God vs. Science, again

I’m flying off to Ireland tomorrow to pay rapt attention to the speakers at Empowering Women Through Secularism — you know that four FtB bloggers will be speaking there, right? Me, Taslima, Maryam, and Ophelia. I’ll be the one with the beard.

Now what could I possibly have to say? I’ve got it easy. I’ll be on the Secular Values in Society panel with Leonie Hilliard, Nina Sankari, and Farhana Shakir, and I’ll just point out that religion oppresses both men and women, and that secular values benefit everyone…but that of course, we see patriarchal values distorting the science and evidence in ways that particularly harm women, since much of their nonsense is contrived to regulate reproduction and sex in ways that benefit men.

Oh, dang, wait: David Grimes just said the same thing in The Irish Times.

There have been few debates on social issues in Ireland in which religion did not loom large; whether the topic has been contraception, homosexuality or divorce, theologically derived opinions have often been centre stage. Even now, in debates about abortion and same-sex marriage, these views are still heard. The threatening behaviour of the past may be gone, but it has been replaced by the more insidious ploy of misrepresenting research to lend credibility to discriminatory views.

The abortion debate provides numerous examples of such contrivances. In this paper recently, Breda O’Brien brandished a study by Ferguson et al (2013) and claimed abortion damages women. However, her championing of this study is textbook cherry-picking that fails to withstand even a cursory examination.

I hope Grimes will be at the conference, at least.


  1. Sastra says

    Religion and spirituality are pretty much defined by their rejection of scientific reductionism and their embrace of supernatural realities — underlying realities which are blueprints for what ought to be. This means that the universe is not only fundamentally moral, it’s also fundamentally hierarchical in a social sense. There is an order of things based on skyhooks: higher and lower, authority and subject, enlightened and unenlightened. Categories are essences and they are real.

    The purpose of life in religion is to recognize our proper place in the scheme of things. We use our intuitions to discover where we ought to go and what we need to be doing to make sure the natural harmonizes and aligns with supernatural perfection. We don’t create: we discover.

    And of course this is going to lead to finding out that our prejudices are some sort of Natural Law. Spirituality will always keep trying to put women into their rightful place and will always try to defend doing so as a sort of kindness.

  2. peptron says

    @ Sastra:
    About the social hierarchy of elements, should we sort their virtue by atomic number or by mass? I get that fluoride is obviously a subject, being this clingy and in need of other elements, but I’m not sure about helium. It’s all independent, but really doesn’t relate enough to be authoritative either. Maybe he is like the enlightened hermit that live in the mountains? And carbon likes to make big chains, so I guess that means they are moral, since the only reason I can think of them doing that is to sing “We are the world”. I think francium is the most amoral, there is something really fishy about this one. All that is so poetic, in a wink wink nudge nudge kind of way.

  3. kevinalexander says

    A thorough research of the data will show that the mortality rate for traffic accidents for women driving to the clinic are considerably higher than for those staying home.
    Ergo, abortion kills women.

  4. profpedant says

    much of their nonsense is contrived to regulate reproduction and sex in ways that benefit men

    It is worse than that, much of their nonsense is contrived to regulate reproduction and sex in ways that some men with poor analytical skills and insufficient understanding of their circumstances irrationally assumes benefits them. In short, their efforts to control things only produces a paltry and severely distorted mockery of their goal

  5. unbound says

    “God vs. Science, again” – Well, you do have to hand it to God…he keeps trying despite getting knocked out in every round…

  6. Randomfactor says

    Unbound, you would think he’d actually show up for a match now and then…

  7. Azuma Hazuki says


    Not necessarily. I know of no Deist or Pantheist who does these things. Religion, yes, but things which aren’t hard atheism yet fall outside the realm of religio-social control, no. When was the last time a Wiccan told you you were going to burn for being gay? When was the last time a Deist told you God hated anyone who wasn’t a Deist?