Alice Roberts weighs in.

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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby cathy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:41 pm

Roger, Putin heads a country that is, to all intents and purposes, one that has a long history of anti theism. Yet it is incredibly homophobic. Fundamental religion is incredibly and frighteningly homophobic. And right wing - and I'd guess previous haters of the old USSR - which is so ironic.

This morning BBC 3 was being taken to task for letting Birmingham Mosque, the venue for some free speech programme, duck out of discussing the question posed by the first Muslim drag queen of when will it be ok to be a Muslim and gay. Fundie Christians are homophobic as well.

Why are extremists so interested in other peoples sex lives. The only perversion in this world is lack of consent or coercion yet none of them seem to get very worked up about that. :evil:
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby cathy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:40 pm

Hmm this is an interesting TES article in the light of the TiS nonsense about opinions and alternatives and so on. Should teachers opinions colour what they teach.
http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6413991

The interesting bit is in the paragraph marked The Debate Rages On and the statement I found a tad contentious was this one.
[b]A science teacher's atheism might change the slant they put on evolution.[/b] A history teachers feminism might affect lessons about Elizabeth the first. A geography teacher who has worked for a charity with the Voluntary Service Overseas may have a distinct take on global development


I personally think that first statement is quite contentious, which is why I've highlighted it. Whether a teacher is an atheist or not evolution doesn't really have a 'slant' does it? Or am I being pernickety.

As for the other two points, history does have a slant bias - written by the victors and all that jazz. But even then don't the facts remain fairly sacrosanct even if the opinions of them don't? Feminist or not won't really alter Liz 1 unusual (or maybe not) position in her time. And global development likewise does invite differing opinions which would alter how it is perceived and how it should be developed.

But evolution? Sorry it is science that is not open to being changed by having a particular religious stance or not.

If anything this is evidence that the Dawkins' mob are winning the propaganda war and using creationism to discredit religion. And they are winning because religion has done nothing to distance itself from creationism!!!!! Why should an atheist have a different slant on evolution to a Christian or Muslim? They shouldn't. I am quite angry that standing up to creationist claptrap has been left to brave Christians like the ones here without any real obvious help from their hierarchies eg Evangelical magazines.

It's only a sentence but I'm in consciousness raising rant mode. Does anyone else think I'm overreacting.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Brian Jordan » Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:54 pm

cathy wrote:The interesting bit is in the paragraph marked The Debate Rages On and the statement I found a tad contentious was this one.
[b]A science teacher's atheism might change the slant they put on evolution.[/b] A history teachers feminism might affect lessons about Elizabeth the first. A geography teacher who has worked for a charity with the Voluntary Service Overseas may have a distinct take on global development
Your emphasised bit is interesting indeed Cathy, because it suggests a total misunderstanding - or worse? - by the TES author. I take it that they are suggesting that a teacher's background might influence their teaching of a mainstream curriculum item. In which case there is no way that an atheist is going to slant the teaching of evolution - unless the curriculum had already been perverted by the creationists. Creationists are the ones who would make a very good example of what the author is suggesting. That once again evolution is treated as something spurious or controversial is disgraceful. Do they not employ editors at TES to spot errors - intentional or otherwise - like this?
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Roger Stanyard » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:34 pm

cathy wrote:It's only a sentence but I'm in consciousness raising rant mode. Does anyone else think I'm overreacting.


No; I think you have very valid point. Evolution is simply not an atheistic position despite what fundamentalists scream at every available opportunity.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby cathy » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:39 pm

I'm trying to second guess what they might mean. Either an atheist might use it to try and disprove or be disparaging about God which would be the Dawkins way and would be misusing it as much as the creationists. Or that an atheists understanding of the wider complexities of religious belief and the range of takes on evolution is lacking somewhat - in which case the creationists have won hands down by making themselves the ones that appear to hold the predominant view of evolution. Which is worrying for religion now, because the atheists misunderstanding will also be the misunderstanding of the don't knows and agnostics. Only religion can correct that misconception and it really needs to do so fast.

An atheist would not have been able to use evolution as a tool to disparage religion a few years ago. Many other things yes - in my Christian days many arguments were used but never evolution and big bang. And if they were, they were the easiest to argue against. But now it is the main way of arguing against religion, with huge ignorance that many religious folk aren't creationist loony tunes.

But this is very new. It was not a problem when I was at school. And don't forget I went to a school run by people who believed transubstantiation was a fact. Yet not a single one had a problem with evolution.

It was not a problem when I started teaching, it wasn't a problem ten years ago, or even three years ago. It is suddenly a problem. I tend to agree with what Attenborough said in the interview on another thread - its because the internet has made creationist shit far more accessible. Given them a voice in the UK. Given the American loony tunes access to UK Christians.

Could also be the growth of lunatic churches run along US lines with ranting, egotistical, idiot pastors rather than educated priests or vicars. Cos one thing that tended to be true about the CofE and the RC church - whatever their other failings, their religious leaders in the parishes were highly educated.

Anyway I'm doubly annoyed with creationists. They deny their children the choice to be scientists and live in the real world and they deny other children the right to be believers should they wish it.
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Re:

Postby a_haworthroberts » Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:45 pm

"If anything this is evidence that the Dawkins' mob are winning the propaganda war and using creationism to discredit religion. And they are winning because religion has done nothing to distance itself from creationism!!!!! Why should an atheist have a different slant on evolution to a Christian or Muslim? They shouldn't. I am quite angry that standing up to creationist claptrap has been left to brave Christians like the ones here without any real obvious help from their hierarchies eg Evangelical magazines."

I'm fairly sure that if I had remained an evangelical Christian believer I would never have embraced young Earth creationism in a million years. Yet, I ask myself, WOULD I have criticised YEC Christians - even online where comparatively little courage is needed even if you post using your full real name - or would have politely avoided rocking the boat and risking causing division in the 'body of Christ'? (Not that I am anybody and not that people should take any particular notice of my opinions.) Christian bloggers who slam YEC pseudo-science, science denial and falsehoods (despite these arguing for the reliability of the whole Bible) inevitably will face a fundie backlash. People such as most archbishops and bishops in the C of E - whose opinions believers do pay some attention to - probably either want to avoid controversy on this topic (if they are aware of it) or prefer to be 'controversial' on other topics they consider more pressing such as poverty or equal rights.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:17 pm

cathy wrote:It was not a problem when I started teaching, it wasn't a problem ten years ago, or even three years ago. It is suddenly a problem. I tend to agree with what Attenborough said in the interview on another thread - its because the internet has made creationist shit far more accessible. Given them a voice in the UK. Given the American loony tunes access to UK Christians.

Internet is probably the undoing of the creationists and is why younger people in the USA are leaving the fundamentalist movement in droves. Every claim the creationists make can, nowadays, be ripped to shreads in public. Most people think the creationists, far from being pious believing Christians, are just mouthy opinionated bigots. That particularly applies to US creationists (and those in Northern ireland).

The generation that was brought up with Internet are moving on from such extremism.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby cathy » Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:54 pm

Most people think the creationists, far from being pious believing Christians, are just mouthy opinionated bigots. That particularly applies to US creationists (and those in Northern ireland).

I think its the fact they are mouthy opinionated bigots, with very loud voices, that is responsible for the fact they are becoming the most obvious image of Christianity to those with no experience.

So whereas before Christians were viewed as nice and kind people who held fetes etc, now the prevailing image is the loony who claims the world is 6000 years old. Paul Garner fits the stereotype of Christian to the lay person, far more than Michael does sadly. Though in my opinion Michael and his kind are what Christians should be and Paul Garner et al are the polar opposites of what Christians should be.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby cathy » Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:03 pm

I'm fairly sure that if I had remained an evangelical Christian believer I would never have embraced young Earth creationism in a million years. Yet, I ask myself, WOULD I have criticised YEC Christians - even online where comparatively little courage is needed even if you post using your full real name - or would have politely avoided rocking the boat and risking causing division in the 'body of Christ'? (Not that I am anybody and not that people should take any particular notice of my opinions.)

I'm fairly sure you would.

Christian bloggers who slam YEC pseudo-science, science denial and falsehoods (despite these arguing for the reliability of the whole Bible) inevitably will face a fundie backlash.

Hmm, I would say those Christians are in the right. Fundamentalism and Christianity are really strange bedfellows. They don't sit together easily, one is screaming egotism and hatred the other sort of preaches some kind of humility and kindly charity. One sort of makes up the world to suit its own interpretations. The other accepts the world as interprets to fit the reality - which I guess is how it should be.

People such as most archbishops and bishops in the C of E - whose opinions believers do pay some attention to - probably either want to avoid controversy on this topic (if they are aware of it) or prefer to be 'controversial' on other topics they consider more pressing such as poverty or equal rights.

AAAARGH Evolution is NOT a controversial topic. Telling creationists loonies to leg it off to some kind of sub sect that is not Christianity may be, but I don't think it is. I think church leaders of all flavours should be making very clear noises about it and banishing them more publicly.

I also think they may have left it too late. I think the very fact that sentence appears in the TES article means creationists have succeeded in discrediting belief in the eyes of most people. I think they need to get their acts together and state very firmly that creationism is NOT part of the deal and those that think it is are 100% wrong. After all non creationist church leaders always have the ninth commandment on their side.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:00 pm

cathy wrote:
Most people think the creationists, far from being pious believing Christians, are just mouthy opinionated bigots. That particularly applies to US creationists (and those in Northern ireland).

I think its the fact they are mouthy opinionated bigots, with very loud voices, that is responsible for the fact they are becoming the most obvious image of Christianity to those with no experience.

So whereas before Christians were viewed as nice and kind people who held fetes etc, now the prevailing image is the loony who claims the world is 6000 years old. Paul Garner fits the stereotype of Christian to the lay person, far more than Michael does sadly. Though in my opinion Michael and his kind are what Christians should be and Paul Garner et al are the polar opposites of what Christians should be.


In the USA broader issues appear to be at play. The fundamentalists became deeply politicised in the 1980s which, in the long term, was a very bad move. Essentially they are using the political system to change legislation that affects everyone, not just the fundamentalists. Hence the theocratic tendency. The fundamentalists have left the Republican Party as dysfunctional, driven by ideology and lacking the pragmatism to wield power effectively. Worse still the fundamentalists have created a political and social environment for public debate where opinion and appeals to emotion rank above intellect, reason, rationality and facts. The family values they claim to promote have precious little to do with family values at all and much more to do with inward looking paranoia, anti-intellectualism and a massive persecution complex.

Not usprisingly Americans are becoming less religious as a result - although, I must say, the fundamentalism there is, IMHB, due to social and political backwardness as well as institutionalised political corruption (gerrymandering in particular).

Much of what the fundamentalists claim to be as familiy values is a deep dislike of blacks, hispanics and the well educated as well as, more recently, gays. The fundamentalists are increasingly being seen for what they are, a bunch of unhinged political loons.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby cathy » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:56 am

Essentially they are using the political system to change legislation that affects everyone, not just the fundamentalists. Hence the theocratic tendency.

I politically wise move on their part. I could never understand why folk claiming to Christians would be so anti things like universal health care, welfare systems and removal of guns. That seemed to be the antithesis of what I thought it was all about. But if you want to wield control you have to keep people down and deny them hope. I'm not sure how that works but I guess it is the old, the only hope you have is some kind of miracle, there is no free health care so only God can heal you and He clearly does so via this charlatan here. There is no welfare system the only hand outs you'll get are via this charlatan here and he's only giving out if you say the right things.

I guess that is why in the States there is that clear link between poverty, lack of education and religion. A link that is conspicuous by it's absence here (if you went into an RC church when I was little it was lots of Irish folk, ten, fifteen years ago when I was playing the education system it was full of relatively educated middle class people). The game the US fundies are playing looks similar to the way the RCC behaved in the ROI. It kept people down with outdated moral laws about contraception and sex and ignored poverty and ignorance. That has rightly backfired on it. Tho I'm not sure that will happen in the US?

The fundamentalists have left the Republican Party as dysfunctional, driven by ideology and lacking the pragmatism to wield power effectively. Worse still the fundamentalists have created a political and social environment for public debate where opinion and appeals to emotion rank above intellect, reason, rationality and facts. The family values they claim to promote have precious little to do with family values at all and much more to do with inward looking paranoia, anti-intellectualism and a massive persecution complex.

Yes but appeals to emotion work far better. Look at UKIP, appealing to peoples fears that their culture is being lost. Using a recession to blame immigration and providing fuel for religious fundamentalists to thrive. Islam in many places in the UK has started to go backwards for example. I can't help feeling UKIP and Daily Mail style rhetoric help that.

But nobody can give a clear intellectual answer to the question of what would happen economically if we did leave the EU. I haven't a clue.

Look at the language used by CMI, AiG et al. When it is pure emotional claptrap about morals and lack of fairness and appeals to discrimination by big 'atheist' scientists then they get loads of responses. If it is something 'scientific' (in the loosest possible sense of the word) they get hardly any.

We are starting to see fundamentalism in this country as we've gone into recession. I'm not sure why. Maybe cos it's the only thing that offers certainty? Maybe it's the only emotionally intelligent thing to cling to when you don't have anything else. Wage freezes have hit a lot of people hard, likewise benefit cuts. Lots of people are relying now on food banks run by churches, mosques, gurdwaras and temples. Some of those providers will be fundamentalist and will use it to proselytise. It'll be interesting to see how things go cos for the first time in eons an economic upturn is not benefitting everyone. It is only benefitting those at the top.

I think religion does need to speak out against it far more clearly and publicly. There are a lot of creationists who are creationists purely and simply because they've been bullied into that position. The creationist groups are taking that stance more and more. If you can't believe in Genesis you can't effectively believe in Jesus (tho how that logic works escapes me). If a few sane Christians start speaking out more clearly and stating more firmly that nothing could be further from the truth - there might be a chance to reverse it.

I know the battle won't be won by scientists because if it could be it would have been won years ago. Creation 'science' is so obviously crap it makes homeopathy look good.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:51 am

cathy wrote:But nobody can give a clear intellectual answer to the question of what would happen economically if we did leave the EU. I haven't a clue.


Three issues:

1. Forign businesses would no longer invest in the UK to serve European markets (see Nissan).
2. The UK would still have to abide by all EU rules to continue trading with EU countries (see Norway)
3. We would still have to pay into the EU but would not get anything back in return (see Norway)

Seems to me that the case for leaving the EU centres on the Euro which has left it economiccally and politically paralysed.

The "immigration" issue is irrelevent. There are nearly as many UK citizens livinng in the rest of the EU as there are EU citizens in the UK. It's not politically feasible to stop immigration from EU countries.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:55 am

cathy wrote:
Essentially they are using the political system to change legislation that affects everyone, not just the fundamentalists. Hence the theocratic tendency.

I politically wise move on their part. I could never understand why folk claiming to Christians would be so anti things like universal health care, welfare systems and removal of guns. That seemed to be the antithesis of what I thought it was all about. But if you want to wield control you have to keep people down and deny them hope. I'm not sure how that works but I guess it is the old, the only hope you have is some kind of miracle, there is no free health care so only God can heal you and He clearly does so via this charlatan here. There is no welfare system the only hand outs you'll get are via this charlatan here and he's only giving out if you say the right things.

I guess that is why in the States there is that clear link between poverty, lack of education and religion. A link that is conspicuous by it's absence here (if you went into an RC church when I was little it was lots of Irish folk, ten, fifteen years ago when I was playing the education system it was full of relatively educated middle class people). The game the US fundies are playing looks similar to the way the RCC behaved in the ROI. It kept people down with outdated moral laws about contraception and sex and ignored poverty and ignorance. That has rightly backfired on it. Tho I'm not sure that will happen in the US?


I guess there is a strong relationship in the USA between fundamentalism and relative poverty but Americans in general remain highly religious. This is despite claims from the religious right that all Democrats and Liberals are "atheists". It is basically impossible to stand for election either on a Republican or Democratic ticket without being openly religious. Sadly being a fundamentalist appears to be no bar to being a Republican politician and, as far as I can make out, the fundamentalists still appear to be increasing their influence within the GOP.

It also seems that fundamentalism in the USA is associated with "low information" voters (a bit like UKIP voters, I guess). But then, the broader picture probably reflects the geography behind the US "culture wars". The North East, Upper mid-Westand West coast are the intellectual powerhouses of the USA. The deep south and flyover country (with the exception of a few cities isolated in a sea of anti-intellectualism) are the Republican heartlands. Austin, Texas, is a rare example of a progressive enclave within that sea of ultra-conservative social backwardness.

However, amongst Christians in the UK fundamentalism appears to be dying; I haven't seen recent statistics but it appears that only the evangelical movement is keeping up church attendence. Many evangelicals are clearly not fundamentalists and it is black evangelical churches that are keeping up overall numbers; white evangelical congregations continue to shrink but not as fast as non-evangelical congregations. So its a case of the fundamentalists being a bigger part of a shrinking pool of believers. Strangely, evangelicism seems to be on the increase in London, the most progressive part of the UK. This seems to reflect growing black churches. There's not much noise coming from black churches about creationism, though. It's a white-only movement in the UK.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:28 am

cathy wrote:Tho I'm not sure that will happen in the US?

I'm not sure, either. It has become a deeply "foreign" country that baffles me. Rational analysis suggests that the politicised fundamentalist movement should be on its way out. However, it would not surprise me that in 2016 there will be a openly aggressive fundamentalist US President. Amongst names being suggested as serious contenders are Mike Huckabee (a YECer) and Senator Ted Cruz, a dominionist.

Rational analysis strongly suggests that demographics are moving against the Republic Party; nearly half of babies born in the USA are not purely white but the GOP has largely rejected outreach to "minorities". Unfortunaley for the GOP, white, male led, aging conservatives are rapidly becoming a minority themselves, the more so as many are "low information" voters. In effect, the GOP is increasingly unattractive to blacks, hispanics, asians, the well educated or well-informed, women, the young (under 30), gays and the "non-fudamentalist" religious. The GOP is losing its position as a "broad church".

Unfortunately, I suspect that US politics doesn't work very rationally. We've already seen in the UK a political movement, headed by a bonkers religious fundamentalist that preached "No!", "No Surrender!". "Never!" and "Not an inch!", becoming the leading (and incompetent) party in a province.
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Re: Alice Roberts weighs in.

Postby Peter Henderson » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:40 am

We've already seen in the UK a political movement, headed by a bonkers religious fundamentalist that preached "No!", "No Surrender!". "Never!" and "Not an inch!", becoming the leading (and incompetent) party in a province.


Yep, that's the problem when you sit down and talk to terrorists and political extremists Roger.

It wouldn't happen on the mainland. Tony Blair said so.

Still, you've got UKIP to deal with at the next election.

I can't blame people for voting for Jim Allister's TUV at the next election.
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