Scientology Hates Gays and Abuses Children

Just a catchy title? Gosslip has a surprisingly good article on Scientology’s Security Checks On Children:

by forcing the kid to continually answer these questions, whatever the content, for an extended period of time, it breaks down their mental barriers to keeping secrets, deciding who to trust, and depending on the delivery, breaks down their self esteem as the questions are badged hostily until the agent is convinced they are getting the whole truth.

I’ve previously talked about the Church of Scientology’s practice of “security checking” in this post on the Secret Scientology Documents. It demonstrates that the CoS is both a highly paranoid and highly controlling institution.

This treatment of children seems benign when compared to Scientology’s position on queer sexuality. You could say Scientology really cements it’s position as a religion to be considered in the same breath as right wing fundamentalist Chistianity with it’s stated attitudes towards homosexuality.

Indybay carries an article entitled Scientology: Gays and Lesbians should be quarantined and institutionalized. It turns out L. Ron. Hubbard set a new standard in homophobic hysteria, in effect calling for a new genocide against sexual minorities.

Such people should be taken from the society as rapidly as possible and uniformly institutionalized; for here is the level of the contagion of immorality, and the destruction of ethics.” (L. Ron Hubbard, “Science of Survival”)

This is no secret document of Scientology, this statement about homosexuality is readily available in the two books the Church of Scientology is forever trying to get you to buy, Dianetics and Science of Survival.

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Blog Design Update

I am forever playing around with the organisation of this site. If you’re interested in what I’ve done to it now, details are over the fold.
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Domain Renewal

On Friday I got a call from my blog host, they’d been sending the invoice to my email address but it was bouncing, and my domain would soon expire. Thankfully they’ve agreed to renew both my domain and my hosting in good faith, now I have to hand over some cold hard cash.

Normally this isn’t a problem, but I’ve been having some financial troubles of late. If you can spare a dollar or two towards renewing this blog, I would be immensely grateful.

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My Responses to the Atheist Thirteen

Earlier I ranted about a meme I’d been tagged in by Atheist Blogger Adrian Hayter. Memes are good for search engine ratings and generating content without any real effort, so I’ve decided to take it to the max. Here’s my addition to the feedback loop, my attempts at cashing in on the link love, my answers to the atheist thirteen:

  1. How would you define “atheism”?
    I was a little mean to religious believers in my post on Defining Atheism.
  2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?

    Religion played little role in my upbrining, as made clear in this post, Religion and My Upbringing.

  3. How would you describe “Intelligent Design”, using only one word?

    In the post Intelligent design in a Word I use several words like Hypocrites, Liars and Wedge.

  4. What scientific endeavour really excites you?

    Bugger medical research, what get’s me Excited about Science is a little weird…

  5. If you could change one thing about the “atheist community”, what would it be and why?

    Back in April I noted I was a little concerned about the whole concept of an Atheist Community.

  6. If your child came up to you and said “I’m joining the clergy”, what would be your first response?

    It may not be an issue, seeing as I deny any intentions of ever having children, I try and explain why in I do no intend to ever have Children.

  7. What’s your favorite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

    Pascal’s wager, in Theistic Stupidity – Pascal’s Wager I explain why.

  8. What’s your most “controversial” (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?

    Probably what I am about to say in answer to the next question.

  9. Of the “Four Horsemen” (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?

    Let’s just say it’s definitely not Hitchens, as I make clear in Hawkins, Hitchens, Harris or Dennett?. And there is just something I don’t like about Hawkins straight god stuff.

  10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?

    No comment.

So was that bad enough? No? well…

This chain letter came from Adrian who got in from Atheist Jew who was infected by Stardust who actually enjoys memes and thus probably didn’t need the tag from Tommy who in turn caught the craze from New York City Atheists who nearly missed the tag from Chicken Girl who was turned into a meme replicator by Splendid Elles who probably picked it up after some leg humping action from Homologous Legs who was never bitten by meme originator nullifidian but decided to go a meming like a vampire anyway.

I am now supposed to pass this on to three other suckers, but as content generating and spamarific as this was, I still think that all chain letters should rot in hell. So I won’t be tagging anyone.

:-P

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Filed under Blogging, memes, Scientology

Hawkins, Hitchens, Harris or Dennett?

If you’re an atheist blogger you’ve just got to have an opinion on the so-called “Four Horsemen”, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett.

This will no doubt earn me a suitable degree of ire… but I’m not a Dawkins fanboy.

I love some of his documentary’s on evolution, I pretty much prescribe The Blind Watchmaker series to anyone I see wavering towards intelligunt desine. But I think the book that gets him mentioned in the same breath as these other authors is not all it’s cracked up to be; The God Delusion Is Not Great!

Everywhere I look in atheist reviews of Richard Dawkins the talk is always about how great and insightful an author Dawkins is. Admittedly I’ve only read The God Delusion, but Dawkins is not the great author he’s cracked up to be. It is as if he meanders through a variety of related topics, occasionally picking a pet hate to focus on. It needs a more systematic argument and a less conversational style. It’s a book not a blog post.

I’m yet to read Harris, but I have a distaste for authors who focus on religion and terrorism. I just don’t see “terrorism” as the amazingly pressing issue that American commentators claim it is. For me the world didn’t suddenly change in September 2001. Another act of violence was not something unexpected, nor anything amazingly different in the course of human events. It clearly was for Sam Harris.

Like Adrian Hayter I did like Harris’ contributions to The God Who Wasn’t There, and perhaps I shouldn’t judge further until I take the chance to read some of his work.

I have always found Christopher Hitchen’s highly entertaining, but I also find him particularly despicable. He is trapped in the “clash of civilisation” mindset of the religious and political right in the US. His support for the Iraq war on this basis isn’t just stupid and sad, it’s practically laughable. Anyone who seriously supports US imperialism on the basis of countering the “threat” of Islam is labouring under some kind of delusion.

Of the so-called “Four Horsemen”, the person I have the most time for so far is Daniel Dennett. Currently I’m reading Freedom Evolves. It’s tough reading, like Dawkin’s he meanders around a bit too much for my liking, but the ideas he puts forth are brilliant.

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Theistic Stupidity – Pascal’s Wager

There are a couple of theistic arguments that always crack me up. The all time classic is Pascal’s wager. Like Adrian Hayter I think it’s easily refutable, but this doesn’t stop it coming up time and again.

The argument as put by Blaise Pascal is basically that:

  1. because the claim of religion has such long lasting consequences, ie burning in hell for eternity, AND
  2. b. the cost of avoiding this is comparatively low, ie. spending your entire life as a slave to theistic belief, THEREFORE
  3. c. you should believe in religion just in case.

I agree with Douglas Adams, any god likely to be impressed by a person who believes “just in case” is no god worth believing in. But this isn’t the only reason Pascal’s argument is absurd.

I was recently at a Bible Studies group where someone in all seriousness put Pascal’s Wager to me as an argument. They claimed:

“The message of Jesus is so significant, we have to consider the consequences of ignoring it”

The significance of the argument, they argued, was founded in the consequences of ignoring it. The apocalypse was coming, god was going to judge the living and the dead, and you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of that.

Both this person and Pascal are arguing that we should believe in the claims of Christianity precisely because they are so audacious. But Christians are being hypocritical when they make this claim. This isn’t just a dishonest reason for belief, it’s not a basis upon which they would change their beliefs.

If Christians really accepted this logic, then they would be forced to change their beliefs if I made a claim that had even more dire consequences for non-believers than their current belief.

What if I argued that Christians must believe in my god or my god will torture both your soul and the souls of your loved ones for all eternity in hell. Whoa, bugger the Christian god and Pascal’s wager, my god is even more evil.

But this doesn’t happen. The believers who try and scare us into conforming to their beliefs with this logic don’t accept it themselves.

That’s why I like Pascal’s Wager, it not only shows up the petty nature of theistic argument, it shows up the hypocrisy of it’s proponents.

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I do not intend to ever have Children

I do not intend to ever have children. I know, I know, biology will kick in eventually, everyone tells me.

I can understand wanting to have a role in raising a child, in shaping the next generation by engaging in the process of indoctrination known as child rearing. I can understand getting clucky.

Chickens get clucky. When the conditions are right, there is enough food, there is a nest, and there are a certain number of eggs, a chook will get clucky. This involves them sitting on their nest and making a “cluck” noise over and over. It’s simple genetically programmed trigger and response, and any person who has ever kept a hen will know what I am talking about.

I suppose I don’t like the idea of just being a chicken. There is more to being human than being the sum of our DNA. This is rather simplistic, but biology ends at birth, our brains and what we choose to do and think is as important as our biological makeup.

I do not think we have to accept certain things as certain because there is a biological imperative. In particular, I think we can indeed choose not to pass on our personal genetics, and in the current state of the world, such a decision is ethical.

There are more than enough people in the world. There are plenty of members of the next generation who require our support, love and care without seeking to create yet more. Caring for the next generation may be part of the totality of being human. But we can be complete human beings, living caring, loving and contributing lives without seeking to personally create new life.

The human animal doesn’t just survive as an individual, we don’t need to individually pass on our genes. We can survive as a society, we can choose not to have children, and to work for the collective survival instead. There need not be anything contradictory in this.

So I do not want children. You can chuckle that I will eventually become clucky, I will eventually get the trigger. But when it does come, I will express myself in a different way. What that is yet, I can’t be sure. There is a need for more foster parents for teenagers in my own country, perhaps that would be useful.

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Filed under Atheism, ethics