Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Oxford University shuts down public debate on abortion

Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not

Eagle eggs are protected, unborn babies are not

Journalist Tim Stanley was the pro-life debater, and he writes about his ordeal in the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

An attempt to hold a reasonable debate about abortion in Oxford was called off after students threatened to disrupt it. Tim Stanley, one of the debaters, writes that the authoritarian Left has become everything it claims to hate.

I would’ve thought that the one place in Britain where you could agree to disagree amicably would be Oxford University. But I was wrong. For instance, I’ve discovered that you’re only allowed to debate abortion there if a) you’re a woman and b) you’re all for it. Any other approach to the subject is liable to attract a mob…

A few months ago I accepted an invitation by the Oxford Students for Life to debate Brendan O’Neill on the subject “This House believes Britain’s Abortion Culture Hurts Us All”. The setting was Christ Church College and around 60 people signed up to attend on Facebook. To be clear: this wasn’t a pro-life demo and the subject wasn’t whether or not women should have the right to choose abortion. Even though I was speaking for the proposition, my speech would’ve begun with noting that the motion has nothing to do with abortion rights per se and was simply a consideration of how having effective abortion on demand affects wider society. Brendan, speaking for the opposition, would’ve doubtless done a fine job and probably run rings round me. It was a fair and free debate that I half expected to lose.

But someone was outraged that we dared to discuss this issue at all. A protest group of around 300 people called “What the f**k is ‘Abortion Culture’?” appeared on Facebook that promised to “take along some non-destructive but oh so disruptive instruments to help demonstrate to the anti-choicers just what we think of their ‘debate’.” We were guilty of promoting “really sh*tty anti-choice rhetoric and probs some cissexism.” The foul language indicates how sophisticated the protesters were, while the accusation of cissexism had me reaching for my online urban dictionary. Was I being called a sissy by homophobic feminists? Mais non. Apparently a “cis” is someone who identifies with the same gender that they were born with. So that’s a thing now.

The university’s students’ union also issued a statement that took aim at Brendan and me for being so offensively attached to our God-given genitals: “The Women’s Campaign (WomCam) condemn SFL for holding this debate. It is absurd to think we should be listening to two cisgender men debate about what people with uteruses should be doing with their bodies.” Next, the Christ Church Junior Common Room (posh talk for “the committee that run the students’ bar”) passed a motion asking their college to decline to room the debate. Eventually, the college caved-in on the grounds that, “there was insufficient time between today and tomorrow to address some concerns they had about the meeting”. The pro-life society tried to find an alternative venue but everyone else said “no”. I believe that two colleges agreed only to later rescind their invitations. I was sitting in Paddington Station (in a duffel coat and hat!) ready to jump on a train to Oxford at 4.40pm when I was told that the debate was finally, totally called off.

So what do we learn from this?

We learn that feminists on the left are opposed to free speech. Once they decide something, they don’t want to have to consider alternatives or hear evidence contrary to what they feel is right for them. It doesn’t matter what is morally right or respectful of the rights of others – the selfish desire for happiness is absolute, and to help with personal responsibility. And if free speech has to go in order to prevent anyone from harassing them with pesky facts, then so much the worse for free speech.

One thing is for sure, the pro-abortion position is not adopted because of logic or evidence. Being pro-abortion is non-cognitive. It cannot be defended rationally, but survives only by mob threats and raw power. If this were not so, then the feminists would have let the debate go through and their side would have won it on the merits. But they knew they would lose a fair debate, and that’s why they shut the debate down. And yet I’m sure that they would call themselves pro-diversity and open-minded.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Matt Walsh: women need to take responsibility for their failed relationships

The latest from Matt Walsh was sent to me by about a dozen people, so I must blog on it. He is responding to “Rebecca” who interpreted some of his previous “man up” posts as a license to blame men for everything that followed from her own poor decisions.

Excerpt:

[...]‘[M]en’ aren’t the problem, Rebecca. It’s you. You’re the one. You’re the common denominator. You’re to blame. There has been one person conspicuously involved in all of Rebecca’s romantic flops, and her name is Rebecca. Maybe you should take a look at her for a change.

Frankly, it seems that when you refer to ‘men’ you aren’t even talking about a group of actual human beings. ‘Men’ have become an abstract idea, a conceptual manifestation of everything that’s wrong with your life. If men exist at all in your world, they exist only as vehicles for your misery.

Consider that, for ritual purification, the Ancient Syrians used to cast a goat out into the wastelands. The literal scapegoat was supposed to carry the sins of the town into the nether regions, where it and its spiritual luggage would die and decay. What you’ve done with men is just a more efficient, animal-friendly version of this strategy. You’ve saddled them with your personal baggage and sent them to the desert to perish. You’ve made a scapegoat of the entire gender.

Let’s borrow a recent example from your own life.

You went on a date with a man who, you claim, had no manners. Maybe that’s true, or maybe you’re so desperate to find fault in every male on the planet that he was fated to be labeled a boorish dolt no matter what he did or said. You also mention that he ‘couldn’t look you in the eyes and have a conversation.’ Maybe. Maybe he was nervous. Maybe he has social anxieties. Maybe he tried to talk to you but he sensed your stand-offish, snobbish demeanor and it made him uncomfortable. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as you say, or maybe he actually was a big, awkward, uncouth, stammering warthog. You seem to have come to latter conclusion very early on in the evening, yet you still chose to go back to his place.

What does that say about you, Rebecca? Look in the mirror and ask yourself what it says aboutyou that you came back to this man’s house even though you were apparently disgusted by him.

That’s a choice you made. You. Not him. You.

He continued to fumble and falter well into the night, committing the unconscionable sin of revealing himself to be a fan of the X-Men film franchise. The uncultured, lethargic lout only succeeded in finding more ways to repulse and offend you as time wore on, yet you were never put off enough to decline the invitation to stay over.

Here’s the thing, Rebecca: I was always told that if I want to attract a good woman, I have to be a good man. Admittedly, I managed to attract a good woman despite being a horribly flawed and sinful man, but there is still wisdom in this idea even if it doesn’t always hold true. The point is, you have to work on improving yourself if you want to end up with a man who is equally intent on improving himself.

Not all men are desperate, drooling oafs straight out of some cliched beer commercial. There are plenty of hardworking, engaging, dependable, morally upright men out there, but they won’t come knocking on your door just because you’ve announced that you’re a ‘woman who deserves it.’

Rebecca, you’re willing to essentially typecast a man because he plays with video games and watches superhero movies, but have you ever considered that you might be the victim of similar assumptions because you sleep with dudes you just met? Of course, ‘victim’ isn’t the right word. You’ve earned the assumptions. I’m not saying that you ought to be alone for the rest of your life, but I am pointing out that you are eager to jump to profound conclusions about a man based on the most superficial of flaws, without stopping to consider what conclusions might be drawn about you based on slightly more significant character traits.

Then again, this guy was willing to sleep with you on the first date just as you were with him. He’s not innocent in the transaction, and neither are you. It sounds like, right now, you two are evenly matched. You look at him and see yourself, and you hate him for it.

We hear all of the handwringing about the decline of masculinity and the disappearance of ‘real men,’ yet very little is ever said about the corresponding deterioration of femininity. It’s strange that you purport to care about ‘manners and chivalry’ yet your email was vulgar and overly aggressive, at times coming across like dialogue out of a middle school boys’ locker room.

‘P*ssy’? Really? A 32-year-old woman using a word like that to describe men while simultaneously complaining that men aren’t courteous? I bet the ones who are courteous just get written off as ‘p*ssies’ anyway, so it’s a lose-lose. A lose-lose for you, especially, because in the end you’re the only one who has to pay for your extremely unappealing attitude.

By your account, you’ve had two broken engagements, and both were the fault of the men who were allegedly ‘full of sh*t.’ Maybe they were. But it is, from a mathematical perspective, almost impossible for one human being to have two failed engagements without being at least partially to blame. In fact, in the history of human relationships, only a very, very, very tiny fraction of them have ever soured or splintered due completely to the actions and choices of one person. It’s been my experience, both personally and as a student of history and an observer of people (as creepy as that sounds), that fractured and strained relationships can rarely be broken down into a clear Bad Person vs Good Person dichotomy. And, on the rare occasion when things are actually that simple, it’s just as likely to be Bad Woman vs Good Guy as it is to be Bad Guy vs Good Woman.

In short, Rebecca, I’m playing the odds here and assuming that you were probably not the victim of both spoiled engagements, just as you are not the victim of your other fruitless romantic endeavors. You are a participant, a catalyst, a cause.

I have, in my life, seen my share of women who, under the influence of feminism, undertake incredibly unwise and selfish courses of action and then blame the predictable consequences on bad men. In fact, it seems to be very popular. Women make poor choices with men, they complain to other women about how they are victims. You can see it with problems like abortion, cohabitation, divorce, infertility, adultery – lots of cases where women choose bad men, and then blame men when things go wrong. I guess I would recommend that men carefully read Matt’s post and then be on the lookout for women who act selfishly, don’t choose good men, neglect the needs of good men, and then try to play the victim and blame men. Don’t be the guy who ends up married to a woman like that. I don’t think it’s an accident that this woman had premarital sexual experience, either.

UPDATE: I think this post dovetails nicely with my previous post about the one factor that most causes relationships to succeed or fail.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , ,

Coeur d’Alene city officials to pastors: perform gay marriages or face jail, fines

From the Alliance Defending Freedom web site.

Excerpt:

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here – and it’s happened this quickly. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.”

The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel is across the street from the Kootenai County Clerk’s office, which issues marriage licenses. The Knapps, both in their 60s and who themselves have been married for 47 years, began operating the wedding chapel in 1989 as a ministry. They perform religious wedding ceremonies, which include references to God, the invocation of God’s blessing on the union, brief remarks drawn from the Bible designed to encourage the couple and help them to have a successful marriage, and more. They also provide each couple they marry with a CD that includes two sermons about marriage, and they recommend numerous Christian books on the subject. The Knapps charge a small fee for their services.

Coeur d’Alene officials told the Knapps privately and also publicly stated that the couple would violate the city’s public accommodations statute once same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho if they declined to perform a same-sex ceremony at their chapel. On Friday, the Knapps respectfully declined such a ceremony and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony.

This is freaking IDAHO for God’s sake. Thankfully the ADF is there to fight the case.

I guess part of me is surprised that in a country where so many people identify as Christians and attend church that such a thing would be possible.

First off, I credit Bible-centric pastors for failing to explain the issues of homosexuality and gay marriage in a way that their parishioners could make sense of it logically and evidentially. We never did that, so that’s why Christians had nothing to say to non-Christians when the issue came up OUTSIDE the church. We never learned from church leaders or our parents how to explain the problems with gay rights (Grindr app promiscuity, domestic violence, relationship instability, HIV spread, loss of free speech, loss of religious liberty, harm to children who are separated from their biological parents, etc.). All we learned to say at home and at church was “the Bible says”. That’s what 20 years of church prepares you to do. That’s what being raised in a Christian home prepares you to do.

“The Bible says” works great when you are a child in the Christian subculture, then you hit the university and it just dies. And pastors and parents know this, they just don’t care, because Christianity was like Santa Claus to them – it was about getting you to behave nicely as a child. It was never to make you kick ass like a William Lane Craig. It was never to make you into Stephen C. Meyer or an ADF attorney. It was just to make your parents’ life easier, as much as they try to cover it up with pious talk excusing them from their failed parenting effort.

Secondly, I think that the type of Christianity taught by parents and pastors is also to blame. They keep telling us that Christianity is about God helping you to feel good, and be nice to other people, so they like you. Everything is about feeling good here and now. Feelings. Compassion. Non-judgmentalism. Irrationality. Nothing is about truth, nothing is about facts, nothing is about conflict. We have witnessed the feminization of the church, and as a result, nobody has any response to the rhetoric of the gay rights people. If Christianity is about being nice, being liked and feeling good, then we have no resistance to the gay rights movement’s rhetoric which urges us to “be nice” so we can be liked, and feel good.

Declaring that morally wrong practices are actually morally good is only a virtue to those who want to be liked above all.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pew survey: evangelical Christians least likely to believe superstitious nonsense

The Pew Research survey is here.

They are trying to see which groups believe in superstitions and new age mysticism.

Here are the parts that I found interesting:

Click for full image.

Click for full image.

Notice the numbers for Republicans vs Democrats, conservatives vs. liberals, and church-attending vs non church-attending. The least superstitious people are conservative evangelical Republicans, while the most superstitious people are Democrat liberals who don’t attend church. I think there is something to be learned from that. It’s consistent with the results of a Gallup survey that showed that evangelical Christians are the most rational people on the planet.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal article about the Gallup survey entitled “Look Who’s Irrational Now“.

Excerpt:

The reality is that the New Atheist campaign, by discouraging religion, won’t create a new group of intelligent, skeptical, enlightened beings. Far from it: It might actually encourage new levels of mass superstition. And that’s not a conclusion to take on faith — it’s what the empirical data tell us.

“What Americans Really Believe,” a comprehensive new study released by Baylor University yesterday, shows that traditional Christian religion greatly decreases belief in everything from the efficacy of palm readers to the usefulness of astrology. It also shows that the irreligious and the members of more liberal Protestant denominations, far from being resistant to superstition, tend to be much more likely to believe in the paranormal and in pseudoscience than evangelical Christians.

The Gallup Organization, under contract to Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, asked American adults a series of questions to gauge credulity.

[...]The answers were added up to create an index of belief in occult and the paranormal. While 31% of people who never worship expressed strong belief in these things, only 8% of people who attend a house of worship more than once a week did.

Even among Christians, there were disparities. While 36% of those belonging to the United Church of Christ, Sen. Barack Obama’s former denomination, expressed strong beliefs in the paranormal, only 14% of those belonging to the Assemblies of God, Sarah Palin’s former denomination, did. In fact, the more traditional and evangelical the respondent, the less likely he was to believe in, for instance, the possibility of communicating with people who are dead.

When I think of the “weird” things that evangelical Christians believe, I think of the origin of the universe, the cosmic fine-tuning, the origin of life and the sudden origin of animal body plans in the Cambrian. All of this is superstition to an atheist, and yet all of it is rooted in mainstream science. Not just that, but they’ve grown stronger as science has progressed. I can accept the fact that an atheist may be ignorant of the science that defeats his atheism, but that’s something that has to be remedied with more studying of the evidence, not less. If you generate a worldview by 1) your desire to dispense with moral judgment and/or 2) your desire to prefer Star Trek and Star Wars to mainstream science, then of course you are going to have an irrational worldview. I’m not saying that all atheists do this, surely someone like Peter Millican does not. But for rank-and-file Dawkins acolytes, I think this is pretty accurate, and it’s why we get the survey results that we do.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paul Copan explains some responses to postmodernism

Four articles from Paul Copan over at the UK site “BeThinking”. Each article responds to a different slogan that you might hear if you’re dealing with non-Christians on the street.

“That’s just your interpretation!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Gently ask, ‘Do you mean that your interpretation should be preferred over mine? If so, I’d like to know why you have chosen your interpretation over mine. You must have a good reason.’
  • Remind your friend that you are willing to give reasons for your position and that you are not simply taking a particular viewpoint arbitrarily.
  • Try to discern if people toss out this slogan because they don’t like your interpretation. Remind them that there are many truths we have to accept even if we don’t like them.
  • ‘There are no facts, only interpretations’ is a statement that is presented as a fact. If it is just an interpretation, then there is no reason to take it seriously.

More responses are here.

“You Christians are intolerant!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If you say that the Christian view is bad because it is exclusive, then you are also at that exact moment doing the very thing that you are saying is bad. You have to be exclusive to say that something is bad, since you exclude it from being good by calling it bad.
  • There is a difference, a clear difference between tolerance and truth. They are often confused. We should hold to what we believe with integrity but also support the rights of others to disagree with our viewpoint.
  • Sincerely believing something doesn’t make it true. You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong. If I get onto a plane and sincerely believe that it won’t crash then it does, then my sincerity is quite hopeless. It won’t change the facts. Our beliefs, regardless of how deeply they are held, have no effect on reality.

More responses are here.

“That’s true for you, but not for me!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If my belief is only true for me, then why isn’t your belief only true for you? Aren’t you saying you want me to believe the same thing you do?
  • You say that no belief is true for everyone, but you want everyone to believe what you do.
  • You’re making universal claims that relativism is true and absolutism is false. You can’t in the same breath say, ‘Nothing is universally true’ and ‘My view is universally true.’ Relativism falsifies itself. It claims there is one position that is true – relativism!

More responses are here.

“If you were born in India, you’d be a Hindu!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Just because there are many different religious answers and systems doesn’t automatically mean pluralism is correct.
  • If we are culturally conditioned regarding our religious beliefs, then why should the religious pluralist think his view is less arbitrary or conditioned than the exclusivist’s?
  • If the Christian needs to justify Christianity’s claims, the pluralist’s views need just as much substantiation.

More responses are here.

And a bonus: “How do you know you’re not wrong?“.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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