Posts Tagged 'politics'

Concerned Women For America Issues Groundbreaking Survey Results

As reported on Right Wing Watch, CWA (shudder) has surveyed its own members and arrived at some startling conclusions about homosexuality:

Last fall, Concerned Women for America (CWA) conducted a survey of its members’ opinions about the impact of the radical homosexual agenda in the public schools. Thousands of members participated in the survey. As expected, CWA members feel strongly about these issues. They are rightly alarmed at the pervasive influence of activists whose agenda has nothing to do with education and everything to do with evangelizing young people into a dangerous and harmful lifestyle.

The results of the National Impact Survey of the Radical Homosexual Agenda on America’s Public Schools showed overwhelming support for common-sense approaches to education. Clearly, CWA members have a strong preference for schools to be free of radical politics and free to focus on the “Three Rs.” The radical homosexual agenda has nothing to do with education and no place in our public schools. (Source)

Yes, they actually called the survery ‘National Impact Survey of the Radical Homosexual Agenda on America’s Public Schools’. What kind of jackasses are running CWA? (Actually, don’t answer that – I’m pretty sure I already know.)

I also have to object to constant use of the word ‘radical’. Thankfully, suggesting that homosexuality is not a sin is no longer ‘radical’ – controversial if you’re talking to brainwashed fundies, yes, but we’re not living in the 1940’s any more.

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Creationist Nonsense – A Brief Roundup

I haven’t got much time for blogging right now, so here are two oppurtunities for you to go and laugh at Creationists:

Via that ‘Community Post’ thing on the WordPress dashboard, this exasperated plea for some sort of intelligence (or reading comprehension skills) among Creationists. The comments section has really exploded, too, so wade in if you feel like it.

Sickening at times, frustrating and maddening always. The claims of a Y.E.C. (Young Earth Creationist), who purports the earth is less than ten thousand years old, have nothing to base their claims upon other than a book deemed sacred by its creators. Instead, with little to substantiate any assertion they make, the YECs go on the offensive and attempt to attack evolutionary theory, a well supported scientific understanding in regards to the process of change in biological organisms over time and how this explains biodiversity on the planet.

A noble endeavour, but how many times has your average YEC been told this? They just aren’t listening.

Elsewhere, P.Z. Meyers is also pleading for some sort of return to common sense, but his rather magnificent smackdown is aimed solely at the Texas Board of Education, which seems to be enthusiastically running science education into the ground:

The Texas Board of Education is led by Don McLeroy, a creationist dentist and plagiarist who believes that the earth is only 6000 years old.

Just stop there and savor it. The man who wants to dictate what all of the children in one of the largest educational systems in the country should learn about science believes his pathetic and patently false superstition supersedes the evidence and the informed evaluation of virtually all the scientists in the world. There is no other way to put it than to point out that McLeroy is a blithering idiot who willingly puts his incompetence on display. His job is not at risk, and he’s even advancing his freakish agenda with some success.

[…]

But wait! The unbelievable insanity is not yet complete! The Texas school board is debating and will vote on a revised curriculum this week, a curriculum in which the uninformed, uneducated doubts of this arrogantly ignorant man will be enshrined in the lesson plans of every child in Texas. And the board is about evenly split!

I’m usually fairly polite when I talk to Creationists, but I feel this is the appropriate tone to take when they turn dangerous (that is, get some sort of actual power or influence).

Do you live in Texas? Are you opposed to raging lunacy? If so, get out there and do something!

‘Gay Affluence’ May Be a Myth

A recent study has apparently killed the idea that gay people tend to be more affluent than their heterosexual counterparts:

Lesbian couples are more likely to be poor than married heterosexuals, and children of same-sex parents are twice as likely to live in poverty as those of traditional married couples, a new report shows.

UCLA’s Williams Institute, which studies gay issues, says its report out today is the first to analyze poverty among gay and lesbian couples.

The report is an analysis of the most recent data on same-sex unmarried partners from the 2000 Census and two smaller surveys that include questions on sexual orientation. Together, it argues, they debunk “a popular stereotype (that) paints lesbians and gay men as an affluent elite.” (Source)

Interesting stuff, and I have to admit to buying the ‘gays are more wealthy’ stereotype myself. I actually know several gay couples who are definitely better-off in monetary terms than their heterosexual friends, for the simple reason that they have no children to support and therefore have a much higher level of disposable income. They’re not rolling in cash, but they they’re also among the few couples in their social circles who aren’t suffering under a huge amount of debt right now. Of course, I also know of several gay people who are living under a mountain of debt, so I guess that should have warned me not to make generalisations.

This raises some interesting questions about anti-discimination laws. If a study similar to this found that a racial minority group (or women) were at a monetary disadvantage compared to the rest of society, one obvious solution would be to ensure that they’re not being disciminated against in the job market. But, as I’ve said before, homosexuals are still very much an ‘acceptable target’ – it is still seen as socially acceptable by many to hold views about gay men and women that would be considered incredibly prejudiced under any other circumstances. To those who are opposed to anti-discrimination laws, ask yourselves this: if you knew for sure that voting against an anti-discimination law would lead to an increase in poverty among gay men and women, would you still do it?

Gay Parenting

This is more of a request for information than anything else. When it comes to gay parenting, their seem to be two alternate realities existing side-by-side: one in which all of the research indicates that the children of gay parents grow up to be as ‘normal’ as any other children, and one in which all of the research indicates the exact opposite.

If you’ve ever argued for either of these wildly divergant worlds being the ‘true’ one, I need your help. Comment on this post with a link to the study or statistic you use to back up your argument, and be specific: I’m looking for actual academic sources here, not Americans For Truth or some gay activist’s blog with no citations.

If you don’t know where to find that information…well, perhaps you’d rethink your position?

(And this isn’t just me making some sort of point in a roundabout way. I’m genuinely looking for information.)

Vermont Moves Closer To Marriage Equality

The atheist blogosphere is alight with reports of a pastor impersonating an atheist by suggesting that killing people for no reason is morally acceptable. I’m assuming he’s hopping on the ever-popular ‘There are no intellectually honest atheists’ bandwagon, which means his credibility is pretty much shot right there.

The GLBT blogosphere is similarly aflame over Vermont’s progressive stance on same-sex marriage:

MONTPELIER, Vt. – A state Senate committee unanimously approved a gay marriage bill on Friday, moving Vermont one step closer to allowing same-sex couples to legally wed.

“It provides … gay and lesbian couples the same rights that I have as a married heterosexual,” said Sen. John Campbell, vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chief sponsor of the bill.

The measure would replace Vermont’s first-in-the-nation civil unions law with one that allows marriage of same-sex partners beginning Sept. 1. (Source)

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that things are still moving forward, although the many recent setbacks paints a rather disturbing scenario: in ten year’s time, will there be a sharp divide between those states that recognise gay marriage and those that don’t? The way things are going, that doesn’t seem too unlikely, and such a division would raise a number of difficulties for married gay couples who wanted to travel or move permenantly to a state with differing marriage laws.

The developments in Vermont have predictably been unpopular with the Religious Right, and I’ve seen several bloggers suggest that the issue should have been voted on. (I’m guessing they wouldn’t be highlighting this grevious injustice if the bill had been struck down.) I still mantain that it’s too early to say that legalised gay marriage is inevitable (we’re not quite there yet), but I wonder how many on the anti-equality side realise that they’re probably fighting a losing battle.

I Totally Called It

Apparently, Ann Coulter is ‘probably’ going to stop writing books.

Why? Because of ‘increasing taxes on the rich by the Obama administration’. While the world will be a better, more hopefuly place the minute Coulter stops publishing, there is a frightening undertone to the announcement: she was making enough money to consider herself ‘wealthy’.

Do we really need any greater evidence of the total amorality of the universe? No? I thought not.

Comedy Hour, Conservapedia Style

Today is apparently some sort of ‘Atheist pride’ day, so I shall quickly fulfill my contractual obligations:

I am extremely proud to be an atheist. Well, that’s not entirely true; I don’t see being an atheist as something that one should be ‘proud’ of. But I’m not ashamed of being an atheist, so I guess that’s something.

But instead of engaging in intellectual self-gratification, let’s all celebrate atheism by dissecting a truly miserable example of an attempt at discrediting it. You may be lucky enough to have never visited Conservapedia – if so, keep your unsullied cursor as far away from that vile link as possible. (Should you be using some sort of newfangled touch-screen device, even greater caution is advised.) Those of you who have already been exposed to its toxic influence, however, may safely peruse its decaying ‘Atheism’ series with me.

Conservapedia likes to say that it’s  ‘honest’ and ‘trustworthy’, unlike that hippy-infested other encyclopedia. This is a filthy lie, and everyone involved probably knows it. The Conservapedia editors engage in just about every act of intellectual dishonesty in the book, all of which are present in their Atheism series. Taken as a whole, it resembles a sort of deadly cocktail of stupidity, ignorance and dishonesty the likes of which you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere on the internet. Here’s a brief rundown of its biggest failings.

Accentuating the negative. There are very few movements or ideas that are completely bad. Even the Nazi party, who most people would agree are pretty close to being the living embodiment of pure evil, did some good during their reign. Intellectual honesty demands that one admits this.

The Conservapedia editors apparently disagree, as their main atheism article is almost entirely negative. Nietzche and other ‘unsavoury’ atheists are brought up frequently, and atheists in generally are implied to hold a great many unpopular beliefs. (Beyond the obvious ones, I mean). This habit of accentuating the negative aspects of atheists reaches a ludicrous height with the heading ‘Tenuousness of Atheism in Prominent Atheists’, which cites exactly two examples as evidence: Charsles Darwin and Jean-Paul Sartre. Well, I’m convinced.

The God-damn quote mining. I don’t have to explain what ‘quote-mining’ is, do I? It’s one of the most irritating practices that Creationists engage in (among much else, of course), and you can find examples of it on the less reputable Creationist websites and blogs. Which is to say, 99% of them.

According to Munich theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg “Atheism as a theoretical position is in decline worldwide.”[108] Given that the evolutionary position is a often cited component of the ideology of atheism in the Western world, the gradual loss of public support of the evolutionary position is one of the many factors which are eroding the ideology of atheism. Oxford scholar Alister McGrath cites a number of additional factors in regards to the decline of atheism as an intellectual position.[109] [110]

Given the many factors which are eroding atheism as a intellectual position McGrath states:

…Atheism is in trouble. Its future seems increasingly to lie in the private beliefs of individuals rather than in the great public domain it once regarded as its natural habitat.[111]

This is not how you write an encyclopedia article, you twits.

Conservapedia is pretty much built on the practice of quote mining. Its articles are positively stuffed with quotes, usually taken as authoritative evidence for sweeping generalisations or even for factual statements. (The evolution article is, predictably, the absolute epitomy of this. Horrifyingly, it’s also their current ‘Article of the Year’.) The quotes they use are very obviously picked in order to fit with the general ‘atheism is bad’ theme of tha article, which brings us to the next problem…

It’s biased as hell. Despite Conservapedia’s stated mission, it’s one of the most blatantly biased sites on the internet. The atheism article is not an explanation of what atheism is, it’s an explanation of what atheism is plus endless poorly thought out reasons for believing that atheism is bad. The evolution travesty is the same, except that it doesn’t even include a coherent explanation of the theory.

Perusing Conservapedia’s sources and references reveals an unsurprising bias at work there as well – WorldNetDaily (yes, really), Christian apologetics websites and Creationist books are frequently used, while places where you’re likely to find opposing views seem to be largely ignored.

The writing is terrible. It’s really, really terrible. The first paragraph of the Atheism article is confusingly worded as if it’s the introduction to an essay rather than an encyclopedia article, and most of the headings are laughable. There’s no real order to anything, which is why we’re treated to such diverse and important topics as ‘Atheism and Deception‘ and ‘Anti-Atheism Blogs‘. The Wikipedia article, on the other hand, moves from definitions to common rationale to history, but I guess coherent structure is a hallmark of liberal-commie-homosexual-evolutionists.

I’m sure there’s more, but trawling through the site’s seedier back-alleys is giving me a headache. It’s not all bad, though – I found a book called Refuting Evolution, which is available online for free! Having skimmed some of it, I can heartily recommend it. Not as anything even remotely resembling science education, mind you, but it does serve as an excellent compendium of Creationist stupidity.

If you’ve got any more hilariously awful sites that need to get more attention, let me know in the comments section.