The Salt Shakers & home-grown extremism

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At first I was going to focus on yet another man-of-the-cloth being persecuted by his own for having the courage of his convictions.

This article in the Age talks of the plight of Matt Glover, in Lilydale, an outer suburb of Melbourne. It seems that Matt as raised the ire of the powers that be by voicing support for his same-sex marriage, and revealing that he had been ministering to gays and lesbians for 15 years (oh, the horror!). To his credit, he has spoken out at some of the more hysterical opposition to same-sex marriage, and is quoted as saying:

Salt Shakers and the Australian Christian Lobby were saying gay marriage would open the door to paedophilia. I couldn’t sit back and let Christian leaders say things like that, that are untrue.

Happily, the pressure from his congregation has forestalled any action by these pressure groups to remove him. Clearly, they see the value in his long-standing pastoral work for the community, as well as the community-based enterprises such as financial services, counselling, food bank, cafe and welfare assistance.

I’ve written about this syndrome before – no matter that an individual does good work for his flock – if they don’t toe the official party line, then get rid of them.

Anyway, well done Matt on your stance, and carry on the good work.

As I said, that was the original focus. But I decided I should find out who or what the ‘Salt Shakers’ are. And that’s the more interesting story.

A visit to their website reveals not a religious organisation, but a political action group of the type I would expect to see in the US (sorry guys, but you’re the epicenter of the whole right-wing religion thing, aren’t you?). It turns out that the SS (no Nazi slur intended here, but now that I mention it…) is a husband and wife team (executive director and research officer) who are supported by donations from the suckers  faithful.

Their mission is to impose their form of biblical values on the world, and it seems they are trying to do this by supporting every right-wing nut-job out there. For example, their primary sources are Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, the HeraldSun, the Courier Mail etc. For those in other parts of the world, these are a selection of the shrill self-righteous right-wing denialists who all believe that their values are the final word. Unfortunately those values don’t include compassion for other people or anything that vaguely resembles socialsism. I’m sure you know the type.

Just look at their Home page. It’s just a summary of anti-government sentiment. This includes the factually incorrect statement that “….and is now pursuing the ‘Mining Tax’ under which the small miners will suffer“. This is just incorrect – small miners are exempt, but of course this inconvenient fact doesn’t suit their political agenda. This simply shows that SS is parroting the falsehoods being pedalled by those opposed to the government’s agenda – they have not done any analysis of their own.

They have a clearly anti-tax stance – not something jesus would have been too fussed about I’m sure. And exactly where in the bible does it say that tax is a bad thing? What about tithing? Oh, that’s not a tax, right? And why do religions accept tax-deductible status if the whole tax thing is so abhorrent – they should just refuse to be involved in anything so nasty.

In their About Us page, they remind us of their Resistance Thinking website which is supposedly intended to “help young people understand their Biblical worldview and engage effectively in discussion about the issues of our day‘. Based on that description, it should be called “Resistance To Thinking”.

But it’s in the Issues page where the rubber hits the road. Here you can see a list of their main marks – and of course their position on each is predictable – right-wing politics, fundamentalist religion and moral arbiter.

In fact what is striking about this Issues page is the number of issues on which they are advocating activism. Does is not occur to these people that since they have to prosecute their beliefs on so many fronts, that maybe their world view is a little, well, let’s say, flaky?

In the ‘Latest News’ section, they even pontificate on Climate Change – and you know what a potent mix religion and climate change is to rationalbrain. Here, they actually quote Piers Akerman as their source, and tell us that “on this issue the science really isn’t settled.” Really SS? On what do you base this? Have you any idea at all on this, or are you once again just parroting those famous non-climatologists Akerman and Bolt, and the two or three non-climate scientists swimming against the tide?  And yet on this page, when Andrew Bolt interviews three well-known climate science deniers, all of a sudden “the scientists tell us the real story“. Clearly these people have no idea.

It’s strange really, because on this page, is a story about how it’s now a fact that homosexuals can change (presumably into heterosexuals), and that there is a peer-reviewed study supporting this. I haven’t looked for the study yet – suffice to say, that  these people are monumentally inconsistent. In this case, when it suits their agenda, peer-reviewed studies are to be believed, while with climate change the thousands of peer-reviewed papers by leaders in the relevant field are to be dismissed based on a News Corporation article. Actually, I’m sure these people are not stupid. They’re just desperate to support their ridiculous world-view at any cost.

To be honest, I haven’t scratched the surface of this insidious little site, full of the language of intolerance and extremism, and party political rhetoric.  I’ll close with the final line of a paper on climate change by one of the authors of the site, and leave you judge their motivations:

We cannot ‘save’ the planet. Only God can. This world will not be wiped out until Christ returns.

Well, that will be a happy day, won’t it!

Actually I feel a little nauseous so I’d better move onto something else.

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28 thoughts on “The Salt Shakers & home-grown extremism

    @blamer said:
    November 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I couldn’t sit back and let Christian leaders say things like that

    We need more of this.

    There seems to be a widening divide between soft-spoken Christian leaders who respect the ethics of modernity and the loud-mouth Christian leaders who instead respect traditional teachings.

    neutralturn said:
    November 27, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Who chooses to cohabit with whom is a matter in and on which I have no interest. In my opinion any couple that publicly and formally declares its status as such is entitled to the same priveledges granted by the state in relation to tax, superannuation, inheritance and so forth as are a conventional heterosexual married couple. However the word ‘marriage’ inevitably raises the issue of issue, ie children. I have not seen a clear statement of the meaning of ‘ same-sex ( why the coy and clumsy neologism for homosexual?) marriage’. If its effect will be to increase the number of children raised in homosexual households I am strongly opposed to it. Children are innocent third parties in this; a dangerous social experiment driven by the ideology of an agressive minority. Children are the potential victims

      rationalbrain said:
      November 28, 2011 at 10:05 am

      I need to take issue with this position, neutralturn. I don’t agree that the word marriage has anything to do with children – this is a big leap. Current administrative arrangements do no preclude raising children, as exemplified by our Minister for Finance and her partner. I’m no expert in this area, but my belief is that enabling same-sex marriage will do nothing to the incidence of same-sex parenthood. My understanding is that the desire for marriage is simply to facilitate recognition of a relationship as more than an administrative arrangement, especially for the religious, and to reinforce the commitment to one another in the traditional way. Therefore, characterising children as innocent, or potential victims or otherwise in this discussion is a furphy, and is certainly not a ‘dangerous social experiment’ – the horse has already bolted on this one. I’m also surprised by your description of those pursuing such rights as an aggressive minority – the activism I’ve seen is only a powder puff in comparison to oh, say, right to lifers etc.
      And in reference to the terminology, same-sex is in common use in the political discussion, which I think is based on the somewhat pejorative use of ‘homosexual’ over the years.
      Further thoughts?

    neutralturn said:
    December 18, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I withdraw the words ‘aggressive minority’. I should have said ‘clamorous and assertive minority’. I cannot see how any change that increases the number of children raised in same-sex households can be described as other than a social experiment. Humans are overwhelmingly heterosexual and overwhelmingly have as parents one male and one female. To brush these facts aside with a ‘So what? We don’t think that matters’ is amazingly cavalier. What grounds are there for assuming that, say, on average, a woman with short hair and a business suit is just as good a father figure for a heterosexual male teenager as is a man? This is an experiment and the onus is on its proponents to prove that it is safe before it is executed.

      rationalbrain said:
      December 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

      I repeat: on what basis to you believe that allowing same-sex marriage will ‘increase the number of children in same-sex households’? Surely you recognise that same-sex parenting has been going on, and will go on, regardless of marriage. And that same-sex marriage is not for the purpose of having children. This latter point is simply a construct by the religious/conservative lobby to try to eke out some special place for marriage and thereby justify their blatant discrimination against one section of the population.
      Given that current administrative arrangements for same-sex couples already provide economic parity amongst society, it is clear to me that the same-sex community is seeking only to have the ability to marry as symbolic of their commitment, and for some, a religious act as well.
      As to humans being ‘overwhelmingly heterosexual etc’, I would point out that they are also overwhelmingly religious too. And overwhelmingly believe is homeopathy and chiropractic. Need I say more? No, but I will! You can draw no conclusions as to social outcomes from this appeal to popularity. While we are talking ‘overwhelming’ though, I think you’ll find that your vision of the male+female+child(ren) as family unit is overwhelmingly not the case. Apart from the permutations of parental sexual persuasion, and the absence of one or the other, there is also the revolving door aspect – where each parent may have multiple partners. Another dangerous social experiment?
      To extend your argument to its logical extreme, if we suspect that absence of a male+female parent influence is bad for our kiddies, then it should be an offence to separate for any reason, or in any way deviate from your norm. I recommend the gallows, since we want maximum deterrent. And naturally, a widowed parent will be required to re-marry within 28 days, after all, we can’t have any of this experimental stuff going on. This would provide a strong message to those kids that they will be brought up the way we want them to be, and they way they have been for all time, except for when they weren’t, of course.
      And there’s the rub. Even if we believe that numbers of same-sex families will grow, has our experience to date given us any inkling as to the existence of a cohort of children suffering from some psychological trauma (or even school-yard teasing) resulting from the absence of one or other genders of parent? And does this cohort distinguish itself from, say, that of children raised in abusive heterosexual relationships? Or raised in single-parent households?
      On this last point, I think your reference to a woman with short hair and a business suit must be tongue-in-cheek, or perhaps a convenient straw-man. No-one would argue the question as you put it. It is actually nonsense, by definition. Rather, we should instead ask ‘does the absence of father-figure for a child (why do you focus on heterosexual male child, I wonder?) badly affect their development? If we believe that this absence is intolerable, then we should also outlaw single-motherhood. Indeed, why is it that you believe a strong father figure is necessary? As a role model, I hear you say. Yes, and to model what behaviours? Love? Integrity? Commitment? Honesty? Does one require testosterone for these? Or are you referring to the behaviours or dismantling an engine, clearing the spout, and mowing the lawn?
      And is any male role model better than none? I could also argue that the absence of some males in parenting roles would actually be beneficial to a child’s development. In fact, I can think of examples, but I dare not offer anecdotes.
      The ‘experiment’, as you call it, has been going on ever since humans have been having children. To marginalise one segment of humanity because you don’t like the direction the experiment seems unfair, especially given that the entire, culturally constructed notion of ‘family’ is a fluid and arbitrary one.
      Now, for a mid-morning coffee!

    neutralturn said:
    December 18, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Rationalbrain, a quick re-reading of my original post will answer your first query, particularly noting the sentence; ‘If its effect will be to increase the number of children raised in homosexual households I am strongly opposed to it.’

    I think we agree that neither of us understands the legal implications of leagilising same-sex marriage. In the course of ordinary conversation I have spoken to three or four people who hold generally positive views on the proposed change. Like us, they hadn’t the slightest idea of its legal implications. I have seen no serious discussion of the matter in the media. Raimond Gaita raised the issue briefly in an effusively supportive opinion piece in the Age recently, only to dismiss it with the observation that, in his experience, those who raised it were just crypto-homophobes and it could therefore be ignored; a proposition I find as irrelevant and illogical as it is insulting. The Labor Party, the governing party of this country, decided at its recent Annual Conference that the the same-sex issue deserved more discussion than any other issue confronting it and the country; perhaps more than all other issues combined! I saw nothing reported on its legal implications.

    Nobody seems to be interested in talking about children and legal implications. Funny about that, isn’t it?

    My position can be summed up simply by noting that growing up is hard to do. Many individuals find it enormously stressful coming to grips with the world and their position in it. A large number fail to make it through to well-adjusted adulthood and a not-insignificant number fail to make it through at all. To say to these youngsters; ‘Think you’ve got it tough? Cop this! Your Mum’s a man! or Your Dad’s a woman! Hope that’s OK with you. If not, console yourself wirh the thought that it all makes your Mum and Dad very happy’

      rationalbrain said:
      December 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

      I think on all this we can perhaps just agree to disagree (though not for the purpose of shutting down discussion!).
      I too am very concerned with adverse effects on children, hence my opposition to the teaching of religion in the classroom (as opposed to teaching about religion).
      However, I still can’t help feeling that your dramatic ‘mum’s a man’ concern is an over-reaction based on a changing cultural norm.
      Here’s an example of what I mean. When I was in primary and high school, being a ‘wog’ was not cool. This was an easy way for idiots to torment otherwise very normal children. (In fact, in younger years, I would gladly had the focus shift to my parents, rather than endure the wog stuff).
      However, a generation later, my younger daughter’s experience was very different. It seems that this particular cultural hang-up had changed to the point where it was now actually cool to claim such a heritage, perhaps to be replaced by some other form of torment – perhaps whether you had a mobile phone or not, or went to schoolies or not.
      The same is true of different skin colours – which are now very unremarkable to young children at school.
      Obviously I feel the same way about parent gender issues.
      And even if we do accept that same-sex parents provide another avenue for bullying or abuse, it is just one in a long line of characteristics that kids will focus on to torment others. I feel it will always be so. Whether single parent, abusive parent, an empty lunchbox, jailed parent, black/yellow/pasty white, skinny, glasses, european/anglo, frizzy/straight hair, nerd/cool, ad nauseum.
      There are more immediate and more potentially damaging things that children face in growing up – for example learning to think for themselves about the world, and staying healthy, to name but two of my pet areas. Surely in the final analysis, whether a child is loved, supported and nurtured by parents is the main thing.

    Peter Stokes said:
    February 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Wow, Daniel, thanks for the publicity – that is, if anyone other than the two people who comment on the ‘article’ (rant may be a more appropriate word) is actually reading your stuff.

    What happened to tolerance of other peoples views? You certainly don’t seem to have any.

    By the way, we don’t “impose” our view, or “form of biblical values”, on anyone, we research the truth and show the evidence as to why a situation or lifestyle is inappropriate, which is much more than your blog seems to do.

    As for Matt Glover, all I did was to go and see him, with, and at the request of, one of his church members. I had a two hour dialogue with him and he thanked me for being prepared to openly share with him.

    It was some 6 months later that his church actually made the decision they did not want him as their Pastor, mainly because he had publically endorsed same-sex marriage – an opinion totally contrary to the most basic reading of the Bible and God’s ‘design for human relationships.
    God did not design the anus for sex, but for the very efficient disposal of waste material after every last strain of goodness has been extracted from it. Pushing something up it is, in fact, one of the most dangerous sexual activities anyone can engage in – be they male or female. I suggest you check out the medical facts.

    Also, there is no scientific evidence to suggest anyone is ‘born gay’ – even after 50 years of trying to show they are.
    I have a number of friends who were once homosexuals or lesbians, they are now very happy living as God created them, heterosexual. Some are very happily married with children. This was not always an easy journey, but it is certainly one they are glad they made.

    A couple of friends have even had gender reassignment surgery, only to regret it later knowing it had not solved their ‘psychological problems’. Some are left ‘hanging’ as neither a complete male or female – not understanding why professional’s who were supposed to help them have left them in no mans land and washed their hands of them. God is working and healing as they surrender to Him.

    God can, and does, heal the homosexual & lesbian. That is the truth that activists want to hide because they want to do what they want to do without a guilty conscience. I have yet to meet a homosexual or lesbian that does not know that what they do is unnatural – common sense tell them that, what a pity it does not seem to be within your understanding.
    I trust that if you, or someone close to you, is struggling with this issue you/they will one day come to know His healing grace.

    Regards
    Peter P Stokes

      rationalbrain responded:
      February 4, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Hi Peter
      Thanks for your comment.
      Unfortunately, you once again don’t let the facts get in the way of a good narrative and self-justification.
      There is no doubt at all that homosexuality (anywhere along the spectrum) is genetic, and displayed by many species, not just human.
      God has nothing to do with it, because, unlike the genetic basis of homosexuality, there is no evidence for such an entity.
      Healing grace (not healing of homosexuality, but of the intolerance perpetrated by religion), therefore comes not from some artificial entity, but from the hearts and minds of fellow humans.
      Unfortunately your organisation does not display such grace, and appeals to others not to as well.
      Your site is filled with the language of hate and intolerance, and is not in the least bit graceful.
      It also ventures into politics, and mis-uses science to further its right wing political stance.
      You preach hate, and you get the science wrong.
      That’s why I ‘ranted’.

    Peter Stokes said:
    February 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Daniel, I suggest you provide the evidence then.
    Anyone can claim anything these days, but unless you can actually show the evidence to support your claim, it is simply rhetoric. I’m claiming there is no reliable evidence so you need to be able to show there is.
    To endorse my claim I suggest you check out The American Psychiatric association who state…
    “What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation?
    There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/sexual-orientation.aspx

    The claim that animals show homosexual tendencies is interesting – those attempting to normalize same-sex attraction claim it is about love not sex. Yet the only claimed evidence of homosexuality in animals mostly amounts to playful sexual activity among young mails – something attributed to learning before the main event with, you guessed it, the opposite sex.
    If we can claim it is OK “because animals do it”, then surely cannibalism should be OK too – because animals do it.
    We humans – even according to humanists – are at least able to ‘reason’ better than animals, and therefore understand ‘normal’ functions of the body better than animals.
    As for ‘Grace’, true grace, as with true love, means telling the truth, not simply appeasing someone’s conscience by allowing them to believe a lie that is harmful to them (just look at the greatly increased level of STDs and HIV/AIDS in the same-sex community), to society (as the breakdown of normal relationships increases all sorts of adverse ramifications), and especially to children who will be the unfortunate product of this ‘new’ social engineering which says they do not need a mother AND a father.
    It is you who are not letting the truth, or the FACTS, get in the way of your misguided opinions, Daniel.

      rationalbrain responded:
      February 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Firstly, not sure who Daniel is, but it ain’t me.
      Next, you look to psychiatrists for your science on biology?
      The onus is not on me to prove anything. You’re the one claiming homosexuality is a preference, aren’t you?
      Nature and nurture do both play complex roles, so how can you glibly dismiss a gay person as being defective and offer to heal them?
      That would be like me wanting to cure you of this fantasy world you have created about god. You’ll swear it’s innate, but I’ll continue to insist it’s all in your head, and I can cure you of it. (Incidentally, the way many have cured themselves – one of the original issues in the post).

      You are now engaging in the usual tactics of religious apologists – the Gish Gallop. Raise many complex issues in a debate to demonstrate confusion.

      I didn’t say ‘it’s ok because animals do it’. I said animals do it, and so do humans. The ‘okayness’ is a value judgement – your values, which is what you are trying to ram down people’s throats. Typical ploy of twisting words to suit your agenda. As is the case with the HIV observation. The number of infection in Africa dwarfs that in the developed world. Why is that do you think? Are they being punished the same way as those nasty gay types? Or is it simply their unfortunate socio-economic status, and poor education on the use of condoms?

      No, I’m afraid you’re living in the past, when humans were ignorant of many things.
      It’s not for me to educate you – I just wanted to highlight to others some of the dangerous and irrational thinking out there.
      You use the word ‘love’ liberally, but your actions tell a different story.

      It’s extremists like you who give religion a bad name, moving it from a harmless delusion, into a blight on society.

        Peter Stokes said:
        February 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm

        I assumed you were the person who emailed me with a link to your article.
        You seem to have accepted my first reply to ‘Daniel” so I assumed I was right.

        Anyway, the point is, YOU were the one making the claim, “There is no doubt at all that homosexuality is genetic,”
        ‘No doubt at all’, clearly does not align with what the APA clearly state. Despite the APA trying, for 40 years, to justify taking same-sex attraction off the Diagnostic Journal of Mental Health, they clearly say that there is NO SUCH evidence of a genetic basis.
        You seem to be suggesting you know better than them and every other social scientist who has tried and failed to prove such a Myth.
        You are claiming there is, so you need to show the evidence.
        I did not make a claim I simply stated ‘there is no evidence’. The evidence for that is that there is NO evidence.
        Also you might like to explain why I am dangerous and irrational for holding to sound biological facts – the obvious biological abnormality of homosexual sex – using an orifice clearly not designed to have anything shoved up it + the inability of lesbians to actually engage in sexual intercourse without the use of a plastic or leather (artificial) ‘toy’,
        I challenge you again to prove/substantiate your claim that same-sex attraction is genetic.
        I won’t hold my breath because I know you can’t – people have been trying for 50 years and failed.

        rationalbrain responded:
        February 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm

        OK, I’m not going to get into the biology with you, suffice to say there are plenty of studies which attribute at least some component to genetic factors.
        You can’t possibly contend that there is no genetic basis. Start with twins studies and go on from there.

        Now, to the heart of the matter.
        Even if there were no genetic basis, how is it any of your business what holes people choose to use for what purpose?
        Is there a passage in the bible on appropriate use of passages?
        You say the anus is ‘clearly not designed to have anything shoved up it’. Really? What aspects of its design tell you that? It’s not clear to me. It doesn’t get me off, but if you enjoy it, why should I care?

        I really suspect that you won’t accept any proof, because it’s simply not in accord with your beliefs, fantasy or not.
        Let me emphasise again, if you believe that homosexuality is bad, and you justify that proposition by arguing that there’s no evidence of genetic influence, then you’re on thin ice.
        But the reality is, you’re just looking for cover for what is simply a biblical teaching which you can justify in no other way.

        So, you don’t want to discuss your political affiliations?
        Are you doing god’s work when you oppose taxation for mining companies?
        And why to you accept science on homosexuality but not on climate change, despite overwhelming evidence.
        At least be consistent if you want to have any credibility at all.

        Peter Stokes said:
        February 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

        Actually the Twins studies are most profound evidence against a born gay, genetic, theory.

        From our web site with links – if you really care about truth.
        Pillard and Bailey – Twin studies
        The original study by Pillard and Bailey asked homosexuals who had twins to take part in a study. They were recruited through homosexual newspapers. The original study found that if they were identical twins then there was a 50 % chance of the identical twin also being homosexual – the percentage was 20% for fraternal twins.
        Of course, if it really was ‘genetic’ it should be 100% for identical twins!
        Bailey did a more authoritative study on Australian twins in 2000, using the Australian Twin Register to get people for the study. This time his result was 25% for identical twins and 10 % for fraternal twins.
        He acknowledges the ‘self-selecting problems’ from his original study.
        For it to be genetic, it would require 100% of same-sex attracted twins to have a same-sex attracted twin – try again.

        As for weather it matters what orifice one sticks ones penis into – it makes a huge difference – the vagina is designed for that – the anus is NOT check out the health risks.
        With the anus life producing sperm ends up going nowhere with the Vagina, the miracle of new life is possible. That is a BIG difference, and a huge advantage for the human race!!!!!

        rationalbrain responded:
        February 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm

        As I said, I’m not going to debate you on the biology.
        You can cherry pick all you like to support your bible-derived views, doesn’t make it reality.
        And please don’t lecture me on evidence, when you deny climate change and the effect that will have on humanity.

        I more interested in your wonderful statements on what things were designed for, as if you had a hotline to the designer. Oh wait, you do.
        Clearly, there are no health risks with penis and vagina action. Right? Oh wait, there are.

        Understand this: our bits weren’t designed by a great designer – they EVOLVED – yes, it’s the ‘E’ word.
        And what does evolution accomplish? The best adapted attributes of the species for a given environment. But I suppose you’ll deny the existence of evolution too.

        Any in any case, if there is a designer, why did he/she arrange it that a percentage of the species will be attracted to homosexual behaviour?
        I’ll answer that for you – it’s free will right?
        And if we have free will, why shouldn’t we exercise it?
        Why should it be curtailed by the likes of you, who presume to tell other sentient beings what they should and shouldn’t do?

        My take on this – it’s fundamentalism like yours that’s the biggest risk to the human race. With your language of hate, denial of science, it’s only a short step to physical violence and the dark ages.
        Over and out.

        Peter Stokes said:
        February 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

        rationalbrain –
        Interesting name – after all, what is rational about believing things you cannot prove?
        Seems it is OK for you to say that to me, so I suggest you look in the mirror.

        I note you did not comment on the ‘twins study’ after I demonstrated that you had no idea what the ‘evidence’ actually showed.
        You say “our bits weren’t designed by a great designer” Can YOU prove that? No you can’t.
        In fact, once again you are wrong. There is now an enormous amount of micro biological, scientific evidence that even a Protein – the basic module of all life – could not have evolved. It is now scientifically accepted that to function at all it had to be a complete working unit from day one.

        As for “Global Warming”, now conveniently called “climate change” because the short ‘warming’ period stopped many years ago – you can’t prove that either.
        Firstly it is based on modelling – garbage in garbage out – it seems!!!
        Let me give you an example – this is a quote from 1975 possibly too far back for you to know about,
        “There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth.”
        Are they talking Global warming? NO, this was the opening sentence of an article in Newsweek on 28 April 1975 titled ‘The Cooling World’!
        Did you know that there was a ‘Medieval Warm Period’ from 1000AD to 1400AD when there were farms on Greenland, very little ice at the Arctic and Europe’s temperatures were much warmer than they are NOW?
        Did you know that this was followed by a ‘Little Ice Age’ when the Thames in London would regularly freeze over?
        Off course not, otherwise you would know that Global Warming was a political tool to bring down the industrialized world.
        Our wonderful ‘Climate Commissioner’ Tim Flannery, worships Gaia – the earth Goddess!!!
        He predicted there would be no rain – the dams would never fill up again. One reason our stupid Labor government in Victoria built a hugely expensive Desalination Plant – now our dams are almost full again and it is not needed, but we have to pay for it anyway.
        By the way, it is , located on the Bass Coast, on very low lying land – so much for rising sea levels – another myth.
        I suggest you do some critical research for yourself and stop listening to the biased media and ideological driven, as opposed to common sense driven, politicians.
        Have a nice day catching up on some facts – rather than spouting more fiction.

        rationalbrain responded:
        February 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm

        It seems you can’t leave me alone.
        Please don’t lecture me on belief, when you operate totally on the basis of some fantasy in the sky.
        Clearly this also informs you belief in biology and climatology, and hence your conclusions about those are wrong too.

        I’ve already said I’m not going to debate you on the biology – you’ll just keep quoting cherry picked items at me.
        But one thing you are dead wrong on is the intelligent design argument. This has been debunked so much it’s breathtaking you still have the front to bring it up.
        Do we need to go into the bacterial flagellum? Look up Dover vs. Kitzmuller, and read the judge’s summary of the evidence. Your position is complete fantasy.
        You probably deny the existence of transitional forms too, right? They obviously wouldn’t fit into your world view.
        You argue from the basis of personal incredulity – just because you can’t understand how it works, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work.

        And while we’re at it – you are a complete hypocrite, as most religious folks are.
        Where have you addressed my questions to you? I’ll repeat them:
        1. Do you deny that there are health risks with penis-vagina intercourse? Do you also deny that the incidence of heterosexual hiv-aids in Africa outstrips homosexual incidence in the western world?
        2. If homosexuality is such an abomination, why the hell would you brilliant creator arrange it so people want to do it?

        You won’t answer, I know. I just repeat my maxim on this: If it’s good, god did it. If it’s bad, it’s people’s sinful free will. Right?
        In other words, you want it both ways.

        As for climate change, please read my earlier articles on this. I’m not going to repeat it. The Australian Academy of Science has done a nice job of laying out the facts.
        Again, you can cherry pick, but the evidence is against you, sorry.
        Believe the 1% of dissenters out there if you like. Parrot Andrew Bolt by all means.
        But the science from the vast majority of climate scientists (not oil company geologists or religious cranks) is clear.
        You’re just blinded by your fantasy beliefs, which leave no room for the inconvenient real world.

        A final note:
        Rational – I don’t need to be able to prove things to believe in them. I weigh up the evidence from those who can prove them, or who have gathered evidence. I assess the veracity of the speaker, based on his/her method and findings. Simple. If you want to distort that to make yourself feel better go ahead. If you want to change my mind, you have to earn it, by doing the work, not parroting scripture. Simple.

        Peter Stokes said:
        February 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm

        “You can’t leave me alone” – Well you started this by attacking me, remember, because you clearly believe everything you read in the newspaper.
        Most of what you state is so obviously other peoples rhetoric. What about doing some research of your own to see if what I say is true?
        You said you did not want to talk about biology – but your home page says “Rationalbrain is designed to fill a need he has to think and talk about all things rational and science.”
        I pointed out a simply fact about your illogical claim that ‘the twins study showed a genetic link for homosexuality’ The fact that you have made no comment about my response to that shows you are only interested in myths not facts

        You then stated, “Where have you addressed my questions to you? Well here they are…
        1. Do you deny that there are health risks with penis-vagina intercourse?
        Yes there are – but most, though, have much more to do with promiscuous sex which is recognized as the cause of most STDs and heterosexual HIV.
        If a male female couple are abstinent until marriage, and then faithful within their relationship, there is virtually no chance of catching an STD or HIV.
        Promiscuous

        1a. Do you also deny that the incidence of heterosexual hiv-aids in Africa outstrips homosexual incidence in the western world?
        Possibly, but first lets talk about Australia, which is similar to most ‘western countries’. – in Australia
        more than 80% of those affected by HIV/AIDs are men who have sex with men.
        By the way, did you know that in the USA, HIV/AIDs was first known as GRID (gay related immune deficiency) because it broke out in the homosexual community.
        Re Africa, anal sex is widely used as a birth control method, and widely engaged in by prostitutes.
        ‘Rough sex’ is another cause of rampant STDs and HIV – using a certain plant leaf to remove the natural lubricant of the vagina to give a heightened sexual experience for the (very selfish) man – this causes tearing of the vagina and sometimes the penis, thus mixing bloods and other fluids. Which also happens to be one of the reasons anal sex caused HIV/AIDS.
        In the Muslim world anal sex is engaged in by men with men because of the strict penalties against women who turn out not to be virgins when they marry – stoning for promiscuity and adultery is still carried out in Muslim countries.

        2. If homosexuality is such an abomination, why the hell would you brilliant creator arrange it so people want to do it?
        He did not. Just as He did not create men to murder each other or to have sex with children – but all these things happen because He gave us free will. He did not want puppets but a relationship with those made in his likeness and given the ‘intelligence’ to think’.
        You can’t blame God for man’s selfishness – He tells us what caused that – try reading the Bible, if you dare, and you will find the answers in the first ‘Book’, Genesis .

        2a “You say the anus is ‘clearly not designed to have anything shoved up it’. Really? What aspects of its design tell you that?
        You asked for it – Under the microscope the lining of the rectum is ‘columnar epithelium’ which is absorptive. Whereas the lining of the vagina is ‘stratified squamous epithelium’ which is a “wear and [no] tear” lining under normal usage. Thus anal sex results in absorption [and tearing] – hence the prevalence of HIV in male homosexuals.
        The vagina has a natural lubricant – which greatly assists the normal function of heterosexual intercourse.
        Both clear evidence of design as is the ‘fact’ that a man and woman can do what is natural and the result is the next generation of the species.

        What sort of ‘faith’ does it take to believe something came from nothing? What sort of ‘faith’ does it take to believe that two different types of the same species could independently, and randomly, develop, over millions of years, to arrive at the same time in the same place on the planet, and to know what to do with their respective parts, to create the next generation of that species? Great faith indeed – because there is more chance that a whirlwind, passing over a junk could produce a 747 jet liner, than two ‘humans could randomly developed the necessary parts to form a new life. at
        One last point (for now) – Re Evolution. There is NO evidence anywhere of one species developing (evolving) into another species. Yes there is ‘evolution or adaptation within species but nothing even closely resembling birds becoming penguins or apes becoming humans.
        No doubt you will say there is – if so, just don’t say it, prove it.

        One last thing – if you don’t think people can change there sexuality and your convinced there is no God, even though even Richard Dawkins admits he can’t be certain, try reading
        My Train Wreck Conversion – As a leftist lesbian professor, I despised Christians. Then I somehow became one. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield [ posted 2/7/2013 9:26AM ]
        http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-february/my-train-wreck-conversion.html
        Yes it is a Christian web site but I can assure you you won’t catch anything nasty by going there.
        Happy reading – if you dare!!!

        rationalbrain responded:
        February 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        No, it’s not what I read in the newspaper. It’s what you put in your website.
        Homophobia.
        Intolerance.
        Ignorance of science and reality.
        Pushing right-wing propaganda.
        Your words regarding the design of genitalia is simply special pleading – selecting attributes which suit your argument.
        If you’re going to cling to your laughable irreducible complexity arguments, there’s nothing more I can say to you.
        I have no time for your brand of fundamentalism.

        Peter Stokes said:
        February 14, 2013 at 5:22 pm

        There are none so blind, or deaf, as those who do not want to hear the truth.
        If you won’t accept medical facts from non Christians, the info I gave you, what hope is there that you will listen to anyone.
        Perhaps you will listen to homosexuals.. Check out glma.org and in the search box write ’10 things’
        They list the ‘Ten Things Homosexuals Should Discuss with Their Healthcare Providers’.
        There are separate documents for homosexual men, lesbians and transgender persons.
        10 Things Gay Men Should Discuss with Their Healthcare Providers
        10 Things Lesbians Should Discuss with Their Healthcare Providers
        10 Things Transgender Persons Should Discuss with Their Healthcare Providers

        The truth is out there – all you have to do, in fact the rational thing to do, is to be prepared to look for it.

        rationalbrain responded:
        February 16, 2013 at 8:41 am

        Do you really think that baiting me with ‘it’s the rational thing to do’ will work? You give me too little credit for seeing through your primary school debating tactics.
        How about you:
        1. get your face out of other people’s genitals and business and
        2. Not pervert science with your hysterical, bible-driven view of reality.

        That’s rational.
        Yes, I know, scales from my eyes, blah blah, insert more bible quotes – as if that makes the slighted shred of difference.

        Here’s what’s rational:
        1. Leave other people alone and stop bible bashing them into submission. What bits other people stick into each other is none of your business.
        2. Leave science alone – if you have a belief, state it as a belief based on bible teaching, don’t try to dress it up in the language of science.
        3. If you grubby site wants to provide information, then ensure that you have the evidence to back it. And by evidence I don’t mean quote mining from the bible or vested interests – I mean reflecting the accumulated knowledge on the subject which has been peer reviewed.
        4. The only way to look for truth is science. It is not to a. pick your favourite bit of the bible, and b. retro fit hand picked facts which ‘prove’ it. That’s rationalisation, not rational thought.

        Peter, you may have noticed that I haven’t done any blog entries for a while – life has moved on for now, but thanks for your interest. Happy to publish your thoughts, but I think we’ve done this to death. I think religion and extremists of any sort are ludicrous and dangerous respectively (hence the reason for my original post), and you think I’m blind to the ‘truth’. I don’t think we’ll get past that, do you?
        Cheers.

        Peter Stokes said:
        February 21, 2013 at 11:19 am

        The difference between you, Chris, and me, is that you try to belittle your opposition with derogatory terms like “extremist and dangerous” – while I try to provide rational, evidenced based responses for people to investigate for themselves.
        I do not force people accept my views or the evidence I give them. That is what I did with Matt at Lilydale – he then chose to ignore the evidence and, some months later his congregation asked him to leave
        I engage with people, as I have done with you – after all, that is democracy – vigorous debate, the open sharing of ideas, giving substantiated (evidence based) responses – that is what Western societies, including this nation, were founded on.
        Those who try to shut down that debate with derogatory terms and intimidation simply use the freedom we have to shut it down.
        What will bring this nation down is closed minds that do not allow, or engage in reasonable and open debate of the actual evidence.
        But that is the cowardly response of ideologically driven people, I see it at work on this blog, and we have seen it across this nation in recent years. In fact we have seen it this week – used by MPs, the media, and radical socialists against an MP from another country.
        When we have lost the freedom to debate, we will live to regret it.

        rationalbrain responded:
        February 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

        Blah blah. More hypocrisy.
        You lecture me on evidence. Oh my, what a cheek.
        You who ignores the vast scientific evidence of human-induced climate change.
        And who believes unerringly in an imaginary friend.
        If you cannot see that as rank ideology, then you are truly deluded.
        And yes, I truly believe your words are dangerous, and extreme, sorry. They are statements of belief based on what you wrote on your website.
        Even more dangerous are your ideas, which are divisive rather than inclusive, and misguided rather than well-meaning.
        I note you’ve now been exploring me in other online forums.
        Should I be worried?
        I think this is the end of our conversation.

    ""Daniel" said:
    February 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Peter –

    Your details regarding anal sex are mega full on and not something i’d want to discuss with a complete stranger! Its not sex that i’m primarily interested in as a homosexual, but my romantic interests definitely reside with spending the rest of my life in a committed relationship with another man.

    We’ll agree to disagree regarding your views regarding what the bible teaches. I’m still reading up on this stuff but I definitely believe that there are historical contexts and other circumstances which need to be taken into account when deciphering what it has to say. What I find incredibly challenging to understand is why your organisation (and certain other christian lobby groups and such) seem to have an incredible focus and preoccupation with the romantic interests of other individuals, whereas to me that’s only one (albeit an important) aspect of my identity. My understanding is that the bible rarely mentions this topic in relation to the wide range of topics it encompasses.

    The below paragraph particularly concerns me:

    “God can, and does, heal the homosexual & lesbian. That is the truth that activists want to hide because they want to do what they want to do without a guilty conscience. I have yet to meet a homosexual or lesbian that does not know that what they do is unnatural – common sense tell them that, what a pity it does not seem to be within your understanding.

    I would disagree with that paragraph on a number of fronts. Firstly, I’d like to see any proof you have where God has made a GLBTIQ person straight. Ex-gay therapies and the like have been well and truly proven to be ineffective, and simply do not work. You clearly haven’t met many gay folk if you think they all believe that what they do is “unnatural”, and I’m certainly one homosexual individual who would disagree with that statement! Also I’ve found that “activists”, particularly gay individuals who are also christians, have been more than happy to have an open discussion regarding what God can and can’t do, without the judgement that I feel comes across (whether or not you intend it) in your communications. I also certainly don’t need your pity, despite it being duly noted. I’m beginning to let my sexuality be known to my christian friends and family, and have so far found nothing but acceptance and respect for being truthful with the people around me and honest with who I am. I have found – and am finding – that incredibly freeing, and i’ve never felt closer to God than I do currently (although that’s definitely a work in progress).

    Definitely agree with the blog poster on all he’s had to say (and he writes/explains himself much better than me) and i’m incredibly grateful that Saltshakers as an organisation will always inevitably remain a fringe group and one that very few would ever take seriously.

      rationalbrain responded:
      February 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Daniel,
      Good to hear that you have been receiving acceptance and respect from christian friends.
      They are obviously the type that practice the principles and teachings of christianity, rather than blind adherence to a book.
      The emphasis on your privacy is also significant – I find it laughable that these guys care about what is shoved in what orifice, rather than what’s in someone’s heart.

    Daniel said:
    February 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks mate, appreciate it! 🙂

    Peter Stokes said:
    February 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Just looking at my research files on HIV/AIDS and Africa, and thought you might also like to read this interesting article from Townhall.com – if you really want to rationally understand the truth, that is!

    Peter Stokes said:
    February 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Seems that the URL disappeared, so put, ‘The African heterosexual AIDS myth’ and townhall.com’ in to Google and you will find it.

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