WorldNetDaily: Cognitive Blowout!

Buffoon Award

YES, dear reader, that jolly logo is your clue that we’re once again visiting the truly bizarre pages of WorldNetDaily (WND), an early winner of our Buffoon Award.

Today’s article in that execrable publication, that organ of idiocy, that rag of all rags, that sinkhole of stupid, is A new age of religious discrimination.

At the end of the article we find this information about the author:

John H. Calvert, J.D., is the Author of “Kitzmiller’s Error: Using and Exclusive rather than Inclusive Definition of Religion, Liberty University Law Review” (Spring 2009).

That tells us quite a bit. He’s a critic of the absolutely splendid decision by Judge Jones, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, and his work was published in the Law Review of newly-established Liberty University School of Law. One faculty member of that institution is Cynthia Dunbar, who achieved a certain notariety for her creationist and other efforts on the Texas State Board of Education. See Texas Creationism: Meet Cynthia Dunbar.

Okay, the table is set. We know what we’re dealing with. Now we’ll give you a few excerpts, with minimal commentary from us. If you’re interested, click over to WND and read it all. The bold font was added by us. Here it comes:

Due to the different state religions the colonies put a provision in the new Constitution to make sure the federal government would be religiously neutral. The Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment forbid Congress from passing “any law respecting an establishment of religion, or abridging the free exercise thereof.”

After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment was adopted to end race discrimination. It was subsequently interpreted by the Supreme Court to outlaw religious discrimination by making the First Amendment applicable to the states.

That’s true, and we’ve never been entirely comfortable with the incorporation doctrine. It’s also somewhat irrelevant regarding the First Amendment’s religious freedom guarantees, in that many — perhaps most — states have their own constitutional provisions to the same effect. Here’s a website with links to those provisions in state constitutions, including some that might surprise you. Let’s read on:

Religious Humanism was proclaimed a religion in 1933 by John Dewey and others in the Humanist Manifesto. It denies God or the supernatural, claims the universe is self-existing and that life has just arisen through unguided evolutionary processes. As life is an occurrence rather than a creation, these materialistic non-theists believe it ends on death and has no inherent purpose. Their credo holds that humans should find purpose for their lives through reason and naturalistic science, not from the “wisdom” of a mythical and non-existent God.

We’ve never studied that movement so we have no comment. Let’s continue:

After the Supreme Court ruled in 1949 that religion could not be taught in public schools, many of its leaders changed the “religious” modifier to “secular,” in an effort to remove the “new” religion from an unfavorable religious classification. Thus, Religious Humanism became “Secular” Humanism. However, the change of labels has not changed the minds of the Supreme Court and other federal courts that have found “Secular” Humanism to be a religion.

Is it really a religion — with scripture, rituals, dogma, and all the usual trappings?

Only an imbecile would think that atheism is literally equivalent to religion. The sort of case he refers to, in all likelihood, is Kaufman v Mccaughtry, from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which holds that a prison inmate’s religious liberties include allowing atheists to conduct study groups, just as religious prisoners are allowed to do. That case mentions a few US Supreme Court opinions that give atheism the same protection as religion, so they may be regarded as equivalent with respect to an individual’s freedom — but of course that doesn’t mean atheism is religion.

Because of our unfamiliarity with humanism, we’re not certain we understand what the author is talking about — but we know where he’s going. We’re also familiar with the concept of a sneaky name-change adopted for similar reasons — Intelligent Design, for example. Anyway, here’s more:

Religious/”Secular” Humanism is an organized religion that welcomes atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, pantheists, Deists and a variety of other liberal theistic and non-theistic religious worldviews. In the U.S. it is worshiped in a variety of “churches,” including particularly Universal Unitarian Churches. It preaches a morality and set of ethics far different from that found in the Bible, the Torah and the Quran.

We can see that the author is obsessed with humanism, but why do we care? Here it comes, with heavy, red colored font supplied by us for emphasis:

Although the number of its recognized members may be small, Religious/”Secular” Humanism is extraordinarily influential. It dominates institutions of science, education and much of the “mainstream” media. Its adherents have infiltrated mainstream Christian denominations and are causing them to change their tenets and morality to embrace modern evolutionary theory, sexual promiscuity and other concepts antagonistic to individual and family values historically shown to be so important to a strong, healthy and vibrant culture.

So that’s what goes on in the lab! O wicked biologists! Moving along:

Since public schools can promote the secular but not the religious, it’s a slam-dunk. Secular Humanists and Atheists go into the public schools demanding the exclusion of “religion” (defined as just belief in God) and any of its religious teachings such as those found in the Bible. Once God and His wisdom have been excluded, it’s pretty simple to fill the vacuum with the tenets of the new stealth religion now dressed in the garb of secular health, science, history and social studies.

Hey, that’s neat! If the sex-crazed evolutionists can sneak into the schools with a trick like claiming to be science (and not religion), why can’t the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) do the same thing? Another excerpt — after skipping quite a bit:

Thus, by using a commonly accepted but illegal definition of religion [belief in God], nontheists have successfully prevailed upon government to replace theistic views with non-theistic views about ultimate questions, such as the cause, nature and purpose of life.

[...]

When we agree with the Atheist that religion is confined to God, we give him the key to our public schools, to science, to our universities, the media and even our legislative and political venues.

Yes! As soon as the courts recognize that religion is bigger than God, and it includes science, then even if the author can’t get God back into the schools he can get science out — because it’s religion! Or something.

We are entitled to be free from this new wave of religious discrimination. But we will achieve that freedom only by requiring government to use the inclusive non-discriminatory definition of religion in its application of the First Amendment. Until we object to government favoring non-theistic religions, it will continue to vigorously discriminate against theistic varieties, particularly Christianity.

Have you been following this? The author is declaring that humanism (whatever that is) is the same thing as science — especially evolution. Then he declares that because humanism is a form of religion (which is dubious, but maybe true) then so is science — a conclusion which is ridiculous. Therefore he’s demanding the exclusion of science from schools. Refusal to meet his demand is a “new wave of religious discrimination.” This is how the article ends:

If the discrimination continues, the religious agenda of the Atheist to remove God from our money, the Pledge and from sight and mind will eventually be realized. The country will be called a “secular” nation, when in fact it will be as religious as Iran. Instead of a government neutral as to religion, it will be one that commands adherence to its religious view as to how lives should be lived.

That whole mess is so staggeringly confused that it’s quite beyond our abilities to deal with it. We’ve slogged through a lot of sludge in your service, dear reader, but your Curmudgeon confesses that he is not adequate to the task of criticizing this article. It’s just too … well, it’s warped.

If this is the next phase of The Controversy between evolution and creationism, we may have to withdraw and leave the battle to hardier souls.

Update: See Casey, Corbett, Creationism, & the Constitution.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “WorldNetDaily: Cognitive Blowout!

  1. Now I know why I become a biologist. Preoccupation with sex. Yea!

  2. Gabriel Hanna

    So if some idiots choose to worship science, that means all science and all scientists become somehow part of this religion?

  3. Calvert is also a founder of Intelligent Design Network, a major player in the Kansas state BOE wars and a somewhat lesser player in the Ohio state BOE wars.

  4. Gabriel Hanna

    Since all people who believe in the “humanism” religion believe in evolution, all people who believe in evolution are therefore humanists.

    And since all Catholics believe that Jesus was born to a virgin, and all biblical literalists believe that Jesus was born to a virgin; therefore all biblical literalists are Catholic.

    And since all cats are pets, and all dogs are pets, all dogs are cats.

  5. RBH says:

    Calvert is also a founder of Intelligent Design Network …

    Excellent information, Richard. I figured he was connected.

  6. Gabriel Hanna says:

    Since all people who believe in the “humanism” religion believe in evolution, all people who believe in evolution are therefore humanists.

    That’s good! You too can get published in the Liberty University Law Review.

  7. Adding to the micro-bio offered by RBH, Calvert was the “prosecuting attorney” in the jury-rigged “monkey trial” held by the Kansas BOE in 2005, shortly before the Dover trial. Red State Rabble (now-defunct) used to skewer Calvert much the way that you skewer Luskin.

  8. They think that we geeky scientists are promiscuous???

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAAAHAHAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *wipes tear*

    Ummmm, yeah. Go after fraternities, not dorks, you IDiots.

  9. LRA says:

    They think that we geeky scientists are promiscuous???

    Deny it if you like, but your Curmudgeon knows why you chose science.

  10. ohioobserver

    This kind of word-salad drivel is actually fairly typical of WND’s contributors, one good reason they deserve your Buffoon award. They freely indulge in blurring distinctions where it suits their ideological purpose (like that between humanism, atheism, and science), and parse distinctions without differences when it suits them, as well. Fortunately, we don’t need too much language to denote this kind of “thinking”; they’re morons.

  11. Goodness. Now I can’t wait to get that geology degree. For the field work…

    Anyway, guess that if this guys plan goes through, all public schools will be large day care centers. since even absence of religion would be religion and schools can’t teach religion, what would that leave?

  12. Are there any tax issues to be resolved here? If humanism is a religion is it tax exempt? Vice versa, if religion is the same as “no religion” shouldn’t it be taxed? Let the government declare them the same and tax the thieving churches to the hilt. That should stop the drivel.

  13. Here is Dewey’s humanist manifesto: Link. Calvert is factually wrong – the words “unguided,” “evolution,” “evolutionary,” or “Darwin” do not even appear in the document.

    The closest it gets to anything like this is the 5th principle, which basically states that “intelligent inquiry” is the way to figure out how the world works and pretty strongly implies a rejection of revelation or religious truth.

  14. I am sure Chappy boy knows this but, I know most of his followers haven’t considered it.

    Open the door to Xtian fundamentalism and you also open it for other religions.

    Would Chappy’s followers be happy with little Matthew or Mary being taught Buddhism in their government schools?

  15. OK, I’m confused now! Which religion do I belong to — Atheism or Humanism? To increase the confusion, I also consider myself “non religious” — how does that go along with being a practising/observant/fervent believer in both Humanism and Atheism?!

  16. retiredsciguy

    @LRA: “They think that we geeky scientists are promiscuous??? …Ummmm, yeah. Go after fraternities, not dorks, you IDiots.”

    Hey! Perpetuating a stereotype there, LRA? Sure, fraternity members are promiscuous. After all, they are all college-age males.