Daily Beast: When Creationists Collide with Stephen Colbert.
RationalWiki: List of scientists who became creationists after studying the evidence.
Science + Religion Today: Atheists Get Sweaty When Daring God.
“When you get anxious or emotionally aroused, you sweat. Not a lot, but enough to be detected using electrodes on the finger tips. And it turns out that if you take a bunch of atheists, and get them to dare God to do horrible things, they get sweaty.”
Time: Awe Makes You Religious - Even if You’re Not.
“Awe makes people want to see events as the result of design.” It’s been used for centuries. This is exactly why the early churches gilt their soaring structures. To a poor peasant, the awe was emotionally debilitating.
BBC: Earliest ‘shrine’ uncovered at Buddha’s birthplace.
NY Times: Don’t Mess With My ‘Sacred Values’.
Pacific Standard: Who Wants a Christian America?
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” If I were a high school teacher today, I’d have kids reflect upon the life of Savonarola.
Guardian.UK: George W Bush’s new ‘crusade’ - converting Jews to Christianity.
“Some people think George W Bush did as much as he could to bring about Armageddon with his earlier interventions in the Middle East. But not the man himself, apparently. He has signed up for a fundraising event for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, an organisation which aims to promote the second coming by converting Jews to Christianity, and will speak today at their fundraiser in Irving, Texas.” If you can force the hand of a deity, is that truly a deity?
CNet: God exists, say Apple fanboy scientists.
Our great deity seems to continue to get punk’d by illicitly-used Apples …
Salon: Study—Religious more likely to lie for financial gain.
Read the whole article before taking that title at face value. Sensationalist, as per usual.
The Economist: Why are Muslims finding it harder to complete the haj?
“This year Saudi Arabia, which gives a quota of haj visas to each country on the basis of the size of its Muslim population, has slashed the number of visas for foreign pilgrims by 20%, as it carries out renovation works to expand the capacity of the Grand Mosque. Thanks to an outbreak of the coronavirus in the Kingdom, many countries have asked elderly and sick Muslims not to travel. First-time pilgrims have been given priority.” More followers, limited space.
OpenCulture: Discover Thomas Jefferson’s Cut-and-Paste Version of the Bible.
Looking at the online scan, I’m pleased to see Ol’ Thom hand-correcting printed typos in books. I do that too. Drives me crazy. You should see what I do to a Kindle book with typos ...
NPR: Can Faith Ever Be Rational?
“In brief, faith requires a willingness to act as if something is true while also refraining from gathering evidence for the purpose of checking whether it’s true. But is it ever rational to agree to such terms? Isn’t it always better to have more evidence rather than less; to make one’s decisions after examining the largest and most reliable body of evidence possible? Working from decision theory, rational choice theory, and her own novel mathematical results, Buchak draws a surprising conclusion: faith can sometimes be rational.” Within a framework of faith, it can be very rational. Taken out of the framework of faith, contextual … even random. IMHO. That is not to say that there is not time-worn wisdom nestled within faith; it’s just that some of their interpretations, cast against reality, can be quite tortured.
New Republic: Crimes Against Humanities.
Haven’t time to read it yet, but my skim-through looks lively and of great interest.
Mail.UK: Skeletal remains of ‘Catholic saints’ that are still dripping in gems and jewellery.
Man, talk about going out in style ...
BBC News: HIV patients told by Pentecostal pastors ‘to rely on God’
“Medical staff told the BBC a minority of pastors in England were endangering young church members by putting them under pressure to stop medication. Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.” God gave you a brain; use it. Even Martin Luther deferred to physicians before recommending healing through faith. You’d think we haven’t moved forward a step since the 1400’s.
Boston Review: Can Science Deliver the Benefits of Religion?
“Research on the existential and emotional aspects of particular scientific beliefs or of a scientific worldview is in its infancy, but the findings so far suggest we’ve been asking the wrong questions when it comes to understanding the widespread rejection of human evolution in favor of divine creation. The relevant contrast might not be between science and religion but between beliefs that promise an orderly universe—one in which individual humans or some external forces, be they natural or divine, impose structure and corral uncertainty—and those that do not.”
The Atlantic: The Book That Changed Reza Aslan’s Mind About Jesus.
“I think that, obviously, is an enormous threat to the power-holders whose authority came from—precisely as Dostoevsky says—from their ability to appease a man’s conscience. Pay us your dues, your tithes, bring us your sacrifices, submit to our authority, and in return, we will give you salvation. And Jesus’ challenge to that idea was based on the notion that the power for salvation does not rest in any outsider’s hand: that it rests within the individual. I think that’s an idea that a lot of Christians need to remember.” Martin Luther would likely approve.
In These Times: Why the Relentless Assault on Abortion in the U.S.?
Um … because abstinence education and attacks on basic science education have left wide swaths of people with no clue about how pregnancy happens.
BigStory/AP.com: King David’s palace found, says Israeli team.
But wait a minute, there, Tex: “Critics said the site could have belonged to other kingdoms of the area. The consensus among most scholars is that no definitive physical proof of the existence of King David has been found.” Consider this link an update to the previous.
KRQE: Glorieta homeowners facing eviction.
“‘No one recalls ever hearing anything about a 25 year lease,’ said Bud McCrady. However, Glorieta 2.0’s executive director Anthony Scott says the rules were spelled out in the contracts homeowners signed.” Christian or not, this is why you read every contract you sign.
BBC: Turkey protests—Dangerous waters with no sign of compromise
“What began as a demonstration by environmentalists has mushroomed into something far bigger: a fight by disparate groups for greater freedom in Turkey and a preservation of the country’s secular order. They see a government with an authoritarian, neo-Islamist agenda: the highest number of journalists in the world in prison, restrictions on alcohol sales, massive construction projects prioritised over human rights.”
New Republic: Energy Companies Take Advantage of the Amish Prohibition on Lawsuits.
“… extraction companies are buying up the rights to drill on private property with unprecedented speed. At stake are geysers of money. And in the thousands of cases in which the landowner is of the Amish faith, their business partner would never dream of taking them to court should things go awry.” Bad form, bad form! Where are your ethics?!! [I already know.]
Guardian.UK: US tourist gang-raped in northern India.
It’s a cheap shot, but I feel compelled to take it: ‘Eat, Rape, Love.’ We should be just as outraged by the rape of Indian women as we are about Swiss or Americans; unfortunately we’ll only get exercised about it now that it intrudes on the mystical yoga tourism business.
Guardian.UK: Timbuktu’s literary gems face Islamists and decay in fight for survival.
“We are all Muslims, and in Timbuktu our practical version of Islam has existed for centuries. [snip] But they practise an archaic Islam and do not consider these writings as the authentic Qur’an because they cover not only religion but science, astronomy, history and literature. That’s their ideology and we don’t support it.”