Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
Law would empower countries to file cases against non-resident violators
Manama: Arab countries are working on a draft law that bans the defamation of religions and empowers them to take abusers to court even if they are not residents.
The draft, presented by Qatar, is being reviewed by delegates from several Arab countries at the Arab League.
Under its provisions, all forms of defamation, derision or denigration of religions and prophets will be considered crimes.
“The main feature of the draft is that it gives every state the right to put on trial those who abuse and hold in contempt religions even if they are outside the country,” Ebrahim Mousa Al Hitmi, the Qatari justice ministry assistant undersecretary for legal affairs, said, local Arabic daily Al Arab reported on Wednesday.
The official insisted that the draft law does not clash with freedom of expression.
“The law does not interfere in any way with the freedom of opinion and expression which is well protected and guaranteed. All penal laws in Arab countries criminalise defamation of religions but there are no specific sanctions when an abuser is outside the country. Therefore, the main goal of this law is to deter all forms of defamation of religions and give each country that ratifies it the right to file lawsuits against those who offend religions, even if they are not residents,” he said.
The official attributed the Qatari initiative to a drive to counter relentless campaigns targeting religions.
The draft will be taken up by the Arab justice ministers when they convene.
Passage from The Diary of Anne Frank that parents of 7th and 8th grade students are claiming is “too graphic” and “too pornographic” to appear in classrooms. Instead, they argue, a censored version of the book should be taught if it is to be taught at all.
Gail Horalek, the parent who filed a formal complaint with her daughter’s school district in Northville, Michigan, added:
If they watch any kind of movie with a swear word in it, I have to sign a permission slip. It doesn’t mean my child is sheltered, it doesn’t mean I live in a bubble, and it doesn’t mean I’m trying to ban books.
Yes, it does. If it’s “too graphic” for middle school aged kids to read about a body part in a diary written by a girl of the same age, those kids are sheltered. Acknowledging that vaginas exist and babies come out of them isn’t pornographic, especially when many middle school aged kids can and do have sex, sometimes resulting in a pregnancy. Somehow, though, it’s more offensive than Nazis systematically murdering over 12 million human-beings in concentration camps, forcing slave labor, starving millions until dead, lining people up and shooting them in the street, and doing horrific medical experiments on unwilling participants.
It never ceases to amaze me how worried some people are about their children learning about their own body.(via abaldwin360)
Jon Stewart (via factualfeminist)
George Carlin What am I Doing in New Jersey? 1988 (via yatwriter)