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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2007-12-11 06:33
Subject: [links] Link salad, Tuesday goes to Mars
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Mood:busy
Music:morning sounds
Tags:culture, links, mainspring, politics, religion, weird
Cult/Sect Overview — Helpful information from the Southern Baptist Convention. I didn't know Unitarians were a cult.

The Liar, the Switch and the Wardrobe — Police find secret passage through a wardrobe to Darwin's hideout. (More on the undead canoeist.)

Colon cleansing testimonials — You probably don't want to click on this. Really. You have been warned.

Christian biologist fired for beliefs, suit says — "The case underscores tension between scientists, who see creationist views as anti-science, and evangelical Christians who argue that protections of religious freedom enshrined in the U.S. Constitution extend to scientific settings." Um, yeah. And my religion tells me the Earth is flat. NASA had better hire me as a mission planner!

Huckabee Hides His Full Gospel? — "Now that he has his moment in the political spotlight, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee does not want his days at the pulpit to be scrutinized." Yes, because only Democratic candidates should be subject to intense scrutiny of every public and private statement ever made in their lives.

A rather nice review of Mainspring Powell's | Amazon ]

Bush loses ground with military families — Wow, even military families don't support the troops. (At least, as supporting the troops is defined by Your Republican Party.) Those facts sure are biased, aren't they?

Poll Finds G.O.P. Field Isn’t Touching Voters — The other slant on all the arguing about Romney's faith. Apparently some of the fuss may be coming from people outside the GOP process. I'm not sure if I should be surprised or not. (From slwhitman via lordofallfools.) ETA: The specific reference is at the end of the article, on page 2.
Post A Comment | 23 Comments | | Flag | Link






Edward Greaves: chalice
User: temporus
Date: 2007-12-11 14:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:chalice
Wait, we're a cult now? Does that mean I get to wear cool robes?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-12-11 14:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I thought Unitarians wore unitards?
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Edward Greaves: chalice
User: temporus
Date: 2007-12-11 14:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:chalice
Why do you think I was hoping this would mean I'd get to wear cool robes? These unitards chafe man.
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S. Boyd Taylor
User: sboydtaylor
Date: 2007-12-11 14:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I was raised Southern Baptist (although I NEVER fit in). They've come a long way since I was young. They even believe that it might be possible that a few non-Southern Baptists might NOT be going to hell.
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User: mmerriam
Date: 2007-12-11 15:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Blind
I use to get the "Unitarianism is a cult!" sermon from my oh so Southern Baptist family. The fact that I was a member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans just added fuel to the fire.

And they wonder why I moved 900 miles away...
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
russ: esperanto-flago
User: goulo
Date: 2007-12-11 16:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:esperanto-flago
Of course the Baha'i are a cult: some of them speak Esperanto! Damn hippie peacenik cultists.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
russ: esperanto-flago
User: goulo
Date: 2007-12-11 17:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:esperanto-flago
Jes, sed bedaŭrinde Shatner ne parolas Esperanton bone...
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Kerry aka Trouble: Traffic
User: controuble
Date: 2007-12-11 16:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Traffic
They obviously don't realize that by their own definitions, ALL of Christianity is a sect.

*Going back to contemplating my navel, now.*
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lordofallfools
User: lordofallfools
Date: 2007-12-11 17:02 (UTC)
Subject: Evolution and Thought-Crime
According to the article:

Abraham, who was dismissed eight months after he was hired, said he was willing to do research using evolutionary concepts but that he had been required to accept Darwin's theory of evolution as scientific fact or lose his job.

So...he was willing to put aside his personal beliefs and continue working as was required by the main scientific community-- but would not accede the personal recesses of his mind to something he DIDN'T believe in?

How is his firing NOT the institution of thought-crime? IF he was effectually working within the parameters of what was required of him; if he was doing his job adequately; if he was successful at separating personal belief and scientific inquiry; how in the world can we justify the actions of his employer?
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
lordofallfools
User: lordofallfools
Date: 2007-12-11 18:02 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Evolution and Thought-Crime
The question is whether or not the employer has the right to determine what someone BELIEVES. Not what someone DOES.

Does Abraham's work reflect scientific integrity? Do his personal beliefs impinge on his work? Did he allow, in the eight months he was at Woods Hole, his creationist views to be reflected in the scientific work he undertook?

Despite the fact that I work for a law-enforcement organization, I am tentatively for the legalization of marijuana. I have never done drugs; I've never even taken a drink of anything stronger than Mountain Dew. Should my employer be allowed to fire me because I do not toe the assumed line in regards to my beliefs, if those beliefs NEVER cause problems with the work I undertake?

Furthermore, Abraham explicitly said that he would "use evolutionary concepts" in his work. This isn't a case where he's trying to buck or undermine the system-- he's trying to, by his account, work within the system and leave his beliefs at the door.

If there's information showing he did his job poorly, that's one thing. But nothing I'm seeing makes that claim.
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lordofallfools
User: lordofallfools
Date: 2007-12-11 18:10 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Evolution and Thought-Crime
See my response to elfs below; I missed the fact that he had requested not to work on evolutionary stuff, which precluded him from doing much work at all.

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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
lordofallfools
User: lordofallfools
Date: 2007-12-11 18:34 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Evolution and Thought-Crime
Since I'm feeling contentious...

if I decided I didn't want to believe in the Laws of Thermodynamics, my employer would be justified in firing me, since it is vital to my job to be able to reason within physical reality. If I believe that entropy spontaneously decreases because god says so, I am manifestly unqualified for my job, because I have demonstrated myself incapable of reasoning from evidence.

I disagree. If you were able to divide your beliefs from your work, and carry on as agreed and previously accepted by your employer, then you should not be fired. In a case like this, your beliefs do not matter; only your actions do.

If your employer were to fire you for merely believing something, but not acting on it...that's the institution of thought-crime, IMO.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
lordofallfools
User: lordofallfools
Date: 2007-12-11 20:05 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Evolution and Thought-Crime
I can't get my brain around why a YEC would want a job doing evolutionary biology unless it was to get fired and make a big stink.

Meh. It's futile to even try to assign motive to anyone. That's why so much of my thinking is fact/action based-- that is, what did he do, what did he write, etc. It's useless to try to imagine what he felt, and anyway-- it makes for terribly porous logic.

I suppose one could make the argument that it's possible to understand an idea intuitively and still reject it, but damn, I cannot even fathom that level of cognitive dissonance.


I think it's delightful to think about. But I was into theater in high school-- the idea of being someone I'm not under a certain situation resonates with me.

To argue a bit further toward that end, I *do* think it's possible to do exactly as I've said; play a role at work which your "true" convictions might disagree with. I don't know that such a position is healthy-- I guess it depends on the level of dissonance. It'd be interesting to see how much intellectual give-and-take there is in such a situation...
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Elf M. Sternberg
User: elfs
Date: 2007-12-11 17:48 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Evolution and Thought-Crime
IF he was effectually working within the parameters of what was required of him; if he was doing his job adequately; if he was successful at separating personal belief and scientific inquiry; how in the world can we justify the actions of his employer?

If I believed that the outcome of my programming decisions were arbitrarily successful based upon what the little green men who inhabit the gray box at my feet did, I don't believe I could be an effective programmer. At best, I would be a priest, going through motions that might or might not, depending upon the whim of the Other Powers, be successful.

You have a mighty big 'if' there.

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination has already dismissed Abraham's complaint, saying that the firing was justified. Abrahams "indicated he would not agree to include a full discussion of the evolutionary implications and interpretations of the research in any co-authored publications resulting from this work... This position is incompatible with the work as proposed to NIH."

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lordofallfools
User: lordofallfools
Date: 2007-12-11 18:06 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Evolution and Thought-Crime
D'oh!

I didn't see this:

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination dismissed the case this year, saying Abraham's request not to work on evolutionary aspects of research would be difficult for Woods Hole because its work is based on evolutionary theories.

Yeah-- I see the sense in firing him now.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-12-13 15:03 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Evolution and Thought-Crime
Sorry for the late response here, but when I am in novel-writing mode, time gets away from me.

I have two basic reactions to your question.

1 -- What if I sought employment with a church, or church-run organization? A lot of Christian charities and schools require that employees assert their faith in God, presumably in a denominationally appropriate way. As a secularist and an atheist, am I entitled to sue for discrimination? Ie, I'm pretty sure this street runs both ways and most people don't see anti-secular/anti-atheist discrimination as any kind of problem at all. (Witness recent statements from Romney and Huckabee about religion in America.)

2 -- I'm pretty much in line with kadath's comments downthread. If the guy were a cop or an accountant or a scuba instructor, his beliefs on evolution would irrelevant, and a firing would be discriminatory. In a job centered on genetic research and evolutionary biology, he's as unfit as my flat earther would be for a mission planning slot at NASA.

Furthermore, I don't see how any Creationist can be presumed qualified for a job requiring rational analysis, since by definition they are consciously choosing to be profoundly irrational. I realize that latter argument holds no water in employment law, and probably not much in the general cultural discourse.

It's not a test of religious belief, it's a test of basic qualification. You wouldn't hire an innumerate as an actuary or an illiterate as a proof reader, why would you hire a Creationist to conduct experimental biology? That would be like hiring me to teach Sunday School.

Edited at 2007-12-13 03:04 pm (UTC)
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Elf M. Sternberg
User: elfs
Date: 2007-12-11 17:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wait, Thomas Jefferson was a member of a cult?

I can believe that. Sounds like a story waiting to be told.
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lordofallfools
User: lordofallfools
Date: 2007-12-11 18:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I thought Jefferson was just a Unitarian sympathizer, not a member...
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-12-13 16:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
From Project Wombat:

http://www.sullivan-county.com/id3/jefferson_deist.htm

"Jefferson says he was a "Materialist" (letter to Short,
Apr. 13, 1820) and a "Unitarian" (letter to Waterhouse, Jan.
8, 1825). Jefferson rejected the Christian doctrine of the
"Trinity" (letter to Derieux, Jul. 25, 1788), as well as the
doctrine of an eternal Hell (letter to Van der Kemp, May 1,
1817). Further, Jefferson specifically named Joseph Priestly
(English Unitarian who moved to America) and Conyers
Middleton (English Deist) and said: "I rest on them ... as
the basis of my own faith" (letter to Adams, Aug. 22, 1813).

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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2007-12-13 17:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And on the other side...

BTW, I thought I would mention this site, although it does not have
primary resources, as showing his development from Episcopalian to
Unitarian sympathizer. (Although according to the site he evidently
never officially joined a Unitarian church.)

http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/thomasjefferson.html

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biomekanic
User: biomekanic
Date: 2007-12-11 18:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Awww. :(

I could be wrong, but IIRC, at one time The Religious Society of Friends (aka Quakers) were on the SBC list ( huh... I just noticed that. SBC was also the regional telecomm... anyway) as a cult.

Or maybe that was the FBI...
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lordofallfools
User: lordofallfools
Date: 2007-12-11 18:47 (UTC)
Subject: Military Family Poll
For goodness' sake, check the sample size.

And the disclaimers.

And...the fact that it's a poll.

These things are to be taken with a grain of salt.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2007-12-12 02:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Huh. By SBC standards, the Roman Catholic church could be held to be a cult. After all, we consider the Apocrypha to be part of the Bible, and we don't hold to "Bible only" standards.

And Nation of Islam as a Christian cult or sect? What the !?!

And those Pentecostals? Hmmm. Very interesting.

Of course, to go by the classic Catlick view, them Babtists are all heretics anyway. ;-)
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