Sunday, March 31, 2013

iERA's Campaign - Coincidence, Convergence, or Copied?

In the past I've discussed Hamza Tzortzis's plagiarism of William Lane Craig and his poorly executed attempt to pretend that liberal societies facilitate rape. Perhaps it is unfair of me to focus exclusively on the Islamic Education and Research Academy's head of research.

Today instead we look at Abdur Raheem Green, head of the aforementioned iERA, perhaps most famous for his lectures on how one should best beat one's wives. I use the plural as he has two wives at time of print and sees four as the maximum. I'm reliably informed that he is the keen mind behind the 'Don't Shoot the Messenger' campaign which features a trilemma argument. In brief, it states that Mohammed was either lying, deluded or the final prophet of Allah. It then attempts to prove the first two explanations incoherent by saying his actions are neither those of a liar or a madman.

But does this sound familiar?

Those of us who have read C S Lewis's Mere Christianity (published 1952, popular with only a small number of my regular readership, I'll admit) may recall his Lord, Liar, Lunatic argument, also featuring a trilemma. In it he states that Jesus was either lying, deluded, or the risen son of God. It then attempts to prove the first two explanations incoherent by saying his actions are neither those of a liar or a madman.

Do have a read of both arguments and see if you also feel there are similarities.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Youth Defence: Facts Deserve Better

I've been on holiday and am somewhat behind on current affairs. No matter, the Youth Defence blog provides a rich source of material for me to discuss.

Today I look at an entry from Eadaoin, a UK based blogger with an interest in Ireland's abortion debate. Rather than provide commentary I'll just offer my free fact checking service.
"It has become increasingly clear that, over the last ten decades the women’s liberation movement across the globe, which had noble aims in its infancy, has become an oppressor of women’s freedom."
I have a fortnight's worth of laundry to do: regrettably time does not allow me to also correct grammar or suggest how Eadaoin might express ideas clearly. Do feel free to assist her in the comments.
Statistically speaking, induced abortions increases [sic] the risk of breast, cervical, ovarian and rectal cancer.
No it doesn't. I offer as evidence a Lancet published meta analysis of 53 studies and a 12 year study of 25,000 Danish women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the United States National Cancer Institute agree that there is no causative link. The American Cancer Society goes one further, saying that "...the public is not well-served by false alarms. At this time, the scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer". Eadaoin doesn't offer any evidence of this purported link with breast or other cancers, and with good cause - she doesn't have it. Nor does she mention that her organisation opposes the HPV vaccine, proven to reduce instances of cervical cancer.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Anti vaccination group flies Irish politicians to US on anti abortion fact finding mission

I haven't spoken of the registered charity Family and Life before. They have an interesting past, the National Catholic Register describing them as splitting from US based Human Life International while reasoning that "its work in Ireland was being interfered with by Americans". This led to some surprise when I read in the Sunday Times of their plans to fly several Fine Gael senators, including Fidelma Healy Eames and Paul Bradford, on a 'search for truth' about abortion.

The shock was precipitated by their choice of location - they're off to the United States. For an organisation born from opposition to American intervention in Irish affairs this seems an odd choice.

With this thought in mind I reviewed a previous post touching on their most recent ancestor. Their split from Human Life International did not seem to include condemnation of their opposition to vaccines and I wondered if this was an area of disagreement.

It is not.

Take their Ethical Vaccine for Children Project:
The “Ethical Vaccine for Children Project” is aimed at applying pressure on the Irish health authorities and pharmaceutical companies to oppose the use of vaccines based on cell lines derived from aborted babies' tissue. In Ireland the MMR (Measeles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine is produced using cell lines that originated in the abortion of unborn babies, despite the fact that ethical safe alternatives exist.
and continues with the comment:
I just read your leaflet on ethical vaccines.  It is very well produced, very informative and also very disturbing.  I can't believe that people would kill unborn babies in the search for a more profitable way of producing vaccines.  It's shocking and I will contact the drug companies to register my abhorrence at their actions.

The text of their leaflet is not provided, and if this is the reaction it inspires I can see a rather plausible reason why they would choose to keep it concealed.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Under the (American) Influence

It's always a pleasure to be offered a guest post. Often in the past I've taken the opportunity to give voice to someone who holds a different viewpoint to mine, and I've had fine articles from Christian and Muslim bloggers. In this instance, however, Kath O'Meara and I have little on which to disagree.

She writes from the perspective of an American expatriate living in Ireland and has dug up some fascinating information on our friends across the water. It's great to have such a succinct overview of the situation on file and it makes me realise that much of my output assumes prior knowledge of the Irish situation. My thanks to Kath for this. Do tweet her your appreciation on @KathOMeara. If you enjoy her writing you should check out her blog.

Do enjoy.

As an American and long-term resident in Ireland (gratefully and by choice), I would like to state for the record:  

I am sorry.   


I am sorry that these religious fundamentalists are sticking their noses (and wallets) into the Irish question on abortion and sending money to be used on questionable publicity including billboards ,leaflets and posters.

I am sorry about the illegal robocalls, which originated in the US

When I first heard that far-right anti-choice groups in Ireland were being shored up with American dollars the first thought in my mind was "Oh man, I thought I got away from you people!" You see for me, one of the perks about living in Ireland is that I am thousands of miles away from the bible thumping I-know-better-than-you hell and brimstone fundies who can’t seem to stop themselves from trying to control a woman’s right to bodily integrity. A strategy which has not stopped although safe and legal abortions are now available in the US via the landmark Supreme Court case ofRoe v. Wade.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Youth Defence and the Young Chauvinists of the Future

I long for a nemesis. They prove inspiring, motivating, and are often a rich source of material. I put out a call some time ago and ickle tayto volunteered but the lack of significant areas of disagreement meant her well-meaning intentions proved counterproductive.

Hoping to find that special someone I flossed, applied finest cologne, ironed a shirt and visited Youth Defence's blog. There I found Tadhg. By Youth Defence standards he's a prolific writer, having provided the internet with over a dozen posts. Like any good nemesis would, he seems to be operating under a pseudonym:

Tim is a fine name; I'm unsure why he chose to switch to Tadhg and when I seek out a nemesis I prefer them to employ a sobriquet more along the lines of Dr Doom. No matter. It seems redundant to critique a member of Youth Defence / The Life Institute / the Pro Life Alliance / Coir / prolifeinfo.ie / Truth TV for using different names, and whether or not Tim or Tadhg is a real person is immaterial to my criticism of his latest blog post.

Entitled What if you were the one being chosen?, it starts with the story of Ryan. His pregnant partner Hannah plays a minor supporting role. It's a tragic tale of a man denied his right to make reproductive choices for his girlfriend and focuses on Ryan trying to call Hannah, Ryan going to Hannah's house, Ryan talking to Hannah's parents, Ryan calling Hannah's friends and Ryan driving to several abortion clinics. Hannah, as mere womb support unit, is not given voice in this piece. The injustice of Ryan not having control over Hannah's womb is laid bare for all to see.