Faith-Based Fanatics

63

By Timothy Egan

He’s had a busy summer. As God only knows, he was summoned to slaughter in the Holy Land, asked to end the killings of Muslims by Buddhist monks in Myanmar, and played both sides again in the 1,400-year-old dispute over the rightful successor to the Prophet Muhammad.

In between, not much down time. Yes, the World Cup was fun, and God chose to mess with His Holinesses, pitting the team from Pope Francis’s Argentina against Germany, home of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Well played, even if the better pope lost.

At least Rick Perry was not his usual time-suck. The governor proclaimed three days of prayer to end the Texas drought in 2011, saying, “I think it’s time for us to just hand it over to God, and say, ‘God: You’re going to have to fix this.’ ” The drought got worse. Two years ago, Perry said that God had not “changed his mind” about same-sex marriage. But the states have. Since Perry became a spokesman for the deity, the map of legalized gay marriage in America has expanded by 50 percent.

Still, these are pillow feathers in a world weighted down with misery. God is on a rampage in 2014, a bit like the Old Testament scourge who gave direct instructions to people to kill one another.

It’s not true that all wars are fought in the name of religion, as some atheists assert. Of 1,723 armed conflicts documented in the three-volume “Encyclopedia of Wars,” only 123, or less than 7 percent, involved a religious cause. Hitler’s genocide, Stalin’s bloody purges and Pol Pot’s mass murders certainly make the case that state-sanctioned killings do not need the invocation of a higher power to succeed.

But this year, the ancient struggle of My God versus Your God is at the root of dozens of atrocities, giving pause to the optimists among us (myself included) who believe that while the arc of enlightenment is long, it still bends toward the better.

In the name of God and hate, Sunnis are killing Shiites in Iraq, and vice versa. A jihadist militia, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, boasts of beheading other Muslims while ordering women to essentially live in caves, faces covered, minds closed. The two sides of a single faith have been sorting it out in that blood-caked land, with long periods of peace, since the year 632. Don’t expect it to end soon. A majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are peaceful, but a Pew Survey found that 40 percent of Sunnis do not think Shiites are proper Muslims.

63 COMMENTS

  1. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao si Tung and their ilk create religions of their own, promising solutions to everything now instead of in an afterlife.

    Every now and then political leaders are thrown up, or is it vomited up, who are lethal, and who, before they fail abysmally, as they inevitably do in the long run, reek absolute havoc.

    We seem to have one such new boy on the block right now; the porcine eyed thug Vlad’ the invader.

    Trouble is, that by the time we know for certain exactly what he’s up to the damage will have been done.

    And of course it’s “birds of a feather”; crooks and thieves attract their like.

    As for “dog all bity”, well, were he to exist, he’d clearly be out of control, and the most lethal thug of all; the tragedy is that he’s a figment of the human imagination.

    It seems to me that the only way we will ever be free of the curse of religion is to come to terms with the simple, salient, incontrovertible fact that we evolved by chance.

    That, for me in any case, puts things into perspective, and inspires me to try to find out as much as I can about what’s going on before I pop my clogs, and return to whence I came; the fundamentals.

    Meanwhile, it’s time for a cup of tea.

    • The problem of course is not God, or gods, but belief.

      Now belief is a very slippery word, encompassing things like belief in fairies, belief in the second law of thermodynamics, belief in the National Health Service, belief in democracy, or belief in cricket.

      Plato knew this and he explored it in some depths in the Theaetetus. I suppose that it’s worth reading but he has never been my favorite fascist-occultist.

      Probably belief can be divided into three categories. The first is occultist belief: in God, gods, fairies, the influence of the cosmos in human destiny, as the RC catechism used to put it, charms, omens, dreams and suchlike fooleries. That is to say: belief in the intangible, without any proof whatsoever, unfounded belief.

      The second type of belief, is the belief of science, which can be true or false, by verification or falsification. Most scientists dislike this use of the word, and with good reason, in that it allows those with occult faith, to conflate their beliefs, with the truths of science, which in turn gives them a handy though dishonest debating point, that one belief is as good as another, and deserves equal respect and legal privilege. For this reason, I avoid saying that I am an atheist, which can be, and is, misconstrued as saying that I believe in nothing. Belief in nothing is a logical absurdity: I just say that I have no belief.

      The third type of belief, in the NHS, democracy or cricket, is not really belief at all. If you “believe” in these things, you are probably asserting that you think that they are pleasant, positive, perhaps challenging and good for humanity. There is really no difference in “believing” in cricket and “believing” in morality – “belief” in morality is not to assert much more much more than that it is good for making life pleasant, productive, useful and positive. The only difference about morality, is that it is often considered far more important, even than cricket, though true “believers” might question this. This type of belief gives the religious a good question, “Don’t you believe in anything,” hinting that you have no morals or love of humanity. The answer of course is that we do not believe in anything, but we care about a great many things.

  2. Nowadays religion is the underlying driver of most of the atrocious behaviour of humans in Gaza Nigeria, Syria, Kenya, Somalia, Libya, Egypt etc etc. The killing of innocents is always acceptable and fiercely defended by both sides when religion is involved. An imaginary god of one side always makes it ok to kill the followers of an opposing imaginary god. To argue who is right and who is wrong is futile when the whole dispute is over differences in imagination.
    This type of senseless biblical slaughter will only end when religion is acknowledged to be the manmade nonsense that it is….only then will humans genuinely accept that one human life is as valuable as another. That is unlikely to ever happen until religious believers go extinct and the rest of us can live peacefully! Perhaps the more they fight among themselves, the better for the human gene pool in the long run?

  3. ” Hitler’s genocide…make the case …” Hitler hated the Jews ! how is that not faith based hatred ?
    Dig deep into the cause of all conflicts and you will come to religion, every time.
    Religious differences are what drives and justifies the slaughter.

    • Of course Hitler was a faithhead, so much so that he thought he was holier than the pope. And as is the nature of faith-based-gulibility, much of the vatican at the time actually agreed and were following the “teachings of Hitler”.

      Admittedly It is reasonable to say that many conflicts were motivated just out of greed and the pursuit of power, and the religious bit was just thrown in to disguise the true motive. In the cast of Sunnis are killing Shiites and vice versa, it is difficult to say, but neither reason is acceptable.

      What I want to know is, how come such a huge proprtion of the human population, fall for such stupidity throughout history.

    • How is that not faith-based hatred? Well, it is if we look at it as hatred of a particular faith-based group of people. Shouldn’t we be looking at what caused the hatred in the haters though. It is possible for non-believers to hate a faith-based group, but it seems a bit unreasonable to then claim that is faith-based hatred.

      • I do not think it is the same to say that atheists hating any faith based group. The difference is that I am willing to let any extreme faith-head to practice whatever they want, provided it does not harm anyone else. In particular when it comes to indoctrinating their children. Faith-heads are not willing to grant the same courtesy to others. I admit to being a hard-core atheist, (and biased accordingly) but if my reasoning is flawed, show me where I am wrong, and I will change. (yet another difference).

  4. ” It’s not true that all wars are fought in the name of religion, as some atheists assert. Of 1,723 armed conflicts documented in the three-volume “Encyclopedia of Wars,” only 123, or less than 7 percent, involved a religious cause. ”

    123/1723 * 100

    = 7.1%

    His reasoning here is no better than his math. A 7% reduction in war is significant enough for me. ( assuming the encyclopedia of war is correct here )

    • The “facts” and miscalculation is taken from a catholic blog: http://www.jonsorensen.net/2012/09/18/is-religion-really-the-number-one-cause-of-war/
      There is something wrong with the figures here. Or with the definition of “religious” war. I suspect the “Encyclopedia of Wars” (there is two of them, a three-volume and a five-volume, I have not read them) has a religious agenda in compiling the data. Is for instance the Taiping rebellion in China that was lead by a mentally disturbed Christian and killed 30 million people included? What about the French Revolution which started to get rid of the power of the Catholic Church? Does it actually matter if the God behind the religious wars is a fictious God from the scriptures or a living God? As the Japanese Emperor (which would include the Japanese part of WW2 in the figures), as the rulers in North Korea (which might include the Korean War), Hitler and Stalin (there goes the rest of WW2), all the agression from Muslims throughout the centuries, the Crusades, the Inquisition, burning of witches, the belief that your race is superior (Christian/Muslim/ tribes of all kinds), there goes slavery, etnic cleansings, Israeli occupation (“God has promised us this land”). And so on. Adds up to more than 7.1% as far as I can judge.

  5. A 7% reduction in war would be significant, but we could do with knowing something more about the wars in general. Would avoiding World War 1 and World War 2 be counted as the same reduction as avoiding the Falklands conflict and Vietnam? In each case it would be two wars fewer, but a huge disparity in the number of people killed?
    Would ending religion lead to a 7% reduction in war? That seems to be the implication, but is surely a rather naive hope if it is what is meant.

    • The Hundred Years war perhaps.

      I say again 7% is significant regardless of casualties and one suspects that the encyclopedia of war rather understates the religious causes of war. And the religious contributions to collateral damage in wars not religiously caused.

      ” Note I’m not saying that WWI, WWII, the Falklands or Vietnam were related to religion, just trying to point that the stats quoted look rather simplistic. ”

      WWII would be representative of collateral damage during war with a religious overtone. The Holocaust for instance.

      The stats are simplistic, simple arithmetic that the author could not even do. That was one of my main points.

  6. I’m with you that Stalin and Pol Pot where non-believers, in God , they did believe in the Dogma of Communism (even though they arguably did not practice it- so I might be wrong, they may have professed a belief in communism to cynically gain power for themselves). But Hitler was not only Catholic (again not a good Catholic – he had some bizarre beliefs about the purity of Germany blood). His Catholicism was most likely the basis upon which he fashioned both his anti-Semitism and the basis by which he gained sufficiently wide spread support with the community to allow the holocaust to occur. So stop saying Hitler was secular he was not!

    What all of these had in common was a brittle inflexibility and an unwillingness to accept fact when presented (Stalin’s support Lysenko version of Lamarckism is a good case in point). An absolutist belief in doctrine and a demand that the populace share in same and conform without any place for opposing views unless you want a bullet in the head or worse. Other than the belief in god they share all other features in common with every religion that has had ultimate power in their state. It is dogma that I am primarily against not religion, but as religion is the most common manifestation of this…

    • Hi Reckless,

      I don’t know about Pol Pot. I do, however, know a little about Stalin.

      Stalin preached the dogma of Marxism-Leninism. Does that mean that Stalin was a Communist believer? Is the Pope a Catholic? Good question.

      On the evidence I think we have to say that Stalin’s real interest was Stalin. Providing Communism did not interfere with what Stalin wanted, then Communism is what Stalin followed. If he wasn’t getting what he wanted Stalin used, at different times, all of the approaches open to him. Some days what Stalin wanted was called Communism. Some days what Communism was in the Soviet Union was re-written … and lo, it was Comrade Stalin had insisted was right all along. Some days it was discovered that Lenin or Marx had been misinterpreted and it was, of course, Stalin who put the believers straight.

      Now, getting back to the Pope on Catholicism …

      Peace.

      • Hi Stephen,

        I’m inclined to agree with most of what you say. The one thing that gives me pause is the issue over Lysenko’s Larmarkian genetics which led to the death of quite a lot of scientists. The scientists who tried to get Stalin to see that support of Lysenko was a disaster where all sent to Siberian prisions and most of them starved to death. Lysenko’s genetics matched the communist ideal of striving to build success, whereas Darwinian evolution smacked too much of capitalism. However this may have been cynical marketing on his part, but I can’t help feeling thought he would succeed in getting this going.

        regards

  7. In the name of God and hate, Sunnis are killing Shiites in Iraq, and vice versa.

    All of which validates the certainty of their faith. No one will kill or die for an opinion. Consequently no one is likely to kill or die for atheism. So what motivates such concern? Is it the nobility of humanism or the baseness of envy and jealousy? My money’s on the latter.

    • Hi Harry,

      What motivates my concern is the possibility of these factors interfering with me and mine. Eg. the religious (and other dogmatists) will use their faith to impose on me, in issues such as blocking stem cell research, blocking sensible euthanasia laws, blocking gay marriage, and because they are so anti-science in general are by far the largest group likely to say doubt the facts on global warming. They also interfere with education policy and don’t contribute taxes.

      In countries where religion and government are the same thing they put women in bag stone adulterers and threaten anyone who dares to say draw a cartoon or write a book criticising their prophet. Last but not least I care about what happens to my fellow primates – all of them, I recognise I am part of a connected ecosystem and what we do impacts on the whole world so I seek to do my bit to stop the madness. So no I am not volunteering to fight for the non-existence of god but I might fight to protect others from the godly hordes who seek to impose their beliefs on me.

      If you are happy to pay your share of taxes, keep out of my face, keep out of my classroom, keep out of my hospitals and are willing to make yourself sufficiently scientifically literate to understand the need to vaccinate, the need to address global warming and other such issues I have no issue at all with you believing in fictitious beings.

        • harry Jul 23, 2014 at 6:29 am

          I stand corrected. I see now the great advantage that atheists have over theists is that atheists are far more certain of what they believe in.

          Not quite! Atheists are more confident in what they don’t believe in! – All the stuff with no supporting evidence or which has been scientifically debunked.

        • Hi Harry,

          I have claimed no advantage over theists. I have claimed the right to be left alone. I have plenty of theist friends who keep their nose out of my business, who when discussing these issues agree that churches should stay out of politics and medicine and stop trying to influence education. I have not one jot of difficulty maintaining a respectful relationship with such people. I think they are wrong, but provided they don’t try to force their views down societies throats then as far as I’m concerned it’s live and let live. But, many religious people do not feel that way they not only want religion to trump the rights of others they insist that it’s their religion. These are the people I have an argument with.

          Perhaps you should consider the advantages of secularism. That is freedom of and from religion. Separation of state and church. There is a very good reason why you should want this, your particular religion may not always be on top. In this case a secular state protects your right to practice your beliefs they way you see fit provided it doesn’t interfere with the rights of others.

          If you can give me a rational reason to question any stance I have given above please, I’m genuinely interested to hear it. In part I participate in these forums so that others will critic my ideas when they are wrong, its the only way I sharpen my thinking. So let’s have it. How are my views on stem cell research, gay marriage or euthanasia wrong?

          • So let’s have it. How are my views on stem cell research, gay marriage or euthanasia wrong?

            Well if you insist, Reckless, I’ll try to do my best. Why is your atheism necessarily contingent on support for stem cell research, gay marriage or euthanasia? Cannot one be an atheist and yet be vehemently opposed to these?

          • Harry

            Hi I’m back from work so I’ll go through a couple of points more carefully – not in as much of a rush.

            No, I’m not implying that marriage means nothing unless you breed any more than breeding means nothing unless you are married; but generally speaking, marriage is followed by children for most couples.

            This is good Harry. But let’s look at what you are doing. You accept that for those cases you mentioned above marriage is okay- infertile, post menopausal etc. That Harry, is logically, where you should stop. You should IMO be saying at this point if they are not hurting each other or anyone else there is no reason for me to withhold any rights that anyone else might hold. That you grant this for people who cannot for other reasons have children tells me there is something other than your argument that homosexuality is unnatural which is as true of say infertility as it is for homosexuality both are not the norm but both are part of things that can and we have shown do happen within nature.

            Homosexuals like straights may have sex for pleasure, but the primary purpose of sex is reproduction not pleasure, at least as far as Mother Nature is concerned. That has never changed. So from that perspective gay sex can only be viewed as a grotesque parody. Pleasure is just something to encourage reproduction but it’s not essential.

            ‘grotesque parody’ – This is you emotions talking Harry, your hate. Do try to look beyond it. David R Allen and I have both spent some considerable time explaining how homosexuality can occur in nature in-spite of the fact that it will not directly benefit the genes of direct offspring – although I have shown how homosexuals can aid in the survival of family members which aids the genes that they share with their family. In fact like social skills evolution does not have a definite outcome in mind it doesn’t say I’ll mutate this gene so this can happen. instead it might result in a general behaviour “be nice to the guy next to you”, this then can result in any number of benefits that might not fit into your oversimplified and incorrect model of how the world and evolution worked.

            You say pleasure in sex is not essential?! Really? This may be true in single celled organisms but in sexually reproducing organisms being highly motivated to waste enormous energy (often killing the participants) would not happen if they were not highly motivated to do so. Look at Red Backed spiders. Here the male during mating offers himself up as a meal while he locks his organ into the female, he then turns over and lets her eat the rest of him while he inserts his other organ into her. Exactly how would you convince him do this without sufficient motivation to do so. That fact that as children we have such limited interest in the other sex is also telling here. Before the hormones kick in most children rarely think about sex and are usually grossed out by it. On explaining this to my son he exclaimed “Gross, I’m never going to do that” I take him at his word, this is how he feels, wait till puberty though and its going to be a very different story.

            I already guessed that this pleasure seeking hedonistic philosophy was at the heart of your argument

            How very shallow of you. My philosophy has been clearly stated from the start. Homosexuals are my equal and deserve to be treated as such. Here are some homosexuals you may or may know know about who have transformed the world we live in for the better I’ll only mention a couple and one in particular. Leonardo Da Vinci (not certain here but most likely- we are not certain because to admit such would have led to a painful death in his era), Michael Angelo (definitely – and guilt ridden to boot). Oscar Wild and one I’ll go into a little more detail of.

            Alan Turing – You may not know how this homosexual was, let me fill you in. Alan was a mathematician before WW2 he has worked out the binary system of organising a universal calculating machine (that is how to make a computer work). The NAZI’s meanwhile had developed what they thought was a machine for creating uncrackable codes called enigma. One of these machines was captured and Alan and his team worked out how to figure out the codes, they built (thanks to Alan’s system) the first real computer to break these codes. As a result of his work the Germans and their Allies had their coded messages decoded informing the allies of all their major movements during the rest of the war. He more than most could claim to have saved millions of lives. And how was he treated after the war – a hero? No this stuff was top secret. Instead the homophobic powers that be not only trapped him but forced him to choose either to submit to taking female hormones, this led to him growing breasts and becoming depressed, he killed himself. Multiply this tragedy by many many times and you will if you have any empathy at all some understanding of where I am coming from.

            How curious that despite dedicating his life to the observation of the natural world, no reports of homosexual behaviour appear ever to have been made by Darwin. This is surprising given that all this academic research shows overwhelmingly that nearly all species of animals exhibit some degree of homosexual behaviour both in the wild and in captivity.

            You are aware that a Darwin spend no little time studying molluscs. He wrote many books on the mechanisms for evolution through natural selection and this was about 150 years ago? Since then there has been an awful lot added to his work and many, many lifetimes studying animals and genetics? That he didn’t directly address homosexuality does nothing to contract my arguments at all. He likewise knew nothing about genetics either although now we know it is essential to understand evolution through natural selection – he knew there was some hereditary mechanism somewhere he just didn’t know what it was.

            If it could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that having a gay free world would produce a happier and healthier world, would that justify the extermination of all gays?

            No, that would be genocide. Can you envisage a world in which Gays would be happy to be eliminated? Needless to say you are going to have a hard time presenting any evidence for this Let’s hear it if you have it.

            If not, why then can’t we ask the same question in reference to the destruction of human stem cells?

            You can ask any question at all.
            One no one is suggesting that all stem cells be eliminated.
            Two you are comparing homosexuals fully formed thinking beings with a single cell with no mind. To me there is no comparison especially considered how many lives and stem cells may be saved as a result of the work done in this field.

          • Alan Turing – You may not know how this homosexual was, let me fill you in.

            I endorse Reckless Monkey’s comments. Alan Turing deserves to be known as the man who saved possibly millions of people because of the application of his genius to a war issue. The man who invent computer theory. That the very society he saved, forced him to undergo “Treatment” for his homosexuality, and eventual suicide, is what can happen when people who hold the same views as Harry, have the upper hand. Irrational views. Views debunked by science. View that are based on religious, hatred and bigotry. This is one of the saddest stories in history. Turing should be up there with Mandela, Einstein and Ghandi et al. But no, he was a faggot by CHOICE….

            And if Harry is serious about his solution, genocide for all homosexuals, then he will need to plan for yearly genocides, because homosexuals are boy every second, and do not choose to be like they are.

        • Well if you insist, Reckless, I’ll try to do my best. Why is your atheism necessarily contingent on support for stem cell research, gay marriage or euthanasia? Cannot one be an atheist and yet be vehemently opposed to these?

          Thanks Harry,

          Why is your atheism necessarily contingent on support for stem cell
          research, gay marriage or euthanasia?

          It is not, but when you are an atheist you have no religious blocks stopping you thinking about these things without religion coloured glasses. I literally know no people who oppose these things who are not religious. So the the prospect of a painful death if I should fall terminally ill and not being able to peacefully exist the world at a time of my choosing in blocked by the religious. Same thing for Gay marriage, I am not gay myself but have several friends who are I owe it to them to stand up for their rights, again no secular reason to stop them marrying. And stem cell research is only opposed again by the religious. All of these things could be opposed by atheists in theory if they had good reason to, what I have asked you to do is to indicate two good reasons. If you like give two reasons an atheist might hold (I never heard one).

          What good reason do you have for opposing them.
          Granted that you have every right to hold these views even for very bad reasons, what gives the religious the right to oppose them on people who do not share their faith?

          Now if you could answer those two direct questions, I think we could begin to get somewhere. Happy to be proved wrong waiting patently.

          regards

          • harry Jul 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm

            So let’s have it. How are my views on
            stem cell research, gay marriage or
            euthanasia wrong?

            Well if you insist, Reckless, I’ll try to do my best. Why is your atheism necessarily contingent on support for stem cell research, gay marriage or euthanasia? Cannot one be an atheist and yet be vehemently opposed to these?

            You have not answered the question, but have simply reversed it and directed it back to the questioner.

            Reckless Monkey Jul 24, 2014 at 2:34 am – Now if you could answer those two direct questions, I think we could begin to get somewhere.

            So can you give reasons which are not religious dogma, why anyone should consider these harmful to people or oppose them.
            Atheists simply look at them on the evidence of their merits, without religious dogmatic preconceptions.

            On euthanasia, I can already recognise the need for regulations to prevent misuse, but would want the option available to me if I was terminally ill and in pain.
            Stem cell research can help fight cancer and facilitate compatible organ transplants! Why would any rational person oppose those medical benefits?

          • Darwin teaches, and Dawkins confirms, that the ability to reproduce is of critical importance. Flowers glow in hues and emit scents to attract insects that are vital in pollination. To perpetuate their species, birds trill melodious sounds. A gay bull (if such a thing was even remotely possible), with no interest in cows, will find its line dying out at once with such a characteristic. The bull’s primary purpose in life is to grow to sexual maturity and reproduce in order to propagate the species. It is a relay race and those who for one reason or another are unwilling or unable to pass on their genes are ruthlessly discarded, and in that way the race is continually refined. So from that perspective it is difficult to believe that any self-respecting rationalist could ever take same-sex marriage seriously. It is a bad joke – as is homosexual sex. It doesn’t matter how much sex homosexuals have with each other, they will never ever be able to reproduce themselves, never in a million years. Same sex marriage is an unnatural union and because of that I don’t think that Mother Nature would have any problem at all with the irradication of all homosexuals from the face of the Earth. Now I don’t for a moment believe that a good libertarian as yourself would sit idly by claiming your right to be left alone while the rest of us set about organising the extermination of every gay and lesbian on the planet – even if the overwhelming majority of the population endorsed such a policy. You would oppose such a policy in any way it was humanly possible to do so, regardless of how many were on your side. All of which therefore makes your question about what gives the religious the right to impose their views on people who do not share their faith quite redundant.

            Time to go

          • A gay bull (if such a thing was even remotely possible), with no interest in cows, will find its line dying out at once with such a characteristic.

            @ Harry

            You response on homosexuality is stock standard prejudice, wrong and there is plenty of science that you yourself, could read up on to inform yourself, that you are wrong, and that you are hurting your fellow human beings by holding such views. But you choose to be lazy and ill informed.

            This is the science in dot point as it is way too detailed for posting here.

            There are plenty of homosexual animals. Google it. So if homosexual animals are a norm in the animal world, why do they persist, when your analogy of the gay bull is so true. For homosexuality to be a constant in nature, it must be nothing to do with genetics, or it would have died out through evolution.

            Is your sexuality determined by what’s between your legs, or what’s in your brain? Is you sexual orientation and attraction determine by whether you have a one or other (or a combination ) of human sexual tackle?

            If it is determined by your dangly bits, there would be no homosexuality. Refer your “Bull” above. But it persists, not only in the animal world, but throughout recorded human history. So if you bull analogy is wrong, what causes it.

            Lets explore the brain sexual orientation hypothesis.

            Male and female brains are anatomically different. Very minor differences, but different. Dissection can show these differences. Homosexual men are found to have female brains during postmortems. So how would a male feel, if he grew up with a female brain. Would he look a girl an think wow, or would he look at a man an think WOW. And visa versa for female with a male brain. Think about this for a second Harry before you read on.

            In the first these months of gestation, all feotus’ have a female brain. At the 3 month point, a combination of hormones produced by the feotus force a male brain in a male child. If this fails, the female brain remains. If a female child gets this flood of hormones, the female child will get a male brain. This explains the constant supply of homosexuals over history in humans and animals. It passes Ockham’s Razor.

            Why are there so many more male homosexuals that female lesbians? The above explanation provides the answer. Why is human sexuality like a dumbbell graph, a spectrum spread over possible outcomes grouped at the ends. The above explanation provides the answer. From extremely masculine men through to extremely feminine women and all points in between. So no Intelligent Design here. Just a rickety evolutionary human with lots of potential for errors.

            SO HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT CHOICE. IF YOU HARRY, DISCRIMINATE AGAINST HOMOSEXUALS, THEN YOU DO HURT TO PEOPLE, WHO THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, ARE THE WAY THE ARE.

            That Sir, makes you a bad person. Change your ways and follow the evidence. Homosexuals are entitled to be full citizens of society and all of the associates rights.

          • Please, let’s not get started on internet rumours.

            Harry. The law has a term called “Willful Blindness”. A person can be convicted of a criminal offense, if they turn a blind eye to something that is readily available to them. Something, that a normal reasonable person would be expected to handle with their eyes shut. The fact that you choose not to inform yourself, is an act of willful blindness, and the weight that people might apply to you posts is measured accordingly.

            To glibly post “Please, let’s not get started on internet rumours. when there is an abundance of science available to you, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that homosexuality is common in the animal kingdom says something about your personality profile.

            If any responsible adult wishes to inform themselves on the science in support of my above post to Harry, this is a good starting point.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

            And this is a significant problem for Australian wool growers, that they CANNOT eliminate by breeding.

            In fact, studies have shown that up to 15 percent (average of 8 to 10 percent) of rams are homosexual and will not mate with ewes.

            Harry. I know you probably don’t care, but if you wish to earn even a modicum of respect in a forum devoted ‘Reason and Science”, you will need to expand on Please, let’s not get started on internet rumours.

            Now go back to your desk and do it again.

          • @Harry

            Hi Harry,

            Sorry been away a couple of days haven’t been able to reply earlier, hope this still catches you.

            Darwin teaches, and Dawkins confirms, that the ability to reproduce is
            of critical importance.

            For evolution of you direct progeny. Can I suggest you read Dawkins excellent book ‘The Selfish Gene’ in which he explains far better than I can that an organism may not pass on it’s own genes but has vested interest genetically in those of it relatives for example a Gay Bull (and yes they do exist as do Gay Dolphins, Gay penguins I’ll address this later) shares half its DNA with its siblings and so on so an organism may be of much use for it’s genes even if they aren’t passed on directly through its own dangly bits (as David R Allen put it). Likewise many other species have many individuals who do not breed at all for example Bee’s have one queen and most of the colony are female sister clones who happily give their lives for the genes they share with the queen. Of course this is not a calculation that the bees are making in their tiny brains evolution has provided instincts to behave in certain ways that ensure the survival of those genes.

            The bull’s primary purpose in life is to grow to sexual maturity and reproduce in order to propagate the species.

            No the bulls primary purpose in life is to follow its instincts (from its prospective). Its genes control many things and yes they can sometimes cause all manner of funny things to happen but having been born a gay animal the animal will follow whatever sexual proclivities its instincts happen to lead it towards. Bonobo chimps for example participate in every sexual position with every type of partner you can imagine, in their case it appears it creates social cohesion. I have had the unpleasant experience of having a dog try to procreate with my leg, so your unwillingness to consider a wide range of sexual instincts normal I find hard to fathom, perhaps its gods plan that small yappy dogs want to hump my leg – I hear he moves in mysterious ways.

            So from that perspective it is difficult to believe that any self-respecting rationalist could ever take same-sex marriage seriously. It is a bad joke – as is homosexual sex. It doesn’t matter how much sex homosexuals have with each other, they will never ever be able to reproduce themselves, never in a million years.

            Your revealing your pre-prejudices here. No-one is demanding you have homosexual sex with anyone. You seem to be implying that marriage means nothing unless you breed. Does this mean post-menopausal women or men with a vasectomy should be forced to divorce? What about infertile couples? I’ll think you will find that homosexuals are not having sex in an attempt to procreate, that you can’t see that evolution drives us through our hormones to have sex after all we are arguably the only species on the planet that actually knows that sex is what leads to pregnancy so something has to motivate us to to engage in what otherwise is a pretty bizarre act. Our species is not frankly not in danger of low numbers any-time soon, so I can enjoy sex guilt free knowing I can choose to allow my instincts to result in a child or more rationally have only the children I can support to adulthood in-spite of my instincts. I can have my cake and eat it too. As long as I harm no one I should be free to do so to my hearts content with other consenting adults.

            because of that I don’t think that Mother Nature would have any problem at all with the eradication of all homosexuals from the face of the Earth. Now I don’t for a moment believe that a good libertarian as yourself would sit idly by claiming your right to be left alone while the rest of us set about organising the extermination of every gay and lesbian on the planet – even if the overwhelming majority of the population endorsed such a policy. You would oppose such a policy in any way it was humanly possible to do so, regardless of how many were on your side. All of which therefore makes your question about what gives the religious the right to impose their views on people who do not share their faith quite redundant.

            Okay, I hope you know this comes across as though you wish to commit genocide. But perhaps you think I should not support gays because you think nature would wipe them off the Earth and I should as a believer in evolution be for whatever evolution might do.

            If so this point of view is flawed in a few ways.

            as David R Allen so capably showed, nature has not eliminated gay organisms or people and its had in the case of organisms in general hundreds of millions of years to do so, this means that homosexuality either is being genetically selected for (that is genes that may result in homosexuality are useful enough to survive even if they occasionally throw up a non-breeding organism), or it is not sufficiently harmful to a species to be actively selected against. In short it is not unnatural.
            evolution may do any number of things that as a human with an evolved big brain can choose to avoid. I’ll give a pedestrian example. Most indigenous groups who hunt for a living have extremely good eyesight compared to most Europeans. This is likely because without good eyesight they would starve to death. Chuck Yeager is a case in point WW2 Ace pilot to a large extent because his extremely good eyesight meant he could see the Germans before they could see him which meant he could get into the Sun and they had no hope. Now you could beat him wearing bi-focal lenses and launching a missile. By your reasoning anyone in need of glasses is unnatural and should be eliminated. Evolution is hideously cruel in nature we are able to defy it due to science and rationality. In addition to this my big brain is here because I evolved, I therefore can use my big brain to work out what would be best without having to blindly follow my instincts.
            What makes you think I am a libertarian?
            I must confess I found it very difficult to understand the last part of your statement. I think you are basically saying that as someone of a minority point of view should not be telling you a majority point of view (anti-gay) that they cannot refuse to let gays marry. If this is what you are saying then I’d like you to think about the following.

            You are a minority, what-ever religion you belong to is not believed by the majority of religions. Your practices and beliefs are a minority view. I believe this should not give the majority the right to stop you believing as you do or practising your religion as you see fit. So for example I would argue against anyone trying to say force the Catholic Church to refuse to marry Homosexuals. I believe the government should let consenting adults marry whom they like. I think the Catholic position it is a regressive hateful moronic point of view, but I think Catholics should be able to hold it and express disgust about it (however that might make me feel). The reason I believe this is that I believe it is dangerous to have one group dominate all others, minorities should be protected up until the point that they impinge on the rights of others. Likewise I demand the same right for myself. Societies are generally much healthier when people are free to express themselves freely and all citizens are considered equal in the law and religion knows its place – which is out of my face, out of my schools and out of my hospitals and paying its fair share of taxes. If you see anything wrong with that I don’t understand where you are coming from.

          • Sorry been away a couple of days haven’t been able to reply earlier, hope this still catches you

            You are forgiven. Although I cannot guarantee that in a fit of pique the mod will not delete the response.

            For evolution of you direct progeny. Can I suggest you read Dawkins excellent book ‘The Selfish Gene’ in which he explains far better than I can that an organism may not pass on it’s own genes but has vested interest genetically in those of it relatives for example a Gay Bull (and yes they do exist as do Gay Dolphins, Gay penguins I’ll address this later) shares half its DNA with its siblings and so on so an organism may be of much use for it’s genes even if they aren’t passed on directly through its own dangly bits (as David R Allen put it). Likewise many other species have many individuals who do not breed at all for example Bee’s have one queen and most of the colony are female sister clones who happily give their lives for the genes they share with the queen. Of course this is not a calculation that the bees are making in their tiny brains evolution has provided instincts to behave in certain ways that ensure the survival of those genes.

            Nice shot but this is irrelevant. This does nothing to refute the Darwinian principle that the meaning of life lies in the ability to sexually reproduce – that is the point. How this is done is another story. But we know for a fact it cannot be done through gay sex. I don’t read Dawkins’ dominant replicators idea as suggesting that straight bulls have no greater advantage over gay bulls, that they are both equivalent, because somehow the selfish gene will always get through…. but hey, I could be wrong….. maybe Dawkins does….all I can say is that I hope the gay bull has a brother or sister.

            No the bulls primary purpose in life is to follow its instincts (from its prospective). Its genes control many things and yes they can sometimes cause all manner of funny things to happen but having been born a gay animal the animal will follow whatever sexual proclivities its instincts happen to lead it towards.

            Being born a gay animal is an assumption not a fact. Assumptions are not conclusions

            Your revealing your pre-prejudices here. No-one is demanding you have homosexual sex with anyone. You seem to be implying that marriage means nothing unless you breed. Does this mean post-menopausal women or men with a vasectomy should be forced to divorce? What about infertile couples?

            No, I’m not implying that marriage means nothing unless you breed any more than breeding means nothing unless you are married; but generally speaking, marriage is followed by children for most couples.

            I’ll think you will find that homosexuals are not having sex in an attempt to procreate, that you can’t see that evolution drives us through our hormones to have sex after all we are arguably the only species on the planet that actually knows that sex is what leads to pregnancy so something has to motivate us to to engage in what otherwise is a pretty bizarre act.

            Homosexuals like straights may have sex for pleasure, but the primary purpose of sex is reproduction not pleasure, at least as far as Mother Nature is concerned. That has never changed. So from that perspective gay sex can only be viewed as a grotesque parody. Pleasure is just something to encourage reproduction but it’s not essential. I guess that’s why rape victims can find themselves pregnant. Try having sex without contraception and see what happens.

            I can have my cake and eat it too. As long as I harm no one I should be free to do so to my hearts content with other consenting adults.

            I already guessed that this pleasure seeking hedonistic philosophy was at the heart of your argument

            as David R Allen so capably showed, nature has not eliminated gay organisms or people and its had in the case of organisms in general hundreds of millions of years to do so, this means that homosexuality either is being genetically selected for (that is genes that may result in homosexuality are useful enough to survive even if they occasionally throw up a non-breeding organism), or it is not sufficiently harmful to a species to be actively selected against. In short it is not unnatural.

            The only thing being capably showed is that at Dawkins World nature makes homosexuals (though we’re not quite sure how, yet), so denying homosexuals rights is wrong.

            How curious that despite dedicating his life to the observation of the natural world, no reports of homosexual behaviour appear ever to have been made by Darwin. This is surprising given that all this academic research shows overwhelmingly that nearly all species of animals exhibit some degree of homosexual behaviour both in the wild and in captivity.

            I must confess I found it very difficult to understand the last part of your statement. I think you are basically saying that as someone of a minority point of view should not be telling you a majority point of view (anti-gay) that they cannot refuse to let gays marry.

            If it could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that having a gay free world would produce a happier and healthier world, would that justify the extermination of all gays? If not, why then can’t we ask the same question in reference to the destruction of human stem cells?

          • Hi Harry

            I don’t have time for a full reply as I’m about to go to work but I’ll answer a few of your points and hopefully have some time to address the others latter.

            Nice shot but this is irrelevant.

            I think you need to look up what this word means.

            This does nothing to refute the Darwinian principle that the meaning of life lies in the ability to sexually reproduce – that is the point.

            Then you need to address Worker bees in which the vast majority do not breed but simply act on behalf of their shared genes with their sister (Queen). You also haven’t addressed what purpose nature has by your narrow definition in having a dog spill semen all over my leg if I let it. Evolution simply provides an instinct which will usually result in situations which will usually result in more offspring being produced. Likewise you have failed to address my point about Bonobo chimps doing every sexual act imaginable. Perhaps you could go to the jungles with your bible and tell them their all hedonistic wicked beasts and they are all going to go straight to hell.

            You seem also in your attitude (insisting that nature can’t possibly produce homosexuals as part of nature) that it is some sort of choice. This is if you take the smallest moment to empathise ridiculous “Now what haven’t I done yet on my bucket list 1. Skydiving 2. Travel to Europe 3. Homosexuality…Okay Homosexuality it is a life in conflict with my religion, many of my peers some of whom may want to beat me to death if they get a chance and to have my sexual identity used as a general adjective for everything negative ‘that’s gay’ of course its obvious I should be gay! Now where can I buy some leather chaps?”

            What you wish to do is restrict others being allowed to marry as though there was some natural law governing marriage. Have you ever been to an animal wedding? Likewise I am willing to give my life for my son. Evolution has handed me a situation and I do what I can with what nature has given me.

            So in simplest terms that homosexual animals exist makes it part of nature. Unless of course you think God made them gay. Given that, why should we make them suffer?

            Being born a gay animal is an assumption not a fact. Assumptions are not conclusions

            The fact that gay animals exist in nature tells us they got that way somehow, David R Allen already gave an explanation of this. His views are supported up by experiments with rats which show you can manipulate the male female brain behaviours with injections of hormones after birth, there is still much to discover on this but it is clear that there are gay animals they are not convinced to be gay so it is either environmental or genetic or a combination of both take your pick.

            I have to go I’ll get back to you when I can.

            Cheers

          • Being born a gay animal is an assumption not a fact. Assumptions are not conclusions

            Harry. Harry. Harry. You obviously haven’t read my post above where not only do I provide you with proof that your statement is wrong, I also point out that “Willful Blindness” is not a defense.

            I also go on to provide you with scientific mechanisms that explains your misunderstanding of homosexuality in nature. Why homosexual humans persist and continue in the population over time, which proves that your statement, that homosexuality would be bred out of a species is patently wrong in FACT. Homosexuality is result of misaligned brain function in the wrong gender body. It’s that simple. It’s not choice. Again. Willful Blindness in your failure to address the science.

            Would you ban people with Cerebral Palsy from getting married. Would you “holocaust” these people. Because if you argue that you would do this to homosexuals, then you MUST also do it to people with Cerebral Palsy, because both are issues of function in the brain. They have identical root cause.

            You may be revolted by homosexual sex, which is the main psychological motivation for bigoted views among opponents, but your personal revulsion, is not an argument for persecution, especially if it is no fault of the individual.

            If you want to argue a case in here, and you are presented with evidence that refutes your case, first you must read and understand the evidence, then you must adduce evidence to displace this hypothesis. You clearly haven’t done that, or you wouldn’t have posted the quote above. If you fail to do that, then anything you say just becomes opinion, and could, given your desire to holocaust homosexual people, be consider politely bigoted.

          • Next Reckless you’ll be telling me that single swallow is proof of summer. Look Reckless, rather than looking for exceptions to the rule, let’s just stick with what we know to be scientifically factual. The Darwinian theory of natural selection argues that the test of the success of a species is to spread the species. As Wikipedia is being used as an authoritative reference round these parts I shall quote the Wikipedia entry for natural selection that states: “Modern evolutionary theory defines “fitness” not by how long an organism lives, but by how successful it is at reproducing.” Homosexuality, from a Darwinian standpoint, is a disorder. There’s no other way to put it. Homosexual acts cannot produce offspring – therefore gays and lesbians are effectively removing themselves from the gene pool. This is undeniable. Homosexuality negatively affects the survival and reproductive capacity of its practitioners.

            I understand where you’re coming from. What business is it of mine to tell others what they can or cannot do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Who am I to tell them what is good and what is bad. If two consenting adults want to do gay sex, or are into B&D or S&M, or enjoy any other non-straight sex or sex play what right have I got to tell them what is natural or unnatural. They’re not hurting anyone so mind your own business and leave them alone.

            That is a fair point but that is a moral argument. By invoking the “sin against nature” argument I am attempting to keep this issue within the confines of science. The morality of sex or sexual behavior is a story that can be kept separate from the science of sex.I don’t wish to mix the two together.

            Curiously enough you may be interested to know that Catholics (those who find homosexuality immoral and oppose gay marriage) do not argue that homosexuality cannot be innate. The Catholic Persona Humana acknowledges that homosexuals can possess “some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution” (VIII).

          • That is a fair point but that is a moral argument. By invoking the “sin against nature” argument I am attempting to keep this issue within the confines of science. The morality of sex or sexual behavior is a story that can be kept separate from the science of sex.I don’t wish to mix the two together.

            No Harry. Your just trying to justify your personal revulsion of homosexual acts. And if it is science you want to use in your arguments, then you need to show that homosexuality is CHOICE, and not a by product of brain sex misalignment. Even if it is choice, it is none of your business. But as the evidence suggests, it is a by product of brain sex misalignment, then any position you take, that includes any discrimination or prejudice, is unjustified.

            To vote against gay marriage, is the same as saying that anyone who has a personal defect, cannot get married. That is a prejudiced, not evidence based position, and I would encourage you to mend your ways, no matter how powerful your personal revulsion.

            Part of qualifying for the term “Civilized” in 2014, is to sometimes take some personal pain, even when you don’t like the outcome, because it is the right thing to do.

          • Okay Harry, I appreciate you making it clear that you at least understand what I am saying in terms of why you should not interfere with others business at least I know I don’t have to work along those lines, this is helpful.

            Next Reckless you’ll be telling me that single swallow is proof of summer. Look Reckless, rather than looking for exceptions to the rule, let’s just stick with what we know to be scientifically factual.

            “Modern evolutionary theory defines “fitness” not by how long an organism lives, but by how successful it is at reproducing.”

            Okay Harry, this is you oversimplifying a theory that has been worked out in great detail of which I have some understanding and you seem to have done little to avail yourself of the information. I’ll suggest again read Dawkins “the Selfish Gene” I know as a crusader against religion you may hate the guy but if it help this was written over 30 years ago and was long before he ever said a public word against religion. He explains in this book in intimate mathematically precise detail – backed up by observation exactly how organisms such as non-breeding bees can given that evolution is driven at heart by the genes survival – not the individuals as you are asserting and this scientifically is your mistake here. If you really want to understand this and my position you are going to have to do some reading.

            Let’s see if I can help you understand a little better. Successful replication of genes is what drives evolution. In single celled organisms these genes are not copied and pasted then shuffled through sex, instead the organism copies its own genes then divides in two and now there are two identical copies, they divide and the genes again are duplicated. After about 20 divisions there are now over a million copies so if one of these single celled organisms goes wrong – makes an incorrect copy it will usually result in that copy not being able to divide successfully now there are still 999 999 999 copies of those genes in the gene pool without the defect and evolution is getting along perfectly fine, it does not matter that one goes wrong, gets eaten whatever. In fact the occasional mutation is the only way that the genes become adaptable, having genes make incorrect copies is the way that the single celled organism can guarantee the survival of 99.9999% of their genes when the environment changes. That most times these changes will be detrimental to the transference of the genes for that one individual is irrelevant to the survival of the genes as a whole. Therefore if the genes in sexually reproducing animals occasional accidentally results in about 5% of the population being same sex attracted – so hardly a single swallow, then it matters not one jot in terms of the genes that homosexual carries because he or she shares 99.99999999999999999999999999% or something with every other human on the planet! If they by being productive members of our society help anyone else survive then they help the genes they share in common with the rest of us. How many lives and therefore genes did Alan Turing save? How useful was Issac Newton (not gay as far as I know but didn’t breed)? Failure to breed does not make you less useful at all, it often makes you very useful indeed to those that do. Now please try to make a reasoned response to the maths I am showing you here basics for you again.

            Genes are the basic unit of evolution – organisms are just the method of delivering those genes

            Genes mutate occasionally – this explains why you get genetic mutations that can cause disease or other things to go wrong, homosexuality is an example of this so is to be expected. However this does not mean they have no use in fact if they were completely detrimental those genes would have been eliminated from the gene pool, that they haven’t in hundreds of millions of years tells us that they are either advantageous to other carriers of the same or similar genes, or they cause so little harm to the successful copying of genes that they have survived – again hardly a single swallow. Additionally genetic mutation drives evolution itself. This means things will go wrong again genetic mutations are common you and I both will have at many in our genomes which will cause from no harm to potentially leading to early death.

            Given therefore that things like homosexuality is expected appear in nature and our species is not threatened by it only your yuck factor and your religious dogma, then we should live and let live.

            As for sin against nature, it is not nature does not care a jot. I think you are going to need to admit it is just a sin against your religious dogma and as that is indefensible – unprovable you are trying to make it appear a sin against nature itself.

            As for the Catholics, I’m not really interested in what an organisation that continually protects its own child rapists when they are found out by moving from parish to parish then moving them to Rome if the heat is getting too much has to say about morality.

    • ” All of which validates the certainty of their faith. No one will kill or die for an opinion. ”

      Really?!?

      Pagans killed christians, Jews killed devotes of Baal, and muslims killed all of the aforementioned.

      This is validation of faith? Or were you being facetious?

        • harry Jul 23, 2014 at 6:31 am

          Of course it is validation of faith! What else does it validate?

          It confirms the tendency of religions to motivate people to engage in wars and killings, over differences of strongly, but irrationally held, conflicting, fantasy, faith beliefs, about gods, from which they are mentally disabled from recognising as purely opinions by their indoctrination.

          • Well, the irrationality of religion is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it. So your point is what exactly?

          • harry Jul 23, 2014 at 9:32 pm

            Well, the irrationality of religion is no argument against its existence, rather a condition of it. So your point is what exactly?

            Nobody here disputes that religions exist or that they are based on the irrational thinking processes of faith.

            It is the damage to people and societies that this thinking causes which many atheists oppose. The god-delusions cause their followers to do great damage.

            Hence the efforts to educate people in scientific methods and logical reasoning.

  8. There is a form of religious civil war going on in Iraq, insomuch as Islamists on both sides have decided that theirs is the one true version of Islam and the others cannot be allowed to live and these simpletons then tell us non believers that we have their crappy religion wrong.

  9. I see a bunch of fanatics have been caught trying to pervert English state education to inculcate and impose Islamic ideology!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-28419901

    There is “disturbing” evidence that people with a “shared ideology” were trying to gain control of governing bodies in Birmingham, says Education Secretary Nicky Morgan.

    She was responding to the Trojan horse report from former counter-terror chief Peter Clarke into allegations of a hardline Muslim take-over of schools.

    Mr Clarke found evidence of an “aggressive Islamist agenda”.

    Ms Morgan highlighted “intolerant” messages between school staff.

    Teachers could face misconduct inquiries, she told the House of Commons, after Mr Clarke’s report found a social media group called the “Park View Brotherhood” used by male senior staff at Park View School.
    ‘Anti-western’

    Mr Clarke’s report said this included “grossly intolerant” messages.

    He said the social media messages included “explicit homophobia; highly offensive comments about British service personnel; a stated ambition to increase segregation in the school; disparagement of strands of Islam; scepticism about the truth of reports of the murder of Lee Rigby and the Boston bombings; and a constant undercurrent of anti-western, anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment”.

  10. ‘” anti-western, anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment”.

    That could be more than justified in many instances. It sounds horribly intolerant and lacking in respect for free speech to present that as prima facie evidence of wrongdoing.

    • It’s one thing, in an educational establishment, to counter pro-western, pro-American, and pro-Israeli sentiment with a call for impartiality and a publicly acknowledged willingness to criticize any of those three. That would be countering patriotic and nationalistic propaganda, and I for one would willingly back any measure to encourage such critical thinking in children – give or take how realistic and helpful it is for children to be discussing politics at all, that is.

      It’s quite another thing, though, to let the opposite kind of propaganda go ahead in its place. I imagine you’d appreciate the questionable ethics behind doing that.

  11. ” I imagine you’d appreciate the questionable ethics behind doing that.”

    There are no ‘questionable ethics’ per se about expressing political opinions on social media. You do it yourself, surely? Have you read any of these messages?

  12. @harry

    Homosexuality as a natural strategy to improve survival rates in cygnets. Wiki

    An estimated one-quarter of all black swans pairings are of homosexual males. They steal nests, or form temporary threesomes with females to obtain eggs, driving away the female after she lays the eggs.[41][42] More of their cygnets survive to adulthood than those of different-sex pairs, possibly due to their superior ability to defend large portions of land. The same reasoning has been applied to male flamingo pairs raising chicks.[43][44]

    Evolution ekes out reproductive advantage in many inventive ways. It certainly lacks the spurious disinclinations of the culturally constrained.

  13. I see that our ‘secular star’ Sam Harris has been blogging and podcasting to enlighten us about events in Gaza. On his view of things Israel has the moral high ground. This is because many Israelis are atheists whereas Hamas is composed of religious fanatics, he asserts. One of the least convincing defences of atheism, I’ve heard. ‘We are all Israelis now’? Really?

    The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/why-dont-i-criticize-israel

    • On his view of things Israel has the moral high ground. This is because many Israelis are atheists whereas Hamas is composed of religious fanatics,

      Appalling. As an atheist, I condemn both sides for what is happening in Gaza. The whole point about not believing in god is that it doesn’t motivate or force you to act irrationally. It would concern me if atheists were tarred with an ideological brush in supporting any irrational or brutal war, as there in no justification for either or both.

      Leave us out of petty human squabbles.

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