Thursday, 30 July 2009
Friday, 24 July 2009
The NSS are atheist bigots!
Oh no they're not! Quedula has left a short comment.
It is good to see that feathers are being ruffled.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
The End of Faith
"Man is manifestly not the measure of all things. This universe is shot through with mystery. The very fact of its being, and of our own, is a mystery absolute, and the only miracle worthy of the name. The consciousness that animates us is central to this mystery and the ground for any experience we might wish to call "spiritual". No myths need be embraced for us to commune with the profundity of our circumstance. No personal God need be worshipped for us to live in awe at the beauty and immensity of creation. No tribal fictions need to be rehearsed for us to realize, one fine day, that we do, in fact, love our neighbours, that our happiness is inextricable from their own, and that our interdependence demands that people everywhere be given the opportunity to flourish. The days of our religious identities are clearly numbered. Whether the days of civilization itself are numbered would seem to depend, rather too much, on how soon we realize this."
The Alpha Course
I am very tempted to enroll.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Woman 'detained' for filming police search launches high court challenge
Gemma Atkinson claims she was handcuffed after recording search of boyfriend on her mobile phone
In what seems to be another sign of the creeping police state the Met appears to be making up its own rules.
The force instructs officers that when searching people under the Terrorism Act, they "have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones". It adds that the new offence relating to photographing officers does not apply in normal policing activities.
However, the Met's guidance, which has been criticised by human rights lawyers and the National Union of Journalists, has not been endorsed by the Home Office, which is drafting its own legal advice for police.
The Met's guidance is different to that issued by the National Policing Improvement Agency, which specifically advises that "officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film", and suggests that, while digital images might be viewed during a search, officers "should not normally attempt to examine them".
A Met spokesman confirmed they had received Atkinson's complaint.
Atheists Choose 'De-Baptism' to Renounce Childhood Faith
Then the 32-year-old medical transcriptionist took a decisive step, one that previously hadn't been available. She got "de-baptized."
In a type of mock ceremony that's now been performed in at least four states, a robed "priest" used a hairdryer marked "reason" in an apparent bid to blow away the waters of baptism once and for all.
Several dozen participants then fed on a "de-sacrament" (crackers with peanut butter) and received certificates assuring they had "freely renounced a previous mistake, and accepted Reason over Superstition."
For Gray, the lighthearted spirit of last summer's Atheist Coming Out Party and De-Baptism Bash in suburban Westerville, Ohio, served a higher purpose than merely spoofing a Christian rite.
"It was very therapeutic," Gray said in an interview. "It was a chance to laugh at the silly things I used to believe as a child. It helped me admit that it was OK to think the way I think and to not have any religious beliefs."
quedula says: I vacillated between a kind of weak christianity and outright atheism from about the age 7. My moment of catharsis came with "Life of Brian". I left the cinema full of joy, elation and atheistic conviction . . .
Saturday, 18 July 2009
A Matter of facts, not faith
Friday, 17 July 2009
quedula gets a warning . . .
For the full background see the comments to "Michael Jackson is dead, but Jesus is alive" a blog by born-again christian Andrew Kelsall.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
"Tony Blair seems to have fallen for some Lewis Carroll-type logical fallacy that runs something like this: I believe in God; people who believe in God are good; people who are good do not do wrong; therefore, what I do is good."
Alexander Chancellor (Thanks to the anti-theist)
Monday, 13 July 2009
From AA to Alpha
Sunday, 12 July 2009
God isn't Real
The "News of the World" didn't go far enough
This week the British paper, The News of the World, was condemned by The Guardian for hiring private investigators. The investigators were alleged to have accessed messages left on the answering machines of thousands of the UK's social and political elite. The information was used (possibly unknowingly) by the paper to develop its stories.
The News of the World didn't go far enough.
Earlier this year, WikiLeaks released 86 telephone recordings of corrupt Peruvian politicians and businessmen. The revelations became the front page of every major paper in Peru and the journalists involved, such as Pablo O'Brian, became national heroes.
Europe has had its fair share of similar exposes. Italy's Prodi government was toppled by such revelations and in December 2007, Silvio Berlusconi, who was then opposition leader, was himself exposed on a phone call leake from an anti-corruption investigation. Further revelations from Berlusconi's circle were expected later this year, but by May the Italian Prime Minister had introduced "British style" legislation to prevent the Italian press from publishing them. Berlusconi justified the new law by
saying that the privacy of Italian citizens was threatened by the press.
Now in Britain, we see similar sanctimonious hand-wringing over the "privacy rights" of the British elite. These individuals, through active scheming and quiet acceptance, have turned the UK into what Privacy International now bills as an "Endemic Surveillance Society". Barely a month goes by without the government attempting to introduce another Orwellian state surveillance scheme. But now, like Berlusconi, these elites purport a sudden interest in protecting the privacy rights of the
people, not by rolling back such schemes, but by gagging the press.
Despite this, the Guardian, in seeing an opportunity to attack a journalistic and class rival, has been doing its level best to castrate British Journalism by tut-tuting in article after article about the News' alleged sourcing improprieties; A tabloid newspaper doing investigative journalism! Journalists skirting the law to expose the truth! The long suffering of British billionaires-and Royalty! And did we mention that the News' is owned by Rupert Murdoch?-so, um.. you know, the enemy of my enemy and all that! The Guardian's coverage is disproportionate. It is moralopportunism. It is an excuse to mention tabloid stories in a broadsheet. And it is dangerous. The result be will a publishing climate and probably legislation aimed at keeping the British public in the dark.
The right to freedom of speech is not short hand for the right to pontificate. We defend speech freedoms for their connection to a deeper underlying concept-the right to know. Without understanding the world around us we can not function. Without an informed public, democracy has no meaning and civilization is adrift. Through understanding the truth about ourselves and the world around us, we are able to advance and survive.
The News of the World should have released the tapes made by its private investigators. The elite exposed are the usual paymasters of such private intelligence firms. The democratic process should not be denied the same high quality information that businessmen, celebrities and oligarchs acquire on a daily basis.
The real scandal is not that some British papers used private investigators to find out what the public wants to know. It is that more did not. It is that the News' was extorted out of a million pounds because the relevant British legislation does not have an accessible public interest defense for the disclosure of telephone recordings. Until it does, despite the risks, journalists who take their forth estate role seriously are obligated not to take the legislation seriously.
The actions of major newspapers are "voted on" every day by their readers. Whatever their faults, popular newspapers remain the most visible and the most democratically accountable institutions in the country. Their mandate to inform the public vastly exceeds that granted to the unelected and the rarely elected at Westminister, who are nonetheless quick to grant themselves a blanket exemption from all censorship.
Thomas Jefferson had it right when he stated, "If forced to choose between government without the press and the press without government, I would surely choose the latter."