Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reason's Greetings

I wish everyone could experience the blindness of love so that they wouldn't be bigots about how others experience love.  What other consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms is of no concern to me as it does not affect me, my family, my loved ones, my friends, my colleagues nor my community in any negative way.

This means that your religious freedom to feel offended by certain forms of love is fine by me, however you trying to extend that religious freedom to have negative effects on someone else's religious or personal freedoms is unacceptable.  I don't care what your personal beliefs, as crazy as they may be, are as long as you don't try and use them to remove nor restrict rights and freedoms of others.

I hope that we can all use our brains when we look at the world around us and examine the evidence that exists to support our beliefs and/or hypotheses and - and this is the important part - alter our beliefs and/or hypotheses based on the valid, verifiable, falsifiable evidence we find or don't find.  That's the true gift science has given us - the ability to posit ideas, design experiments/observations, look for valid evidence and change our ideas based on the results of these experiments and observations to better suit the evidence, then continue the cycle - not to ignore some evidence so that we can "confirm" our preconceived ideas.  Good science involves being aware of the confirmation bias we all have and making sure that we design experiments with falsifiable results - results that can go either way to prove or disprove our hypotheses.

"God hates fags" say the Westboro Church members.  OK, so where's the evidence for this?  First, where's the evidence for your god, then where's the evidence s/he hates fags?

"The act of the rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women," says police spokesperson Wendy Hleta in Swaziland recently after miniskirts and midriff-revealing tops were banned.  So, women's clothing is responsible for men not being able to control their dicks?  Here's my hypothesis - if we better teach men how to behave and what's morally acceptable, we should reduce the likelihood of rape regardless of a woman wearing a miniskirt or a burqa. It is the men that are responsible for rape and who should therefore be held accountable for their inability to control their actions.

Swaziland, by the way, is a country dominated by the christian religion.  According to UNHCR, "The population is approximately 35 percent Protestant, 30 percent Zionist, 25 percent Catholic, and 1 percent Muslim. The remaining 9 percent is divided among the Baha'i Faith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Judaism, and others."  Maybe their religious beliefs are encouraging men not to take responsibility for their own actions and instead blame them on a third party?  That's an ongoing theme in the christian bible.

Remember Malala Yousafzai:

Malala is the Pakistani school girl who was shot in the face by her muslim brothers for daring to educate herself?  Have a read of this for a refresher.  She was being taught a lesson that the Taliban felt was more important than a tradition education - that women should know their place, and that place is to remain uneducated and be subservient to men.  DAFUQ?  Not to mention that in the muslim world, women need to cover up so as not to incite men to rape them.  Obviously, muslim men have no ability to control themselves.  Well, that's quite apparent, unfortunately.

And as to the recent, horrific gang rape and murder of a 23 year old Indian woman on a bus in New Delhi this past week, there's nothing I can do but weep for her and the women who knew her - it could have been any one of them.  or their friends.  Or their daughters.  Or any other woman.  Or the daughter, wife, girlfriend, friend or associate of any of her family members.  But it was this poor woman.  Disgusting.

"We are very sad to report that the patient passed away peacefully at 4.45am 29 Dec 2012," Kelvin Loh, the chief executive of Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital, said in a statement.


Peacefully?  There's nothing peaceful about dying from a gang rape and the associated beating that left her with severe organ failure and brain damage.  We're yet to find out more about this horrific event, but there sure was no equality nor love in there.

And to add more to the current issues in India, the last sentence of that article reads:

Police said on Friday that a 15-year-old schoolgirl had had her throat slit after being gang-raped in the Pali Muqimpure area of Uttar Pradesh state. A hunt has been launched for three youths after the attack the previous day.

I just don't know what to say...

So, how about we look at giving up these childish beliefs in imaginary friends and look at reality for what it is - the amazing, awe-inspiring reality that we live in.  As Tim Minchin said:

Isn't this enough?
this world?

Just this,
wonderfully unfathomable,
natural world?

How does it so fail to hold our attention
that we have to diminish it
with the invention
of cheap man-made
myths and monsters?

Let's all live, love, learn to use our brains and develop our reasoning skills.

Reason's Greetings to all - in the hope we can avoid horrendous acts of unkindness and "unreason" as I outlined above.


The Outspoken Wookie

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dave's Thoughts Echo Mine And Many Others'

My friend, Dave Fregon posted this recently. It was so good I had to share it with my other friends:

I'm getting a little sick of Muslim and christian 'missionaries' trying to friend me on Facebook.

We have NOTHING in common and I am totally over talking to the wall that is those of faith that are just out there to score points to get to their heaven. I'll say what I think if asked, but I do the same with anything. I am more than my disbelief in a god.

I change my position given the merits of observable, testable, falsifiable evidence, however what is it that would change their mind? Nothing. That's the problem with talking to missionaries, there is no intention at all of a conversation, they are after points to get into some sort of afterlife.

They want more than the wonderful universe we see around us as they see it somehow lacking. I think it is a sad way to view things and that you can be good without the bribe of a heaven and the gun to the head of an idea that is hell. We are social, caring, loving, empathetic creatures and I hope for each and every one of them some day they learn that morality based on the inspection of ethics, doing the least harm possible, is what has fought such things as slavery and women's rights, whereas holy books have justified both sides all the way.

There is no good that comes from either book that a nonbeliever cannot come to the same conclusion using their own faculties. I would suggest that their god if it existed would prefer that avenue, than a bribe in one hand and a threat in the other.

/end rant


The Outspoken Wookie

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Speaking of Nom, Nom

I'm staying in St Kilda, which is nice.  There's a tram stop just about outside the hotel door, the Medina Executive Apartments room is quite good, the air conditioning is working well and there are quite a few good coffee joints within easy walking distance.

Speaking of walking distance, Phil Kent and I put in quite a bit of that on Friday afternoon. :)

The Australian Skeptics National Convention has been going well and the final day today looks to continue being well worth attending.  I've met some good, fun, skeptical people and look forward to meeting yet more. :)

I'll be having a chat with Linus from BackupAssist tomorrow about some of the exciting new products he and his crew are working on.

The Secular Party of Australia is having a Victorian Branch meeting tomorrow night at Sale e Pepe Italian Restaurant that I'll be attending which should be good, especially considering the Royal Commission into child sex abuse that Julia Gillard has finally (been forced) to call for.  Having a proper separation of church and State in Australia will ensure we never again treat these church organisations (and other NGOs) as anything special - we need to ensure that we treat our children with the utmost respect and care, unlike has been the case in the past, particularly in the catholic church.


The Outspoken Wookie

Nom, Nom

I dropped in to the Central Coast on my way down to the Australian Skeptics National Convention and was treated to home made pizza and salad for dinner. The salad had a little something in it I had never tried before, pumpkin pieces baked in coconut oil, which gave the whole salad a lift!

'Twas quite nommy and as we all know, nommy and healthy is a rare combo...  :)


The Outspoken Wookie