Friday, January 30, 2009

Marching in the Moral Vanguard

I know, I'm an atheist. I'm supposed to be immoral, evil, wretched, etc. I suppose I should be on board for whenever people lie or say completely horrible things, or are utter hypocrites. I feel like that's the expectation for my "moral station."

Well, sorry to disappoint. I mean, granted, my evil-o-meter is a little different from many of my religious friends', in that I don't see anything inherently wrong with "blasphemy," nor eatting shellfish, nor disobeying some pretty strict commandments to stone people for various offenses. I mean, sorry. I don't like stoning people, and I don't think it should be done.

So, here are three examples of things that I find morally reprehensible, in all my atheistic-baseness, below the fold. Take it for what you will.

First, a recently re-instated, un-excommunicated priest:

Yes. Indeed. Some Jews may have died, but none were gassed, no, never. There was no Holocaust. Just stories that got exaggerated. Funny, no? Especially since the Catholic Church would never have anything to do with that, or refuse to excommunicate any Nazi leaders. This is one of the same strategies that we see across all denialism - admit to the reasonableness of some part of a position, and then declare the rest as mere exaggeration and fantasy. We'll call it the "strength and weaknesses" approach.

"Well, microevolution, sure. We can observe that. No one in their right mind would doubt it. But macroevolution? Speciation? Clearly just exaggeration. Plus Darwinism leads to the Holocaust." (sorry, also a reductio ad Hitlerum there).

"Well, sure, some Jews died during the war, sure. Maybe a lot. But not millions! That's ridiculous! And gassing them? No, the Nazis never gassed anyone. Why would they?"

"Well, vaccines may have reduced some occurences of disease, but they contain mercury, which casues autism!....Oh, wait, you mean thimeresol isn't the same kind of, it breaks down in the body? Oh, and it hasn't been in most vaccines for years? ...Huh. Well, it must be the vaccine itself that causes autism!" (never mind that we're beginning to have serious outbreaks of otherwise preventable diseases...and, you know...children dying, for the sake of Jenny McCarthy's "mommy-instincts.")

"Well, sure the temperature has showed a steady increase, but it can't have anything to do with humans!"

It's all the same. The trends in denialism run rampant and obvious.

Via PZ at Pharyngula.

Second, it's apparently alright for 10-year old girls to be married. Yeah, funny story, it's actually those of us who think that marriage should be reserved for consenting adults that have been acting immorally all this time and going against the will of God. Well, damn. Look at that turn-around. It's sort of like saying "You know, murder is probably wrong," and having someone come back with "Well, maybe those who don't murder are the ones who are wrong. God tells us to murder all the time!"

As much as you expect it, you still never see it coming.

Tip o' the blogging pen to Tiny Frog.

Lastly, Mr. Ted Haggard. He's...well...just watch:

Ah...your sexuality is complicated. It's not in a box. Well. If only you had realized that, you know, before you starting decrying the evils of homosexual behavior and demanding that everyone fit neatly into the heterosexual, wait-until-marriage, monogomous, marry-your-high-school-sweetheart box...See, that's why we call hypocrite. I'd say it's nice to see that you've had a breakthrough, but you really haven't. You're just giving yourself more slack. And it disgusts me.

So, there you have it. Three things that caught my eye that, as an atheist, I am morally upset about. And the day started off so well.


tom sheepandgoats said...

For whatever it's worth, the matter was corrected:

Good post and all, Ragoth, don't misunderstand, but I have mixed feelings about atheists taking on the Catholics for their war record. Not that it shouldn't be done, only that atheists risk fact, even build reputations and careers in doing so. Jehovah's Witnesses did the same at the time and from within Germany when it posed risks to their freedom and even lives. Yet, rather than being respected for this, they are generally a target of atheist ridicule. If all people conducted themselves as Jehovah's Witnesses, there would not have been a Holocaust.

We have a ton of first person accounts, a few of which are online:

Ragoth said...

Hey Tom,

Thanks for the link. I dunno, it just seems a little...well, ironic, I suppose: the guy thinks there's enough evidence to believe that 2,000 years ago a guy named Jesus died on a cross, was the Son of God, and then was resurrected from the dead three days later (as well as the transmission of the line of Popes, papal infallibility, etc), but not enough evidence to believe that 60 years ago, the Nazis were really bad people.

Also, I don't think the JW/Catholic analogy is quite the same. I do feel that this is one of the few cases where you actually had a fairly clear view of human "evil," and people should have acted, but the difference is that some Catholics actually condoned the actions of the Nazis or harbored them after the war. I don't think this is simply a matter of diplomatic sanctuary. Too much to get into right now, but we can talk about it if you want.