Friday, November 27, 2009

A McKown recommendation that could use some modification

Suggestion #2 from Delos B. McKown for "replacing religion with science," 1984:

Seek ways, including the possible use of professional sanctions, to help safeguard the integrity of science instruction in public schools and to shield science teachers against uninformed public opinion or other political pressures.

Okay, I totally get the ‘political pressures’ thing, but there’s a question I have to ask about that other part:

Out of just whose loins are squirting all of these young people who are eventually showing up in our godless, mass production public school systems?

(wait for it…)

OMG, could it be?

The uninformed public!!!

Suddenly this suggestion of "safeguard[ing] against uninformed public opinion" has gone from being an uphill battle to a vertical cliff scaling. How does one "protect" a kid against the worldview of his or her own parents if no laws are being overtly violated? Could you imagine the litigation resulting from an effort to regulate how parents talk to their children in their own homes? Gaaak!

Here I’d put forward a simple counter-suggestion: let’s make more of a concerted effort to turn the uninformed public into the informed public! Revolutionary! Ingenious! Ground-breaking! Reachable! Innovative!

Nah. Let’s just insult Christians some more. That’s so much more fun, after all, and in the deluded minds of so many of my fellow non-believers, it’s massively productive. We’re SO winning the battle against evil religion, yes?

But, I still see that church just down the street from me. People still go there on Sundays. Thought the building would have been deserted by now, what with all the atheist converts we’re getting.

Maybe we’re not winning?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An interesting quote from Carl Sagan

"In Italy, the Inquisition was condemning people to death until the end of the eighteenth century, and inquisitional torture was not abolished in the Catholic Church until 1816. The last bastion of support for the reality of witchcraft and the necessity of punishment has been the Christian churches."

--Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World (1996)

Great minds think alike. At least Carl Sagan had the presence of mind to be able to narrow down the scope of this particular (and quite horrifying, I would add) problem. I would certainly agree that it is within the realm of Christianity that we can find "the last bastion of support for the reality of witchcraft." But, could we then say with 100% certainty that each and every Christian on Earth today believes this reality? My bet is on "no." I will hold out for the probability that there are more progressive believers, and it is here that we may find excellent allies.

Of course, my expectation is that many of my fellow nonbelievers would rather pour derision on quotes like this, just as they did on Stephen Jay Gould for advancing his NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria) ideas.

Once again, so much for claims of "rationality" among the nonreligious.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I'm not the only one, thank Goodness

Saw this last month on NPR:

I am relieved to hear that I'm not the only one who sees sense over all of this. Have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Paul Kurtz, icon of the so-called "skeptic" movement, also sees these atheist extremists for what they are. The term "fundamentalist" describes them quite accurately, in spite of their lame denials.

In response to a commenter's (most welcome) suggestion that I develop a more positive and productive focus regarding my worldview, I am working on some things now. Some time ago I posted on my bedroom wall an excerpt from a 1984 article by Delos B. McKown that had some suggestions for "replacing" religion with science. I scoff at the idea of trying to actively nudge religion out of existence, but if I ignore that premise some of the ideas look pretty good for 1) taking on Christian extremists and 2) increasing scientific literacy and appreciation.

Oh, and that painting mentioned in the NPR article, Jesus Paints His Nails? Not funny, but I appreciate having that visual proof of the absolute abandonment of rationality (as well as humanity) by atheist fundamentalists.