Television

Weekend Comments Section Flame War Fodder

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Watch this YouTube video:


Watch Bill O'Reilly's reaction:

Discuss.

NEXT: Snipes Hunt Over

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  1. I think that whoever wrote the diatribe that this little girl is reciting should have said it himself. There’s a lot of package-dealing going on here, and putting words in a kid’s mouth to make your stump speech is pretty lame.

    -jcr

  2. Of course, describing this as “child abuse” is more than a little hystrionic. Take a pill, Bill.

    -jcr

  3. Can anyone say with certainty that sexual abuse is worse than threatening children with hellfire?

  4. The whole discussion of it being child abuse to make a child espouse beliefs she can’t possibly understand sounds more than a little familiar. Has O’Reilly ever been to Sunday school or, perhaps, seen Jesus Camp?

    The point has been made over and over again, but to raise a child in religion, to teach a kid that a magical man in the sky wants her to behave in a certain way or she will spend eternity suffering, is, unquestionably, child abuse.

  5. Ah yes, the virtues of free speech.

    In this corner, ladies and gentlemen, wearing the false face of an angry liberal, a lame attack on conservatives and the republican party by an ad agency trying to promote a musical group who may or may not be able to make their voices heard in any other manner.

    And in this corner, Biiiiiiiiilllllll O’Reiiiiillllyyyyyyy, in his trademark facade of a caring human being, spewing vitriolic banter to try to enrage a society which made Jackass the Movie a hit.

    Let’s get it ooonnnnnn!

  6. jcj,

    Agreed, and agreed. Whoever put the kid up to it is a coward and nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is. Still, it’s not child abuse.

  7. So, the Nazis were “religious”? Interesting. As long as we’re just making stuff up why not claim that international communism was religious in nature, also, to add another 60-100 million deaths attributable to religion?

  8. Aaron,

    Those were very valid points. Expect to be flamed by the “true believers”.

  9. The ultimate inhumane treatment of a child

    Uh, no. Using a kid for a prop is feeble, but I can envision a worse treatment.

  10. I wonder if Mr. O’Reilly thinks this commercial would be considered child abuse too, and if those parents are “nuts.” Then consider if any of those kids turned out gay.

    I am thinking maybe (just maybe) that whoever made this video has a rather extreme sense of satire. Children are, after all, the mass media’s way of letting you know the painfully obvious. To have a child spit vitriol like that is no different than Jesus camp.

  11. Is This Child Abuse? ponders Bill. According to Child Advocate Wendy Murphy it was the “ultimate inhumane treatment of a child”. Apparently Wendy doesn’t get out much. Here in Tampa we have a child murdered with a fair degree of frequency. I am struggling to figure out which is worse, having a child read a damn funny rant from cue cards or burying her alive. Perhaps Wendy can give me some guidance.

  12. I hate both sides with a vengence. Excuse me while I punch some walls.

  13. Michael Chaney,

    I don’t know if that is what this kid was referring to, but Nazi ideology (which one must admit wasn’t all that coherent at times) did have its religious elements. Much of this dealt with adoption of past Pagan practices (updated, etc. for Nazi purposes), the use of “occult” practices, etc. The Nazis even had a basic central myth – that the Germanic people derived from a race of “supermen” the last remnants of which had survived a cataclysm (at Atlantis or some other locale). That doesn’t mean that every rank and file Nazi member believed this stuff, but a lot of them probably did. It also again doesn’t mean that there was a completely coherent position on these matters – in other words as far as I can tell the religious beliefs of the Nazis were all over the place.

  14. jf,

    part of the point of her speech is that children should be reagrded as adults, rather than as mouthpeices for thier parents. so having a kid say it seems to make that point valid, though if it is just a parent feeding lines to their kid, that would be a self-contradiction of immense proportions.

    i’m just wondering what exactly constitutes insanity in bill o’reilley’s world. i’m thinking i should make a number of videos of similar proportions, just so bill could spend a half-hour psychologizing my abuzive childhood via youtube.

  15. I hate both sides with a vengence.

    Says it all for me, Jonathan, but don’t break your hands. It’s pointless to get that angry over idiots like this.

    Nincompoops like this don’t go away. They keep popping up throughout history making life miserable for everyone else.

  16. in other words as far as I can tell the religious beliefs of the Nazis were all over the place.

    It should be pointed out that with all the various denomination and sub-elements, (and I say this as a serious, church-going Christian who’s indocrinating – er, raising – my kids in the faith) Christian beliefs appear to be all over the place as well.

    I think that goes for Muslim religious beliefs as well.

    Always some dingus out there wanting to put their own spin on things, I guess.

  17. I’d like to make a video showing Jesus Christ taking both sides out to the woodshed and saying, “Neither of you understand My message. Read the fucking Book!”

  18. I hate both sides with a vengence.

    Says it all for me, Jonathan, but don’t break your hands. It’s pointless to get that angry over idiots like this.

    Nincompoops like this don’t go away. They keep popping up throughout history making life miserable for everyone else.

    Wow! Libertarians aren’t left or right? They’re just rational.

  19. If Allah is just and merciful, Bill O’Reilly and Michael Moore will spend the eternal afterlife licking each other’s assholes in Borat/Azamat fashion.

    Otherwise, what Winston said.

  20. Yes, this is child abuse. But who are the abusers? I was raised by ‘true’ believers; ‘true what’ may still be unknown but believers by god.

    The abuse leaders here are congress for taking us to a place where this discussion exists, the public for letting congress fail, the press for failure to expose congress and adults for failure to educate children or each other.

    The abuse of this child in this video is nothing different from the actions of a living Jon Benet Ramsey entertainment session but I can hear the kiddo’s protection services knocking down the door now.

  21. I don’t know if that is what this kid was referring to, but Nazi ideology (which one must admit wasn’t all that coherent at times) did have its religious elements. Much of this dealt with adoption of past Pagan practices (updated, etc. for Nazi purposes), the use of “occult” practices, etc.
    Intresting piece of triva; using Rasputin, back from the dead, the Nazis summoned a small demonic creature who would one day be known as the indespensible superhero known as HELLBOY!

    Wow! Libertarians aren’t left or right? They’re just rational.
    I’m not saying the left and the right as a whole fustrates me, just that the two sides of that argument make me sick. The what the kid was saying was annoying smug (and sounded like something that would come out of an “enlightened” college student) and Bill was a historonic crybaby.

  22. madpad,

    Sure. Sure.

    My larger point was that there was no coherent doctrine. In part that is because they were just then inventing this stuff and the relative shortness of the regime. They’d have probably come up with a more uniform vision if they had lasted longer. Luckily that didn’t happen. Of course, unluckily the Nazi regime lasted long enough to kill ~twenty million people.

  23. To paraphrase Samuel Clemens, Heaven may have a better climate, but I’ll bet Hell has better conversation.

  24. I think you’ve all overlooked something: the little girl’s diatribe starts off against O’Reilly, but he doesn’t bother to mention that. He doesn’t bother to give the website, so as far as a Fox viewer knows, he’s just a vigilant fighter of “child abuse” (quotes to indicate that this treatment is not quite at the level of regular child abuse stories).

  25. The implication being that he’s just a self-obsessed pr*ck.

  26. I would love to see one of Keith Olberman’s signature completely-sophic-and-full-of-him-self-but-still-fun-to-watch-anyways-rant on the video of the little girl.

  27. While I disagree that using your kid for something like that constitutes child abuse, I wouldn’t use my kid for something like that.

    …and I disagree with some of the things the little girl said, but what am I gonna do–argue with a toddler?

    “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?”

    —-Matthew 21:15,16

    There’s just something about little kids speaking truth to power that really gets people’s attention.

    Oh, and speaking of memory verses, if that concerned parent / psychologist / child abuse expert / whatever she was really thinks that indoctrinating little kids and getting them to memorize things constitutes child abuse, then she should raid every fundamentalist church in America.

    …Oh, the texts I know by heart!

    Seriously, I didn’t agree with much of what that toddler said, but the toddler made a lot more sense than the expert did.

  28. Did anybody else notice the disconnect in the child abuse expert’s strongest case against the video? Apparently the real crime is that it will inspire a religious nut to hunt down and kill the child.

  29. the toddler made a lot more sense than the expert did.

    Said, not without irony, “Amen.”

    Apparently the real crime is that it will inspire a religious nut to hunt down and kill the child.

    I don’t know…maybe it’ll inspire some nut to hunt down and kill Bill O’Reilly. (Props to Quentin Tarantino, btw)

  30. I just thought the video was kind of funny.

  31. Did anyone else notice how crazy the child-protector lady looks at the start of that segment?

    scaryt screencap

  32. Let the flaming commence…

    How is this that different from Santorum’s kids on the podium when he lost?

  33. How is this that different from Santorum’s kids on the podium when he lost?

    Santorum’s kids were funnier.

  34. I suspect the whole thing started like this:
    Guy in bar: “I hate that Bill O’Reilly.”
    2nd Guy in bar: “Yeah, me too.”
    1st guy: “$5 says we can make a video that insults everything O’Reilly believes in so much that he wets himself.”
    2nd guy: “Great idea! We’d have to make fun of religion, say violent video games are cool…”

    I suspect those who made this video weren’t so interested in making a point about rap, video games, and religion as they were in giving O’Reilly an aneurysm. The whole thing plays out as something calculated to bother Bill as much as possible. They name him specifically, they imply religious people are no better than Nazis, they go on to say watching South Park and Family Guy are educational whereas religion is fictitious. I think they’re just calling Bill out, and it seems to have worked. Watch it again from that perspective and it’s just freaking hillarious.

  35. I think it’s funny that O’Reilly left off the part about him being an idiot for blaming rap and video games for country’s ill. That’s the only part of the video that wasn’t just opinion.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t call this child abuse based on the video alone. If this was a live performance by a little indoctrtinated robot, I’d be more inclined to say yes, but even then, making your spout political opinions is way down on my list of abusive behavior.

    I do wonder what O’Reilly’s attitude would be if the girl was holding a “GOD HATES FAGS” sign instead?

  36. Good point, Mad Scientist. The whole thing really works because O’Reilly is nothing if not predictable

  37. My interpitation of it is “let’s take down The Man!” and “let get people pay attention to us so they listen to our band!”
    The Family Guy thing struck me as bad taste more than agent provocateuring.

  38. I suspect those who made this video weren’t so interested in making a point about rap, video games, and religion as they were in giving O’Reilly an aneurysm.

    Yeah, O’Reilly actually puttin’ it out there was probably the best thing that could have happened for the people who made the video–and unless I’m mistaken, they put it out there to promote their band, right?

    …I’d bet that, even as I type, there are a hundred struggling bands out there, right now, cuin’ their cameras up and teachin’ their kids something inflamatory to say about Bill O’Reilly. This could be good for Bill, too. This could be for Bill what DNA tests were for Maury Povich!

  39. Toddler?

    Give the girl some credit. I would guess between 8 and 10 years old. She understands (to a degree) most of what she is saying. Kids aren’t so stupid.

    For some fun… some words from the lead Bastard Fairy…

    “Yellow Thunder Woman is my real name, it is the english translation of my American Indian name Wakinyan Zi Win. My parents wanted to register me by my Indian name but they were not allowed to use Indian language on my birth certificate, another nice little cultural genocide policy courtesy of the US government. I am a Singer an Artist and a Film maker. My art reflects my views on the state of the world, religon and myself. My father was a painter and an outspoken bastard, I think I must have inhereted his disease, terminally. My music is exactly like my mind – obscene, ironic, sarcastic and sprinkled with a little bit of sugar sweetness on top. I just co-directed my new film The Canary Effect which will premiere at The Tribeca Festival in New York April 2006. It is the first documentary I have seen that presents a deeply disturbing subject with a Rock N Roll edge and I am extremely proud to have contributed to it.

    I am taking the liberty to try and convince everybody I possibly can that optimism is dangerous and pessimism is stupid. I think people should be as real as they possible can be, even if that means being an asshole or a nun, or an asshole nun. I believe that everybody is religous in their own personal way even though we dont like to think so. SO SUCK ON THAT.”

  40. I’m not trying to start any rumors, but it would explain a lot if right-wing TV personalities (and quasi-rightists like Bill O’Reilly) were actually invented by left-wingers to make themselves look good. Similarly, many left-wingers act like they were created by Karl Rove to make Republicans look good.

  41. “Mr. O’Reilly, there’s some guy’s agent on line one. He wants you do denounce his client’s band.”

  42. And, to be the first to point it out, Yellow Thunder Woman is hot.

    http://myspace-414.vo.llnwd.net/01427/41/44/1427824414_m.jpg

  43. The ultimate inhumane treatment of a child

    Hyperbole is absolutely the most disgusting, vile, and immoral act a person can commit.

  44. And, to be the first to point it out, Yellow Thunder Woman is hot.

    No doubt about it.

  45. How is Tim the only other person to think that the most ridiculous part of this video was O’Reilly’s guest talking about how ridiculous her accusations were and then worrying about someone getting so offended that they hunt down and kill the little girl and her family?

  46. Mad Max – That would explain why some of them don’t seem to understand that the Colbert Report is a farce.

  47. Mad Scientist,

    You have used a conversation with myself without permission.

    Oh, you forgot the dirty dry gin martini.

  48. How is Tim the only other person to think that the most ridiculous part of this video was O’Reilly’s guest talking about how ridiculous her accusations were and then worrying about someone getting so offended that they hunt down and kill the little girl and her family?

    The rest of us have warped personalities.

  49. Yep, Tim nailed it.

    I suspect those who made this video weren’t so interested in making a point about rap, video games, and religion as they were in giving O’Reilly an aneurysm.

    Well, at least they did it for a good cause.

    I want Bill O’Reilly to issue a fatwa against my research articles. There’s nothing offensive in them, but I need to get my name out there and build a reputation. So maybe Bill could do that?

    I know: I’ll have a kid read an excerpt from one of my articles, then say that science is much better than religion, then call Bill O’Reilly an idiot, and put it on YouTube.

  50. These people are definitely just trying to get publicity for their band and O’Reilly played right into their hands with it.

    IMHO: No it’s not “Child Abuse” but it is pretty sad to see a little kid spouting this kind of garbage. I wouldn’t make my kids do something like that.

    I know I’ll get flamed for saying this, but religion has its good side too. You can’t just point at all the violence that stems from religion without looking at some of the good it has contributed to the world over the centuries. And this is coming from a committed non-believer.

  51. “Yep, Tim nailed it.

    I suspect those who made this video weren’t so interested in making a point about rap, video games, and religion as they were in giving O’Reilly an aneurysm.”

    A look at the band’s webpage would indicate that they were savvy enough to include Bill’s name to get attention, but that the views expressed were what they really feel.

    The music’s hit and miss, but better than expected given the dumb song tagged on the end of the youtube clip.

  52. Ken Shultz:

    Seriously, I didn’t agree with much of what that toddler said, but the toddler made a lot more sense than the expert did.

    Yeah really. and what does it say for this “expert” that a little widget coached by her knee-jerk liberal parents is more coherent.

    (BTW, in common parlance are little kids still referred to as “widgets”.)

  53. I love that girl!

    Abuse?? In only if every child that recites lines in front of a camera is abused. As for what she’s saying, I gotta agree, it’s way less disturbing than what they teach in Sunday School.

  54. “pretty sad to see a little kid spouting this kind of garbage”

    I would like to give props to Excimer for pointing out that this type of thing is a daily occurence. Nothing out of the ordinary about hiring a child actor to say some lines. Is this more abusive than having a child participate in a horror movie? Does it even approach some of the things on Wundershowzen? Look at the terrible results this type of abuse had on Jodie Foster…

  55. BTW, in common parlance are little kids still referred to as “widgets”(?)

    Were they ever?

  56. Tim Cavanaugh:

    Did anybody else notice the disconnect in the child abuse expert’s strongest case against the video? Apparently the real crime is that it will inspire a religious nut to hunt down and kill the child.

    And what makes it actually funny, is that this is an admission that. . .those religious types? they’ll KILL ya. . .

  57. It’s natural for people to want their children to be mirrors of their own opinions. It happens in every family, until about 15-16 years old, when the kid starts to rebel and let their friends think for them instead of their parents. Then at 18 – 19, they start thinking for themselves. Then they meet someone who shares their point of view, hook up, and fruitlessly try to indoctrinate their own children. It’s a losing game, but one the vast majority of parents try to play.

    I don’t worry too much about it.

    – Rick

  58. As a parent, I am entitled, neigh, legally obligated, to brainwash another human being. This is what I am teaching my child…the fucking truth. Fuck God and bill if they can’t take a joke.
    Secondly, if this is the worst this “child advocate” has seen, then she is one sheltered stupid bitch. I get to see pictures of bruised labias on 11 month old girls from their parents, of friends thereof, dinking them. What a stupid bitch.
    And you know what else? I am getting my kid World of Warcraft for Christmas. Fucking, eh. Why? 1) It is a cool fun game. 2) It inculcates communicating and cooperating with other human beings to achieve a common goal. Oh, the humanity!
    Oh, and I like how at the end the Advocate hint that we should self-censor because whackjobs can’t fucking handle reality. Fuck her.
    But if the parent did do something wrong, it was put her on there and put her at risk because the O’Riellys of the world will think it is some kind of devine justice to see this girl harmed.

  59. “I am getting my kid World of Warcraft for Christmas. Fucking, eh. Why?”

    Because you don’t have a life?*
    Or you don’t want him to have a life?

    *IMHO the only funny Southpark in ages.

  60. I want Bill O’Reilly to issue a fatwa against my research articles. There’s nothing offensive in them, but I need to get my name out there and build a reputation. So maybe Bill could do that?
    Research how Christans are more likely to kill babies than non-Christains. Or how the words “Happy Holidays” can cure lupus.

    Or find the connection between loofahs and falafels.


  61. I know I’ll get flamed for saying this, but religion has its good side too. You can’t just point at all the violence that stems from religion without looking at some of the good it has contributed to the world over the centuries. And this is coming from a committed non-believer.

    Christianity is good when it is a counterweight against communism or Islam, which it has been many times throughout its history.

  62. It’s a losing game, but one the vast majority of parents try to play.

    RSD, I’m pretty sure I read about a study not long ago that showed that people tend to follow their parent beliefs as they get older (I tried googling for a source but couldn’t find it.)

  63. Christianity is good when it is a counterweight against communism or Islam

    Ever notice how the most violent effects of Christianity seemed to evaporate after the Reformation gave folks a competing view of their faith and the Enlightenment subsequently drove institutional Christianity out of direct political influence?

    Now the most violent aspects of Christianity come from fringe-dwelling wackos or self-hating fundamentalist politicians and tv personalities. And they invariably get beat down by their own stupidity in the marketplace of ideas.

    Who says competition is a bad thing?

  64. Good to see ya, Tim! The “expert” raising the specter of religious nuts hunting down the child is an example of what I call the “Hail Marry Pass” method of argument. The child abuse accusation is obviously without justification so she tosses in a remote possibility to try to make it sound less absurd.

  65. I really like how the Fundies use the uber-fundies as kind of a veiled threat: “Well, we’re reasonable people, but we know some REAL CRAZIES who might KILL you for saying those things, so you’d better just shut the hell up and agree with us.”

    Also:
    There was an abortion protest on campus a few weeks ago here, and there were kids who were possibly younger than that girl holding up giant pictures of torn-apart fetuses (3rd-term shit, that wasn’t even legal anymore). I’m pretty sure that’s on par with anything this girl’s parents are making her say.

    On the other hand, no “religious fundamentalists” are gonna come after those kids, so it’s ok making them do those things.

    Also also:
    It’s been said before, but when that fucking lady said that this was the “worst kind” of child abuse (or whatever) I wanted to choke a bitch, Wayne Brady-style.

    -sam

  66. RSD, I’m pretty sure I read about a study not long ago that showed that people tend to follow their parent beliefs as they get older (I tried googling for a source but couldn’t find it.)

    I think there is some basic truth to that. At least values-wise. Like the old joke – when I was 16, my father was the dumbest person I knew. By the time I was 25, I was amazed at how much he’d learned. 😉

    But I think we still create our own personalities and values, to a degree. For instance, my parents were die-hard Republicans. Small government conservatives.

    But me, I’m a libertarian. In my mind, I am just living their principles more consistently than they did. But to me, the values are the same. See what I mean?

    Or maybe I am just rambling. I hadn’t really given this that much thought before, to tell you the truth. And my kid’s only 3, so I’ve only just begun to brainwash him. I’ve got to get it in there good before the government school system gets ahold of him and tries to reprogram him. 😉

    – Rick

    PS. I wonder why there is no “libertarian private school system” like the Catholics do.

  67. RSD, I’m pretty sure I read about a study not long ago that showed that people tend to follow their parent beliefs as they get older (I tried googling for a source but couldn’t find it.)
    I think that would depend on a lot of varying factors; the type of parents, the relationship with the parents, what specific beliefs it is, and how extreme those beliefs are. Speaking personally, my parents were never overtly political and I had no clue what their party affliation was until I was about 18, so there wasn’t much to “rebel” against.

  68. Well, when I was that age, I’m fairly certain I had already given my soul to Christ and was well on my way to learning why America is the greatest country ever, Amen.

    Not, of course, that I had any clue what those things meant back then, but somehow I doubt that would disturb Bill.

  69. From the first video:

    “The fact is, the way to stop children from getting mixed up with gangs and violence is treating us like HUMAN BEINGS. We don’t need to be taught religion, we need to be taught empathy, and you grownups need to learn what that means”

    I agree wholeheartedly

    does that make me a liberal?

  70. I wonder why there is no “libertarian private school system” like the Catholics do.

    I’ve wondered that myself from time to time. I’ve also wondered why more Libertarians aren’t home schoolers either. The majority of homeschooled kids (in my admittedly limited experience) tend to be from religious nutjuob families.

  71. There is a cult that is responsible for the death of many millions of people.
    The cult of the omnipotent state.

  72. Since when is the word “ass” considered bleepworthy anyway?

  73. I’ve wondered [why there is no Libertarian Private School System(TM)] myself from time to time. I’ve also wondered why more Libertarians aren’t home schoolers either. The majority of homeschooled kids (in my admittedly limited experience) tend to be from religious nutjuob families.

    Many are, yes, but many are also poor parents who can’t get their kids out of their crappy school any other way. Some are libertarians, too. And some are normal religious people who, like libertarians, are uncomfortable with the indoctrination that takes place at government schools.

    Either way, what the home schoolers prove is that no matter how smart you are, if you take an active role in your childrens’ education, they will be better off for it.

    – Rick

  74. TCR,

    I used public school as a suppliment to teaching my son at home. Granted, he went to a fine public school and got his CCNA there his junior year of HS, but still, we covered a lot of stuff that they just don’t cover in public school that helped him throughout life.

    Spending Saturday afternoons at Barns & Noble reading, watching the better cable channels, discussing current events, spending lots of time online researching things, etc.

    Now, he turned out as one of those Libertarians who is only against capital punishment because it is not always done right and I am a libertarian who thinks the government should not have that power.

    Well, also he went through college in “normal time” under academic scholarships and has a very good job now. Distinctly different from my life at his age.

  75. I used public school as a suppliment to teaching my son at home. Granted, he went to a fine public school and got his CCNA there his junior year of HS, but still, we covered a lot of stuff that they just don’t cover in public school that helped him throughout life.

    Spending Saturday afternoons at Barns & Noble reading, watching the better cable channels, discussing current events, spending lots of time online researching things, etc.

    I rest my case.

    – R

  76. The majority of homeschooled kids (in my admittedly limited experience) tend to be from religious nutjuob families.

    Actually, only about a third of homeschoolers do so for religious reasons. There’s some good info in this article.

  77. How about the Pledge of Allegiance? ? Public schools teach kids to profess reverence for an emblem and undying loyalty to the state before they even know how to read. Child abuse?

    Honestly, I’m not sure where the line is between parental rights and child abuse, but I’m pretty sure you can’t call someone an abuser just for teaching their kid somehting you disagree with. All kids are brainwashed in some way or another, and that’s just the way it is.

  78. I didn’t have the fortitude to watch the entire clip, but I wonder why no one has brought this up; both O’Reilly’s outrage and the outrage of some conservatives over Mary Cheney’s baby are ostensibly about one thing (raising a child without a father, using a child to say controversial things in a video) when the real concern, one suspects, is that the parents of these children are raising them with beliefs that O’Reilly et al. don’t approve of. The belief that homosexuality is okay, or that religion is a bad thing.

    And these are the people who objected to Hillary Clinton’s borrowing of the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” I would rather be raised by an African village (not counting the ones in the middle of a genocidal civil war) than by the Family Research Institute or Bill O’Reilly.

  79. I would rather be raised by an African village (not counting the ones in the middle of a genocidal civil war) than by the Family Research Institute or Bill O’Reilly.

    I understand your point but I think you picked the wrong alternative.

    An African village – pretty much ground zero for AIDS, murders and rapes attacks by armed gangs, malaria, famine, high illiteracy, high infant mortality – is pretty low on my list for places I would ever want to grow up.

    For the record, Family Research Institute and Bill O’Reilly are both also pretty low…but the African village is lower.

  80. “””Did anybody else notice the disconnect in the child abuse expert’s strongest case against the video? Apparently the real crime is that it will inspire a religious nut to hunt down and kill the child.”””

    I caught that Tim.

    As for Wendy’s rant in general, Hillary Clinton couldn’t have said it better. I thought the whole thing had a liberal tone to it. And Bill was eating it up.

  81. Hitler’s use of Christianity is obvious to anyone who has studied the period with an unbiased eye. One may argue whether he was simply “using” it and didn’t believe, but the fact that he portrayed himself and his party as such is well documented.

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

  82. And these are the people who objected to Hillary Clinton’s borrowing of the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.”

    They weren’t sincere in their objection. The objection was based on Hillary not picking the proper church as the village.

  83. “”Since when is the word “ass” considered bleepworthy anyway?””

    They probably did it for effect. Oh no, that little girl said a bleep word. How horrible. They must be bad parents.

    Personally, I thought it was cute. The moral of her story is that man’s inhumanity against man has been around a long, long time.

    It does have a cheap shot at Republicans which is false. No party has a monopoly on death and destruction. More people died when FDR was Commander in Chief than Bush.

    I think many people focus on the religion or political statements therefore missing the point.

  84. Apparently the real crime is that it will inspire a religious nut to hunt down and kill the child.

    Does anybody else think Bill or Wendy already has people looking for this kid?

  85. They probably did it for effect. Oh no, that little girl said a bleep word. How horrible. They must be bad parents.

    and, if I remember right, its double-bleeped to make it seem like she said “asshole.”

  86. Actually, only about a third of homeschoolers do so for religious reasons

    I’ll buy that. John Stuart Mill, for instance, was home-schooled. I wouldn’t want my child to have to go through what he went through, but there is no arguing with success.

    If that girl is 7 or 8 as they say, she speaks fairly well for her age. Kids who are being egregiously abused aren’t anywhere near that aggressively outgoing usually. Also, any indoctrination she may receive as a child won’t necessarily transfer into adulthood. How many stuffed-shirts have you met who were born in hippie communes? Being in my late thirties, I have met quite a few.

  87. If that girl is 7 or 8 as they say, she speaks fairly well for her age.
    I agree with you mostly (anyone that adorable should end up alright), although I highly doubt she understands most of what she was saying. If I remember right, when I was eight I was under the assumption that a “liberal” was anyone who disagreed with you. (Apparently I was a Dittohead as a kid)

  88. I’m at work where my PC has no sound, yet even without hearing a single word I can tell O’Reilly is spewing a load of bullshit. How can I tell? His lips are moving…

  89. “As a parent, I am entitled, neigh, legally obligated, to brainwash another human being. This is what I am teaching my child…the fucking truth.”

    As you see it. Anyone who claims to have complete and total recognition of “the truth” is almost certainly lying.

    As for the kid, do we really have such a shortage of political warfare out there that we have to start drafting 7 year olds to heave invective at our “enemies?” Don’t blowhards like O’Reilly act enough like 7 year olds that we don’t really need the genuine article?

    Let kids be kids and leave them out of our twisted little left/right, atehist/christian morality plays.

    Child abuse? No. Being an asshole to a kid? Pretty clearly, yes.

  90. The kids an actor.
    OFFICIAL STATEMENT: THIS VIDEO FEATURES A TALENTED YOUNG ACTRESS PLAYING A FICTITIOUS CHARACTER. IT IS A COMMERCIAL FOR THE BAND ‘THE BASTARD FAIRIES’ AND DIRECTED BY AN AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKING TEAM

  91. “Apparently the real crime is that it will inspire a religious nut to hunt down and kill the child.”

    good point, O’Reilly & co don’t even see the disconnect that ofttimes it is THEIR VIEWERS that contain the violent nutjobs that threaten harm. remember when Sami Al-Arian (Palestinian advocate) appeared on the O’Reilly Factor not long after 9/11, and then began receiving death threats at his job at University of South Florida?

  92. OFFICIAL STATEMENT: THIS VIDEO FEATURES A TALENTED YOUNG ACTRESS PLAYING A FICTITIOUS CHARACTER. IT IS A COMMERCIAL FOR THE BAND ‘THE BASTARD FAIRIES’ AND DIRECTED BY AN AWARD WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKING TEAM
    I hope O’Reily makes a note of that on his show, at least.

  93. Oy! Their music kinda blows.

  94. “THIS VIDEO FEATURES A TALENTED YOUNG ACTRESS PLAYING A FICTITIOUS CHARACTER.”

    I don’t really get that. What the hell else would she be? Does anyone really think she came up with that on her own?

  95. “I hope O’Reily makes a note of that on his show, at least.”

    LOL, yeah, people might think she’s not an actress. (??)

    Also, I didn’t think Bill O’rielly was that out of control, at least not with that loon, The Expert, next to him.

  96. Speaking as someone who doesn’t particularly like Bill O’Reilly, I object to posters here implying that he is a “fundamentalist.” Although there are some H&R people who think that any acknowledge of Gid is inherently “fundamentalist,” most people use the term to describe hard-core followers of one of the major religions. By this standard, O’Reilly doesn’t qualify.

    In his book *The O’Reilly Factor,* O’Reilly denounces people he calls “fundamentalists,” by which term he appears to mean those who take seriously the core teachings of their respective faiths. While calling himself a Catholic, O’Reilly shows that he clearly belongs among the ranks of the theological liberals:

    “It doesn’t matter what you believe-as long as you believe in *something*” (p. 183).

    “If you try to be kind, responsible, and honest, good things will likely happen to you-both on this earth and in the hereafter, wherever it is” (p. 166).

    I really hate to challenge anyone’s stereotypes here.

  97. correction: “Although there are some H&R people who think that any acknowledgment of God is inherently ‘fundamentalist,'”

  98. Fuck you all.

    Nearly every good point that popped into my head turned out to have already been elucidated by someone else. You selfish, pretentious bastards.

    Honorable Mentions to: Aaron Powell, thoreau, eximer, Max Max and jms, whose very valid point could have been better articulated; if you’re bashing the religious indoctrination of children, funnelling your own rant through a child scores automatic irony points.

    And the award for Most Insightful Post goes to Tim Cavanaugh. Tim; ever think of quitting your day job and working for Reason full time?

  99. As a parent, I am entitled, neigh, legally obligated, to brainwash another human being.

    Nay=A word used to introduce correction.
    Neigh=The sound a horsey makes.

  100. Thank you for the correction Pedantic Liberal-Arts Major. Sorry for the homonym.

  101. What does a gay horse eat?

    Haaaa-aaaayyy

  102. Anybody still reading? The kid’s point (or the writer for the kid’s point) wasn’t that the Nazis were a religion, it was that they were a gang – the line was something like “there have been gangs for centuries that have done worse things – like the KKK and the Nazis.” The religion part was a separate argument.

  103. This is gold. Neither O’Reilly, his guest, or any of his staff bother to “research” the video to the extent of reading the message next to it explaining that the girl’s an actress and the video is an ad before they go on air, screeching about “indoctrination” and child abuse.

  104. For actual video of an indoctrinated child, O’Reilly might want to check out this “Atlas Shrugs” vlog. It begins as a pretty standard rant, but at about the 5:00 mark, there’s a non-sequitur with “Atlas”‘s daughter that couldn’t be more pertinent. Of course, the vlogger is a friend of the right (she interviewed John Bolton during the Israel-Lebanon war a few months ago), so I doubt O’Reilly will be calling this child abuse.

  105. That was totally out of line.

    That kid’s parents should be arrested.

    I’m going to go listen to my Prussian Blue album now.

    http://www.prussianbluestore.com/

  106. Rick Barton,

    “BTW, in common parlance are little kids still referred to as “widgets”.

    Only if they’re working in one of my factories.

  107. Actually, I chose to keep the village away from my child when I was able to and he turned out quite well.

    Check the babblings of the “writer/reasearches” at TNR for the way the village babies turn out.

  108. My 8-year-old daughter had this to say;

    “Daddy, why do so many grownups think kids are stupid? What’s wrong with them?”

  109. “that is the ultimate inhumane treatment of a child”

    Whew! I feel SO much better now about what I did last night after drinking all that grain alcohol…

    (I’m kidding, I’m kidding!)

  110. For actual video of an indoctrinated child, O’Reilly might want to check out this “Atlas Shrugs” vlog. It begins as a pretty standard rant, but at about the 5:00 mark, there’s a non-sequitur with “Atlas”‘s daughter that couldn’t be more pertinent. Of course, the vlogger is a friend of the right (she interviewed John Bolton during the Israel-Lebanon war a few months ago), so I doubt O’Reilly will be calling this child abuse.

    I disagree with everything she said…..but she is pretty hot!

  111. Late to the post.

    Just a twist on the “child abuse” theme.

    If this is “child abuse”, then so are the following movies: “Paper Moon”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “Look Who’s Talking”, “The Black Stallion”, every early Shirley Temple movie, all the ‘Little Rascals’ movies, “Little Orphan Annie”, etc.

  112. Aresen,

    Um, I believe that the grown Tatum O’Neil is evidence enough that “Paper Moon” was, in fact, child abuse.

  113. Also, Shirley Temple-Black turned out quite well and I do not see the link.

    Of course, as I have pointed out before, I came over from /. and never read the articles. Tridition is important.

  114. The stupidest part is for O’Reilly to blame this on twenty-first century technology and portray it as an evil effect of the Internet, as if there haven’t been movies, television shows, and even (if we want to show something completely technology-free) plays that had propagandistic content and used child actors.

  115. Since when do children NOT have their own opinions. And, she understands nothing?

    Give me a break. What a bunch of asshats.

  116. “Hitler’s use of Christianity is obvious to anyone who has studied the period with an unbiased eye. One may argue whether he was simply ‘using’ it and didn’t believe, but the fact that he portrayed himself and his party as such is well documented.”

    What’s the relevance. Perhaps if Hitler was given to truth-telling, we could credit his public statements. But he isn’t and we shouldn’t. Why should his public statements about Christianity be given any more credence than his public statement that he had no further territorial designs in Europe beyond the Sudetenland?

  117. (In other words, whether Hitler meant it *is* a relevant consideration.)

  118. It’s hard to take sides in this particular fight. I don’t think I’d like the folks on either side of the debate. O’Reilly is an arrogant idiot. The people who made the video are a different brand of idiot. It’s like if the Klan and the Communist Party rumble. You’d like them all to die. 🙂

  119. Guy M

    My point was that, if the test of “child abuse” is giving a kid some lines – whether or not she understands the lines – then every movie that has ever featured a kid is “child abuse” by that test.

    That being said, the statements the kid was spouting were about the right level for an eight-year-old. So were O’Reilly’s.

  120. Mad MaxWhy should his public statements about Christianity be given any more credence than his public statement that he had no further territorial designs in Europe beyond the Sudetenland?

    The fact that Hitler found it necessary or advantageous to use religion as a tool is what’s important here. It shows that the mindset of at least some of his followers was probably religious (or at least that he thought so). The relevance of that fact to this conversation is negligible but it is nonetheless an important point: I often hear religious apologists calling the Holocaust an “athiest pogrom” when it fact it was anything but.

    In fact all such movements have a “religious” undertone to them in a way, inspiring a willingness among followers to abrogate critical thought and personal responsibility in favor of a group ethic. Nazism, communism and religion are very similar in this way. And they have similar track records.

    “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities”. – Voltaire

  121. yeah it is such a bad thing when the atheist “heathens” use children for their purposes and tell them about their world view. but when Christians and other religion groups indoctrinate and brainwash their children into becoming religious zealots, they are doing far more harm to their kids than these people.

  122. I’m still learning how to spell big words like “atheist”. Be patient with me.

  123. I like how O’Reilly doesn’t bother to mention or show the part of the video where it insults him. I wonder if that had anything to do with his interest in it…

    And that whole bit about church being less important than Family Guy and South Park seems like a pretty clear indication that this wasn’t intended seriously.

  124. Godfrey,

    How are we defining religion? I’ll start with what it says in my Black’s law dictionary:

    “A system of faith and worship usu. involving belief in a supreme being and usu. containing a moral or ethical code; esp. such a system recognized and practiced by a particular church, sect or denomination . . . [In 1st Amendment cases] courts have interpreted the term *religion* quite broadly to include a wide variety of theistic and nontheistic beliefs.”

    Alternative definitions (based on the remarks of O’Reilly and the H&R commenters) would include:

    (2) Any belief system which has a more or less supportive attitude toward traditional American morality (O’Reilly seems to adopt this definition, and some H&R posters seem to accept the definition, to which of course they apply a negative connotation because traditional morality is so horribly oppressive)

    (1) Any belief system which involves some kind of God or gods, making the belief system inherently irrational.

    (3) Any belief system different from mine (*my* belief system represents rationality, which is of course the complete antithesis of religion)

    In which sense, then, are the National Socialists (or their duped followers) in the same religious category as Christians?

  125. (Please arrange my definitions numerically, thank you)

  126. (Also, an acceptable H&R definition of religion must (a) include both National Socialism and Christianity while (b) *excluding* libertarianism and atheism)

  127. Max,

    I thought the National Socialists (all that I can name) replaced religion with stateism?

    Have I missed an important H&R quirk?

  128. Guy,

    You’ve missed *my* quirk, which is that I’m making fun of some fellow-posters and their views on religion. Not very nice, I guess 🙁

  129. Hotdam! A hot thread and I’m late at discovering it! Y’all can’t go without my $ 0.10. so here goes:

    First to Hitler using chrisitianity. How, when? No evidence I know of. He hated and harrassed the two churches relentlessly. Complained about peoples’ stupid religious sentiments on several occasions. Just for examples. And he never potrayed himself as Christian.

    To the child abuse expert and others like her, she’s the one that should have to worry about being hunted down. If this vid is child abuse then what the hell does she call what’s happening to so many kids in Iraq, for example? Not a peep out of these assholes on that. What a bunch of jerks. Unfortunately they are not alone and they have a lot of clout.
    Good point on that anti-abortion demo with the gory signs. Talk about using kids. Any bets on the chances of a federal bill making that kind of thing child abuse? Not that I think such a bill is a good idea.
    Whoever said it is right: It’s not what the adults ask the kids to do, it’s that douchebags like O’Reilly and that Murphy woman disagree with it.

  130. Come to think of it, that girl is pretty sharp. Either
    1) she’s memorised the whole thing, in which case my hat is off to her and she’s better than I ever was or will be or
    2) she’s reading it off, in which case she has darn good reading skills and is almost as good as I was at that age. 😉

  131. Mad Max,

    Ah, very cool. BTW, you can use my conversations with myself whenever you like so long as you mention ACCURATLY what I was drinking.

  132. “Daddy, why do so many grownups think kids are stupid?”

    Because they are. Hell, I was still a blithering moron at 19, much less 8.

  133. Pay closer attention to the video. It cuts to a different view every couple of seconds. Odds are they did the entire thing in at least a couple hundred takes over the course of several hours (or multiple days) then took the best performances and spliced them all together. At most she memorized / read one sentence or so at a time. Still, impressive for a kid. (Then again, she could easily be a very young-looking teenager…)

  134. “Why should his public statements about Christianity be given any more credence than his public statement that he had no further territorial designs in Europe beyond the Sudetenland?”

    Because his remarks were part of a long tradition of anti-Semitism in the Church, reaching back to Martin Luther. In fact, many of Hitler’s justifications for action against the Jews were heavily influenced by Luther’s writings. By making the statements that he did, Hitler was attempting to create a connection in the minds of the German people, thereby beginning the shift of their loyalty from Christianity to the sort of Pseudo-Pagan religion of the Nazi party. Yes religion. In no sense was the Nazi party atheist.

    First to Hitler using chrisitianity. How, when? No evidence I know of. He hated and harrassed the two churches relentlessly. Complained about peoples’ stupid religious sentiments on several occasions. Just for examples. And he never potrayed himself as Christian.

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.

    –Adolph Hitler, April 1922

    “Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”

    –Mein Kampf

  135. There difference between the 8 year old girl bashing Bill O’Reilly and when evangelicals indoctrinate their children is simply this: that 8 year old girl knows she’s playing a part, regardless of whether or not her words happen to be true. I really love this speech to Amnesty International by Nicholas Humphrey.

    In learning science we learn why we should believe this or that. Science doesn’t cajole, it doesn’t dictate, it lays out the factual and theoretical arguments as to why something is so — and invites us to assent to them, to see it for ourselves. Hence, by the time someone has understood a scientific explanation they have in an important sense already chosen it as theirs.

    How different is the case of religious or superstitious explanation. Religion makes no pretence of engaging its devotees in any process of rational discovery or choice. If we dare ask why we should believe something, the answer will be because it has been written in the Book, because this is our tradition, because it was good enough for Moses, because you’ll go to heaven that way … Or, as often as not, don’t ask.

    * * *

    But the grounds I’m proposing are firmer. Some of the other speakers in this lecture series will have talked about the values and virtues of science. And I am sure they too, in their own terms, will have attempted to explain why science is different — why it ought to have a unique claim on our heads and on our hearts. But I will now perhaps go even further than they would. I think science stands apart from and superior to all other systems for the reason that it alone of all the systems in contention meets the criterion I laid out above: namely, that it represents a set of beliefs that any reasonable person would, if given the chance, choose for himself.

  136. For years, I stood by my parents at church mouthing lines about Pontius Pilate or the Nicene Creed, never understanding exactly what the former (I thought he was a pilot for a number of years) or the latter were or a few other famous figures and ideas. And the thing is, I think my last physical fight was when I was about 8 years old. I hold a job, have friends, family, and romances, and basically lead a normal life. This 8 year old as well will probably just turn out to be a cool, or maybe obnoxious but basically harmless adult. Neither having a kid mouth off about religion or a kid mouth religious lines necessarily leads to anything at all. O’Reilly and his ‘child expert’ (let me guess, washed out Britney Spears dancer from about 10 years ago, reborn and dressed up for the cameras) should win some sort of ‘biggest shark jump of the year’ award.

  137. Thanks Shem. I was thinking too narrowly of the Hitler in power. In many respects not the same guy as the one of the years of the struggle.

  138. Little Girl: 1 Bill O’Reilly: 0

  139. Moctopouse:

    Don’t feel bad about thinking Pontius Pilate was a pilot.

    For years, while singing God Bless America in (public) grade school, I proudly sang out:

    “Stand beside her, and guide her,
    With the light by the light from a bulb.”

    No one ever corrected me.

    It seemed to make perfect sense to me; after all, where else did light come from but from that great American invention, Edison’s light bulb?

  140. Shem,

    I’ve mentioned above how you can define “religion” as broadly as you like. The question remains, what *sort* of religion did the National Socialists promote? We can also discuss the Christians duped by the National Socialists, but there were also plenty of Christians duped by the Communists (“Liberation theology,” “Jesus the socialist,” etc.), and I hope no-one will suggest that Communism somehow represents the fulfillment of traditional Christianity (or maybe people *will* argue that).

    If we get past the “all religions are the same” stage, we see that the National Socialists promoted religious ideas that were somewhat different from Christianity. On one end you had the “German Christians,” the “conservative” element of National Socialist religion. They wanted to remove the entire Old Testament from the Bible — you’d have to go back to Marcion and the Gnostics in the second century to find a heresy that blatant. And that was the “Christian” wing of the National Socialist movement — the neo-pagans made no pretense of Christianity, and they ran the SS and the Hitler Youth, among others.

    The National Socialist attitude toward traditional Christian leaders is also telling. They tried to take over the Lutherans (removing the Old Testament from the Bible, see above), and they frontally attacked the Catholics. The persecution of the Church included illegally closing the Catholic schools and Catholic youth groups. Those who note that Hitler signed a *concordat* with the Church rarely add that he went on the shamelessly violate that Concordat, just like he violated almost every other treaty he ever signed. Not to mention the torrent of anti-clerical progaganda in National Socialist newspapers, and (during the war when people’s attention was turned elsewhere) the removal of crucifixes from public school classrooms.

    By the way, to say that Jesus was “greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter” is not exactly orthodox Christian doctrine.

  141. Here’s a cartoon from the National Socialist newspaper *Der Stuermer* (whose editor, Julius Streicher, was hanged at Nuremburg):

    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/images/sturmer/ds4.jpg

    According to the Web site, the cartoon is captioned “unfruitful.” The cartoon compares nuns to prostitutes. Caption: “They belong to the church, she belongs to Satan. Both are lost to the German race.” The bishop with the nun is compared to the prostitute’s (stereotypically Jewish) pimp.

  142. Here’s another Der Stuermer cartoon:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Stuermer1934.gif

    Christ is portrayed as rebuking two clerics (presumably a Catholic and a Lutheran): “I called the Jews a cursed people, but you have made out of them the Elect Nation.”

    So the National Socialists had no problem with Jesus, you see, it’s the *institutional church* they oppose. They loved the idea of God, so long as they got to define God as *they* wanted, an enterprise in which they saw the institutional churches as the enemy.

  143. Agreed. But that negates the idea that Nazis were atheistic, which was what I was responding to in the first place. The fact that they didn’t fit with the orthodox Christian position doesn’t make them irreligious, any more than the lack of any connection with a previous tradition makes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or the Jehovah’s Witnesses not a religion.

  144. Max: “They loved the idea of God, so long as they got to define God as *they* wanted.”

    That is in keeping with my point above, in which I was using the word “religion” in the traditional sense: worship of supernatural beings, “revealed” moral law, prayers and rituals, that sort of thing. Of course anyone can redefine religion to suit their own purposes but more often than not this ends up making the person sound a bit kooky (as when people call atheism or science “religions”).

    And just to clarify: I didn’t say communism or nazism were religions, only that they drew upon and exploited the same impulse religion does–people’s willingness to hand over the responsibility for rational thought (especially as regards moral determinants) to a “higher power”.

  145. Here’s another example of a National Socialist discussion of religion, from from Zeitschriften-Dienst, a confidential newsletter instructing magazine editors on the National Socialist party line.

    http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/zd6.htm

    “8712: The Israelite conception of religion. On the unfruitfulness of the Jewish spirit [10 March 1944, p. 2]

    “In many countries of the world, the Jews still enjoy the undeserved credit for being ‘God’s people’ or the ‘promised people,’ and are seen as the first proponents of monotheism. In reality, they borrowed important parts of their religion, and took over parts of the religions of the ancient Middle East. German magazines have an important propaganda task here in opposing the idea of the Jews as ‘God’s ancient people.’ Many of the most appealing aspects of the Bible, it must be pointed out, were either borrowed, or were part of the general Middle Eastern belief system. The ‘Deutscher Wochendienst’ provides magazines with important advice on this theme. It must be pointed out that the origin and development of Jewry’s ‘religion’ can only be understood in the framework of ancient Middle Eastern spiritual life, and that the history of Israel cannot be separated from the spiritual history of the Middle East in general. The information in the ‘Deutscher Wochendienst’ on how the Jews transformed ancient myths into criminal tales is of particular propaganda value, since in this regard ancient Israel was morally inferior to other Middle Eastern religions of the period. It would be wrong in the regard to discuss confessional differences and issues, as if the ancient people of Israel were significantly different from Jewry today, or as if Jewry first developed during the Babylonian Captivity or during Ezra’s period. We also do not want to call the Jewish idol IHWH (the old theological way of saying Jehovah, more recently Jahwe) the Lord God, nor compare it with the belief in God of more decent peoples.”

  146. This is a radio commentary by Stephanie Miller on Bill O’Reilly’s reaction:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmEaaJZOCP4

    “Rise of the Machine? – he think’s he’s in a Terminator movie!”

  147. “And just to clarify: I didn’t say communism or nazism were religions, only that they drew upon and exploited the same impulse religion does–people’s willingness to hand over the responsibility for rational thought (especially as regards moral determinants) to a ‘higher power’.”

    I think it’s always a temptation to say that “I am rational and individualistic; people with other opinions (especially widely-shared opinions) are irrational, blind sheep.” That’s usually the way it looks from our own point of view while we’re trying to puzzle out why other people could possibly be so foolish as to disagree with us.

    As long as I’m on a roll, look at that classic work of National Socialist Spirituality, *The Myth of the Twentieth Century,* by Alfred Rosenberg. Note the rhetoric I’ve highlighted about the need to stop being subservient to church authorities and superstitions and to become dynamic and even self-reliant:

    http://www.adolfhitler.ws/lib/books/Myth/Myth.html

    “On the one side, we reject the materialistic magical which, as revealed by liberalism, was so closely linked with church dogmatism. On the other we must cultivate the values of honour, pride, *inward freedom,* aristocracy of soul, and faith in the indestructibility of the soul of man.

    “All Christian, or, more correctly, Pauline, churches have recognised certain supernatural doctrines as dogmas. They have become the prerequisites of church membership. From a universal community of sentiment grew rigid, dogmatic equality. This idea increasingly was out of touch with the Nordic community. The declaring as true of metaphysical and religious assertions and historical and legendary events were assumed without evidence to be true. Such ideas were conditioned by Judaism. The Syrian Jewish idea had advanced by using fire and sword. Today, this has given way compulsively to a more *tolerant* standpoint, although it is ready at every opportunity to fan new dogmatic battles.

    “A real German statesman and thinker will therefore approach the religious question from another perspective. He will give unhindered place to every religious conviction. He will allow moral doctrines of *diverse* form to be free preached, providing only that they do not stand in the path of assertion of national honour. That is, they must strengthen the willed centres of soul. . . .

    “Accordingly, the so called old testament must be abolished once and for all as a book of religion. By this, the unsuccessful attempt of the last one and a half thousand years to make us spiritually into Jews will be eliminated. This is an attempt for which we, among other things, had to thank our terrible materialistic Jewish rulers.

    “Viewed from the perspective of the struggling man and not of the state politicians, the movement is to be strengthened further by the removal of open *distorted and superstitious* reports from the new testament. The necessary fifth Gospel cannot naturally be added by a synod. It will be the creation of a man who experiences the longing for purification very deeply. He probably will have studied the theology of the new testament.

    “From the description of Jesus one can select very different features. His personality often makes its appearance as soft and pitying, then, again, bluff and rough. But it is always supported by inward fire. It was in the interest of the Roman church, with its *lust for power,* to represent *subservient* humility as the essence of Christ in order to create as many servants as possible for this motivated ideal. To correct this representation is a further ineradicable requirement of the German movement for renewal. Jesus appears to us today as self conscious master in the best and highest sense of the word. It is his life which possesses significance for Germanic man, not his tortured death. . . .

    “. . . [T]he Christian churches are a monstrous, deliberate and unconscious falsification of the simple happy message of the kingdom of heaven within us. They are a falsification of the child of god, and of service for the good, and of passionate defence against evil. . . .

    “The religion of Jesus was, without doubt, centred in the preaching of love. All theology is, in fact, principally spiritual excitement which will always be closely related to love. No one will disregard this feeling. It creates a spiritual flow from man to man. When a German religious movement wishes to develop into a folkish church, it will need to explain the ideal of love of one’s neighbour. Such love must be unconditionally subordinated to national honour. No action by a German church will be permitted which does not, in first place, serve the security of the folkhood. As a result we lay down indissoluble opposition to an outlook which openly declares that bonds to the church stand higher than those to the nation. . . .

    “A German church cannot preach *dogmatic principles* in which everyone is compelled to believe or face loss of eternal bliss. It will encompass communities which hold firm to beautiful catholic customs, many of which are often old Nordic in origin. Those who favour the Lutheran forms of religious service and those who perhaps prefer another form of religious worship will also be protected. The German church, however, will also grant equal rights to those who have broken with Syrian Roman Christianity generally, and have found themselves in a new community. Some of these will be under the sign of Meister Eckehart’s spiritual power. The prerequisites made at the beginning are valid for all members.

    “Thus, in the foundation of a German national church, it is a matter not of disputing any kind of metaphysical assertions or of promoting the credence of legendary tales. It is a matter of the creation of a high feeling of value, that is, of the selection of those men, who, despite all diversity of religious and philosophic convictions, regained deep *inward confidence* in their own type and gained a *heroic view of life* by struggle. . . .

    “The new German racial church will make changes in the Roman ritual. It will abandon sermons about slaves and scapegoats and the lamb of god. It will forget about claiming that Peter founded the Roman church. There will be no more talk of the fulfilment of the old testament, of Indulgences or of miraculous powers. A corresponding alteration of external rites will also have to result. We will work hand in hand with the great literature of enlightenment, which is to be spread by the spiritual heads of the German church within their existing communities. From this new inward attitude toward the image of Jesus, however, there also results an unconditionally necessary if seemingly only outward alteration: the replacement of the crucifixes representing the tortured crucifixion in churches and on the village streets. The crucifix is the allegory of the teaching of the sacrificial lamb, an image which brings before our mind the collapse of all powers. Through this *horrid representation of pain* the church produces *inward oppression* and makes us humble. This serves the church well in its search for power. . . .

    “In the churches allotted to it, a German church will gradually represent the *hero* in the highest sense, with a fiery instructive spirit taking the place of the crucifixion. . . .”

  148. Child abuse?!?

    Wonder what that crazy child advocate lady would have to say about this:

    http://throwawayyourtv.com/2006/12/how-evangelical-children-learn-about.html

    The whole clip is scary as hell, but the last segment takes the cake: “…using the child to promote political propaganda about which the child understands nothing…”

  149. Max: “I think it’s always a temptation to say that “I am rational and individualistic; people with other opinions (especially widely-shared opinions) are irrational, blind sheep.” That’s usually the way it looks from our own point of view while we’re trying to puzzle out why other people could possibly be so foolish as to disagree with us.

    Not that you’ve actually addressed my comment, but it an easily supportable assertion that belief in the supernatural is irrational. Since most religions are based to some varying extent upon supernatural beliefs, religion is irrational as well.

    I’m not saying that religious people are irrational or unintelligent, only that their rationality necessarily stops where their religion begins. That is the nature of “faith”; no evidence needed.

    tibbarneerg: excellent clip.

  150. “I’m not saying that religious people are irrational or unintelligent, only that their rationality necessarily stops where their religion begins. That is the nature of ‘faith’; no evidence needed.”

    If you say so.

  151. “I’m not saying that religious people are irrational or unintelligent, only that their rationality necessarily stops where their religion begins. That is the nature of “faith”; no evidence needed.”

    That may be true of some people, but for many people sprirituality begins where rationality necessarily ends. There are some things that just can’t be explained by science.

    Yes, I wrote that correctly.

  152. Mark V,
    lol! Another confession: for a few years I was pretty sure that ‘indivisible’ from the Pledge was basically just a fancier or Southern dialect way of saying ‘invisible.’

  153. I really don’t think they should have placed an innocent child in this position – regardless of the message – the child is being ill-advised to begin with…

    Sad … and the parents should be ashamed. As should the Democratic party.

  154. Damn. I’d hit that.

  155. Putting a kid in your ad doesn’t solve the convolutedness of that argument. Is it about Bill O’Reilly? Is it about video games? Is it about religion? Is it about the Republican party?

    Because mixing up all those things only makes sense when you have no expectation of doing anything but preaching to the choir (and maybe pissing off people you want to piss off).

    If you want to argue about video games making kids more violent, you don’t need to bring up the Crusades. The clearest argument against “Video games make kids more violent” is that KIDS ARE LESS VIOLENT.

    Any kid would understand this. It takes someone who’s been to college to make an argument as convoluted as that one.

    On the other hand, I didn’t even watch the O’Reilly bit, because that guy just pisses me off way too much to even bother.

  156. It’s not child abuse, unless we’re willing to call all child acting child abuse.
    The rant could have been better. Like most liberal rants, they buried anything meaningful under undefendable emotional statements. ie comparing the republican party to the nazi party.
    I also think the whole thing is ass-backwards from a marketing standpoint.
    I doubt it’s going to pique anyone’s interest, if I go tell someone that some band pissed off bill O’reilly.
    Now, if I tell them it’s band full of hotties…

  157. Can I still comment if I skipped O’Reilly’s clip?

    On the anti-Christian screed; who cares? It’s not as if religion is a threat to anyone’s individual rights in this country. Such people have a real chip on their shoulder against God, their parents, the priest who flirted with them, whomever, but their life’s goal has become a crusade of anti-Christianity that is as repulsive and intrusive as the Tammy Faye’s and Jerry Falwells of the world.

    O’Reilly, now that guy really is offensive, and I’d rather listen to the slightly amusing ramblings of a brain washed little girl than to that guy.

    Food for thought; does anyone really consider O’Reilly the proper public representative of genuine Christianity? Really?

    Why the mixing up of the two? Is it some kind of attempt to take the hypocrisy of any major political party and/or punditry, mix it up with some distorted views of religion, and say “See?”

  158. Little Girl: 1 Bill O’Reilly: 0

    That’s because it was hardly a fair fight. The little girl would need a dozen shots of vodka just to even it out.

    There are some things that just can’t be explained by science.

    Yet

  159. You know, I close my eyes and listen to that girl talk, and I hear Sally Brown from the animated “Peanuts” specials.

  160. “How different is the case of religious or superstitious explanation. Religion makes no pretence of engaging its devotees in any process of rational discovery or choice. If we dare ask why we should believe something, the answer will be because it has been written in the Book, because this is our tradition, because it was good enough for Moses, because you’ll go to heaven that way … Or, as often as not, don’t ask.”

    This does not ring true to me, and I was raised in the church. The church I grew up in encouraged questioning, studied the historical documents/events that form the basis of Christianity, held classes on the religious beliefs of others, and encouraged a personal process of “rational discovery or choice” for all its members.

    But the strawman of non-thinking religion is easier to argue with, so go ahead.

  161. “You know, I close my eyes and listen to that girl talk, and I hear Sally Brown from the animated “Peanuts” specials.”

    PEANUTS SPECIALS ARE CHILD ABUSE!!!! I want Bill Melendez locked up.

  162. Which church were you raised in, MainstreamMan?

  163. Shem,

    Christian Church (disciples of christ).

  164. Putting adult ideas in children’s mouths is about as tedious as it gets. Bugsy Malone wasn’t entertaining back in 1976 and this video wasn’t entertaining today.

    Forget for a moment the little girl’s equation of the Nazis and Republicans and confusion of religious justification with religious motivation, what I found distressing was the argument (more implicit than explicit) that parents shouldn’t be allowed to bring up their own children as they see fit, in the religion of their choice. Ultimately if that freedom doesn’t exist, not many of the other freedoms matter.

    As to Bill O’Reilly… eh, who cares?

  165. I note that the video condemns Christian-inspired violence, but doesn’t mention Muslim-inspired violence, a far bigger problem. I am no fan of Bill Reilly, but when you criticize into him you can be sure he will only fight back with words.

  166. “I am no fan of Bill Reilly, but when you criticize into him you can be sure he will only fight back with words.”

    Well, that and maybe threaten you with a “little visit” from Fox security goons.

    http://mediamatters.org/items/200603030010

  167. doesn’t mention Muslim-inspired violence, a far bigger problem

    Only recently, I think the rant was Euro-historically oriented when Muslims were too busy with their own infighting to really be a problem elsewhere. I’d hate to have lived through the Spanish Inquisition, Salem witch trials, Catholic/Protestant infighting, crusades (the Christians were the aggressors after all), etc. I’ll take all the illegal action the militant wing of Islam can dish out rather than suffer through state enforced Christian oppression any day.

  168. Andy: There are some things that just can’t be explained by science.

    Interesting assertion. Can you name something in particular that science will never be able to explain?

    MainstreamMan: The church I grew up in encouraged…a personal process of “rational discovery or choice” for all its members.

    I have many Christian friends (a few of whom are even fundamentalists) and I find that they usually only pay lip service to “rational discovery”. They are always willing to discuss, debate and explore but because they already “know” the truth their process of “rational discovery” is a bit stunted. It’s as if they are applying the scientific method in reverse.

    Contrary to stereotype the fundamentalists I know are fairly intelligent and are interested in fleshing out their worldview through education and discourse. But they tend to parse scientific theory and keep only what can be applied within that worldview. They have no problem with science or rational inquiry as long as it doesn’t contradict their “revealed” notion of the universe, at which point their priority naturally switches to finding out where the offending scientific theory went wrong. In other words, they switch from rational inquiry to evasion.

    In fact I’d venture to say that since probably the Renaissance (and certainly since the Age of Enlightenment) theology itself has become little more than systematic evasion on a grand scale.

  169. “Interesting assertion. Can you name something in particular that science will never be able to explain?”

    The meaning of life, perhaps? Or are we nothing more than the sum of our neurons and synapses?

    I also highly doubt that we’ll ever be able to demonstrate what happened “before” the Big Bang, and I wonder if we’ll ever know how life began.

  170. 171st post in this thread, but:

    Who here believes the young actresses in Six and the City understood all the humor in their lines?

    For example, in the beginning of the film, after Tommy abruptly leaves Samantha on the see-saw:

    Carrie: He stopped?! Just like that?

    Samantha: He went off to play kick the can. I’d like to kick his can.

    Carrie: At least it was fun while it lasted.

    Samantha: That’s not the point. I wasn’t finished.

  171. The meaning of life, perhaps?

    # The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.

    # The characteristic state or condition of a living organism.

    # The interval of time between birth and death:

  172. The meaning of life is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. Also, from our current perspective, my understanding is that there was no observable “time” before the Big Bang and as such, scientifically, there was no “before.”

  173. Not that you’ve actually addressed my comment, but it an easily supportable assertion that belief in the supernatural is irrational. Since most religions are based to some varying extent upon supernatural beliefs, religion is irrational as well.

  174. Shoot. It was then supposed to say:

    Yet, strangely, the choice to believe is not always irrational.

    – R

  175. MadMax wins the thread……

    Mr. O’Reilly, there’s some guy’s agent on line one. He wants you do denounce his client’s band.

  176. Thanks, guys, for the incredibly interesting debate on NAZIs and religion.

    – R

  177. andy: The meaning of life, perhaps? Or are we nothing more than the sum of our neurons and synapses?

    Hmm… I’m not sure what you mean by “meaning of life”. I guess the ability to answer any question depends in turn on the ability to ask a coherent question in the first place. I’m reminded of Douglas Adams and his answer to the “ultimate question” of Life, the Universe and Everything, computed by the world’s largest supercomputer over a period of centuries.

    The computer’s answer, as I recall, was “42”.

    As for what, if anything, existed pre-Big Bang or how life began I think you are incorrect in assuming that science will never be able to explain these things. We are certainly a long way off at present (especially regarding the first item) but given the rapid advance of science over the last few centuries it seems reasonable that we can figure these things out at some point. Postulations have already been advanced for both…proving them, of course, is a different story.

    I get what you’re saying, though. Science does not address certain “needs”, although addressing needs is a different thing entirely from explaining why those needs exist.

  178. from http://www.newphilsoc.org.uk/Philosophyofmind/Christmas%20in%20Mind/jane_on_jaynes_learning_to_talk_.htm

    In 1988, Life asked [Julian} Jaynes to contribute a comment on the meaning of life.
    “This question has no answer except in the history of how it came to be asked. There is no answer because words have meaning, not life or persons or the universe itself. Our search for certainty rests in our attempts at understanding the history of all individual selves and all civilizations. Beyond that, there is only awe.”

  179. Interesting assertion. Can you name something in particular that science will never be able to explain?

    There are a great many questions that are not answerable by science. Famously, philosophers have attempted to define whole arenas (such as metaphysics and thus morality, and like andy’s suggestion before, the meaning of life) outside of the realm of “appropriate questions” in one way or another to try and dodge questions that the scientific method can’t deal with. However, we don’t have to go all the way to something as squishy as morality to find a question science cannot answer.

    Science is unable to explain its own justifications. Claims to the contrary were prominent early in the twentieth century by the philosophical school of logical positivism. Their credo was that “Only mathematical, logical and scientific statements are literally meaningful, or have truth values.” Unfortunately, as this statement asserts its own meaninglessness (it is itself neither a mathematical, scientific, nor logical statement) it is self-contradictory. In trying to use science to justify its own correctness, one would be making the mistake of circular reasoning. If we resort to logic to justify science, we’ve merely shifted the hurdle we’ll fail to leap, as logic cannot be used to justify itself either (as is cleverly illustrated here). The justification for a mode of thought must come from outside that mode of thought.

    In fact, not only are there statements in philosophy that can neither be proved true or false (such as all of the variations of the Epimenides paradox), but in mathematics Kurt G?del proved that there are also statements about numbers that are both true and unprovable in any formal system of mathematics powerful enough to answer questions of number theory.

  180. I don’t know. My kids were jaded proto-libertarians by the age of 8, which was about the time they started watching Family Guy and South Park (thank you Parker and Stone). Here is what true toddler prop looks like:

    http://littledemocrats.net/samples.html

    Warning: You may want to get one of those airplane bags before reading this.

  181. “Well, that and maybe threaten you with a “little visit” from Fox security goons.”

    Do you have confirmation for that from anybody except the free speech enemies at Media Matters?

    I’m sure O’Reilly threatened to call Fox’s security, I’m unsure about Media Matters assertion about his reason to do so.

    I don’t trust bastards like O’Reilly but I don’t trust the bastards at Media Matters either.

  182. RS DavisYet, strangely, the choice to believe is not always irrational.

    I don’t know about that. Seems to me that the choice to believe in the supernatural, without any concrete supporting evidence, is by definition irrational.

    Reason and faith occupy mutually exclusive spheres of thought. Where reason exists, faith (i.e. belief without evidence) is unnecessary. But with each new discovery the sphere of reason is expanding and the sphere inhabited by faith is dwindling.

    If we had evidence that pointed to the existence of supernatural beings, it might be rational to believe that they exist. Since we don’t have such evidence, such belief is irrational (i.e. based on faith rather than on reason).

    Not only do believers in the supernatural have zero evidence for its existence, they often believe in its existence in spite of a large amount of evidence to the contrary.

    How can such belief be considered rational?

    Danny Cline:?philosophers have attempted to define whole arenas…outside of the realm of “appropriate questions” in one way or another to try and dodge questions that the scientific method can’t deal with.

    As I conceded in my above post, science has a limited purview and does not address certain topics. The key word in andy’s post was “explain”. From this I took him to mean mechanistic explanations and not such things as “what does it all mean?”

    I personally have little interest in such questions, for I have always assumed that there is no meaning to life beyond the meaning we give it ourselves.

    You may see this as “dodging questions”-I view it as disregarding the questions that don’t matter and focusing on the questions that do.

  183. Danny Cline,

    Nicely done.

    Godfrey

    “no problem with science or rational inquiry as long as it doesn’t contradict their “revealed” notion of the universe, at which point their priority naturally switches to finding out where the offending scientific theory went wrong”

    This only makes them like everyone else, including a lot of the H&R crowd (c.f. threads on global warming, smoking). Humans are capable of compartmentalizing conceptual frameworks and dealing with the contradictions. Unanalyzed axioms can be found at the foundation of all structured systems of thought. Those axioms are the most difficult to approach rationally.

  184. A fair point, MainstreamMan. I guess my position is that science offers the most reliable method for minimizing that tendency by virtue of its reliance on empiricism and objectivity.

    It is the nature of religion to posit the answer (God did it) before the question.

  185. Of course it’s child abuse. She looks like all her parents feed her is butter and and potatoes. And that haircut. Ouch. It’s like Eric Cartman’s dreamgirl came to life.

  186. What I’m most amused by is the fact that, rather than taking issue with indictment of religion or anti-media violence pundits, Miss Child Advocate Lady seemed, by far, most offended by the fact that, god forbid, the kid dissed the Republicans. How dare she!

  187. I don’t know about that. Seems to me that the choice to believe in the supernatural, without any concrete supporting evidence, is by definition irrational

    But is it? We make choices to maximize our happiness. By dedicating herself to God, Mother Theresa lived a very fufilled life. That was the thing she decided would make her happiest. It seems to me for her to choose not to believe would have been the irrational choice for her, as it would not have made her happy.

    Inversely, you choose not to, because dedicating yourself to logic and reason is where you find fufillment.

    – Rick

  188. “By dedicating herself to God, Mother Theresa lived a very fulfilled life.”….

    Making sure that poor people would be miserable (“very beautiful” she called it) while meanwhile funneling money supposed to help them into gold-lacquered convents named after herself. Yes, very fulfilling indeed.

  189. Godfrey,

    “I guess my position is that science offers the most reliable method for minimizing that tendency by virtue of its reliance on empiricism and objectivity.”

    On this we agree.

    “It is the nature of religion to posit the answer (God did it) before the question.”

    I think you are being overbroad here.

    An important part of many religions is the concept of free will, which requires that the individual freely and rationally choose their belief, actions, etc…

    Not all belief in God posits an interventionist God that meddles in the details. There are many subtle and sophisticated worldviews that can be considered religious.

  190. Okay, there. Stop focusing on the trees – there’s a whole forest in front of you. Pick anyone you like who has found fufilment in serving a higher power. Surely you are not suggesting that no one has found happiness through serving a higher power – real or imagined – without victimizing other people?

    I can’t imagine a libertarian being that prejudiced to other points of view – I mean, isn’t the point that we can all find our own route to happiness, and must be free to do so unhindered?

    – R

  191. Especially considering the fact that you don’t believe in God, you understand that life is short and we must find our happiness our own way. Why begrudge anyone that happiness, even if you think they are deluding themselves?

    – Rick

  192. Rick: We make choices to maximize our happiness.

    I have to agree with plunge that Mother Theresa is probably a bad example, but your point is well-taken: the choice to believe might be considered rational in that it is a conscious attempt to find happiness (even though the belief itself may be delusional).

    This seems comparable to a child inventing an imaginary friend to help him through a difficult time. But is it healthy for the child to continue to believe in this imaginary friend as he grows into adulthood? Eight-five percent of America thinks so…but only if that friend is named “Jesus”.

    At any rate, whether it is healthy is up to the individual. I certainly don’t “begrudge” anyone happiness, wherever they can find it. And I do think it is up to each of us to find his own way.

    If only the other eighty-five percent felt the same way.

  193. MainstreamMan: “It is the nature of religion to posit the answer (God did it) before the question.”

    I think you are being overbroad here.

    Am I? Perhaps I should have made it clear that I was referring to explanations of natural phenomena, which is the purview of science. In order for the religious mind to reconcile the available evidence with his own worldview, all evidence must necessarily be interpreted within the framework of his religious belief. So he knows before he begins that his god was ultimately responsible for whatever it is he is studying. In this way he puts the conclusion before the hypothesis.

    An important part of many religions is the concept of free will, which requires that the individual freely and rationally choose their belief, actions, etc.

    I think this may be the case in theory but it seems untenable in practice. How much “free will” does a child have when he has been reared by religious parents? Once a child has been inculcated with religious belief he is rarely able to break free of it. Ignoring for the moment that the Christian notions of God’s omnipotence/omniscience and man’s free will are contradictory, the concept of free will itself seems a bit illusory in the context of a world where most people are religious.

    Not all belief in God posits an interventionist God that meddles in the details. There are many subtle and sophisticated worldviews that can be considered religious.

    Whether the god is interventionist or not doesn’t seem germane to the question of whether he actually exists. It is the very notion that such creatures exist, regardless of their attributes, that requires believers to suspend reason.

  194. Brilliant!

    And Bill-O completely misses the point of the video! He just tries to find a way to defend his honor by screaming “child abuse.”

    Sure that little girl was obviously directed and give the words to say (much like little Christian children are every day), but I sense she is being raised in a very free thinking environment and will grow to be a very free thinking person (unlike little Christian children who go through life with blinders on).

    Awesome video!
    – rk

  195. The reality is that Bill O’Riely got upstaged by a little girl!

    She does exactly what he does on a daily basis. The only difference is that she’s throwing the propoganda from the other side of the fence.

    And Billy knows when someone’s cutting in on his action! So of course he’s going to get pissy about it.

    Look out Bill– that little girl is going to steal your job in a few years!

    – rk

    p.s. Get Jesus out of MY Republican Party! –Republicans for the separation of church and state!

  196. If only the other eighty-five percent felt the same way.

    I can’t really argue with anything you said, except maybe that last line there. I think the vast majority of people of faith (at least in the US) don’t want to impose it on anyone else.

    – R

  197. ” I think the vast majority of people of faith (at least in the US) don’t want to impose it on anyone else.”

    The *vast majority* of people of faith? So, what do you call faith based efforts to keep homosexuals from getting married, faith-based efforts to ban abortion or stem cell research? What do you think the numbers are of people, based on their faith, who support such bans?

  198. “Ignoring for the moment that the Christian notions of God’s omnipotence/omniscience and man’s free will are contradictory, the concept of free will itself seems a bit illusory in the context of a world where most people are religious.”

    I am unsure how you came to this conclusion. Free will is a central tenant of most Christian denominations. Historically there have been many who did not understand or adhere to this aspect of the religion, but it is central to the theology. Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is an excellent examination of the concepts involved.

  199. Godfrey

    “It is the very notion that such creatures exist, regardless of their attributes, that requires believers to suspend reason.”

    When talking about religion writ large, the ideas that encompass “God(s)” don’t map well to the concept “Creature(s).” Many religions are dealing with much more abstracted conceptualizations than can be fitted under the term “creature.” In some case, let’s say variations of Buddism, god is more akin to a creative force permeating the universe (not to dissimilar to the scientifically based concept of emergent organization in complex adaptive systems– with the devil as entropy).

    Like I said before. It is much easier to dismiss the cartoonish simplifications of religion as irrational than it is to dismiss the very serious thought that has surrounded religion in most cultures over the centuries.

  200. Godfrey,

    “In order for the religious mind to reconcile the available evidence with his own worldview, all evidence must necessarily be interpreted within the framework of his religious belief. So he knows before he begins that his god was ultimately responsible for whatever it is he is studying. In this way he puts the conclusion before the hypothesis.”

    Again, this is no more or less the case for religious people than it is for atheists. The framework they bring to the problem may be polar opposites, but the cognitive processes they bring are the same. An atheist scientist begins with an unanalyzed conclusion just as empirically baseless as the religious scientist does (proving the null hypothesis is exceedingly difficulty, as you know). Both are equally restricted by their conceptual frame, and both are equally able to suspend that frame based on empirical evidence that contradicts.

  201. Mainstream Man,

    Thanks.

  202. I’m enjoying these comments despite, or because of, how far they have strayed from the main topic. Mainstream Man, Danny Cline, and Godfrey, any chance you can get together, write a script on these debating points and hire some little kids to argue about them on Youtube? Then we can try to get O’Really’s reaction (or an impersonator).

  203. pupexcavation

    If you like this thread, you should check out the big boys discussing the same domains of thought…

    http://edge.org/discourse/bb.html#atran

  204. MSM: sorry for abandoning the thread. I thought it had died out until I checked it just now.

    Thanks for the insight. I don’t agree with all of your points (i.e. “Both are equally restricted by their conceptual frame”- I would argue that the religious mind is inherently much more restricted. All frameworks are not equal when it comes to prejudicial views of the universe).

    However I do respect the eloquence with which you stated them. Perhaps we can carry on elsewhere sometime. 🙂

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