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Yet another Attie Award….

August 20, 2009


I swear I could give these awards out once a day. And, this one goes out to people who CLEARLY don’t know what they are talking about and even worse, have dragged the Way of Christ through the mud.

I’ll confess up front, this award is meant as a defense of Hemant Mehta, a friend of mine. Hemant came to Columbus in February to an event that my student group co-sponsored with the Students for Free Thought at Ohio State. I got to know Hemant through his talk, dinner and he stayed overnight at my house. He is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, atheist or otherwise.

So, it just infuriates me when people like The Illinois Family Institue attack him with no basis in fact whatsoever. I’m leaving aside the whole controversy that caused them to go after him. But, I want to stick to something they said in their press release that really burned my candy bars. They imply that Hemant is dishonest and pushes his views on students while giving NO proof that he is in fact doing so.

Even worse, they bang on about kids being “influenced” by such people because they are smart and good looking, etc. (Well, Hemant, you should take that as compliment at least). Then teach your kids to be smart and stop rotting their brain with poor reasoning. Use Hemant’s blog to instruct them WHY you disagree with him, instead of attacking the way he does his job or implying he is doing something unethical.

Look, I actually agree that the family is a strong building block of society. But, what that means for me is that I raise my kids to think, understand, and take the actual time to teach them. I don’t agree with many of Hemant’s positions and frankly, think he is wrong about. And, I would teach my kids that.

But in teaching my kids, I would teach them that love and respect in disagreement. even more, teach them the first rule of civilized disagreement, the Principle of Charity, meaning, make your opponents argument even stronger than the would before you contest it.

You have to actually engage with people are actually saying. Would I let me kids read his blog when they are in High School (a long time away, thank God)? Yes and then I would actually take the time to discuss it with them. Would I let Hemant teach my kids math? No doubt about it. And, I would ask them to learn from Hemant on how to be a nice guy. Something many Christians I know (including myself) could learn from.

So, congrats Illinois Family Institute, you are now in the esteemed (cough) company of the Creation Museum, Sam Harris, and “Pastor” Tom. You have sacrificed the cause and way of Christ for the way of “The Family”.

This Attie is for you.

St. Thomas, release the hounds…..

17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2009 5:12 pm

    I wonder if a link to his blog itself would be amiss?

  2. Richard Eis permalink
    August 20, 2009 6:48 pm

    His dissection of the piece at his blog was most amusing. Everything i was going to comment on was said by him far more eloqently than I could.

  3. chris bean permalink
    August 20, 2009 7:40 pm

    Hmmm…I could nominate a few people/groups for this award too. But anyway…good points about respectful dialogue and informed critical thought as a family value for us to be more intentional about developing. Enjoying the blog…

  4. AdamK permalink
    August 20, 2009 7:45 pm

    “Judging from his blog, he also seeks to spread the message that homosexuality is morally equivalent to heterosexuality.”

    Oh horrors! Next he’ll be claiming that love should be valued and respected rather than disparaged! How unchristian!

  5. August 21, 2009 2:54 am

    Linky: The Friendly Atheiest

  6. August 21, 2009 3:16 am

    I am really surprised anyone is after him for his blog. Especially in this manner. It smacks profoundly of drama hounding…

    Mathematics teaching vs. political and religious beliefs? It seems like a lot to swallow, even for someone rabid about their own political or religious affiliation.

    The most telling, and hilarious, part of his response to me involved the “1 + 1 = 2” and the Pythagorean theorem interspliced with political statements.

  7. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 21, 2009 7:12 am

    I actually was very mild of my criticism of him until he questioned my faith and ordination. Then, I tried to meet him for coffee. No dice. And now, it’s a Tom free zone. So, no more “drama” hounding.

  8. Johann permalink
    August 21, 2009 4:12 pm

    “I actually was very mild of my criticism of him”

    I do not think she means who you think she means. 😉

  9. August 21, 2009 4:27 pm

    Thanks for the link, Tomato. Interesting stuff.

  10. August 21, 2009 8:57 pm

    They imply that Hemant is dishonest and pushes his views on students while giving NO proof that he is in fact doing so.

    Proof implies facts … facts just distort the truth. The REAL truth doesn’t need facts.

  11. August 22, 2009 10:28 am

    I’m sorry but why are you putting Sam Harris in the same category as the Creation “Museum”?

    Is this because he is uncompromising approach at promoting atheist? Harris has repetitively stated that spreading atheism is not his goals, he is an advocate for intellectual honestly first and foremost.

  12. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 22, 2009 12:59 pm

    Welcome. There will be a lot of people who will win Atties that people may or may not like. As you can see from the picture, there are no sacred cows when it comes to the Atties. I personally think the push for intellectual honesty has much better advocates than Sam Harris, as his graps of history and philsophy are juvenile at best, outright misleading at worst. There is a well known rule in debate and philosphy that Harris violates on a repeated basis. That is, present your opponents argument in the strongest possible terms. Harris often sets up strawmen and then knocks them down. In my mind, hardly a stirling example of intellectual honesty. Daniel Dennett does a much better job in this respect.

    So, thus, he gets the Attie. The Atties are meant to strip bare everyone’s icons (including my own).

  13. August 23, 2009 1:23 am

    I got the cows, I’m not calling Sam sacred just not at level of down right masters of misinformation like the Creation “Museum”.

    And I remain unconvinced that Sam uses strawmans, I confess I haven’t read his books, seen many youtube videos of him so, care to tell me some of his strawmans?

  14. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 23, 2009 1:28 am

    I certainly don’t think either the Creation Museum or Sam are being intentional about the misinformation spread.

    As for his strawmens, read his whole section about fundemental American Christianity being the representative of the Christian tradition. That’s a huge one right there.

  15. August 23, 2009 5:11 am

    I’m not so generous as you, Jonathan. I’m sure the folks who run the Creation Museum know exactly what they’re doing, as do the people who run AiG and CMI. They just don’t care, as long as it furthers their (and presumably the God they claim to serve) goals.


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