Neo-Atheism is filled with crazy people

I recently read Bryan Appleyard’s critique of the new atheist backlash against the more moderate atheists who wish to not be seen as a rabidly anti-theistic.

I don’t know… I am torn between both camps, it’s a pretty ridiculous issue being made by both sides. Atheists are not immune to stupidity, I have mentioned that I know anti-vaccine atheists and many animal liberation fanatics are atheists too. Doesn’t make their stupidity free from criticism, nor should it ever be.

But at this point? I don’t think either of these two extremes is right. Not if actual death threats were made.

On the one hand we have a group of passionate individuals who don’t want to appease religion. Which is all fine and dandy and great! New Atheism is something I identify closely with, but I also am a lot more moderate. My faith was not personally ruined and I was lucky enough to be educated in more than one faith (I am aware of Islamic, Hindu and Christian philosophy and to some extent about Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism alongside the Animist faith of my ancestors). Lucky because faith and religion has so little a hold of me because I am aware of all the differences.

I don’t feel the urge to go rub it in the average religious person’s face. I feel that one can be completely civil about atheism as such. By all means fight against religious intolerance but don’t become intolerant yourself. I see no issue in insulting the crazies while being as civil as possible.

However on the other side we see a more accommodating group. These atheists think we need some spirituality in our lives and that we should have a “temple of atheism” and maybe outreach programs to present a more likeable face. It’s not for me, but as long as it’s not spreading woo and nonsense I have no qualms about them.

And there we have it. The problem in our argument is that we as a group of people do not have a structure like faith. We have huge differences as atheists even in what we believe in. Despite all accusations, there is no arch-atheist. At our core we simply do not believe in any gods. With that in mind let’s deconstruct the arguments in a more sensible way.

De Botton is the most recent and, consequently, the most shocked victim. He has just produced a book, Religion for Atheists: a Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion, mildly suggesting that atheists like himself have much to learn from religion and that, in fact, religion is too important to be left to believers. He has also proposed an atheists’ temple, a place where non-believers can partake of the consolations of silence and meditation.

We do have a lot to learn from religion! It’s just that me and De Botton have different ideas on what we can learn from it.

I have no issues with the different ways religion inspires people. It does do that, the question remains is, how can we do the same thing. My opinion?

Religion is basically a story, not one like Harry Potter but one with a rich heritage and history. There is not many things similar to it because of the age of the material. So let’s just take science as an example.

ArtArchitecture? Music? It’s all there. The thing is religion may have inspired these things, but so can many other things. One doesn’t have to believe in Zeus to like the Parthenon. Atheism doesn’t inspire these things because there isn’t anything in atheism to inspire. We don’t have biblical imagery. We don’t revere anyone in particular in the same way that people revere Shiva. We don’t have “atheism only buildings” so we don’t have an architectural style that we like beyond personal taste.

So let’s say a sense of society. Can we as atheists learn something about this? Well we can, and we should learn! Many religious groups have a strong sense of community, can we not match that? Can we improve on their model and make it even more inclusive as we have seen recent. We don’t have to have a temple, but we can make our meetings a bit more friendly to everyone involved.

It’s not stupid to realise that there are some things (like charity) that religion does better than us. It’s not stupid to try and improve ourselves to match or exceed them.

However we can improve these in a way that makes sense. Catholic Charity would be very good if they sent more doctors and less priests, more condoms and less communion wafers. Why not be that? Why should their sermons not be matched with our classes on science, our better women’s health, or teaching modern farm theory. Why not start secular missionary work? 

There have been threats of violence. De Botton has been told he will be beaten up and his guts taken out of him. One email simply said, “You have betrayed Atheism. Go over to the other side and die.”

This is probably true. If there is one thing that we know about the internet is that it’s easy to say things like this. This isn’t indicative of new atheists, this is the problem of the internet where people post without thinking. De Botton has merely portrayed a version of religion where he ignores all the bad and just looks at all the good. Rose tinted atheism if you will.

De Botton finds it bewildering, the unexpected appearance in the culture of a tyrannical sect, content to whip up a mob mentality. “To say something along the lines of ‘I’m an atheist; I think religions are not all bad’ has become a dramatically peculiar thing to say and if you do say it on the internet you will get savage messages calling you a fascist, an idiot or a fool. This is a very odd moment in our culture. Why has this happened?”

For the same reason that writing “I am an Atheist” will get “Repent or Die Messages” or “I work on vaccines” would get you “Child killing torturer and Mengele fan” on your wall.

First, a definition. By “neo-atheism”, I mean a tripartite belief system founded on the conviction that science provides the only road to truth and that all religions are deluded, irrational and destructive.

See this is where we begin to disagree. Science is a system where we test and retest hypothesis to form theories of how the universe functions based on observation, experiment and inference. Religion is merely the confused writings of people from ages ago about how they perceived the world and is very often wrong. They are deluded to a phenomenal level. The entire point is we can simply ignore that and look at how they function and learn a few lessons. Of things to avoid and of things to do.

Atheism is just one-third of this exotic ideological cocktail. Secularism, the political wing of the movement, is another third. Neo-atheists often assume that the two are the same thing; in fact, atheism is a metaphysical position and secularism is a view of how society should be organised. So a Chris
tian can easily be a secularist – indeed, even Christ was being one when he said, “Render unto Caesar” – and an atheist can be anti-secularist if he happens to believe that religious views should be taken into account. But, in some muddled way, the two ideas have been combined by the cultists.

Secularism is the idea that in the work place and in government there should not be any arguments based on the belief in an imaginary friend. That no religion should be given a leg up by the government. Atheism is an entirely physical metaphysical position and leads onto secularism as a political position. Caesar’s position was unchangeable by lay christians. Render unto Caesar merely states the opinion that christians should go along with Caesar. In a democracy the vote affects the people and “Render Unto Caesar” means “Tough No Abortion” or “Tough, you are now being taught stupid sex education” or “Tough, Earth now 6000 years ago, Jesus rode a Stegosaurus”. Religious views should not be taken into account because the arguments are not based on logic but on frankly insane beliefs.

Do you seriously think we should discuss banning women from public places because muslims, LDS and some Jews think so? Some religious views are fine and dandy, some are just backwards and nonsensical and should be treated as such. Not everyone’s opinion is good. I don’t see why I should have to listen to the Pope’s opinion on women’s healthcare and sex education since he clearly has no fucking clue what’s going on. Secularism is just the stance that we shouldn’t let religious officials have a say in the functioning of our government, nor should we do things solely because of our faith in a god.

To put it in a simple way, if you don’t believe women should have abortions, then you don’t have an abortion. Don’t force other women to follow your religion’s rules.

The third leg of neo-atheism is Darwinism, the AK-47 of neo-atheist shock troops. Alone among scientists, and perhaps because of the enormous influence of Richard Dawkins, Darwin has been embraced as the final conclusive proof not only that God does not exist but also that religion as a whole is a uniquely dangerous threat to scientific rationality.

No. Darwinism is merely the insult used by religious people to describe modern evolution theory by comparing it to a belief system rather than a fact like gravity which is also explained by a theory (like gravity). It’s used to denigrate an actual science in the USA (the term has no negative connotations in the UK) by making it seem like evolution is without facts, evidence and logic and is more akin to a religious belief.

It’s not an AK-47, it’s more like a battleground where Christian, Jewish and now Muslim faithful have suddenly realised that they aren’t the divine spark of magic within a clay shell like their book says but the product of evolution and they are “just” a very intelligent ape. It’s not a bad thing, but when we say ape, these individuals assume that this is carte blanche to behave like a chimpanzee.

Religion is a uniquely dangerous threat since despite evolution being fact, it is still under threat by religious fanatics who try and shovel their Jesus into science at the cost of evolutionary theory or co-opting it to give credence to their arguments. 45% of the USA do not believe in Evolution which is like saying that 45% of a nation believe that gravity is caused by the gravity fairy.

“There is this strange supposition,” says the American philosopher Jerry Fodor, “that if you’re a Darwinian you have to be an atheist. In my case, I’m an anti-Darwinian and I’m an atheist. But people are so incoherent on these issues that it’s hard for me to figure out what is driving them.”

Well it’s a good think Jerry Fodor is a philosopher! Because it certainly is the only field where you can happily say that you don’t believe in evolution and not be considered a moron.

The neo-atheist cause has been gathering strength for roughly two decades and recently exploded into very public view. Sayeeda Warsi, co-chairman of the Conservative Party, was in the headlines for making a speech at the Vatican warning of the dangers of secular fundamentalism, which aims to prevent religions from having a public voice or role. Warsi, a Muslim, subdivides propagators of this anti-religious impulse into two categories. First, there are the well-meaning liberal elite, who want to suppress religion in order not to cause offence to anybody. Second, there is the “perverse kind of secular” believer, who wants to “wipe religion from the public sphere” on principle.

Let’s see, because all religions have to live under a single set of rules and we cannot have Sharia law for Muslims, Catholic law for Catholics and so on. We live under one law and the law that works the best is secular law. The gripe of these people is that they are being made more and more unnecessary in a modern world and they can no longer get handouts to their faith based on who they know.

And yes, it shouldn’t be in the public sphere. Because nearly every religion is either equal to a secular government where decisions are made sensibly, or worse. I don’t think any Abrahamic faith has anything to give modern society that cannot be gained from a non religious source.

As Warsi was on her way to catch her flight to Rome she heard Dawkins, the supreme prophet of neo-atheism, on Radio 4’s Today programme. He was attempting to celebrate a survey that proved, at least to his satisfaction, that supposedly Christian Britain was a fraud. People who said they were Christians did not go to church and knew little of the faith. Giles Fraser, a priest of the Church of England, then challenged Dawkins to give the full title of Darwin’s Origin of Species. Falling into confusion, he failed. Fraser’s point was that Dawkins was therefore, by his own criterion, not a Darwinian. Becoming even more confused, Dawkins exclaimed in his response: “Oh, God!”

We don’t follow Darwin anymore in biology. The idea of evolution that Darwin proposed and what we have are entirely different beasts. Darwin’s books are actually for all intents and purposes “Wrong”. Accusing someone of being a Darwinist is like accusing someone of being an Aristotlean. We don’t actually study Darwin’s work because it’s now part of literature.

“Immediately he was out of control, he said, ‘Oh, God!'” Warsi recalls, “so even the most self-confessed secular fundamentalist at this moment of need needed to turn to the Almighty. It kind of defeats his own argument that only people who go to church have a faith.”

“Oh God!” is a stock standard phrase derived from blasphemy in the same way that I say “Jesus Christ” when I swear. It doesn’t mean I am turning to Jesus who to me is about as fictional as Asterix the Gaul, it means I am swearing.

It’s a statement of exasperation. No one who says “Oh My God!” is invoking a god but is expressing disbelief with a stock phrase.

“He has taken a very strange position. He’s unusual, in that he came from an elite British Anglican family with all its privileges and then he had this extraordinary career, and now he stands at the head of what can really be called a cult . . . I think what happened was that he has been frightened by the militancy of religious people he has met on his travels and it has driven him to the other side. 

“It smacks of a sort of psychological collapse in him, a collapse in those resources of maturity that would keep someone on an even keel. There is what psychoanalysts would call a deep rigidity in him.”

Hardly. Dawkins has been subjected to criticism from within the new atheist movement. Like every celebrity, he has fans but he doesn’t speak for most atheists.

I ask Fraser what he thinks are the roots of this ideological rigidity among the neo-atheists. “It coincides with post-9/11,” he says. “The enemy is Islam for them. That was true about [Christopher] Hitchens in an obvious way and Dawkins said something like ‘it was the most evil religion in the world’. 

“With Hitchens, it was bound up with liberal interventionism. It is also clearly an Americanisation. It has come over from their culture wars . . . People are pissed off with Dawkins because there is a feeling that we don’t do that over here.”

Actually, most New Atheists live in the USA. There is a massive USA centred movement about them (and indeed this is seen by the demographic) and they are mainly anti-christian. Those who are in the UK however are mainly anti-islamic in their mindset since in the USA the big threat to secular values is Christianity while in the UK the rise of islamic fundementalism represents a threat to secular values particularly in the fact that there are only two opinions in the UK which range from “Islam isn’t so bad” to “Muslims should be put on a plane to wherever it is they came from!”. There is no middle ground between Sharia Court and BNP. It’s frankly irritating that the people who shout “Yeah!” over your shoulder when you criticise Islam are people who want to throw me out with the Muslims!

Islam has MASSIVE problems. It’s a violently reactionary religion. It’s a religion with a terrible history of the treatment of women. It’s a religion which is incredibly anti-education. It’s a religion that doesn’t encourage scientific thought and discourse. It cannot handle criticism rationally. In short? It’s a massive elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

When we do talk about it we have charges of islamophobia or racism levelled at us, leaving atheists incredibly puzzled as to why in the UK we have things like Sharia Courts and tolerate the thuggish behaviour of some islamic groups.

For me, the events of 9/11 were certainly a catalyst, the new ingredient that turned the already bubbling mix of anti-religious feeling into an explosive concoction. Coming from a scientific family, I had accepted the common-sense orthodoxy that religion and science were two separate but complementary and non-conflicting entities, or what the great evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould called “non-overlapping magisteria” (NOMA). I first became aware of my own complacency in this regard when I interviewed Stephen Hawking just before the publication of A Brief History of Time (1988). He had become – it was his then wife who told me this – vehemently anti-religious. And in my presence he was contemptuously anti-philosophical.

Hardly. September 11th just made Islamic Terrorism a bit more personal and less about distant people dying in third world nations. It was basically a taste of what people have to go through across the world to a group of people who didn’t have to experience that kind of fear. Atheists came out in force because it was a perfect demonstration of the ills of evil. But remember so did Christianity which nearly turned the war into a bloody crusade.

There had always been an anti-religious strain in science, a strain that had been present since Galileo and which, indeed, had grown stronger after Darwin. In the postwar period, both Francis Crick and James Watson conceded that one of their main motivations in unravelling the molecular structure of DNA was to undermine religion. It was strengthened even further in the popular imagination when Dawkins expounded the outlines of the neo-Darwinian synthesis in his fine book The Selfish Gene (1976). In the 1990s it became routine to hear scientists – notably in this country Peter Atkins and Lewis Wolpert – pouring scorn on the claims of philosophy and religion. They were, for entirely non-scientific reasons, in a triumph­ant mood. The sales of A Brief History of Time had sent publishing advances for popular science books soaring, and the more astounding the claims, the better the money.

Watson and Crick were atheists from a young age and the structure of DNA was a race between Oxford and Cambridge. There were three people who should be credited with the discovery of the structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin was one of the discoverers of the structure. And yes, why shouldn’t we laugh at religion and indeed philosophy? It’s a group of people who don’t do experiments about the observed while discussing the unobservable while making claims about their conclusions that are not based on an ounce of empirical data.

While observing this, I became aware that the ground had shifted beneath my own cosy orthodoxy. Scientistic thinkers were no longer prepared to accept NOMA, the separate, complementary, non-conflicting realms. In the early 1990s I was engaged in a debate with Dawkins at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He said, to much applause, that the existence of God was a scientific issue. If, in effect, God could not live up to the standards of scientific proof, then He must be declared dead. There were no longer two magisteria, but just one, before which we must all bow.

Are we to simply declare the giant elephant in the room as taboo for discussion. Religion claims  to have an entity that is not only external to the universe but also fully capable of breaking the laws of physics through magic and we are to blindly accept this and carry on with our science and not even take a single measurement? Are we to simply ignore the man behind the curtain?

It was in the midst of this that Fodor and the cognitive scientist Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini published What Darwin Got Wrong, a highly sophisticated analysis of Darwinian thought which concluded that the theory of natural selection could not be stated coherently. All hell broke loose. Such was the abuse that Fodor vowed never to read a blog again. Myers the provocateur announced that he had no intention of reading the book but spent 3,000 words trashing it anyway, a remarkably frank statement of intellectual tyranny.

It was not highly sophisticated. It was a book written by a philosopher with a poor understanding about evolutionary biology, writing about a theory that was nearly 100 years old by that point and had grown based on newer proof.

The argument was a philosophical one and one that simply doesn’t hold true in nature. It wasn’t all hell breaking lose so much as people calling them out for their inherent mistakes when they
tried to play scientist. Basically? Real Scientists in the field simply tore their arguments to shreds because these two individuals failed to realise that science has progressed a lot since the days of Darwin.

Ultimately, the problem with militant neo-atheism is that it represents a profound category error. Explaining religion – or, indeed, the human experience – in scientific terms is futile. “It would be as bizarre as to launch a scientific investigation into the truth of Anna Karenina or love,” de Botton says. “It’s a symptom of the misplaced confidence of science . . . It’s a kind of category error. It’s a fatally wrong question and the more you ask it, the more you come up with bizarre and odd answers.”

No it wouldn’t. The truth about Anna Karenina would be fascinating. Are we to suggest that archeology and paleontology isn’t fascinating because they deal with the past? Love as a study into neurology would be intensely fascinating while not altering it’s meaning one bit. So what if it’s just chemistry? Knowing how it works doesn’t make it less special. The entire point of science is you can ask any question and get an answer through empirical thought. Simply stating that you shouldn’t answer some questions is a ludicrous idea.

The answer demonstrates the futility of the neo-atheist project. Religion is not going to go away. It is a natural and legitimate response to the human condition, to human consciousness and to human ignorance. One of the most striking things revealed by the progress of science has been the revelation of how little we know and how easily what we do know can be overthrown. Furthermore, as Hitchens in effect acknowledged and as the neo-atheists demonstrate by their ideological rigidity and savagery, absence of religion does not guarantee that the demonic side of our natures will be eliminated. People should have learned this from the catastrophic failed atheist project of communism, but too many didn’t.

However we can oppose it’s grasp on our children and indeed on our daily lives which are being influenced by people who lived 2000 years ago and had no idea about the world. Really? Do we honestly think that “Gay Marriage Is Anti Christian” is a logical and sane answer to the modern issue? No! You would have to be a madman to say that you refuse to accept two people’s marriage solely because you believe in the same things as people did 2000 years ago!

It is better to know that we know nothing than claim that we know everything. That’s the difference between science and religion. Science may be truly small but it will get bigger and bigger as we understand more of how the universe works. Religion assumes it knows everything which is why it stagnates and why it’s god is so small, petty and insignificant.

The ideological savagery exists in atheism, but should we point out the actual savagery of faith? The savage verbal assaults on the four gentlemen mentioned earlier are no different from ones we have all faced. This is a problem of humanity irrespective of faith. The problem with faith is that it can encourage a lot of people to assault a single concept. The problem with faith is that it can drive people to actual savagery.

Happily, the backlash against neo-atheism has begun, inspired by the cult’s own intolerance. In the Christmas issue of this magazine, Dawkins interviewed Hitchens. Halfway through, Dawkins asked: “Do you ever worry that if we win and, so to speak, destroy Christianity, that vacuum would be filled by Islam?” At dinner at the restaurant in Bayswater we all laughed at this, but our laughter was uneasy. The history of attempts to destroy religion is littered with the corpses of believers and unbelievers alike. There are many roads to truth, but cultish intolerance is not one of them.

So far this article has been one of strawman after strawman. If it was about learning from religion and genuine criticism about the atheist movement and how to improve ourselves then it would be fine. Instead it’s a ridiculous assault on evolution, mixed in with complaints that people called other people out for making the ridiculous assault on evolution finally culminating in the idea that religion will always exist because people are too stupid and if we get rid of one we would have to deal with a crazier one.

There are many roads to the truth but the truth is singular. The truth of religion and of science are entirely different and science is based on proof and evidence while religion is not. Science does not accept anything as true until proven, while religion accepts things as true before finding proof. 

Don’t Stop Reporting II

I didn’t really do a blog post celebrating a year of A Million Gods, but today’s events kind of reminded me of when I started.

Today Marie Colvin and Remie Ochlik were killed in Homs as part of the Bashar Al-Assad Government’s offensive on the Syrian people. It is rumoured that they were killed as a deliberate attack on  journalists.

This reminded me of when I wrote about the sexual assault of Lara Logan. It’s almost precisely a year to the day…

I deeply admired Marie Colvin’s work across the world particularly in areas such as Sri Lanka and the work of Remie Ochlik is frankly astounding considering his age. The world is a poorer place for the loss of these people.

I feel that this event shows the level of the brutality of the fighting in Syria and the indiscriminate shelling of civilians. Her final report was about a child dying as no one could treat him. It does make your eyes prick between bath and pre-lunch beers. But we so quickly forget that there is a world of suffering.

The war journalist and photographer brings war to life. We forget that in this day and age of easy publishing the value of a professional observer in the ground has reduced. Their lives are more unsafe than ever since a press pass is no longer the protection it once was. We shouldn’t forget their sacrifice and the best way we can do that is by being aware of the international world rather than the latest celebrity gossip. And by acting on this information. The information to put pressure on the Syrian government is in our hands. The question remains is whether we actually use it to try and create a democratic society in Syria or do we go back to our beers.

Cults and You

I spent most of the weekend reading the very lovely Suzanne Schumacher’s blog about leaving a cult. The cult is quite famous as the Follower’s of Christ. They were involved in a bunch of people refusing medical care for their children and praying instead.

I advocate reading Does Air Exist, but urge readers to be respectful. Her beliefs are a product of a cult and she is not an atheist. It’s hard to be polite regarding this sort of thing considering the level of information control the average cult has.

It’s a good read to see what life was like in a cult and she has said that she will be having a faith healer on it as a guest blogger. It’s interesting to see what the medical luddite movement really believes in and it’s interesting to see what arguments they use as a learning experience.

The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers

My good sir! It’s so nice to meet you! I couldn’t possibly trouble you for a
sausage in a nice bap with some good cheese?

I saw this little bugger in the pound when I was taking a dog there to get rescued after it had accidentally got run over after it fell asleep under a car and kind of fell in love with him. I figured I was moving to a new house and that I wouldn’t mind taking him in for the time being.

His name is Tigger and he is dopey and funny and attempting to eat fudge and climb on me at the same time.

Oh his name is a spelling mistake. It’s supposed to be Tiger, but he hops around if he wants things so I figure the name is appropriate!

The Ninth Commandment

It amazes me how easily some christians breaks the commandments while claiming to be good. I have no qualms about someone who isn’t a “holier than thou” christian not following the more stupid rules of christianity. I have no issues with them. They realise that their faith isn’t perfect and adapt it to fit the reality of modern life.

There are plenty of catholic women who use actual birth control rather than wishful thinking and there are plenty of catholics who think the church’s behaviour is reprehensible. And then we have the American Life League whose lying bullshit is so noxious that one can scarcely believe that they can actually claim to uphold the ninth commandment.

A few points?

  • Abortion is not Killing. Life is not viable in any significant way till around the 24th week. Claiming it is life is completely true while also being completely dishonest since it is discussing potential life. By this logic life never really starts and stops but is a continuation. The idea is that conception is this mystical act which imbues a zygote with a soul which is a laughable concept since there is no soul (It’s an illusion. The soul is wishful thinking that our brain’s thought pattern will survive the destruction of the brain.) The sperm and egg are both alive. By this argument abortion may be murder, but ejaculation is genocide.
  • Mountains of birth control sounds like a good thing. One notices that the Catholic church encourages it’s members to not use birth control but doesn’t actually feed the children born from the lack of birth control. The ability to decide when and where we have children enables us to provide the best situations for our children. The game is quality not quantity and sensible people understand that. 
  • Obsession with Sex is planned parenthoods job. Their entire job is to encourage people to have safer sex, use contraception when avoiding pregnancy and finally to provide abortions if all that advice falls on deaf ears. A fairly health attitude to sex. While the Catholic church is just as obsessed with sex. Only with an unhealthy attitude of celibacy, masochistic beliefs, unsafe sexual practice and plain stupidity. The rules of catholicism with regards to female health are drawn up by a bunch of celibate men, many of whom are virgins whose qualifications are not based on science and medicine but in the idea that somehow belief in an imaginary friend entitles you to discuss biology, sociology and genitalia that you are unfamiliar with. 
  • Plenty of catholics use sex toys and have wide and varied sex lives. Sex isn’t bad. Of course a bunch of celibate people are going to think it’s bad. They aren’t having sex. They don’t know how good it is and indeed how to be safe and following their advice is a terrible plan. 
  • Vagina Macaroons sound pretty awesome
  • The things that play a central role in planned parenthood’s community activities just sounds retarded. One can easily say that alcohol, biscuits and crushing guilt feature heavily in catholic activity but that isn’t strictly true. The silliness is a means to an end, which is the discussion of safe sex.
  • For a group of people whose clergy have become synonymous with paedophilia, these catholics are awfully daft at accusing planned parenthood of perversion. What’s truly shocking is the double standards we apply to priests many of whom have escaped prosecution or been handed light sentences. Perverse? Sex is fun. Teaching kids to be safe and have respect for themselves is what sex education should be about. Because teaching them that about evil vaginas and penises just is a lie.
  • Planned Parenthood may get government money to teach “unrestrained sex” but the catholic church pays no taxes.
  • Only morons would think science and pornography are interchangeable. Oh baby, your fallopian tubes make my vas deferens spasm. Enough vocalisation, let us engage in coitus.
  • I don’t think sex is that addictive. Sure it’s nice, but I don’t get sick if I don’t have any sex. 
  • Masturbation is not a gateway to sex. By their logic eating is a gateway to obesity so you should NEVER EAT.
  • It’s Perfectly Normal is about puberty and the changes that occur. It teaches that the hormonal feelings are perfectly normal. The changes are perfectly natural. And the desire to masturbate and explore sexuality is perfectly natural in the context of a respectful relationship. Obviously the church wouldn’t like this. How can they make people feel guilty of unnatural desires if people figure out that those unnatural desires are actually pretty natural.
  • Cartoon people having sex is funny. Not sexy.
  • Anatomical drawings are informative, even if they are cartoons. Not sexy. Do you know what kills most people’s masturbation? Seeing cutaway sections of penis. 
  • If a dirty old man showed these things to a kid in a church, he won’t be arrested either. There is a massive difference between paedophilia and sex education. A dirty old man wants to fuck the kids. Planned parenthood prepares kids for these kinds of situations by teaching them respect. 
  • I don’t think I was told anything stimulating and intimate about sex in Sex Education. How sexually repressed do you have to be to find sex education titillating?
  • A lot of their argument consists of “ZOMG PENIS! VAGINA! DRAWINGS! Good grief? I have dissected human vaginas and penises and even helped in sectioning cadavers for educational cross sections. Trust me, it’s not sexy to see anatomical drawings of the damn things. At no point have I masturbated to Netter’s Anatomy.I am sure someone somewhere has but different strokes for different folk. I prefer my ladies real and alive and without cross sections. 
  • Oh no! Planned Parenthood are telling the truth about mastrubation! Now catholics cannot say that it makes you go blind or that masturbation can cause your cock to fall off. 
  • Orgasms are pretty sweet (if you hadn’t had one? Look forward to it). Anal Sex isn’t for everyone, take precautions and you will be fine. Oral sex is amazing. Just thought I should state the obvious. Good grief, this video paints a dire picture of catholic sex. 
  • All sexual orientations between consenting adults are perfectly acceptable. The ALL’s guilt tripping nonsense is responsible for the culture of bullying and hatred towards homosexual teenagers that results in their higher than average suicide rate. It can only get better when we completely marginalise people like these from modern society and make them irrelevant to normal discourse.
  • Encouraging the use of condoms and dental dams reduces pregnancy and the spread of STDs. Abstinence doesn’t work. It really doesn’t because sex is hardwired into human beings. It’s why catholic priests fuck up so easily. It’s because the most unnatural thing on earth is denying sex on purpose solely because you believe that it gives you magic powers to talk to some magic being. 
  • Being gay is precisely like being left handed. I didn’t have the best childhood upbringing as a left hander. I was routinely treated by other indians as broken and people did try and correct my hand usage. You are born left handed, the catholics once beat the fuck out of you if you were left handed. Today it’s
    the gays. The word Sinister comes from “left handedness”. Incidentally if you want a fun fact of trivia the opposite of Sinister is Dexter. 
  • Oh noes! The kids will have to meet gays. Seriously? Have you seen what the average 13 year old watches on TV? Have you seen a Rihanna video? The Pussy Cat Dollz? Christina Aguillera? How is this any different from that? 
  • 1/4 girls has an STD. That is true. The majority being HPV. Nearly 90% of STD cases are due to HPV. Not all STDs are alike. 
  • Planned Parenthood throws sexy parties? That seems unlikely. 
  • This man’s definition of sexy scares and terrifies me. Raise your hands if you think penis tentacled monsters are sexy. Raise your hands if you think condom balloon kama sutra is funny. 
  • Showing people dressed up as genitalia during a demonstration about sex rights is pretty retarded. It’s planned parenthood supporters making a stand. Planned Parenthood probably don’t dress up as penises and vaginas for normal work. If they did it would be highly amusing but also highly inappropriate.
  • It doesn’t matter what a woman wears, no means no. Neither Burkha nor Bikini are permission for rape of any sort. 
  • This fisting kit blatantly says “how to make a dental dam” on it. And straight people like fisting too. It is estimated that more straight men enjoy receiving anal sex than gay men. And if that is the case? No glove! No love! 
  • Japanese culture has a penis festival? They sound pretty awesome.
  • Planned Parenthood gives out free contraception. I don’t know about you but “get the kids addicted to sex so we have to give out more contraception” doesn’t seem like a solid business strategy. Remind me again, in order to run a business are we supposed to make money or put it into condoms that we give out for free?
  • Birth control in the form of condoms reduces STD tests and Abortions
These are roughly all the lies. I lost count, I really did. Do any real people believe in this nonsense or is this group a parody? I cannot tell.

But just to be on the safe side, fund Planned Parenthood. At the best, your money will go to guaranteeing your children and your daughters in particular receive healthcare and education about sex  that is untainted by people whose qualifications are belief in magic. At the very worst you will piss off the ALL.

I disagree with JT Eberhard – Valentine’s day is actually kind of fun

I actually disagree that Valentine’s Day sucks. I quite like it, it’s a silly day where you are encouraged to be silly and romantic. You don’t need that excuse on other days but sometimes it’s nice to be part of the crowd. 
Look, days like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and all the other days are just days where people do something special. The meaning of christmas to some people is Jesus and all that jazz, but I was a Hindu. Christmas was about sitting with your family and laughing as you try to make “white people food”, complain about it being too bland and then spicing up the recipes (My turkey used to be cooked in a tandoori and we had curry rather than gravy). You can still enjoy something even if it doesn’t mean the same thing to you. 
Yes, it sucks to be single on Valentine’s Day. But you know what? If you are single and you think it’s a problem then every event where you are in contact with people in relationships is irritating. A simple dinner with my cousins often turns into me looking awkwardly at the ceiling while they discuss “married people things”. Being an odd numbered wheel sucks sometimes. Being the odd wheel around a public display of affection sucks. The only difference between Valentine’s Day and any other day is the quantity of people who are doing the whole PDA thing. It’s the same at Christmas or Easter or any day where people get together in large groups with their significant others and you are on your own around a lot of booze.

And I had to spend Christmas holidays this year by myself locked in a room with medical textbooks instead of with my family. I had a break for a few days for a friend’s wedding but my holiday was mainly educational. Let’s just say that calling it a “depressing holiday” is an understatement. Imagine knowing that you HAVE to sit and study while every person you know is out eating, drinking and having fun? Imagine seeing all your friends get married, settle down and have a kid while you don’t even have the time to go out and get a beer. It all sucks when you aren’t getting it but you know what? It’s my choice to trade in my 20s in exchange for a medical degree and it’s my choice to get my degree in India. So I can complain but I cannot change the reality of the situation. 

I have been single for 2 years and 8 months now. In that time period I have had a single proper fling and that was less about a feasible relationship and more about “high school reunion with someone who I fancied and vice versa who lives on the other side of the globe and who I hadn’t seen since I was 15″. And it frankly sucks, but what makes it suck isn’t the fact that all the people in relationships are having fun or have a day where they rub it in my face. It sucks because I have an issue with it. I mean that’s like saying that I shouldn’t hit on women around my friends who are in monogamous relationships because they cannot. I am pretty much doomed to a bare minimum of another 3 years of being single. I pretty much live and work in a place where 
  1. The normal dating arena is way too expensive for me. I make roughly 700 rupees a week. A drink in a bar is 120 rupees .Entry into most clubs is often more expensive than what I get a week as a stipend and my stipend mainly is spent on food and treats.
  2. Where I have a completely different cultural upbringing to the people who surround me and so have absolutely nothing in common 
  3. Where my baldness is a major issue to the point where people have stopped me in the street to ask me if I had an accident or cancer and where people actively pity me for my hair loss at such a young age.
  4. My course treats me as a dog’s body and tends to give me the worst jobs. HIV/AIDS patients are the modern day lepers and thus I am stuck working with them. My choice of who I work with makes me a social pariah to a lot of people.

And what would insult me more is if people treated me like my feelings were so delicate and fragile that I would be insulted if I were to see people having fun on Valentine’s Day. No more so than my feelings being insulted for seeing people having fun on Christmas or Easter or St. Patrick’s Day or pretty much any other day of the year. And you know what? One day I will not be stuck here, one day I will be back home and one day I will have a social life. And at that point, I wouldn’t want to have to pussy foot around someone else worrying about their feelings with regards to my relationship.

So don’t worry about us single people. We don’t have someone to date, it doesn’t mean we are big giant babies. Most of us can handle Valentine’s Day just fine!

Valentine’s Day Massacre: Indiana’s Drones and the Temple of Dumb

Why are we even discussing whether religion and science should be taught on the same footing in a classroom? It is 2012, and we have touched the moon, made smallpox extinct, created the internet and routinely chose to hurl ourselves through the air in metal cylinders powered by dead monsters.

And somehow despite all this technology that science has created to make our lives better in every single possible way, you still have people like the members of the Indiana Senate who tried (and will probably try again) to get a bill that allows for the teaching of creationism in schools.

It’s such a faulty premise that something that has been repeatedly proven to be true has to be taught alongside the notion that the world was created as it is by magic. It beggars belief that we are even discussing this in this time period with what we know. At its heart it is an attempt to shoehorn Jesus into children and hammer home the idea that religion also has answers that should be treated as equally valid to science. After all, it’s rather embarrassing to claim divine knowledge and be so ignorant about the functioning of the world. Science just makes religion look bad by exposing the depths of wilful ignorance that it encourages.

The teaching of Creationism irrespective of its source does not align at all with reality and therefore with science. They are stories, nothing more and nothing less than that. Teaching them in a classroom as fact doesn’t harm you. It harms your children by creating a group of people who do not question things properly and who simply blindly accept the fact that magic exists. 

As a United Methodist pastor, I am part of a Christian tradition that looks to Scripture, church tradition, critical thinking and relevant experience to reflect on God and make decisions about life in relationship to our Scriptures. Within this framework, there is plenty of room for science, including the science of evolution. What can be measured and tested and studied through scientific methods informs my theology, and my theology informs how I understand the results of that scientific method. I am not an expert on other faith traditions, but I imagine that many of them could make similar claims.

Brenda Freije doesn’t get the point in the best way. Her attitude is that reconciliation between science and wishful thinking is possible. She chooses to treat the account in Genesis as a guideline or story, stating that there is tremendous wisdom in the bible as its defence. There is tremendous wisdom in Harry Potter (honour, courage, intelligence, hard work, bravery, friendship, sacrifice, doing what’s right, love, responsibility and universality) but I wouldn’t want it to be read in schools in lieu of actual science. To me the bible has some really terrible things in it. So does Harry Potter, but the terrible things in Harry Potter are done by people who are clearly villains while a lot of the terrible things done in the bible are due to the direct action of men who are considered “good” and by the deity who claims to be good. Her vision of Christianity is a very mellow and mild one that simply ignores a lot of the text of the book.

Rather than stating that science is right because it is based on experiment and proof and that the biblical account is based on allegory, she goes for the “we don’t know what’s right” argument. The truths in the Bible have been repeatedly proven empirically wrong and the only way to deal with that is by claiming that there is mystical truth that only comes from belief and study. 

Science and religion ask different questions and apply different methods of study. This doesn’t make them incompatible. It does make them distinct. Claims about God as the creator of life are claims of faith. Claims that there is no divine power behind the created order are claims of a different kind of faith. It is the role of parents and our communities of faith to teach about these claims and to help our children think critically about the science they are learning. 

Science asks questions, religion makes up answers. Science does study and experiment and test while religion does not. The claim that there is no divine power in the universe is based on the observable fact that there is no divine power in the universe. To date not one person who claims to believe in the divine has been capable of providing evidence that the divine exists. The day proof is provided; we will accept a god exists. But till now there is none.

Next we have Donald Lacy, a United Methodist Pastor.

First, and likely the most difficult, has to do with what understanding(s) of creationism is to be presented to students. I suggest the place to begin for our great state is to seek out scholarly representatives of those that can trace their beginning to Father Abraham: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Perhaps the Senate itself could do this. But what branches of each should come together? Christianity alone has numerous denominational groupings. Potential chaos? Is consensus possible? 

Firstly, the USA has a establishment clause banning the promotion of religion in a classroom. It doesn’t matter what god you believe in, you cannot flog it in a classroom. And none of the Abrahamic faiths have a grasp on how old the earth is by a factor of nearly the entire existence of the earth. Islam has been around for less than 2000 years. The world has been around for 4.5 billion years. This isn’t philosophy where all views are equal. This is science, and it’s not a democracy. It’s a meritocracy. If your view has evidence then your view stands. If your evidence is flawed then your view falls. And the evidence for all abrahamic faith is faulty at its very core. It doesn’t matter how much you agree about it if you are agreeing about the existence of unicorns. 

Second, if some agreement can be reached on what is to be taught as creationism and implemented, we must look into the future. Who or what has the authority, responsibility and accountability to decide the validity of such teaching by providing objective testing? We may very well have a menacing wall that only partially comes down. Will each proponent insist on his/her way? Again, is consensus possible? 

Secondly, creationism shouldn’t be taught. Not until they can provide empirical evidence. Because so far there has been no empirical research out of the movement let alone any
thing that substantiates their proof. We hear about research but close examination shows it to be laughable and unacceptable at the level at which a 12 year old child would do science. We cannot and should not teach anything this faulty. 

Third, we must at least mention Buddhism and Hinduism. Our state definitely has devotees. In the late 1950s, we had a brilliant Christian professor at Butler School of Religion (Christian Theological Seminary) whose name was Joseph Smith. I relished every minute of his comparative history of religions and wrote essays on both religions. Often, after classes, I was ready to convert or find a way to incorporate them into Methodism. Well, dear friends, is consensus possible?

Thirdly, Hinduism’s creation mythos is clearly entrenched in magic. And hindus themselves tend to not believe in their own creation mythos relying heavily on science because that explains the world better. The Buddhist mythos varies wildly depending on the influence of Hinduism but it was originally a atheistic/agnostic belief system with the flaw being that it believed in a series of personal laws that apply to behaviour. Neither of these religions have enforced creationist mythos to the same level as the nonsense portrayed by the Abrahamic faiths. Encouraging them to be just like you just adds to the whole problem. And their creation mythos is completely alien to Abrahamic Faith.

Fourth, the crossing of lines between church, synagogue, mosque and state is probable. Aligning creationism with science may simply seem politically practical. Simply? Really now, it gets at the heart of who and what we are. We Christians should seriously propose a major interfaith event — inviting Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists to a spacious classroom for prayers. The governor, legislature, Supreme Court and state superintendent of public instruction should join us. 

Fourthly, Why? This seems like a giant waste of time and money. The USA has a tonne of problems regarding education without dragging magic into the mix. And it does not get at the heart of who we are as human beings.

We are the product of 3 billion years or so of evolution. We are a product of death, destruction and pain since the wheel of evolution is based on the deaths of others. Those who live to breed were lucky or were the best. We are the product of that. We have evolved to use tools and to solve problems using tools. And those two skills have allowed us as humans to break the normal cycle of evolution and become a force of nature unto ourselves. Our tools and brain have allowed us to create a society where we are not subject to the normal pressures of evolution. We have come from a history of incredible cruelty, brutality and strife to create a society that doesn’t need to be those things. We have the luxury as people to explore ideas such as kinship, universality and knowledge. At the heart of it, a human being is a powerful brain coupled with artifice mixed in with the right measures of cunning, dexterity and brute force to have become the most powerful and most self aware species that we are currently aware of. And it is these abilities and the appropriate application of them that allow us to get along with each other and become more.

To claim that we are the magic offspring of some mythical entity is to insult our true nature, and to forget what we truly are.

And finally we get to Greg Manship. An instructor in ethics at the University of Indianapolis.

Creationism aligns with science because both seek to bring understanding to the origins and fundamentals of the material world as we know it. Both science and faith help us to understand ourselves as human beings living with other human and nonhuman beings in a finite, material world within an infinite universe.

Creationism is not science, it is faith. It tries to ally with science because every time it has raised its ugly head it’s been defeated by empirical evidence which is what science is based on. It is trying to pass itself off as science in the same way that chiropractors and homeopaths try to pass themselves off as doctors. It does so in order to get acceptance into schools and so that it can replace genuine education with “Jesus”.

By faith, we understand the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Scriptures to reveal God as creator of the sun and the moon as “great lights . . . to mark day and night.” By science, we understand the nature of the sun’s light to be a massive release of visible and invisible electromagnetic energy, and the nature of the moon’s light to be the reflection of the sun’s light. 

Why has this man been hired to teach at a university? This man blatantly doesn’t even grasp how stars are formed. In this idiot’s world the sun and moon’s existence are to mark day and night as the world’s largest clocks. That god created the goddamn sun (a ball of nuclear fire that is a million times larger than the earth) solely for us to be able to tell when morning begins. Does God not intend for us to live in the Arctic or Antarctic where the sun often doesn’t set for months and where night can last an entire winter? No! Because that is clearly moronic because the “Ancient Hebrew Text” assumes the sun exists solely for human benefit.

On the other hand, by science we understand that the Higgs boson is a hypothetical subatomic particle that is the theoretical cause for mass and matter, which constitutes material reality as we know it. And by faith (defined by the author of the Book of Hebrews as “confidence in what we hope for . . . evidence of what we cannot see”) we understand that despite the lack of evidence so far, with more experimentation and explanation, the Higgs boson (which the media have labeled the “God particle”) will be found, thus completing our understanding of the material world (according to the Standard Model of particle physics). 

I will raise my hand here. I do not understand the science behind particle physics. I understand it is science, but my education diverged from physics down the route of biology which is closer to chemistry than it is to particle physics. To me it is a mysterious world of strange names and I feel like the average physicist when confronted by the strange names of medicine. However? I understand that there is a logical position on why physicists make the statements they do. I understand that they test their hypothesis and are not making assumptions or guesses but are working towards understanding the world slowly and painfully.

I will not however assume that a bunch of 3000 year old Jews knew anything about the Higgs Boson just because a single line in a book, nor apply the term faith to what is effectively an educated guess or a prediction. The Higgs Boson is a prediction; mathematics and logic postulate the existence of the Higgs Boson in much the same way that Mendeleev predicted the existence of Noble Gases and even left space out for undiscover
ed elements in his periodic table. These were not based on faith but logic and actual hard science. A biological example would be the Darwin Orchid, where Darwin predicted it was pollinated by a moth whose tongue was of unprecedented length. 21 years after his death the moth was discovered vindicating his theory based on the fact that the plant had honey whose sole purpose is the attraction of insects, but it was honey placed deep within the flower which had a long flower that needed a long tongue. So since Darwin noticed no hummingbirds that would have the necessary tongue and bill to drink, he postulated it must be a night living moth since he hadn’t seen the creature and humming birds are diurnal. His education in entomology and biology allowed him to make the postulation. It wasn’t a leap of faith but a calculated jump made using knowledge and understanding.

There is no faith without science, for even Jesus challenged Thomas to gather empirical evidence by touching Jesus’ resurrected body. And there is no science without faith, for even scientists have faith and believe in the possibilities of what they have not yet seen with their own eyes. We fail our students and we fool ourselves when we “believe” we have “proof” of the “incompatibility” between science and faith. 

And finally it’s the assumption that faith in science and in religion is equivalent to each other. Faith is the absence of science, and the faith of a scientist in possibilities that are yet to come is not based on faith but by the theoretical application of a new discovery or an existing piece of technology. We do not live our lives based on that technological future and we apply logic and common sense to it as we develop a greater understanding that religion simply does not.

What fails the American student is the introduction of non-real things to education. We are not discussing creationism, we are discussing magic. We are discussing a belief in a hypothetical entity possessing the ability to break the known laws of the universe at whim in order to create an entire universe solely for the benefit of around 7 billion people who have to worship it in order for an unknown benefit that is poorly defined. Creationism is not science; it is superstition attempting to masquerade as science in order to flog more superstition. It is entirely incompatible with science as science requires proof.

If creationism is allowed to enter our schools, then science should be allowed to enter your church. After all, if we are trying to be fair and balanced we should be fair and balanced in all aspects. All in favour say aye! 

Valentine’s Day Massacre : Secularism denies History and Destroys Identity

Hello whine whine whine? I would like to call a Waaahmbulance for Tim Stanley.

The argument he makes is one made by racists and morons across the fair isle I like to call as home. And it can be summarised as….

“My privilege! How dare you stop me from exercising my right to be privileged! Don’t you know we are a Christian nation? How dare you destroy that! Can’t you see you are destroying culture with your heathen ways of secularism!”

It beggars belief that we have people who think like this. This man who thinks that British history being defined by faith is a good thing. Our history is filled with complete and utter bastards because of religion. The British Museum is a museum and also a crime scene in progress from all the stuff we nicked and all the stupidity of religious intolerance. It’s the past but it’s also the truth. We stuck flags in various places and took a lot of stuff from people who didn’t have the maxim gun. It’s the truth. We really cannot change that truth. We also did a lot of fairly insane things when the UK went through it’s fundie christian phase. When we were running around stabbing other christians because they believed in a slightly different set of events in the bible.

She opened with “Tim, they’re trying to outlaw Christianity in England.” I think she had slightly misread the effort to ban prayers at council meetings, but I understood what she meant. My mom is an unapologetic, born again Baptist, and – from her perspective – she lives in frightening times. “

It just shows how silly this is. No one’s trying to outlaw christianity in the UK. It’s just that we don’t think prayer is inclusive, sensible or acceptable as a public option. We have grown out of our christian nation and become a humanist secular society. And it is for the better. Our society is much better off than it ever was even in times of a recession. The only people who don’t like it are the religious right (who are thankfully rare) and the racists (who are surprisingly not).

One of the things that I love about America (I’m currently living in Washington DC) is that it’s a country where religion is part of the geography and language of everyday life. For someone who grew up in a religious household, that’s normal and nice. But it’s certainly not the norm for most contemporary Britons. Religion has been slowly squeezed out of mainstream British culture. I find – and I recognise that this is a subjective appraisal – that this makes the UK quite a sterile place to live. For you don’t need to believe in God to see the cultural value of belief. For good and bad, it has shaped global history for thousands of years. To eradicate it from the public sphere is to eradicate one’s own history. It leaves us without a shared identity. 

Indeed! We should be more like America where they would NEVER have elected any member of the GLBT to their equivalent of parliament because of the choice of who they love. We should be like America where millions of people think the most important skill of a politician should be how much he believes in their god. We should be like America where they regularly attempt and sometimes succeed in denying the basic rights of a woman to access healthcare and contraception. We should be like America where 45% of the people believe that the man on our currency is wrong (Darwin) and that humans were divinely created from two individuals who lived around 4000 BC.

We do see the cultural value of belief. We see it when hypocrites such as the Catholic Church deny sex education, contraception and abortion to women across the world while they protect paedophiles from justice and indeed give them the opportunity to offend again and again. We see it in the various protestant groups whose anti-science stances and anti-gay stance makes them a danger to freedoms of all. We see it in the various muslim groups who routinely threaten free speech and indeed encourage and validate young men and women to fight and die for a stupid cause while treating women as little more than property. We see jews being guilted into supporting Israel whose behaviour recently has been nothing short of super villainous. We see hindus being conned by little more than stage magicians and being whipped up into a frenzy over a variety of nonsense. The culture of belief is frankly one of terrible ideas that belong in a museum. You can believe in a god or gods as long as they do not harm anyone and as long as you keep your belief away from how society functions.

Where has Britain’s once proud religiosity gone? In America this week,Barack Obama attempted to force Catholic organisations to provide contraception as part of their employee healthcare packages.  The American people rose up in outrage and he backed down. He won’t try that again. Why is it that a country that has separated church and state in its Constitution is more respectful of faith than a country that has an established church? It is a question that the Anglican hierarchy needs to address as soon as possible.

And you are proud of that? The Catholic Church’s stance on contraception is infamous for being part of the problem in which roughly 23 million people in Africa are going to die from HIV and AIDS. DIE. Not get hurt, or get crippled but DIE. The Catholic Church may think that sex education is a muttered warning about Father Smyth, but the rest of us think that a bunch of virgins and celibate blokes who have no idea about sex shouldn’t be giving advice on how to have it. And that in the USA there is no NHS so women do not have access to equal levels of healthcare and that in areas where catholics are giving out healthcare, they may ignore basic healthcare.

It has been empirically proven that a sex positive attitude to sexuality is the best. Sex positivity is the idea that sex is fun but you should never be pressured into having sex that you don’t want and you should respect yourself. Even if your fantasies are the most degrading ever (I have dated someone with a rape fantasy before), they are explor
ed in a fashion involving consent and respect and boundaries. And one of those is contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwanted STDs. This actually reduces pregnancies and empowers a lot of women and men who have healthy attitudes to sex. The american method of abstinence is like not providing soldiers with body armour while claiming that the best way to survive a gun battle is to dodge bullets. True, but it is incredibly impractical and the bad guys do so very much insist on shooting at you rather than around you. And it’s a lot harder to deal with an actual pregnancy or a STD when you could have simply avoided it by insisting your man friend puts a condom on.

We have come a long way as a country because we have embraced multiculturalism and secularism. We will go a long way because of that. The USA should serve as a warning that any country can become a near theocracy if we simply don’t pay any attention and fight for what is correct rather than what is discriminatory and superstitious. 

Back to the Grind

So I am done with exams (finally!) and can get back to regular posts and the like. And this seems like a good time to discuss the whole abortion issue that has raised it’s ugly head.

See the problem with abortion is that it’s not a good thing. None of us like abortions, even the doctors who do them. An abortion isn’t celebrated with balloons and ice cream and get well cards. It’s a tragic but necessary procedure. The final throw of a dice to deal with a pregnancy. Not one person says “I LOVE ABORTION”. Instead it’s a serious decision made when people cannot care for a child at all.

Oh it’s easy to say “Spend 9 months being pregnant then give it up for adoption!”. To which our response is “sure”. First find a way to adopt every single bloody child from the already full to the brim adoption system and foster care system. There are always more children than people willing to adopt. And while new born babies are easier to adopt, you are placing pressure on a system which is already full to the brim.

Abortions happen whether you like it or not. The difference between a Medical Termination of Pregnancy and some yahoo with a coat hanger is that it’s safer (by a lot) to get it done by someone who knows how all your bits function. It’s also less traumatic since some abortion methods are the equivalent of being punched in the stomach or having bits jabbed into your cervix and uterus which can cause infections or even shock and death. (Trigger Warning)

A non medical abortion is a terrifying incident. If the likes of Mitt Romney have their way this poor girl who was so terrified into harming herself in such a horrific way would be prosecuted for murder. Do you think it’s right or fair?

It’s insane that we can even discuss the banning of abortion as a legal alternative. Will the Republicans fork out money to care for these children? Not bloody likely! Quantity of life is not quality of life unless you think that somehow more people = better which simply makes you dumb. It shows a complete lack of grasp of any reality in the republican and indeed the various Christian denominations which rally against abortion.

The truth remains that it matters if you ban abortion. It’s not that abortion rates drop but it’s that abortion safety drops. Abortion rates drop with the adoption of responsible sex education and placing the onus on both genders to keep safe. Pro-life education however is a big fan of abstinence only education. And these are things that americans who are pro-life do know about.

Many pro-life organisations in the USA do missionary work in the Philippines. I have wrote about them before and I feel it’s only fitting for us to revisit the topic. If only to see what a world would be like where pro-lifers have their way. It’s a terrifyingly graphic article with graphic videos produced by Likhaan. It may not be suitable for all.

But I do feel it’s worth seeing what the reality on the ground is in a country with no choice. The reality on the ground in places like the USA was before the legalisation of abortion. 

It Gets Better – Do Something Good

Rolling Stone carries an article about the war on teenagers who merely belong to the GLBT minority and it is heart rending to read.

Show your support. Don’t just say that “it will get better in some nebulous future”, try and make it change now.

Be the change you want to be. Don’t let people suffer in silence. Bullying is wrong, and society sponsored bullying is just as unacceptable.