Archive for the “Fuzzy Thinking” Category

Examples of fuzzy thinking, illogic, absurdity, etc.

This is one of those cases that almost speaks for itself. So I’ll start by citing the story:

Kids, mom lived with 90-year-old’s corpse for weeks in Wis.

Two children and their mother lived for about two months with the decaying body of a 90-year-old woman on the toilet of their home’s only bathroom, on the advice of a religious “superior” who claimed the corpse would come back to life, authorities said Friday.The children — a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy — cried hysterically Wednesday after a deputy who came to their Necedah home looking for Magdeline Alvina Middlesworth ordered them out because of the stench from her body.

The children were in foster care Friday. Their mother, Tammy Lewis, and self-described “bishop” Alan Bushey remained in custody on felony counts of being a party to causing mental harm to a child. …

[Juneau County Sheriff Brent Oleson] described the one-story home in the town of Necedah as in decent repair, although the residents had been using “makeshift” toilet facilities because of the situation in the one bathroom.

The boy at the house told a detective he had considered running away because he was uncomfortable with the situation. He said Bushey told him that demons were trying to make it look as if Middlesworth wouldn’t come back to life, and that if she were to be discovered he and the girl would have to go to public school and get jobs because Middlesworth paid the bills.

That’s the terrible thing about demons … they seem to be very good at making it appear that people who die won’t come back to life. Tsk tsk tsk.

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Most religious politicking in the US takes place among the Right wing. But sometimes the Left gets tangled up in religiosity and metaphysics, too. Here’s a recent example:

Code Pink Protesters Try Witchcraft at Anti-Marine Rallies

Code Pink is now resorting to witchcraft to beef up the number of its supporters protesting a controversial Marine Corps Recruiting Center in Berkeley, Calif.The women’s anti-war group has told ralliers to come equipped with spells and pointy hats Friday for “witches, crones and sirens” day, the last of the group’s weeklong homage to Mother’s Day.

“Women are coming to cast spells and do rituals and to impart wisdom to figure out how we’re going to end war,” Zanne Sam Joi of Bay Area Code Pink told

So here we have war protesters — diametrically opposed to the Religious Right™ which usually makes religious appeals in its activism — trying witchcraft in order to end the war. On top of the irrationality and immaturity which underlies protesting a war which the majority of Americans already oppose, after having found they aren’t getting anywhere and becoming desperate over it, these people react by piling on more irrationality and metaphysics.

Folks, this country is plummeting into an abyss of irrationality.

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I blogged earlier about the death of a girl at the hands of parents who knew she was sick but refused to get any medical care, hoping instead that prayer and faith would take care of her, and not really caring if she died. The good news: Today, authorities decided to charge her parents with reckless homicide.

The parents of an 11-year-old Wisconsin girl who prayed instead of seeking medical help for the diabetic child are facing homicide charges in connection with her death.

Dale and Leilani Neumann were charged with second-degree reckless homicide, Marathon County District Attorney Jill Falstad announced at a press conference today. If convicted, the couple could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.

The Neumanns’ ignorance and obliviousness is downright sickening:

Dale Neumann, a former police officer, told The Associated Press at the time that he started to perform CPR on his daughter “as soon as the breath of life left.”

If this guy knows CPR, why didn’t he try it when it might have been useful — before the breath of his daughter’s life left? If he truly knew CPR then he knew it was too late, by that time!

In an interview with The Associated Press, the girl’s parents confirmed that they believe healing comes from God, but said that they did not want their child to die, that they are not zealots and that they do not have anything against doctors.

First, these people are definitely “zealots,” regardless of what they may claim. Second, they may not exactly have willed their daughter to die, but they certainly did absolutely nothing to prevent her death, and that’s functionally the same thing.

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Most of my comments concern religious topics, and sometimes things like quasi-religious forms of medicine; but humanity’s enslavement to metaphysics is not limited to those areas. No, people inject their irrational metaphysics into many other areas of life. Recently the New York Yankees went to great expense — and made a big deal out of — removing a Red Sox jersey from where it was embedded in concrete in the new Yankee Stadium, currently under construction.

It seems a malicious Red Sox fan, working last year at the site for just one day, managed to bury the jersey there, hoping it would “curse” the Yankees when they begin using the new ball field in 2009.

That’s right … work halted on one of the biggest public works projects underway in one of the world’s biggest cities, so that a baseball team could put to rest Yankees’ fans fears that their precious team might have been cursed.

Now, I live in and am a native of New England, so I know all about “the curse of the Bambino” (aka Babe Ruth), which was famously broken in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series. I had hoped all this asinine curse talk would have been put to rest, back then … but no.

Seems to me an awful lot of people are in desperate need of growing the hell up and getting over their metaphysical hangups. (Then again, these are the Yankees we’re talking about, whose owner and fans are not exactly famous for their maturity when it comes to their team — they fired Joe Torre, one of the best managers in the game, at the end of last season, because the Cleveland Indians beat them in the first round of the American League playoffs.)

Yes, stupidity, irrationality, and belief in unfounded metaphysics permeates humanity like a horrid contagion.

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It’s tragic to have to say it, but the famous polymath Ben Stein (of whom I have been a fan for many years) has come down on the side of the religonist “intelligent designers” and their effort to proselytize to public-school kids. He’s now meddling in the revamping of curricula in Florida schools:

Actor Stein Plays Role In Debate On Evolution

Actor and writer Ben Stein joined conservative activists at the state Capitol for a news conference that dually promoted a controversial bill about teaching evolution and Stein’s controversial documentary about educators who dare to dissent from Darwin- ism.The “Academic Freedom Act” from Sen. Ronda Storms and Rep. Alan Hays would allow teachers to “objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding chemical and biological evolution.”

Note the effort to marginalize the evolution model by calling it “Darwin-ism” (sic). Evolution is no more “Darwinism” than relativity is “Einsteinism” or the atomic theory is “Bohrism.” Moreover, it suggests the evolution model hasn’t changed since Darwin’s time — but in fact, it has. So let’s once and for all grow the hell up and stop calling it that. OK?

The Academic Freedom Act responds to the state’s new science standards for public schools, which explicitly require the teaching of the theory of evolution.Stein, who supports the bill, said it is not about teaching any particular viewpoint. “It’s about freedom of speech,” he said. “Freedom of inquiry, it’s nothing more complicated than that.,”

Sorry folks, but that’s not it, at all. The goal of the “intelligent designers’ has always been to slap a thin veneer of “science” on the religion of creationism and shove it into public schools via the science classroom. (Am I being paranoid or leaping to conclusions? No way. This is known as the “wedge strategy,” is outlined in document form, and the intelligent designers who cooked it up, admit to it!)

“Freedom of inquiry,” Ben? No, that isn’t at all what you or your intelligent-design allies want. You actually want the opposite … to have public-school children ensnared in your dogma, unable thereafter to “inquire” their way out of it.

I’m heartbroken to see that one of the most brilliant men alive, has actually become a shill for the anti-scientific and anti-intellectual intelligent design movement.

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