“Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror. There is evil prowling in the world — it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds. As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help.”
- Texas Governor Rick Perry
It is very hard for me grasp that a person who (1) has these beliefs and (2) has openly shared them for decades was actually somehow elected into one of the highest political offices in the US, and even ran for presidency.
Oberhaupt der katholischen Kirche, 8. Dezember 2012: Homosexualität ist “eine Beleidigung der Wahrheit des Menschen, und eine schwere Verletzung der Gerechtigkeit und des Friedens”.
Hier der komplette Teil der Rede, der sich darauf bezieht:
Auch die natürliche Struktur der Ehe als Verbindung zwischen einem Mann und einer Frau muß anerkannt und gefördert werden gegenüber den Versuchen, sie rechtlich gleichzustellen mit radikal anderen Formen der Verbindung, die in Wirklichkeit die Ehe beschädigen und zu ihrer Destabilisierung beitragen, indem sie ihren besonderen Charakter und ihre unersetzliche gesellschaftliche Rolle verdunkeln. Diese Grundsätze sind keine Glaubenswahrheiten, noch sind sie nur eine Ableitung aus dem Recht auf Religionsfreiheit. Sie sind in die menschliche Natur selbst eingeschrieben, mit der Vernunft erkennbar und so der gesamten Menschheit gemeinsam. Der Einsatz der Kirche zu ihrer Förderung hat also keinen konfessionellen Charakter, sondern ist an alle Menschen gerichtet, unabhängig von ihrer religiösen Zugehörigkeit. Solch ein Einsatz ist um so nötiger, je mehr diese Grundsätze geleugnet oder falsch verstanden werden, denn das stellt eine Beleidigung der Wahrheit des Menschen dar, eine schwere Verletzung der Gerechtigkeit und des Friedens.
Ignosticism or igtheism is the theological position that every other theological position (including agnosticism and atheism) assumes too much about the concept of God and many other theological concepts.
It can be defined as encompassing two related views about the existence of God:
(1) The view that a coherent definition of God must be presented before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed. Furthermore, if that definition is unfalsifiable, the ignostic takes the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of God (per that definition) is meaningless. In this case, the concept of God is not considered meaningless; the term “God” is considered meaningless.
(2) The second view is synonymous with theological noncognitivism, and skips the step of first asking “What is meant by ‘God’?” before proclaiming the original question “Does God exist?” as meaningless.
“And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.
It’s just really hard a thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.”
In August 2011, Dawkins posted a response in the Washington Post to a statement by presidential candidate Rick Perry about evolution. In it, he rants in typical Dawkins style about the republican party, creationism, intelligent design and the United States.
I think Dawkins gets more and more … readable, actually. I like his ideas, have always liked them, and agree with many of the things he says, although I feel he is not doing a very good political job by the way he states them. It is most certainly extremely condescending and arrogant.
However, this has reached a certain threshold of silliness for me that I can laugh about it. I find it amusing. He has become one of the old grumpy people, which does not invalidate his points.
“In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.
Any other organization — a big corporation, say, or a university, or a learned society – -when seeking a new leader, will go to immense trouble over the choice. The CVs of candidates and their portfolios of relevant experience are meticulously scrutinized, their publications are read by a learned committee, references are taken up and scrupulously discussed, the candidates are subjected to rigorous interviews and vetting procedures. Mistakes are still made, but not through lack of serious effort.
The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.”
A dear friend of mine sent me this five-minute Youtube video about two years ago in which Richard Feynman talks about doubt, uncertainty and religion. I like it a lot and have therefore quoted it many times since.
I was excited when I found a lecture yesterday Feynman gave as part of a lecture series in 2011. A transcript of the speech was posted on a blog, and after reading it on the airplane today and decided to repost it.
There are some typos in the original transcript, I corrected a couple, but it is a very long text, and I’m sure you’ll be able to read it, even with some mistakes in it.
Some things I don’t agree with, but there are many things we can learn a lot from. I will post the most important quotes first – if you’re in a hurry, at least read these – and then post the whole lecture below the excerpt.
If you ask [any scientist] intelligent questions — that is, penetrating, interested, honest, frank, direct questions on the subject, and no trick questions — then he quickly gets stuck. It is like a child asking naive questions. If you ask naive but relevant questions, then almost immediately the person doesn’t know the answer, if he is an honest man. It is important to appreciate that.
[…] Read the rest of this entry »
Faith-Healing Couple Found Guilty In Infant Son’s Death
Bobby Henderson wrote a comment on that. He is the founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I find myself very often concurring with him, because he regularly draws a very sharp line between criticizing what people do, and what people believe.
“Some believe this case illustrates how evil religion is. [...] I believe the Church of FSM is not just another anti-religion club. A lot of us have the view that religion is harmful and antiquated, but a lot of us also accept that a huge number of people feel they get something positive out of their faith and their religious communities.
So I am cautious about posting things that promote the idea that the world would be better off without religion. Because, more than anything, I don’t believe it’s in the scope of the Church of FSM to make that statement.
The point I want to make is this: instead of drawing the line between the religious and non-religious, let’s draw the line between the reasonable and unreasonable. Let’s criticize a culture that values faith over reason, rather than religion itself.
Why? We know plenty of religious people and we realize that the majority of Christians do not reject modern medicine for their children. We personally know people who get something positive from their religious communities and yet still act with reason.
These are the people who might believe in some scripture, but they also realize that their faith does a poor job of explaining the natural world. They are not blinded by faith, they are reasonable. We need these people to promote the value of reason within their communities.”