CN: mention of self harm, suicide, queerphobia/homophobia/cissexism/ableism
So you're a straight ally to queer people and you find out a terrible bigot said terrible things about teh gayz and you rush in to defend queer people with some variation of "I bet they're closeted and hate themselves!".
Usually, I would simply respond by saying that expressed or overt homophobia is not a reliable indicator of whether or not a person is a closeted queer. Today, though, I'm going to expand this and explain why this is a harmful idea and how it upholds structural oppression of queer people and places the burden of queerphobia/homophobia on the marginalized while allowing the privileged to disregard their own contributions to queer oppression.
So where did this idea come from? As far as I can tell, this argument seems to be based on one study done in 1996 in which 64 straight men were gathered and separated into "homophobic" and "non-homophobic" groups. (Just to be clear: I'm reasonably certain the idea itself is older than this one study, but I focus on it here because it is the one study brought forth as evidence.)
Already, I have a problem with this research. You cannot simply group straight people into "homophobic" and "non-homophobic". Straight people are born and raised in a culture steeped in homophobia and heteronormativity. The best they could do is split the groups into "overt homophobic" and "not as obviously homophobic."
*sigh* Moving on.
Then they showed the men a series of porn videos (straight, lesbian, ...more
Shona Banda, a mother living in Kansas, recently had her life turned upside down when her child discussed his mother's medical marijuana use in school and, consequently, police officers raided their home. Like most of us, Banda is not able to afford legal counsel on her own for the struggle she is now undergoing. A gofundme.com page has been set up in order to accept donations; I encourage folks to either contribute or share the page. The page reads:
On March 24, cannabis oil activist Shona Banda‘s life was flipped upside-down after her son was taken from her by the State of Kansas. The ordeal started when police and counselors at her 11-year-old son’s school conducted a drug education class. Her son, who had previously lived in Colorado for a period of time, disagreed with some of the anti-pot points that were being made by school officials. “My son says different things like my ‘Mom calls it cannabis and not marijuana.’ He let them know how educated he was on the facts,” said Banda in an exclusive interview with BenSwann.com. Banda successfully treated her own Crohn’s disease with cannabis oil.
After her son spoke out about medical marijuana, police detained him and launched a raid on Shona Banda’s home. “Well, they had that drug education class at school that was just conducted by the counselors… They pulled my son out of school at about 1:40 in the afternoon and interrogated him. Police showed up at my house at 3… I let them know that ...more
I was recently asked my opinion on an argument for the rationality of faith. Here is my response.
You quoted someone who wrote:
So we find that we are forced in almost every deductive argument to accept something in the premises which is either beyond proof (and simply accepted), or which relies on something which can only be offered as a statement anchored in finite (limited) observation. Which in turn, is a good argument for the foundational necessities of both faith and common sense.
As I understand it, the argument goes something like this.
All arguments are either deductive or inductive.
Deductive arguments depend upon at least some assumptions that cannot be proven.
Inductive arguments are fallible and depend upon our limited observations.
So, all human reasoning must assume something which cannot be proven.
Reasoning which depends upon something which cannot be proven involves faith.
Therefore, all human reasoning involves faith.
1-6 is meant to defend the rationality of faith by showing that reason, itself, requires faith. Thus, if faith is generally rational, there cannot be something irrational about Christian faith, or so the argument goes.
I think there are a few problems with 1-6.
First, it is unclear that the notion of faith appealed to is the same as what the Christian means by ‘faith’. For the Christian, the word ‘faith’ means trust. In the New Testament, the word that is translated into English as ‘faith’ is ‘pistis’, which is the Greek word for trust. In Latin -- the language employed by Catholic intellectuals -- the word for faith is ‘fides’, ...more
In a previous post, I launched what I called the Cosmological Euthyphro Dilemma (CED) as a response to the Argument from Contingency:
From whence did God’s reasons for creating the universe come?
There are two possibilities, both disastrous for the theist:
If God’s reasons for creating the universe came from within Herself, then God did not create the universe of Her free-will. After all, God’s essence is necessarily the way that it is and is unalterable. Thus, any sort of reasons from within God are necessarily the case. God could not have chosen to do otherwise. Worse, not only would God not have free-will, but the universe would not be contingent after all (God exists in every possible world and, since God possesses the same reasons at every possible world, would create the same universe at every possible world — therefore, the universe is not contingent; this contradicts a premise in the argument from contingency).
But now suppose that there were no reasons originating from within God for creating the universe. In this case, there is no where for such reasons to come from. God may have free-will to create the universe, but would be acting arbitrarily and capriciously.
I call this the Cosmological Euthyphro Dilemma, in analogy with the Euthyphro dilemma concerning theistic ethics (or piety, as in the original Socratic formulation). It’s my personal brainchild, but similar arguments appear throughout the history of philosophy and theology (and are discussed at length in, for example, Arthur Lovejoy’s Chain of Being).
There have been multiple theists ...more
My friend Star asked me to explain an outmoded numerological interpretation of the Eye of Horus. This led into a discussion of some elementary number theory. Enjoy.
I'm not an Egyptologist, but I do know some aspects of the history of mathematics (at least as they were communicated to me throughout my undergraduate degree in physics). Let's see what we can do. We can call this “Star Learns Elementary Number Theory”.
I know that a lot of ancient peoples thought there were only whole, positive numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, ...); these are what 21st century mathematicians called 'positive integers'. Instead of thinking of fractions as numbers between the integers (so that 0.5 is between 0 and 1), they thought of them as ratios of two integers (1:2). This avoids ever talking about a number existing between two numbers. At least this is how the Greeks thought of things.
It looks like the Egyptians thought something similar, but took this idea a step further. You can imagine writing all of the positive integers as the sum of two other numbers. For example, we can represent 2 as 1+1 and we can represent 3 as 1+2. You can do the same with fractions; 3/4 can be represented as 1/2+1/4. This is useful if your written language does not allow you to directly represent 3/4; apparently, ancient Egyptian was limited in that way.
The Eye of Horus stuff concerns an outmoded theory about how fractions were represented by the Egyptians. Apparently, Egyptologists used to think that ...more
Daniel Gullotta is a up and coming scholar of the historical Jesus and early Christianity. He's secular and will be contributing to an anthology that I am compiling. He's been accepted at Yale Divinity School, but -- as with many folks -- needs some help putting together funds. Please help him out if you can! You can also help to signal boost by sharing this page.
My name is Daniel N. Gullotta and earlier this year I was admitted to Yale Divinity School's Master of Arts in Religion with concentration in Bibleprogram. I applied to this program and others to further prepare myself in graduate studies before I set off to hopefully achieve a PhD in the study of the New Testament and Christian origins. Being accepted into Yale's program is like a dream come true and I was honestly blown away by their generous scholarship offer to me.
However this scholarship, while substantial, does not fully cover my tuition for this academic year (2015-2016), and it leaves my wife and me still with a considerable amount of debt. This is not to mention the expenses of moving, setting up our new home in New Haven, buying textbooks, and the cost of travelling to conferences like AAR/SBL and Westar. After the legal costs of bringing myself over from Australia to the United States just so my wife and I could be together, along with the wedding, and the months I was unable to work due to waiting for a Work Authorization ...more
Tour guide season has just started and I am once again taking school groups around the Historic Triangle (Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, Virginia). At Jamestown, the settlement has their own guides. So my job is to just stay with the group, listen, and be there if anyone needs something. I was a course leader today at Jamestown and the guide for my group was a woman that I worked with at an outlet store about 10 years ago. She didn't recognize me. However, I was 19 at the time, and I have changed a bit, physically, since then. However, I told her who I was and how I knew her and she immediately recalled me. She seemed to remember two things; my love of big chicken salads and the fact that I was raised Catholic.
The school group that I was with was a private Catholic school. She made a point of telling the children that she respected them because of their faith and that she was very devoted in her own. I didn't find that particularly appropriate for a tour guide, but no one asks my opinion on things, so I said nothing. Later in the tour, she asked me if I was still going to the Catholic church that I had attended in 2005. I told her that I did not. She just laughed and winked at me saying, "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic." I tried not to show how annoyed I was and just responded, "Not quite." My ...more
This is the third and final part of my series against Aronra. I will also be taken 3 months off because frankly this is now an apologist website with all the posting I have been doing (hintity hint hint my fellow skeptic freethought bloggers).
Kalam cosmological arguments are ones that show God's existence from the beginning of the universe and thus draw the existence of a creator God. While this will not be an extensive look at the Kalam, I will show why Aronra fails at debunking the argument. I do hold my own version of the Kalam, but I will use Kreeft's response since that was what Aronra was responding to. I will say in advance that this part of the video does have Aronra making the most sense. This is because Aronra is speaking about science. However, whenever he touches upon philosophy he fails and terribly.
I will say this about the video, it does not transfer well between the kalam and the argument from motion, since Kreeft is using the same defence to tackle an objection made against both arguments. The objection being "why can't there be a past eternal universe". The traditional response for the argument from motion was to distinguish between instrumental and essential infinities. Thus, the notion of a beginning for the universe is not needed. However, if there was a beginning, the person making the argument could just as well argue, there would be nothing of prior potency to enact the universe, so we need ...more
Now that we have moved passed Aronra`s cherry picking, we will address the argument from motion. Although the previous post only addressed a minute of his video, this one will cover more.
Let`s skip over to around 1:50. It is here where Aronra shows he does not know how logical fallacies work. When making an argument, it is divided into premises and a conclusion. If something is wrong with the premise (it makes a fallacious inference), it follows that you reasoned poorly to your conclusion. It does not mean your conclusion is wrong (that would be the fallacy fallacy). It just means the way you go about it means you are unable to get to your conclusion.
Now, what Aronra calls Kreeft out for is question begging after Kreeft declares that one is able to find the fingerprints of the designer in the universe.The problem is that Kreeft is not giving a premise, but holding what conclusion he hopes to draw out from his argumentation. But the fun does not stop there.
Aronra continues at around two minutes and says "statistics say the more you know the less you believe". We have 2 problems
A belief is holding a proposition to be true regardless if it is. When a belief becomes a form of knowledge, it is because it is true, and/or justified (see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology/)
Further, he references statistics but does not give any
Next up are some of Aronra goes over how scientists agree with him about there being no God and they would be in ...more
This is a repost from my old blog, enjoy. Parts 2 & 3 to come.
This post is in response to Aronra's video "Theism is Not Rational". While I would like to believe Aronra is coming from a place of stupidity, there are some arguments he puts foreword that cause me to think he is acting in malice. Then again it could be both. In this video, Philosopher Peter Kreeft is using 2 arguments, one from motion and the other the Kalam. Both of them can be found here and here. I will go through his counter arguments and give them a time stamp for efficiency. They will give an approximation, so you might not find the exact moment where it start.
Aronra starts opening his mouth and it already goes down hill at 00.20. His first argument to show why theism is irrational by claiming that it was thought up by primitive man. The problem with this argument is it commits the genetic fallacy, since it attacks the origins of the idea rather than the idea itself. It would be no different in attacking the truth of the results from Nazi science experimentation because they were gained by unethical means. Sure there origins were atrocious, but it does not make them factually wrong.
The next set of arguments come from citing (or more accurately cherry picking) various dictionaries, scriptures, hymns and sermons. I will tackle them one at a time, but they start coming at 00.50. Here Aronra is giving arguments that faith ...more