The whole Darwin thing can still be a tad controversial in Kentucky, a state that hosts a high-tech, Bible-centered, natural-history-style museum that asserts that the Earth is roughly 6,000 years old.
In Hart County, about an hour and 20 minutes south of Louisville, the local school…
|—||Richard Dawkins, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks (via Wikipedia)|
Dawkins’s Scale of Belief.
- Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: “I do not believe, I know.”
- De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. “I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.”
- Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. “I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.”
- Completely impartial. Exactly 50 per cent. “God’s existenceand non-existence are exactly equiprobable.”
- Leaning towards atheism. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. “I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.”
- De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. “I don’t know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.”
- Strong atheist. “I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one.”
I seriously can’t stop listening to this song. I can’t even remember what my life was like before Angels & Airwaves. All I know is it’s better now that they exist :)
Wow. This picture is actually incredible.
It perfectly symbolizes how I feel about this man. Love of my life <3
A friend of mine (I’ll call him Andy) is facing a family crisis over faith. Though Andy is an atheist, his wife is a Christian who, while generally tolerant of Andy’s atheism, nevertheless takes her religion quite seriously, frequently reminding their children about the importance of praying. This is causing tension between Andy and his children. Andy’s oldest child, an eleven-year-old girl whom I’ll call Cindy, is very upset about her father’s non-belief. She seems especially bothered because Andy refuses to pray for her and the rest of their family.
Therefore, Andy decided to write a letter to Cindy, and he was kind enough to forward a copy of it to me. Knowing the background, I thought the letter was beautiful and touching (though I’m wondering what Andy’s wife will think of it). Andy gave me permission to share it, with names changed:
I want to explain something to you that is very important to me. Because I love you very much, and because you are so very important to me, I want you to understand what I’m about to tell you. After you read this, I hope we can talk about what I’m saying here.
I think you know that there is no such thing as magic. When we are children, it’s fun to think about magic and believe in it, but we soon learn that magic is not real. Even when magicians do things that seem impossible, we know that they are not really performing magic. We know that magicians are experts at creating illusions, and that there are natural explanations for everything that happens.
Even though we know that magic is make-believe, sometimes we are taught to believe that it is real. Many people, when they want something, think they should pray to God to give it to them. If they want to win a soccer game, they pray to God to make them win. If they want a new toy, a new dress, or a new iPod, they pray to God to give them these things. If they are sick, they pray to God to make them feel better. If they want to do well on a test, they pray for it. I don’t believe that prayers like these are appropriate, and please let me explain why.
First of all, it seems to me that it’s a little selfish to ask for small magical favors from God. There are 7 billion people in the world, and many of them are in great need. The world is filled with starving children, homeless families, sick people who have no medical care, and people who suffer from the horrors of war. With all of these people who need so much, doesn’t it seem selfish to ask God to help us win a silly soccer game, or to give us a new toy?
Also, it really wouldn’t make sense that a good, loving God would listen to such prayers while ignoring others. Would a loving God ignore the prayers of billions of suffering people, choosing instead to help your team win a soccer game? I want your team to win, but I hope your soccer game is not more important than millions of starving children.
It seems to me that praying for favors is just a way of believing in magic. It’s a way of pretending that the natural laws of the universe can be ignored. This, of course, is silly if you think about it. More importantly, this way of thinking causes many people to ignore their own responsibilities. For example, some people will pray for something even though they haven’t done anything to deserve what they are praying for. They will pray to do well on a test, for example, even though they haven’t studied. To me, this just doesn’t seem right.
After all, the way to do well on a test is to study, isn’t it? The best chance of winning a soccer game is to practice, isn’t it? The best way to be healthy, it seems to me, is to live a healthy lifestyle, to make a habit out of eating healthy foods, avoid things that are unhealthy, and get exercise. And if you want a new toy or a new dress, the way to get them is to earn them.
Of course, sometimes things might happen that seem unfair. We might get ill even though we don’t deserve it, or we might be treated unfairly in some other way. But we have to understand that sometimes things like these happen, that the natural world is not always fair. In the natural world, terribly unfair and unfortunate things happen all the time - that’s just the way nature works. In fact, compared with many other people, we’ve usually got little to complain about. We will almost certainly always have enough food to eat, and we are in a good position to get a good education and all of the material comforts that we need.
Therefore, when you ask me to pray for you (or for anything else), I don’t want you to misunderstand me when I say that I won’t do it. I simply do not believe that prayer works, or that it makes any sense. Nature works according to natural laws, not magic. The idea of a man in the sky who takes requests from 7 billion people just seems silly to me. No such man would ignore the prayers of billions of suffering, innocent people while granting the prayers of those who ask for iPods, or to win soccer games, or pass tests.
So I hope you understand, and I hope you can respect my views. Of course, even though I’m not praying for you, I very much hope good things happen to you! I also want you to help make the world a better place, a place where there is much more peace and much less suffering. That will happen not by praying for it, but by working hard to make it happen. You can make the world better by paying attention to the the natural, not the supernatural, and leaving magic to fairy tales.
Love you with all my heart.
On the topic of this pro-life garbage, I’d like to rant about all the religious double standards that exist in society today.
I have no issues with people being religious, being against abortion, etc. But what I do have an issue with is how both of these things are so relevant in our society and those who do not believe in them are expected to just accept it. Whereas, if someone were to put up a poster FOR abortion or a poster that reads “SCIENCE SAVES”, I guarantee they would be argued against and most likely removed promptly.
The motto in the United States is “In God We Trust”. So are we just to assume that every citizen of the United States believes in God and trusts in him? Absolutely not. But yet it is okay to brand an entire nation and therefore group them into a singular category when that is simply not the truth.
Women are allowed to hang out outside abortion clinics, telling mothers that they are going to hell and god hates them because of their choice and wave signs of mangled fetuses in their faces on what is most likely the hardest day of their lives. I have seen trucks driving up and down 17th avenue with billboards on the side of them showing larger than life photos of blood and guts that are supposed to represent what happens when you get an abortion. How is this okay? Moreover, how is it okay to parade this around in public when, on the other hand, if you mention the fact that you are okay with people making a choice for themselves, you will likely get some kind of stink eye or negative reaction of some sort. On a side note, these pro-life posters aren’t even correct. Abortion is a safe, sterile procedure, not a slicing, dicing and bloody horror like they portray it.
This is why I just can’t understand and why I get so angry when people say I am close-minded for believing what I believe, or, rather, for the lack of what I believe. In a world that is full of god and religion, the fact that I look beyond that, and take my life and the world around me at face value is anything BUT close-minded.
In closing, double standards can suck big, hairy gorilla balls.
WOW. A FETUS IS AN UNDERDEVELOPED BABY. A FETUS DOES NOT HAVE MEMORIES, SELF AWARENESS, AWARENESS OF ITS SURROUNDINGS, EMOTIONS, FEELINGS, ETC. THE MOTHER DOES. THE MOTHER HAS MADE THE CONSCIOUS DECISION TO ABORT HER PREGNANCY. TO PREVENT PAIN TO HERSELF, HER UNBORN CHILD AND POTENTIALLY THOSE AROUND HER. TO CLAIM THAT SOMETHING THAT IS ESSENTIALLY THE SAME AS A FORM OF A PARASITIC RELATIONSHIP HAS “FEELINGS” AND WILL “FEEL PAIN” THEREFORE DISCOURAGING THE MOTHER FROM CARRYING OUT THIS DIFFICULT TASK THAT SHE LIKELY HAS PUT A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF THOUGHT AND CONSIDERATION INTO IS RIDICULOUS. EVEN IF IT WERE POSSIBLE FOR THE FETUS TO FEEL PAIN, IT WOULD NOT COMPREHEND IT, NOR HAVE THE MENTAL CAPACITY TO THINK ABOUT IT, RECOGNIZE IT AND SUFFER FROM IT.
My heart is beating so fast right now. I am enraged. How can people be so ignorant as to place a 20 week old parasite’s considerations over those of a fully grown, decades-old woman?
This may sound callous of me but I’m not beating around the bush. I want to be blunt in order to get my point across without any confusion.
Fuck fuck fuck. How about instead, people provide planned parenthood organizations, therapy and support groups to properly educate young and/or underpriviledged mothers and help them make informed decisions and therefore inevitably decrease the amount of abortions performed? But to take away the choice completely because of the feelings of the FETUS?!
Get fucked. Seriously.
Doctors who perform abortions in Oklahoma after a woman reaches 20 weeks of pregnancy could face felony charges under a bill overwhelmingly approved on Monday by a Senate committee.
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-1 for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a measure based on the idea that a fetus can experience pain after 20 weeks. The bill now heads to the full Senate.
“Based on what we’ve learned from medicine, the pain receptors and everything a child needs to be capable of feeling pain is in place 16 weeks into a pregnancy,” said Sen. Clark Jolley, who sponsored the House bill in the Senate. “The purpose of this bill is simple — to eliminate and restrict abortions on fetuses that are 20 weeks of gestation.”
An exemption to the law is provided for abortions performed when the life of the mother is at risk or if there is a risk of physical impairment of a “major bodily function.”
You’re wrong Senator. “The physical system for nociception is present and functional by 26 weeks and it seems likely that the fetus is capable of feeling pain from this stage.” Source
“Unless it can be shown that the fetus has a conscious appreciation of pain after 26 weeks, then the responses to noxious stimulation must still essentially be reflex, exactly as before 26 weeks.” Source
And let’s not forget the fact that, “In 1997, the Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions in the U.S. past 24 weeks to be 0.08%, or approximately 1,032 per year.” Source “In 1995, 89% of all abortions in the United States were performed within the first 12-13 weeks after the last menstrual period.” [Source: “Susan Dudley, Ph.D. “Abortion After Twelve Weeks” National Abortion Federation 1996]
Keep your lack of research on abortion out of legislation Senator.