Funny quote of the day

18 03 2009

From a Pharyngula comment thread on endeavours by well-wishers to free Kent Hovind (sung to the tune of “Free Nelson Mandela”):

Dr. Kent Hovind’s oppressors have to decide whether they want to live in fear or learn to live in love. If you don’t agree with this I question your commitment to Sparkle Motion.

Gold.





Why does the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference hate freedom?

17 03 2009

I think gambling is a complete and utter waste of time and money. I have never enjoyed visiting the casino with my friends, and when I did, I never placed a bet, considering the practice the equivalent of emptying the contents of my wallet into the toilet.

But hey, that’s me. Many others, for reasons I personally cannot fathom, enjoy gambling. As long as their activities don’t harm others, who am I to stand in their way?

Who am I? I’m not a Catholic bishop, that’s who.

When you’re a Catholic bishop, you believe not only that you are, by virtue of the notion that you are the representative of a deity, able to deliberate authoritatively to the wretched paeons and sinners on how they ought to conduct their lives. You also believe that the law of the state should coerce people to conduct themselves in accordance with your dogmas, regardless of whether they belong to your religion.

You are, in effect, an enemy of liberal democracy. You are an enemy of religious freedom, and the separation of church and state, because for all your bluster about being God’s representatives on earth, about serving a higher power than any that humankind can devise, either the God you claim to represent is utterly weak, or your powers of reason and persuasion are so pathetically handicapped, that you need the earthly powers of the state to force people to do what you want them to do. You have always needed this.

It’s simple, really. Don’t like gambling, drinking or shopping on one of your “sacred” holidays? Then don’t do it. Don’t like others gambling, drinking or shopping on one of your “sacred” holidays? Then make an argument, convince them that they shouldn’t.

Or else prepare to be mocked for your obscene presumptuousness in dictating to the rest of us how we should live our lives. That mockery is a sign that human society is liberating itself from the superstitious and unnecessary fear and awe of old male virgins wearing funny robes. History is pwning you. And that’s a good thing.





Sunday reading: Epiphenom on the link between religion and homophobia

8 03 2009

What’s the connection between religion and homophobia?

You don’t need me to tell you that religious people are more likely to be homophobic. But what you might not have thought too hard about is why that should be. Is it that religion makes people homophobic, or is it simply that religion attracts people who are conservative and/or authoritarian – people who also tend to be homophobic? Then again, ‘religion’ is a pretty broad church. Is all religion linked to homophobia, or is it just specific types?

And what about racism? Are religious people more likely to be rascist? And if not, why not? This is an important question because religion acts to strengthen group cohesion, and it also comes with a lot of moral rules. Either of these could explain the link to homophobia. But most religions tend to be at least overtly anti-racist. So if religious people are more racist, this is probably because the ‘group cohesion’ effect overrides the ‘moral censure’ effect.

Sometimes it seems like you wait years for big studies to come along tackling these issues, and then two come along at once! Putting both of them together starts to put some really interesting meat on the bones of this very fundamental question (with the caveat that, like most research in religion, these studies were done in the USA/Canada)

More here.





Another quote of the week: Pharyngula regular RevBigDumbChimp

7 03 2009

This one made me smile. RevBigDumbChimp explains why there is much less endorsement of rape in the New Testament than in the old:

It can all be boiled down to the fact that God finally got laid. After a couple thousand years of having to take care of himself, Mary came along and he finally got some. Once he got him some ass his whole attitude changed.

It happens to everyone.

(*And after reading a comment thread in which Catholic apologists whine about how mean the atheists are being, and yet refuse to condemn their Church’s decision to excommunicate all of those involved in an abortion procedure undertaken to save the life of a 9-year-old rape victim, while not excommunicating the man who raped her, you need something to smile about.)





Mohammed may have been married* to a 9-year old . . .

6 03 2009

. . . but it takes the Catholic Church to insist that, even if she has been raped, she be brought to term.

Via Pharyngula. More here, where we learn not only that the rape victim had been abused by her stepfather since she was six, but also that all who assisted the Brazilian child in securing an abortion (including her mother) are to be excommunicated.

(*Off-topic note: Aisha was allegedly six when they were married.)





Quote of the week: Jerry Coyne on the incompatibility of science and religion

4 03 2009

Jerry Coyne, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, reviews two books by theistic evolutionists in The New Republic:

It would appear, then, that one cannot be coherently religious and scientific at the same time. That alleged synthesis requires that with one part of your brain you accept only those things that are tested and supported by agreed-upon evidence, logic, and reason, while with the other part of your brain you accept things that are unsupportable or even falsified. In other words, the price of philosophical harmony is cognitive dissonance. Accepting both science and conventional faith leaves you with a double standard: rational on the origin of blood clotting, irrational on the Resurrection; rational on dinosaurs, irrational on virgin births. Without good cause, Giberson and Miller pick and choose what they believe. At least the young-earth creationists are consistent, for they embrace supernatural causation across the board. With his usual flair, the physicist Richard Feynman characterized this difference: “Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” With religion, there is just no way to know if you are fooling yourself. Read the rest of this entry »





Attn: Parthiban NS

4 03 2009

I received the following email yesterday:

Hi,

I hope this mail finds you in the pink of your health. I stumbled upon your blog ‘fivepublicopinions.blogspot.com’ a few minutes ago and
I find that you haven’t been updating it since long. If you are not planning to continue with it, please let me know if I can use it.
It will be of great help to me to start a blog, as a blog which was started long ago will get better exposure.
It is hard nowadays to find a nice blog name as most names are already taken or are used by dead blogs.
When contacted, blogger forum said that the only way is to get the author’s consent.

If you are willing, all you have to do is log in to your blogger account and choose settings.
Under this click permissions and invite a new author, in this case [email removed, in case he's legit].

I’ll accept the offer in a day and the last thing you will have to do is to give the admin permission after that. Thats it.

This is simply a honest request and you can contact me anytime you wish.
Then again, this is just a request to take over your blog and the decision solely lies in your hands.

Thanks

NO.








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