Thought of the day

“I would challenge anyone here to think of a question upon which we once had a scientific answer, however inadequate, but for which now the best answer is a religious one.”

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The asshole dad everyone loves

Watch this first:

Everyone is going nuts over this video. I’ve seen it getting passed around my Facebook friends all day, the media is interviewing the hell out of this guy, and CBS has apparently even offered his (Tommy Jordan) family a series, according to his Facebook page. Unfortunately, I’ve only seen one person express what an asshole he really is. Let me explain why I agree with that sentiment.

I haven’t had the certain joy and burden of children. I can only know what it’s like to raise kids by what I hear from others. And I conclude that it is surely difficult. A lot of it seems to be frustration, especially as the kids hit their teens. I have no doubt what I’ve heard is quite accurate and I’m not questioning that in the least. Whereas matters like spanking are moral issues and don’t require a bit of parenting experience to discuss, conversations on parenting in general is something best left to the experts and/or parents. That’s why I have no intention of dismissing the issues Jordan raises. His daughter complaining about being a “slave” and having chores? That’s normal kid stuff that gets exaggerated by kids and I’m sure it can be very frustrating to parents. It sounds like Jordan has put a lot into what he gives for his children, so a lack of reciprocal appreciation is no good and probably deserves some dressing down. Even without children I can understand why he would want to correct his daughter’s attitude.

All that said, he’s an asshole. His frustration as a parent isn’t uncommon and his desire to change how his daughter behaves is understandable, but the way he went about it betrays an underlying immaturity and pettiness on his part. Let’s break it down.

His daughter posted a rant about her parents on Facebook. As a result he felt slighted, probably even embarrassed. He has stated he does not like the idea of his daughter making him look bad in a public forum. So what does he do? He publicly humiliates her, explicitly making sure her friends would see what he had done. If that isn’t hypocrisy, then what is? His position is that X is bad, and that’s fair enough. But what isn’t fair enough is him demonstrating his position by doing exactly what he detests*: “X is bad, therefore I will do X to you!” Moreover, his motivation here is clearly to get revenge on a 15 year old girl. Sure, he also wants to teach her a lesson he deems worthwhile, but if that was his only goal, he would have acted like an adult, sat his daughter down at the kitchen table, and spoken with her. Maybe he would have even grounded her or given her more chores. But he didn’t. Instead he chose to embarrass her in front of her high school friends by making a video. To make matters worse, millions of people have seen it. Good luck to his daughter getting a job now.

I’m all for a parent giving his kid some perspective. There are a lot of ways to go about it, many of which I’m sure have never even dawned on me. In fact, I bet his way has been damn effective. But that doesn’t matter in the least. Not. In. The. Least. Something being effective does not mean it is the right thing to do. In this case, Tommy Jordan got it exactly wrong. He showed his daughter that he’s a hypocrite who seeks petty revenge against those who are powerless to defend themselves.

*For anyone who thinks an eye for an eye is okay, why not start a movement where rapists get raped? Fair is fair, right?

Incoherent views

I’ve been following a comment thread over at The A-Unicornist that has mostly revolved around the First Cause argument. In it was this gem from family-harasser Jack Hudson:

…causation isn’t logically dependent on time.

This made me literally laugh out loud. It demonstrates what is one of the most incoherent view of reality I think most Christians hold. I’ve explained how it all works on FTSOS as well as in the comment thread, but I think it bears repeating one more time what, exactly, causality is.

Newton’s third law says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Another way of saying this is, for every cause there is an equal effect. Or, to use exactly equal language again, for every force there is an equal opposing force. With that under our belts, let’s look at what force is.

Simply put, force is mass multiplied by acceleration, or f=ma. Let’s break it down further. What is acceleration? It is the change in velocity of an object over time. In other words, find the change in velocity in an object and divide that change by the amount of time it took for said change to occur and you’ve got acceleration.

I think if I left things at this point many people would be able to figure out the implications of what I’m saying. However, since I know Jack (who is obsessed with FTSOS) and other Christians will be reading this, I will spell it out. In order for something to have a force, it must have mass and acceleration. And in order for something to have acceleration, it must have velocity. And in order for something to have velocity, it must go through time. Tie it all together and we see that time is of the essence. At least to introductory physics. Without time, there is no causality. And what did we have ‘prior’ to the Big Bang? Certainly not time as we understand it. Therefore, it is logically incoherent to use the idea of causality in order to argue about how the Universe began.

If more Christians understood science, we wouldn’t have these sort of problems.

Here’s a terrible idea

I bet it passes:

A bill put forward by Gov. Paul LePage proposes allowing religious schools in Maine to qualify for public tuition dollars.

LePage unveiled the proposed bill with the state’s education commissioner Stephen Bowen in Skowhegan on Wednesday. Currently students in ‘school choice’ communities can attend some private schools and have their tuition paid for by the school district they live in.

I can see both sides of this argument. I went to a Christian school from K through 8 and I know it was an excellent education (minus the time wasted on religion). My class alone produced 4 high school valedictorians around the area. That’s 30 students who spread into various high schools with hundreds of kids per class and managed to succeed at a very high rate. That point acknowledged, none of this justifies using public dollars to send children to such schools. This is little more than an excuse to promote Christianity.

It’s too bad I fully expect to see a few more “Christian children” (as if there is such an absurd thing) running around in the coming years.