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How Secular are Academics?

Many people, especially among political conservatives, believe that most academics are secular, possibly even hostile to religion. However, a recent study of academics' religious beliefs by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research suggests otherwise (some of the study's results have already been cited in our discussion of supposed anti-religious bigotry in academia). It is indeed true, that academics are on average less religious than the general public. However, far more academics are religious believers than atheists or agnostics. The prevalence of religious belief in academia undercuts claims, such as Rick Hills', that "Secular academics typically do not know many religious believers — especially not many overly devout Christians — and their isolation leads to the most naively lurid fantasies about what religious belief entails." It also reinforces my argument that academics' unfavorable views of Evangelical Christians and Mormons are mostly due to hostility to these groups' conservative political ideologies rather than a generalized antagonism to religion as such.

The IJCR study shows that 66% of academics believe in God, while only 19% say that they don't. This is a fairly overwhelming majority of theists, even though smaller than the 93% of the general public who say they believe in God. Some 66% of academics (compared to about 85% of the general public) identify with a particular religious denomination such as Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, or Muslim. With the important exception of Evangelical Christians (33% of the general public, but only 11% of academics), most major religious groups are represented among academics in roughly the same or higher proportions as in the general public.

It is, of course, possible that many theistic academics are still "secular" in the sense that religion doesn't play an important role in their lives. However, the IJCR survey shows that 63% of academics say that religion is "very important" or "somewhat important" to them. This is a lower figure than the 85% of the general public who fall into these two categories, but still suggests that religious belief is important to a large majority of academics. Further, 44% of academics say they attend religious services at least once per month (compared to 56% of the general public), and 73% of academics (compared to 86% of the general public) want their children to receive religious training.

Moreover, the gap between the general public's religiosity and that of academics may be smaller than it appears. Members of the general public are probably more likely to overstate their religiosity in surveys than are academics. There is a great deal of prejudice against atheists and agnostics in the general population, with some 50% of the public believing that it is impossible for one to be "moral" or have "good values" without believing in God. In academia, by contrast, the IJCR survey found that only 18% of faculty have a "cool" or "unfavorable" view of atheists (compared to about 50% of the general public who expressed similar "unfavorable" views of atheists in other surveys). Thus, there is much less incentive for academic atheists to hide their beliefs than for those in the general public to do so. There is also less incentive for academic theists to exaggerate their religiosity, church attendance, etc., than for those in the general population. But although academics are far more tolerant of atheists than is the general public, the overwhelming majority are not atheists themselves.

Like many other studies, the IJCR survey finds that academics differ enormously from the general public in their political orientation, with academics being far more left-wing. That is where most of the really important attitudinal differences between academia and the general public lie.

Nathan Gimpel (mail):
I think you're correct in your assessment that academia acts as somewhat of an insulator to outspoken atheists and agnostics who happen to be members of that network. While the majority of those in academia do not necessarily have coinciding views with academic atheists, a certain sympathy and trust is awarded to them by their peers, much like most strong socio-systems of interlacing professional camaraderie and collective thinking.
This insulating social network transforms into a speaking box of sorts for some academic atheists, who are fully aware of the undeserved mistrust and general suspicion cast upon them by the general public. Those in academia with a "mainstream" faith don't necessarily see a need for any type of speaking box as they are well within the majority of Americans. The misgiving awarded to atheists are not as prevalent among these academics as is with the general public and perhaps a slight tinge of empathy is felt towards their atheistic peers, so internal protest is minimal in reaction towards an out-spoken atheist, provided he/she isn't too outspoken.
These are merely my own observations and should be taken as such.
6.22.2008 1:25am
Chris Bell (mail) (www):
If it isn't too intrusive (and what does it say if it is?), can we have a poll of the Conspirators themselves?

Ilya, maybe you could conduct this privately and then just give the final numbers?
6.22.2008 1:54am
Gary Imhoff (mail) (www):
On the other hand, does affiliation with an organized church necessarily connote taking religion or religious belief seriously? Liberals claim that evangelical Christian churches spend too much time and energy on conservative political causes, but many conservative churches are tremendously reluctant to get involved in what they see as secular causes.

On the other hand, many "mainstream" Protestant churches, Reform Jewish temples, and "progressive" Catholic churches devote much more attention to "social justice," liberal political causes, and the platform of the Democratic party than to what would traditionally be considered matters of faith and religion. And in these churches, there is no reluctance to concentrate on the secular. For members of these congregations -- and anyone who lives in a big city or near a major university can name several local churches, the churches that academics are likely to belong to, that fit this description -- religious practice is simply politics in another setting. (Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ is certainly not typical of "the black church," but it is typical of these politically oriented churches.)
6.22.2008 2:14am
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Ilya,

You are misrepresenting the major findings of the study to make it appear that academics are just like most non-academics in terms of their religious views.

From the “major findings”

1. Most faculty believe in God, but atheism is significantly more prevalent among faculty than the general public.

2. Faculty are much less religious than the general public

3. Religious beliefs of college faculty are highly associated with political identity and behavior.

4. The secular/liberal portion of faculty is much higher than the religious/conservative.

5. Faculty feel warmly about most religious groups but feel coldly about evangelicals and Mormons

6. Faculty feel most unfavorably about evangelical Christians

7. Faculty are almost unanimous in their belief that evangelical Christians (Fundamentalists) should keep their religious belief out of American politics.

8. Although faculty generally oppose religion in the public sphere, many endorse the idea that Muslims should express their religious belief in American politics.

This last one should be a shocker, but is not. The American faculty is notable for its cowardice in the face of potential or actual physical opposition. Note its reaction to the Mohammad cartoons.

Nice try putting lipstick on this pig.
6.22.2008 9:29am
Renato Drumond (mail):
Thus, there is much less incentive for academic atheists to hide their beliefs than for those in the general public to do so.

Even if we imagine that it's true(and I tend to believe that it is), it's more likely that atheists/agnostics tend to declare themselves as non-religious rather than Christians. But if you look at the numbers, only 12% of non-academics are non-religious, while the total of non-religious academics are 25%(14% non-religious and 11% atheists). It's a great difference.

And you forgot to mention that 17% of academics prefered not to answer the question about God, while only 3% of non-academics choose not to answer. We really don't know if this people believe in God or not, but probably some of them don't believe.
6.22.2008 10:19am
Moneyrunner43 (www):
And for those who believe that it's the political view of evangelicals that academics object to, this study states:


Fourth, faculty tend to be very tolerant of most religious groups, including Jews, atheists, Buddhists, and others.

There are two exceptions to this tolerance: Mormons and Evangelicals. It may be that faculty object not only to the political behavior of Evangelicals, but likely also to their religious beliefs and culture. Our data confirm
the disapproval of Evangelical political behavior, and strongly hint at disapproval of Evangelical beliefs and culture as well.

6.22.2008 10:22am
Moneyrunner43 (www):
We have before us an outstanding example of someone who self-identifies as a religious believer. He wrote a book the title of which is taken from his spiritual mentor’s sermons. He attends church regularly, was married by this spiritual mentor, and had his children baptized by the same spiritual mentor.

He has overwhelming support among faculty in his run for the Presidency. Strangely enough, his church is not viewed, nor is his minister viewed as among the mainstream of American Christians. But if he were a faculty member taking part in this survey, he would be classified as a deeply religious churchgoing Christian.
6.22.2008 10:29am
A. Person (mail):
It would be more interesting to focus on elite academics. A lot of "academics" -- perhaps most -- are little more than glorified high-school teachers at community colleges or at vocational-oriented colleges. What do academics at elite universities believe in?
6.22.2008 10:39am
dearieme:
"Most faculty believe in God": then why are so many such dismal, hang-dog Lefties? Shouldn't believers walk around radiating love and kindness, not resentment and sourness? Very odd.
6.22.2008 10:40am
Renato Drumond (mail):
I'm reading the study and the point about non-answers on God question was observed:

We can conclude that those who did not answer are more
likely to answer that they do not believe in God. The overall proportion of atheists among the faculty as a whole is actually more like 24% than the 19% shown by those who answered affirmatively.


Also, the age matters:

"Younger faculty, those under thirty-five, have a more positive view of atheists than those over sixty-five—30% percent and 16% respectively feel very warm/favorable toward atheists."
6.22.2008 10:43am
Gregory Conen (mail):
@dearime: If believers "radiat[e] love and kindness", then why does the "Christian right" define itself in opposition to gays, etc? Most people, religious or not, liberal or conservative, have a hard time being kind and loving to people they don't like. It's human nature.
Also, as in an many spheres, the loudest voices are heard, even if they are only a minority. Thus, conservatives think all academics are atheist leftists; academics think all evangelicals want to make this a Christian theocracy.

@Moneyrunner43: He's hardly saying that academics are the same, he's saying that the differences are less than commonly perceived. 66%, while less than the vast majority of the general public, hardly makes academia an atheistic place. Especially when, as Ilya also noted, the reduced stigma of atheism makes people who don't really believe or don't care very much, much less likely to "go along with the crowd", and practice.

Further, a lack of religious belief hardly implies a hostility towards believers, the claim that got this started. While there is some hostility, it is no less than is felt among the general public. In academia, only 30% approve of evangelicals, but that appears to be the only group less accepted than in the general public; the presented data isn't complete, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and even Mormons are apparently more accepted in academia than mainstream society.

Also, only 66% of academics say they believe in God, but 73% want their children to receive religious training? There are academics who don't believe in God, but want their children to have religious training? That seems odd.
6.22.2008 11:26am
Bad (mail) (www):
So, by Todd's definition, this definitively means that Rick Hill is a bigot.

I don't mean to be normative about that, I'm just stating a fact.

Right?
6.22.2008 11:33am
Matt_T:
Does worshipping Obama count as religion?
6.22.2008 11:41am
Latinist:
1. I hate to keep banging on about this in thread after thread, but the Evangelical and Mormon views many people object to are not just narrowly "political" ones. Many people find Evangelical beliefs about, e.g., homosexuality offensive and abhorrent, even outside of their influence on government policies.

2. An "unfavorable attitude" is a phrase open to many interpretations; I'd like to see a survey that put that question in a few different ways ("generally like/dislike," "agree/disagree with," etc.).
6.22.2008 11:44am
Bruce2:
I think belief in God might not quite be the right question to define the difference. I suspect there's a much larger difference between the general population and academics in belief in God as a force for "social justice" (whatever that's defined as at the time) vs. God as a force for more-absolute justice (even if it's not a common secular value).
6.22.2008 12:01pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Many people find Evangelical beliefs about, e.g., homosexuality offensive and abhorrent, even outside of their influence on government policies.

Religious traditionalists weren't out hunting homos for supper. They were merely responding to strong political action by queer civil rights groups. Traditionally, homosexual activity was disfavored (in Christian countries) but it existed, was known to exist, and was rarely punished. There were laws on the books (some draconian) but like the Leviticus death penalty provision were advertisements of displeasure rather than actual punishments.

Once the '60's hit, queers began to attack. Sodomy was derreged but they started pop cult takeovers (Disney cross-dressing, etc.), school takeovers (sexual ambiguity introduced in kindergarten), and anti-discrimination legislation. Most other OECD countries started locking up anti-gay believers (except for the Muslim ones).

Trads could see the writing on the wall so they responded. Evangelicals came from an antipolitical American tradition that had rejected the national churches of Europe. But eventually, they responded to commie-queer attacks.

Note that in the comments to the posts on the California Homeschooling Case, commentators recommended seizing the children of believers to counter indoctrinate them in mod values. When you advocate that level of aggression, you can hardly be surprised by an assertive response.
6.22.2008 12:17pm
Michael B (mail):
The referenced study is of interest, but it would be more interesting to know what the breakdown is among significant subgroups, for example the attitudes and beliefs of those academics who comprise the soft sciences.

No one typically cares (***), from the standpoint of public policy interests broadly conceived, what academics who comprise the hard sciences believe, as long as they don't permit their ideological, philosophical and/or religious beliefs to adversely impact their rigorous scientific discipline. To take a premier example, the work being done at CERN and the recently inaugurated LHC will not be impacted adversely if the scientist in question is a philosophical materialist, a theist such as Einstein or a more decidedly "religious" person such as a Planck - as long as science and the disciplines that appertain to science are heeded. Even in the "less hard" areas of physics and mathematics, such as is reflected in string theory, as long as a genuinely rigorous internal discipline is maintained, no one cares very much, if at all, what their personal and social/political leanings are.

The rub comes in when philosophical, ideological and/or religious beliefs - both pro and con - are allowed to impact the discipline and research in question and are additionally allowed to impact public policy. This can certainly occur in the soft sciences (e.g., weren't "the group of 88" signatories in the Duke lacrosse case largely soft science profs?), and likewise can occur in other areas where ideological or philosophical dispositions can, subtly or more obviously, bias the rigor demanded by science and the public policy interests which can ensue.

Iow, addressing all academics in an undifferentiated manner can be of interest, but it serves to dilute the more critical and more specific aspects of the debate, where the devil is in the rubber that meets the road. Likewise, the soft sciences are merely the most obvious and blatant area where work resulting from quasi-disciplines and pseudo-disciplines are allowed to pass as far more scientific or authoritative statements than they in fact represent.

(*** People still care, for example around seven billion dollars was spent on the LHC at CERN and such amounts deserve scrutiny from all vantage points, but the point made concerns biases and more bigoted qualities that are allowed a veneer of "science," absent the rigor and discipline and substance demanded by better clarified conceptions of science.)
6.22.2008 12:53pm
DangerMouse:
Note that in the comments to the posts on the California Homeschooling Case, commentators recommended seizing the children of believers to counter indoctrinate them in mod values.

That should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog. I daresay that this series of posts about academics would find more extreme effects if the same analysis were applied to this blog's commentators.
6.22.2008 1:12pm
The General:
religious like Jeremiah Wright is religious.
6.22.2008 1:30pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Ilya Somin, et al.
RE: Consider the Possibilities

"It is, of course, possible that many theistic academics are still "secular" in the sense that religion doesn't play an important role in their lives. However, the IJCR survey shows that 63% of academics say that religion is "very important" or "somewhat important" to them." -- Ilya Somin

Not just possible. I'd suggest that it is highly probable. Or, as an alternative, their religion is vastly different from Christianity. I know a number of pagans, for whom their religion is "very important" or "somewhat important". I'm confident in saying that Wiccan and Satanists can claim the same.

The challenge is do they practice what they claim to believe?

If someone were to ask me, I could say I'm a progressive; were I a liar. And how would they know the difference? Unless they REALLY knew me? And who, not knowing me, would have the time to follow me about and watch what I do and hear what I say in order to corroborate my profession of political-faith with what I actually did?

This 'survey' has a major flaw, vis-a-vis what people claim. And I think the evidence is self-evident if you pay attention to what is going on in the world of 'higher-learning'.

These people can claim to believe in God. But I have serious doubts as to their veracity. Or if their god is the same as the Judeo-Christian one. I'll wager the prof I encountered last year, the one cursing Christians, would say they believe in god. The question is which god do they believe in? The one they see in the mirror, perhaps?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A tree is known by its fruit. -- some Wag, about 2000 years ago]
6.22.2008 1:32pm
SenatorX (mail):
No wonder our education system sucks so bad. Intellectual dishonesty = believers. Hail Odin!

"Younger faculty, those under thirty-five, have a more positive view of atheists than those over sixty-five—30% percent and 16% respectively feel very warm/favorable toward atheists."

Ahh a nice tidbit that gives hope for the future.
6.22.2008 1:34pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Ilya Somin
RE: Hypocrisy, Pure and Simple

"Although Faculty Generally Oppose Religion in the Public Sphere, Many Endorse the Idea That Muslims Should Express Their Religious Beliefs in American Politics
Faculty are far less likely to endorse Evangelical Christians expressing their beliefs in American politics." -- IJCR Report

This is the telling indicator that the academics are hypocrits of the first water. And an indication that they would 'welcome' violent, militant religious believers of ANY stripe. All you have to do to get these academics—as reported by the IJCR—to accept you is get enough of your fellow 'believers' to threaten them....physically.

Then you can hold marches and rallies and teach-ins on their campus. Look at what's going on at SanFranU.

Gutless wonders.....

And they're supposed to be teaching the future generation?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. -- C. S. Lewis]
6.22.2008 2:05pm
griefer (mail):
Ilya, I think that a strong correlate with dislike of evangelical xians and mormons has to do with the percieved proselytization of these groups. Academics have no antipathy towards Jews and Jews do not proselytize.
Proselytization is the act of telling others what to think.
Political activism in by mormons and evangelical xians is simply legislating religious belief into law....like, "homosexuals are evil" and "abortion is bad".
Another form of proselytizing.
6.22.2008 2:05pm
griefer (mail):
The "chuck pelto attitude" is common also in debates about IDT in highschool science classes. The common attitude of evangelical xians is that academics are elistist closed minded intellectual snobs totally invested in "science dogma".

However, perhaps it is just that we dont want to be told what to think about science, education, sex, and/or culture.
;)
6.22.2008 2:26pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
I wonder whether I would qualify as a "religious" academic: I believe in God sort of a quasi-agnostic sense. I describe myself as "deist/theist/agnostic" all at once. You might even add the label "universalist" to that because I'm convinced if God does exist, not one soul would be consigned to eternal damnation, rather temporarily punishment in proportion to sin on Earth, minus suffering already experienced on Earth.
6.22.2008 2:30pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Jon Rowe
RE: [OT] Interesting Philosophy

Is this written anywhere? Or did you just make it up?

There's an on-going discussion regarding critical thinking over at PJM. You might want to drop in there.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.22.2008 2:33pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. If you believe in a god as you describe, i.e., other than yourself, I suspect that most of the academics cited by the IJCR study would not have a problem with you.

After all, you, in and of yourself, are not a serious threat to their worldview. Christians, i.e., the REAL ones, are a different matter, altogether. [Please...no Airplane jokes.]

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Where there is no religion, hypocrisy becomes good taste.]
6.22.2008 2:36pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):

Proselytization is the act of telling others what to think.



No, proselytization is urging others to adopt your beliefs. Note how the taint of fascism is ascribed to Christians when the ones telling others what to think are the academics, the radicals who impose speech codes, the people who want to outlaw prayer from public functions; who want to shut believers up except in their smaller and smaller ghettos.

From the report:


A sizable minority of faculty, 43%, said they believe that prayer should be eliminated from government functions. Forty-nine percent disagreed and another 8% were unsure. Only 17% of all [non academic] Americans agreed that prayer should be eliminated from government functions, while 78% disagreed, and only 4% were not sure.



Only a minority of faculty disagreed that certain expressions which which they disagreed should be banned in public functions.

A Large Majority of Faculty Believes That This Country would Be Better Off If Christian Fundamentalists Kept Their Religious Beliefs Out of Politics. A strong majority of faculty, 71%, agreed.

Let’s examine that for a moment. Christian Fundamentalists have their ethics and morals informed by their religious beliefs. So 71% of faculty demand that these people should not be allowed to express their ethics and morals in the public sphere. At the same time, atheists, Buddhists, the Reverend Wright and Moslems are invited to express their deeply held beliefs in the public sphere and use these as the basis for our laws.

I am reminded of the line in the bar scene of “Star Wars” where Ob Wan refers to the creatures there as A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy But don't question their openmindedness.
6.22.2008 2:45pm
William Oliver (mail) (www):
I think it's funny, frankly. Having been the brunt of some of this bigotry, I am always amused by people who desire so desperately to tell me it doesn't happen. No matter how much academics piss on my leg and tell me it's raining, it's still not rain.
6.22.2008 2:47pm
griefer (mail):
Also, Jon is not attempting to tell anyone what to think.
;)
6.22.2008 2:55pm
griefer (mail):
Five words for you money.

Separation of Church and State
6.22.2008 2:57pm
griefer (mail):
I'm not telling you it isn't happening.
When evangelical xians or mormons come to my door i tell them i'm a muslim or a satanist.
I despise proselytizers.

Proselytization and missionariism are great evils.

I also despise IDTbots, homophobes attempting to legislate their religious values into anti-gaymarriage laws and trying to legislate their proselytizing into high school science classrooms.
6.22.2008 3:03pm
griefer (mail):
shorter griefer:

if you want to be treated like jews (by academe), act like jews.
;)
6.22.2008 3:05pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
I've written of my theology occasionally on my blogs, where I usually study the history of the religion and the American Founding. I don't think I "made" any of it up -- Deism, Theism, Agnosticism, and Universalism, certainly weren't invented by me. Deism, Theism, and Agnosticism, sort of go together. I'm not sure if God exists. But maybe He (She/It/They) does. And if God exists, I really don't see any evidence of His(Her/It/Their) intervening in the affairs of man. But may He(She/It/They) are manipulating probabilities and playing dice with the universe.

The Universalism is a little different. When folks say they are "agnostic," they aren't agnostic on everything. Very few people are "Zeus" agnostic. I'm not an agnostic on whether Allah really sent those highjackers in the WTC and rewarded them with Virgins (I actively disbelieve it). Likewise I actively disbelieved in eternal damnation as put forth by orthodox Christianity. I think if true, it's a terrible, terrible horrific Truth. Christianity turns into extremely "bad news" with a silver lining that you can escape the terrible fate that awaits most of humanity, necessarily including many of your loved ones.

Everything else about rewards and punishment sort of has to do with Karma or what goes around comes around -- "cosmic justice." I also flirt with the possibility of reincarnation.

Maybe the way I've synthesized these ideas are unique. But none of them are original to me.
6.22.2008 3:09pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Go to the survey Appendix A, "Faculty Survey Methodology." It's always best to read the survey methodology first because if that's defective, then there's no point in reading the conclusions. The methodology here is defective for a number of reasons.

The survey used a sample of 6,600 faculty from a master list purchased from MKTG Services of Wilmington, Massachusetts. Thus any faculty member who does not appear on this direct marketing list has zero chance of being sampled. However problems with the sampling frame are minor compared to the evident response bias.

The survey got 1,269 usable completed questionnaires giving an adjusted response rate of 24%. Evidently no attempt was made to do a follow-up sample the of the non-respondents to see if their opinions differ in any significant way from the respondents. I don't see any discussion of response bias other than a check to see if the respondents had the same distribution across regions and disciplines. Suppose atheists had a much lower propensity to respond to this poll than religious faculty? The survey would then dramatically understate the secular nature of the target population.

I would also like to know if religious colleges appeared in the master list.

Based on a quick look, I judge this survey as too defective to draw conclusions from. Perhaps I missed something, if so let me know.
6.22.2008 3:21pm
Justin Bowen (mail):

This is a fairly overwhelming majority of theists, even though smaller than the 93% of the general public who say they believe in God. Some 66% of academics (compared to about 85% of the general public) identify with a particular religious denomination such as Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, or Muslim.


I don't mean to be nitpicky here, but I have a couple problems.

First, where did the 93% statistic come from? According to 2001 Census statistics, about 14% of adult Americans who responded (about 11M refused to respond) to questions about religion are of no religious faith, with atheists accounting for ~900K, agnostics accounting for ~1M, and ~27M claiming no religion (those claiming "no religion" can't be assumed to be atheists or agnostics and can't be assumed to be believers, though I tend to believe that they might be more inclined to be atheists or agnostics (or some other branch of non-theism like unitarianism or humanism) considering that they could have answered any other way than "no religion" if they truly adhered to a religion). If there is a source for their assumption about how many people actually believe in God then I've missed it.

Also, when did not believing in God constitute being an atheist. We atheists don't believe in any gods. God is a pretty specific god. God could probably be defined, at least it could be in the US, as the Abrahamic god; the god of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. If I were a Buddhist, I might [possibly] be offended if someone called me an atheist because I said that I didn't believe in God.
6.22.2008 3:24pm
Soldats (mail):

It also reinforces my argument that academics' unfavorable views of Evangelical Christians and Mormons are mostly due to hostility to these groups' conservative political ideologies rather than a generalized antagonism to religion as such.


No it doesn't. You haven't in any way ruled out that the unfavorable view is due to moralizing, proselytizing, and attempts to push their religious views into government laws - i.e. creationism in schools, stripping rights from gay citizenry, demonizing atheists and generally sticking their noses into other people's business (Schiavo etc.).

Well, that is, unless you claim that conservative political ideology indicates that you're a busybody who sticks their nose into everyone else's lives. Then again, that's why I stopped identifying with conservatives because I don't want to be associated with busybodies like that.
6.22.2008 3:24pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Moneyrunner43, et al.
RE: It's Called....

"No, proselytization is urging others to adopt your beliefs. Note how the taint of fascism is ascribed to Christians when the ones telling others what to think are the academics, the radicals who impose speech codes, the people who want to outlaw prayer from public functions; who want to shut believers up except in their smaller and smaller ghettos." -- Moneyrunner43

...in psychological 'circles', 'Projection'.

They ascribe to those they oppose the very things they do themselves. It's a poor effort at pre-emptive strikes. Poor, at least, in the eyes of those who are better 'educated' and have a sense of personal integrity.

For the liars and cheats, it's their favorite 'tool'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Evil has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.]
6.22.2008 3:28pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: An Example of My Previous Comments....

...in other threads on this blog....

"Separation of Church and State" -- griefer

If you ask griefer to explain this statement, I wonder if he/she/it will describe the fact that government cannot suppress religious expression, vis-a-vis the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

Three guesses. First two don't count.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Bit-phrase mentality is the favorite tool of those who cannot or will not—honestly—think for themselves. -- CBPelto]
6.22.2008 3:32pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. I doubt if he/she/it could adequately explain the phrase they cited.
6.22.2008 3:35pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Soldats
RE: Try....

"You haven't in any way ruled out that the unfavorable view is due to moralizing, proselytizing, and attempts to push their religious views into government laws." -- Soldats

...not to be too ignorant.

ALL Law is based on morality. And morality is based on 'religious' worldview.

All you did here, with your statement, was proclaim that YOUR 'religious worldview', YOUR morality, should be the law of the land.

You're no different than the people you decry.

As I stated above, it's nothing but pure and unadulterated 'projection'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Those who would separate the law and morality will never understand one nor the other. -- John, Viscount Morley of Blackburn]
6.22.2008 3:47pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Justin Bowen
RE: Not To Put TOO Fine a Point On It....

"Also, when did not believing in God constitute being an atheist. We atheists don't believe in any gods." -- Justin Bowen

But from the distance, the atheists think themselve as gods; each unto himself.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Atheist, n., One hoping to God that He doesn't exist.]

P.S. I suspect it's because He is rather 'jealous'.
6.22.2008 3:54pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: A. Zardov
RE: The Survey Methodology

"The methodology here is defective for a number of reasons.
" -- A. Zardov

Interesting points, but I don't see them as totally corrupting the validity of the survey.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.22.2008 3:57pm
griefer (mail):
I said this on Ilyas thread.

The views of evangelicals are more visible, since they are showcased in IDT and samesex issue legislation. And ESCR legislation.

It is likely that academics reguard evangelicals as ...well...intransigently stupid on issues like the biological basis of homosexuality and ToE, paradigms well understood by the academics community.
I can say with confidence that vanishingly few academics believe that a fertilized oocyte or a blastula is "human life".
6.22.2008 3:59pm
Perseus (mail):
I think that a strong correlate with dislike of evangelical xians and mormons has to do with the percieved proselytization of these groups. Academics have no antipathy towards Jews and Jews do not proselytize.
Proselytization is the act of telling others what to think.
Political activism in by mormons and evangelical xians is simply legislating religious belief into law....like, "homosexuals are evil" and "abortion is bad".
Another form of proselytizing.


If it's about proselytizing rather than the beliefs themselves (which I question), academics really are in no position to complain about it since many of them engage in it themselves.
6.22.2008 4:06pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
"ALL Law is based on morality. And morality is based on 'religious' worldview."

I can actually somewhat agree with this. In my latest post, I quoted Allan Bloom -- a caution defender of "liberal democracy" bemoaning its excesses when he wrote:


From the earliest beginnings of liberal thought there was a tendency in the direction of indiscriminate freedom. Hobbes and Locke, and the American Founders following them, intended to palliate extreme beliefs, particularly religious beliefs, which lead to civil strife....In order to make this arrangement work, there was a conscious, if covert, effort to weaken religious belief, party by assigning -- as a result of a great epistemological effort -- religion to the realm of opinion as opposed to knowledge. But the right to freedom of religion belonged to the realm of knowledge. Such rights are not matters of opinion. No weakness of conviction was desired here. All to the contrary, the sphere of rights was to be the arena of moral passion in a democracy. p. 28.


But how do we "know" that freedom of religion specifically or "liberty" in general is non-negotiable: We defend with a moral passion as though it were God granted, whether such a God really exists or not.

There certainly were religious or metaphysical underpinnings to the moral claims of the American Founding, and of "liberal democracy"/republican government. However, arguably the political theology of the American Founding was not traditional orthodox Christianity, but something else.

The God of the American Founding, unlike the Biblical God who forbids it in His First Command, grants men an unalienable liberty right to worship no God or twenty gods.
6.22.2008 4:06pm
griefer (mail):
And it was certainly not evangelical xianity.
Washington was a Free Mason.
;)
6.22.2008 4:09pm
TruePath (mail) (www):
Is this a study of all academics or only those at top tier universities. I don't doubt for a moment that most people at teaching universities are theists but when people assume that academics are atheists they usually are talking about professors at research universities. In particular this survey likely includes people teaching at religious institutions.

Moreover, there are plenty of theologians and the like with 'academic' jobs but when people talk about academics being atheists they don't mean to include this group either. Also the sense people have that most academics are atheists tends to exclude people who teach at business schools or teach other more skill based subjects.

I'd be much more interested to see the results of a survey of an ivy league university broken down by department.
6.22.2008 4:13pm
griefer (mail):
For example, the idea that samesex marriage is "wrong" is an evangelical religious idea.

Perseus, you are welcome to your religious beliefs as long as you keep them to yourselves.
By attempting to force them on others through proselytization or litigation, you open yourselves to public scrutiny, and public criticism.
6.22.2008 4:15pm
Perseus (mail):
It is likely that academics reguard evangelicals as ...well...intransigently stupid on issues like the biological basis of homosexuality and ToE, paradigms well understood by the academics community.
I can say with confidence that vanishingly few academics believe that a fertilized oocyte or a blastula is "human life".


Well, this particular academic doesn't think that insights derived from biology are in any way dispositive of the moral and metaphysical questions concerning homosexuality or the definition of human life.
6.22.2008 4:16pm
Soldats (mail):
To Chuck Pelto @ 6.22.2008 2:54pm

That's a philosophical disagreement on the basis of law. You think law is based on morality which is determined by religion. As such, you see any law you don't like as an attack on your morality and by association, you religion.

I can understand your view despite not agreeing with it. Just because I don't agree with abortion doesn't meant I'd want a law to prevent others from having one. It just means I wouldn't have one. I view it as something personal that the government should have no say in. Of course, you on the other hand would see the lack of such a law as an attack on your morality and religion.

So if my view is projection, it is no different that your's. And just attaching a quote to your post doesn't actually provide any factual refutation of what I stated.
6.22.2008 4:18pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Interesting points, but I don't see them as totally corrupting the validity of the survey."

Suppose the 76% who didn't respond are really different than the 24% who did respond? The poll could be absolutely worthless.

Response bias really counts. The infamous Literary Digest poll in 1936 predicted Alf Landon would win, yet FDR carried all but two states. The problem in this poll was response bias. Landon voters were the ones who tended to respond more than FDR voters. Most commentary on this poll is wrong. They blame the error on the sampling frame. In other words, FDR voters didn't get sampled as much as Landon voters. But as the article "Making of a Statistical Myth," which appeared in the American Statistician, makes clear, the sampling frame was not the problem, it was response bias. Anyone with JSTOR access can get to this article. Sorry I don't remember the date, but it's somewhere in the 1970s.

There are methods for dealing with non-response, and this is an active area in survey research. You can get whole books on how to deal with missing data. But this survey doesn't even discuss non-response, let alone try and correct for it.

I'm inclined to think that this whole thread is discussing noise.
6.22.2008 4:18pm
griefer (mail):
"truepath", she sez helpfully,"here is some data on scientists." ;)
6.22.2008 4:20pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
griefer,

You are right: It was some sort of syncretic founding ear unitarian-universalism that was sort of in between traditional Christianity on the one hand and strict deism on the other. I wrote about it on a post that the CATO Institute reproduced as part of their symposium on political theology here.

This theology was not "strict deism" as some secularist argue. Rather it was an inclusive "warm theism" that held "traditional Christianity is just great," but so too are all sorts of other exotic world religions that preach Truth claims incompatible with orthodox Christianity. We all worship the same God and he wants us to be good one another, etc. etc.
6.22.2008 4:23pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"For example, the idea that samesex marriage is "wrong" is an evangelical religious idea."

Not exclusively. I know secular Jews who oppose SSM. Any Christian or Jew who regards the bible as authoritative should oppose SSM as well as homosexuality. Leviticus 20:13 says: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.". Is this simply a translation error, and the Hebrew really means something else? I doubt it. Islam too condemns homosexuality. So all three Abrahamic religions condemn homosexuality. I don't think opposition to SSM stems from Evangelicalism. Blame the bible.
6.22.2008 4:31pm
Perseus (mail):
Perseus, you are welcome to your religious beliefs as long as you keep them to yourselves.
By attempting to force them on others through proselytization or litigation, you open yourselves to public scrutiny, and public criticism.


I have no problem with public criticism of my pagan beliefs, but see how open to criticism your typical academic is if you object to their proselytizing on behalf of the dogma of, say, "diversity."
6.22.2008 4:38pm
Tyrant King Porn Dragon (mail):
Ah, the sweet, plaintive cries of conservatives trying to defend their anti-intellectual prejudice :P

I'd just like to comment on this:

"Although Faculty Generally Oppose Religion in the Public Sphere, Many Endorse the Idea That Muslims Should Express Their Religious Beliefs in American Politics"

Speaking for myself, I endorse the idea that Muslims should have the right to 'express their religious beliefs in American politics' just like any other Americans. Of course, since I generally oppose 'religion in the public square', by which most people mean state endorsement of religion and public policies based on mainly religious grounds, I would probably oppose whatever policies said Muslims would support, but I'd still support their right to advocate for them. I don't necessarily see a contradiction there, nor do I see myself as a traitorous coward for so believing.

... but I suppose certain posters would beg to differ...

... actually, they probably branded me as a traitor as soon as I implied that Muslims could be Americans...
6.22.2008 5:05pm
Tyrant King Porn Dragon (mail):
"I don't think opposition to SSM stems from Evangelicalism. Blame the bible."

And yet, somehow, there are Christians and Jews and (maybe) Muslims who support same-sex marriage :)

(It's funny, by the way, that the same Christian rightists (including some commenting above) who will go on for days about how America is a 'Christian nation' are also eager to claim that Christian academics, Christian liberals, black Christians, gay Christians, etc, etc, are not genuinely Christian. They seem to forget that, if they're the only 'real Christians', then real Christians are a minority, and that America is not and never was a majority-Christian nation.

I know this is off-topic, but I noted how eager Chuck Pelto, Moneyrunner43, et al, were above to redefine Christianity to exclude liberals and academics. Just a thought
6.22.2008 5:13pm
griefer (mail):
QED Zarkov....making law from the bible?
imposing your religion on the rest of us.


Truly, it is incomprehensible to me. Evangelicals despise intellectuals that acadame. The conservative Right has declared war on science. Why do evangelicals care that scientists and academics dislike them and think they are stupid?
6.22.2008 5:13pm
griefer (mail):
Jon, gratitude, that is excellent.
If the Framers had wanted to make orthodox xianity a state religion they surely could have. I read somewhere they felt the best protection for any one religion was a multitude of religions. And also the best way to keep one religion from oppress less populous ones as well.
It seems that would have foremost in their minds coming a recent situ where minor variants of one main religion were persecuted.
6.22.2008 5:22pm
griefer (mail):
"For example, the idea that samesex marriage is "wrong" is an evangelical religious idea."

Alright then, a religious idea. It is not, say, a scientific idea or a legal idea. ;)
6.22.2008 5:24pm
griefer (mail):
perseus, diversity is not religious dogma.
academe doesnt proselytize.....they are being paid, they are solicited. and they teach knowledge, not superstition.
6.22.2008 5:27pm
Michael B (mail):
"It is likely that academics reguard evangelicals as ...well...intransigently stupid on issues like the biological basis of homosexuality and ToE, paradigms well understood by the academics community." griefer

ToE, Theory of Everything? There certainly are a few academics who understand ToE paradigms, but I very much doubt many academics do. Beyond some surface level conceptualizations, it can be a highly arcane and abstruse set of topoi. As it happens, directly upthread I provided a link to one such overview, a link which amply demonstrates that fact.

In terms of "the biological basis of homosexuality," you're poorly informed or, if not, you're being disingenuous. As noted about a month ago here at VC, Sahotra Sarkar's commentary on the subject, emphasis added:

"Perhaps the most controversial application of [the allele-sharing method] has been to a type of male homosexual orientation. The original study reported that brothers who both exhibited such an orientation showed excess allele-sharing (thirty-three out of forty pairs) at the locus Xq28 (on the X chromosome). A follow-up study reported the same result, but with only twenty-two of thirty-two pairs now showing allele sharing. It also reported no such linkage for female homosexuality. However, in both cases there was an important caveat: while each pair of brothers was shown to share the same DNA sequence at the Xq38 location, different pairs did not necessarily have the same sequence. Attempts to reproduce this result have so far not been uniformly successful. As noted, the follow-up study provided confirmation, but with a lower degree of statistical significance. Another group failed to reproduce the result altogether. Moreover, methodological problems, possibly, the biased reporting of the data - have been alleged in the work of the original group."

Those latter allegations were originally advanced by E. Marshall ("NIH's 'Gay Gene' Study Questioned," Science) and C. Holden ("More on Genes and Homosexuality," Science), each in 1995 and each fellow researchers and scientists, not advocates. Also, see J.M. Bailey in Nature Genetics, "Sexual Orientation Revolution" where he indicates the data do not allow definitive conclusions to be drawn.

In sum, to what extent you're 1) "intransigently stupid" vs. 2) merely intransigent and (conveniently) poorly informed vs. 3) disingenuous is not at all apparent. Personally, I'd tend to be generous and guess #2. Still, it's far less apparent than some would like to believe.
6.22.2008 5:29pm
SenatorX (mail):
ALL Law is based on morality. And morality is based on 'religious' worldview values.

Much better.

If you are raised accepting your culture's values hook line and sinker and if those cultural values were based on religious values you may then think that all morals are based on religion. But if you are an individual who takes the time to be critical of the values you were indoctrinated into and have knowledge of history and other cultures values you may decide to re-organize your value hierarchy based on intellectual decisions. Your values and morals are then not religious based in the least. Guess what, we exist and we don't go rampaging around in selfish orgies just because religious values have no place in our life.
6.22.2008 5:35pm
martinned (mail) (www):
At the risk of stating the obvious: I take it this was a survey of the US alone?
6.22.2008 5:37pm
griefer (mail):
6.22.2008 5:42pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Tyrant King Porn :

"I don't think opposition to SSM stems from Evangelicalism. Blame the bible."

"And yet, somehow, there are Christians and Jews and (maybe) Muslims who support same-sex marriage :)"


Those Christians, Jews,and Muslims obviously don't regard the bible as authoritative, or they regard 18:22 as misinterpreted regarding homosexuality. Such is the stuff of theological arguments, but I would like to hear why the obvious interpretation is not the correct one.
6.22.2008 5:49pm
Perseus (mail):
academe doesnt proselytize.....and they teach knowledge, not superstition.

Your view of academia is highly idealized, to say the least. And see what kind of reaction you get from all of the post-modernist academicians when you assert that the academy teaches "knowledge."
6.22.2008 5:51pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"QED Zarkov....making law from the bible?
imposing your religion on the rest of us."

No, I'm just pointing out that anyone who regards the bible as authoritative is pretty much forced to reject homosexuality.

Of course regarding the bible as authoritative itself leads to logical problems if you believe in the law of the excluded middle. Deuteronomy 25:5

If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
Now contrast that with Leviticus Chapter 18

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.
Thus Deuteronomy mandates what Leviticus forbids. This contradiction complicated and delayed King Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine. Henry's advocates claimed his marriage was invalid because of Leviticus, while Catherine's advocates countered with Deuteronomy. Theologically I don't this contradiction has ever been satisfactorily resolved. So if the bible is authoritative, how come it contains at least one contradiction?
6.22.2008 6:15pm
Observer:
I think that homosexuality involving two males is disgusting, but I don't have much of a problem with female homosexuality. Leviticus doesn't say: a woman shall not lie with a woman, as she would with a man, for this is an abomination. In addition, lesbians do not engage in unsafe sexual practices with hundreds of partners yearly. It seems that from both a Christian and a secular perspective, the arguments against homosexuality only apply for male homosexuality.
6.22.2008 6:18pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
A sizable minority of faculty, 43%, said they believe that prayer should be eliminated from government functions. Forty-nine percent disagreed and another 8% were unsure. Only 17% of all [non academic] Americans agreed that prayer should be eliminated from government functions, while 78% disagreed, and only 4% were not sure.
Only a minority of faculty disagreed that certain expressions which which they disagreed should be banned in public functions.
Can you really not see the difference between a normal ban on speech and a rule that the government (through its agents acting in the course of their official duties) shouldn't be telling us which religion is correct?
6.22.2008 6:19pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Of Course Polygamy is Next
Of course polygamy is next. There is now no rational basis for maintaining the prohibition on it.

Soon thereafter, of course, incestuous marriages are quite forseeable, if only as an estate planning device. For example, currently, mega-taxes are imposed on transfers of wealth following death (estate taxes and inheritance taxes), including inter-generational transfers. However, federal and state death tax laws also recognize a marital exemption, allowing the estate to pass to a spouse tax-free.

As such, it would be legal malpractice for a lawyer to not advise widowed spouses to marry their children. By marrying their children, they obtain the benefit of a tax-free transfer via the marital exemption upon the death of the parent/spouse. By not marrying their children, such transfer at death gets taxed.

The fact that they never live together or never have sex is, of course, within the couple’s right to privacy, i.e., none of the government’s business.

I'm going to advise my wife, should she survive me, to marry my son and daughter to avoid the estate tax.
6.22.2008 6:23pm
LM (mail):
Jon Rowe:

You might even add the label "universalist" to that because I'm convinced if God does exist, not one soul would be consigned to eternal damnation, rather temporarily punishment in proportion to sin on Earth, minus suffering already experienced on Earth.

Reason #267 to read a libertarian law blog: Divine Judgment that allows credit for time served.
6.22.2008 6:25pm
LM (mail):
Justin Bowen:

Also, when did not believing in God constitute being an atheist. We atheists don't believe in any gods. God is a pretty specific god. God could probably be defined, at least it could be in the US, as the Abrahamic god; the god of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. If I were a Buddhist, I might [possibly] be offended if someone called me an atheist because I said that I didn't believe in God.

Actually, if you were a Buddhist and someone called you an atheist, you might agree.
6.22.2008 6:45pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
LM—nowhere on that page does the author accept the label "atheist." Nor is there a denial of the existence of any and all gods. It does say that Buddhism does not recognize an "almighty God," (which presumably means the Abrahamist god), and denies the handing out of rewards and punishments on a supposed Judgment Day. It also says that Buddhism doesn't involve the worship of any gods. But I don't see anything there denying that any gods exist, or accepting the label "atheist." (My vague sense is that Buddhists would object to the label "atheist," though I couldn't say why.)
6.22.2008 7:27pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
But from the distance, the atheists think themselve as gods; each unto himself.
If I were a god, I'd probably have better things to do than study for the bar exam. (Or procrastinate on bar study, which is a more accurate description of what I'm doing . . .)
6.22.2008 7:33pm
CJColucci:
If there were a "mercy rule" for blog post topics, the umpires would be invoking it now.
6.22.2008 7:35pm
LM (mail):
Elliot,

That's why I said "might," not "would" agree. There's nothing necessarily doctrinally inconsistent with the term, though neither is it mandated. I know one Buddhist who calls herself an atheist. Her husband rejects the term, though he admits it's probably descriptively accurate.
6.22.2008 8:01pm
Michael B (mail):
griefer,

And ...?

Your links reflect something, but what they reflect more specifically and in a positive sense is not at all obviously conducive to the pov you are forwarding. Which came first, the chicken or the egg, is merely one of the problems. Correlation vs. causation another. It may pass the Katie Couric and MSM test and make it to the nightly news cum infotainment shows, but that's about it. And that, in response to this, directly upthread?! Absolutely fatuous. Again, it may pass the Katie Couric test, beyond that it doesn't even pass the laugh-track test, it's so banal and fatuous that it's impossible to muster a genuine lol.

I will again note that it's not clear whether you're intransigently stupid or merely intransigent, as in willful. That, because stupidity as such can reflect either innate qualities or it can be a function of more willfully self-blinded and habituated/repetitious and enculturated qualities. This is worth noting not for personal or unkind reasons, but because the phenomenon in question is very nearly ubiquitous and is in fact ubiquitous in terms of its influence; recall Forrest Gump's incisive and too often unheeded commentary.

You would be wiser, or rather more tactically prudent, to positively avoid certain lines of inquiry.

"ALL Law is based on morality. And morality is based on 'religious' worldview values." SenatorX

Your "morality" and "values" are entirely synonymous, so you're forwarding nothing more than a tautology. That's merely your first problem.
6.22.2008 8:20pm
Justin Bowen (mail):

But from the distance, the atheists think themselve as gods; each unto himself


I do tend to think of myself as a god. I control almost every single aspect of my life. I am the beginning and the end of all that happens in my life. I believe that other people should worship me.


Actually, if you were a Buddhist and someone called you an atheist, you might agree.


I stand corrected.

With regards to this survey, could a person choose Buddhist and atheist as answers to the same question?
6.22.2008 8:59pm
frankcross (mail):
Zarkov, there are Biblical arguments that Paul was not objecting to homosexuality per se, but to something like selfishness and libertinism, in which case marriage should be encouraged.

And there is the argument that, even if homosexuality is a sin, we are all sinners, so it should not be singled out for adverse treatment. Most churches don't screen their congregants for ongoing greed, or gluttony, or pride, or other sins.
6.22.2008 9:41pm
SenatorX (mail):
Well yes Michael B morals are just dressed up values. The point though is that they don't come from a god. I would ask what my other problems are but I don't really care to read another of your pompous, unreadable comments. I started skipping you long ago when I realized you were more interested in beating people with your knowledge than actually communicating. Anyway if I remember correctly you are also a defender of ID which makes anything you say on this subject suspect.
6.22.2008 10:05pm
griefer (mail):
hahaha, Michael B we are talking about documented morphological and functional differences in brain tissue!

How do you explain that unless there is some sort of biological basis for homosexuality?
6.22.2008 10:38pm
Suzy (mail):
I'm delighted that this data has finally been discussed here. Other studies show similar results. However, it doesn't specifically support the idea that academics object to evangelicals for political reasons, as if the only possible reasons for the negative view have to do with disagreement about theology or politics.
6.22.2008 11:24pm
a knight (mail) (www):
Professor Somin, I recommend that you rethink your proposition that academics' negative views of some Christian sects is based upon the sect member's conservative political worldview.

The implicit Big Circus Tent of Conservative Inclusiveness could result in unintended guilt by association.

For example: Mt. Vernon, OH., 8th grade public school teacher, John Freshwater, who adamantly refused to teach the stipulated curriculum, and after receiving many complaints about him, the school board contracted with a consultancy firm to investigate allegations about Mr. Freshwater's teaching methods, which included ritualistic physical punishment of students.
"The report confirms that Freshwater burned crosses onto students’ arms, using an electrostatic device, in December. Freshwater told investigators the marks were Xs, not crosses. But all of the students interviewed in the investigation reported being branded with crosses. The investigation report includes a photo of one student’s arm with a long vertical line and a short horizontal line running through it."

Alayna DeMartini, "Report: Science teacher mixed religion, class", The Columbus Dispatch, June 19, 2008

Those miscreant liberals, always interfering with Christian teachers, whose faith compels a conservative political world view... A friend and former colleague views this as a form of religious persecution:
Freshwater’s friend, Dave Daubenmire, defended him.

"With the exception of the cross-burning episode - I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district," he said.

Daubenmire is a former London High School football coach whose district was sued in 1999 by the American Civil Liberties Union because he led his players in prayer at games, practices and meetings.

"Do you think there are other teachers in the public classroom that are trying to drive their opinions in the classroom?" Daubenmire asked. "I don’t care who you are. You cannot separate your value system from your teaching."

Ibid

The cross-burning "episode" was reported as being multiple incidents in the investigative report, but it isn't a sin to engage in fuzzy antinomian rhetoric in defense of light mutilation, when it is the everlasting souls of children at stake. Are you claiming that this arse, with his multiple violations of his employment contract, and his criminal acts of physical violence, perpetrated against minors under his supervision, is a "conservative values" kind of guy?

The potential for use as sarcastic ordnance is at least as great as Craiglike Conservative's tendencies to Peep in the Public Potties.

The whole concept of "Religious Freedom" has been exaggerated far beyond any rational application of original intent. It was meant to mean that all humans were free to privately practise their matters of conscience without societal interference. It was never meant as a rock to shield civil/criminal offenses, providing a safe-harbour defense of religiosity for individuals who believed their faith superseded the civil authority in The Nation. It was grounded in and expanded upon the teachings of John Calvin, the philosophy of John Locke, and a historical understanding of the profound bloodshed resultant from European wars waged by Christians of oppositional sects.

America was founded by persons, who were in great majority, believers in various Christian sects, who also understood the reality, that there was never and will never be a warm and fuzzy totality of a Christian gestalt. The vast schisms can never be breached, because they are caused by irreconcilable foundational beliefs in the requirements for salvation.

Contemporary conservatism deserves to be derogated. It is naught but a pale shell of its greatness, that existed before it had embraced the radical right and former Trotskyists, welcomed them into their camp as kin, and then slatternly acquiesced to repeated rapacious victimisation at the hands of these guests, all for the cause of political expediency. In this, there can be no honour, and is instead, preponderating moral relevancy.
6.22.2008 11:25pm
LM (mail):
Michael,

Irrespective of your intentions, calling someone stupid isn't civil.
6.22.2008 11:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
Duncan: "Traditionally, homosexual activity was disfavored (in Christian countries) but it existed, was known to exist, and was rarely punished. There were laws on the books (some draconian) but like the Leviticus death penalty provision were advertisements of displeasure rather than actual punishments. "

Not at all true. I can't believe you would comment upon something you know nothing about. You make is sound like we had it easy until some uppity gays started demanding more.

Persucution of gays has waxed and waned throughout the centuries. At times, such as during the late Italian Renaissance, gays were hunted down and burned. Other times, there was basic live and let live, at least if you were of the aristocracy. Often, though, if you were found out to be gay, your were simply killed by whoever happened to find out.

Or perhaps you don't know about Oscar Wilde, who was sentenced to two years of hard labor, the maximum penalty, as recently as the 1890s?

During the 50s and 60s, gay bars were regularly raided and gays were beat up by police, and THAT was what gays were rebelling against during the Stonewall riots.

As recently as just a few years ago, gays were actaully arrested for having sex in the privacy of their own home, which directly led to the Lawrence v. Texas case.

I suggest you do a little actual research before you start spouting off on gay history, Duncan.

As for the Bible's statements on gays, it's great that everyone is so into Leviticus and it's laws. Do you know that there are over 1000 laws just in that one chapter? They cover all sorts of things, like prohibiting eating shellfish, pork, oysters, lobster and shrimp. They prohibit you from wearing clothes made with the mixed fibers of wool and cotton. You can't sit on a chair that a menstruating woman has sat on. You must kill your child for mouthing off to you.

If you want are going to demand that everyone else live according to the laws of the Bible, then you have a pretty heavy burden. I suggest that before you insist that everyone else follow these laws, you do so yourself first. If you can, then you might, MIGHT, have a right to impose them on someone else.
6.23.2008 12:28am
Randy R. (mail):
Here are some of those laws that you must follow, if you believe the Bible is authoritative:
DEUTERONOMY22:13-21 If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
• DEUTERONOMY22:22 If a married person has sex with someone else’s husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.
• MARK10:1-12 Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
• LEVITICUS18:19 The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman’s period. If they disobey, both shall be executed. • MARK12:18-27 If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
• DEUTERONOMY25:11-12 If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy’s genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

And many scholars agree with this analysis:

Now what do the Leviticus passages say about homosexuality? I’m convinced those passages say nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today. Here’s why. Consider this single Bible passage that was used for centuries to condemn masturbation: “He spilled his seed on the ground... And the thing which Onan did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also” (Genesis 38:9-10). For Jewish writers of Scripture, a man sleeping with another man was an abomination. But it was also an abomination (and one worthy of death) to masturbate or even to interrupt coitus (to halt sex with your spouse before ejaculation as an act of birth control). Why were these sexual practices considered abominations by Scripture writers in these ancient times? Because the Hebrew pre-scientific understanding was that the male semen contained the whole of life. With no knowledge of eggs and ovulation, it was assumed that the man’s sperm contained the whole child and that the woman provided only the incubating space. Therefore, the spilling of semen without possibility of having a child was considered murder. The Jews were a small tribe struggling to populate a country. They were outnumbered by their enemy. You can see why these ancient people felt it was an abomination to risk “wasting” even a single child. But the passage says nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

AGree or disagree, but at least there is an analysis as to why we don't have to follow Lev.
6.23.2008 12:39am
griefer (mail):
Susan, I think dislike for evangelicals is multifactorial.
But evangelicals have forcibly inserted their religion into politics, so their idealogy has become more visible, and therefore more offensive to academics.
6.23.2008 12:46am
griefer (mail):
Catholics, for example, are fine with ToE.
Dr. Ken Miller and Dr. Francis Collins are academics AND catholics.
;)
6.23.2008 12:49am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Randy R.

With regard to a man's wife dying without issue, Deuteronomy mandates what Leviticus forbids (see my post for my detail). That's a logical problem as opposed to a "that's too strict" problem. But I see no way out of Leviticus 20:13 as the text seems plain on its face. We can go back to the original Hebrew if you want. Just because some parts of the bible might be ambiguous, mistranslated or misinterpreted does not necessarily mean all other parts have the same problem. Nor does it matter that no one measures up to every single mandate. Just because people frequently cheat on their income tax does not mean every part of the penal code is rendered inoperative.

All that being said, people who want to regard the bible as authoritative and perfect have to grapple with its logical contradictions (see my example). If it's not perfect can it still be divine? I leave that to the theologians.
6.23.2008 1:17am
griefer (mail):
Zarkov, here is the perfect example of one reason why academics dislike evangelicals.
Here you are arguing from authority using the bible on a law blog!!!

to some of us its sillie, to some of us its offensive, and to some of i bet its stupid.
6.23.2008 8:24am
Bad (mail) (www):
"LM (mail): Irrespective of your intentions, calling someone stupid isn't civil."

Are you claiming that Michael shouldn't be allowed to post at all? If you take rambling insults away from his rhetorical toolbox, what would be left?
6.23.2008 9:00am
Randy R. (mail):
Zarkov: "All that being said, people who want to regard the bible as authoritative and perfect have to grapple with its logical contradictions (see my example). If it's not perfect can it still be divine? I leave that to the theologians."

Agreed. And any one who has studied the history of the Bible knows that it is filled with errors and mistranslations, making any literal reading a foolish endeavor. So in my opinion, anyone who takes anything literally in the Bible is basically a willing fool or an ignorant student. And those people should not be going around telling everyone else how they should live their lives.
6.23.2008 11:07am
Randy R. (mail):
Sometimes, I think that fundamentalists and others of their ilk really just want to rewrite the Bible down to one or two chapters. They keep reciting the same few passages for everything anyway, so they might as well just drop all the rest.

They should also rewrite the Ten Commandments, since they are so obviously out of date. Get rid of that one about graven images and replace it with No Abortions under any Circumstances, No Sex Outside of Heterosexual Marriages, All Homosexuals must be convert to heterosexuality or remain closeted, All people Must Get Married, Divorce is Outlawed, All Fun Drugs Other Than Alcohol are Prohibited, etc.

You get the point. The Bible today simply isn't sufficient for their needs.
6.23.2008 11:12am
Pender:
Okay, but "academics" lumps sociologists, African Studies professors, and Medieval Lit professors together with the high-energy physicists and biochemists.

I'd be curious to see what the numbers look like once you filter out all of the bullshit professors.
6.23.2008 11:22am
A. Zarkov (mail):
griefer:

"Here you are arguing from authority using the bible on a law blog!!!"

What? You have obviously not read me very carefully.
6.23.2008 12:33pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Tyrant King Porn Dragon
RE: [OT] Exclusion? A Digression

"I know this is off-topic, but I noted how eager Chuck Pelto, Moneyrunner43, et al, were above to redefine Christianity to exclude liberals and academics." -- Tyrant King Porn Dragon

Show me where I said that.

Rather, I suspect you're projecting, as academics, according to the IJCR report want to exclude Christians from the political venue. It's documented there in the report's Major Findings

Faculty Are Almost Unanimous in Their Belief That Evangelical Christians (Fundamentalists) Should Keep Their Religious Beliefs Out of American Politics
Faculty who are secular/liberal are more likely to favor separation of religion and government, and those who are religious and conservative are more likely to advocate a closer connection between religion and government.

I have no problem with liberals and/or academics being christians. Indeed, I welcome them. But I say that a man is known by his actions more than some label he applies to himself. I could call myself a progressive. But would I be telling the truth? Despite the idea that I might consider my approach to life and politics as 'progressive'?

Progressives recognize each other by their actions. Why shouldn't christians?

No. A liberal or an academic can be a christian, but their works will tell the truth about them.

So. Please. Stop trying to put words in my mouth. It just makes you look either ignorant or worse.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A tree is known by its fruit. -- some Wag, about 2000 years ago]

P.S. Likewise, many people who call themselves 'christians' are not. You can tell it by what they do...or don't do.
6.23.2008 12:42pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Agreed. And any one who has studied the history of the Bible knows that it is filled with errors and mistranslations, making any literal reading a foolish endeavor."

The conflict between Leviticus and Deuteronomy with regard to the question of affinity received considerable attention because of King Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine. Advocates for Henry and Catherine generated an immense quantity of scholarly writing, particularly from Bishop John Fisher. The contradiction appears to be genuine and not the result of errors, omissions and mistranslations.

Of course Kurt Godel who gave us the famous incompleteness theorem, claims he found a logical contradiction in the US Constitution. But no one I know claims the Constitution is the perfect product of divine creation.

I don't know how much theological study has gone into the question of Leviticus and homosexuality; all I can say is the text seems clear.
6.23.2008 12:53pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R. and A. Zarkov
RE: [OT] Contradictins Anyone? Another Digression

"And any one who has studied the history of the Bible knows that it is filled with errors and mistranslations...." -- Randy R.

I think I've read that Old Book and studied it more than the two of you put together.

As for the concept of 'mistranslations', I'm well aware. And I point them out in my Friday Morning Mens' Bible Study group. That's why I prefer the King James Version.

As for other 'errors', I've yet to see anyone point out anything particularly significant.

Show me this contradiction between Leviticus and Deuteronomy. You may be a 'first' in my books.

RE: [OT] A Fool's Errant

".... making any literal reading a foolish endeavor." -- Randy R.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." -- Exodus

Tell me, Randy, why is that hard to take 'literally'?

Or are you REALLY that 'ignorant' about what is written in that Old Book? I would guess that is the case, based on your error.

What do YOU think?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The field behind rhetoric is oft mined with equivocation. Let the back-peddling begin!]
6.23.2008 2:03pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Bad
RE: [OT] Michael, LM and Civility v. Stupidity

"'Irrespective of your intentions, calling someone stupid isn't civil.' -- LM to Michael

Are you claiming that Michael shouldn't be allowed to post at all? If you take rambling insults away from his rhetorical toolbox, what would be left?" -- Bad

What would be left? How about the truth?

I've engaged LM also and he is either 'ignorant and proud of it'—my working definition of stupid—or much, much worse, e.g., a liar.

But I do agree that calling someone 'stupid' IS rather uncivil. It is much better to ask them not to be so stupid. Although it doesn't seem to work; as far as some people on THIS blog are concerned. So maybe calling them 'stupid' at least gets their attention. [Note: Reminds me of a joke my Father used to tell me about a mule and a 2x4. Whacking the mule in the head with the 2x4 doesn't stop the mule from doing stupid things. But it DOES get its attention.]

Hope that helps....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. Stupidity is ignorance with pride.]
6.23.2008 2:34pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R. &A. Zarkov
RE: Contradictions

Also, with respect to the claim about a contradiction between Leviticus and Deuteronomy, be advised....I'm a Christian. If it a contradiction about the laws the Hebrews must abide by, it's not going to carry much weight in my Christian opinion. For example, the sanction against eating pork. Or issues relating to slavery.

But, please, show me the contradiction....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.23.2008 2:44pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"But, please, show me the contradiction...."

Leviticus forbids what Deuteronomy mandates. See my prior posts on this thread.

"If it a contradiction about the laws the Hebrews must abide by, it's not going to carry much weight in my Christian opinion."

Absolutely not. Medieval Christian theologians have studied this matter extensively. It was the central issue in the canon law regarding Kind Henry III's divorce from Catherine.
6.23.2008 5:43pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Whoops. Make that King Henry VIII's divorce.
6.23.2008 6:19pm
LM (mail):
Chuck,

I've engaged LM also and he is either 'ignorant and proud of it'—my working definition of stupid—or much, much worse, e.g., a liar.

So now I'm either stupid or a liar? Two days ago I was stupid and a liar? How did I win you over so quickly?

But I do agree that calling someone 'stupid' IS rather uncivil. It is much better to ask them not to be so stupid.

Whichever one you think is better, they both violate the norms of civil discourse. More to the point, they both violate the guidelines set by this site's proprietor, of whom we're all just guests. Guidelines which I've called to your attention twice already, apparently to no avail. Guidelines which, by the way, one of the principle bloggers has asked us to police as a group.

Oh, and not to belabor the obvious, but asking someone not to be so stupid is calling them stupid.
6.23.2008 6:33pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: A. Zarkov
RE: Leviticus v. Dueteronomy

"Leviticus forbids what Deuteronomy mandates. See my prior posts on this thread." -- A. Zarkov

I've seen them and I'm not seeing the much mentioned 'contradition'.

I see you've cited Leviticus. But I have not seen where you cited the contradicting book/chapter/verse in Deuteronomy. Let alone how this affects King Henry VIII of England.

Please correlate the contradiction by (1) citing the passage in Deuteronomy and how it affected the matter of King Henrey VIII of England.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.23.2008 7:55pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: LM
RE: What Part of Good-bye....

...do you not understand?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.23.2008 7:59pm
LM (mail):
Chuck,

TO: LM
RE: What Part of Good-bye....

...do you not understand?

That's a joke, right? You're not seriously suggesting that when you gratuitously call me "stupid" or "a liar" where I haven't addressed you at all, I should sit on my hands because you mentioned someplace else that you weren't interested in talking to me?

Which is beside the point anyway. You've ignored repeated mentions that your ad hominem attacks violate our hosts' wishes. Will you address that now, or will you just keep stonewalling and flouting the site's policies, arrogating to yourself the judgment of what's proper in someone else's venue? And all the while you're holding yourself out as a Christian, while falsely accusing me of being hostile to Christians. Do you think that kind of rudeness to your host and other guests befits a Christian ethic, because the conservative, born-again Christians I am close to (whatever you may think) sure wouldn't want it speaking for them.
6.23.2008 9:15pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: LM
RE: Are You REALLY This....

"That's a joke, right? You're not seriously suggesting that when you gratuitously call me "stupid" or "a liar" where I haven't addressed you at all, I should sit on my hands because you mentioned someplace else that you weren't interested in talking to me?" -- LM

...ignorant? Are you REALLY an example of 'liberalism' or 'progressiveism'? An example of what sort of 'rational being' the vaunted American Public Education System is 'pumping' into the 'system'?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. And yes....

...I am a christian. That doesn't mean I'm 'stupid' nor 'ignorant' nor willing to tell a 'lie' when asked.

Do you have a problem with that? Sounds like a 'personal problem'. I recommend you seek professional help.
6.23.2008 10:00pm
LM (mail):
Chuck Pelto,

"That's a joke, right? You're not seriously suggesting that when you gratuitously call me "stupid" or "a liar" where I haven't addressed you at all, I should sit on my hands because you mentioned someplace else that you weren't interested in talking to me?" -- LM

...ignorant? Are you REALLY an example of 'liberalism' or 'progressiveism'? An example of what sort of 'rational being' the vaunted American Public Education System is 'pumping' into the 'system'?

Was that supposed to be a response?

P.S. And yes....

...I am a christian. That doesn't mean I'm 'stupid' nor 'ignorant' nor willing to tell a 'lie' when asked.

Do you have a problem with that? Sounds like a 'personal problem'. I recommend you seek professional help.

Well, at least there's a straw man for variety. Since I never said you weren't christian, that you were stupid, ignorant or willing to lie, why would I have a problem with any of it? But it's nice to know the problem I don't have is a personal one for which I should seek help. Thanks for that.

Should I infer from your continuing, no, persistent barrage of smears and insults that you could just care less about the site's policies?
6.23.2008 10:36pm
Michael B (mail):
"hahaha, Michael B we are talking about documented morphological and functional differences in brain tissue!

"How do you explain that unless there is some sort of biological basis for homosexuality?" griefer

You continue to reveal you don't know the difference between what something means, what it may mean and what you more simply want it to mean. That is what was pointed out. Similar to the genetic studies previously noted directly upthread, which has a much lengthier history - a much lengthier obfuscated history, it should be noted.

As with ideologues in general, and this in a discussion that touched on science no less, you need your opinions applauded and cossetted, no matter how misconceived and vain they are. Then, when they're subjected to withering criticism (unlike your own genteel manner, we're to suppose!), whines and howls and clueless triumphalism ensues.

Bad, would that include comments in this thread, such as here and here?

Confronting cossetted and self-admiring ideologues and presumptives - always amusing, always revealing, yet rarely revealing of what they imagine themselves to be.

And LM, politely but firmly intended: butt out. I was not simply calling someone stupid, I was expanding on the idea of willful stupidity, a quality griefer himself was the first to raise and yet, ironically, he abundantly and repeatedly demonstrates that very quality without the least comprehension or self-awareness. I was using him as an example, true, but the primary point concerned the willful or intransigent stupidity that ideologues often indulge, with virtually no self-awareness whatsoever, it often seems.
6.23.2008 11:23pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chuck: "As for other 'errors', I've yet to see anyone point out anything particularly significant. "

Then you obviously haven't read anything by the major biblical scholars, which include Bart Ehrman. His book "Misquoting Jesus" points out all the significant errors.

BTW, the King James Version is particularly error ridden. It is based upon a copy of held by Erasmus, which modern scholars have found to be particularly ridden with errors.

Briefly, errors crept into the Bible because for the first 1500 years or so, they all had to be handcopied. Therefore, a simply error in one book will be copied in all subsequent copies. So, any scholar can trace the errors back to their original. Sometimes the errors appear to be innocent -- a simple copying mistake. Sometimes the copyist saw something that appeared to be a contradiction and so made a 'correction' . Ever try to actually read a medieval manuscript? There is no punctuation, abbreviations were used quite a bit, and the manual style is itself difficult to read.

in fact, Ehrman has proved that that parable about the prostitute who was going to be stoned, and Jesus said, go and sin no more? That doesn't exist in any Bible until about the year 800 or so. So in others, it's not part of the original Bible, but was added many centuries later. By whom? For what purpose? Where did it come from? No one knows.
6.23.2008 11:35pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Chuck Pelto:

King Henry VIII sought to have his marriage to his first wife annulled. To do this he had to show that the marriage was somehow void as a matter of natural or canon law. Henry had received a dispensation from Pope Julius II to marry his dead brother's wife Catherine. Henry had to prove that it was absolutely forbidden to take a brother's wife in all circumstances even when the brother was dead. He had to prove it was forbidden per se, and therefore the Pope's dispensation was invalid as a matter of canon law. As such he relied on two texts from Leviticus.
And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.

Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness.
One might think that these texts only apply to a living brother, but that makes little sense since that's already covered by the ban adultery. How could a perfect text contain the unnecessary?

Standing against Leviticus we have Deuteronomy 25:5
If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
So it would seem that in Henry's case Deuteronomy commands what Leviticus forbids. The contradiction seems apparent and indeed Catherine's many learned supporters in England and the Continent marshaled considerable argument in her behalf. Chief among them was the Bishop of Rochester, John Fisher. BTW arguments that Deuteronomy 25:5 is somehow something that only applies to the Jews, being abrogated by the coming of Christ were easily demolished by Fisher.

Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine was a seminal historical event leading England's break with Rome and the establishment of the Church of England. Thus the canon law governing the divorce is of extreme importance at least from a historical perspective as well as a theological one.

I have not done justice in short post to the intricacies of this subject. If your'e interested in details, read Chapter 7 of the book Henry VIII by J.J. Scarisbrick.
6.23.2008 11:38pm
griefer (mail):
Michael B
here is a perfect example of evangelical intransigent stupity in the face of scientific facts.
the PNAS article delineates significant differences in brain morphology and function between heterosexuals and homosexuals.
it is science.
deal.
what does it mean?
it means there is a biological basis for homosexuality.
the study says nothing about how or why homosexuality may have developed.
PNAS simply says that the biological basis for homosexuality is supported by significant data.
6.24.2008 1:50am
griefer (mail):
Ilya this whole thread is a descent into madness.
People here are arguing from the freakin bible as a basis for authority?
Get out!

Go back to the Dark Ages.

lulz, and evangelicals wonder why academics and scientists detest them.
6.24.2008 1:53am
LM (mail):
Michael,

It wasn't my intention to butt into your exchange with griefer (though I don't think jumping into the frey here is usually considered "butting in"). I was exercising what I think is our shared responsibility to urge compliance with the comment policy. Frankly, I do appreciate that incivility isn't the rule here, and would like to see even less of it. But to the extent my personal preferences governed my behavior, I'd keep my mouth shut, since I loathe playing the prissy hall monitor even more than I value civility. Ultimately it's what I see as our common duty to enforce this quasi-honor code policy that's determinative for me.

You may not think encouraging one another to be more civil is any of our business, but Orin, at least, disagrees. I'm guessing that by and large the other bloggers do too. If any of them ever indicated otherwise, I'd be more than happy to stop. But as it stands I wish there were more of us doing it, because as I said, I think it's our job and it's not my idea of a good time. But not having a lot of company isn't an excuse to shirk.

You many not think what you said was uncivil or violated the comment policy, and there we'll just have to disagree. If that is your opinion, though, I'd encourage you to solicit Ilya's or Eugene's or Orin's view, which you could do privately, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

BTW, to be clear, I don't claim to be a paragon of virtue about this stuff. I manage pretty well to suppress name-calling and personal attacks, but I too frequently give in to snarkiness, which I think the discourse here would also be better off without. So I've got plenty of room for improvement. But I don't think we should have to be perfect to encourage each other to do better.
6.24.2008 2:18am
Michael B (mail):
griefer,

I plainly stated the study means something, but absolutely pivotal issues that pertain to that meaning are unresolved, to put it in understated terms. That is why I took note of some very simple facts that pertain to the scientific method, for example that correlation and causation are two different things, also taking note of the earlier citation to the author and commentary concerning the previous "absolutely and positively authoritative" statement on the subject, repeated again below:

"Perhaps the most controversial application of [the allele-sharing method] has been to a type of male homosexual orientation. The original study reported that brothers who both exhibited such an orientation showed excess allele-sharing (thirty-three out of forty pairs) at the locus Xq28 (on the X chromosome). A follow-up study reported the same result, but with only twenty-two of thirty-two pairs now showing allele sharing. It also reported no such linkage for female homosexuality. However, in both cases there was an important caveat: while each pair of brothers was shown to share the same DNA sequence at the Xq28 location, different pairs did not necessarily have the same sequence. Attempts to reproduce this result have so far not been uniformly successful. As noted, the follow-up study provided confirmation, but with a lower degree of statistical significance. Another group failed to reproduce the result altogether. Moreover, methodological problems, possibly, the biased reporting of the data - have been alleged in the work of the original group."

Science vs. ideology vs. what you want something to mean are all different things. (Even the allele-sharing method itself, the very basis for the cited study, has a set of issues that are problematic, which is not at all to dismiss it in some blanket fashion.)

Deal.
6.24.2008 7:56am
yankev (mail):

So it would seem that in Henry's case Deuteronomy commands what Leviticus forbids. The contradiction seems apparent and indeed Catherine's many learned supporters in England and the Continent marshaled considerable argument in her behalf. Chief among them was the Bishop of Rochester, John Fisher. BTW arguments that Deuteronomy 25:5 is somehow something that only applies to the Jews, being abrogated by the coming of Christ were easily demolished by Fisher.




A Zarkov, I am curious whether either side cited Tractate Yevamos -- an entire tractate of the Talmud that deals with the laws of levirate marriage, and which makes it clear that there is no conflict between the two -- the commandment in Deut. is an express and limited exception to the prohibition in Lev. These laws were developed and explicated for more than a millenium before there was a Catholic church. On the other hand, the Catholic church no more accepts the validity of the Oral Law (including the Talmud) than the Jewish religion accepts the validity of certain basic Catholic beliefs.
6.24.2008 10:23am
griefer (mail):
this has absolutely nothing to do with the PNAS study i cited.
there may be a variety of causes for homosexuality in homosapiens sapiens including but not limited to-- sentinel theory, gay germ, sexual antagonism, benevolent linkage.

the PNAS study has to do with statistically significant results-- fMRI and PET scans showing morphological and function DIFFERENCES in homosexual and heterosexual brain tissue!!

Ilya, this is a perfect example of my hypothesis, isnt it? Michael is simply incapable of accepting scientific fact where it conflicts with his religious worldview.
I know im frustrated at this point.
;)
6.24.2008 10:26am
Michael B (mail):
griefer,

No yet again, you're still not tuned in. The allele-sharing example, in this latter instance, serves as analogy, an entirely relevant analogy. Read my prior comment again, more carefully this time. Science is science, it isn't what you want it to be or what you wish it to be. Your underlying problem has to do with epistemic validity vs. your own lack of understanding concerning what science is in the first place together with your ideologically based certitudes.

And I love your appeals to Ilya, it reflects just how much you need a cossetted environment and facile forms of approval.
6.24.2008 11:28am
Michael B (mail):
Oh, to be clear after re-reading the above, I wasn't at all suggesting Ilya's approval or disapproval would be facile, rather, I was noting griefer's need for approval, without being able are even desiring to think it through on his own, reflected upon his facile and unthinking presumption. The latter is noteworthy, again, because of the willfully ingrained or intransigent stupidity that is so often found among ideologues and presumptives; it's a habituated stupidity, one that reflects an intellectually incurious quality rather than something innate, but it makes little difference, practically understood.
6.24.2008 3:06pm
Michael B (mail):
without being able or even desiring to think it through on his own, reflecting his facile and unthinking presumption.
6.24.2008 3:10pm
Colin (mail):
I was noting griefer's need for approval, without being able are even desiring to think it through on his own, reflected upon his facile and unthinking presumption. The latter is noteworthy, again, because of the willfully ingrained or intransigent stupidity that is so often found among ideologues and presumptives; it's a habituated stupidity, one that reflects an intellectually incurious quality rather than something innate, but it makes little difference, practically understood.

Do you ever have pleasant conversations in real life, or are you like this all the time?
6.24.2008 3:26pm
griefer (mail):
"The allele-sharing example, in this latter instance, serves as analogy, an entirely relevant analogy."

No.
The allele sharing example IS COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.
Allele sharing would be causal, brain volume is resultant.
The PNAS study documents the results (not the causes) of being homosexual as opposed to being heterosexual.
One more time-- statistically significant differences in both function and morphological measurements demonstrated in fMRI and PET scans.

Ilya, one of my hypothesises seems to be valid for Michael B.
I rest mt case, counselor.
;)
6.24.2008 3:41pm
griefer (mail):
my case.
6.24.2008 3:47pm
Michael B (mail):
Colin, I do. In real life. How would that concern you?

griefer,

You continue to be, happily and unreflectively, uncomprehending. Seemingly, you're so utterly absorbed with the notion of your rightness that, in turn, you evidence virtually no ability to think in a manner that reflects a genuinely coherent line of reasoning. You've plowed below the surface of things an inch perhaps, yet pound your chest as if you've plumbed the depths.

Firstly, the allele-sharing method of genetic research is itself one that relies upon "statistically significant" data. So yes, I'm aware of the importance of "statistically significant" data. One of the reasons it serves as a relevant analogy here is because that study (Hamer, '93) was one that was much touted as reflecting a biological, a genetic basis for male homosexuality only, yet even those claims have not been sustained, as previously noted in this thread. I.e. the importance attached to that study has not been born out and, likewise, the importance you're attaching to this single PNAS study is reflective of a similar type of mindlessly aggressive overreach.

Again, this PNAS study would appear to reflect something, but what that something is, we simply do not know. That doesn't even address the fact that duplicative studies would need to reinforce this one study, nor does it address the fact that studies and research would likely need to supply reinforcing data as well, for example to rule-out merely coincidental causes. I could elaborate further, but given your continued intransigence, it wouldn't be worth the effort.

Science, genuine and more substantial science, often proceeds more slowly than advocates would like.

And yes, you're essentially right when you say the allele-sharing method has the potential to reflect at least some genetic causation, whether at a primary level or at a more secondary or tertiary level. But the PNAS study is more simply descriptive, even the author of the study talks of what it might "suggest," and talks of "hunches," etc., and that as described in a highly favorable (and highly hopeful) LATimes article, not a scientific journal. For example, as backdrop the LATimes reporter cites S. LeVay's '93 study, itself extremely controversial and even more dubious than Hamer's '93 study. This is another reason why the Hamer allele-sharing study is relevant, btw, because LeVay himself used the Hamer study to further bolster his own genetic conjecture. (One wonders, were you even aware of that fact?) This reflects even further your incomprehensions, approaching truly vapid levels.

But do continue with your fortified brand of intransigent, ramrod, pile-driven, habituated stupidity. If only to a limited degree it serves to amuse and it most certainly serves as yet another reflection of highly presumptive, ideological intransigence.

(Btw, it wasn't even a "PNAS study," the study was done at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. But I've been using your confusing description simply for the sake of continuity.)
6.24.2008 7:49pm
Michael B (mail):
Btw, now that we understand - via your own repeated demonstrations of self-blinded self-regard - that you are both vapidist and venomist, I'll award you the Double-V award of the day. You've earned it. Fog Horn Leghorn (aka SenatorX) wasn't even a close second. You win it, hands down.

Thanks for the amusement, the laughs, the self-parody, Mr. Double-V. Willful, intransigent stupidity - you named it, you own it.
6.24.2008 8:02pm
griefer (mail):
"this PNAS study would appear to reflect something, but what that something is, we simply do not know."

yes. we. do.
There are physiological differences between heterosexual and homosexual phenotypes. Since nervous tissue growth and differentiation stops in homosapiens sapiens at age seven, something is causing the documented significant differences in morphology and function.
PNAS is a peer-review publication. That means this study has been reviewed by peer scientists in the domain.

All we can say from the results of this study is that there certainly appears to be a biological basis for homosexuality...what ever mechanism causes it, it is surely biological, and may be caused by any number of genetic or pathogenic multifactorial causes.

Unless of course the Great Sky Father deliberately designs some individuals as homosexuals in utero.
But then homosexuality couldn'[t be "wrong" could it?
6.24.2008 10:46pm
griefer (mail):
btw, I'm a girl, and an academic, and I quite dislike you by this point Michael B.
;)
6.24.2008 10:47pm
Michael B (mail):
Oh, you're a girl. Well, that changes everything, obviously. In that case, science is whatever you want it to be, science is whatever you say. You're right, I'm wrong, a thousand apologies.

Good grief. Now resorting to an argument from authority, without any cogent or accessible line of support ("peer review scientists in the domain," wow!). Now resorting to vapid sneers. Now resorting and continuing with opaque, unsupported, pontifical assertions. Now continuing to fail to address literally any of the counter-critiques that have been thrown your way, not as pertains to Hamer, not as pertains to LeVay, not as pertains to the study in question (excepting with these assertions of yours), and through it all, continuing with this self-absorbed, uncomprehending sense of rightness - and righteousness.

Go back to your cossetted, Barbie & Ken doll-like ivory tower, where poses and poseurs pass for something substantial, where mutual self-regard and self-approbation pass for moral and intellectual seriousness, where snide and sneers and snark are allowed to pass for gravitas and sustained, hard, more genuine intellectual work. What's next, more self-regarding declarations on "ToE, paradigms well understood by the academics community"?

I suggest you skip some classes, attempt more genuine forms of thought, more substantial forms, cogent forms, coherent forms, and begin to eschew those pontifical forms you have grown accustomed to relying upon. Here, relax with some sounds before you attempt any additional commentary; breath in, breath out and dust off some brain cells in the process, then put them to better use.
6.25.2008 12:15am
griefer (mail):
lolz, citing PNAS studies kinda trumps citing the bible doesn't it?

Michael B you have perfectly illustrated my hypothesis.
One reason 44% of academics dislike evangelicals.
6.25.2008 7:40am
griefer (mail):
oops, pardon, that would be 53%!
6.25.2008 7:45am
griefer (mail):
"Now continuing to fail to address literally any of the counter-critiques that have been thrown your way"

pardon, but those are not counter-critiques, but strawmen.
The PNAS study supports this hypothesis: there is a biological basis for homosexuality.
It says nothing about causes.
Is it true that evangelicals also cannot read?
Perhaps that is another reason they doo poorly in academe.
6.25.2008 7:48am
Michael B (mail):
You are even more vapid and self-regarding than I had imagined. Nothing on ToE? No enlightenment to share on that topic, the one whose paradigms are "well understood by the academics community"? No elucidation, no brilliance, no wit, no profundities to share in that area? Pile driven. Big time. Yet utterly unaware.
6.25.2008 8:47am
yankev (mail):
Griefer, if it were discovered that there were similar physiological differences between kleptomaniacs and non-kleptomaniacs, would it justify theft by kleptomaniacs? Would it justify theft by people who are not kleptomaniacs but simply could not or did not care to control their desire to steal?

Same question about sociopaths and murder. And about whether it would also justify murder by non-sociopaths.

How about pedophilia? At what point do we say that people may not be responsible for their desires but they are responsible for their conduct?
6.25.2008 10:21am
griefer (mail):
No yankev, even if there is a biological basis for those phenotypes, the criminal tendencies expressed ARE ILLEGAL.
Homosexuality between consenting adults does not harm society.
Kleptomainia, pedophilia, murder, all extremely harmful to society, and ,btw, against the law.
Homosexuality is just like race or gender. Homosexuals are law abiding taxpaying citizens just women and blacks.
;)

Michael, ToE is THE accepted paradigm in academe.

In grad school, we learned from empirical data that the first debater to descend into ad hom had lost the argument.
quod erat demonstrandum
6.25.2008 10:37am
griefer (mail):
just like women and blacks.
6.25.2008 10:38am
Michael B (mail):
That would be you then. Btw, again exemplifying just how innane your commentary has been and removed from any coherence or continuity of thought, where or when did we discuss ID? Oh, we didn't ..., as in not at all ...

Q.E.D.
6.25.2008 11:07am
Colin (mail):
It's spelled "inane," not "innane." Given the high insult-to-substance ratio in your increasingly bitter rants, I'm surprised you aren't more practiced with the slurs you're slinging.
6.25.2008 11:38am
Michael B (mail):
Good typo catch, substantive, insightful. Btw, I still don't get "ToE". So while you're explicating this type of substantive material, please explain that one.
6.25.2008 11:56am
Colin (mail):
Btw, I still don't get "ToE". So while you're explicating this type of substantive material, please explain that one.

I haven't been following the substance of this conversation, but I'm happy to help if I can. (From the tone of your comments, it's not clear that you've been following the substance of the conversation, either.) Skimming the conversation, it appears that you understood "ToE" to be an acronym for a "Theory of Everything." Everyone else has apparently been referring to the Theory of Evolution. Griefer's original point appears to simply be that academics may be hostile to evangelicals as a consequence of evangelicals' perceived hostility to empirical science, which is most apparent in creationists' unwillingness to engage the Theory of Evolution. I hope this explanation helps.

Then again, perhaps you were merely being sarcastic. If so, please consider attempting to communicate your thoughts more clearly, without the constant barrage of bitter, angry and acerbic rhetoric. You may find that the result is a clearer, more pleasant conversation, with fewer asides such as this one.
6.25.2008 12:36pm
Michael B (mail):
Physician, heal thyself, start trimming your own snide, snark, sneers, presumption and all the remainder as well. If I cared to I could link to scores, probably a hundred or more of your own comments that fit that description. Moralize to someone else; if you care to persuade me, lead by example and persuade your fellow ideologues to do the same before you moralize to me. Or don't.

ToE, evolution, yea, ok. Not something I addressed herein whatsoever, not remotely.
6.25.2008 1:00pm
griefer (mail):
haha, tyvm colin.

Here is another hypoth, Ilya.
Perhaps academic hostility towards evangelicals is merely reflected hostility?
It seems from the content of the threads here that evangelicals are quite hostile towards science and academe.

And perhaps it is a language problem.
Evangelicals speak bible, academics speak science (ToE=theory of evolution, ToR=theory of relativity, etc.) and literature and arts.
Perhaps it is just that the vocabulary of evangelicals is impoverished?
6.25.2008 1:27pm
Michael B (mail):
griefer,

You're exhibiting your cluelessness yet again, utterly vapid still. Utterly. Theory of Everything is an informal expression, synonymous with GUT, grand unified theory. Hence my two earlier comments in this thread, here and here, referencing the article on M-theory, here.

Perhaps it's a language problem, academics such as yourself can't deal with reality, so they raise strawman arguments.
6.25.2008 2:14pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Randy R.
RE: Errors R Us

“Then you obviously haven't read anything by the major biblical scholars, which include Bart Ehrman. His book "Misquoting Jesus" points out all the significant errors.” -- Randy R.

As I’ve said often enough, “Learned men are the cisterns of knowledge.”

I’ve read a LOT of books about how that Old Book is in error and every one of those books by these ‘learned men’ has had more errors and misunderstandings than that Old Book itself is accused of having.

As the old adage goes, “Figures don’t lie. But liars figure.” The same applies to the way I’ve noticed academics twist interpretations. Case in point. Some years ago, attending a monthly General Meeting of the Denver chapter of Mensa, I heard a professor of Constitutional Law from Denver University state that there was no such ‘think’ as Constitutional Rights. That ALL rights specified in the Constitution of the United States were ‘textual rights’. The premise was you change the meaning of the ‘text’ and you change the nature of the ‘right’. Do you follow?

I’m certain that such ‘learned men’ as the likes I’ve read, and I suspect Ehrman could well be, think along the lines of what I noticed from that ‘professor of Constitutional Law from the vaunted halls of DU”. All agenda driven...as opposed to something dealing with the ‘truth’.

What do YOU think of that?

RE: KJV

“BTW, the King James Version is particularly error ridden. It is based upon a copy of held by Erasmus, which modern scholars have found to be particularly ridden with errors.” -- Randy R.

Au contrarier. The KJV has been determined to be the most accurate translation to English of all time. Notice the excellent correlation between it and the Book of Daniel.

So....why do you say it’s all lies and jest?

RE: Errors

“Briefly, errors crept into the Bible because for the first 1500 years or so, they all had to be handcopied. Therefore, a simply error in one book will be copied in all subsequent copies. So, any scholar can trace the errors back to their original. Sometimes the errors appear to be innocent -- a simple copying mistake. Sometimes the copyist saw something that appeared to be a contradiction and so made a 'correction' . Ever try to actually read a medieval manuscript? There is no punctuation, abbreviations were used quite a bit, and the manual style is itself difficult to read.” -- Randy R.

It’s going to take more than YOUR susceptible ‘word’ to convince me of your reports accuracy. Your rating for reliability and accuracy is rather ‘low’.

RE: Ehrman

“in fact, Ehrman has proved that that parable about the prostitute who was going to be stoned, and Jesus said, go and sin no more? That doesn't exist in any Bible until about the year 800 or so. So in others, it's not part of the original Bible, but was added many centuries later. By whom? For what purpose? Where did it come from? No one knows.”
-- Randy R.

Ehrman hasn’t proved ‘squat’ by me. Nor have you by hauling up a name I’d never heard of before. Let alone your rather disjointed comment about Ehrman’s observations on the ‘prostitute’,

You can’t even get THAT right. What’s the matter with you. The woman is not a ‘prostitute’, Randy. She’s an ‘adultress’.

For cry’n out loud.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.25.2008 2:18pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: A. Zarkov
RE: Twaddle, Anyone?

“Standing against Leviticus we have Deuteronomy 25:5

If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.

So it would seem that in Henry's case Deuteronomy commands what Leviticus forbids. The contradiction seems apparent and indeed Catherine's many learned supporters in England and the Continent marshaled considerable argument in her behalf. Chief among them was the Bishop of Rochester, John Fisher. BTW arguments that Deuteronomy 25:5 is somehow something that only applies to the Jews, being abrogated by the coming of Christ were easily demolished by Fisher.” -- A. Zarkov

‘Seems’ seems to be the pivotal word here.

I asked you to provide me with book/chapter/verse. But it SEEMS you didn’t do that. Instead you took something from Deut, i.e., 25:5, and could not compare it against ANYTHING in Leviticus. You failed to tell us what Leviticus forbids.

Why is that?

Then, to compound this malfeasance, you IMPLY there’s a relationship between Henry VIII marrying various women in order to have a male-child to inherit the throne of England when Deut says NOTHING about that, but rather speaks to men marrying their deceased brother’s wife in order to propagate HIS genes.

Why am I suddenly reminded of the strange twists that some ‘stupid’ christians made in order to justify enslaving the blacks?

Are you channeling that sort of mentality? Twisting/redefining words to support some particular agenda? Looks like it to me.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.]
6.25.2008 2:25pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Michael B.
RE: griefer Is a 'Girl'???!?!?

"Oh, you're a girl. Well, that changes everything, obviously." -- Michael B.

Let the sexist come forth!

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Interesting that she falls back on that ploy. Eh?
6.25.2008 2:27pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.P.S. She's probably a rabid feminist too. That would go far in explaining her choice of nom des blogs.
6.25.2008 2:55pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: Randy R. &A. Zarkov

It 'seems' to me that I've encountered another set of people who have (1) no idea what they are talking about vis-a-vis 'contradictions' in that Old Book or (2) much, much worse...i.e., liars.

I'll entertain defenses of their 'reports', but I will consider them on a case-by-case basis with my Friday Morning Mens' Bible Study Group.

So far, Randy R. and A. Zarkov are of the same ilk I've encountered over the last 18 years, when it comes to claims that that Old Book has gross contradictions in it. And I've encountered all the other as nothing more than ignorant or worse.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.]
6.25.2008 3:05pm
griefer (mail):
look up ^^^^
They are all speakin Bible.
Absolutely unintelligible to academics and scientists, hehe.
lulz!
6.25.2008 3:45pm
griefer (mail):
and absolutely boring.
;)
6.25.2008 3:46pm
griefer (mail):
Ilya.....this biblestuff is really just IQ-baiting, right?

Here's the meme--
We evangelicals are just as smart as you snooty academics and scientists! We are just smart in a DIFFERENT way, the ONLY way that really matters......god-smart!
6.25.2008 3:49pm
Michael B (mail):
identical twins, separated at birth
6.25.2008 6:00pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: griefer
RE: [OT] Soooo...

"Here's the meme--
We evangelicals are just as smart as you snooty academics and scientists!" -- griefer

...show me your Mensa membership number.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.25.2008 6:02pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: All
RE: [OT] Point of Proof

"Absolutely unintelligible to academics and scientists, hehe." -- griefer

As it is written....


19 ¶ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.


Romans 1:19-25.

I think someone else mentioned this in one of the thread, comparing the 'learned' of academia vis-a-vis those well schooled in Christ.

The question becomes, what is the proof of either approach. And once provided, who is willing to observe it?

It is a conundrum. But it can be managed....if one is willing to give up their pride.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[People call me a 'nut'. But I's screwed on the right bolt. -- Pastor Hagee]
6.25.2008 6:43pm