Red pill or blue pill.

Here’s another dichotomy that I’m waiting for someone to dispute.

One is either:

a) An atheist


b) Does not fully understand evolution or the scientific method (or selectively chooses not to apply their understanding of these things).

I really don’t see an option c) here. Yes, I do realise that that comes across as smug, but I’m being genuine. If one understands how life can arise through natural means, and that the world looks exactly as we would expect it to look if its existence was purely natural, then one would apply Occam’s Razor and poof, the need for any kind of supernatural deity disappears. The only reason I can see for holding a religious belief is that one has not had an adequate scientific education. (Note: I’m not trying to sound all blame-y, here. I think science education desperately needs a re-vamp, even in countries where evolution is taught as part of the curriculum).

I’m sure most intelligent religious people are those who do understand how evolution works and have (consciously or unconsciously) made the decision not to follow that understanding to its logical conclusion. I have no idea why they would make that decision, though. Hmm.


These thoughts brought to you by a commenter on another blog who wrote:

“If your reasoning faculties are the result of mere chance + time, and not order, how can they be relied on?”

1) Evolution through natural selection is not the same thing as “mere chance”. I mean, seriously? Try reading a book at some point. An introductory high school biology text book would do. Yeesh.

2) Reasoning faculties can be relied upon precisely because they are the result of evolution. If they were not reliable and not useful, then humans would not have evolved to have them. How does this basic logic just… sail over peoples’ heads?


Alright. Next post will be about something less frustrating, I promise.


‘Doctors’ for the ‘Family’

Would you trust your doctor to administer healthcare to you if they were incapable of acknowledging or understanding a peer-reviewed, scientific consensus?

If the answer is any variation of “Um, hell no”, as I rather suspect it would be, you should probably check that your family doctor doesn’t belong to the Australian group called ‘Doctors for the Family’. (Everyone knows that the word ‘Family’ in any group name should immediately set off loud warning sirens and red flashing lights.)

Doctors for the Family have recently presented a submission to the Senate Committee against any changes to the existing Marriage Act. Their reasoning can basically be summed up as “Won’t somebody think of the children!!1!

They have stated that children of gay parents are somehow worse-off than children of straight parents. In doing so they have blithely ignored the plethora of scientific evidence surrounding the wellbeing of children with non-hetero parents, and have instead substituted a whole lot of non-peer reviewed, Australian-Christian-Lobby-funded garbage in place of actual science, in order to support their religiously inspired bigotry and their desire to impose it on the rest of the country. There is a good analysis on The Conversation here and here.

Don’t you just love it when people try to use the respectability and legitimacy of [fake] science to support their prejudice?

The submission (with the names of all doctors involved) can be downloaded from this government page (it’s number 229). I recommend checking to make sure that your doctor is not on the list. If they are, I recommend ditching them as fast as possible, and letting them know in no uncertain terms why you are doing so.

The thought that there are practising doctors out there who don’t understand medical science (or at least, who refuse to acknowledge it when it contradicts their personal bias) is a little bit scary.

Thoughts on Australia’s Carbon Tax

So the Carbon tax has passed into law, and Tony Abbott is saying that the tax will be ”a new burden for families struggling under cost-of-living increases”. (SMH, 9/11/11)

But… the average remuneration package from the government is higher than the predicted average costs per household.

So… I don’t get it. Why are people so upset by the thought of the government sending them extra money? Are they going to feel “burdened” by it? Does Abbott believe that people are so opposed to the government fulfilling our environmental responsibilities that they would refuse free money out of some weird kind of principle?

I can’t wait to watch peoples’ reactions when Abbott tries to repeal the law and take that extra bit of money away from them, just to prove his point.

And what’s with trying to get it repealed anyway? How immature could you possibly get? Whether Abbott likes it or not, no matter how unusual the last election was, the carbon tax has been passed by a government elected by the people. The fact that he thinks he can stroll in and casually destroy something that we voted for is incredibly arrogant.

“Oh, but we didn’t vote for it! Ju-LIAR said there would never be a carbon tax!” people say. Yes, and notice how she almost lost the last election because of it? Labor’s support started dwindling as soon as Rudd backed away from the Emissions Trading Scheme. Clearly the voters wanted stronger environmental policies, not weaker ones. That should be obvious from the number of votes Labor lost to the Greens in the last election.

At the even more ludicrous end of the scale, we have Senator Barnaby Joyce declaring that it’s “a sad day when we reorganise our economy on the basis of a colourless, odourless gas … it is the height of foolishness.” (Source.)

Barnaby, Barnaby, Barnaby. You really don’t understand much of… well, anything, do you? Honestly, take some science classes or GTFO of our government, it’s just embarrassing for you and for us.

The ‘Great Moral Challenge’ of our time?

Read this short cartoon:

What Mother Nature thinks of us.

This is exactly right. As P.Z. Myers says, “Environmentalism is actually an act of self-defense.”

This is why I don’t understand how climate change can be called the ‘Great Moral Challenge’ of our generation. How is saving our own asses supposed to be all noble-and-stuff? I mean, if humanity was going to tackle climate change for purely altruistic reasons, then maybe we could pretend to be the heroes. We could get capes and everything. But when we finally get around to it, it will be because of self-interest.

Death threats for climate scientists – because THAT’S a convincing argument.

Denialists getting desperate, or is this just a Poe? Death threats are a pretty extremist way of trolling someone, which leads us to the depressing conclusion that this is for realsies.

“Australia’s leading climate change scientists are being targeted by a vicious, unrelenting email campaign that has resulted in police investigations of death threats.”

Read the original article from the Canberra Times here.

The only thing not specified is whether the attacks are specifically related to the scientists’ positions on climate change, but since that’s the common factor with this group of people, I guess that’s what we’re meant to assume.

It’s so intensely ludicrous that it would almost be funny, if people weren’t being threatened with death. There’s a freakish kind of desperation at work here. Apparently if we kill all the climate scientists, climate change will stop happening! Hurrah!!

If only it were that easy.

Oh wait, that’s not easy. That’s just freaking insane.