Stuff I Care About

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Quote Of The Day

This week, I have really had to work to remind myself of the wisdom behind this quote..... I agree with it on one level, but on the other, I do not. I can definitely see how religion can be used to steer politics, just not in a civil liberty type of sense. Brought to us by Napoleon Bonaparte, here it is;

"Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Question For All of You

I have a question because I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this concept- abstinence. Why would the Bush administration pump so much cash into what is clearly a bad idea? What is it a smokescreen for? Why would people encourage their kids to do this? I know that it is probably obvious, but I really do not get why people would so willingly "impair" the natural growth of their kids sexuality? Any feedback is appreciated.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cry Me A River

Love this

You can teach your child your own values at home. Public schools teach everyone about respecting diversity and valuing everyone.

Canadian Christianity is reporting, through a "leaked document" that the parents of children in Hamilton are not allowed to be omitted from a multicultural teaching that involves sensitivity to minorities. Most importantly, this includes teaching understanding toward the gay population. So, now these "poor Christian children" are going to be forced to hear that the hate of their freakshow homophobic parents is not acceptable to the larger society.

In addition, they stress that if you want to teach hate and anger to your kids, that is your right to do so in the privacy of your own home. However, you cannot not while you are feeding from the publicly funded trough that we all contribute too. I know that I certainly do not give my taxes away to create a curriculum that supports denying anyone their basic civil liberties and rights. And, if these parents are so mad, why do they not pool their money and start their own private school that can specialize in crafting all forms of prejudice and bigotry. Noone would have anything to say if they paid for it themselves. But, that would make too much sense. Nope, of course, they expect everyone else to pay and support their backwards ideology.

Another reason why being a Canadian is the best thing there is. Here it is;

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Clearly, This Abstinence Thing Is Not Working

Here it is, barely a month old. What I had assumed was a bad idea, clearly is. While these crazy parents encourage their kids to save themselves for marriage, teenage pregnancy rates grow. And, this is blamed on the Abstinence propaganda of the Bush administration. So sad.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


From what I understand, Christians are metaphorically speaking, putting chastity belts on their kids by guiding them into taking abstinence pledges until they are married. Why the hell would ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND want to marry a virgin? What if you are not compatible with the one person that you have chosen to copulate with? Wow, smells like a pretty sick joke to me.
Anyways, The American Academy of Pediatrics released this study confirming that this is pretty ineffective; It is good for a read. Thoughts, anyone?

Reason #1- Christianity is Nothing More Than Recycled Mythology

Christianity borrowed its central myths and ceremonies from other ancient religions.

Again, this comes from Chaz Bufe. "The ancient world was rife with tales of virgin births, miracle-working saviors, tripartite gods, gods taking human form, gods arising from the dead, heavens and hells, and days of judgment. In addition to the myths, many of the ceremonies of ancient religions also match those of that syncretic latecomer, Christianity. To cite but one example (there are many others), consider Mithraism, a Persian religion predating Christianity by centuries. Mithra, the savior of the Mithraic religion and a god who took human form, was born of a virgin; he belonged to the holy trinity and was a link between heaven and Earth; and he ascended into heaven after his death. His followers believed in heaven and hell, looked forward to a day of judgment, and referred to Mithra as "the Light of the World." They also practiced baptism (for purification purposes) and ritual cannibalism—the eating of bread and the drinking of wine to symbolize the eating and drinking of the god’s body and blood. Given all this, Mithra’s birthday should come as no surprise: December 25th; this event was, of course, celebrated by Mithra’s followers at midnight.

Mithraism is but the most striking example of the appearance of these myths and ceremonies prior to the advent of Christianity. They appear—in more scattered form—in many other pre-Christian religions."

"The Pagan Christ" by Tom Harpur really eloquently draws the similarities between Christianity and Egyptian religion. But, if anyone needs anymore convincing, just pick up an art history textbook and follow the images. It really does not take a leap of "faith" to draw this conclusion.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Quote of The Day

Here is a great little quote that I happened to find the other day. This was written to John Adams. It goes as follows;

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."

Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Great LIttle Video

One of my friends just sent me this video on Facebook. It is a really simple little history of the relationship between science and religion. If you have five minutes to spare, a nice little refresher.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Richard Dawkins takes on Pat Robertson in the New York Times

Here is an interesting article that I found online. It is Richard Dawkins "spin" on how Pat Robertson made his beliefs known about Haiti. What is even more interesting, to me, is the comments made by people beneath this article. Fascinating stuff, it is called "Hear the Rumble of Christian Hypocrisy". Here it is;

Monday, February 1, 2010

Reason #2- The Explanations of the World in the Bible Were Given to Us By Slave Holding Goat Herders

I borrowed this passage, and I think that it explains it the best;

For over a millennium Christianity arrested the development of science and scientific thinking. In Christendom, from the time of Augustine until the Renaissance, systematic investigation of the natural world was restricted to theological investigation—the interpretation of biblical passages, the gleaning of clues from the lives of the saints, etc.; there was no direct observation and interpretation of natural processes, because that was considered a useless pursuit, as all knowledge resided in scripture. The results of this are well known: scientific knowledge advanced hardly an inch in the over 1000 years from the rise of orthodox Christianity in the fourth century to the 1500s, and the populace was mired in the deepest squalor and ignorance, living in dire fear of the supernatural—believing in paranormal explanations for the most ordinary natural events. This ignorance had tragic results: it made the populace more than ready to accept witchcraft as an explanation for everything from illness to thunderstorms, and hundreds of thousands of women paid for that ignorance with their lives. One of the commonest charges against witches was that they had raised hailstorms or other weather disturbances to cause misfortune to their neighbors. In an era when supernatural explanations were readily accepted, such charges held weight—and countless innocent people died horrible deaths as a result. Another result was that the fearful populace remained very dependent upon Christianity and its clerical wise men for protection against the supernatural evils which they believed surrounded and constantly menaced them. For men and women of the Middle Ages, the walls veritably crawled with demons and witches; and their only protection from those evils was the church.

When scientific investigation into the natural world resumed in the Renaissance—after a 1000-year-plus hiatus—organized Christianity did everything it could to stamp it out. The cases of Copernicus and Galileo are particularly relevant here, because when the Catholic Church banned the Copernican theory (that the Earth revolves around the sun) and banned Galileo from teaching it, it did not consider the evidence for that theory: it was enough that it contradicted scripture. Given that the Copernican theory directly contradicted the Word of God, the Catholic hierarchy reasoned that itmust be false. Protestants shared this view. John Calvin rhetorically asked, “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?”

More lately, the Catholic Church and the more liberal Protestant congregations have realized that fighting against science is a losing battle, and they’ve taken to claiming that there is no contradiction between science and religion. This is disingenuous at best. As long as Christian sects continue to claim as fact—without offering a shred of evidence beyond the anecdotal—that physically impossible events occurred (or are still occurring), the conflict between science and religion will remain. That many churchmen and many scientists seem content to let this conflict lie doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

Today, however, the conflict between religion and science is largely being played out in the area of public school biology education, with Christian fundamentalists demanding that their creation myth be taught in place of (or along with) the theory of evolution in the public schools. Their tactics rely heavily on public misunderstanding of science. They nitpick the fossil record for its gaps (hardly surprising given that we inhabit a geologically and meteorologically very active planet), while offering absurd interpretations of their own which we’re supposed to accept at face value—such as that dinosaur fossils were placed in the earth by Satan to confuse humankind, or that Noah took baby dinosaurs on the ark.

They also attempt to take advantage of public ignorance of the nature of scientific theories. In popular use, “theory” is employed as a synonym for “hypothesis,” “conjecture,” or even “wild guess,” that is, it signifies an idea with no special merit or backing. The use of the term in science is quite different. There, “theory” refers to a well-developed, logically consistent explanation of a phenomenon, and an explanation that is consistent with observed facts. This is very different than a wild guess. But fundamentalists deliberately confuse the two uses of the term in an attempt to make their religious myth appear as valid as a well-supported scientific theory.

They also attempt to confuse the issue by claiming that those nonspecialists who accept the theory of evolution have no more reason to do so than they have in accepting their religious creation myth, or even that those who accept evolution do so on “faith.” Again, this is more than a bit dishonest.

Thanks to scientific investigation, human knowledge has advanced to the point where no one can know more than a tiny fraction of the whole. Even the most knowledgeable scientists often know little beyond their specialty areas. But because of the structure of science, they (and everyone else) can feel reasonably secure in accepting the theories developed by scientists in other disciplines as the best possible current explanations of the areas of nature those disciplines cover. They (and we) can feel secure doing this because of the structure of science, and more particularly, because of the scientific method. That method basically consists of gathering as much information about a phenomenon (both in nature and in the laboratory) as possible, then developing explanations for it (hypotheses), and then testing the hypotheses to see how well they explain the observed facts, and whether or not any of those observed facts are inconsistent with the hypotheses. Those hypotheses that are inconsistent with observed facts are discarded or modified, while those that are consistent are retained, and those that survive repeated testing are often labeled “theories,” as in “the theory of relativity” and “the theory of evolution.”

This is the reason that nonspecialists are justified in accepting scientific theories outside their disciplines as the best current explanations of observed phenomena: those who developed the theories were following standard scientific practice and reasoning—and if they deviate from that, other scientists will quickly call them to task.

No matter how much fundamentalists might protest to the contrary, there is a world of difference between “faith” in scientific theories (produced using the scientific method, and subject to near-continual testing and scrutiny) and faith in the entirely unsupported myths recorded 3000 years ago by slave-holding goat herders.

Nearly 500 years ago Martin Luther, in his Table Talk, stated: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has.” The opposite is also true.

Chaz Bufe