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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

god's greatest

Religion continues the full court press when it come to defending imagination from reality. Though mixing sport metaphors, the only good defense would be to close line the bastards as they try to move their cause forward.

The attacks come on so many fronts it can be bewildering. Here are a few of the latest infringements on a Secular America, and a Secular world:

In America, religious corporations are merging with independent hospitals. MergerWatch is stating that once a religious entity takes over said hospitals, they are run using religious doctrine as their guide, not by scientific findings. In Sierra Vista Arizona, pregnant women having c-sections were denied tubal ligation because their hospital had joined a Catholic health system. Hey, maybe we need faith based medical care for everyone for a year or two. Well, that'd probably only last a week or two before the whiners were tossed out.

In our hospitals, and in our schools:

In Wisconsin, the voucher program is more than 20 years old. There was a thought that privately run schools would do a better job, but after a couple of decades this has proven to be false. No problem though, Tea Party favorite Governor Scott Walker and his conservative legislators want to expand the program from the Milwaukee area to the rest of the state. The voucher program has been, and still is, the religious right's way of dismantling our secular public education system.

Crackheads around the country embrace the takeover. Disgraced Representative Michelle Bachman's radio host buddy Bradlee Dean ranted about christian parents having no excuse for having their kids in public school. You know, that horrible International Baccalaureate program is only a global scheme to take away our guns and to indoctrinate students into embracing homosexuality. Yeah the dude's a rusty piece of work, but unfortunately, there are those who think he's correct.

Though we know that the voucher program is also a way for those so inclined to get a hold of the billions of dollars that flows through the education system, it is also the easiest way to subvert secular education. In Colorado, the Court of Appeals ruled that the "Choice Scholarship Program" does not violate the prohibitions against public funding for religious institutions, even though 18 of the 23 "private partner" schools are religious. More and more legislation is seen in states across the country that subvert education. Bobby Jindal used ALEC's model legislation to create a massive voucher program that would privatize public schools in his state. Nice.

Freedom From Religion goes after Liberty High in Pickens County South Carolina. They've had numerouscomplaints about violations referencing the separation of church and state. Valedictorian Roy Costner tore up his school approved speech and recited the lord's prayer. What do we learn from this? Well, according to Mr. Costner, no one locally has a problem with religion in school, so why not do it. What an excellent thought. Ignore the law if it doesn't fit with your views on the world. Let every fucking pot smoker out of jail then asshole. I know many areas where no one has a problem with it, yet it is still the law. Oh that's right, it's only about you and you want to be treated special.

So far the religious hasn't started to blatantly kill non-believers in the U.S., (except for a few doctors and nurses, but I guess they don't matter), so sorry that's not true around the world.

Blasphemy in the world:

In Syria, a teenager was executed for blasphemy. Someone overheard him supposedly saying that "even if the prophet mohammad comes down (from heaven), I will not be a believer." Apparently the young man was executed in front of his parents. Oh, for the love of god.

In Pakistan 16 people are on death row for blasphemy convictions and another 20 are serving life sentences.

We should add to the quote, "for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son," the following: "of course, he hated man and slaughtered all of our sons."

Well, what else have we got. I loves me some Pat Robertson, why not?

Pat takes on whatever Pat wants, and no one sane listens:

Pat, the southern baptist nutjob, links demonic games like Dungeons and Dragons to suicide. Such a compassionate man, he's like a loving god in the flesh, all fire and brimstone and other crazy shit. Poor guy was angered by the Jets shameful treatment of Tim Tebow, and knows that gays in the boy scouts will destroy the organization. Accommodating the few kids who want to have sex with each other is horrific, demonizing them much better.

 

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YOU’RE RIGHT-WING? YOU MUST BE STUPID

From Spiked:

DunceMocking conservative and right-wing political figures for their stupidity is all the rage in certain media circles. Yesterday it was the turn of Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition in Australia, after he mixed up the words ‘suppository’ and ‘repository’ in a live TV debate. Last week, Australian election candidate Stephanie Banister was branded ignorant after she made a series of gaffes about Islam during a TV interview. A video of the interview went viral, and as a result of the humiliation Banister has now withdrawn her candidacy. Not surprisingly, commentators compared Banister to Sarah Palin, the former US Republican vice-presidential candidate who was, and continues to be, regularly targeted for her ‘stupidity’. One blogger recently referred to Palin as the ‘Queen of Stupidity’, the ‘very embodiment of all things stupid’.

...Since the end of the Second World War, right-wing and conservative ideas have come to be marginalised within the key cultural and intellectual institutions of Western society. In a frequently cited statement, the American literary critic Lionel Trilling declared in his 1949 preface to a collection of essays that right-wing ideas no longer possessed cultural significance:

‘In the United States at this time, liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition. For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation. This does not mean, of course, that there is no impulse to conservatism or to reaction. Such impulses are certainly very strong, perhaps even stronger than most of us know. But the conservative impulse and the reactionary impulse do not, with some isolated and some ecclesiastical exceptions, express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.’ (2)

While Trilling’s statement contained an element of exaggeration, there is little doubt that it also captured something important about political developments in the 1940s.

More here.

Posted by Azra Raza at 07:32 AM | Permalink 

In the U.S. the Know Nothing party was established to block Catholics from emigrating into the country.

Humanist Network News
Issue 561
August 14, 2013


View all articles on a single page

Follow the AHA on Facebook Follow the AHA on TwitterWatch AHA media on YouTubeWatch AHA media on Vimeo Follow the AHA on Tumblr Subscribe to HNN via RSS

HNN Editor Maggie ArdienteOn August 26, 2013, humanists and feminists will join together to celebrate Women's Equality Day to commemorate the day when women gained the right to vote, back in 1920. One of our AHA Chapters, theHumanist Society of New Mexico, is putting on a terrific event in Albuquerque attended by leaders of the AHA's Feminist Caucus, New Mexico State Senators and Representatives, artists, musicians, and many women and men who are fighting for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Zelda Gatuskin, co-chair of the AHA's Feminist Caucus, writes a great article on why we must demand passage of the ERA now.

It's hard to believe that, even today in our modern society, women continue to fight battles for equal pay for equal work, against elected leaders that want to determine what she can do with her body, and against a society where rape culture exists (as highlighted in an HNN article this week about the excellent awareness event SlutWalk). Can we do more to ensure equality for women? Yes, we can. Learn more about Women's Equality Day.

Maggie Ardiente
Editor, HNN
@MaggieArdiente

NOTE TO READERS: HNN will be taking a short summer break! The next issue will arrive in your mailbox on September 4, 2013.

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Why would anyone doubt this man?Conspiracy freak and spokesman for the reality-challenged American community Alex Jones wants you to know that he bears no ill will toward the blacks, even though he says he’s been “racially attacked” by them roughly eleventy-jillion times.

“I’ve been racially attacked by black people, probably — let’s not exaggerate — thirty-five times?” Jones said. “I’ve been racially attacked by Hispanics, let’s not exaggerate, five times. Let me tell you, that’s when you really get hurt bad. Compound fractures, you name it.”

The Evel Knievel of American race relations did not specify how many of these alleged attacks took place in the dimension that contains the Planet Earth, or which of them may have occurred as the result of mind-control rays being aimed at his assailants from the Defense Department’s HAARP facilities in the Arctic Circle. He also made no mention of the possibility that chemtrails may have been to blame. READ MORE »

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His real dream was that Obama would STFU about race

Oh goody, it is time for Pulitzer-prize winning columnist (yeah, we don’t get how that happened either) Kathleen Parker to explain to us once more why President Obama is being reverse-racist against white people by being, you know, not white. (Or, ahem, as she likes to point out, only half not-white — which is a perfectly valid and not-racist observation for her to make because she does not “see him as only black” and also because she is related to him in a cousinly way.)

In today’s vomitorious mass of argle bargle, Parker sighs, for the eleventy billionth time, that is is SO ANNOYING the way Obama is always blacking on and on about how he is black. Don’t you just hate that? She sure does. READ MORE »

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No you cannot haz abortion

Well, here is some good news to get your week started. If you are the sort of person who thinks the problem with America is too many women’s health clinics, that is, and you’d much rather women have to seek out sketchy doctors to perform unsafe abortions, like that Kermit Gosnell fellow in Philadelphia, in which case, please stop reading and immediately go fuck yourself. READ MORE »

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We don't approve of vandalism. That said, this is fairly creative vandalism. But do not do this.A Vietnam war memorial in a park in Coos Bay, Oregon, was the target of a small explosion last Thursday; while police have not made any arrests or identified any suspects, the forensic scientists at Gateway Pundit have decided that the bombing was the work of an “Atheist Group.” Guest blogger* Mara Zebest presents her evidence-free analysis:

An atheist group is believed to be behind an IED explosion at a war memorial cross in Coos Bay, Oregon. Coincidentally, the cross has been the recent target of lawsuits from the atheist group, “Freedom From Religion Foundation” (FFRF). If it is proven this group planted an IED, can we officially declare the FFRF group a terrorist organization? Luckily the explosion didn’t kill anyone and damage was minimal charring to the memorial.

READ MORE »


Read more at http://wonkette.com/#LDuPYMojGFL9ixoR.99 

Epiphenom latest


Atheists are more intelligent - but why?

Posted: 08 Sep 2013 11:53 PM PDT

When psychologists first studied the connection between religion and intelligence, in the 1920s and 30s, they came to the conclusion that atheists were more intelligent, on average, than their religious counterparts. But further research showed a murkier picture, and by the 1970s the general conclusion was that there was no difference between atheists and the religious.

More recent studies have started to shove opinion back. They seem to be showing that there is, after all, a difference - albeit with some caveats and nuances. Here's a couple of recent ones.

Miron Zuckerman, at the University of Rochester in New York State, USA, along with colleagues has conducted a meta-analysis of all the previously-published studies. A meta-analysis is a statistical tool used to pool together different studies, so that you can see the overall picture.

Altogether, Zuckerman dug up 63 studies, dating back to the 1920s. He found that, although there was a lot of variation, there was clear evidence that "the higher a person’s intelligence, the lower the person scored on the religiosity measures".

With this much data, Zuckerman was also able to dig a bit deeper into what factors affect the relationship. He found that the relationship is weakest in pre-college (i.e. young) individuals, and stronger for religious beliefs than for religious behaviour (i.e. church going).

Now, there are several theories on why intelligent people are less religious. 

One idea is that religion is irrational, so intelligent, educated people simply 'know better'. It's also been suggested that intelligent people are more likely to be unorthodox. In a similar vein, Satoshi Kanazawa has suggested that religion is an evolutionary adaptation - and therefore instinctive. It takes intelligence, he suggests, to break free of our instincts. An alternative, more radical idea from Darren Sherkat is that the culture of religious fundamentalists actually impedes their intellectual development.

Zuckerman and colleagues looked at four so-called 'time-gap' studies, in which intelligence was measured at an early age and then religion was assessed later. Taken together, these suggest that intelligence can predict your religiosity in later life.  

They also looked at two studies of gifted children. These studies found that intelligent children were less likely to be religious later - but that the religiosity of their upbringing had little influence over their religion in later life.

Now, you should take these findings with a pinch of salt in light of other research which shows the powerful influence of upbringing on religious belief - and given that in the US (where these studies were conducted) people usually have a religious upbringing. That limits the possibilities for intelligent people to become more religious!

But the idea that intelligence turns people off religion fits nicely with the results of the second study. 

Francisco Cribari-Neto and Tatiene Souza are statisticians at the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco and the Universidade Federal da Paraíba, respectively, in Brazil.

They've taken a look at a how the average IQ seen in different countries varies with average religiosity. The idea is to see whether religious culture is related generally to intellectual life. Now, this has been done before (by Richard Lynn in 2009), but Cribari-Neto and Souza have taken a rather more sophisticated approach.

They were able to show that the link is real, and that it is independent of economic development (both intelligence and loss of religion are independently linked to economic development, but there is something additional to that). What's more, the effect is strongest in nations at miling levels of average IQ - as shown in the figure.

The reason for this, they suggest, is that at low IQs there is little scope for critical reasoning. And at high IQs most of the potential effect of critical reasoning have already happened (as the nation transitioned from lower IQs. So it is the middle range of IQs that the effect of increasing IQ is most clearly seen.

Of course, because it's a correlation you can't rule out the reverse effect. But it does all seem to fit together nicely. 


ResearchBlogging.org
Zuckerman M, Silberman J, & Hall JA (2013). The Relation Between Intelligence and Religiosity: A Meta-Analysis and Some Proposed Explanations. Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc PMID: 23921675
Francisco Cribari-Neto, & Tatiene C. Souza (2013). Religious belief and intelligence: Worldwide evidence Intelligence, 482-489 DOI:10.1016/j.intell.2013.06.011

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