10 December 2011

[Recap] Adopt-an-Atheist, flogging as a tenet of Islam, atheists sending their kids to church, and... Newt was pro-science?

I've been more of an observer than a contributor these past several weeks.  My take on a few recent items in the news and blogosphere:

The Catholic League wants to help us this Christmas!

The good folks over at the Catholic League know what a struggle it is for we atheists to keep up the charade day after day.  Deep down, we all want to admit to the world that we're really Christians, imprisoned by peer pressure that keeps us from weeping tears of joy over Baby Jesus every time we see a crèche.

Well, despair no more, my fellow atheists!  This season, let's all get adopted by a good Catholic who can show us the light!  I know it's what all of us have secretly wanted all our lives.

For those of you who really aren't "closeted Christians" and are still tired of people saying that you "believe in nothing, stand for nothing and are good for nothing", Ellen over at Skeptic Freethought has a much better idea: tell those well-meaning Christians to adopt a puppy!

Stop oppressing Maldivian Muslims by telling them that flogging women is wrong!

How dare those intolerant bigots at the U.N. offend the religious sensibilities of such a freedom-loving Muslim theocracy!
“This is a very serious problem. You can’t say flogging is a form of violence against women,” he said.

Nasheed explained that Pillay’s remarks were tantamount to proclaiming in the Indian parliament that “worshiping cows is so uncivilised.”

Tearing a woman's flesh from her bones with a whip really is the same thing as giving livestock undue reverence.  Why can't we just respect people's beliefs?

Atheists don't shelter their children from religion?

Apparently, scientists who don't believe in God still have a tendency to send their children to church.  While sometimes it's to satisfy the religious sensibilities of a believing spouse, that's not always the case - some atheist parents actually want their kids to be exposed to religion so they can evaluate it for themselves!
One of the most interesting findings, according to Ecklund, was that some atheist scientists want to expose their children to religion due to scientific reasoning.

"We thought that these individuals might be less inclined to introduce their children to religious traditions, but we found the exact opposite to be true," Ecklund said. "They want their children to have choices, and it is more consistent with their science identity to expose their children to all sources of knowledge."
Freethinkers supporting free thought?  Who'd have expected that?

For the record: my future kids will find the Bible and Qur'an on the same shelf as Greek and Norse mythology, though I might refrain from reading them certain stories from the first two until they're old enough not to be traumatized by the extreme violence.

Can we trade the current Newt for the 2006 edition?

A surprising revelation was tweeted this week, courtesy of Phil Plait: Newt Gingrich used to be pro-science!  Here's an excerpt of an interview from 2006 (emphasis and Q/A notations mine):

Q: Do you view evolution as "just a theory" or as the best explanation for how we came to be?A: Evolution certainly seems to express the closest understanding we can now have. But it's changing too. The current tree of life is not anything like a 19th-century Darwinian tree. We're learning a lot about how systems evolve and don't evolve. Cockroaches became successful several hundred million years ago and just stopped evolving.
Q: Where do you come down on teaching intelligent design in schools? Do you think the ruling in the Dover, Pennsylvania, case was appropriate?A: I believe evolution should be taught as science, and intelligent design should be taught as philosophy. Francis Collins's new book, The Language of God, is a fine statement that combines a belief in God with a belief in evolution. I do not know enough about the Dover case to critique the judge's decision, but I am generally cautious about unelected judges establishing community standards—that is the duty of elected officials.
Don't we all wish that GOP candidates could get away with that kind of talk today?  Unfortunately for us, they know their base and know how to pander to it.  If you don't proclaim evolution to be just a silly "theory" (in the vernacular sense, not the scientific sense), you just aren't electable.

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