February 27, 2005

Carnival of the Godless#5

from - smijer

This week is the fifth anniversary of the Carnival of the Godless, and what abundant Godless Goodies we have! Let's jump right in...

The opening act comes from Hank Fox, who declares that Not everything that gets into your head ... ... is knowledge. Matter of fact, according to he, a fair bit of it may be "anti-knowledge". He suggests that the "No True Atheist" argument, applied to the "good" atheists, is one of those bits of "anti-knowledge". Hank's weblog is www.HankFox.com.

Wolverine Tom shares his experience with campus religious groups who happen also to be anti-science as he spends a while passing by the religion table again. Tom's weblog is Wolverine Tom: A Geologist... like Randy Marsh.

Ophelia Benson posts about a peculiar custom in Iran that keeps down incidences of extramarital sex. The post is entitled When Fariba Met Habib. Notable Quotable: "No sex outside of marriage! Yay! Of course, the place is full of dirt-poor women being treated like toilets by their hahahaha 'husbands' all the same, but who cares about that?! Everybody in Iran who has genital-to-genital contact is spliced! That's all I give a rat's ass about!" Ophelia's weblog is Butterflies and Wheels.

George Peterson asks, somewhat incredulously, "Believing in God is Prudent?" He then proceeds to say that, however prudent one might think it to believe in God, there is little prudence to be found in the religious myths that have grown up around the idea of God. His weblog is the Dirty Greek.

Kevin argues that reason is fundamental to morality, in Reason, Religon, and Morality. Notable quotable: "Only if you create and maintain a rational set of rules can a moral system or legal system or any other such thing function." Kevin's weblog is Above Us Only Sky.

Pat Hayes explains why it is true that mainstream Christians get the short end of the religion stick in Why Fundamentalists and Biblical Literalists Loathe Mainstream Christians. I think that he would agree with my view that secularists and free-thinkers should find moral, and sometimes even intellectual solidarity with the more liberal-minded religious types. Pat blogs from Kansas on Red State Rabble.

Peter Fredson is represented by three different entries in this Carnival. His first entry declares that there's nothing wrong with the people of Alabama that a good dose of religious deprogramming won't cure: Down In Alabama is posted at his new weblog:
Alabama Home.

In Instigation and Stealth, he also takes umbrage with the apparent strategy used by those who would impose their brand of religion on everyone else: namely, if you can't cram it in the front door, sneak it in the back. This post is at his eponymous weblog, peterfredson.diaryland.com

In Under the Christian God, he makes clear which God is being referred to by those who mandate the invocation of God's name in the pledge and on our currency. This is a guest post on Stupid Evil Bastard.

Fair warning for those reading who are religious, and are sensitive to perceived sacrilege. Mark Twain once said, "Blasphemy? No, it is not blasphemy. If God is as vast as that, he is above blasphemy; if He is as little as that, He is beneath it." Well, this next entry, from Michelle Arnold, AKA Mutant Cat pushes the boundaries of sacrilege, suggesting the possibility of remaking the Bible into an even racier genre. Her post, Bible Porn is found on her weblog, Mutant Cat.
{irrelevant aside: I suspect Michelle would enjoy the scene in The Magic Christian where Guy Grand (Peter Sellers) brainstorms with his adoptive son (Ringo Starr). Soon after it is concluded that words don't corrupt, or at least the word "nipple" doesn't corrupt Agnes, he comes upon a sure-fire hit: "The Bible: Can You Make it Better?"}

DarkSyd shares with us how he thinks he would behave under circumstances different from his own, in If I Were Christian. I know a few Christians who could definitely profit from his advice. I'll also have to say that I have known a couple who, to their credit, have some things in common with DarkSyd's parallel universe self. DarkSyd is a regular contributor to Brent Rasmussen's Unscrewing the Inscrutable.

Ruthie-Annie tells of her experience with what happens when an atheist visits a Christian debate board in her post, If Choy Lee Mu were a Christian. (Do I detect a pattern here? What could be the reason?...) Ruthie-Annie's blog is Ruthie-Annie, Honest to God: Thoughts from an Unconvinced Quaker Psychologist.

The Retropolitan discusses some instances of people just making shit up in Swayze Was the Best One. Spoiler alert: I was disillusioned to discover that the spirit of JFK really doesn't inhabit Phoebe's guitar. This and other disappointing truths were posted on The Retro's weblog, Tales to Astonish.

Jason Kuznicki, against all reason, insists that I would make a lousy cheetah. lays to rest the old canard that evolution somehow implies or justifies racisim in his post, The Excellent Amoebas. Jason's blog is Positive Liberty.

Nick Barlow takes on a British organisation with apparent affinities for American style theonomy and eschatological pronouncements in Down among the demented men. This is truly very scary stuff. Nick's blog is What you can get away with.

Richard Chappell refutes charges that naturalism implies nihilism, and disputes the notion that God is necessary to provide life with its meaning. His post is Avoiding Nihilism. Richard blogs at Philosophy, et cetera.

Ron reminds the unwary that correlation does not always imply causation in Religion - whatever that is - is "in" with the teens. Ron's blog is God Is For Suckers.

Goddam-Liberal turns the unforgiving light of skepticism on psychic fortune-tellers and their victims on I See Stupid People. G-D-Liberal blogs at No More Mr. Nice Guy!

Now, if I'm counting right, that's eighteen posts for one Carnival of the Godless, and that ain't bad at all. Since the contributions for this week were so rich, I've elected not to post an entry of my own. I would, however, like to mention another web-log that I have recently discovered, which I find to be very timely, important, and touching. The issue of abortion is one that often divides the religious from the irreligious, the conservative from the liberal, and all too often, the good-hearted from the good-hearted. Too many times, those who favor choice become hardened in their views by the ongoing conflict, and find themselves with sympathy only for the woman. Too many times, those who oppose choice become hardened in their views and find themselves showing compassion only for the fetus. At Abortion Clinic Days, the authors are abortion providers who share their stories and struggles with utter compassion for women, their families, and their pregnancies. If more people on all sides of the debate could feel, show, and act upon this kind of instinct for compassion, then the discourse about abortion and reproductive rights would be raised to the level on which it deserves to be held.

I will include a few brief excerpts in the extended entry.

Previous Carnivals:
Carnival #1, at Unscrewing the Inscrutable
Carnival #2, at Pharyngula
Carnival #3, at Science and Politics
Carnival #4, at Philosophy, et cetera

Next week, the Carnival will be hosted by The Raving Atheist, so be sure to tune in! Send your submissions to cotg-submission@brentrasmussen.com.


The promised excerpts from abortion clinic days....

so, she said, although she never ever imagined that she would consider abortion, she finds that it's best for the children she has because she has been told that to continue this pregnancy could put her health in further jeopardy. she said she regrets that she is again pregnant, had been using condoms because she knew that she did not want to be pregnant. unfortunately, she, like many others, became pregnant while using contraception.

her faith in god's understanding came out a deeply held belief that she was god's child and that he would not want to see her children without her, sent off to foster homes. she said that she did not even have to think very much about it, that it was just "the right thing to do". -god understands

oh, if only parents coulld see the anguish i see every day in women who have "violated the pledge". it is quite different from the women whose birth control failed. neither is happy to be having an abortion, but those whose very sense of themselves is crushed have a longer road to self forgiveness.

it's easy to say "well, then she should just not have the abortion" but obviously she had considered that herself. her decision to discontinue the pregnancy was not one of convenience. being a contemplative young woman, she pondered deeply and then had to confront her smug assumption that of course adoption was an easy answer to the problem. she kept repeating "i didn't know it could happen to someone like me".

maybe it's always easier to decide what others ought to do. maybe it's always hard, hard, hard to figure out your own life, your own choices, but working in women's health for so long, this is the one thing that i hear every day that changes when it's you, your life. - you never know 2

"Six months before I became pregnant, I marched the streets of Washington, D.C. Every January 22nd, the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, thousands of ‘pro-lifers’ from all over the country pour into the streets to protest. The year I turned eighteen, I was one of them. How could I have known that in less than a year I would become one of “those women” against whom we were marching?" - quoted in crossing over
She goes on to raise some compelling questions. Is it helpful to concentrate solely on legal arguments when moral imperatives are so much a part of the equation for many people? Is it useful to refuse to consider the emotional pull of the fetus even as we conclude that the rights of the mother ultimately take precedent? Is there a dangerous disconnect between our public positions and our private sentiments, a disconnect the public suspects is dishonest?

Kissling makes some excellent arguments in support of legal abortion, in which she believes deeply. To the charge that a culture in which abortion is permitted will devalue respect for all life, she counters with the example of Romania under Ceausescu, where abortion was forbidden yet children were abandoned in record numbers. But she also takes note of how troubling some potential allies have found the seemingly automatic support for later procedures, writing, "Is there nothing, they ask, that concerns pro-choice people about abortion?" - quoted at abortion clinic days, from Newsweek

As soon as I can, I will be adding this blog to my own blog-roll. If anyone reading knows of a pro-life blog that shows as much insight and feeling as this pro-choice blog does, please drop me a note. I would be more than happy to link to the more caring and even-tempered voices on both sides of this difficult and uncomfortable debate.

Posted by smijer at February 27, 2005 12:00 AM

All excellent entries. Man that Ophelia Benson sure can write well!

univar.jpg Posted by ~DS~ on February 27, 2005 02:05 PM
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Wow! Totally by accident I found my post among these other talented writers, what an honour I am truly humbled.

univar.jpg Posted by mutant cat on February 27, 2005 06:52 PM
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Wonderful! Great job! Thank you. The Carnival is getting better and better every week!

univar.jpg Posted by coturnix on February 27, 2005 10:54 PM
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Apologies for the technical difficulties with my host company. Until the issue is resolved, please use this link for my post "I See Stupid People". Note that the error message is misleading. They had problems last month and eventually fixed them, now they have new problems but they haven't updated the error page.

univar.jpg Posted by Goddam Liberal on February 28, 2005 01:03 PM
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My website is up again, thanks for your patience! Here is the link: I See Stupid People

univar.jpg Posted by Goddam Liberal on March 1, 2005 07:56 PM
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Thanks for the update.. I've restored the links in the original post, and the should work correctly now.

univar.jpg Posted by smijer on March 1, 2005 08:15 PM
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