Evidently, much of the I.Q. drop can be attributed to a deficit in ACH thinking - or abstract, categorical and hypothetical conceptualizing- which appears to be mostly missing from believers' brain tool kits. This sort of thinking figures prominently on many IQ tests (such as the Raven's and Wechsler Similarities tests). Such tests feature many questions which construct an abstract hypothetical from a particular category, then ask the person to predict the consequences, if any.
And so the fundie blogger who ripped into my niece with cancer as a "Satanic tool" has now fired back again, but insists I am the "moron" here, when he up to now, has not addressed the issue of belief relativism from four blogs ago! Instead he yammers at me for holding him to the moral absolutist standards which HE himself has demanded (from his Bible) , and which in earlier blogs he maintained can't be countermanded or contradicted!
But the tap dancing he produces is probably more than I've ever seen a fundie do before. Let's get a look at how he tries to squirm out of his own demands and principles, while tossing his 'good Book' under the proverbial bus..
He begins, referencing my blog on confusing belief and moral relativism:
"He claims that the Bible (which, to him is a "fairy tale" and "myth," but nonetheless he habitually quotes from it), cannot be taken literally. His reasoning? Well, besides listening too much to Satan, he doesn't understand the word "literal" in it's proper (biblical) context, as well as comprehending which parts are figures of speech within its pages"
Well, evidently his I.Q. isn't even at room temperature magnitude, else he'd grasp that I quote the Bible to hold his own good Book up to his face - and then let him contradict himself, as he's predictably done. The splitting of the content into "literal in its proper context" and "figures of speech" is also choice, as it discloses the guy isn't serious about the principle of biblical inerrancy and instead has a cafeteria outlook in which he picks and chooses which phrases he will treat literally and which "figuratively". But that doesn't wash! As we learned in Biblical Exegesis at Loyola University, if you adopt a "figurative" basis, i.e. regarding some passages as metaphors only - say like "it's raining cats and dogs" - then you aren't taking it literally!
Interestingly, he brings up the "cats and dogs" analogy:
"An example of a figure of speech would be that if someone said "its raining cats and dogs outside," you would know that they did not really mean that cats and dogs were falling from the sky (though I may have my doubts about this guy)"
Clever but not clever enough! For one thing no biblical verse contains that particular figure of speech, so it's immaterial to the issue of LITERAL BIBLICAL interpretation. BUT....Mr. Fundie DOES absolutely 100% believe Jonah was swallowed by a whale and remained in its stomach acid for THREE days and emerged alive! NO "figure of speech" there! He believes it word for word, absolutely! Oh, oh, .....but it's now in the correct "biblical context'. See what I mean about tap dancing! Yet in the same blog he scribbles:
"When we Christians say we take the Bible literally, we do so because we not only can take it literally, but we must take the Bible literally!"
So what is it, Roscoe? Do YOU take the book (actually 66, written over 1,000 odd years) literally or not? Well, again he insists fundies MUST take it literally, but earlier he's back pedaled and insisted "only in certain contexts" and I am "a moron" for not seeing them. Errr.....if you can believe in a man being swallowed by a whale and living in its stomach acid for 3 days before coming out alive, I don't think you know what's to be taken literally and what isn't. In that case, I suggest you take a good long gaze into the mirror, as reflected in the image above (which he actually put on his blog to depict me.)
But let's cut to the chase to the specific moral absolutist biblical references I gave from his good book. Regarding the first, from Kings, he blabbers:
"Mr. Athiest then refers to 2 Kings 2:23:24, which tells us:
"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them."
Mr. Athiest then writes:
"That means that any kid or kids that diss a religious elder, disrespects him, ought to be taken to the nearest wild animal lair (zoo?) and thrown to the grizzlies or whatever."
See what I mean about him abandoning his God-given common sense and replacing it with Satan's 'commentary'?"
So, allow me to enlighten him . And I have explained this to him about a year or so ago, but as always, when he finds himself in a proverbial checkmate, Satan smacks him with amnesia! To understand the verse in context, we must realize that this group of boys were from
Bethel, the religious center of idolatry in the Northern Kingdom, and they probably were warning Elisha not to speak against their immorality as Elisha had done. They were not merely "teasing" Elisha about his bald head, but showing severe disrespect for Elisha's message and God's power! They may also have mocked him because of their disbelief in the flaming chariot that had taken Elisha. When Elisha cursed them, he did not call out the bears himself! GOD sent them as a judgment for their callous unbelief!"
Oh, OH!! They weren't merely teasing but showing SEVERE DISRESPECT for his message and power! And lo and behold, it wasn't Elisha who gave the kill order, but GOD! Gimme an effin' break already! But again, the change in killer doesn't change the stance of moral absolutism. So the fundie must find some way out of the corner into which he's boxed himself with his bollocks. So he writes:
"These punks made fun of God's messenger and paid for it with their lives!"
Well, now it's all very clear! You make fun of "God's messenger" and you pay with your life! So, we must wonder then if he will follow this absolutist stance of his deity. Here's the key: Is a moral act good of its own or is it good because God ordains it? God ordained the Ten Commandments according to the fundies, after all, so they carry them out to a tee. But it seems when "God" murders mocking youths, the fundies are more inclined to back away: "HEY! It's God's doin' it ain't mine!" Anyone smell incoherence here? Anyone smell bull shit?
He goes on to try to clarify the Kings interpretation for all of us 'dummies': He insists that:
" the 'little children' in the story "has been grossly misunderstood and misinterpreted. The Hebrew ne'arim qetanim can legitimately be translated "young lads." Solomon was called a "little child" when he took the throne (1 Kings 3:7), yet Solomon was an adult...a full grown MAN! The bottom line is, these were then no ordinary "innocent little kids" - but a band of full-grown rowdy teenage punks, who are to this day STILL burning in HELL!
Well at least he's cleared that up for us! Sheesh!
Our fable-brained fundie goes on to the next biblical reference:
"Our little lost atheist friend, then cites Deut. 21: 18-21:If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear"
Our atheist friend, then opines::The next biblical , moral absolutist example from Deuteronomy, gives moral license for parents who get sass - say from a teen - to drag him to the edge of town and let the "elders" stone him to death. Say what?"
"Now, first off, the punishment of an incorrigible son seems severe on the surface, but an examination of the text reveals the severity of the young MAN's problem. You see, in OT times, the elders of the city were to hear the case at the city gate, which was the seat of town authority; public affairs were discussed there (22:15; 25:7). When the parents accused their son of being stubborn and rebellious, such a charge was almost proof in itself. The heart of a loving father and mother could not be brought to such a point unless their child's sin was a fact. But the guilt of the son was more than just disobedience. Our friend needs to note the text: "he is a glutton, and a drunkard."
This charge showed that the son was unmanageable and incorrigible. The punishment was stoning to death by the men of the town, not by the father and mother. The basis of such severe punishment was the idea that if a MAN would not obey his parents, he would not obey God, nor was he likely to obey civil authority. Punishing the incorrigible son was punishing crime in its embryonic form.
Our friend (if he were to have studied, like I had, in my formal biblical studies, Old Testament Survey-BBL 101), he would have learned that although this was an OT law, there is absolutely no biblical or archaeological evidence that this punishment was ever carried out! But the point was that disobedience and rebellion were not to be tolerated in the home or allowed to continue unchecked! Obviously (here comes God-given common sense again), these principles must never be used to justify or overlook abuse or harsh treatment of children!"
Woah! Talk about scurrying all over the place to find excuses! I can't count them all. Let's see: "the parents didn't kill the lad, the elders did" (But I never said the parents did it. I said they took the kid to the edge of town and the elders offed him!) Wait! The son was really a "glutton" and "drunkard" so THAT was the reason to smite him down! Wait again! Though it was an Old Testament law "there's no evidence the punishment was actually carried out." Holy shit! Does this mean this hyper-parsing character isn't really a biblical literalist, and he actually admits to EVIDENCE before accepting a passage inerrantly?
Maybe, but he does try to clear it up one last time:
"Our poor confused friend would also have learned that the OT consisted of three kinds of laws: civil (as was the case in Deut. 21:18-21); ceremonial (e.g., animal sacrifices in which the animal had to be spotless; the person offering the sacrifice had to identify with the animal; and, the person offering the animal had to inflict death upon it. When done in faith, this sacrifice provided a temporary covering of sins. Another sacrifice called for on the Day of Atonement, described in Leviticus 16, demonstrates forgiveness and the removal of sin); and the moral law, which we are to strive to obey today."
Jeezus Peace, now I have seen the light! I failed to parse the difference between "civil, ceremonial and moral laws"! Talk about bullshit and bollocks! No wonder James Allen Cheyne in his Skeptic magazine piece, noted the lack of ACH thinking and conceptualizing is the most critical deficit in low I.Q. scores for fundies, and may also account for what their brains are 10-20% smaller (in other research). I am still prepared to say there's a more physical basis for fundagelical moron-hood and it's implicit in what I expatiated on in my earlier blog on religious absolutism: the OAA region of the brain co-opts neurological function and redirects it. Thus, beliefs become literally as important as life and death, so it's no surprise that to protect them the believers will go to extraordinary lengths to rationalize their crappola, as this guy has done here.
In the end, there are two things that emerge concerning our addle-pated fundie friend: 1) He really isn't a biblical literalist, since he can find any justification he wants to make exceptions (i.e. he can take Jonah being swallowed by a whale and living 3 days inside it literally, but not a son being stoned to death for being "incorrigible"), and 2) He really isn't a moral absolutist, since even he can find rationalizations for not doing what the cruel, inhuman barbarians did in the Old Testament, or what its vicious cartoon deity did in the name of ....whatever..
What we can conclude from this, as George Carlin once aptly put it, is that bull shit, especially of the religious kind, is the most powerful in human history.