Archive for March, 2012
Hey folks, Sarah here.
I attended the Reason Rally this weekend (which was AMAZING) and then the American Atheists conference afterward. Since I’m an employee of the Secular Student Alliance, I spent almost all of my time in the vendor room, telling people about what the SSA does. Not too far behind me was the infamous “Secular Pro-Life” table.
I ignored them for at least a day. It took so much willpower, but I did. I saw Rebecca Watson come in and interview them. I tried to stay away. Then, I saw a coworker talking to them…and I couldn’t resist anymore.
I went up to them, and one of the women (I don’t remember her name) was giving an analogy as to why abortion was wrong. She started it over so I could hear it. I’m paraphrasing to the best of my memory, but her example was as follows:
“Imagine you have a bunch of overripe bananas and a bunch of green bananas. Which ones are you going to throw away, the green bananas or the overripe bananas? The overripe ones, of course, because the green bananas still have the potential to become good bananas, whereas the overripe ones will not.”
Trying to avoid WTF-facing at her, I replied, “Okay, but say you’re stranded in the jungle and you’re carrying tons of food that will not go bad anytime soon, and you come across a bunch of green bananas. You’re at max carrying capacity, so are you going to throw out good food and pick up the green bananas, or keep the food that’s good already?”
She seemed taken aback and said, “Well that’s a good point; I’ve never thought of it that way.” I know it wasn’t the best analogy (I was working with what she gave me), but I was trying to point out problems with overpopulation. I wish I had the quick wits of Surly Amy, because when I relayed the story to her later, she said “So does that mean if a baby wants my chair I should kill myself so it can have my chair?”
We kept talking, and it became harder and harder to keep my cool. I will agree with one thing they said, and that was the importance of creating social programs that are more supportive (including better/more efficient welfare services, daycare services, etc.).
Other than that, they presented bunk science and inaccurate data and terrible arguments. It’s a bad scientist who assumes all statistics are the same and doesn’t take compounding factors into considering when presenting data. It’s a dishonest scientist who INTENTIONALLY misrepresents data (like saying “pro-life” Mauritius has the lowest maternal death rate but “pro-choice Ethiopia has one of the highest, while leaving out “that the per capita GDP of Mauritius is $13,670 vs. Ethiopia’s of $365.”). These “Secular Pro-Lifers” are either bad scientists, dishonest people, or both (my inclination is a mix of both).
Of course, why do facts matter when you can present an emotional appeal to people?
My favorite part was when they claimed that “two wrongs don’t make a right” as far as rape victims getting abortions go. Of course, neither of the women who were saying that had been raped, so I think it’s just peachy that they think they can talk for every rape survivor out there.
I don’t remember the entire conversation (I was really trying not to let out a feral cry of womanhood to call everyone who supports women’s rights to my side), but I do remember some misquoted data of theirs– that supposedly, only 43% of people who get abortions are religious– which, if what they were suggesting was true, that would mean that most people who get abortions are secular. That’s patently false, as 73% of women who get abortions report a religious affiliation. They also said the reason why most women get abortions are due to economic reasons (I’m surprised they didn’t just come out and say that women who get abortions are evil baby-killers), when in reality, people seek abortions for many different reasons, including economic reasons, but also including not wanting a fucking child as a reason.
One of my favorite pieces of information that I keep in my back pocket for discussions like this is the blatant Catholic hypocrisy on abortions– Catholic women get abortions at a higher rate than women of any other religion (The abortion rate for Catholic women was 22 per 1,000 women; the rate for Protestants was 18 per 1,000 women.).
Anyway, I’m not going to link to their site or give their bullshit ideas any more credit. Just remember: green bananas, so don’t have an abortion.
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On March 18, 2012 Backyard Skeptics placed a new secular billboard announcing that “God Is Imaginary – Choose Reality – It is better for everyone” in Westminster, CA
WHO: The largest Orange County based skeptics and atheist group, Backyard Skeptics
WHERE: American Legion in Westminster 14582 Beach Boulevard, Midway City, 2 miles south of the 33 freeway on the east side of Beach Blvd.
WHY: “There is not one scientific, empirical piece of evidence that any deity exists. It’s all based on faith.” says Bruce Gleason, Founder and director of a local grass-roots atheist group called Backyard Skeptics. “No matter how many people want their deity to exist, that doesn’t make it true” He adds “We feel that those who believe in an imaginary friend behaves, and more importantly votes, to support a theology which supports doctrines that harm others in our society. People should live to support less suffering in this world, not more suffering to be accepted into a mythical heaven.” Gleason believes that once a person is indoctrinated into a system that calls itself ‘truth’ or ‘all loving and all good’ they are hijacked by a doctrine which they refuse to confront in fear of reprisal from a god which doesn’t exist. In turn the behave to support that doctrine without researching why it causes more suffering.
The billboard is paid for by a Backyard Skeptics anonymous donor and the national organization American Atheists based in New Jersey.