Religious Right to Obama: Drop Dead

Here is a response to Barack Obama's reachout to "values voters":

As the Chicago Tribune reported recently, Obama is set to attend a huge evangelical gathering in California on Dec. 1, at the invitation of megachurch Pastor Rick Warren, the evangelical superstar who wrote The Purpose-Driven Life. Analysts have interpreted Obama's scheduled appearance as a sign he's working much harder than Dems ordinarily do to win over Evangelicals.

But the appearance is now provoking an intense backlash from leaders of the Christian right. They are calling on Warren to disinvite Obama from the event because of his liberal positions, especially abortion rights — or as one of those leaders put it, Obama's support of "the murder of babies in the womb."

Obama's efforts are running into fierce resistance. For instance, an open letter from a group of Christian-Right figures — including Phylis Schlafly, Tim Wildmon and others — criticizes the invitiation by citing Obama's pro-choice stance and his support for condom distribution in answer to the AIDS epidemic, "not chaste behavior as directed by the Bible." The letter ends, "No, Mr. Warren, Mr. Obama, we will never work with those can support the murder of babies in the womb."

I told you so:

[T]there is only one thing that will satisfy "values" voters enough to put them in play for Democrats -- he knows it, Amy Sullivan knows it, you know it. Abandon a woman's right to choose.

So what say you now Senator Obama? What does Jim Wallis, who is anti-choice, think of this? Reality bites. More.

I have said this many times:

Democrats [will] not [abandon the right to choose], [and] it would boggle the mind if they even contemplated it. It would be political suicide. The Democratic Party would cease to exist. If the repeal of a woman's right to choose is your number one issue - then you should be a Republican really. And nothing is going to change that. So now, what is the correct political response to the Republican Party's marriage to the Religious Right?

Let's think now. Terri Schiavo. Stem cell research. The attack on science. How's that working out for the GOP this cycle? Does anyone see any political opportunities for Democrats here? Of course there are. Anyone who is not a fool knows what is there - like Lincoln and FDR, the Democrats need to negatively brand the GOP - now as a Party enslaved to the extremist, anti-science, anti-choice, anti-education Religious Right - the Party of Dobson.

Moderate voters disapprove of this aspect of the GOP. EVERY poll says so. Why then this continued nonsense from Amy Sullivan, the DLC, Barack Obama and now, Kevin Drum? Frankly, I have no idea. These are smart people. I can not explain why they are so dumb on this. And yes, what they are on this is dumb.
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    I guess Obama's response... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 07:51:22 PM EST
    ...will define him. Possibly out of existence.

    What (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by aw on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 07:52:53 PM EST
    is Obama trying to do, exactly?  Convert these people?

    Trying to buy votes? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 07:55:23 PM EST
    It will be interesting to see how much he's willing to spend.

    Or sell (none / 0) (#4)
    by aw on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:02:22 PM EST

    Same thing? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:07:22 PM EST
    No? ;-)

    You know what's wrong with you? (3.00 / 1) (#9)
    by aw on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:27:26 PM EST

    You're always right.

    *Stolen from Charade.


    It was a great movie! (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:43:39 PM EST
    But I'm wrong a lot more often than not, actually.

    awww, jeez.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 09:19:37 PM EST
    I did it again, huh?

    Lay off on Obama (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by MSS on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:22:03 PM EST
    Sorry, folks:

    I think that Barak Obama is a decent and thoughtful person, and appreciate his attempts to reach out to the Christian community.

    If the evangelicals don't agree to his appearance, too bad for them. But if they DO -- even with ill will -- it's another opportunity for them to see that Democrats (yes, even pro-choice Dems) are actually thoughtful and compassionate people. That's NOT a bad thing.

    And if Jim Wallis continues to be pro-choice, but agrees with me on other issues, that's not a bad thing, either.

    Would I prefer to have someone in office who agrees with me on every single thing? Of course! But if that isn't going to happen (and guess what: it isn't going to happen), then I don't think it's necessary to complain about the ways that Wallis or Obama thinks differently than I do.

    If either Wallis OR Obama were to trash my positions or make it more difficult for the environment to be protected or for a woman to have the right to choose, then I'd object. But that's not the case here.

    Chill, please.

    If? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:36:14 PM EST
    They both are doing that.

    Wallis expressly.

    Obama by bad politics.

    Sorry if you have sacred cows. I do not.


    But you can be respectful, BTD. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Kitt on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 11:47:59 PM EST
    To who? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 09:04:27 AM EST
    To people who disrespect me like Jim Wallis? How come he can not be respectful?

    Are ya kidding? (none / 0) (#22)
    by Kitt on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 10:39:33 AM EST
    Because it's the decent thing to do, and you're a man, not some baby sucking on a pacifier. Come on! Don't you know this stuff?!

    Sorry - I just realized something (none / 0) (#23)
    by Kitt on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 10:45:27 AM EST
    Who specifically is the 'he' here? I thought you were addressing MSS and the notion of 'sacred cows' specifically. The comments which I've read of MSS's, there's no 'dissing of you going on.

    Wallis agrees with Charles Colson (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by moiv on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:48:35 PM EST
    and the rest of the Christian right that "the right to life is non-negotiable."

    As Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, correctly points out, "Jesus never said one word about homosexuality, never said one word about civil marriage or abortion."

    Jim Wallis meets Dr. Edgar only half way, allowing at least that "Jesus didn't speak at all about homosexuality." But no, Jesus never said a recorded word about abortion, either. Although these days, Wallis does his best to avoid talking about abortion much at all.  

    But before his elevation as an "evangelical progressive" celebrity, together with a Who's Who of the Religious Right that he now says "gets it wrong" -- in lockstep agreement with Gary Bauer, Charles Colson, James Dobson, Robert George, William Kristol, Beverly LaHaye, Richard Land, Bernard Nathanson, Frank Pavone and Ralph Reed -- Jim Wallis signed a lengthy document that said plenty about abortion, culminating in a call for a constitutional amendment to criminalize abortion entirely.  And to this day, adept as he is at dodging questions about his true position, Wallis has yet to repudiate a word of it.

    The letter ends, (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:58:00 PM EST
    "No, Mr. Warren, Mr. Obama, we will never work with those can support the murder of babies in the womb."

    And we'll teach them to be killers shortly after birth, and to kill anyone who won't play along.

    Obama (1.00 / 1) (#18)
    by diogenes on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 06:03:59 AM EST
    At least some evangelical christians are registered democrats or independents who can vote in their states' primaries.  Many of they will be unhappy with anyone who favors abortion.  I bet all of them will vote for Obama over Hillary in a primary, and it looks like either of these two needs some of their votes to beat McCain.

    The level of childish spite on this site about Obama has risen to the level of spite about Lieberman.  I know, it's not my site.  But Hillary's only governing experience is a secretly developed and bureaucratic failed health plan and six years of stealth in the senate trying to say and do nothing that could be used against her.  Feingold's out. Al Gore hasn't moved yet.  Who do you liberals want?

    A lot of spite (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 09:03:23 AM EST
    in your comment.

    Wait a second! (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:12:59 PM EST
    Can he play this as 'I gave then a chance to be reasonable, and they showed us their true colors'?
    You can't negotiate with these people, you can't try to talk sense to these people...


    He either... (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:26:04 PM EST
    ...made a very dumb move or a very smart move.

    and I don't see him... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 08:48:09 PM EST
    ...gaining much by this.

    Obama has (none / 0) (#16)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Nov 28, 2006 at 11:45:53 PM EST
    made his peace gesture. The forms of Kanly have been obeyed. (HT to Frank Herbert).

    Go Obama (none / 0) (#19)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 08:40:35 AM EST
    Kudos to him for trying to reach out to the christians.  I wish someone would reach out to us agnostic/atheists, but we are a small minority. I have no objection with pandering to christians, Bill did it, HIllary does it and it is necessary.  Barack is not going to change his mind on a woman's right to choose and he is not a one issue candidate.  If the evangelicals who are stuck on abortion do not want to hear from him, than my guess is they do not want to hear from ANY pro choice person.

    We need mythologists voting left so pander to them Obama, after all, they are pretty easy to sway.

    Re: we are a small minority (none / 0) (#38)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 10:46:45 AM EST
    I wish someone would reach out to us agnostic/atheists

    The Council for Secular Humanism...

    ...is North America's leading organization for non-religious people. A not-for-profit educational association, the Council supports a wide range of activities to meet the needs of people who find meaning and value in life without looking to a god. [...]

    Secular Humanism is a way of thinking and living that aims to bring out the best in people so that all people can have the best in life. Secular humanists reject supernatural and authoritarian beliefs. They affirm that we must take responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation.


    The Largest Atheist / Agnostic Populations (by country)


    Take responsibility (none / 0) (#39)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 10:53:07 AM EST
    Respect seems to be a one-way street (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by aw on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 11:55:59 AM EST
    The Last Taboo Why America Needs Atheism

    In our supposedly secular culture, atheists, like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, are demonized more than renegade believers, like Jimmy Swaggart. Indeed, popular Christian theology suggests that repentant sinners on their way to Heaven will look down upon ethical atheists bound for Hell. Popular spirituality authors, who tend to deny the existence of Hell, and evil, suggest that atheists and other skeptics are doomed to spiritual stasis (the worst fate they can imagine). You might pity such faithless souls, but you wouldn't trust them.

    You might not even extend equal rights to them. America's pluralistic ideal does not protect atheism; public support for different belief systems is matched by intolerance of disbelief. According to surveys published in the early 1980s, before today's pre-millennial religious revivalism, nearly 70 percent of all Americans agreed that the freedom to worship "applies to all religious groups, regardless of how extreme their beliefs are"; but only 26 percent agreed that the freedom of atheists to make fun of God and religion "should be legally protected no matter who might be offended." Seventy-one percent held that atheists "who preach against God and religion" should not be permitted to use civic auditoriums. Intolerance for atheism was stronger even than intolerance of homosexuality.

    Emphasis mine.

    The whole essay is great; there's a lot more.  I especially liked this.

    Champions of more religion in public life are hard put to reconcile the prevailing mistrust of government's ability to manage mundane human affairs -- like material poverty -- with the demand that it address metaphysical problems, like poverty of spirit. It is becoming increasingly popular to argue, for example, that welfare recipients should be deprived of government largess for their own good, to defeat the "culture of dependency," while middle-class believers receive government subsidies (vouchers) to finance the private, religious education of their kids.

    Fixed your link (none / 0) (#41)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 12:02:52 PM EST
    Thanks (none / 0) (#42)
    by aw on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 12:04:20 PM EST
    I should have checked it.

    Good article! (none / 0) (#43)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 12:06:09 PM EST
    Thanks for posting it.

    More dangerous reading (none / 0) (#44)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 12:23:39 PM EST
    Thanks (none / 0) (#45)
    by aw on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 12:56:44 PM EST
    I read it once, but I bookmarked it so I can reread later.  It stirred up some very faint, ancient memories in me.

    The Book... (none / 0) (#46)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 01:13:05 PM EST
    ...and his 'Wisdom of Insecurity' probably had more effect on my worldview than any others. Diamonds in the rough. :-)

    Differences... (none / 0) (#24)
    by mindfulmission on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 01:38:49 PM EST
    BTD...what you are missing is that there is a difference between moderate Evangelicals and the "Religious Right."  

    Obama will never be able to get votes from the Falwells, Robertsons, and Reeds of the world.  But (imo) he has a much better chance of getting votes from church goers who may be against abortion but also want to see something done about the war, about poverty, about the death penalty, about torture, etc.  

    You have a misconception about what an Evangelical, or even a Christian, is.  All Christians do not act/think like Ralph Reed and Jerry Falwell.  Most Christians, and most Evangelicals, fall somewhere in the middle.  They may be conservative on issues like abortion and gay marriage, but they also have a tendency to be fairly liberal on other issues.  

    Evangelicals are not the single-minded thinkers that you pretend they are.

    Therein lies the problem (none / 0) (#25)
    by aw on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 01:51:03 PM EST
    They may be conservative on issues like abortion and gay marriage, but they also have a tendency to be fairly liberal on other issues.  

    Well, this is where the problem lies.  So far, abortion has been non-negotiable for the Democrats.  As a woman and a Democrat, I would leave the party if they abandoned a woman's right to choose (or if they went along with amending the constitution to ban gay marriage).  I have a feeling a lot of others would too.  I agree with BTD that this would destroy the party.


    I do not think it is arguable (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 01:52:26 PM EST
    Just as the anti-choice forces that dominate the GOP would leve the GOP if ir abandoned its stance.

    Why is it a problem? (none / 0) (#30)
    by mindfulmission on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:45:41 PM EST
    Is there really no room for disagreement among those voters who agree with you on a greater scale?

    I don't think that Obama is going to change his stance on abortion because he has convinced moderate Evangelicals to vote for him.

    Many Evangelicals see politics outside of the black and white issues of abortion.  

    For me, I am opposed to abortion, though I am not convinced that it should be illegal.  But I am "liberal" on essentially every other issue that I can think of.  I have on intention of voting for a Republican simply because I would be unable to vote for an anti-abortion Senator here in Illinois.  And I am not alone.

    I love that Obama is willing to reach out to faith communities and embrace his own faith publicly.  but he hasn't exactly moved his politics to the center.  He has simply talked about the role that faith can and will play in society and in politics.

    Of course...there is a fine line between talking about faith and using faith, and I am not sure where Obama is in along that line.  But I don't see him voting to outlaw abortion anytime soon simply because he is reaching out to moderate religious voters.

    You need to understand that Obama is not reaching out to the Right Wing of the religious voters.  He is reaching out to those in the middle, who understand (or at least are capable of understanding) that there is more to life, and politics, than one or two issue.


    I have no misconception (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 01:51:30 PM EST
    It is Obama and Wallis who have the misconception of what DEMOCRATS think of persons of faith.

    Dare I say it, you share that misconception.


    I do not... (none / 0) (#29)
    by mindfulmission on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:40:00 PM EST
    I do not believe that the Democratic Party is hostile to religion.  I believe that there are liberals are are hostile to religion, but I have not seen this in the Party.

    So please don't put words in my mouth.


    Mindful (none / 0) (#31)
    by aw on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 07:38:45 PM EST
    Can you give some examples of influential liberals who are hostile to religion?  I'm pretty fanatic about the separation of church and state, but I'm not hostile to religion.  I have family that run the gamut from atheism to Catholicism to Jewish to Southern Baptist.  What do you make of hostility to atheists?

    Some are hostile to religions followers at least.. (none / 0) (#32)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 09:05:37 PM EST
    ...and probably with good reason, IMO.

    Here's a quote from a commenter at YouTube:

    God and religion is fine, but the followers are fu*ked

    ...in response to George Carlin on Religion.

    Carlin is being comedic of course, but as usual, is very serious and makes some pointed observstions at the same time, e.g.:

    "If there is a god it has to be a man. No women could or would fu*k things up like this!"

    Thank Thor and Odin (none / 0) (#34)
    by aw on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 09:27:29 PM EST
    for George Carlin

    Funny... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 09:33:17 PM EST
    ...that comedians make more sense than most people. Hilarious actually, when you think about it.

    "Keep your friends close and keep your... (none / 0) (#28)
    by Bill Arnett on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 02:12:02 PM EST
    enemies even closer."

    I am of mixed opinions on this, having given up on religion when, as a child of seven, I watched the pastor of our church turn away a black family because, "We are, after-all a white church." Even then I recognized that this was wrong and I never attended church again (I decided I would rather be grounded or whupped before I ever went back; I took a lot of whuppings before my parents gave up).

    OTOH, if we don't make overtures towards them and establish a dialogue, instead of the dual monologues so common today, we can never reach common ground.

    So I believe we must seek out the moderates and, maybe by working with them we might be able to sway some of the nutjobs.

    Hostility to religion (none / 0) (#33)
    by roy on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 09:17:18 PM EST
    Some people practice their religion by insisting that others must be indoctrinated into the same religion, as with school-sponsored prayer and tax-funded nativity scenes.  It's fair to say that Democrats are hostile to that sort of religious person and that sort of religion, but I don't think they should feel bad about it.

    One liberals view that I happen to agree with: (none / 0) (#35)
    by Edger on Wed Nov 29, 2006 at 09:31:43 PM EST
    Why I Am Hostile Toward Religion
    I oppose fundamentalist religion because it is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless eager minds.
    By Richard Dawkins

    Despite my dislike of gladiatorial contests, I seem somehow to have acquired a reputation for pugnacity toward religion. Colleagues who agree that there is no God, who agree that we do not need religion to be moral, and agree that we can explain the roots of religion and of morality in non-religious terms, nevertheless come back at me in gentle puzzlement. Why are you so hostile? What is actually wrong with religion? Does it really do so much harm that we should actively fight against it? Why not live and let live, as one does with Taurus and Scorpio, crystal energy and ley lines? Isn't it all just harmless nonsense?

    I might retort that such hostility as I or other atheists occasionally voice toward religion is limited to words. I am not going to bomb anybody, behead them, stone them, burn them at the stake, crucify them, or fly planes into their skyscrapers, just because of a theological disagreement. But my interlocutor usually doesn't leave it at that. He may go on to say something like this: "Doesn't your hostility mark you out as a fundamentalist atheist, just as fundamentalist in your own way as the wingnuts of the Bible Belt in theirs?" I need to dispose of this accusation of fundamentalism, for it is distressingly common.

    Holy Books vs. Evidence:

    Fundamentalists know they are right because they have read the truth in a holy book and they know, in advance, that nothing will budge them from their belief. The truth of the holy book is an axiom, not the end product of a process of reasoning. The book is true, and if the evidence seems to contradict it, it is the evidence that must be thrown out, not the book. By contrast, what I, as a scientist, believe (for example, evolution) I believe not because of reading a holy book but because I have studied the evidence. It really is a very different matter.


    Here's an interview with Dawkins:
    The Problem with God: Interview with Richard Dawkins
    The renowned biologist talks about intelligent design, dishonest Christians, and why God is no better than an imaginary friend.

    Richard Dawkins (none / 0) (#47)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:21:56 PM EST

    I just recieved in the mail the latest issue of In these times. In it was this article --- The Godless Fundamentalist: In The Root of All Evil, biologist Richard Dawkins reveals his own lust for certainty
    By Lakshmi Chaudhry

    I consider myself agnostic and I agree with many people who describe themselves as secular humanists, so I suppose I might fall under that category. However, something bothers me about attacking religion as broadly as Dawkins does, but I have been unable to put my finger on exactly what it is. The article by Chaudry goes a long way towards expressing what it is. I do believe that there is such a thing as a fundamentalist Atheist that can be as ideolical and dangerous as a fundamentalist anywhere. I would not call dawkins dangerous as much as simple and narrow minded. His arguments against religion are way too simplistic and don't acknowledge the political and social contexts which religious movements exist in. He particularly ignores equally violent social movements where religion plays no role such as communism in the former soviet Union and in Maoist china.

    Anyway, the article is not available on line yet, but keep checking here because it will be soon.


    Thanks, Peaches. (none / 0) (#48)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:39:49 PM EST
    Dawkins opposition is one view, is narrow because it stems for the most part from his perspective as a scientist and from his his perception of how religion impacts scientific inquiry, much as, I think, the church during the dark ages stifled it.

    He's not the last word on it, just one word.

    My own opposition to religion is for a variety of reasons, some emotional and psychological from past experiences, some along Dawkin's lines, but most from my own feeling that religion exacerbates and exaggerates the 'hallucination of separateness' that Watts talks about, and takes us farther from reality, not nearer.

    I look forward to reading Chaudhry's article. Thanks!


    BTW (none / 0) (#49)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:42:13 PM EST
    Almost always when I use the word 'relgion' I mean 'organized religions'. I should have been clearer.

    I think that organized religions are political power manipulation taken to the most extreme limits.


    I tend to agree (none / 0) (#50)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:50:55 PM EST
    on organized religion. It can certainly leave a bad tast in ones mouth. But, so can science.

    Dawkins also ignores is the role sience has plays in the increasing violence and destruction of the world. e.g. Hiroshima, Climate change, increasing sophistication of weaponry, GMO, etc.


    Ummmm, well... (none / 0) (#51)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:55:14 PM EST
    the role sience has plays in the increasing violence and destruction of the world

    I think I have to disagree here. That role has been in producing intellectual and technological tools. It hasn't been  in the political decisions about the use of those tools.

    The caveman(?) who first invented a way to produce fire is not the guy who decided to use fire as a weapon.


    It has been (none / 0) (#52)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 12:57:20 PM EST
    the way technology has been used that has caused those problems, not the invention of that technology.

    Science, and technology, are two different things.

    Politics is a third.


    YES, but (none / 0) (#53)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:06:01 PM EST
    the same can be said of religious teachings, no?

    This is the point. If he is going to hold religious leaders and individuals responsible for the violence in the world, then he has to hold science to the same standard, I would think.


    Maybe... (none / 0) (#54)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:22:38 PM EST
    ...if there scientists who also hold positions of political power then yes, they should be held accountable. But I think for the most part, if not all, scientists are employees, not policy and political decision makers.

    The 'religiosos' want policy and political decision making power, and I think that is the difference.


    IOW (none / 0) (#55)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:28:08 PM EST
    The religiosos are driven by a desire for power over people. The scientists are driven by a desire for knowledge.

    And... (none / 0) (#56)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 01:33:51 PM EST
    ...'truly' religious people are also driven by a desire for knowledge.

    But not the 'religiosos'.


    Sicentists (none / 0) (#57)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 02:25:07 PM EST
    Science is no more nor less moral than any other ideology. Scienctists make choices. Their pursuit for knowledge is no more nor less noble than anyone else--even individuals who decide Truth is somewhere in a religion. Scienctist make choices like all of us. Many choose to do very unethical research, in the view of general public, religion, and/or ethicists, under the guise of the pursuit for knowledge and money. Science nor scienctists are not innocent of the follies that result from these pursuits, simply because they profess to be in search of knowledge. That is just as much a copout as the religious fanatic who justifies the abhorent results of their teachings and practices as the defense or pursuit of knowledge.

    We in the western world were raised worshiping science and its methodologies. We have made many great accomplishments. We haven't shown we have learned how to live haromoniously in the world, using these methods based in a scientific ideology. In fact, we may have regressed in terms of harmony with the world over time since the methodolgy of science has risen to be the dominant religion or culture in the world.


    I agree (none / 0) (#58)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 02:56:26 PM EST
    In fact, we may have regressed in terms of harmony with the world over time since the methodolgy of science has risen

    But I really don't that is the 'fault' of doing science. Yes scientists are people to, and are as much responsible for their actions and choice of work as anyone else. But, also like everyone else, they live and work in the political reality we all do.

    I also don't think that science is or ever has been the the dominant religion or culture in the world. Science is a methodology for acquiring knowledge, that's all it is.

    I think, if it's the 'fault' of anything, it's the fault of those who make policy, and their desire for power. And the lack of good moral choices that have been made.

    An example is physics research into things like fission and fusion.

    The pure research is done in pursuit of knowledge. The politicos are the ones who decide whether to apply that knowledge to the building of power reactors or to bombs. The technology and knowledge is a tool. Fire for example can be use to cook, and also to kill. That doesn't make people who develop fire 'bad'.

    If they decide to build nuclear bombs they will look for scientists (really technicians with scientific knowhow) who will do the work they want. Those scientists can be considered immoral for doing such work, but I don't think the researchers who developed the capability can be except insofar as, like anyone else, they may become accessories through supporting evil politicos, as I believe Bush and Hitler supporters are accessories.

    Whose 'fault' is it that the technology was used for such an evil purpose? Certainly not the scientists who did the pure research in pursuit of knowledge.

    If I sounded dogmatic I apologize. I was describing my own views.


    Science is a methodology for acquiring knowledge (none / 0) (#59)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 03:01:10 PM EST
    and so is religion.

    Yes. (none / 0) (#60)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 03:17:08 PM EST
    I said that.

    I have been agreeing with you through most of this discussion, on most points you know. :-)


    Yes (none / 0) (#61)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 03:19:12 PM EST
    I know too. I also know we both seem to have an interest on these metaphysical topics, so I'm not arguing as much as enjoying the conversation. :)

    Me too. (none / 0) (#62)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 03:23:19 PM EST
    Very much so. I'm  really interested in how 'consensual reality' comes about. I've brought it up before and you are the only one here who ever shows any interest in the subject.

    Too bad the nesting is getting so cramped here. But I think we have some good foundation for furutre conversations, and maybe diaries?? :-)


    Richard Rorty (none / 0) (#63)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 03:50:49 PM EST
    I like this quote by Rorty on Truth. It seems so revolutionary upon first reading it, but as you let it sift through your mind it eventually seems so obvious as to be almost trivial. Once I reached that point, there was a major paradigm shift in my view of the world.

    Truth cannot be out there--cannot exist independently of the human mind--because sentences cannot so exist, or be out there. The world is out there, but descriptions of the world are not. Only descriptions of the world can be true or false. The world on its own--unaided by the describing activities of human beings--cannot.

    Humans describe the world with sentences. Science is just one more tool we use to describe the world.


    The (none / 0) (#64)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 03:52:14 PM EST
    above could almost be confused with an E. E. cummings poem

    I mean (none / 0) (#65)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 03:53:17 PM EST
    the nesting. :)

    And I meant (none / 0) (#67)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 04:05:08 PM EST
    Humans describe the world with sentences.

    (in my comment below)


    :-) confused with an E. E. cummings poem (none / 0) (#66)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 04:03:51 PM EST
    Or with one of don Juans' lessons (about consensual reality, btw) to Carlos Castaneda in Journey to Ixtlan:
    People tell us from the time we are born that the world is such and such and so and so, and naturally we have no choice but to see the world the way people have been telling us it is. Seeing happens only when one sneaks between the worlds; the world of ordinary people and the world of sorcerers.

    The real thing is when the body realizes that it can see. Only then is one capable of knowing that the world we look at every day is only a description. My intent has been to show you that.

    Only as a warrior can one survive the path of knowledge, because the art of a warrior is to balance the terror of being a man with the wonder of being a man.

    Never heard... (none / 0) (#68)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 04:08:23 PM EST
    ...of Rorty before now. But I like the quote. It's very very close to how I look at the world.

    Do you have links to any of his work? I'll look around anyway.


    Found the link (none / 0) (#69)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 04:30:48 PM EST
    Mind if I jump in here? (none / 0) (#74)
    by aw on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 10:34:04 PM EST
    It is one of the ironies of the church/state debate that the equation of Christianity (and other sects) with worldly ideologies, such as Marxism, supply-side economics, theories of white supremacy, agnosticism or feminism, has been championed by the religious right. Those inclined to worship, who believe that their sect offers access to Heaven, are the last people you'd expect to argue that religion is just another product vying for shelf space in the marketplace, entitled to the same treatment as its competitors. You wouldn't expect critics of secularism to suggest that devout Christians are merely additional claimants of individual rights: religion is more often extolled by virtuecrats as an antidote to untrammeled individualism. But new Christian advocacy groups, modeled after advocacy groups on the left, are increasingly portraying practicing Christians as citizens oppressed by secularism and are seeking judicial protection. The American Center for Law and Justice (aclj), founded by Pat Robertson, is one of the leaders in this movement, borrowing not just most of the acronym but the tactics of the American Civil Liberties Union in a fight for religious "rights."

    It's worth noting that, in this battle over rights, science -- religion's frequent nemesis -- is often reduced to a mere viewpoint as well. Evolution is just a "theory," or point of view, fundamentalist champions of creationism assert; they demand equal time for the teaching of "creation science," which is described as an alternative theory, or viewpoint, about the origin of the universe. "If evolution is true, then it has nothing to fear from some other theory being taught," one Tennessee state senator declared, using liberal faith in the open marketplace of ideas to rationalize the teaching of creationism.

    When I saw you equate science with ideology, I remembered reading this yesterday.  

    Why America Needs Atheism


    The fallacy contained in arguments like the one.. (none / 0) (#75)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 02, 2006 at 02:02:36 AM EST
    ..the Senator from Tennessee used is one that they hope will be missed by being drown out in the emotionalism of the the topic. They try to slip in unnoticed the idea that creationism is a theory, by not explicitly calling it one, hoping to leaving open the escape hatch of being able to say they never did. Plausible deniability. But it's not plausible at all on closer inspection.

    "If evolution is true, then it has nothing to fear from some other theory being taught," is a statement disingenously designed to elicit agreement that creationism is a theory by attempting to focus the opposition on the word "fear" in the sentence instead and getting them to say "no, no, we're not afraid of other theories being taught", impliciting accepting that creationism is a theory. It is not. A theory is, by defintion, testable by scientific method. Creationism is not testable, therefore is not a theory.

    They've lately started calling creationism by the pseudo-scifific sounding name "intelligent design" in this attempt to lend it credence, which is just another transparent attempt at slipping this redefintion of "theory" past the "suckers.

    The theory of evolution is a theory developed by application of standard accepted scientific method and qualifies as a theory because it is testable by repeatable experiment.

    So called "intelligent design" is not a theory. It is untestable by experiment. Scientific theories, through experiment, can be disproved, but cannot be proved.

    "intelligent design" is bunk. It does not even remotely qualify for equal consideration as a scientific theory, because it simply is not a scientific theory.

    "intelligent design" cannot be either disproved, or proved. Anyone who claims that it is a "theory" deserving of consideration equal to that given to the theory of evolution is either uneducated, misinformed, or just plain lying.

    These types of arguments are similar to many other arguments from the right that are used to try to justify the unjustifiable, and is a form of lying. It is similar to that other form of lying the right uses when they try to con their opposition into accepting that racism and bigotry are simply points of view that liberals, being so supportive of rights, should give weight to as valid and equal to other points of view, then cry that liberals are being hypocritical by denying their "right" to ther "view".

    It's enough to make me want to throw up in their faces.

    It is also a simple one to deconstruct and refute and ridicule by referring to the definition of "theory". Original sin is another such disingenousness concept.

    It is one of the types of argument from the right, particularly from the religious right that is so demeaning and offensive because it contains as unspoken subtext the implicit insulting assumption that people are stupid. They hope that enough people are stupid enought to fall for this kind of crap because their arguments and their views don't hold water, and are simply manipulative tools used to gain power by conning people into granting the religiosos power over them.

    Organized religion has been doing this for thousands of years. It is the biggest strawman argument ever devised, I think, and is exactly what George Carlin was so irate about here.

    All the power of organized religion vanishes in a puff of hot air when people realize this.


    Idiotic design
    We would like to go on record as saying that "intelligent design" (the latest euphemism for creationism) doesn't qualify as a theory, because it's already been disproven...by the very existence of the idiots trying to promote it.
    ---from Editor at Large


    Hi, Edger (none / 0) (#76)
    by aw on Sat Dec 02, 2006 at 08:18:01 AM EST
    Science is no more nor less moral than any other ideology.

    Too bad Peaches is gone for the w/e.  I would have liked to ask him to explain why he thinks science is an ideology.


    Morning, aw. (none / 0) (#77)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 02, 2006 at 08:53:09 AM EST
    I think that probably a lot of people do. Science and Religion are often cast as opposite formal ways of 'explaining' the world. 'Ideologies', if you will. My own opinion is that this is done most often by religions supporters and apologists for the same reasons I think they try to cast creationism, etc. as 'theory'. They're setting up a false dichotomy to try to get their opposition to accept religion as having equal weight to science as 'explaining' the world.

    I mean organized religion in the above paragraph. Individual religion or spirituality, like science, is a methodology for acquiring knowledge. But different knds of knowledge.* Again, i'll reiterate my own opinion that organized religion is blatant and cynical and demeaning and extremely insulting power politics, nothing more.

    I suspect Peaches means that 'Scientists are no more nor less moral than adherents to any other ideology' but I wouldn't put words in his mouth so let's wait for him to let us know if I've interpreted him the way he meant.

    *It's also useful to keep in mind that science is designed to answer "how' questions, while religion/sprituality seeks ansers to 'why' questions. Except of course when they use faslse theories like creationism to try to fool people into thinking that it 'can' answer 'hows.'


    minor correction (none / 0) (#79)
    by Peaches on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 10:42:24 AM EST
    THis sentence
    how useful is the ideology and how well does it allow us (humans, both idividuals and socail groups) in the world.

    Should read

    how useful is the ideology and how well does it allow us (humans, both idividuals and socail groups)to cope in the world.


    Another Week (none / 0) (#78)
    by Peaches on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 10:39:47 AM EST
    Hello AW and Edger,

    I would have liked to ask him to explain why he thinks science is an ideology

    The short answer is because Science is the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group which is the exact definition of ideology according to dictionary.com.

    So, your question should probably be rephrased to ask why I consider religion as an equivalent ideology to science. The answer to that is much longer and gets into hard philosophical questions. I'll be brief because it is Monday and an old thread. The pragmatist, according to Rorty, does not think that Science is any closer to Truth than any other ideology because there is no such thing as Truth out there to get close to. As his quote said, the world is not true or false, it just is. Only language can be true or false, and language is a human construction. Theretore the only meaning ful measure for judging an ideology is also a pragmatist measure--how useful is the ideology and how well does it allow us (humans, both idividuals and socail groups) in the world. There is no final answer to this question, because different individuals and social groups have different objectives and goals in the world. Science has allowed us to make amazing achievements and given us many new tools that allow us to support a population level on Earth that is many times greater than any other ideology. However, with these population levels and achievements come a new set of problems that other ideologies may have been better able to cope with. That is the why I think Science is no better or worse than religion. IT is just different.


    Apples and oranges. (none / 0) (#80)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 10:53:34 AM EST
    Science is no better or worse than religion. IT is just different.

    I agree.


    Different as the head and tail of a coin. (none / 0) (#81)
    by Edger on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 11:11:32 AM EST
    'Thus the philosophy of Parmenides is a strange blend of mysticism and logic. It is mysticism, for its goal is not the gradual and cumulative correction of empirical knowledge, but deliverance from it through the instantaneous and absolute grasp of 'immovable' truth. This is not the way of techne, but the way of revelation: it lies 'beyond the path of men' (B. 1.27). Yet this revelation is itself addressed to man's reason and must be judged by reason. Its core is pure logic: a rigorous venture in deductive thinking, the first of its kind in European thought. This kind of thinking could be used against the world of the senses ... This projection of the logic of Being upon the alien world of Becoming was Parmenides' most important single contribution to the history of thought, though it is seldom recognized as such. Without it, his doctrine of Being could have remained a speculative curiosity. With it, he laid the foundations for the greatest achievement of the scientific imagination of Greece, the atomic hypothesis.'
    (Gregory Vlastos - Studies in Greek Philosophy, Vol. I, p. 16 2)

    Science is..... (none / 0) (#82)
    by aw on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 11:35:31 AM EST
    the exact definition of ideology according to dictionary.com.

    Why do you use a definition of one word to describe another?  That's like saying hell is the exact description of life on earth.  Why didn't you look up "science" while you were at it?
    From Dictionary.com: sci·ence

    1.    a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
    2.    systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
    3.    any of the branches of natural or physical science.
    4.    systematized knowledge in general.
    5.    knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
    6.    a particular branch of knowledge.
    7.    skill, esp. reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency.


    Why? (none / 0) (#83)
    by Peaches on Mon Dec 04, 2006 at 11:48:43 AM EST

    Why? You ask.

    Why do you use a definition of one word to describe another?

    hmm.. Interesting. I gave you a thoughtful response to this question:

    I would have liked to ask him to explain why he thinks science is an ideology.

    Aw, you did not ask me whay my definition of science was. You asked why I think Science is an ideology. SO I gave you the definition of ideology and, as you can see, the definition of science fits within the category of an ideology as does religion.

    It is just a different way of looking at something. You don't have to agree, and an argument would not be productive. You obviously don't have an interest in this, outside of defending science from religion (which I can understand in many intances). I don't even think you need to have an interest, its purely academic. My interest stems from understanding how each of us come to rely heavily upon our own personal worldviews. I am not necessarily interested in defending any one of them against any other. I just find it interesting to see how most people so easily adapt rigidly to a specific ideology and lack an ability to get outside this ideology to look upon themselves with a fresh view. Perhaps  , it is even impossible for any of us.  


    Richard Rorty (none / 0) (#70)
    by Peaches on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 04:33:34 PM EST
    Rorty is great, I think you'd really like him.

    I'd start with

    Philosophy and social hope


    Achieving Our Country

    From there you can go backwards to his philosophical roots if you really enjoy him and have a nagging interest in philosophy.

    Consequences of Pragmatism and Contingency, Irony and SOlidarity are his most accessible. His three volumes of Philosphical Papers are more academic but very interesting as well as Philosphy and the Mirror of Nature. I love Rorty. Recently he has been working with some academics with a more religious focus, which is startling because there was a time when many accused Rorty of being a fundamentalist Atheist and if you read his work you will see that. But there is also a mystical thread through his work and lately he has come to see the importance of Love and its compatibility with hope. ROrty is the source and inspiration of my definition of Liberals that I gave in my diary entry.

    Got to go. Have a good weekend and I'll see you next week.


    You too... (none / 0) (#71)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 04:38:26 PM EST
    Have a good weekend, Peaches.

    Peter Kingsley - "Reality" (none / 0) (#72)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 04:42:47 PM EST
    Parmenides and Empedocles laid the most basic foundations for the world and culture we now live in. But with the passing of time we have forgotten who they were. The truth about the real nature of their work has been neglected, distorted, ignored--transformed into just another of those empty illusions that they themselves tried to set us free from.

    There is nothing accidental about the fact that we in the West are starved for some real sense of meaning and crying out for something that, in spite of all our apparent sophistication and material success, we are no longer even able to name. This western civilization of ours was created for a purpose. Until we start to discover that purpose again, our lives will be meaningless. Unless we touch our roots and make contact again with the essence of our past, we can have no future.

    What is so important about Parmenides? (none / 0) (#73)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 01, 2006 at 09:53:34 PM EST
    Parmenides of Elea (Greek: Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης, early 5th century BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea [c. 515 B.C.E.], a Hellenic city on the southern coast of Italy.

    Parmenides is one of the most significant of the pre-Socratic philosophers. His only known work, conventionally titled 'On Nature' is a poem, which has only survived in fragmentary form. Approximately 150 lines of the poem remain today; reportedly the original text had 3,000 lines. It is known, however, that the work originally divided into three parts:

        * A poem, which introduced the entire work,
        * A section known as "The way of truth" (aletheia), and
        * A section known as "The way of appearance/opinion" (doxa).

    The poem is a narrative sequence in which the narrator travels "beyond the beaten paths of mortal men" to receive a revelation from an unnamed goddess (generally thought to be Persephone) on the nature of reality.

    Opinions on Parmenides:

    'It was, for all I know, the first deductive theory of the world, the first deductive cosmology: One further step led to theoretical physics, and to the atomic theory.'
    (Karl R. Popper - The World of Parmenides, p. 143)

    'One of Parmenides' merits is to have been the first philosopher who strove to handle general concepts like 'being', 'not-being', 'knowing', 'unity', 'identity', in their systematic connection.'
    (W.J. Verdenius - Parmenides, p. 2)

    Parmenides' Poem - "On Nature" (3 translations)


    Thank God I died an atheist. (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edger on Thu Nov 30, 2006 at 12:48:39 AM EST
    Points to ponder:
    SALMAN RUSHDIE: Yes, atheists are obsessed with God you may have noticed.

    BILL MOYERS: I think the best arguments about God come from atheists.

    SALMAN RUSHDIE: Yes, there's a famous, the great Spanish film director, Luis Bunuel, once teased his friends by saying that he wanted his epitaph on his tombstone to read: "Thank God I died an atheist." And they were all so upset that he had to tell them he was just kidding.

    BILL MOYERS: In England. You said quote, "To stand in this house is to be reminded of what is most beautiful about religious faith. It's ability to give solace and to inspire. It's aspiration to these great and lovely heights in which strength and delicacy are so perfectly conjoined." More recently you said religion is the poison in the blood. So which is it? Poison in the blood or the muse of inspiration?

    SALMAN RUSHDIE: Well, it's both. Of course it is. It's both. And religion at its best builds Kings College Chapel. It builds the great masterpieces of the gothic arts. And I was at Kings College Cambridge, so it was a building that I looked out on from my window every day for three years, and had a deep affection for. And I know it very well. And the idea of being asked to speak there was very moving, you know. And I do believe that religion at its best has given people profound solace in the travails of life. And--

    BILL MOYERS: And at it's worst?

    SALMAN RUSHDIE: And at its worst it murders people.

    BILL MOYERS: Poison in the blood.