Metro on how to get an atheist angry before he even gets to work

I find this incredibly short sighted. It’s a good thing that the papilloma virus can’t be transmitted by married sexual intercourse….Oh wait, biology doesn’t work like that.

Malaria will apparently wither in the face of determined religious opposition. Maybe mosquito nets or a vaccine would be a better idea. Just a suggestion.

It looks as if the historical “rough” treatment of dogs under Shari’ah law is finally under review.

I really hope that she’s been misquoted because it’s a bit of a silly statement otherwise.

‘There’s something heroic about battling off the forces of scepticism’
‘There’s something heroic about credulity’
‘I was starting to think sceptically but then I pushed the idea away and kept thinking magical thoughts’

Good grief.

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25 Comments

Filed under Atheist, Debate

25 responses to “Metro on how to get an atheist angry before he even gets to work

  1. Re the first story. GGRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

  2. You get what you deserve when you read Metro. It’s toxic material, and you shouldn’t handle it yourself. You should always get another passenger to hold it for you, and safely read the headlines over their shoulder.

  3. Soupy, Grrr! indeed. I wouldn’t object if they had some medical or sceptical reason for refusing the jabs on school grounds but it’s just short sighted superstition. The idea that protection from disease will encourage promiscuity is far fetched and will undoubtedly lead to needless suffering.

    Shackleford, still, better than the Daily Mail.

  4. Pingback: Cervical Cancer Jabs « The Magnificent Frog

  5. Perhaps in order to lesen one’s anger – and therefore level of stress and therefore inprove one’s health one should consider the following?:
    1. read what the board of Governors actually wrote before jumping to wildly biased conclusions about people you have never met.
    2. Accept that it is mostly those of religious FAITH who dedicate serious parts of their lives to informing the peoples of the world who are most subject to death from malaria who, unlike yourself, do not have access to information electronically or in that ‘worthy rag you somehow read yet detest??

    Perhaps in your anger you missed the part where it reported these 30 inter-faith youngsters would be working with HEALTH officials to help PREVENT malaria?? and you deride them?? Amazing!3. read a dictionary and re-evaluate your understanding of the term ‘skepticism’. Credulity is not a synonym i’d use.

    The word would seem to be appropriate to your understanding shown here.

    i offer the following as just one example: scepticism. noun
    the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge [syn: agnosticism]

    i would argue that there is indeed many things heroic about battling skepticism.

    Or do you not concede that Don Quixote was also a hero of Cervantes work?

    perhaps you may see better and anger less with that enormous chip removed from your shoulder? 😉

    Lighten up Sir.

    P.S. what was it that caused you anger over the guide dog??? That the twenty-first century impinged upon a 1500 year old tradition? or that it took about 200 years for them to recognise a guide dog’s place?

    Such pointless anger – sad. and believe me – i have a lot of experience in pointless anger. Very unhealthy thing. intellectualy and physically/emotionally.

    P.P.S. as i read the story the School did not block anything – they merely did not see that their school should be the place where their students were inoculated. If the parents are willing to pay 500 quid for a one in 200 or so chance of saving their kids life i don’t believe the school has stopped them? As for the men getting the jabs too? i don’t see many parent’s taking up the offer at that price for a jab which may save someone else’s life but put their own child at some small risk of side-effects??

    get your idea – but reality tells me – no chance! The big ‘payoff’ to the drug is no cancer of the cervix (well… ‘reduced’ chance not no chance).. no cervix – no point, effectively.

    love,

    <B

  6. LWBUT, good to see a comment from you again.

    I did read what the board of governors actually write. There one saving grace was the comment that they allow no immunisations on school grounds and not just the HPV jabs. I think you’ve probably read my other post on the points about the particular school. The payoff of the drug is an increased resistance to the virus, the desired side effect is a reduction in cervical cancer.

    We don’t really have polio in England anymore but we provide a vaccine to all children regardless of their ability to come into contact with the virus.

    Your point 2 is well made however I don’t believe that I’ve said that people of faith should not help others. One of the positive points of many churches are the works of charity that they do. There is some fantastic work being done the Nothing But Nets campaign that uses many faith initiatives and secular organisations to provide real help. Blair’s idea is to work purely on faith initiatives rather than with people regardless of faith. That is what I find stupid and wasteful. You can also be forgiven for not having the cultural understanding of the way we British view Tony. Bless his cotton socks but he’s a bit of a nutter.

    Credulity: a willingness to believe in someone or something in the absence of reasonable proof.
    Scepticism: an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object.

    You may not wish to use “credulity” as an antonym to “scepticism” but I do. Not a synonym though. Incredulity and scepticism could certainly be used as synonyms.

    I would be interested in understanding precisely what is heroic about believing in something without reasonable proof? OK, we’re playing semantics so what is heroic about a belief in claims to ultimate knowledge?

    Please don’t mistake annoyance and ridicule for genuine anger. You’d need to know me better to really see the difference and can be forgiven for taking the title literally. That doesn’t excuse the tone of your comments that a less reasonable person might find to be condescending.

    Regarding the story of the guide dog my annoyance is that a handicap has been disregarded and the needs of the blind ignored all to satisfy an arbitrary religious rule laid down in the 7th century. I couldn’t resist a the “rough” joke either. “Rough”, “ruff”, “woof”? Perhaps the joke doesn’t travel well.

  7. ‘S a good job i knew you were not a less reasonable person Huh? 😉

    Please excuse the tone all those who read ‘condescension’ – I’ll try and do the same for the apparent tone of derision concerning religious faith 🙂

    I’m born a Pom (but came to my senses and moved where the climate is better) so i well understand and agree with the consensus on Mr Tony. And the ruffness was not lost, i assure you. And yet you read that the religion made an intelligent rational choice but chose instead to vent annoyance over the old actions??

    You’re very much a ‘bottle half empty’ man, it appears?

    Would not a story showing the positives in this more than the negative view you chose to display have perhaps been a wiser choice – improving relations and understanding instead of reinforcing old prejudice and hatred?

    The dictionary definition you quote is A definition, that just happens to reinforce your previous view – how convenient! 🙂

    Did you pay any attention to the others that indicate Skepticism is about doubt and disbelief primarily.?

    You poorly limit the referenced phrase from your morning read to only equate ‘the forces of skepticism’ (the forces of doubt and disbelief) with the single word credulity. That is quite a bias sir – i give the author far more credulity than that.

    As Cervantes shows in Don Quixote – you don’t HAVE to be a winner to be a hero – or to have all your faculties working, for that matter. By this definition you must surely agree there can indeed be something heroic about battling the forces that lead us to always doubt and never to believe… or would you deny children and the child inside us all the right to believe in the unbelievable?

    I’m happy to find that your anger was less of the bitter rage kind and potentially more mere riducule, perhaps for effect? But you do see where some readers who don’t know the ‘real’ you may be a tad confused? 😉

    One final q, if i may.

    Concerning ‘religion’ and the view you have concerning it i have detected from your words here and elsewhere…

    Given so many humans are and for so long have been so very BAD at ‘doing it’..

    Why do you not have a similar attitude towards mathematics, given there are so very many who suck at demonstrating the correct applications of that form of Knowledge?

    Do you hold your view on Religion based upon what others you may have met and read about think? Or on the pure reasoning underlying it?

    If i missed answering a q please don’t hesitate to ask – you know where i live! 🙂

    <B

  8. You’re very much a ‘bottle half empty’ man, it appears?

    Does it? I suppose that you might see that from a single blog entry bemoaning the negative influences of religion on a handful of issues in the UK. Stick around, I’m moaning about the banking system today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll say something positive. It all depends on what’s going on. Maybe tomorrow I’ll decide to tilt at a few windmills if I don’t like the way they’re turning.

    Moving on to your interesting question: why do I not bemoan the poor use of mathematics in society given that many people are very bad at it? Why prefer to focus on the negative aspects of religion?

    Perhaps mathematics, at least in common form, can either be right or wrong, true or false. I can take two apples and eat one and be left with one apple. As a concept it is marvellous in its simplicity. I might well despair that our education system can fail to instill this knowledge into our next generation. Armed with a working knowledge of mathematics a person can build a bridge or share a meal.

    Nobody firebombs a house because they think that two apples minus one apple should leave more apples than one, yet someone has done just that because a book coming out is about Mohammed’s wife. His 9 year old child bride in a fiction. Nobody is stoned to death or crucified for counting past 100. Nobody is taught that 2+2=5 when the evidence strongly suggests that the sum is actually 4…except perhaps Winston Smith.

    I try to see the good in religion, I really do, but for every bit of charity or aid that religion offers I see an oppression that takes it away again, for every kindness, there is a cost and it is most often greater than that which is offered. I see religion used not to raise people out of ignorance and superstition but to keep them mired in it. I see science offer an improvement to the lives of many and then religion being used to take it away again. Sometimes I am saddened by this and sometimes I am angered but it never makes me happy that we have religion.

    None of that even starts to address the idea that what religion teaches may or may not be true. I don’t think it is but that really is beside the point when it is used in so many negative ways.

  9. It was perhaps a little unfair of me to make such a generalisation on the evidence of this one blog post (not the ontly thing i have ever read here though, i hasten to point out!) 😉

    It is still seeming to be the case though – even after my comments… Case in point:’bemoaning the negative influences of religion on a handful of issues in the UK’ ‘Negative influences’??

    In the first news item you completely overlook that the school’s entire existence is down to it’s religious foundation. Presumably the standard of education there is academically rather high (a positive) The school is not denying anyone the right to a free choice or of innoculation for any child, they are simply stating what they believe and standing up for their own principles (whether you agree with those principles or not is beside the issue – unless you are sending your kids to that school??) They surely have the right and perhaps even an obligation to make a stand for what they believe?

    As to the second news item – how exactly is a committed group pf young people forming together to act in co-operation not only with the Health Authorities, but with people of different faith to battle a disease that kils millions of innocents all over the world ( which has different faiths and so therefore this group can reach out to all equally) in any way a negative thing – other than your own negative bias against religion says it is so?

    Number 3 on the list is a success story – old faith moving progressively forward – but in your eyes – another ‘negative’ story?

    Number 4: a very positive article concerning an author having world-wide success and yet even in that you manage to pull out a single comment as somehow (because of your own negativity in not seeing any other perspective of what she might have been saying) being the most mention-worthy part of the article which further aroused your seemingly already very much glass half full day in what seems to be a quite consistent and deeply felt negative attitude towards something i choose to see as having so very much personal merit – Religion – or more specifically a belief in something hard to define, but frequently denoted by the three letter term, God.

    ‘I try to see the good in religion, I really do,…’

    Try harder! 😉

    This might help…. all of the ‘negativity’ you so articulately selected to describe in what you see as concerning ‘religion’ is, in fac,t a very basic part of mankind – it is not the ‘fault’ of religion. As in Maths – just because something is poorly executed by many people does not mean there is anything intrinsically ‘wrong’ with the thing – we don’t discard maths because so many are crap at it. You don’t blame maths for people’s stupidity, do you?

    Just their religion? Hmmmm..?

    I see Religion as holding a very valid answer to counter that part of Man’s nature. It is fighting a battle to overcome it and the resistance (through mankind’s overbearingly ego-filled stupidity) just battles constantly against that.

    i have ample ‘proof’ of that in my own personal experiences (i.e. the fight for good overcoming my base nature and the stupidity of the ego). I am in no way alone in this but i do feel sometimes that it is more a case of ‘me vs the World’ when trying to share that view.

    When science invents a device to remove the hatred from people and all their many other personality disorders i MIGHT think about seeing it as a worthy equal to religion. 😉

    And i do agree before you mention it that so far religion has not come close to achieving such for the vast majority of all humankind.

    I do believe it is the intended aim though which i don’t think can be said for Science.

    I would add that i am in favour of the many benefits science has provided, i just don’t think it has a very clear objective of where it wants to ‘go’ – or what it is leading us all into! (said as a former Atheist!) 🙂

    love,

    <B

  10. ‘Negative influences’??

    Yes. I listed a few.

    In the first news item you completely overlook that the school’s entire existence is down to it’s religious foundation

    Its foundation may be down to religious funding but it’s ongoing funding is state sponsored and state maintained. Beyond that they set a precedent where a religiously minded organisation can refuse vaccinations or anything else a secular government might promote.

    One of the Governors, Monsignor John Allen, said of the HPV vaccine:

    Morally it seems to be a sticking-plaster response. Parents must consider the knock-on effect of encouraging sexual promiscuity. Instead of taking it for granted that teenagers will engage in sexual activity, we can offer a vision of a full life keeping yourself for a lifelong partnership in marriage.

    Don’t you find it strange that this is the only school in the country denying its girls the opportunity to have this potentially life-saving jab administered on its premises? And that is just happens to be run by a religious organisation well known for its unhealthy obsession with sex?

    They surely have the right and perhaps even an obligation to make a stand for what they believe

    I don’t see them making a stand. I see them denying access to the vaccine and claiming that it isn’t motivated by a religious morality.

    As to the second news item – how exactly is a committed group pf young people forming together to act in co-operation not only with the Health Authorities, but with people of different faith to battle a disease that kils millions of innocents all over the world ( which has different faiths and so therefore this group can reach out to all equally) in any way a negative thing – other than your own negative bias against religion says it is so?

    If that were the case then why not simply join with an existing organisation like Nothing But Nets? No, rather than join with organisations that involve secular people a “faith” initiative is chosen as being superior. Presumably prayer will form a part of their “aid”. I’m sure prayer is a great comfort to people but nets are what they need.

    From Blair’s Faith Foundation

    Inspired by their different religious traditions, they will motivate and equip young people in congregations, schools and university religious student groups to lead their faith communities in spreading awareness of the MDG challenge, raising life-saving funds for the fight against deaths from malaria and promoting a new inter-religious dialogue of life and action.

    The sentiment is fine but why choose to limit it to religious groups? In England that is cutting out half of the available population. Why?

    Number 3 on the list is a success story – old faith moving progressively forward – but in your eyes – another ‘negative’ story?

    The negative thing is that they even had to grant permission. There’s a blind man who needs a dog to guide him. Instead of just accepting that they graciously make a special concession and allow him to bring his dog. Bravo, well done, how very progressive.

    On the Zoe Heller quote I did point out that I hope that she was misquoted. An otherwise interesting story about her change from “naughty” journo to serious author was marred by a throw away comment.

    all of the ‘negativity’ you so articulately selected to describe in what you see as concerning ‘religion’ is, in fac,t a very basic part of mankind

    Thank you, I do try to be articulate. I find it interesting that you claim that religion is a basic part of mankind. Are you assuming that people have a “God shaped hole” that need filling? Are you claiming that the ubiquitous of religious belief makes it fact?

    I see Religion as holding a very valid answer to counter that part of Man’s nature. It is fighting a battle to overcome it and the resistance (through mankind’s overbearingly ego-filled stupidity) just battles constantly against that.

    Ah, the Argument from Morality that claims that without gods we’d all degenerate into raping, murdering, thieving monsters. It’s not true for me and I would hope that it’s not true for you in case you ever waver in your faith.

    i have ample ‘proof’ of that in my own personal experiences

    Unrepeatable, anecdotal evidence while, I’m sure, very interesting are not proof. If you want proof then explain your method and I shall repeat your experiment and see if I get the same results.

    When science invents a device to remove the hatred from people and all their many other personality disorders i MIGHT think about seeing it as a worthy equal to religion. 😉

    Science is in the business of explaining how and why, not forcing people into a predefined idea of what it right and wrong. You are right: science and religion are not equal.

    And i do agree before you mention it that so far religion has not come close to achieving such for the vast majority of all humankind.

    I do believe it is the intended aim though which i don’t think can be said for Science.

    On the contrary. Science has led to medicine and an understanding of disease that now extends the human lifespan to an average of nearly 80 years. 200 years ago it was barely half that. Science has led to agricultural advances that feed 100 times the population of only a few centuries ago with considerably better results. Science has improved the lives of billions of people.

    I would add that i am in favour of the many benefits science has provided, i just don’t think it has a very clear objective of where it wants to ‘go’ – or what it is leading us all into! (said as a former Atheist!) 🙂

    Now who is looking at the glass as half empty?

  11. I have to disagree, Hover. A faith based initiative is needed because of the nature of many african societies where people are highly involved with their faith, a faith based organisation helping them will raise awareness more because it will be seen as a trusted source. When Catholicism told them not to use condoms people were (rightly, in my opinion) up in arms. Now a faith based organisation is getting together to do the opposite, to help raise awareness and educate about prevention of a disease, I think that’s very good. The contraception debacle shows how much sway these groups have in Africa, so if they’re going to use that to help battle a disease all the better.

    It would not be needed in Europe because by and large even those of us which have faith also know from media and government about these things. For some people in Africa what the churches/mosques say is very important, so to have them on board could save lives.

    Whether prayer is involved or not is irrelevant to you because you don’t believe it works. If they believe it works, why should they not do it? It does not cost them money to pray, it’s not diverting funds away from protection and cure. No one says “Pray and you can ignore sound advice and do what ever you want and you’ll be fine.” As long as the message is that you need to take preventive measures to protect yourself then surely what else they do is personal choice?

  12. Pete, it’s probably wasteful of me to point out that the African culture has been radically altered by European intervention and huge investment in effort on the part of missionaries. Catholicism may well be culpable for the unchecked spread of Aids. I can certainly see how churches should come along and try to stop it getting any worse. The issue I have is that they seem to address it as an issue that is purely religious. Working with the Red Cross (a secular organisation) or local government (when it isn’t horribly corrupt) must surely increase the effectiveness of any help they offer.

    It is like me, an atheist, refusing to work with a Hindu programmer in solving a problem because of their faith. OK, not quite. It’s more like not acknowledging that the Hindu programmer is a good programmer and working independently to solve the same problem. Combining our resources would be so much more effective.

    Whether prayer is involved or not is irrelevant to you because you don’t believe it works. If they believe it works, why should they not do it? It does not cost them money to pray, it’s not diverting funds away from protection and cure. No one says “Pray and you can ignore sound advice and do what ever you want and you’ll be fine.” As long as the message is that you need to take preventive measures to protect yourself then surely what else they do is personal choice?

    Yes, I agree. The issue of prayer is really a bit of a red herring on my part. As long as it doesn’t replace material aid then, of course, people are free to pray. It is a shame that prayer can very easily replace action, especially in those divorced from the situation. I’ve little evidence on the numbers but I do take issue with the idea of a positive action being prayer.

  13. But Blair is not saying that these guys won’t work with existing organisations, quite the opposite, he’s saying “will work with health organisations in Africa” it’s about co-operation to tackle a problem. So on the contrary it’s like you acknowledging that the programmer from the other culture has positive solutions, but that some people will listen more to you than they will to him, so you will go out and encourage them to use the solution. The solution’s being put forward are the same, they’re just being presented in different ways and by different people so as to reach communities that may otherwise be harder to reach. People are often more open to listen to someone they relate too through common ground like their beliefs.

  14. Well said AMP 🙂

    Dear Hover, i believe your prejudice against religion is blinding you to what i am saying. if i may explain case by case from your last reply to my comments?

    “Yes. I listed a few.”
    No, you listed your biases – the influences were, as i tried to show another light on, actually ‘positive’ or simply ‘different’ to your views, not negative influences. (Although clearly, since you listed them originally under a post declaiming your experienced anger – a most often taken to be negative emotion, if offering you a perceived ‘healthy’ outlook/outlet? – to you they were seen as negative ones).

    Concerning St Monica’s High School – I mean it is a RELIGIOUS based school – one which like all ‘private schools’ (you call them public over there i believe? i never understood that? Aussie Public Schools are the ones that are free and any member of the public can go to!)

    Being a ‘private’ school, like any other that relies upon tax-payer funding, (as they all do, private and public, to varying degrees) is neither here nor there surely? The parents of those students, besides paying school fees and saving the government the cost of building extra schools, are also tax-payers and therefore have a right to some tax funding for their children at their choice of school.

    And why do you keep INSISTING they are denying inoculations??? Any parent is still free to get their child inoculated should that be there wish – no? it is simply that the school’s ethos does not want it to be seen as lending support to a particular way of living for the students under it’s care, having considered what it’s obligations to them are – where they begin and end.

    Why do you not get that the school is not preventing anyone from geting an anti-hpv jab for themselves, simply not with school ‘authority’ approving it?
    The health of a student is up to the student/parent surely – the moral health is up to the school the family has chosen for that student – no?

    Please stop believing they are ‘denying access’ to inoculations – they do not and have no power to – that lies in the hands of the parents. While many children in the UK may get their jabs at school your argument makes as much sense as saying a child who is home-schooled is being denied an inoculation because one or more parents does not wish it to be done at home!

    Re Blair’s Anti-malaria groups – you fail to indicate why this positive was in fact negative. You say being religious cuts out ‘half of England’ but according to the CIA World Fact Book over 71% of the UK is Christian with a fair few more of other religious groupings thrown in for ‘good’ measure – and if we can’t trust the CIA for accuracy – who can we trust? 😉

    And i reiterate: the groups are to be acting in CO-OPERATION with international (secular!) health groups, so i say – your anti-religious bias is blinding you to the facts sir. Your anti-Blair bias is perfectly understandable though – what a Cretin! 🙂

    Re the guide dog story: again – the POSITIVE story is the ‘progression’ made by a 1500 year old ‘tradition’ – it’s moving forward – you obviously don’t wish to see that is positive nor i suspect do you fully understand why Dogs are still reviled by the Muslim community (this man could surely have a sighted Muslim guide him to the mosque? Does the dog drive a car or hail a bus for him or something? Does rover not deserve some play time for himself while his owner prays?)

    Again religion is not, nor was it, denying the blind to come to a service, but was respecting the wishes of it’s entire congregation that no dogs be on Holy ground/in a prayer worship.

    The negativity is in the beholder more than the thing being beheld, i suspect?

    i repeat – lighten up Sir! – it can do you good if you let it 🙂

    As to my own comments, you misread my intent in part:

    “all of the ‘negativity’ you so articulately selected to describe in what you see as concerning ‘religion’ is, in fac,t a very basic part of mankind”

    i did not mean ‘religion’ was a very basic part of mankind (in your fervent negative reaction to that term you jumped to a false assumption/interpretation!)

    I was referring to the NEGATIVITY in you as being the basic part of human nature/mankind.

    The Religion (like the mathematical principles) is not what is at fault – it is ‘us’; those who misuse and abuse it’s principles for greed and personal gain/moral superiority.

    it is the personal ‘i MUST be Right’ aspect of us that Religion attempts to quash and quell but which ALL OF US rebel against – some far more forcibly and violently than others, but we ALL do it to one degree or another because our ego just won’t let us hand over our ‘power’ to anyone or anything else – not deep down it doesn’t.

    The arguments you use following that comment are arguing something i did not state or intend.

    This one was particularly ridiculous though – i thought you much more worthy an intelligence than this:

    “Ah, the Argument from Morality that claims that without gods we’d all degenerate into raping, murdering, thieving monsters”

    Excessive hyperbole is a very sad excuse for logic, Sir. And to my mind there are far worse things to be than rapists, murderers and thieving monsters.
    Some of them wear funny hats and dresses or work in parliaments 🙂
    Some of them exist in the bowels of our minds – lurking unseen mostly!

    and ultimately there is only One God – we humans simply see different aspects of the Infinite and select certain limits as to ‘His’ expansiveness since we ourselves, in our physicality and our ego/experiences, are so very limited beings.

    “If you want proof then explain your method and I shall repeat your experiment and see if I get the same results”

    i have ALL the proof i need – and so do you.It is physically impossible for any human being to repeat the ‘experiment’ in the fashion you hold such ‘faith’ in since you cannot ever be ‘me’, nor could you achieve what i have without doing so – you can however come to your own intelligent, logical conclusions about God that would align with mine should you rid yourself of a fair bit of your personal ego and concern yourself more with your own Truth than that of history or other being’s experiences. But that is entirely up to you of course – i am not suggesting that my experiences/conclusions are actually perfectly suited to being the best thing for the being you are being now. 🙂

    in fact – if you can say in all truth that you are living Joyfully (as opposed to happily!) all of the time, then please, feel free to pass on your ‘proof’ and i’ll have a crack at that!

    As for looking at the glass half empty – please read just what is said in my last quote you selected, without your negativity, and tell me what you then think – or is that not possible?

    Can you Sir, indicate with any accuracy, just where science will ‘lead us eventually to?

    Your comment that the last few centuries have lead us to a ‘better’ world, with the threat of Nuclear, Climatic, Human Sexual Sterilisation, Obesity and Nutritional Obliteration of mankind all poised over everyone’s heads must, at best, be a very subjective, not objective, view of the current state of affairs and i would like to see any factual evidence for the belief that we are in any way happier for living longer than we did a thousand years ago? show me a ‘contentment study’ done a thousand (or even a hundred) years apart for example… just how happy do you guess the world’s 6.5 billion ‘sufferers’ are on average right now – thanks to Science, and man’s ego, stuffing up God’s message to His Creation?

    How well have we in our past shared the wealth we have stolen from the poorer parts of the world’s economies would you say?

    Humans (and politics) are where the negativity lies, Sir, not Religion! – right on your own doorstep, so to speak – Religion is only as good as Humans know how to make it – just like Science… and all evidence is we generally fail to do anywhere near as well or as good as we all (all our personal ego’s) think we do.

    make sense yet? 🙂

    <B

  15. Apologies! 4th para above (‘Concerning…’) should have ended with: are funded both by common taxes and private fee contributions/donations. Most are in Buildings belonging to and paid for, either in whole or in part, by private organisations , some with common capital funding for maintenance.

    ta,

    <B

  16. Crikey, don’t give me too much to read. 🙂

    On St Monica’s first and briefly. They are a school that receives some funding from national taxes, that is true whether they are public or private. Private schools receive additional funds through parental contributions (you could argue that state schools do the same to a degree). Both types of school are held to certain educational standards and are checked by a government funded body.

    Beyond the educational requirements a school has a duty to care for their pupils and provide instruction in “life skills” and to make available their pupils for state funded vaccinations. This duty isn’t enshrined in law but i think is reasonable to accept that it exists nonetheless.

    The school have not explicitly stated that pupils of St Monica’s cannot receive the vaccine. Instead they have not made their premises available for administering it and have not made any alternative arrangements available. That is, of course, their right. I say that exercising that right is putting the pupils at an avoidable risk. The motivation to do so, we must assume, is purely religiously based. We all know the stereotype of Catholics obsessed with the uses that people put their genitals.

    It seems clear to me that they have made a leap that the vaccine will encourage promiscuity or perhaps the fear of cervical cancer will encourage the girls to remain celibate. Quite how that helps when they do have sex, presumably with their husbands, is beyond me. Perhaps they want to encourage all the pupils to become nuns. Motivations of the Catholic mind are not something that I’m an expert on. The fact remains that these girls are being denied proper access to a vaccine that has the potential to save their lives and that a Catholic school us responsible for that.

    This

    it is simply that the school’s ethos does not want it to be seen as lending support to a particular way of living for the students under it’s care

    I think really explains their position and yours. The virus that causes cervical cancer is transmitted through sexual contact, that much is true. It is not, as you seem to imply, a disease for sluts keen to screw around with every diseased ne’er do well in town. The “particular way of living” that you seem to scorn is simply that the girls may choose to have sex at some time in their lives. Perhaps we should support an “abstinence only” style of sex education?

    I must also express my bewilderment that you consider the administering of a vaccine to be a moral issue. Perhaps you consider it a religious issue? I don’t see that either but I’m not familiar with all of the many rules that religions place on their adherents.

    if we can’t trust the CIA for accuracy – who can we trust?

    Ha, funny.

    Pete (AMP) also raised some good point about Mr Blair’s foundation. I wish these young people from many religious backgrounds the very best in their chosen fight against disease. I do hope that they choose to work with secular organisations along with religious ones. That is precisely the sort of attitude that I would hope charity workers would embrace, whether secular or religious.

    My scan of Tony’s web site and of the story implied a solely religious assault on malaria. I find such an idea to be quite wasteful as I have alluded to earlier. Wasteful is also what I’ve come to expect from the former PM. Sadly. I had such high hopes too. If only Tony Benn had been leader instead, there’s a religious (former) politician who deserves respect for his quiet intelligence and strong moral compass.

    The Religion (like the mathematical principles) is not what is at fault – it is ‘us’; those who misuse and abuse it’s principles for greed and personal gain/moral superiority.

    Ah, I understand. I agree. Religion is very often used for negative things and is very often at fault for the negative actions of people. The same could be said for science and with good evidence to support it.

    ultimately there is only One God – we humans simply see different aspects of the Infinite and select certain limits as to ‘His’ expansiveness since we ourselves, in our physicality and our ego/experiences, are so very limited beings.

    Are you referring to Einstein’s God or the Christian God? They are very different things as I’m sure you are aware. Perhaps Allah\Yahweh\Jealous\Jesus are simply aspects of a deist viewpoint. Perhaps “God” is simply a way of expressing the vast, one could say infinite, expanse of the universe. That doesn’t make the Koran\Bible\Torah accurate retellings of how the universe formed or how we should act. Nor does it give men in funny hats or dresses any special powers to make people better. Why would it?

    i have ALL the proof i need

    Fine, it isn’t proof for anyone else then which means that it isn’t good, independent, testable evidence. We’ll just leave it that you are happy with your strong personal conviction and leave it at that, shall we?

    in fact – if you can say in all truth that you are living Joyfully (as opposed to happily!) all of the time, then please, feel free to pass on your ‘proof’ and i’ll have a crack at that!

    Most of the time, not all of the time. I think it is really an attitude rather than a proof. I suspect that, like most people, simply trying to make the best of things is what makes life so good. It isn’t belief in gods or an afterlife, I feel that this is simply a distraction.

    i would like to see any factual evidence for the belief that we are in any way happier for living longer than we did a thousand years ago?

    There are simple measures of human happiness that there is ample proof for: health and longevity in general. Without life there is simply no chance that anyone can be happy and without health our happiness is diminished. Science has extended life and improved health.

    Of course, if you’d rather do without the benefits of science then you are free to take that option. I understand that some communities in America are still living as if in the 17th century.

    Humans (and politics) are where the negativity lies, Sir, not Religion! – right on your own doorstep, so to speak – Religion is only as good as Humans know how to make it – just like Science… and all evidence is we generally fail to do anywhere near as well or as good as we all (all our personal ego’s) think we do.

    I agree which is why I so very grateful that the scientific method allows for a midpoint correction when things go wrong and allows us to abandon a course that is fruitless. Would that Jesus’ message had included something along the same lines.

    Actually, maybe it does and I’m just not aware of it. I’d be interested in hearing where it lies if it does exist.

  17. I apologise for the lengthiness of my coments – i can talk too much . I generally do so with the aim of attempting to state my ‘opinions’ as well as practicable so that other people’s internal bias does not ‘hijack’ TOO much what i am endeavouring to explain.

    Sadly, this has failed in the case of St Monica’s; has had only minor success in the case of the anti-malaria group; slightly greater success concerning Zoe Heller ( the most trivial) and i’m not too sure about the guide dog, as being positives as much as, if not more than, negatives as you initially quite clearly painted them to be – in your humble opinion :-).

    Surely a man of your apparent intelligence and senior years has managed to understand by now that, just because a person of intelligence is able to understand the logic behind an ‘opposing’ viewpoint and can stand up for it against unjust argument, does NOT necessarily mean that same actually endorses or adhere’s to the opposite viewpoint..

    Merely because i stood up for their right to determine what takes place or does not take place on their property (while NOT removing the parents’ rights to jab whatever vaccines or other injectables Science has avowed safe and ‘necessary’ to the world in general into their childrens’ body’s) in no way indicates my beliefs as to the rightness or wrongness of their actions for me personally – i would NOT send any daughter of mine to that school on the basis of what i have read so far!

    I have never stated MY opinion concerning the vaccine (mostly favourable btw) but merely wished you to correct your blindness concerning what the school has actually said and done.

    It grieves me somewhat that you seem incapable of giving me the benefit of any doubt – i might even be tempted to come to the conclusion that you Sir, may be a bigot! A Science ‘Snob’. 🙂

    it grieves me similarly, that you somehow take my Faith and belief in the benefits a clear understanding of a Christian Bible (or for that matter a Qu’ran or Torah or even the Bhagadvita) has to offer me personally, and the world generally, in fighting our own basic stupidity and pride seem to assume that makes me some kind of Amish Quaker Luddite who wants us all wearing loincloths and living in caves while crucifying all the immoral murdering, raping, thieving monsters of Scientists and their evil offspring and ‘bombing you back to the Stone Age’ (<–not my original words!)

    See? i can resort to hyperbole too to make a point! 🙂

    I seriously think you are living in your own Science Fantasy world if you equate living longer and what you somehow perceive as ‘healthier’ (than what or whom?) as equating in any way to Joyfullness. Try living with a family in the Amazon jungles for a year or six and see who’s Happier – them or your mates in dear old Blighty – who has the greater stress or better overall health.

    I was talking Joyfullness as taken as an average of ALL humanity today, not merely the nice warm cocoon you seem to be living in – but why were you so darn ANGRY then if you’re happier and ‘healthier’ (reference points please)?

    Jesus’s message has no ‘midpoint correction’ – that is left to your own ability to determine the consequences of your actions (something Scientists and many so-called Religious leaders alike are often VERY bad at (Genie Stuffing being what it is and all). Jesus’s Message is quite simple – the BEST you can ever do is love God, love your neighbour and love the higher (Spiritual) part of yourself and eschew the lower, base immoral ego parts – which are ‘legion’. You literally have to ‘die’ to your own (lower ego-centred) ‘life’ and live a new pure one through His instruction/way of living as He practiced.

    I can STRONGLY recommend you try reading what the guy says and not letting ‘go’ until you find a compassionate interpretation.

    The key that most leaders/priests/pastors/rabbis/Imams actually do get but frequently fail to pass on very well to their followers. ( Buddhists seem to do it best but then you see the violence of the Tibet protests and you have to wonder!?)

    Which is one very good reason why i don’t often listen to what anyone else tells me about religion, but seek to understand it for myself from Scripture, so as to make it as it was intended – a deeply PERSONAL experience between me and the Divine without my dumb-ass ego (or anyone elses’, importantly) getting in the way (as it so longs to do in all of us).

    I’m shutting up for the moment as this is longer now than i intended.

    Am i making ANY sense to you yet? 😉

    <B

  18. I apologise for the lengthiness of my comments

    Don’t worry about it, you’ve been very enlightening.

    Sadly, this has failed in the case of St Monica’s; has had only minor success in the case of the anti-malaria group; slightly greater success concerning Zoe Heller ( the most trivial) and i’m not too sure about the guide dog, as being positives as much as, if not more than, negatives as you initially quite clearly painted them to be – in your humble opinion :-).

    Yes, we do seem to have reached an impasse.

    Surely a man of your apparent intelligence and senior years

    Ouch. Senior years. That’s just mean.

    does NOT necessarily mean that same actually endorses or adhere’s to the opposite viewpoint..

    A fair point.

    it grieves me similarly, that you somehow take my Faith and belief in the benefits a clear understanding of a Christian Bible (or for that matter a Qu’ran or Torah or even the Bhagadvita) has to offer me personally, and the world generally, in fighting our own basic stupidity and pride seem to assume that makes me some kind of Amish Quaker Luddite who wants us all wearing loincloths and living in caves while crucifying all the immoral murdering, raping, thieving monsters of Scientists and their evil offspring and ‘bombing you back to the Stone Age’ (<–not my original words!)

    There’s a big difference between your own peaceful beliefs that give you peace and the beliefs that put lives in danger or cause suffering.

    I seriously think you are living in your own Science Fantasy world if you equate living longer and what you somehow perceive as ‘healthier’ (than what or whom?) as equating in any way to Joyfullness.

    It’s quite simple. A dead person cannot make any effort to increase their own happiness or the happiness of others. Humans want to be happy, it is the preferred state. Ergo longevity equates to happiness.

    I was talking Joyfullness as taken as an average of ALL humanity today, not merely the nice warm cocoon you seem to be living in – but why were you so darn ANGRY then if you’re happier and ‘healthier’ (reference points please)?

    Are you suggesting that an increase in happiness by an Englishman causes unhappiness in someone halfway around the world? Perhaps the exploited masses working to grow tea leaves (or whatever) are miserable as a result of western greed. There are also well paid farmers doing the same who live better lives now. Our western wealth also goes to fund charities and medical aid for impoverished people. I wonder if anyone has added the pluses and minuses up?

    Jesus’s message has no ‘midpoint correction’ – that is left to your own ability to determine the consequences of your actions

    Then it’s the same as any other good advice. People can take it or leave it.

    I can STRONGLY recommend you try reading what the guy says and not letting ‘go’ until you find a compassionate interpretation.

    As I mentioned on your blog the message does have some good points. The interpretation and religious spin are what I find offensive. If the religions actually lived according to the message (well the good bits anyway) then my objections would be groundless. Do you think that they are? The key point here is that religion, faith and God are not the same thing.

  19. Jason, I’m going to break the habit of a lifetime and be ‘brief’ 🙂

    “There’s a big difference between your own peaceful beliefs that give you peace and the beliefs that put lives in danger or cause suffering.” I’ll take that as something of a compliment (ty) and say that we are close to agreement on that point. I will keep insisting though – that in both Science and Religion – it is the HUMAN habit of taking something with great potential for good and stuffing it up that results in lives in danger and suffering and not either ‘belief’, per se 🙂

    “Ergo longevity equates to happiness.” and if you live longer in misery, poverty, and/or illnesses while the tv tells you what a wonderful happy life you could be living? Why are suicides increasing in a ‘better’ world? Again – please provide statistical evidence for increased happiness thanks to Science as Science and intellectual reason demands, and not just your own impressions as us ‘religious types’ do 😉

    I agree – just about ALL humans want happiness – the state of want being determined by NOT having that which is wanted. 🙂

    You sort of answered your own q about an Englishman’s happiness (or otherwise) but i was actually saying you need to look at the whole of humankind to determine how happiness is increasing or decreasing thanks to the Scientific Revolution and not just your local neighbourhood you are most familiar with. Some are certainly seeming ‘happier’ as a result of technological improvements but i fear the gap between the rich and happy and poor and miserable (and that is not a definitive criteria since poor people are often happier than rich) is actually being widened as we ‘evolve’.

    “Then it’s the same as any other good advice” with ONE significant exception – His message is to put an infallible Authority over our own – Thy Will not my will be done. A significant safeguard against man’s stupidity that Humanism can never adequately assure against.

    I believe religions themselves ‘try’ to follow good precepts – but being human and not actually understanding HOW we can eliminate our egos the practitioners almost inevitably end up failing. Again that does not mean the idea is not sound but that humans are the REAL problem 🙂

    if i may finish by quoting a man i also admire.. Albert Einstein: “Only the Universe and man’s Stupidity are infinite.”

    Brief, of course, was a ‘relative’ term 😉

  20. Oh – if i have in any way allowed for your ‘rose-coloured glasses’ (vis-a-vis Science benefits vs drawbacks) to be less rosy and your pessimism concerning the ideology of religion (compared to it’s SOME of it’s human practitioners – remembering people like Tam, Brent, Alece, Deb, Brandy and a huge number of similarly inclined people practice Faith in their God) to be in any way diminished, then my work here – while being far from ‘done’ – has certainly not been wasted 🙂

    i hope too, you find less reason to be angry about Metro in future 😉

    live well.

    love,

    <B

  21. it is the HUMAN habit of taking something with great potential for good and stuffing it up that results in lives in danger and suffering and not either ‘belief’

    True. Except that dogmatic beliefs are unchanging whereas scientific evidence challenges false scientific beliefs and corrects them. Perhaps not quickly or in time to prevent people from getting hurt or even killed but eventually.

    if you live longer in misery, poverty, and/or illnesses while the tv tells you what a wonderful happy life you could be living?

    I think that I’m either not explaining well enough or you’re missing the point. If someone lives in misery, poverty or ill health they have the opportunity to change their situation and achieve a degree of happiness thanks to medical advances and labour saving devices. If they are unhappy for 45 years and then die (the average global life span 50 years ago was 46 years) they cannot ever be happier than they were. If they live to 65 (the global lifespan in 2005) they have 20 more years either to be miserable or to try to attain a degree of happiness. The assumption being that people desire happiness and will work towards that goal. A longer lifespan simply provides more opportunities to achieve happiness. It does not guarantee it but makes it more likely.

    “Then it’s the same as any other good advice” with ONE significant exception – His message is to put an infallible Authority over our own – Thy Will not my will be done. A significant safeguard against man’s stupidity that Humanism can never adequately assure against.

    That only works if people accept this authority surely? If not then how can it be measured against anything? I don’t need the authority of a creator being to understand that killing is not good and helping other is. There’s no safeguard if the authority is irrelevant. It’s like having a police force that never arrest anyone or a criminal offence that can never be tested. That said, if it helps you to act in a compassionate manner then you should certainly continue to use it.

    I believe religions themselves ‘try’ to follow good precepts

    I beg to differ. “Religions” do nothing. People with religious views certainly may try to follow good precepts. They may also follow bad ideas that they consider to be good because of dogmatic teachings. For example the blind Muslim being denied access to his place of worship with his guide dog until reason and compassion allowed for others to bend the rules.

    On rose-coloured glasses, I think that you’re missing the obvious here. As I mentioned on your blog the issue I have is really dogma, stupid, pointless rules that lead to harm or prevent happiness. They probably made sense thousands of years ago but now…not so much. Deb, Tam, Brent, etc have made a great effort to make a connection with people who don’t share their faith. Even though we disagree on many things I can see how they mean well in everything that they do and certainly gain a degree of inspiration from their faith. They’ve also allowed that this inspiration isn’t shared by everyone.

    i hope too, you find less reason to be angry about Metro in future

    Ha, I can tell that you never read it (probably wise). There’s always something in the Metro to annoy.

  22. My Dear Jason 🙂

    “I think that I’m either not explaining well enough or you’re missing the point.” i was missing your argument and now see it – but once again – i’ts your rose coloured glass which is giving you such a poor ‘logical view’.

    While living longer DOES indeed allow for more chances to achieve happiness – it quite obviously must also allow for more chances tor prolonged misery also 🙂 You are familiar with the multiplication of probabilities that always have a value of less than one to one i assume? – the successful outcomes diminish with the frequency of repetition/# of variables being considered.

    Much of our literature which deals with living forever clearly shows that there is actually a severe downside to it; by your logic all such characters should be happy (assuming such a thing as happiness actually exists on this planet?.

    Basically – it is as Children we are at our happiest (mostly) even though we are mostly then not masters of our own fate/circumstances. As we grow older there is more reason to feel miserable at all the injustices that surround us.

    If we don’t get the key to happiness before we reach around 45 years than i contend that we are not more likely to get it by the time we turn 95 either.

    You might live in the hope that something will change in your life after this age to increase your happiness and all power to you for holding onto Hope – in spite of any scientific ‘proof’ of such 😉

    There is just the possibility that a shorter lifespan might increase our urgency and need to find a way to be happy sooner (Assuming of course that seeking PERSONAL happiness (potentially at the expense of others) is a thing to be sought by all?)

    ‘my’ Religion requires suffering in order that we perform His Will and gain eternal Joy as a consequence… perhaps the logic of that is hard to take on board for many of us?

    Christians don’t seek Personal happiness as the ‘Ultimate’ for them on this earth – if they DO they are not True Christians.

    “That only works if people accept this authority surely?” Correct Sir! Rejection of Authority is not in our best interest (when the Authority is Perfect and we are less than). Please do not assume God is a policeman who never arrests people or who is incapable of determing what is or is not a ‘crime’ against His Authority – that i believe would be somewhat foolhardy for any living thing to do.

    Surely all can agree that actions have consequences in a universe in which all things are ‘connected’ – even if we don’t yet understand fully the connections?

    Something may APPEAR as irrelevant if it is not very well understood but that does not reduce it’s affect on our lives merely because we don’t have sufficient intelligence to make the connections inside our small brains (mine included before you read condescension). Man’s imperfect nature tends to corrupt all truth to his own view of what is best or ‘relevant’ to him -i see value in determining something as existing outside of the ‘self’ that is not subject to our own imperfection so as to have a fixed reference point that keeps our mind from deceiving itself – giving credit to an Ultimate Authority over all life, not just trusting our humanity to blunder along and somehow making more right decisions than selfish or imperfect ones.

    ““Religions” do nothing.” technically accurate in one sense – true.

    i meant to say Religions present to us Good Principles/Precepts ( unchanging ones – universal and everlasting) that their adherents do try to follow.

    Again with you and the religion PREVENTING something.. why can’t you see that the Muslim adherent was NOT prevented from attending church but was required to alter his ‘usual’ way of getting around so as to meet his obligation to his God – i.e. find an alternative to taking his guide dog into a mosque with him each time he desired to pray there. There was no reason on earth why his dog could not be given time out from his duty to the blind man and one of his fellow Muslims take him to the Mosque to pray if he wanted to do so with other Muslims in a ‘holy’ place. – true? The path to God is not always made to suit our exact circumstances or our ego’s either.

    i used to reject DOGma also. These days i tend to look for the reason behind the dogma and do my best to incorporate it into my own spirit – if i do not find the reason quickly or easily, i prefer to give it the benefit of the doubt and often the reason soon becomes clearer.

    And as to the Metro and anger… you are right, however, being a less than perfect human, i let most mainstream media rile my anger more than is good for me or my Spirit.

    So in many ways, by writing to your post i am writing to my own self’s understanding 🙂

    Hopefully we can both benefit somewhat from it? 🙂

    <B

  23. Hey Mr Frog, you may have realised that I have deliberately not commented on this debate…

    Anyhow, I thought you might like the see the articles that I posted on my blog today about the responsibilities of schools and parents to provide immunisation to children.

    Carol Midgley in The Times, turns the story upside down by relating it to other immunisation programmes and words perfectly that women like myself who have suffered as a result of HPV damaging our cervixes are not slags because the virus is everywhere (you know how insulting I find it).

    The F Word also has a piece specifically looking at St Monica’s. x

  24. Thanks Soupy. I’ll come over and have a read.

  25. JG

    ‘There’s something heroic about battling off the forces of scepticism’

    I would understand this comment in a similar way to a comment saying there is something heroic about the way Barack Obama battled off the doubters and critics and those who said he and people like him could never become President. The way he battled and successfully overcame all self doubt and disbelief, saw the prize he was aiming for and went for it. And succeeded!

    Barack Obama did not do this alone. Other people were willing to believe he could become President and support him.

    ‘There’s something heroic about credulity’
    ‘I was starting to think sceptically but then I pushed the idea away and kept thinking magical thoughts’

    Many people would have regarded the idea of someone with African roots becoming President as a mere dream. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech back in 1963, 45 years ago.

    Thank goodness there are people willing to be inspired by dreams and think what some might regard as magical thoughts rather than be limited and constrained by scepticism.

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