Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Continuing the dialogue with Miss Raissa

So a couple of days ago, I answered a question infamous twitter personality Miss Raissa posed, and asked a few of my own. And then, she replied. Now, a few people on twitter were actually shocked because, according to them, she doesn't address criticism from us liberals and atheists all that often. In light of that, I felt pretty special. How do I feel about the answers? My reaction after the jump.
Raissa, do you actually care about dialogue with people with opposing viewpoints, or are you just trying to preach? You clearly didn't put a lot of effort into the answers.

The first question was a multiple part question, asking you how you'd feel if Buddhism, with its Narakas, and Islam, with Jahhanom, were true. I also asked how you'd take it if there was a heaven that was run by gods that valued skepticism and, as such, only let us atheists and agnostics in. You said you couldn't speak for other religions, but then quickly added that your religion is true because Jesus sacrificed himself for you (no he didn't sacrifice anything) and no other god did that. Actually, the Egyptian gods Osiris and Horus died to protect us from Set, and ALL the Norse gods died protecting us from various monsters, trolls and giants led by Loki. Both the Egyptian and Norse gods have followers today, so you can't say that they're not true because no one believes them anymore. You go on to (rightly) point out that not all religions can be true...but there doesn't have to be one god. There could just as easily be no gods at all, or a god or gods that aren't worshiped by any religion ever created.

Then, when you get to my query regarding whether atheists and agnostics would go to heaven while everyone else went to hell, you simply said "there’s just no way that’s going to happen." Why? What reason do you have to believe my swiftly-constructed hypothetical situation isn't true? Face facts: There is no proof that your god is real, Raissa. There's none that any god or goddess is real. Even you must admit this. Believing in something you can't prove to be real necessitates that you subvert rationality at some level and either ignore or internally discredit all evidence to the contrary. So what makes you think that this life isn't a test that you're set to fail? What makes you think that god, or "the gods", didn't simply make everything, randomize our personalities and decide that only those with enough credulity to reject unprovable religions would get to chill with them in paradise after death? Do you have a satisfactory answer that isn't simply a more polite version of "nu-uh"?

For the second question, I asked how you could oppose gay marriage while not claiming to hate gay people, even though denying them a right everyone else has makes them second class citizens. Your answer was "Homosexuals are not second class citizens and have never been treated as such." Sure, there was other stuff around that, but you're missing something very important. Aside from the fact that it's simply wrong (here in Canada, gay sex was punishable by prison sentence until 1969) the fact is, marriage has always been a right in Canada, since Confederation in 1867. Denying one group any right makes them second class citizens by definition. Now, no one's forcing you to accept the "homosexual lifestyle" any more than they're forcing you to accept that another religion is true. What people don't like is that not only do you disagree, you want their lifestyle to be illegal to some degree. If someone said "I don't want to allow black people to marry outside their race" would you think they hate black people? Of course you would, and you'd almost certainly be right. So why can't we apply the same logic here? If you don't hate gay people, you should have no issue with them having the same rights, under the law, as we heterosexuals have.

The last question was about secular arguments against gay marriage was, essentially, an argument against gay sex. You made claims about AIDS that we've heard before, and that anal sex is bad for you, and homosexual men have shorter lives than heterosexuals. I won't argue that. I also won't argue against you "gay sex is unnatural" point since a) someone in your comments section already defeated that point and b) we're communicating via an unnatural means, so clearly you don't actually care about what's natural or not. What I will argue is that outlawing gay marriage does nothing to hinder the risks inherent in unprotected homosexual sex. Now, outlawing gay sex might, but that's a draconian measure that no one would want to enact, presumably not even you. However, there's some evidence that, if we follow your logic, is much more damning than anything you've said.

Check this Fast Facts pdf file from the USA's Centre for Disease Control (CDC). There's a chart at the bottom of the first page that tracks new HIV or AIDS cases from 2006 to 2010. White men who had sex with men (or "MSM", which includes any men who had sex with another man, whether they be bi or homosexual) accounted for 13,230 of these new cases, the single largest group of new HIV/AIDS cases. Black MSM were next with 10,130. Directly following them were black heterosexual women (7,340) then hispanic MSM (5,360) black heterosexual men (3,290) and white heterosexual women (2,310), then black intravenous drug users and hispanic heterosexual women. Since white heterosexual men made up less than 2% of new cases, they weren't counted. Now, if we were to add these groups up as "white people who got HIV/AIDS via sex" and "black people who got HIV/AIDS via sex" they'd add up to 15,540 (white) against 20,760 (black). Bear in mind that this is not counting black intravenous drug users, who make up another 3,480 cases (2,010 male, 1,470 female). Now, the demographics of the USA state that white people make up about 72.4% of the population while black people make up 12.6%, and yet new black HIV/AIDS cases in the same country outnumber new white HIV/AIDS cases by 5,220, about 1/3 of the total new white infections, and make up a majority of the total of new cases since 2006. In other words, your logic, if accepted and applied to interracial marriage, would be enough to overturn Loving v Virginia. Hell, it might even be enough to outlaw ALL African-American marriage, if we were dumb enough to accept this as an adequate argument. In other words, the HIV/AIDS argument against gay marriage should not be used by anyone, especially black people.

I don't think you're a bad person, Raissa. I don't agree with you on...well, I don't know there's anything we do agree on, other than that air is good and food is yummy. But you really need to rethink your views on homosexuality. It's OK for your religion to not bless same sex couplings, but to thoroughly denounce them and wish that they were illegal? That's a strong indication of hate, and that is something I don't tolerate.

If you want to try to answer my questions more adequately, I'm all for it. I'm most interested in your answers to the first question, since there is no way to oppose gay marriage without hating them, or misunderstanding the fact that they're not being denied a right, and there is no good secular argument against gay marriage.

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