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A happy wish of green goatishness to you.


Watch the intensely stupid anti-vax loonery in full bloom as they make the case for exposing your newborns to disease, because if their bodies “don’t want it” they simply won’t get sick.

Their next show is on how Big Science has fooled us into believing that the earth is round…

   It is comforting to see that our financial myopia extends to the production and export of asbestos.  If the tarsands and the associated environmental degradation is a slam dunk for Canada, for then exporting asbestos should hardly be on the radar.

“Canada won the fight, for at least another two years, to keep asbestos off an international list of hazardous chemicals as discussions wrapped up in Geneva on Friday.

The conference of participants to the Rotterdam Convention ended without agreement on whether to add chrysotile asbestos to the Annex 3 list.

The country was one of only a handful — and the only western country — to maintain its objection until the end of the week, denying the conference the consensus it needed to make the change.”

Conservative cabinet ministers in Ottawa insisted the lung-cancer-causing substance can be used safely.

Right on!  The Conservative government making a principled stand for industry and profit, frack the science and those damn weenie Europeans.  What does fact have to do with this issue?

Apparently the NDP gets it.

“Asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known. More people die from asbestos than all industrial causes combined, yet Canada continues to be one of the largest producers and exporters in the world. We are exporting human misery on a monumental scale,” said NDP MP Pat Martin. “Our position is morally and ethically reprehensible.”

Full marks for rhetoric, but the message is pretty clear.  Unlike the Liberal party who seem to think it is a great idea with a few ‘realistic’ qualifications.

Liberal MP Marc Garneau said despite Paradis’ insistence that asbestos can be used safely, he should know that’s not the case in developing countries.

“This minister knows full well that it’s very difficult to use chrysotile in the proper working conditions. The procedures, the training, the complex equipment to use it in a safe way so that fibres aren’t accidentally breathed in,” Garneau said. “He cannot assure us that this is not being used improperly in countries that import it, Third World countries … This is willful blindness.”

Err…yah, so let’s take India where the majority of the people don’t really do the shoe thing.  I’m sure they are ready for industrial grade lung death prevention procedures.

“But Paradis returned to the response he and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver have been offering since the Rotterdam Convention meetings started in Geneva earlier this week.

“We know that recent studies show that chrysotile can be used in a safe and controlled manner,” Paradis said. “This is risk management, so we know that chrysotile can be used safely in a controlled environment.”

Misery and drowning in your own fluids for the poor, but for the asbestos industry it is all smiles and chuckles.  I become more proud to be Canadian every day under this conservative government.

    Responding to criticism and arguing coherently are the hallmarks of reasonable, mature debate.  Browsing the articles on Alternet my attention was drawn to the article that shares the same moniker as this post, minus the question mark.  I was hoping for some meaty, thought-provoking arguments by Scofield.  I was disappointed.   The 5 points seem to be weak caricatures of common atheist arguments, and if they can rebutted by the relative small fry of the atheist community like me, they most certainly do not hold much weight.

5. Liberal and Moderate Religion Justifies Religious Extremism

“Sam Harris states that moderates are “in large part responsible for the religious conflict in our world” and “religious tolerance–born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God–is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss.” And Richard Dawkins states, “The teachings of ‘moderate’ religion, though not extremist in themselves, are an open invitation to extremism.” Christopher Hitchens has called liberation theology “sinister nonsense” and compared the liberal Unitarian tradition to rats and vermin.

The problem with this line of thinking is that it leads to some unwanted logical conclusions when applied equally to other ideas. It is hypocritical to selectively apply the principle where it suits one’s needs but not elsewhere.”

“We can ask whether or not all liberal and moderate expressions of something are responsible for their most extreme forms. Are the people who casually smoke marijuana in any way responsible for the death of someone involved in a violent heroin drug trade? Is a social drinker of alcohol creating the environment that leads to alcoholism?” Is a pediatrician responsible for Nazi medical experiments simply because he or she participates in the field of medicine? How about politics? Is a liberal democracy responsible for forms of government such as totalitarianism or fascism? […]

“[…] the more rational and tolerant uses of science, religion, medicine or government cannot be blamed for the destructive and harmful uses of them.”

Sam Harris speaks about this idea of the moderately religious supporting the radical religious in a very case.  It is not a generalization that makes sense to apply to other situations.  The idea that religious moderates facilitate the radical wings of their religion is different than the examples Scofield uses.  The difference begins with the idea that there is an equivalency based in religion that does not exist in the other examples listed.  The equivalency is this: Religious moderates and radicals use the same play-book to express their beliefs.

This leads to Islam claiming to be the religion of “peace” while claiming to do God’s work in suicide bombings, or the christian faith in both justifying and arguing against slavery using passages from the bible.  It is this salient point that makes Harris’s argument work while exposing the false equivalence of what Scofield is attempting to do.

Does social drinking set the environment for the abuse of alcohol, it certainly can, but it does not claim to justify destructive actions caused by people who take drinking to the extreme.  Social drinkers do not tacitly condone the irresponsible actions of others; it is rather the opposite, if responsible people are around, overindulgence is generally frowned upon.   I have never once seen a “please consume responsibly” warning on a religious text or commercial.

I’d go further with examples, but there really is no point because the analogies Scofield draws are incongruous with reality.  Science, when still performed as science adheres closely with rationality whether you are a moderate believer in science or a radical one, that aim remains the same, the search for testable, falsifiable, truths about the physical universe we inhabit.

4. Religion Requires a Belief in a Supernatural God

“I understand why anti-religious atheists are so reluctant to accept the fact that being religious doesn’t mean belief in the supernatural. The simplistic and convenient myth they’ve constructed would be shattered.”

Well, there are exceptions to the rule.  That is unsurprising.   The problem is that the religious that are currently infecting North American currently *do* require a belief in the supernatural, or at the very least magic.  Scofield’s fourth point is a a red herring of sorts.

3. Religion Causes Bad Behavior

Read the rest of this entry »

We can be good without consulting the godhead of your choice.  Qualia Soup makes an engaging look at morality and religion.

Within structural systems there is great pressure to conform, in Capitalism is not an exception.

Recent cutbacks have curbed my employment at the school that I teach in.  So today was my last day.  Some days you feel like a song.  Today I feel like this…



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