Another Religiously-Motivated Bombing

July 11, 2006

I’ll pop out of retirement for a moment to make sure that more people see this story.

Who’s the conflict between? Hindus and Muslims. Tell me, without religion, would these train bombings have occurred?


Hell’s Handmaiden vs. Intelligent Design

April 2, 2006

Intelligent Design proponents are propagandising via the Internet, and their blogs are truly a sight to behold. Their posts are sometimes so galling and perplexing that I literally sit agape at my computer as I read their takes on evolution and ID.

I am at times tempted to address their posts, but given the volume it seems like an insurmountable task. Hell’s Handmaiden nonetheless does a fantastic job of tearing them to logical shreds. Here’s a collection of recent posts and responses.

If the ID issue is of concern to you, Hell’s Handmaiden and the blogs he links to and discusses are valuable additions to your feed aggregator.


Did we find the missing link?

March 26, 2006

If this is the long-sought ‘missing link’, it wouldn’t really add that much strength to evolutionary theory (it’s farily strong already), but it might help shut some people up about how we haven’t found it.

CNN.com – Could Ethiopian skull be missing link? – Mar 25, 2006

The cranium dates to a time about which little is known — the transition from African Homo erectus to modern humans. The fossil record from Africa for this period is sparse and most of the specimens poorly dated, project archaeologists said.

The face and cranium of the fossil are recognizably different from those of modern humans, but bear unmistakable anatomical evidence that it belongs to the modern human’s ancestry, Sileshi said.


Chimps found to be even more like humans

March 25, 2006

Say it with me — we may be special because we’re so smart, but we share a common ancestor with modern apes. 

But, no. That can’t be… we exclusively were created in god’s own image. We’re that special.

Chimps point to spot they’d like groomed | Science Blog

“The more we learn, the more we see chimpanzees employing remarkable, seemingly human-like behaviors,” Mitani said. “To me that is one of the lessons of this little paper.” The findings appear in today’s issue of Current Biology, in a paper entitled “Referential Gestural Communication in Wild Chimpanzees.”


New study finds atheists most distrusted American minority

March 25, 2006

I think it’s time, or nearly so, for me to truly ‘come out’ as an atheist. Certainly my friends and associates know this about me, but not all of my family does, and while it’s not something I’m ashamed of, it is certainly something I’m currently cautious about disclosing.

This study is a good indication of why I am cautious.

However, I feel a responsibility toward emerging atheists and existing atheists alike to declare myself publicly atheist, to show that atheists are not, in fact, all evil, self-centered, untrustworthy and unethical frauds. 

I shall continue to ponder this, though I think my decision will likely be in favor of this public declaration.

Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study : News Releases: UMNnews: U of M.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

Edgell believes a fear of moral decline and resulting social disorder is behind the findings. “Americans believe they share more than rules and procedures with their fellow citizens—they share an understanding of right and wrong,” she said. “Our findings seem to rest on a view of atheists as self-interested individuals who are not concerned with the common good.

ADDENDUM: 2006-03-25 @ 14:20 CST – I just came across this quote from an interview with Dennett:

Well, by leading a meaningful life. As I look around the world, I see all sorts of heroes in every walk of life. But there is a prejudice against this because a lot of [atheists] are reluctant to point it [their lack of belief] out. Nobody wants to spend their life going around being the ‘village atheist.’ They’re much more interested in just leading a good and normal life.

So a lot of people, I find, are surprised to see me so candidly and cheerfully acknowledging my atheism. Not because they’re not atheists, but because they don’t go around mentioning it. I think that’s unfortunate.

The emphasis is mine. The article is here.

ADDITIONAL ADDENDUM: 2006-03-25 @ 14:24 – another perspective on religion and ethics:

Everyday science: Science, religion and the atomic bomb

“We know where scientific reason can end up by itself: the atomic bomb… fruit of a reason that wants to free itself from every ethical or religious link.”

So they go on to claim that religion should oversee science.

But a bomb does no harm unless it is dropped on someone. So who made the decision to bomb the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Not the scientists. Most of the scientists who knew about the bomb signed letters to President Truman asking that the bomb never be used, especially against civilians. But they had no say in the final decision.

<>Then who did decide to bomb cities full of women and children? Christians all:
President Harry S. Truman was a Baptist.
Secretary of state James F Byrnes was an Anglican/Episcopalian.
Secretary of War Henry Stimson was a Presbyterian.<>

So where was religion’s famous morality when these decisions were made? And where they now while our self-proclaimed Christian President George W. Bush wages a war in Iraq based on lies which kills civilians by the thousand?


A long rant on the South Dakota issue

March 22, 2006

Here’s a little taste (contains a lot of instances of the word “fuck”):

Fuck South Dakota

And yes, Senator Napoli is the same fucker who says that most abortions these days are for, no kidding, “convenience.” Because taking a pill or slapping on a piece of latex is way, way less convenient than spending your afternoon in stirrups while strangers poke at your private bits with hoses and forceps.

In addition to being full of profanity, it’s also very sarcastic:

Exactly where did these fuckers get the idea that people are getting abortions like it’s a walk in the park? “Oh shit, I got so wrapped up teaching my kids to be gay that I completely forgot to get my abortion! I sure hope they can murder this baby on Friday or it’s going to completely screw up my weekend.”


Do you want to be treated with modern medicine, or the unevolved stuff?

March 17, 2006

A cute and to-the-point comic linked by Kevin, M.D.

Kevin, M.D. – Medical Weblog