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Thread: Interesting Op-Ed piece from The Guardian

  1. -1
    Locke's Avatar
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    Interesting Op-Ed piece from The Guardian

    Issues of personal faith can be a source of respectful debate and discussion. Since faith is often not based on evidence, however, it is hard to imagine how various deep philosophical or religious disagreements can be objectively laid to rest. As a result, skeptics like myself struggle to understand or anticipate the vehement anger that can be generated by the mere suggestion that perhaps there may be no God, or even that such a suggestion is not meant to offend.

    Last week, police in Rhode Island had to be called to suppress an angry crowd at a school board meeting, and a 16-year-old atheist had to take time off school after being threatened and targeted by an online hate campaign. She was even described on the radio by a state representative as an "evil little thing". All the girl had done was to press for the removal of a banner bearing a prayer that asked "Our Heavenly Father" to grant pupils the desire "to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers" and "to be good sports".
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/bl...?newsfeed=true

    For those that don't know, The Guardian is one of the major print publications from the U.K. It's always interesting to get an outsider's view on the U.S. This quote in particular was interesting.

    This probably explains recent electoral successes of openly devout presidential candidates who previously demonstrated dubious ethics, while also explaining the absence of any serious candidates without known religious affiliation.
    Obviously talking about Gingrich. He isn't drawing judgment on the guy, but mentions that someone who has been "dubious" ethically is fit to be President because of his faith. Personally, that seems hypocritical, but that's just me. However, I simply can't fathom how atheists are polled as untrustworthy as RAPISTS. Something is wrong here.

    Anyways, the overall point of the article is a good one I believe. Scientists are trained to be skeptical, of everything. We wouldn't get the answers we want if we simply trusted everything presented to us, regardless of evidence. So when that key characteristic of science is used by us in other parts of life, all of a sudden it's a bad thing? Now we're untrustworthy? Now we're on the same level as rapists? Something is seriously wrong with this entire situation...

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    Spesh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Locke View Post
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/bl...?newsfeed=true

    For those that don't know, The Guardian is one of the major print publications from the U.K. It's always interesting to get an outsider's view on the U.S. This quote in particular was interesting.

    Obviously talking about Gingrich. He isn't drawing judgment on the guy, but mentions that someone who has been "dubious" ethically is fit to be President because of his faith. Personally, that seems hypocritical, but that's just me. However, I simply can't fathom how atheists are polled as untrustworthy as RAPISTS. Something is wrong here.

    Anyways, the overall point of the article is a good one I believe. Scientists are trained to be skeptical, of everything. We wouldn't get the answers we want if we simply trusted everything presented to us, regardless of evidence. So when that key characteristic of science is used by us in other parts of life, all of a sudden it's a bad thing? Now we're untrustworthy? Now we're on the same level as rapists? Something is seriously wrong with this entire situation...
    First, let me say that i read about what is going on with the 16 year old at school and was disgusted. When entire communities turn on individuals who have done no harm its absolutely vile. And when its done against someone who is still a child its even worse. The politician who called her evil and the people who threatened to kill her are snakes and cowards.

    Got a bit sidetracked, but i wanted to add to your questions Locke with two of my own.
    1) How is it that people who have repeatedly broken their faith or integrity, and show no signs of stopping, are considered more trustworthy and better human beings than those who remain consistent in their beliefs that happen to be different?

    2) Much like in the case of this girl, how can a group of people who are taught and preach non-violence and peaceful co-existence become so violent to the point of threatening(and possibly) murder over something that could be considered trivial(in this case, the removal of a banner)? I used this girls incident as an example just because of convenience, but i think everyone gets the main question.

    I asked those questions seriously, if one of our other members would like to explain the reasons.
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    Eshlemon's Avatar
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    I remember this and had doubted how they are getting their results because...

    In subsequent studies, distrust of atheists generalized even to participants from more liberal, secular populations.
    Atheists also tend to trust religious people more than they trust other atheists.
    ...I have never met an athiest that trust religous people more than non-religious...heck that applies to just about any group. Which means religious more than non-religious. And with 5% atheists...I would bet in survey with populations in the reverse, 95% atheist to 5% religious, there would be some some skewed numbers that make for great headlines.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2...ays-new-study/
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    Valandui's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spesh View Post
    First, let me say that i read about what is going on with the 16 year old at school and was disgusted. When entire communities turn on individuals who have done no harm its absolutely vile. And when its done against someone who is still a child its even worse. The politician who called her evil and the people who threatened to kill her are snakes and cowards.

    Got a bit sidetracked, but i wanted to add to your questions Locke with two of my own.
    1) How is it that people who have repeatedly broken their faith or integrity, and show no signs of stopping, are considered more trustworthy and better human beings than those who remain consistent in their beliefs that happen to be different?

    2) Much like in the case of this girl, how can a group of people who are taught and preach non-violence and peaceful co-existence become so violent to the point of threatening(and possibly) murder over something that could be considered trivial(in this case, the removal of a banner)? I used this girls incident as an example just because of convenience, but i think everyone gets the main question.

    I asked those questions seriously, if one of our other members would like to explain the reasons.
    I can't remember if it was in here or the lounge, but there was a thread on that situation and it was kind of hard to come away without the impression that she was a douche that was trying to prove a point.

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    Locke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshlemon View Post
    I remember this and had doubted how they are getting their results because...





    ...I have never met an athiest that trust religous people more than non-religious...heck that applies to just about any group. Which means religious more than non-religious. And with 5% atheists...I would bet in survey with populations in the reverse, 95% atheist to 5% religious, there would be some some skewed numbers that make for great headlines.

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2...ays-new-study/
    No doubt about it. The author never differentiated between religious or non-religious, it was simply a poll of Americans. I don't think it was ever meant as a smear on those with religious affiliation per se. The rest of the article hit on that, obviously, but more so from his opinion. Even then, I thought he did a good job of articulating his thoughts objectively; I didn't read anything that I could classify as negative connotation towards either side.

    Hopefully, no one takes this as an attack of the religious. It was simply meant as a case-study. It is fact that people who identify themselves as Atheist are persecuted in their communities. Not by all members, but of the very vocal minority...
    Last edited by Locke; 02-09-2012 at 09:32 PM. Reason: typo
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    "dubious ethics" ??? The columnist is too kind and could well have added on "morality"!




    "Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else."
    Margaret Mead



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    Spesh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valandui View Post
    I can't remember if it was in here or the lounge, but there was a thread on that situation and it was kind of hard to come away without the impression that she was a douche that was trying to prove a point.
    Douche or no, death threats and a entire community turning on a 16 year old simply over a banner/plaque/whatever is absurd. When i was a kid i was constantly doing ******* things to "try and make a point". It might just be me, but the fact that everyone turned on her to the point that police have to escort her to school struck a nerve.

    With that case in mind, merely as an example, I was curious as to why people seemingly turn away from their belief structure over something i would consider to be trivial. Wouldnt the more contructive thing to do would be to reach out to her and explain the religious side of it? Even if she was unwilling to listen, why attempt to incite violence?

    Like Locke, im not trying to insult anyone, but i am honestly curious as to why these things happen. Not only persecution in the first place(as religious tend to suggest non-violence), but also why are people who constantly break there oaths more accepted then those who remain consistent in their beliefs that just happen to be different.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Locke View Post
    No doubt about it. The author never differentiated between religious or non-religious, it was simply a poll of Americans. I don't think it was ever meant as a smear on those with religious affiliation per se. The rest of the article hit on that, obviously, but more so from his opinion. Even then, I thought he did a good job of articulating his thoughts objectively; I didn't read anything that I could classify as negative connotation towards either side.

    Hopefully, no one takes this as an attack of the religious.

    It was simply meant as a case-study. It is fact that people who identify themselves as Atheist are persecuted in their communities. Not by all members, but of the very vocal minority...
    ...and by atheists themselves if the study is to be believed. So expect the next study will be to find out why even atheists like atheists less according to their study.

    So are scientoligists, mormons, or have red hair. Not sure which way South Park will go...Gervais Trapped in a Closet, All About the Atheists, or Atheist Kids Revolution.
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    Locke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eshlemon View Post
    ...and by atheists themselves if the study is to be believed. So expect the next study will be to find out why even atheists like atheists less according to their study.

    So are scientoligists, mormons, or have red hair. Not sure which way South Park will go...Gervais Trapped in a Closet, All About the Atheists, or Atheist Kids Revolution.
    Which, admittedly, is a surprising find. I'd be interested in knowing who/what the atheists polled had in mind when coming to that conclusion. It's an area of study that would be extremely interesting to pursue, but probably wouldn't get much funding from any institution...
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