on both sides, and if they’d listen to each other and stop making unsupported or inaccurate generalizations, things would be a little better.
As to italics and such: for italics, use (I’m not typing it correctly since it would make it italicized and you couldn’t see it then), then type in the text to be in italics, then close with . For bold, do the same but use b in place of i. To embed a link, type in , then your text, then close with . Hope that helps. You can also google “html codes” to get a more comprehensive list.



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Turmarion

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm


OK, trying to type out the code didn’t work! Sorry about that. Just Google “html codes” and it will explain what to do.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm


Apparently you a far above my intellect in which you can envision a atheist with no means of explaining his existence by some sort of purely unguided materialistic Darwinian methodology.
There were atheists before Darwin ever lived. There were atheists after Darwin, who were Lamarckists. I don’t expect you ever heard of George Bernard Shaw, but he wrote “Pygmalion”, which was made into a movie called “My Fair Lady”. Shaw was also a socialist and a eugenicist, who rejected Darwin.



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Dennis

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:52 pm


David’s mistreatment at Brown is most unfortunate. Perhaps it can enable him to have a slight bit more empathy for LGBT people who suffer from religious intolerance. Psychological research shows that extremeists from both the left and the right are highly psychologically similar–intolerant of ambiguity, rigid, and hostile.
What I was most moved by was David saying, “I don’t approve of myself half the time.” How very sad. That is no way to live. Buddhism might be of help for him. It’s primary concern is the cause and cure of our suffering (in contrast to physical pain.) (It teaches us to avoid extremes-the Middle Way; one can be too Buddhist–or Jewish. It says that our suffering is primarily caused by the way we think. David’s suffering is caused by his negative view of himself. May he have the courage and patience to change his mind.



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Olorin

posted July 14, 2009 at 6:02 pm


Gabriel Hanna (July 13, 2009 3:55 PM}: “Phil, the Soviet Union rejected Darwinism and sent Darwinists to Gulag.”
Your Name (July 13, 2009 7:50 PM): “According to this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics Darwinism did play a role in eugenics.”
Both sides in this sub-debate are wrong. The ID creationists continue to try to trash evolution by impugning the character and morals of those who accept Darwin’s theory. The evolutionists respond by refuting these attacks. But both sides are heaping irrelevant arguments onto the bonfire of this sub-debate.
The relevant point is that the truth or falsity of scientific theory does not stand or fall with the character, beliefs, morals, or knowledge of their founders or proponents.
Creationists, can’t falsify evolution even if all evolutionists in the entire world throughout history were eugenicists. Including the rabid Darwinists of 4thC BCE Sparta, who prohibited unsuitable marriages and left inferior newborns on the hillsides to die.
The creationists are applying religious arguments to scientific questions. Since they could theoretically falsify Islam by demonstrating that Mohamed was an evil person, they believe that they can falsify the whole theory of evolution by showing that Darwin was evil. Guess what, guys. You are trying to play chess by the rules of checkers. You can’t win by double-jumping my rook.
And the scientists seem always to fall into this trap, and merely try to rehabilitate their heroes. Wake up! Call the creationists on the speciousness of their arguments. Call them down on the evidence. Checkmate their king.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 6:57 pm


The relevant point is that the truth or falsity of scientific theory does not stand or fall with the character, beliefs, morals, or knowledge of their founders or proponents.
Obviously not, Olorin, but lies should not go unanswered.
Hitler was not a Darwinist, neither was Stalin, and Darwinism cannot be blamed for their crimes.
Call the creationists on the speciousness of their arguments. Call them down on the evidence. Checkmate their king.
What do you think we’ve been doing for 150 years now? What do you do when you say “Checkmate” and your opponent kicks over the board and demands a rematch?



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Olorin

posted July 14, 2009 at 9:13 pm


Gabriel Hanna: “Obviously not, Olorin, but lies should not go unanswered.”
I didn’t mean that we should ignore the lies. But we should not let them get away with shifting the focus of the debate. Creationists are very good at that.



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Michael

posted July 14, 2009 at 10:09 pm


Response to Turmarion (14 July, 2009 1:09 PM)
You’re correct. I really ought to have qualified my generalizations using words like “most”, “in general”, etc. I’m not in the least trying to be sarcastic. Yours is a good criticism and I take it to heart. So, let me give it another try: Most leftists and Democrats see their ideological opponents as “bad” or “evil” or “vindictive”. Such attacks suggest that emotion, not reason, generally rules the intellect of the liberal/leftist.
Let me be more specific. I’m really referring here to serious people — not the run of the mill home-blogger. Writers who publish in magazines such as The Nation, Soujourner, the editorial staff of the New York Times, The American Prospect, Mother Jones; or posters in such lefty blogs as the Huffington Post, The Daily Kos, Salon, Alternet, AmericanBlog, Slate, etc. Many of these writers do not view ad hominem arguments as logically illegitimate. Often as not, they work hard to outdo each other in vituperation.
On the Malaria issue, I do not count Slate and other political organs as sources in matters such as this. Allow me to provide you with some rather more substantive views on the efficacy of malaria control using DDT:
From Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry:
DDT is inarguably a toxic substance (e.g., it kills mosquitoes). However, for toxic effects to be expressed in humans and animals, studies have shown that large amounts, far larger than used for mosquitoe control, are required. When such studies are performed in humans, the toxic effects usually subside within 24 hours. Long term studies in humans (small amounts ingested over 5 to 10 year periods) show no significant increase in cancer. However, similar studies in animals, notably rats, have shown an increase in the incidence of hepatic cancers.
The WHO expert committee report on Malaria
A very long and comprehensive report. WHO now claims that over 25 million lives were saved during the time DDT was used for malaria (and typhus) prevention. As a consequence, they have changed their stance on the use of DDT. WHO now recommends its use – especially the spraying of indoor walls and doorframes. Evidently, the WHO scientists do not consult Slate editorial writers when contemplating how to save the lives of children subject to malarial infection.
This thread has deviated away from the topic of DK’s original post and my observation that he ought not to have been surprised at the vitriol expressed by many of those who disagree with him. It’s been fun and is now time for me to move on to other topics.
Cheers,
Michael



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Phil

posted July 15, 2009 at 6:27 am


The “Fruit of Materialism/Atheism”
Matthew 7:15-17
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces bad fruit.”
The Fruit of Evolution – video
http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/fruit.xml
From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A
Stalin’s Brutal Faith
http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=276
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression:
Excerpt: Essentially a body count of communism’s victims in the 20th century, the book draws heavily from recently opened Soviet archives. The verdict: communism was responsible for between 85 million and 100 million, non-war related, deaths in the century. (Of Note: Atheistic Communism is defined as Dialectic Materialism)
http://www.amazon.com/Black-Book-Communism-Crimes-Repression/dp/0674076087



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Phil

posted July 15, 2009 at 6:34 am


Stalin’s Brutal Faith,
Excerpt:
There is one man-book amalgam which may have been even more determinative for Stalin, especially during his youthful, impressionable years. The man was Charles Darwin; the book–his The Origin of Species.
To document this, appeal is made first to a book published in Moscow entitled, Landmarks in the Life of Stalin. It was written during Stalin’s “glory,” and was designed to set him in a positive light. Note in the selection cited, that faith in Darwin and his “book” contrasts markedly with faith in a supreme being:
At a very early age, while still a pupil in the ecclesiastical school, Comrade Stalin developed a critical mind and revolutionary sentiments. He began to read Darwin and became an atheist.
G. Glurdjidze, a boyhood friend of Stalin’s, relates:
“I began to speak of God, Joseph heard me out, and after a moment’s silence, said:
“‘You know, they are fooling us, there is no God. . . .’
“I was astonished at these words, I had never heard anything like it before.
“‘How can you say such things, Soso?’ I exclaimed.
“‘I’ll lend you a book to read; it will show you that the world and all living things are quite different from what you imagine, and all this talk about God is sheer nonsense,’ Joseph said.
“‘What book is that?’ I enquired.
“‘Darwin. You must read it,’ Joseph impressed on me” 1
A few pages later, another individual–also reflecting on Stalin’s youthful pursuits, added the following:
“. . .in order to disabuse the minds of our seminary students of the myth that the world was created in six days, we had to acquaint ourselves with the geological origin and age of the earth, and be able to prove them in argument; we had to familiarize ourselves with Darwin’s teachings.”1
The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression:
Excerpt: Essentially a body count of communism’s victims in the 20th century, the book draws heavily from recently opened Soviet archives. The verdict: communism was responsible for between 85 million and 100 million, non-war related, deaths in the century. (Of Note: Atheistic Communism is defined as Dialectic Materialism)
From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A
Matthew 7:15-17
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces bad fruit.”



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 15, 2009 at 12:44 pm


Okay, Phil, pretend thirty years of Lysenkoism DIDN’T HAPPEN.
You NEVER addressed that. Darwinism was ILLEGAL in the SOVIET UNION for THIRTY YEARS because of STALIN.
Stalin’s crimes are not in dispute–I own a copy of the Black Book of Communism.
Quit lying for Jesus, do some real history and real science, and then people might respect you.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism
Lysenko did not apply actual science. He was a proponent of the ideas of Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin, and practiced a form of Lamarckism, insisting on the change in species among plants through hybridization and grafting, as well as a variety of other non-genetic techniques. With this came, most importantly, the implication that acquired characteristics of an organism — for example, the state of being leafless as a result of having been plucked — could be inherited by that organism’s descendants.
From 1934 to 1940, under Lysenko’s admonitions and with Stalin’s approval, many geneticists were executed (including Isaak Agol, Solomon Levit, Grigorii Levitskii, Georgii Karpechenko and Georgii Nadson) or sent to labor camps. The famous Soviet geneticist Nikolai Vavilov was arrested in 1940 and died in prison in 1943…
In 1948, genetics was officially declared “a bourgeois pseudoscience”; all geneticists were fired from work (some were also arrested), and all genetic research was discontinued. Nikita Khrushchev, who claimed to be an expert in agricultural science, also valued Lysenko as a great scientist, and the taboo on genetics continued (but all geneticists were released or rehabilitated posthumously). The ban was only waived in the mid 1960s.
Thus, Lysenkoism caused serious, long-term harm to Soviet biology. It represented a serious failure of the early Soviet leadership to find real solutions to agricultural problems, allowing their system to be hijacked by a charlatan — at the expense of many human lives. Lysenkoism also spread to China, where it continued long after it was eventually denounced by the Soviets.



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