Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The threat of "Atheistic regimes"

People who are wrong like to stick to their clichés when arguing against reason, they attack rational thought with their mis-understanding of how the world works. People who use homoeopathic medicine will attack science for thinking it knows everything and that there are still mysteries to be solved. They don't get that scientists know they don't know everything and do know how test to see if something works. The 'things we don't or can't know' argument comes from other wishful thinking groups like psychics, astrologers, the religious, the anti-vaccination morons and so on. As the religion myth is the one I have the most direct contact with, I tend to explain idiocy in that context. The reasoning methods, however, can be applied to all of these other problems.

 Unfortunately, people are very, very good at ignoring evidence when disagrees with their world view and one of the major side effects of this denial is psychological projection.

Projection is "a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to other people. Thus, projection involves imagining or projecting the belief that others have those feelings" and it is quite common. It was used as part of the basis for Ludwig Feuerbach's theory that religion was created by humans to cope with their own feelings, an idea which appears to be largely accepted by the sane. Denial (subconscious) occurs in religious debates when the religious person is faced with a fact they can't consciously process without admitting that they were incorrect. This leads to circular reasoning (This is a brief paraphrasing of a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Dr. William Lane Craig):

CH: Why do you think the bible is true?
WLC: Because in the bible it says the disciples believed that Jesus was resurrected, so I do too.
CH: But why do you believe that the bible true?
WLC: Because in the bible it says the disciples believed that Jesus was resurrected, so I do too.
CH: *facepalm*

Although that was the main gist of the argument, he also asserted at least twice, that "most historians say that these are first hand accounts". Which is a factual lie.

Once they have delved in to the arena of denial (painful sounding mixed metaphor, eh?), there a few new areas of nuttiness for them to explore. Projection kicks in once they start attacking the opposition's view point. Here is a recent example of a very common attack on atheism. Sometimes they refer to totalitarian regimes which do take an atheistic standpoint and sometimes they pick ones which weren't. I matters little which one they pick from a defensive position, as the slur is easily refuted, however, I do find it more entertaining which they pick nazism as it can be easily turned back on them. It must take a lot of effort to deny the religious influence on the nazi party. It is far to well documented for a denial to be taken seriously. Of course, there is a bad side to be being dragged in to the nazi debate. it detracts from the simple defence that religious tyranny and atheist tyranny are not equal. Religion has text books which order murder, rape and genocide and can be used to justify (to themselves, obviously) the atrocities committed. Atheism, on the other hand, has no such instruction. The atheism which is used in totalitarian regimes is not true atheism, it simply replaces the established religion with a 'human deity', great examples are China and North Korea. As Richard Dawkins has said many times "you can take logical steps from theism to violence, but there are no logical steps from atheism to violence", my lack of belief in a deity no more compels me to commit violence than my lack of belief in unicorns is likely to make me commit violence.

The projection issues cause the paranoia to increase, the internal conflict between the desire to do good (something I truly believe exists in most religious people) and the desire to stop others acting in a way which makes the believer to feel 'uncomfortable' causes them to accuse others of oppression, totalitarianism etc. They don't seem to grasp the idea that stopping others from living freely is precisely what they are doing and not what atheists, the LGBT community and others are doing. In my recent discussions a collection of studies that totalled tens of thousands of participants in peer-reviewed papers was brushed aside with an accusation of fraud and a link to a newspaper article was given as the alternative. My arguments were referred to as 'ideology', with the implication that the evidence was created to fit my ideas, rather than impartial evidence that simply supports my views, because I was right in the first place.

Studies linking religion and psychology are continuing and things like MRI technology are making those studies more comprehensive. Maybe this will help us on the path to ridding the world of superstition.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The latest discussion

Rather than post this directly to its recipient on facebook, I'm just going to post this here.

"For some agree with me that the risk factors for both the young docianych pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (ChPDP) are:

- Large number of sexual partners (The higher the risk is rising)
- Undertaking risky, casual, sexual relationships
- Early sexual initiation (the earlier the risk is rising)
- Lack of contraceptive use"

I agree with your four points. However, your assumption that I only support contraception is entirely wrong. Contraception is not effective when used without education; I have said more than once that I support a full and comprehensive sex education.  My argument against abstinence only education is that it lies about the effectiveness of contraception and mis-represents statistics, you have done both of these things in our discussion.

After your four statements, you make the following mistakes:
Promotion and distribution of contraception encourages young people to take risky behaviour, giving a false sense of security – This is incorrect and not a reason to withhold contraception or education about it.

Due to insufficient effectiveness of birth control (it is known that condoms are bad at preventing pregnancy, let alone protect against HIV) – Again, incorrect. Even the statistics you quote show that they are effective, you just don’t understand them. Here is another study that shows condoms to be very effective. Any number above 0% effective will reduce the cases of HIV, which will lead to its eventual disappearance.
Also, my main point in this discussion is not that condoms are 100% effective (although, as I will show again later, they are very effective), it is that children and young people should be given the correct information and allowed to choose for themselves. The risk of death while crossing a road is greater than that of catching HIV, but you do not stop your children from crossing the road, you teach them to cross safely by giving them the knowledge required to deal rationally with a dangerous situation and reduce the risk.

You contend that my definition of UK sex education is conservative, whereas you do not believe it is. While it is certainly less conservative than abstinence only, it is still considered conservative by modern standards because of the limited information given and lack of participant involvement. I understand that younger children only need to know some of the basics, but believe that those considered ‘young adults’ should have the chance to talk about their experiences and be given as much information as they need to make the correct decision for them. You have said many times that sex education encourages children to have sex, while the evidence shows otherwise. Sex education leads to first sexual experiences later in life and less bad experiences.
Next, you accuse the study I showed you as being ‘manipulated’ and point out that it did not prove negative effects. Now, this is a direct link to a scientific paper that states that “no professional peer-reviewed journal has found these programs to be broadly effective” at the very beginning. This means that it is as factually correct as you can get, the peer-review system is designed to remove any flaws, bias or other inaccuracies. Also, when you say “no negative effects”, you are misinterpreting the information. The study linked shows that abstinence only education does not cause rates of pregnancy, HIV transmission or sexual behaviour to change from that of no education and does not investigate any other potential ill-effects. However, I would include “that young people who took a pledge were one-third less likely to use contraception when they did become sexually active” as an ill-effect. This means that abstinence only education was shown to be useless.
The term ‘pledges’ is the name given to the students that participate in the abstinence only education. This article refers to several studies, one of which was government funded and “Of the more than 700 federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, the evaluation looked at only four programs.  These programs were handpicked to show positive results and they still failed”. This means that government who funded the programs tried to limit the study to get the best results for abstinence only programs and failed. Another study was the result of “13 abstinence-only trials including almost 16,000 students”, which is very good sample size.

The links you provided are simply news articles that either misinterpret results of refer to bad data. Neither of these news reports are anywhere near being as comprehensive and well referenced as the single link I provided. The compare national rates of pregnancy to the use of abstinence only education, with no direct link between them. This is not evidence of anything, correlation does not mean causation. This is a common flaw used repeatedly by people who don’t have any actual evidence, in fact, one of these is an explanation of the article I had already mentioned as discredited.
Again, you quote a bunch of birth rates and abortion rates for different countries. Without context, this information is useless. Higher birth rates can be both positive and negative, abortion rates can clearly be reduced by the sex education I support as it clearly reduces the rate of pregnancy, whereas abstinence only education have been proven to be useless in reducing pregnancy rates.

Now to answer your two questions:
1)      I certainly would not. Condoms are very good at preventing HIV (you have a maths lesson coming which will show you), but obviously not 100%.
2)      No. This is beside the point. Sex education should teach about the dangers of sex.

If you want to see real ill effects of abstinence only education, you don’t look to the US, you look at Africa. < click here > Again, the Bush administration pushes abstinence in Uganda kills thousands of people. In 2005, the pope openly said that condoms helped spread HIV, not prevent it. This was a lie that killed thousands of people. This is part of the reason we are having this conversation, I speak out because mis-information is killing people, thousands of people. If you have any doubt, even the smallest bit, that you are right, you need to investigate. If your aim really is to be ethical, then surely is not ethical to support this?
The spread of HIV in Africa is also caused by the use of dirty needles from drugs. Giving out clean needles lowers death rates. Surely giving out clean needles and trying get people off drugs at the same time is better than letting them die while trying to help them off drugs?

Now on to the issue of protecting children from their parents.
I have a question for you - because (as you know) I'm homophobic, against sex education and contraception (and I'm going to protect my children from this type of depravity) - do you think that you should protect my children from me and so they should put me in jail or take me to children?”
Yes, I do, I believe you should punished for withholding valuable and potentially life saving information from your daughter. The same way I believe people who refuse blood transfusions for dying relatives should be ignored and punished. Your ethics do override other people’s right to live free. This argument is the basis for all our subjects, you call me names, yet you are on the side that is forcing your beliefs on others. My use of contraception does not affect you, but if you were to stop me using it, that is oppression. A homosexual couple getting married does not affect your life, but when you stop them, that is oppression. Is this really hard to understand? Please explain how these things harm you, if you can.
 You have clearly misunderstood or misrepresented the truth repeatedly and accused me of being on the side of the ‘totalitarian regime’. You are so utterly misguided that such obvious facts can easily be ignored by you. You are clearly on the side of control and withholding information, while I wish to simply give people the best information available and let them choose. How can you be for removing choice from your own daughter and still accuse me of being the bad guy? You still refer to homosexuality, sex education and contraception as ‘depravity’, you use ‘left-wing’ as an insult and still have the nerve to say the things you do to me? Right after you have said that, you then say “Left-wing activists are saying openly that the traditional culture in which society is based on the traditional family is evil“. This is absolute nonsense. I am having trouble understanding how twisted your sense of reality is. This quote is so completely misleading and wrong, it doesn’t even make sense. Of course, I can understand it enough to correct it for you;
“Left-wing activists fight against those who value only the misconception of a traditional family as a valid family and wish to give equal rights to those who do not fit the right-wing ideology.”
Much better. You may have noticed that I referred to the concept of the traditional family as a mis-conception. A little bit of history study and you will find that ‘traditionally’, marriage was very different. It depends on how far back you want to go. Saint Paul considered marriage a last resort for those who could not cope with chastity. Churches were not involved in marriages until the 9th century. It is my understanding that in Poland it is ‘traditional’ for the groom to offer money or gifts to the bride’s family .  Do you think this tradition has never changed or do you think it was taken more seriously in the past (Although now the gifts are returned, they were not in the past)? Do you allow your wife to speak? I bet you even let her work. Is that traditional? Your refusal to allow others to have equal rights and to withhold valuable information from your own daughter is the real definition of depravity.
“The rest of the totalitarian regimes have used exactly the same argument - each regime has its "scientists" who prove that only he is right. And each regime punished those who did not want to give propaganda.” – Yes, but what you don’t realise is that this describes you, not me. Your misrepresentation to stop progress and the development of society is exactly the same thing you are referring to. I have shown time and again that my information is not wrong and have shown why your information is incorrect. You are ‘the regime’, totalitarian regimes are to stop freedom and control information, which is your point of view. I am asking for equal rights and freedom of information. How many totalitarian regimes were created to give women equal rights rather than stop them getting them? You seem to think that us ‘left wing activists’ are out to destroy your idea of a traditional family, which is utterly wrong. I come from a traditional family and I love them, I have no reason to want that to stop. We are fighting for the right for other families to exist. As for sex education, do you think my aim is to give more children aids? Do think I want to convert children to homosexuality? No. I simply want those who are that way, to live happily. You are on the side that wants to stop them.
So, back to the abstinence. I have already proven, again, that abstinence education does not reduce the amount of sex, pregnancy blah blah blah…
Now for your maths education. Start by looking at this table, you probably got your information from a similar one:< click here >
Looking at the table we can see that the % of women who fall pregnant within one year is typically 15% and would be 2% when used properly. I think that sex education could improve the ‘typical’ number, but I haven’t looked for any evidence. Those numbers match the numbers you stated, yes? So why do I say you’ve misunderstood? Surely they mean that a condom is only effective 85-98% of the time? No. Why? Because those women have probably had sex more than once in that year. So, if each woman in this study had sex once a week using a condom that would make the condom fail, at worst, 15 times out of 5200. That’s a 0.288% failure rate, at best, it works out at 0.038%. That looks  like I was right, doesn’t it?
The availability of, and education about, the other types of contraception would mean that women who regularly have sex can vastly improve their chances again by switching to a better method of contraception and using condoms only to reduce the risk of infection. That would change the results even further, for example, the IUD would only fail 0.00384% of the time.
Again, abstinence may be 100% effective, but it should not be your right to lie and withhold information to encourage it. Also, again, abstinence only education doesn’t actually make people abstinent.
Sexual repression, which is the same as abstinence, has been widely acknowledged to be psychologically harmful. It has been considered, although not thoroughly proven, that sexual repression is the cause of the disproportionate number of priests who sexually abuse children. Although this an extreme example, sexual repression has been linked to neurosis and other disorders. I will provide a link to some evidence at a later date.

According to my ethics, you can not use another person even if he / she agrees.” – So what? Are other people not allowed to have different ethics?
You say that broken families are very bad for a child. Yes, they are. Marriage, however, does not have much of an effect. The psychological effects on a child when their parents split up are the same whether the parents are married or not. It is the breaking apart of a group and family bonds which causes the damage, not the end of the marriage contract. Do you think that if they stay married but move apart then the child will be unaffected? You need to realise which are the important factors.

It has been proven that it is more damaging for children to live in a family unit when the parents no longer wish to be together than it would be for them to separate.

Again, you have infidelity and sex before marriage mixed up. Infidelity before and during marriage can cause divorce. Neither multiple partners nor having a monogamous relationship before marriage causes higher divorce rates. You’re also forgetting those who do not marry at all. I know couples who have been together most of their lives without getting married and may not do at all, I still think they will stay together.

3)  Why are all evil people atheists?  I’m ignoring this one. Utter nonsense.

Next, homosexuals. You still can’t grasp the concept of natural and still refer to homosexuality as a disease. You have no clue about animals, you think that it’s ok for animals to indulge in cannibalism? Rubbish, cannibalism causes genetic defects, it was the cause of the CJD virus (mad cow disease). This has also been seen in hippos and foxes, causing extreme defects.
Gays are calling loudly for sex education and equal rights the same way women, black people (and other slaves) and every other kind of person that right wing nutcases like you have oppressed in the past. The idea that you think they are wrong to shout for rights disgusts me. Even if you are right (you aren’t), you still should not have the right to stop them getting married.

The Truth – Again, you bring out the same old tired clichés I’ve heard over and over again. You get facts and evidence confused, you apply bad logic and mis-understand situations.

 “The Truth (according to the classical definition of philosophy) is an intellectual assessment of compliance with reality. The reality is, however, richer than what you or I are able to observe and prove.” – So what? That does not give you, or anyone else, the right to fill in the gaps with rubbish. You also cannot know that someone, someday will not have the answers to all of the questions.

There are a lot of reality in human life that is intangible and unverifiable.” - Like what?  Please explain to me one fact that religion has answered that science cannot. Don’t try love, intelligence, the afterlife or any of that. Science can explain love and intelligence and there is no afterlife, your belief in it comes from nothing more than the fear of death. You have no other reason to think there is. Everything that you describe as ‘intangible and unverifiable’ means that you cannot possibly know it exists. How can you explain this knowledge you have of something that is ‘intangible and unverifiable’?  I expect you’ll say something like ‘I just know it’ or ‘I just feel it’ and I’m sure it feels very real to you. I, however, know that feeling as I’ve had it myself. I know it isn’t real. I know of many people who have experienced religion until quite a late age before realising, amongst other things, that these feelings aren’t god. You can’t dismiss them as ‘not proper christians’, which is something that christians try to do. They truly believed.

You say that the fact that someone loves me cannot be proven as undeniable fact. You are right. So what? What I do have is very large amount of evidence for the idea that some people love me. My parent brought me up and care for me, they visit and they tell me they love me. I have never seen anything to prove otherwise. Kamila moved 1600 miles to be with me and we both show each other that we love each other deeply, I don’t need to guess, I don’t feel insecure that maybe she doesn’t love me, I’m certain she does. It works the same way all my other arguments do, assess the evidence and act in accordance with the best information available. Something you seem unable to do.

Some animals behave in a manner similar to humans, but it is subject to their self-preservation. They are programmed. In humans, there is reason and freedom (expressed in the ability to decide for themselves against the Władysław ern instincts.)” – Seriously? You still don’t get evolution? What is DNA then? God’s lego? Evolution is as factual as gravity. It exists, we can observe it in lab and can see more historical evidence than we can for most other things. The idea that you could deny it is laughable.
Some people seem to think that a gap in our understanding of evolution means that we cannot be sure it is true. There are bigger gaps in our understanding of gravity, do you think that there is no such things as gravity? It has only been a matter of weeks since we received data from a space probe that measured gravity far more accurately than ever before, it confirmed a number of ‘theories’.

As I’ve mentioned theories, I should explain the difference between scientific theory and the usual definition of theory. I have met people who have questioned the big bang as ‘just a theory’. This will also apply to my use of the word ‘fact’. Theories are built on evidence, a lot of evidence. The theories of relativity and quantum mechanics are comprehensive and can be used to predict the physical universe through mathematics with perfect accuracy. Everything is tested and tested again. I referred to the link I provided early as ‘peer-reviewed’, this means that once a paper is published, scientists in the same field try repeatedly to prove that the paper is wrong. If something is proven to be incorrect, it is discarded. If they cannot replicate the same results, it is discarded. Only when the theory can be repeatedly tested, can it be published. (Obviously, this is not always enough to stop newspapers publishing bad papers. News stories of papers that published and then proven wrong are ones that were not peer-reviewed at the time the papers published them.) If you wish to learn about evolution, you should read a book by the foremost authority in the study of evolution and a highly qualified and well respected biologist, Richard Dawkins. I understand that you may have some prejudice against him, however, he knows more about the subject than almost everyone else and his book ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ does not tackle the subject of religion, just science.

This ties in with our different ideas about ‘the truth’. Let’s run through a little exercise to study ‘the truth’.
Starting from the most extreme; existentially, you can only be sure that you exist. You cannot be sure that anything else is real. Given the rate of technological advancement, it shouldn’t be too hard to imagine the idea that it is possible, however unlikely, that you only exist as brain in a jar. You would experience the reality fed to you, just like in the movie ‘The Matrix’, and would be completely unaware. ’You’ could even be a computer simulation. Technologically, we are closer to the time when that level of simulation is possible than we are to the invention of the telephone. (There is a ‘law’ by which we can predict that advancement of processing power, Moore’s law). How does that affect your idea of truth? You can’t prove that it is not happening, or that it is not possible.

"I have not heard about animals that use the conceptual language (like humans). You can give such an example? I have not heard too about aspects of culture and art among the animals? And you?" - Again, so what? Our brains have evolved to become more complex and we therefore have more complex language. The only thing this statement proves is your ignorance. It's like saying that birds are created differently because we can't fly.

Religion does not ask "how?" Just "why?" (For what purpose?). Seek to interpret the conflict between religion and faith is a mistake - they are two different strands of thinking.” – I am not mis-understanding. You are mis-understanding me and I can explain why. Just like you seem to think that humans are somehow different from animals, despite the fact that were a made of the same materials and clearly evolved from the same place, you seem to think that there are questions outside the scientific arena. The question of ‘why?’ is entirely pointless. If there was evidence, it would be within the scientific realm and we could discuss the evidence. But even you admit there isn’t any, so anything you do say is purely guesswork and is only worth my attention because I believe you are basing you terrible views on this nonsense.
 (I’d also like to point out that, if you go really far back, we share a common ancestor with all living things, including the plants and trees)

While it may be a primitive pagan cults have something to do with what they were accused. Christianity is not.” – Hahaha. Christianity evolved from those ‘pagan cults’ I could write many, many pages on the history of Christianity, but I’ll try and compress it a little…

Your God, Yaweh, comes from the Hebrew texts. He appeared around 600 BCE. The old and new testaments as you know them are heavily edited to change the meaning from a polytheistic viewpoint to a monotheistic viewpoint. The trail goes back to 1750BCE with the Enuma Elish, discovered in the library of Ashurbanipal, it contains the original version of the creation story and many other parts of the old testament. By 1200BCE, the Canaanites followed the same polytheistic religion, now with El Elyon, Asherah and Baal (who still get a mention in some current texts). Between 950 and 850BCE, the people referred to by historians as J and E began writing the old testament, starting with Genesis 2. Creating new mythical stories to explain the world around them and, by Genesis 12, combining the Canaanite religion to create their own. In the Torah, on which the old testament is based, Abraham worships El Shaddai (El Elyon) and interacts with him directly in Genesis 18. During the story, Jacob makes El Elyon his ‘elohim’ or one true god. This word is used when a person worships multiple gods and chooses to worship one more than the other in order to gain special treatment. So, the old testament clearly began as a polytheistic religion.
El Elyon is then replaced with Yahweh. Said to have helped the slaves escape the tyranny of the Egyptians. This is written as myth, as the rest of the bible, not to be taken as any sort of fact. The history of Moses and the freeing of slaves has been historically mythical, the Egyptians did no such thing. Several references are still made to Asherah and Baal in the torah and old testament. Check out Exodus 18:11 “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly." – Pretending that this is a mistranslation is nonsense, if it was, someone would have simply translated it properly. This is not a mistranslation, you can check out the original text if you like. Yahweh is referred to as ‘The Great Warrior’ as one of many. Around 1000BCE, the worshippers of Yahweh gained increasing power as fears of attack increased. By 750BCE, the fear of attack from Syria increased and three prophets emerged to give the people hope. The prophesised that Yahweh would be their saviour and each wrote about him in a way that simply reflected their own fears and knowledge, rather than one which would indicate an outside source. Proof that the god they writing about, did not exist. By 711BCE, Assyria had invaded and won, but the Yahweh myth lived on. King Josiah in 662BCE believed that Yahweh, being the god of war, would save them and in order to gain more support for Yahweh had his high priest ‘discover’ a lost book of law. This book was ‘Księga Powtórzonego Prawa’ and was alleged to have been written by Moses himself. The book has been dated, by comparing the use of language, to be a forgery. It was used to command the removal of the other gods. The same priest also edited Joshua, Judges, Exodus and other books, changing them fit better with the new ideology. Including the destruction of the Canaanites for worshipping the other gods. “You shall have no other gods before me” clearly implies that there were other gods at the time.
The prophet Jeramiah appeared in 604BCE to bring out the god Yahweh again, saying the Yahweh would destroy Jerusalem. Palm 137:4 shows that it caused problems with the worship of a god that belonged to another land in their new land of Babylon. The problem was resolved by ‘second Isaiah’ who amended the book of Isaiah to seem more monotheistic. A priest referred to as P edited Exodus and other books to say that El Elyon and Yahweh are the same god. He then wrote Leviticus and Genesis 1 to add more monotheism. The stories of old gods, such as Marduk, were added and attributed to Yahweh. By 600BCE, Yahweh became the god he is today.

So, your religion was born from pagan religions and the need for power. It is clear that none of the religious texts were created by anyone but people. Again, massive evidence vs. imagination. You have said that the bible ‘is not a historical document and was written by many authors’, this agrees with my view, but contradicts the idea that you attend church as if it contained ‘the truth’. While I cannot prove that a god does not exist, I do have a large amount of evidence to show that your god was a concept developed as a tool by people for their own mental comfort and need for power.

You have dedicated your life to something that is clearly untrue. You are unable to grasp very basic concepts like statistics and evolution. Your unfounded prejudice of homosexuals is indefensible; you are still repeating the same basic faulty logic that ‘they can’t have children so they are unnatural’. With such basic difficulties grasping such important subjects, how can you expect me to believe you are fit to bring up a child? All evidence points to the fact that you will lie, maybe unconsciously, to her. You will withhold information that I have shown you can benefit her. You will teach her to hate that which she does not understand. You will teach her how to ignore the obvious evidence for that which makes her feel better, rather that accepting the truth and learning to deal with it.

I doubt that you will accept any of this. You have spent your whole life ignoring the evidence and it is clear that those who are so heavily indoctrinated find it very difficult to ‘de-program’ themselves. However, I do this in the hope that I will get through to you. I know you feel attacked by all of this and that your natural reaction will be to become defensive. Please take the time to calm down and read through this again, do your best to keep an open mind and explore the evidence. I have tried to answer all of your questions and correct your mis-understandings, but feel free to ask questions if you come across problems. If you need to ask another person, feel free to do so. I feel that you can understand the things I have explained and I can understand, a little, why you do not want to change your mind. You need to bring up your daughter the best way you can, even if that means admitting you were wrong. Being able to admit when you are wrong takes courage and strength and is one of the greatest lessons you can teach a child.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Good without God?

As if there was some sort of higher power at work, a report was written in The Washington Post about theists view of atheists and the validity of said views, it just so happens to be relevant to recent discussions.

"On numerous respected measures of societal success — rates of poverty, teenage pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity, drug use and crime, as well as economics — high levels of secularity are consistently correlated with positive outcomes in first-world nations."

They also show that atheists tend to be more ethical, intelligent and capable of showing higher levels of altruism.

" Oliner and Oliner (1988) and Varese and Yaish (2000), in their studies of heroic altruism during the
Holocaust, found that the more secular people were, the more likely they were to rescue
and help persecuted Jew"

I think to see a study as to exactly why this happens. I expect that, as the study states, a lot of this scorn comes from the history of the religion; but I also think there are more complex psychological issues going on here.