Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Children's Drawings

I found this post today: Children's Drawings Brought To Life and me being the person that I am, I first marvelled at the ingenuity behind translating these children's images into semi-real life, and then went on to marvel at the drawings themselves.

These images are clearly drawn by east-asian - I'm guessing Japanese - children, but if you look at them, they look exactly the same as any image drawn by any child in the 1st world nations. I say the first world, but I have my suspiscions that the style and content of these images would change only superficially between the various nations of our world.

I'm left contemplating if the drawings mark a means of identifying psychological development of the children - is it a universal thing, for instance? Is it dependant on age and gender? Does the wealth of the nation they are brought up in play any part?

I'm pretty damn sure these questions - and more - have been researched, so I think I'm going to go have a look and see what I can find.

Vatican-sex abuse - further news

I blogged about this same case previously, but I was scouting and found another article on the subject.

Supreme Court rejects Vatican appeal in sex abuse case

The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Monday to consider whether the Vatican has legal immunity over the sexual abuse of minors by priests in the United States, allowing a lawsuit filed in 2002 to go forward.

This article goes a little more in depth and even highlights the point that the Vatican now has no claims of immunity on the subject. Which is as it should be. I find it deplorable that they have to take the 'employer' route to even get this to court in the first place - but if this is a loop-hole that works, then I hope they exploit it to the fullest.

Jesus and the 'personal relationship'

Came across this blogpost: You Do Not Have a Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ over at Atheist Revolution blogs.

  1. It is unlikely that Jesus ever existed as a historical person as described in the Christian bible. But even if there was compelling evidence to support the historicity of Jesus, he would have died over 2,000 years ago.
  2. There is only one way an individual can meaningfully be said to have a personal relationship with a deceased person.
  3. The "personal relationship" you have is fundamentally a relationship you have with yourself.

It's a good read, and while short and to the point, it covers some of the bases admirably well. You should pop on over and give it a read.

Homeopathy again

I always get myself into these discussions. From a comment thread on FaceBook.

ARGH! They're talking about Homeopathy on The Wright Stuff, and 2 of them are defending it, saying it's helped them or people they know! IT'S FUCKING WATER.

Homeopathy might not work it's self but the human brain is an amazing thing. If people believe it will work then it might just work for them not because of their 'magic water' but because of their brain is telling them it is. The placebo effect has been scientifically proven in studies to aid patient recovery. I think of it like religion; they can believe whatever they want if it helps them so long as it doesn't hurt anyone and they don't try and make me believe it too. :p

K - the problem with Homeopathy is that it doesn't JUST play on placebo - it's not that simple. Homeopaths have a bad habit of getting their patients into woolly thinking, getting them round to stopping taking real medication, stopping seeing real doctors and so on. And further, they prey on the gullible, the desperate and the hypochondriachs, taking as much money from these people as they can while feeding them on false hope and magic.

Placebo and Nocebo effects are of course well documented and constantly being studied - but using that as an excuse to say 'oh well, homeopathy doesn't cause harm, so why not let them keep at it?' is a patently absurd way to think. Even not taking into account the individual concerns, there is the sheer cost of homeopathy - which is one of the main reasons I'm so happy they are being kicked out of the NHS, the amount of money spent on this sham could have been better spent elsewhere, and hopefully now will be!

If they're using it alone then yes, it's pretty stupid but then that's natural selection in action. What's the problem? The world could do with less idiots if you ask me. I don't see any problem with letting someone do whatever they want with a bit of water if they're taking their proper medication at the same time. I didn't realise it was offered on the NHS but then again they offer a lot of other forms of alternative medicines now, I think I even saw a flyer offering aromatherapy in the doctors the other week.

'Natural selection in action'? Seriously? Desperate people shouldn't be kicked the wayside like that, with such a callous non-thought. Most of the people in the link are CHILDREN, being harmed and or dieing because their parents are the woo-miesters, making conscious choices to stop giving their children the medication they need.

It is not as simple as 'idiots' either - there are plenty of perfectly intelligent people who have simply been blinded by the pseudoscience, their illnesses, their desperation or simply not had the chance to read the real research on the matter.

To just ignore them with 'natural selection' comments is - for wont of a better term - abhorent. Getting Homeopathy off the NHS, getting it removed from acreditted listings, getting the word actually out there that homeopathy is a load of shite, is what needs to be done. Not ignore it and leave the gullible and ignorant to suffer, because, hell, why should we care? It's natural selection, right?

Yes, there are a lot of CAM on the NHS, but this step of getting rid of Homeopathy is hopefulyl the first step in getting the rest removed. Chiropracty is also being examined - and hopefully that will be next.

US republican senate nominee rules out abortion even for rape and incest.

Sharron Angle made some comments on the Bill Manders show.

I confess myself not in the least bit surprised by this news. Though it does disgust me - and make me pity you guys across the pond for having to put up with this sort of shit.

Here's a transcript:

Manders: I, too, am pro life but I'm also pro choice, do you understand what I mean when I say that.

Angle: I'm pro responsible choice. There is choice to abstain, choice to do contraception. There are all kind of good choices.

Manders: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

Angle: Not in my book.

Manders: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

Angle: You know, I'm a Christian and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.

The audio can be found here, on the HuffPost article: 'God has a plan'

This is truly disgusting - I've blogged about this sort of thing before, so I'm sure anyone who's read my previous comments will know how I feel about just such a subject.

Hopefully her truly hard-line tendencies will cause her great problems in furthering her career, but after watching US Politics, I have my doubts.

Did Jesus actually die on a cross? Do I care?

The crucifix is the defining symbol of Christianity, a constant reminder to the faithful of the sacrifice and suffering endured by Jesus Christ for humanity. But an extensive study of ancient texts by a Swedish pastor and academic has revealed that Jesus may not have died on a cross, but instead been put to death on another gruesome execution device.

Well, this Pastor, Gunnar Samuelsson, has his doubts. He's taken three or so years of his life, studied as many texts as he could get his hands on, from about 800BC to the end of the second century AD and he has his suspicions that Jesus died in some other cruel way.

"If you search for ancient texts that specifically mention the act of crucifixion [as we understand it today]" he says, "you will end up with only two or three examples."

Not of course that it makes any difference to anyone how this supposed god-man died -

(I'm sure someone named Jesus, who was a great philosopher/teacher of his times, or even someone named Jesus who tried to start a new sect of the religion he was brought up under, did actually die - but so what? That is not proof that he actually was a 'son of god', it's simply proof that he was careless and got himself killed for his troubles.)

- at least not to me or I'm sure my fellow atheists, but it has apparently caused a bit of an uproar in theistic circles. Unsurprisingly, really.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Samuelsson's thesis has caused something of an unheavenly row. While fellow theologians have complimented his highly detailed research, many critics in the blogosphere have claimed that he wants to undermine Christianity.

While I find this article an interesting read, I find it neither adds nor subtracts anything from the issue as a whole. Discussing how, where or when a man named Jesus died is - at least to me - patently ridiculous if the central issue of whether or not that man actually was the 'Son of God' has yet to be proven.

Basically, what's the point? There is no evidence that this Jesus was anything other than an ordinary man, and there is no evidence that what is described in the Bible is anything more than pretty stories (and horrific stories) and an awful lot of badly written prose.

Until they get their fingers out and actually come up with some real evidence to prove their deity actually exists, I see little point in talking about the minutea of the religion.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Relocate Religious Books month!

If you didn't already know, Relocate Religious Books month starts on July 1st!

Here's the link to the FaceBook event: Relocate Religious Books month and a little blurb from them about it:

Visit your local library and move as many Bibles, Korans, Books of Mormon, etc., to the Fiction section or to the Mythology section as you can!

I intend to do this whenever I visit a local bookshop or library (despite the fact that I tend to buy my books, rather than borrow them!)

Court lets Vatican-sex abuse lawsuit move forward

It's nice to see that some people are actually taking this seriously:

'A lawsuit against the Vatican that had been dismissed as a publicity stunt moved forward when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Holy See.'

It certainly sounds to me like the Vatican knew what was going on with the particular abuse in question, as they simply moved the abuser around, from Armagh in Ireland to Chicago and then on again to Portland, each move precipitated by reports of abuse.

Hopefully this case will get to go the whole hog, even if the man who committed the crime is dead, the Vatican needs to stand up and admit it was in the wrong to simply move this man around so he could continue to abuse children.

Well now...

It certainly has been a long time since I last actually posted in this blog, but a little incentive was really all I needed.

I've missed blogging about all the Catholic/Pedophilia business, so I may make a couple posts about that.

I think I've missed a lot of thigns in the news actually - so keep an eye open for some more posts on various subjects in the headlines.

And I have a small project of sorts that I wanted to do, so I'll start posting that as well soon.

I suppose this post is really just to tell y'all that I shall begin posting again on a semi-regular basis from now on XD

Sorry I've been away!