Friday, November 30, 2007

What Are They Thinking?

I honestly do not understand the concept of ignoring science when it conflicts with faith.

There was a recent poll that shows that only 42% of Americans accepted evolutionary theory, but 79% believed in miracles.

That is just depressing. Science, that has been tested and tested and tested again is doubted and denied(mostly by people of faith), but magic is perfectly acceptable. The people of this land do not understand that harm they are doing to the nation by refusing to accept the natural sciences and what the learn about this world.

To many of us cling to our perception of the universe that was implanted into us as children and are afraid to allow reveled scientific facts in. The path we are heading down doesn't hold much promise. We deny global warming and evolution. We allow people who claim the earth is only 6000 years old to teach this in schools and colleges. We refuse to allow research not because it is bad research, but because of religiously driven concepts of when live begins, or ensoulment occurs.

Without a willingness to embrace scientific discovery, the path of our nation is on may be depressingly similar to the path that this devoutly religious young man took.

A 14-year-old boy who refused blood transfusions in his fight against leukemia -- based on religious beliefs -- died Wednesday night in Seattle, hours after a Skagit County judge affirmed his right to reject the treatment.

Dennis Lindberg, of Mount Vernon, died around 6 p.m. at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle, according to KING-5 television. As a Jehovah's Witness, Lindberg objected to receiving blood. Doctors had said he needed it to survive his cancer treatment.

In court Wednesday, Superior Court Judge John Meyer said that Lindberg, though in the eighth grade, was old enough to know that refusing blood transfusions might amount to a "death sentence," and that he had the right to make that decision

This type of thinking leads to situations like this.

KHARTOUM, Sudan (CNN) -- Hundreds of protesters brandishing ceremonial swords and sticks gathered outside Khartoum's presidential palace Friday to vent their anger against a British teacher jailed for allowing children to name a teddy bear "Mohammed."

or this:

It is an ingrained ritual, and the villagers regard industrious labor to be a magical protection against being chosen, as indicated by the Old Man Warner, never selected during his 77 years. When Mrs. Adams tells Warner that some of the other villages have stopped holding the annual lotteries, he replies, "Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon."

I guess religious driven stupidity has no bounds.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Canadians Can Be Foolish Too

A school board in Canada has been forced into an action that sounds much more like something you would hear a South Carolina school board eagerly embracing. They have voted to remove a collection of children's books from the school library.

It appears that a, no doubt highly religious person, has filled a complaint about the books, and has forced the board to review them.

What is interesting is that the books in question are highly regarded award winners for young readers. In the past these books have not created great amount of highly notable controversy, but that has changed recently because: 1. The book is being released as a movie 2. The author is an atheist and 3. the Catholic church and the religious right is unhappy.

At least this is happening in Canada, where a review will take place. I fear that here in South Carolina we would move right on to the book burning.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bush Has A Plan To Easy Holiday Air Traffic

If his plan for the airlines is as effective as the rest of his plans have been, I recommend limiting any travel you have to do to walking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In The Climate Change Discussion

The B.B.C. has supplied some wonderful facts to counter the denialist.

Warming is unequivocal. Weather stations, ocean measurements, decreases in snow cover, reductions in Arctic sea ice, longer growing seasons, balloon measurements, boreholes and satellites all show results consistent with the surface record of warming.

They make 10 strong point to refute those who try to distort the truth on this issue.

You May NOT Wish Me A Merry Christmas

at least not yet.

We are still over a week away from Thanksgiving and the non-existent war on Christmas has again been declared to be on by America's biggest fool, Bill O'Reilly and the rest of the Faux news crew. I guess some stupidity is just to profitable to give up.

At least this year someone aside from Faux news is well placed to make some quick cash off of this foolishness. Just another confirmation that fools and their money can still be quite easily parted.

And, just a note about the Christmas and the liturgical calendar; This year Advent will start on December 1st, and Christmas will not arrive (as it does every year) until the 25th of December.

So, A Happy Holiday season to one and all (you know, Thanksgiving, Advent, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years and anything else I missed), and happy thanksgiving and safe travels over the next week or so.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why All The Rush To Embrace Inhumanity

The last couple of weeks has been quite fascinating. We have politicians of all types who appear eager to embrace inhumanity and what are quite likely highly illegal actions.

We have a flock Republican Presidential candidates who all want to be seen as the next Jack Bauer. One, Rudy Giuliani, going as far as to try to tie police questioning that he oversaw, with the torture our government is now employing. We have a confirmation mating dance in DC, where all parties are afraid to talk plainly about the subject, and instead chose to focus of what 'is' is. The President still foolishly parrots his false claim that the US doesn't torture. He apparently thinks that if he redefines torture to remove from the list all the acts of torture we want to use, we are not torturing.

Everyone is acting like the issue of the propriety and legality of waterboarding (and other unnamed forms of torture) is in question. Well, it is not. The US has viewed this act as illegal for over 100 years. In the past, the US has denounce other governments for using this, and other forms of torture. We have prosecuted war criminals who have used waterboarding to question captives.

And now we seem to be trying to claim that this act is no longer torture.

Another way to look at this is to consider the company you keep. Who else is known to have embraced the use of water boarding? Well, Japan during WWII, North Vietnam and the Vietcong , The Stalin's KGB, Pol Pot of Killing Fields fame, and now George Bush.

In the next day or two, more names can be added to the list of those who think torture is an acceptable way of doing business. Including a number of Democratic Senators and of couse both Senators from South Carolina. DeMint, who is a reliable vote for Bush, and Graham, who knows better, but lacks the courage to do the right thing. When Mukasey is approved as AG, those who vote to install him are also voting to approve the use of torture. In his confirmation it was made very clear the he is also willing to twist the law to allow us to try to redefine torture, and allow its continued use.

And, no matter what our politicians do, no matter how they justify it, how they redefine it, no matter how much makeup they apply, it is still torture. Keith Oberman again nails the truth, and the disgustingly viable reasons for Mukasey nomination, and acceptance.

Dispatches From The Culture Wars also touches upon this theme.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Americians May be Getting A Little Smarter

A new poll indicates that a solid majority of people now accept the distribution of birth control in school.

Sixty-seven percent support giving contraceptives to students, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. About as many — 62 percent — said they believe providing birth control reduces the number of teenage pregnancies.

"Kids are kids," said Danielle Kessenger, 39, a mother of three young children from Jacksonville, Fla., who supports providing contraceptives to those who request them. "I was a teenager once and parents don't know everything, though we think we do."

There is still a vivid split of opinion as to if access to birth control will encourage sexual activity, but at least some are now wise enough to understand that the protection it affords outweighs this concern.

In addition, 49 percent say providing teens with birth control would not encourage sexual intercourse and a virtually identical 46 percent said it would.

What was very interesting about this poll, is the view women hold as to the likelihood that access to contraception will lead to more sexual activity.

Though men and women have similar views about whether to provide contraceptives to students, women are likelier than men to think it will not encourage sexual intercourse, 55 percent to 43 percent.

I suspect that the numbers in South Caroline would look much worse that the national view, but it is nice to seem progress is being made in some places.