42 thoughts on “Dialogue

  1. The girl is now a couple of miles up the road from me in Birmingham, England.

    First day she was here some woman, claiming to be her mother, tried to enter the hospital and was blocked by security, which has been stepped up.

    I saw a TV interview with the Doctor in charge, complete with his name. Good on him – I’d like him on my side.

    1. I’ve just started reading Nick Cohen’s You Can’t Read This Book. Excellent so far. He begins with the Rushdie fatwa, and the brave publishers, translaters and booksellers who, like that doctor, risked their lives to allow anyone to read The Satanic Verses. He says respect for religion is the opposite from religious tolerance. It is alarming that a “tolerance” law is being developed in Europe to allow ritual slaughter and infant male genital cutting, and ban the burqa.

      1. “Religion” and “Science” are not personas with personalities. This is called “reification,” and it can be used against anything you’d care to aim your mud at.

  2. I saw this on a couple of other sites. One of the ‘arguments’ that came up was that an instrument created by science was used to do the damage, one that is specifically crated for this purpose. This isn’t the issue, it’s the fact that someone decided to do this because of religion. The people who did this could have easily used a knife, if you felt that was science based as well, then they could have easily used a big stick. The point is it doesn’t matter what they used, it’s the fact it was done based on religious ideas.

    Another point to mention is that apparently the Taliban shot her cause they felt she was a ‘spy’ for the west because she spoke out against the Taliban and Islamic idealism.

    http://richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2012/10/16/taliban-attempts-to-justify-shooting-14-year-old-girl-in-the-head#.UIMIssXAdfg

    These people are twisted because of their religious beliefs.

    1. The taliban didn’t shoot her because of something she said or did. The taliban shot her because of Islam, their blood lust ideology. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but any, I repeat, ANY, excuse is good enough for Muslim violence. Tomorrow, it will be another girl and another excuse. The next day, it will be another person and some other excuse to spill blood, ad infinitum. This sort of thing happens every day in Islamic hell holes. We know about this because this girl was a high profile target. We must stop taking their excuses at face value and stop using their language to describe their atrocities. According to them, their violence is always somebody else’s fault. We have to throw that back in their faces and refuse to take it on. And, for those of you saying that shooting this young girl was not based on religion and or Islam, I invite you to learn something about religion and especially Islam. Delusionally protecting Islam is suicide. Religion is poison and socially sanctioned mental illness. Islam is plutonium and insanity.

  3. I’m pretty sure the logic of that “letter” falls flat on it’s face. Religion and Science aren’t things one can separate in the end. And the very fact that whoever created this would attempt at blaming all religion for the murder of a girl for wanting to go to school, disgusts me.

    1. On the theme of logic falling flat on it’s face, science is evidence based rational thought and religion is exactly the opposite.

      If you are unable to separate those two things from each other then your grasp on reality is tenuous at best.

      And that’s just the first sentence, which is just plain wrong.

      Your second sentence is not even wrong.

      1. Science is actually “a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific process or method in order to organize body of knowledge gained through research.” Religion on the other hand is “Human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine.” Ok then I shall make an amendment to my original statement, ultimately ones so called religion plays into the end result of scientific studies. For example, if one already assumes that we “came from monkeys”, then their religious/belief system has affected their scientific studying. Same goes for the other side. But in the end, one side is right.
        The point is, that the post here is attempting at bringing two totally different events together, and then using them to blame religion on the evil in the world. And it doesn’t work.

        1. Do you accept evolution or not? Which side is “right” in the claim that humans evolved from a common ancestor with modern apes?

          Please answer that question before I allow you to post any more.

          1. I do not accept evolution nor the related theories. I believe the creationist standpoint has far more substantial evidence to support it, and logical evidence as well.
            That being said, I do tire of the constant relation to Christianity made by “Christian scientists”. It’s like homeschool math books, that try and relate the Bible and Math. It is possible to study one or the other without always having a Bible verse for it. Which I think we both agree on (the second part that is).

            1. Okay, what is the substantial evidence supporting the sudden creation of the earth 10,000 years ago. And why do you reject all the fossil evidence for evolution, including all the hominin fossils? Do you think that biologists (as opposed to you) are all in a giant conspiracy to prove something that doesn’t exist? And why is that.

              You, sir, are ignorant, whether wilfully or due to lack of education.

              1. Ussher, 6,000 years old; Broun, 9,000; Coyne, “10,000”.

                This sweet old world just gets older and older.

              2. Their is also this “proof” by Paul Erdos that he (Erdos) was two billion years old. He argued that when he was in school, the prevailing consensus was that that universe is two billion years old. Later discoveries pushed that back to four billion years. Hence, Erdos concluded that he must have aged two billion years in the meantime.

              3. Now, that would be interesting but I doubt he’ll post any real evidence :mrgreen:

                Oh, and it looks like Russell Blackford already had an encounter with this Simeon Blatchley character back in March.

                You, sir, are ignorant, whether wilfully or due to lack of education.

                That’s certainly true which is a real pity since he doesn’t seem to be dumb.
                It appears he’s around 18 and according to his blog he was born in St. Petersburg (Russia), which suggests that he was adopted by some Americans. It seems they have some military background (Air Force) with ties to Fundieville (Colorado Springs). Especially the latter may actually explain a lot.

        2. I just want to point out that you make use of a circular definition when explaining what science is. Whilst this might be acceptable to those of a religious bent I suspect it doesn’t really pass muster in this forum.

    2. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all grew out of the same sun-baked barbarian brains. Religion is self delusion and self delusion leads to insane behavior, typically self justified. Islamists screech 24/7/365/1,400 that their behavior is based on their religion and, BTW, they DO shout their little limited vocabulary of Allah u Akbar every time they commit an atrocity. Therefore, how can it not be based on religion, that is, if you see Islam as a religion? Hitchens said it best … Religion poisons everything. “Disgust” is a good place to start clearing your head. Follow it down the rabbit hole and see where it leads. As with most religionists who allow themselves to think, it will probably lead to to disgust of religion.

  4. Before anybody says “but that’s bad people misusing religion to justify themselves, it’s bad people who do bad things, not bad religions” – Nuh uh! Sharia law is strictly religious in principle and these guys are applying it as it is written. They use literal quotes.

    And to people thinking about Hiroshima: show me which scientific textbook commanded America to do that and you might have a point.

  5. If I were a superstitious Taliban idiot, I’d wonder if Allah or whoever is really on my side…..this girl survived a shot in the head at point-blank range fired by a professional assassin. Hmmmm….

    In fact, thanks to science (not gods), she is recovering well, though she is fighting an infection. She can stand, and write. The bullet passed through her head between her skin and her skull (entering near the eyebrow and stopping in her upper body). She is amazing. You can keep up with her condition at the hospital’s web page:
    http://www.uhb.nhs.uk/news/malala-yousafzai-status-updates.htm

    1. To paraphrase Woody Allen, not only there is no god, but just try finding a competent professional assassin on a week-end.

      A bit unfair on the Taliban, though: the odds against them succeeding in their murderous intent, what with the imponderability of imprecise ballistics, firearm malfunction, target misalignment and so on, were higher than the odds against Felix Baumgartner hitting the Earth’s surface. (All he had to do was try to stay alive; gravity took care of the rest.)

      Light works; gravity works. Anything else we have to take our chances with.

  6. This article by an Australian journalist is a response to that ‘letter’ meme – and it goes about as well as you can expect.

    The majority of comments point out the foolishness of the argument.

    1. Potato wins the internets from down under:

      Dear religion, instead of complaining that science is all up on its moral high-horse, why don’t you simply lead by example. If you are so concerned about being labelled as amoral, backwards, selfish sky fairy lovers, then why don’t you stop shooting kids in the face, stop raping little boys, stop hoarding money for expensive churches, stop dictating what people who don’t believe your beliefs should be doing/saying etc etc

      In short stop PRETENDING to be moral, and actually BE it!

      Regards

      Society

  7. The Taliban explains that they shot the girl for promoting ‘secularism.’ Though there are many different definitions of this word, from context they clearly mean secularism as the view that religion is not the arbiter of how we ought to live in the world. What we believe — or claim to “know” — about God (or Spirit or Cosmic Consciousness) is not as important as the natural world, reason, and human individuals. It takes second place — if it’s in there at all. Keep it to yourself and your community, and don’t pretend it’s really Real.

    Science is curiosity, clarity, and consistency. Faith turns those into flaws. That man didn’t jump from outer space by jettisoning those values.

    Does “religion” shoot the implications of secularism and science in the head? “God doesn’t matter.”

    Oh, yes.

  8. The half-truth behind this is that religion can be used to rationalize outrageous behavior, or as Voltaire put it: He who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

    However, it seems to me to use too broad a brush. As Sam Harris has pointed out, the more extreme Jains are the less we have to worry about them. They celebrate non-violence and the more extreme are always looking down at their feet to make sure they don’t step on even the smallest insect.

    This could almost be taken as just the flip side of Ben Stein’s fatuous remarks blaming science for Naziism. However, it is true scientists have built atom bombs and religions have built hospitals (often with admittedly short-changed and inadequate services in several areas Planned Parenthood deals with). It really isn’t this simple.

    1. When was the last time this happened?

      I am not a evolutionary biologist (more of a computer science person), but I think the problem, if any, is that some computer scientists and physicists (and sometimes mathematicians) think that they have it all figured out about evolution and that it is the biologists who are “doing it wrong”.

  9. A couple of thoughts:
    1) Science is not so clean as you think;
    2) Religion is not so unclean as you think.

    It’s fun to throw out images and/or “tweets” that ridicule what you don’t like or believe in or follow or trust. But in the end, it never helps the conversation, nor does it really help you make your point.

    To illustrate:

    Dear Science,
    This week I fed and clothed thousands of people around the world who were hungry and cold. But hey, congratulations on ending disease and solving hunger and that whole peaceful nuclear energy thing…oh, wait…

    I kind of feel like you could be more useful.
    Religion

    All it really does is dismiss what you don’t like, forgetting that both sides have done awful things – both simply in the pursuit of advancement. Maybe it’s not that religion or science are the problem, maybe it’s the people behind the science and the religion. And maybe it’s the people that post arguments that mean nothing believing it changes lives.

    It’s something I’d like our politicians to figure out, but they, like you and this argument, are sure that they are the solution to every problem, and the other guy is the problem. When in reality, they’re both the problem and the solution.

    1. Dear Science,
      This week I fed and clothed thousands of people around the world who were hungry and cold. But hey, congratulations on ending disease and solving hunger and that whole peaceful nuclear energy thing…oh, wait…

      I kind of feel like you could be more useful.
      Religion

      I wonder if you have thought this through. Caring for the needy is by no means a monopoly of religions: secular organizations such as Red Cross, Unicef, USAID and MSF seem to do the job much better and much more scientifically (as opposed to, for example, the Catholic Church’s approach, which puts dogma before suffering).

      Secondly, “Project Ending Disease” has been quite a success. Average human lifespan has increased from ~31 years in early 20th century to about 67 years now. Diseases like small pox, that wiped out whole civilizations, are now vanquished. Polio survives only in a a few countries, and the annual number of cases around the world is probably less than a couple hundred. Tuberculosis is no more a certain killer, but an eminently treatable infection. I could go on.

      That is a sample of what a hundred year of modern science has achieved in the areas you seem concerned about. I’d now like to see Religion’s report card.

  10. Dear Science,

    You deliberately infected unsuspecting black men with syphilis while religion was feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

    See, I can play this game, too.

    Yours,
    Religion

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