Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Daily digest - Tuesday, 15 January 2012

Cor! Busy news day today. I have only managed to get one post out, and that was mainly copypasta. It is a good read, though.

The big news today, of course, is the European Court ruling on the four Christians that were claiming some sort of religious discrimination or wrongful dismissal, or something. Only one of them had their case upheld, and I disagree with that. Especially in light of Stephen Law's article.

One item that - for some unknown reason - didn't seem to make the news, was that the Cornwall Council General meeting voted against introducing a plan that would see the county's poorest people footing the entire bill for central Government cuts. I don't hold these people in very high regard, but the right decision was returned today. The Conservatives had better watch their backs at the local elections in May. UPDATE: BBC has a report here.

Short intro tonight. It is getting late and I plan a busy morning ahead.

Atheism / SecularismLocal /Cornwall
Biblical Studies, Confirmation Bias, and the Quest for the Historical Jesus

"A confirmation bias is when you agree with something because it appears to support your already preconceived conclusions (conclusions you made before testing the claim and thereby verifying the conclusion).

One of the best examples of confirmation bias comes in the form of religiously reinforced beliefs. The believer will often times selectively choose to use the information they have collected in a way which only confirms their beliefs."

By +Tristan Vick

Landmark Strasbourg ruling: Religious beliefs are no reason to oppose rights of same-sex couples

Today the European Court of Human Rights ruled that religious beliefs may not justify opposing the rights of same-sex couples. British laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation were upheld.

The Strasbourg court examined four cases brought by Christians, including two who argued their beliefs allowed them to refuse a service to same-sex couples.

Christian Pollsters Find “Homosexual Behavior” Gaining Moral Ground

"The conservative Christian pollster Lifeway has released its latest results to the perennial question, “Do you believe homosexual behavior is a sin?” Turns out, only 37% of those they polled said, “Yes.” That’s down 7% from the 44% who called “homosexual behavior” a sin just over a year ago. Now, 45% say “homosexual behavior” is not sinful."

Churches 'could be sued for refusing to agree to gay marriages'

Legal advice reportedly sent to David Cameron warns that church could be sued under human rights legislation if they refuse to allow the services to proceed.

Exemption granted to the Church of England by the Coalition Bill to prevent it having to conduct gay marriages is “eminently challenge-able” in the European Court of Human Rights.

Can Christians and secularists peacefully coexist?

Can Christians and secularists share the public space, or are we heading towards a US-style culture war/shouty match? Over the weekend a thousand Catholic priests signed a letter warning about same-sex marriage,

Religious/Secular Misconceptions

"Catholics didn’t like the misconceptions that they agree lockstep with the Pope, that the Pope is infallible, and that priests fuck children. They lost me at that last one. I don’t think that is a common misconception. I think that is a common fact."

By +Al Stefanelli

How 19-year-old activist Zack Kopplin is making life hell for Louisiana’s creationists

For +Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana. We recently spoke to him to learn more about how he's making a difference.

Lib Dems kill off 'Devonwall' plan with Lords rebellion

"Plans to create an MP constituency straddling the Devon and Cornwall border were put on ice after peers last night voted to delay a boundary review until 2018."

North Cornwall locals divided as green energy plan unveiled

"Energy chiefs have unveiled proposals to build the biggest combined wind turbine and solar panel farm in Cornwall to supply 20,000 homes."

Real time passenger information for Cornwall’s busiest bus route

'Councillor Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for Highways and Transportation, said: “When you’re standing at the bus stop, with this you can just look up and see how much longer you’ve got to wait – fantastic!”'

£425,000 to install, and Cornwall Council claims it has no money. Pfft!

Chance to win your school £135,000 for renewable energy makeover

"THERE is still time to enter the Cornish Guardian's competition to win your school a £135,000 energy makeover that could help it become one of the greenest in the country."

Should guesthouse owners be allowed to refuse gay couples?

Click here to find the poll on the right hand column.

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“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 KJV

Total value5 c-im
Adds to my understanding of the meaning of life0 c-im
Inherent morality0 c-im
Level of engagement instilled5 c-im

Comment: This, to me, sounds like 'Do as I say, and you will believe what I say is the truth'. Sounds like the patter of all Christians.

Quite how an abstract concept like 'truth' can set anyone free is beyond me. If one commits to an abstract line of reasoning, one is confined by both the abstract concept and your line of reasoning.

Stephen Law Discusses His Interesting Thoughts on Morality, His “Evil God Hypothesis,” and His Views on Religion

Philosopher Stephen Law challenges theists to explain, “. . . why the hypothesis that there exists an omnipotent, omniscient and all-good god should be considered significantly more reasonable than the hypothesis that there exists an omnipotent, omniscient and all-evil god. Theists typically dismiss the evil god hypothesis out of hand because of the problem of good – there is surely too much good in the world for it to be the creation of such a being. But then why doesn’t the problem of evil provide equally good grounds for dismissing belief in a good god?” Law is the editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy journal THINK. He has published several books and is senior lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London. His books include Believing Bullshit, The Philosophy Gym, Humanism, A Very Short Introduction, and The War for Children’s Minds. During our conversation, Law shares his interesting views on morality, discusses how science relates to morality, and challenges both theists and non-theists to think.

MP3 File
(42 minutes, 17 seconds, 20.3 MB)

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