Are we humans really as special as we think we are? Is mankind really worth saving? This is a question, especially in light of recent societal and political developments that has got me thinking. Don't get me wrong, I think there are plenty of people out there who are nice but I have to wonder if being "nice" is enough and these days the level of hatred, especially online hatred, is enough to make one throw one's hands in the air and walk away in disgust muttering, "Bah, humans! Really not worth the effort!"
When I am ill, I go to a doctor because they are more qualified than I am in the areas relevant to my health. It would be fair to say that I consider the medical profession the authoritative guide to medical issues. That said, I welcome the medical professions cautious acceptance of some "alternative" medicines or therapies. Enter the faith healer, one who claims to use spiritual powers to cure ills without medical intervention.
In our more liberal countries, there is much comment on human rights. Which rights are, to coin a phrase, 'inalienable' and which are assigned by laws? It took civilisation to instil them into the fabric of society. If rights are dependent entirely upon the society in which a person lives, that means that there could be somewhere with no rights for its citizens at all, a different culture, with different standards and rules.
I thought Flat-Earthers were something one only saw on the internet but one day (it must have been a year ago) my best friend and I actually met one; that's right, a real, honest-to-god, plain as the hand in front of my face and the beer it was holding, Flat Earther. To say I was shocked was an understatement, but, bit by bit, I scrabbled back my dignity and helped put the critter down where he belonged.
NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria) is a view, advanced by the late Stephen Jay Gould, that science and religion each represent different areas of inquiry, fact vs. values, over which they have "a legitimate domain of authority," and that the two do not overlap (Wikipedia). In many ways NOMA can be seen to be an attempt to stop the warring between religious and science-oriented factions and this article argues that NOMA is effectively invalid.
I am an atheist and pretty damned proud of being one! I like that I don't subscribe to anyone's particular way of thinking. Of course, like anyone else, I am influenced by views I hear or read but I believe I think about those things and decide whether or not they make any sense. Whether I use it or not all the time, I believe I have the ability to think critically ... that's why I am a fan of science, why I am an atheist and, more recently, why I am not a Brexiter. I like to think of it as an alarm bell, a bullshit-o-meter that goes off whenever I think something doesn't feel or smell right.
If I had a dollar for every time a theist has tried to tell me we atheists can't understand their relationship with god I'd be ... well I wouldn't actually be rich but I'd probably be able to buy my family a decent curry and several beers each. Suffice to say, it's a common claim but it's also wrong and here's why.
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Over twenty years ago, an ex-colleague of mine (who had turned out to be a creationist, the first I have ever met) got into an email discussion where, after making a number of typically unsupportable assertions, aggressively asked me why I, an atheist, celebrated Christmas.
It is impossible to date, with absolute accuracy, the age of the Earth but in that it is no different from any other science-based theory. Homo sapiens has only been resident for some 50,000 years so we were, unfortunately, unable to witness the birth of our planet.