Archive for February, 2009

More sex please! We’re religious conservatives.

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , on February 28, 2009 by neandergal

A recent survey shows hypocrisy at its best. An article in New Scientist, Porn in the USA, reports on a study by Harvard Business School that shows conservative and religious states are the biggest consumers of online pornography.

Apparently, 5.47 per 1000 consumers of online pornography in Utah regularly exchange bashing their Bible, or Book of Mormon for bashing their Bishop — except on Sundays. It turns out that a 0.1% drop in subscriptions correlates with a 1% increase in post code church attendance. Residents who most agreed with the statement, “I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage,” bought 3.6 per 1000 more subscriptions than those who disagreed with the statement.

It makes one wonder if even the believers really believe. Well, may be on Sundays.

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Religion Defeated?

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2009 by neandergal

One would think that scientific discoveries supporting evolutionary theory would have put to rest the question of whether science has defeated religion. Yet, a question mark remains over what answers the “how” versus “why” questions of life. Science asks “how” and religion asks “why.”

Colin Blakemore discusses this issue in an article published in the UK Guardian-Observer, Science is just one gene away from defeating religion. Blakemore describes how “Crick and Watson’s discovery transformed our view of life itself – from a manifestation of spiritual magic to a chemical process.” This is surely a “checkmate” in the “metaphysical chess match between science and religion.”

Religion continues to go unchallenged because of the notion that there are two questions, “how” and “why.” The answer to the “why” questions might be as simple as Blakemore points out: “Either they make no sense or they can be recast as the kind of “how” questions that science answers so well.”

The appeal of religion is that it gives definitive answers whereas science cannot do that. Definitive answers provide a source of comfort because no more questions need answering. Science answers questions with more questions and requires us to think. Freedom of thought is a burden. Religion alleviates that burden.

Colin Blakemore presents the UK Channel 4 television series God and the Scientists.

Monkeys Hate Others’ Bonuses, Too

Posted in Science with tags , , , , on February 17, 2009 by neandergal

A report in Scientific American tells how primatologist Frans de Waal during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science explains that even monkeys know when they are being screwed.

It’s a shame the rest of us do not seem to know until it’s too late… Welcome to “Cucumberland.”

Scientists Find 12 New Frog Species

Posted in Science with tags , , , , on February 17, 2009 by neandergal

The UK Sunday Independent reports that scientists have found 12 new frog species. The Linnean Society is due to publish their details in March. This is good news. According to the article; amphibians are the “most threatened groups of animals in the world.”

Let’s take our umbrellas down in honor of the weather-beaten scientists who endured 10 years of monsoons searching for these little critters.

Is Britain turning Catholic?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2009 by neandergal

With all the recent fraternizing with the Vatican, it does beg the question, is Britain turning Catholic? The UK is turning to the Vatican on issues like the economy and overseas medical aid. According to the UK Telegraph, Gordon Brown is about to visit Pope Benedict XVI for talks on the recession. Most recently, the Catholic Church advised workers hit by the recession to pray to the patron saint of bankers, Saint Matthew.

It is disturbing that the UK is turning more towards the Church than sound public policy to unravel its unholy economic and social mess. Everybody get down on your knees and pray to Dawkins and Hitchens that it isn’t so…

150 Years On: Widespread Creationism in Britain

Posted in Science with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2009 by neandergal

On Thursday February 12, the enlightened will celebrate Darwin’s 200th Birthday and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection. Yet ignorance still persists in Darwin’s country on the other side of the Atlantic regarding acceptance of the theory of evolution.

An article in the UK Daily Telegraph reveals that a recent survey showed that 32% agreed that the world was only 10,000 years old, 8% did not know and an enlightened 60% disagreed. In the article, Richard Dawkins said that the findings confirmed that much of the population was “pig-ignorant” about science. Some may snort at that kind of retort, but another report by the UK Guardian vindicates Dawkins’ harsh remark.

Widespread creationism indicates a lack of scientific knowledge and is a failure of the educational system to teach the sciences and how to teach people to think scientifically. In December, an article in the UK Guardian, Darwin and creationism do not belong in the same classroom, reported that 29% of British primary and secondary school science teachers agree that it is valid to teach creationism alongside evolutionary science and the big bang.

By placing equal credence to faith versus scientific “theories” we deny children an education. Established religion and politically correct agendas have no place in science education. Teach children how to think rather than what to think.

Our Obama Who Art in the White House

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , on February 8, 2009 by neandergal

On February 5th, 2009, Obama announced a rekindling by executive order of a George W. Bush legacy, The Office of Faith Based Activities and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Reverend Obama tells us that “Faith-based and other neighborhood organizations are vital to our Nation’s ability to address the needs of low-income and other underserved persons and communities.” It now seems that it is the church and not the state that will decide the poor’s fate. This is something that Ronald Reagan could only dream about. And yet twenty years after Reagan left office, we find a Democrat turning a democracy into a theocracy.

Even more disturbing is the hiring of 26 year old Pentecostal pastor Joshua DuBois as the Director of Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The fact that he is a Pentecostal pastor makes it almost certain he believes in a literal interpretation of the bible. Ergo, a creationist. Like many Pentecostals, he probably believes that people can speak in tongues and face an eternity of hell and damnation for their earthbound wicked ways. It is likely that he is pro-life and only believes in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. It is discerning to think that someone who looks to divine intervention for solving social problems should lead a government department.

Placing social programs and services into charity does nothing to alleviate the societal problems associated with poverty because it shifts responsibility and accountability away from government. Obama tell us that problems with the poor and underserved are too big for Government to solve. This is surprising news as government generally handles big problems like military operations overseas and bailing out corporations. Yet poor housing, education, healthcare, high-unemployment and poverty are now the problems of faith-based organizations and neighborhood partnerships. A lack of state responsibility to the poor results in no public policy or accountability. The faith based services will undoubtedly greet the poor with one hand while handing them a bible with the other.

Let us hope that journalists follow the actions of this Office very closely and that it does not follow the doctrines of Pentecostal faith.

News sources in addition to text links:
Guardian UK Newspaper
Faith in Public Life