Archive for the ‘reason’ Category

politics and religion

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Conservative thinker, writer and blogger Andrew Sullivan today posted a fantastic analysis of the impact of religionism and specifically christianism on the current Republican party. He states where it has been a force for good and a force for not so good in clear and rational terms (easy for me to say because I agree with him on it). Well worth a read.

hand of …

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

Well, it was just a matter of time till someone was quoted on this:

“If you ever need proof of the hand of God, just look where that bus is. Two seconds later, there’s a massive fire right where the cab of that truck is, and those kids would have been killed in a fire. Two seconds earlier, and it’s in the river.”

– Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Rob Allen, standing on a hill by the flattened I-35W bridge, showing First Lady Laura Bush how a school bus packed with 50 campers returning from a day at a water park came to symbolize an incredibly low casualty count.

“Unbelievable,” Mrs. Bush said.

(from the Chicago Tribune story)

Well, quite Mrs. Bush – for once I agree with you. An unbelievable comment indeed.

Yes, it was a very low casualty count in the bridge collapse (partly because only one lane was open in each direction) and yes, it seems a miracle that the school bus was not lost in a fire or in the river – almost incredible.

But, no matter where you stand on the existence of God, or what God does (interventionist God or not) surely saying that the fact that some people were saved while others were not proves the existence of God seems firstly dubious proof (because you can’t actually prove that God saved the bus unless someone actually documented in some way that it really, truly was God doing it) and secondly offensive to the people who were lost: why would God have chosen that the school bus should be saved, but the young Somali woman and her two-year-old should not, or the father of the young baby should not? By the way, the driver of the truck who was in the cab which had a massive fire was killed too.

Perhaps the police chief meant it as a figure of speech, but I don’t think that’s any excuse. This, basically, is the old argument: 300 people were killed in an air crash, but one child survived, therefore God exists.

warming warning

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

This has to be some kind of joke. Surely. Or maybe not – stand up for ignorance, Cardinal George Pell of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and your wacky dismissal of global warming! The whole article is so skin-crawlingly risible (sample bizarre statement: “Christians don’t go against reason although we sometimes go beyond it in faith to embrace probabilities.” Whatever that means) it’s hard to know where to begin, so maybe I’ll just quote the final sentence: “The science is more complicated than the propaganda!” So! We’ll just ignore the science! And make stuff up!

my son the heretic

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

I’ve mentioned Toby’s friend Silje a few times on this blog. She’s a great friend for Toby to have – full of sass and intelligence and adventure.

This evening her mom Kristi told me that she and Silje were having a conversation earlier today about Easter. Silje said, “Well Mommy, I know that Easter is in fact not about God and Jesus and stuff. It’s about treats and candy.” “Oh,” said Kristi. “Yes,” said Silje, “And I know because Toby told me.”

dawkins on fresh air

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Fascinating and enlightening interview with biologist Richard Dawkins on Fresh Air from National Public Radio. Fresh Air is a great show, interviewing people in arts, politics, science and other public spheres, and has been running for years.

Richard Dawkins is a noted evolutionary biologist from England who has written several books including The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and lately, The God Delusion which has been a bestseller for many months (my brother Robin gave it to me for Christmas, in a move he described as being possibly the least Christmassy thing he could have done).

I very much enjoyed the interview, even if I didn’t agree with Dawkins 100% all the time (maybe 99%). He came across as being thoughtful, measured, respectful and very engaging.

good news from episcopal church

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Excellent news: Episcopal Bishops in U.S. Defy Anglican Communion.

Backstory, as noted in the article: The worldwide Anglican church, alarmed at the US Episcopal church being inclusive and supportive of gay and lesbian people, threatened to demote or expel the Episcopal church from the Anglican Communion unless certain demands were met. The Anglican church have said no way on some of these, and “we urgently need to talk” on others (this request has been rebuffed).

I’m proud of the Anglicans for not giving in to demands and standing their ground for what they believe to be right and true and peaceful and inclusive. So far nobody has told me what the actual impact of being severed from the wider Anglican Communion would be, but whatever it is I’d rather be out of it than in something unpleasant.

UPDATE: excellent editorial from the Guardian

god and his gays

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

OK, another basic link to a story. This is an interesting one from today’s Washington Post: God and His Gays about how science is – gasp! – intruding on conservative Christian beliefs.

On an even more blasphemous note, how about this picture

bigotry update

Monday, March 19th, 2007

There’s an article on the BBC today about opposition politicians in the UK accusing the government of “rail-roading” the legislation banning discrimination by businesses or services against gay people. These enlightened rules have caused considerable outrage from the Roman Catholic Church (as noted on this site previously) who say that it will cause them problems:

[T]he Catholic Church says it will have to shut its [adoption] agencies, which handle some of the most difficult-to-place children, after that – rather than go against its beliefs.

Well I for one am glad to see that their beliefs against gays would be more important than their beliefs of looking after children (and why do they say that they handle the most difficult-to-place children?) Nice call, Roman Catholic Church! Hooray for you!

forcey

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Just found this great video on pharyngula – UK comedian Robin Ince describes fairly succinctly the history of creationist “thought” – it’s worth watching if you enjoy an exhasperating laugh:

stalker of god

Monday, March 12th, 2007

From alt-parenting blog/site babble.com: BattleCry To Teens: Be A “Stalker of God.” Whatever That Means…. To summarize, this is a “Christian” festival which roves the country decrying secularism (but using secular means of spreading the message, such as rock music and standup comedians (quoted sample: “What would an atheist praise song be? ‘Who gives us reason to live? No one!’” – how hilarious)) and spouting spooky stuff such as how to stalk God. This seems all twisted to me – I know that the source I was reading is biased but it seems that the message (compassion, reconciliation etc) is getting all messed up with judgmentalism, fearmongering, hype. Not pleasant at all.