Jan 182013

I’ve just read a super article by Valerie Tarico about the challenges that the Internet (and especially the Web) poses for religion: Religion may not survive the Internet. It reminded me of an article (that Valerie Tarico won’t have seen or known about) that I wrote on my website some time ago: Religions in future. One of my themes was similar. Global communication undermines a number of the methods that religions rely on to sustain the ignorance and delusions of their existing and (more importantly) their future followers. Here are some quotes from my article (there is a lot more . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Nov 162012

Christianity, or at least the Roman Catholic Church’s version of it, has just killed a woman in the Republic of Ireland. Some religious people would like to run similar risks with women in the UK and the US. (What is it about your fear of women controlling their own bodies?) This shows what many of us already knew: People who claim to be “pro-life” are typically not. They are “anti-choice“! Objections to assisted suicide in the UK are mostly driven by religious groups. There is no enlightened excuse for opposing the safe and modest proposals of Dignity in Dying. People . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Oct 302012

This topic sometimes gives the appearance of warfare! Falsehoods, exaggerations, glib sound-bites, and selective analysis are hurled around in the hope that some will stick. Rather than identify the policies that need to be adopted to resolve intergenerational problems, (which is beyond my current ability!), I’ll identify some principles to enable the debates to be constructive and productive. First I’ll quote from the last section below, because I think this is the most important of these principles: “Adopt those policies which you would consider fair and just if you knew you would have a second life but you didn’t know . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Oct 102012

My reaction to the shooting by the Taliban of Malala Yousafza, the 14 year old “education for girls” activist in Pakistan, was “what the fuck?” This wasn’t a child casually caught in the cross-fire. This was a targeted assassination attempt because of what she represented and what she was trying to achieve. Enlightened people don’t need to be told that “education for girls” is high priority globally in the 21st Century. (Along with its partner, “equality for women”). But it is worth expanding on this to show why it is “high priority” as well as simply “right”. The argument from morality . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jul 282012

I don’t think I would be writing this without half-a-bottle of wine inside me! But I can’t resist the logic of it. Russian Religious Activists Seek to Ban Facebook for ‘Flirting With Sodomites’ There are various meanings of sodomy, but I believe most of the people who object to it don’t want men to stick their penises into other people’s bottoms. So they are opposed to gay sex/marriage, and probably typically associate this with man-man sex/marriage. But why should they believe that man-woman marriage rules out “penis into bottom” sex? (I believe this has sometimes been made illegal, although I . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Jul 242012

As usual when people pursue a single issue, logic fails and the plot gets lost. That is the case with what David Gauke, a Treasury minister said, and/or with the discussion that followed it: David Gauke: we shouldn’t ignore hidden economy Paying tradesmen cash in hand morally wrong, says minister Money Morals: Is it really morally wrong to pay my cleaner in cash? How ‘morally wrong’ is it to pay cash-in-hand? “David Gauke, a Treasury minister, told The Daily Telegraph that home owners who allow workmen to evade VAT or income tax were forcing others to pay more”. To show . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Sep 262011

I recently posted Silly review by Colin Tudge of “The Magic of Reality”. In there I quoted from an older article of his: Microscopes have no morals (Guardian, 2003): It is often said that science answers “how” questions while religion asks “why”, but that is simplistic. The greater point lies in their scope. Religion, properly conceived, attempts to provide an account of all there is: the most complete narrative that human beings are capable of. Science, by contrast, is – as the British zoologist Sir Peter Medawar put the matter – “the art of the soluble”. It addresses only those . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Sep 022011
Abortion - some unemotional analysis

Abortion is in the news in the UK. See: Nadine Dorries’ abortion proposals – Fact and Fiction I am among the least qualified to comment on abortion. I am a childfree man who is not likely to be remotely involved in such a process in the foreseeable future. But my detachment may be useful for introducing some analysis to this topic. (I don’t claim originality for most of the ideas here, but it would hard to cite all the influences). Trying to treat an inherently emotional subject unemotionally leaves out a lot that is important. I expect there is something . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]

Aug 162011
Religions are incompetent at morality

 This is based, inter alia, on Ethics and moralities, especially Ethics and moralities: The 10 Commandments. Dunning and Kruger published some famous research in which they identified the cognitive problems that handicap incompetent people. Although they didn’t specifically investigate the incompetence of religious organisations, (or indeed investigate organisations rather than people), and there are cultural variations in the effect, their conclusions apply in this case. Here are the implications: Religions create poor moral codes and/or let their moral codes become out-of-date Religions believe they have good moral codes, and so promote them and often try to enforce them Religions under-estimate . . . . . . . . . . [Read complete post]