Monday, January 20, 2014

MLK and Guns Saving Lives

There's a billboard up in Omaha advocating for guns.

The premise behind this piece of propaganda. is that people having a gun will save their life against an aggressor.  On this MLK Day, I find myself wondering what Martin Luther King Jr would think of this campaign.

Would his supporters have been more, or less safe, if they were carrying guns?

How about the events that surrounded another man named King?

Would Rodney King have been more, or less, safe if he'd had a gun?

How about Reginald Denny?

If Denny had ended up shooting his attackers, how would that have affected the already dangerous race riots?

How about people today encountering violence from the police.  How would guns save their lives?

I'm not advocating for taking guns away.  I'm not saying their presence can never be a good thing.  I'm just saying I wish gun advocates would use their damn brains before putting out vague propaganda that isn't even supported by fact or before they boycott businesses wanting to keep themselves free of tools of violence.

These dishonest billboards and unnecessarily punitive boycotts are part of why an honest conversation on guns & violence is all but impossible.  There's a reason most of us tend to try to avoid the subject, especially around family, friends, and coworkers.

Guns are designed to kill.  That is literally their purpose.  I wish gun advocates would at least be honest about that basic fact.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Actively Engaged Father Made Me An Atheist

Thanks to JT Eberhard & Vyckie Garrison sharing it, I found an interesting article in my feed today.

"Did your absentee father make you an atheist?"

The article is about the republishing of a book I had not previously heard of, "Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism" by Paul C.Vitz.  The premise of this book is that people become atheists because of absent or abusive fathers.

As you would expect from such an idiotic stance, he supports it by cherry picking atheists with bad fathers and believers with good fathers.  He calls this cherry picking his "evidence" of his "hypothesis".  He ignores contrary evidence, like the quote from Eberhard in the article praising his father.

If Vitz's cherry picking counts as evidence, why wouldn't Eberhard's childhood discount that evidence?  How about my own childhood?  My father was Christian, and he certainly was not absent.

My father intentionally worked early hours so he would be home when I got home from school.  He was involved in both my Boy Scout troop and the Church youth group I participated in.  I got my love of gaming from my father.  Even with my father being away occasionally for military duties, my memory is of a father who was there.

My atheism is a direct result of my father's active role in my childhood.

My father was the primary source for my critical thinking skills.  He taught me how to discern fantasy from reality.  He encouraged my interest in science.

My father is a big part of why I don't relate to the stories of trauma I constantly hear from atheists about how their Christian parents have mistreated them.  My father knew I was atheist before I did.  He never pressured me about it.  He never attempted to guilt me into believing.  He never attempted to convince me with apologetics.  The only thing he ever said to me about it was to tell me that I was "a better Christian than most Christians", which told me both that he knew I was atheist and that he was okay with it.

But, of course, my father doesn't disprove Vitz wrong any more than his claims of evidence prove him right.  It's all anecdotal, which has no place in evaluating a hypothesis.  I make no claims about the truth of his claims, because I haven't researched it or seen any real research on the subject.  I have my suspicions, but that would be as useless as Vitz's cherry picking.  I'd certainly be interested to see it studied for real, though.

Vitz's drivel is nothing but hate speech.  Christians intent on hating will welcome his pseudoscience.  For them, it's something to reinforce & rationalize their hate.  It's like racists who see the statistics of how many Blacks are convicted compared to Whites as evidence that Blacks commit more crime.  They welcome whatever they think backs up their prejudices.

For Christians who don't hate, I expect they'd be as offended by Vitz as I am.  For instance, if my Christian mother, who, with my father, raised 2 sons who are atheists, knew about Vitz's claims, she'd see it as an insult to the memory of the husband she's spent the last 4 years grieving and fully expects to see again in Heaven.

Bigots like Vitz don't do anything to help with their religion.  All they do is reveal themselves, and their fans, as ignorant assholes.  They're so eager to hate on atheists, they make up shit like this rather than argue within reality.  They don't seem to care in the slightest that it means bashing good Christians, like my parents, in the process.

Vitz calls my father "defective".  I called him "Dad".

Go fuck yourself, Paul Vitz.